Monday, June 13, 2016

Pirates get to take a knee...

Now that the Pirates 31 games in 31 days run (sounds like the punishment judges used to give DUI offenders) is over and they finally get an off day we have time to stop and think about reinforcements from the minors and possible trade targets.

Lets go through the Pirates current line up through 63 Games.

First Base
John Jaso .287/.358/.410, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 22 Runs
John has done a fine job going from catcher to first and over the season hasn't hit bad and has a fair OBP.  However since May 1st he has a slash line of .267/.336/.379.  It probably isn't' too much to worry about as long as he stays steady in the field and keeps getting on.

Second Base
Josh Harrison .310/.338/.412, 2 HR, 30 RBI, 27 Runs
One of the spark plugs on the team.  In one play he can change the momentum of the game all by him self.  He is invaluable especially in slumps like this.  While I would like to see him get on base and be a little more patient at the plate, it is still respectable and does just fine.

Third Base
Jung Ho Kang .283/.348/.596, 8 HR, 23 RBI, 12 Runs
There where some questions on how his knee would hold up, so far so good.  I don't think putting him at short for an extended period is much of an option but should the need arise he could probably do it okay.  In just 30 games and 112 plate appearances he has 8 HR and 23 RBIs.  No question he is the power stud is on the team.

Short Stop
Jordy Mercer .264/.357/.341, 2 HR, 22 RBI, 27 Runs
On the season he is doing about what we would expect and want from him how ever since may first his slash has taken a serious downward turn at .228/.331/.293.  His OBP is till fair all things considered.  He has also made quite a few mistakes in the field so far this season.  I'm a fan of Mercer and he will probably turn it around but getting him some help/competition for the everyday position might help keep him on his toes.

Chris Stewart .206/.316/.294
With Cervelli out for an extended time Stewart will be the man hopefully later this week.  His glove should be fine and anything he can give on the offense is bonus.  Hopefully he can get his slash lines back to what he has been his past two seasons in the black and gold.

Right Field
Gregory Polanco .296/.379/.531, 9 HR, 39 RBI, 43 Runs
Polanco should be a staple in the Pirates line up for years to come, no problems here as long as he keeps his head in the game.

Left Field
Starling Marte .332/.375/.489, 5 HR, 23 RBI, 33 Runs
The glue to the out field defense and always on base and stealing them.  Expected a few more home runs but those doubles are just as good in many cases.

Center Field
Andrew McCutchen .241/.321/.408, 9 HR, 25 RBI, 37 Runs
Something is wrong.  Low average, OBP and high strike outs but still driving in a couple runs and scoring them.  He is trying too hard maybe?


David Freese 3B/1B .294/.374/.439 5 HR, 23 RBI, 29 Runs
Matt Joyce OF .296/.436/.593 6 HR, 22 RBI, 16 Runs
Sean Rodriguez SuUT .257/.336/.505, 6 HR, 17 RBI, 21 Runs
Erik Kratz Catcher

Pirates have a pretty good bench, Freese should be in the lineup somewhere at least half of the time, Joyce's numbers are down the past few weeks but has done a good job and S-Rod is being S-Rod.

Who to upgrade?

Looking at the current team where do you look for upgrades.  Clearly catcher but unless we find Cervelli is done for the season and Stewart gets and stays better we will probably hold the line.

At short, getting a player considered an upgrade in trade will cost too much so we will probably cost too much.

Outfield, specifically center field.  Andrew has been pretty bad by our standards.  What ever his going on he better try to find a fix for it if he wants to stay in the lineup most everyday.

MiLB Options?

There are quite a few options just in prospects to help bolster the MLB team except for at Catcher where our closet to MLB ready catcher is also on the DL for an extended time.

Alen Hanson 2B/SS/OF, he is fast and a contact hitter, like J-Hay I would like to see a bit more discipline at the plate but it generally works well for him.  He is mostly a second basemen but came up a short stop and has a few innings in the outfield.  Could give Mercer that little push he needs or might be able to prove that he can play short at the MLB level.

Josh Bell OF/1B no questions about his bat, but his glove might prove to be an issue.  If his bat translates to the MLB watch out! Putting Bell in right, Marte in center and Polanco in Left would give Cutch time to work through his issues or.. possibly make Cutch expendable.  Also Bell has been training at first for a year and a half so he can also give Jaso a breather.

Jason Rogers OF/1B/3B Similar to bell just a bit of third base in there as well, not quite the pojected bat as Bell but can allow more time for Bell to work on first base

Adam Frazier SS/2B/OF Playing mostly out field, partially due to circumstance of the roster.  He doesn't' appear to be in the running for any future gold gloves but his bat has made up for any defense issues.

Possible trade targets for position players?

Generally trading for a position player directly does not appear to be the best option unless there is an injury bug going around, even then you will want someone reasonably cheap in both what you have to give up and salary.  In a quick look around the probable sellers to players stood out to me.

Biggest need is a catcher to hold the line if Stewart is also out an extended period.  Oakland has Stephen Vogt, and may even be interested in selling other players in a package to bolster pitching (that will hopefully come in a later story)

The Twins also have Eduardo Nunez SS/2B/3B/OF and also controllable through 2017.  seems to have found his bat last season, while he probably wont' win a silver slugger he could be a reasonable utility option.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Pirates draft Will Craig P/3B at Pick 22

With the 22nd pick in the 2016 draft the Pirates picked 21 year old Will Craig third basemen and relief pitcher.  [ link from ]

Will was originally drafted in the 2013 draft by the Royals at pick 1104 in round 37 but like many drafted in those later round did not sign and instead went on to play in Wake Forest where he an amazing slash line of .350/.465/.632 with 37 home runs over 159 games and 692 plate appearances in three seasons.  Over those three seasons he had a 15.6% walk rate along with 13% strike out rate shows that is has had pretty good plate discipline in the aluminum bat leagues.  In wooden bat leagues his average and power dipped significantly but he was still able to keep his on base percentage respectable showing that the discipline extends to different leagues.

As a third basemen he has the arm strength to stick but his arm and glove may force him to first or outfield.

As a pitcher he does not appear to be anything exciting but does have 105 innings under his belt between college and the north woods leagues.

Between the two, his bat will probably force him from pitcher to position player, however it could make for some interesting double switch situations in extra inning games.

Over all it is hard to dislike the pick.  Expected quality bat, could possibly stay at third but will probably move to first both are weak point for the Pirates minor system with a remote possibility of moving him to the bull pen.

It is too big of a risk to pick Perez with his recent PED issues especially when you consider the number of short stops the Pirates already have in their system.  IF the Pirates didn't have multiple promising middle infielders already a risk on Perez would be more acceptable.  Instead Perez was picked by St. Louis with the very next pick.