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I'll be tweeting live from the game today as our Buccos take on , my red capped step children, the Nats. @wvutimmy Let's Go Bucs!!
It's Thursday August 14, 2014. A huge day for MLB. Today the owners will pick a new Commissioner of Baseball, and the reign of Bud Selig will be over in January. So Yinzers, what do you think? Any advice for the new guy?
I was never a Selig fan myself. In my opinion, he was to easy going when it came to discipline (Anyone remember the Roberto Alomar spitting incident?) and he turned a blind eye to performance enhancing drugs until the media and the public made him take action. He always seemed to want to make everyone happy if he could, not the trait of a good leader. The current war between the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles over television fees is a perfect example. Selig has been useless throughout the entire mess.
On the other side of the coin, people argue that Selig was a huge asset to baseball. He instituted inter-league play, revenue sharing, the Division Series, Wild Card play, and drug testing. He also led the league out of a devastating strike.
But was he a friend of the small market team even though he owned one? I'm not sure. The Yankees and Red Sox always seems to get what they wanted. While teams like Pittsburgh had to struggle.
This is part of the reason why I don't want Tom Werner, Chairman of the Red Sox, to be the new Commish. And Bud never came close to even trying to institute a salary cap program similar to the one that benefited the NFL and NHL.
So what's your opinion? Any advice? How will this affect our Buccos? And who should be the new commish?
Lately I've been trying to branch out and write about other things but my bread and butter and what I enjoy writing the most is about prospects. I'm no expert on them but I like to think of myself as a well informed novice on the subject. No one should take my opinion of a prospect as evidence of anything but I enjoy researching and writing about them and I hope some of you enjoy reading what I have to say about them. Now with that disclaimer out of the way on to the subject at hand.
The hitters on the Pirates A+ level Bradenton Marauders have been an uninspiring group thus far. The lone exception has been top hitting prospect Josh Bell who now finds himself up a level in AA Altoona. With the exception of Bell and the two major league players who rehabbed there the Marauders have seen 17 players register an at bat for them this season. I figured it is time to take a look at those guys and see what the Pirates have with this largely uninteresting crop of talent.
Of the 17 players who have taken an at bat at this level, 6 of them are 24 years of age or older which according to my rough age appropriate prospect scale makes them organizational players rather than prospects. This holds quite true as the players in question have all been used as part time players this year meaning the Pirates do not desire to take a long look at them. Making matters worse is that by and large this group has performed exceedingly poorly especially considering their age for the level.
Jordan Steranka: Steranka has received the most playing time of this group and has been a frequent DH as well as occasionally spelling the struggling 1B prospect at this level. He can also play 3B but hasn't done so yet this season. Steranka is a local product coming from Penn State university at the time he was drafted he was thought to be an attempt to appease the State College Spikes franchise who were unhappy with how the Pirates focused so little on winning at their level. He has only modest power and so far has had major trouble with his plate discipline. So far this year he has struck out 4.5 times as often as he has walked.
Jacob Stallings: Stallings has received a lot of playing time at the level essentially splitting the catching duties with a young prospect who received an aggressive push. Of all the players I'm going to mention in this section Stallings probably has the best shot at... [Read More]
Last year I went round and round with a few posters about how the Pirates poor RISP were just a sample size issue but nonetheless the cries of them being an unclutch team continued. In the end I largely gave up trying to convince them otherwise but now I hear people calling them an unclutch team unable to hit with RISP despite the numbers showing something entirely different. I'm not sure I understand that so let me just lay out a few numbers.
The biggest complaint about the Pirates is that they can't hit with runners in scoring position. That is simply untrue. The team as a whole has a .356 OBP with RISP the highest mark in the NL. They have a 100 wRC+ in such situations third best mark in the NL behind only the Dodgers and Brewers. Baseball Reference's OPS+ has them at 101 tied for the 4th best mark behind the Brewers, Dodgers and Rockies. If you want to just stick with something simple like batting averages they are tied for the 4th best mark at .251 with the Miami Marlins trailing only the Rockies, Dodgers and Brewers. Eliminate the pitchers from the discussion and they have 4th all to themselves. Any way you slice it the Pirates have done a great job at hitting with RISP.
Getting In 'Easy" Runs
Another thing that I hear a lot is that the Pirates are not good enough at getting a runner in from third with less than two outs. That true playoff teams do a better job. In that exact situation the Pirates are hitting .350 good enough for the second best mark in the NL trailing only the Rockies. They have a .428 OBP and a .945 OPS in those situations both of which are the best mark in the NL by quite a distance. The Pirates are literally doing a better job at this than every other team in the NL and yet some folks seem to think playoff teams have to do a better job at it.
... [Read More]
Preseason is upon us and with it the start of whittling the collection of 90 players down to 53 begins. Certain players of course have nothing to worry about, while others have basically no chance at making the team and the rest find themselves on the bubble trying to grab one of the last handful of roster spots. Below is a list of how I see the roster as it currently stands (remember I'm a baseball guy so if something seems off to you football guys please chime in).
QB: Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Gradkowski
RB: Le'Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount, Dri Archer, Will Johnson
WR: Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Lance Moore, Martavis Bryant
TE: Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth
OL: Kelvin Beachum, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Marcus Gilbert, Cody Wallace, Mike Adams
DL: Cam Thomas, Steve McLendon, Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt
LB: Jason Worilds, Jarvis Jones, Ryan Shazier, Lawrence Timmons, Vince Williams, Arthur Moats
DB: Cortez Allen, Ike Taylor, William Gay, Troy Polamalu, Mike Mitchell, Shamarko Thomas
SP: Shaun Suisham, Greg Warren
There are 37 roster spots I see as all but locked down. You might be able to quibble on some or possibly add a few more but the way I see those guys are pretty much set. Mike Adams could be a debatable one as it doesn't seem he is having a good camp but I find it hard to believe the Steelers will give up on his potential so quickly especially with no other really viable 3rd tackle on the roster. Moats is another one who could be questioned but he is versatile and a good special teams player it seems likely to me they signed him with all intentions for him to be on the roster.
QB: Landry Jones
- If the Steelers opt to keep 3 QBs on the active roster Jones will be a lock to make the team but they could opt to go with only 2 and try to get Jones to the practice squad.
RB: Tauren Poole, Miguel Maysonet
- With Archer not being your typical RB there is a chance the team may opt to carry a 4th RB and if so I see these two as the favorites.
WR: Justin Brown, Derek Moye, Darrius Heyward-Bey
- The Steelers will likely opt to carry a 5th receiver and if they do it will probably come from this trio. A 6th WR is always a possibilty but with the presence of Archer... [Read More]