Thursday, June 30, 2011

Unwritten rules

The Pirates won. They hit fairly well tonight. Everyone who started got a hit except McHenry the catcher. At least I think that is his name, they change so often. Presley got a triple as did Overbay (actually a double with a one base error). Both scored. The Pirates were able to get this big win with Walker getting the night off. Harrison did well in his absence and the decision to play Wood as the DH payed off nicely as Wood hit a big two run blast.

Karsten did give up two solo home runs. Both in the same inning separated by one out. Still, he made seven innings and pitched a normal game for him. He is becoming a reliable starter. He does not have the stuff Ohlendorf has, but he gets results by simply not throwing balls. The difference between Karstens last year and this year boils down to two things. One is a better defense behind him. Karstens makes the hitters beat him, and the defense then sees action. Last year we stunk at defense. This year we are better. Two is that Karstens has been a starter and his arm is stretched out a little more. Karstens had been in the bullpen the entire season two years ago. When he was called upon to be the starter he had a real wall on pitches and innings. You could bet in the 5th he weakened and by the 6th he was done. Good ole JR never saw it and always left him in long enough to hang him with a loss. This year he does not have that limit or that limit is higher. Whether it is because his arm is stretched out or because he focused on getting more endurance in the offseason is hard to know. Perhaps a combo of both. Still it has made all the difference in the world.

The big news is the punch to Matt Diaz on a double play break up slide given by Escobar. Apparently there was a gentlemen's disagreement about a slide Diaz took on Tuesday. Escobar thought it was spikes up, Diaz thought it okay. The unwritten rule about breaking up double plays is hard slides are allowed in the play is close. If the throw is away the slide is not a take out, if not then breaking it up is accepted. Spikes are different story. Spikes are frowned upon more these days than they used to be. Mostly now spiking is reserved for someone who is blocking the bag. A few years ago Rays short stop Jason Bartlett dropped his leg to cover second because the slide was always head first from some runner, whose name I can't remember. Spikes are a way to ensure that sort of thing does not occur. This is not a problem on a double play because they are not blocking a bag. So if Diaz went in spikes up, then he probably deserved some retribution.
The accepted retribution is a low throw above his head. Baserunners are supposed to slide into second and not block the throw. A middle infielder can get even by dropping his arm angle and buzzing the runners head. Escobar felt he should do this to get even. Well, Escobar then violates the rule because he kept dropping the arm. Diaz clearly goes lower to avoid the buzz, and Escobar never throws the ball. Instead he drops so low that he whacks Diaz in the stomach with the ball. Note in the photo Diaz gets a kick in of his own on the play. Probably not an accident despite his claim. Hard tags with the ball are used, but usually they are in the glove. Escobar appears to have gone for the buzz throw and decided instead to whack. Probably a bit of a mistake on his part. It also of course broke up the double play.

It is a little bit of a shame that this is it for the Blue Jays. Escobar's next at bat would have been interesting.

I hate the Blue Jays

I always have. Joe Carter's shot still makes me sick.

The Pirates played good enough to win but did not. Malholm worked out of a lot of jams, but gave up two runs and that was enough to lose. The Pirate made some base running mistakes, but really just did not get the big hit. The hitting was more the problem than the base running. Bautista threw out Walker at home one a chopper in the infield. It was worth the try. Diaz got caught in a run down while Overbay scored. This one was bad as it ran us out of a rally. Cedano hit a bloop base hit. Overbay was waved home from second and looked like he was going to score. It appears as if Diaz stops completely at second and then starts up again. So either he missed a sign, or wanted to get in a run down to score Overbay, although Overbay appeared to score without trouble. Diaz needs to make the decision faster. Still he kept the rundown going long enough to get Cedano to second with only one out. No hits behind it. That was the real problem. One more base hit and Cedano scores. The third one was Jones slipping while trying to steal. That is technically bad baserunning because slipping is not recommended. He tried to get back to first and got thrown out. That stuff happens sometime.

The problem is that we are now counting a lot on newbies and bench players. Diaz and Jones are both playing because Tabata is out. Presley is new. d'Arnaud is new. Our catchers are new. That is too many new guys and 4th outfielders having to play consistent good baseball.

The Pirates don't need to go get help at the trading deadline. They just need to get healthy. The addition of Doumit alone would really help this line up. Tabata as well. Alvarez would also jump start something in all probability. Meek might help make Veras available as a trading piece if we want one, but overall the Pirates just need guys to stay healthy.

I like today's line up. Wood DH, d'Arnaud and Harrison and Presley all playing. You might as well do it to see what they can do. Wood played in the AL so maybe he can have some experience hitting on some of these guys.

By the way the GCL Pirates won today and Jared Lakind got his first hit. Joey Schoenfeld also got a hit. Overall there are some good players in the GCL, but I wish these two guys would step it up a little.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Call up and Pirate wins

It is good to beat the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista. He stunk when he was a Pirate. Now he hits 54 homers for the Blue Jays. Well tonight showed one reason why. The Sky Dome is a launching pad. Alex Presley got a homer as did Bautista and Encarnacion and McCutchen. Not exactly power guys. I know no one else is saying it but Bautista's numbers are too strange to not be suspicious. He ought to be drug tested often and for the good stuff.

But that ugly subject is better forgotten since the Pirates won. d'Arnaud had been doing well since his call up. Josh Harrison is coming back since Tabata got hurt. And Presley went 2 for 5 with 3 RBIs. Even if the Pirates do not find a trading partner they are getting a real good shot in the arm from their farm system. It has been a long time since that was true. McCutchen and Walker both got RBIs tonight showing that the big guns still work and even Matt Diaz went crazy tonight with 3 hits including an RBI triple that scored Overbay. So really everyone was in on this win.

Speaking of the farm system. The Pirates got a great performance from Colton Cain, and a base hit from Pedro Alvarez in a rehab start. Kyle McPhearson was also very good tonight with lots of strikeouts. Jordy Mercer made his first start in AAA and he went 1 for 4, but had 2 strikeouts.

The next guy that needs to get promoted is Starling Marte. He is killing AA right now. He went 3 for 4 with 2 doubles tonight.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What is wrong in State College?

First things first, the Pirates beat Baltimore to win the series and return to .500. They are just 3 games out going into a day off and a scary series versus the Boston Red Sox.

Today the topic is the State College Spikes, the Pirates A- minor league team. They were shut out the second night in a row and held to 3 hits. They have just one win to their credit and are an absolute disaster on offense. Nick Kingham did a lot to remove worries about his abilities by going 5 giving up 1 run and striking out 8. A nice recap can be found at Pirate Prospects.

A quick look at the stats shows that of those people with 10 ABs only two appear able to hit. Derek Trent is hitting .286 and Samuel Gonzalez is hitting .500 with an OPS over 1. Other than that the next best hitter is Carlos Mesa at .222. There are 6 players below .200 and 3 below .100 with the requisite number of ABs. Only 1 HR has been hit so far. This is not a good start.

The question is why such a slow start to the offense? Is this just what happens when you only draft 4 seniors, 2 of whom are pitchers, and one of whom just played his first game tonight where he went 1 for 4. Derek Trent is the other, and he was one of the hitters with an acceptable average.
But this cannot be the whole answer as a few college juniors are struggling like Brian Sharp and 10th round pick Taylor Lewis. Plus, some of these guys were fairly well regarded prospects coming in such as Exicardo Cayones, who is hitting below .100 right now. Cayones is easily the biggest prospect on this team and he is currently 1 for 11 with 5 strikeouts. That is not good.

I know that this is early in the season, and that many more prospects will be showing up such as hopefully Alex Dickerson (3rd round pick), or maybe Dan Gamache (6th round), who should help the offense quite a bit. But, has been 6 games, and this is not a promising start. This team is not going to win when only 3 players are hitting (Justin Bencsko is one AB short, but will be at least a .300 hitter when he gets that 10th AB). Cayones and Lewis are the two who need to start hitting and hitting now. Wes Freeman ought to be hitting as well. He is 21 and has had enough minor league experience that he ought to be hitting. He is hitting .214 and has that lone homer, but that is not good enough for a guy who has this much experience in the minors.

No matter how you look at it, this is not a good start. While it is too early to panic. The Pirates are going to need a wave of bats, and some of these guys are going to have to figure out how to do it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

They will be okay

The Pirates just stopped a tail spin and are no longer above .500. I have not been able to keep up because of vacation, visits, and the College World Series. Yes, I got to go to a couple of games. Good stuff, but no Pirate Prospects there to watch.

Since my absence Luis Heredia and Stetson Allie both made their pro debuts. Both went only 2.1 innings and both got beat around a bit. However, there is no need to panic. Both actually had some encouraging signs.

Allie was first, and he did strike a few guys out. His first two innings were really okay. He even had a 1-2-3 inning in the second. It was the third that was the problem. He was unable to work around the trouble he was in, got a little wild and got the hook. Still not too bad for a guy who should be a freshman in college against college seniors. Even Taillon was shaky in first game.

Luis Heredia who is still 16 was next. He did not strike anyone out, which was disappointing. But, he too did not give up any runs until the third inning. However, in his 7 outs, 6 were ground ball outs. That is a good sign. He is going to get a lot of chances against these much older guys. Expect good things from Luis.

The one to worry about is Nick Kingham. He was not encouraging at all in his big State College opener. Again, one game is nothing, but I was hoping for more. A low 90's lefty with the possibility of gaining some velocity is always exciting. It just did not materialize in his first outing.

On a more positive note, the PIrates are signing a lot of people. They even inked a High School pitcher already. 4th round pick Colton Brewer has signed, and hopefully will start appearing in some GCL games this year. 3 of the top 10 picks are already on board. All 4 of the seniors are on board and a couple of others. I am impressed at the speed the Pirates are attacking this draft. Of course the big fish will not land until the 15th of August, but still it is a good sign to see them get some high picks in already.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Above .500? You bet!

The Astros were a real pain to us last year, so it is good to see us taking care of business against them this year. We put up 7 runs and won 7-3 despite a so-so outing from Morton. He got the win, but he thrown 100 pitches by the 5th inning. Yet, there were some real positives to take from this game.

1. Walker got back on track. He plated McCutchen with a two out triple, and then Diaz with a two-out single. Nice to see him get a multi-hit game again.

2. Tabata getting better. Tabata's bat is coming around. In addition, he threw out a guy at home. He was called safe, but they nailed him. It was a nice throw, nice tag, and that guy was out.

3. Daniel McCutchen had a good outing. Daniel McCutchen came in and did a nice job. He has had a few rough outings in a row, but he got the hold, and looked pretty good doing it. I think he is going to be the long guy of the future for this team.

The Pirates minor leagues continue to look impressive as well. Brandon Crumpton must be lobbying for a call up to High A because he dominated tonight for WV. Matt Curry had a good game continuing to impress in AA, as did Jordy Mercer. I think Mercer might get a call up to AAA and DArnaud get the move to the bigs if Harrison ends up on the DL.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Okay, the MLB site was completely wrong. How can they be that wrong. I don't know, but I won't make that mistake again.

The current Spikes roster is up. Expect a few more as I think two seniors have yet to sign. Taylor Lewis has since signed and will be here. Dan Gamanche has singed, but is not listed here. I expect he will go straight to West Virginia because Eric Avilia is horrible there. A spot is clearly open for him in WV.

The people to watch are of course Allie, but also Kingham, and Hafner in the rotation. I will also be watching Matthew Benedict, 30th round this year, because he is from the Southern Conference.

At the plate, we need to watch first and foremost Exicardo Cayones. Taylor Lewis ought to also be interesting to see. Michaelangel Trinidad is also one to keep an eye upon, and Brian Sharp is a 24th round guy. I will be watching Derek Trent because I grew up watching ETSU baseball. They used to be SoCon. I will watch him out of loyalty.

Som real good guys on this list. I like it. Looking forward to seeing the Spikes start up.

Malholm wins, Big time series

Malholm won for the Pirates. Walker got more RBI's and Wood hit a long ball. Tim Wood was good, and Hanrahan nailed it down again. He probably will be the All Star representative. In the end, this was a disappointing split for the Pirates. They are better than the Mets and have to take care of them. Still, we had a weak group with no real catcher and Harrison getting hurt as well. McCutchen sat this game out for a day of rest, although he pinch hit, got a hit and helped the Pirates hold on to win.

Michael McHenry is our new catcher. He looked okay. It is unclear who we have given up for this guy, but I will take what I can get at this point. Let us hope he can add something.

These next two series are very important for the Pirates. The Cardinals have been slumping. Despite a bad series the Pirates are only 5 games out. The Astros are horrible. We have to beat them. The Indians are above .500, but are slumping and we can take advantage of that. If we can get a good 4 out of 6 or even better 5 out of 6, we will be above .500 and making a series run at the post season.

I like it. Give me more.

Monday, June 13, 2011


It turns out the Pirates lost Sunday. I was sick so I saw none of it. We didn't score and despite the seven runs, I heard Correia pitched pretty well.

The Pirates are getting a new catcher according to reports. AAA catcher from the Red Sox who appears to have played AAA last year for the Rockies. He is probably a little better than what we have now and can push Dusty Brown back to a back up. The Pirates need to try something because they are really offensively weak right now. Harrison was out today because of tightness, so that leaves only three decent hitters in the line up: Tabata, McCutchen, and Walker. Walker has been slumping a bit lately, so that narrows the list even more. Overbay has a hint of power, but only hits .230. Cedano, Wood, Brown, and Diaz are a joke. And even if Jones is playing for Diaz he only becomes a sort of power threat like Overbay. Paul is actually the best hitter of the three right now. Let us hope that this catcher can do some hitting.

That report also mentions the first signing of the draft. Dan Gamache is on board and will start the season with the Spikes. Now they have a third baseman. The Pirates had a very high opinion of this guy, so I am interested in what he will do.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Short Season A and Rookie League Ball talk - UPDATE

It should be about a week before the short season teams start. Right now the whole rosters have not been put out, but it looks like the GCL Pirates in Rookie League are going to be very exciting.

They currently have listed as on their team Stetson Allie and Luis Heredia. If that were not enough Nick Kingham and Ryan Hafner are on this squad. I will be watching these guys a lot. Bryan Trepagnier and Kevin Kleis are familiar names also on staff. Another interesting name, not so much because he is a prospect, is Sheng-Cin Hong from Taiwan.

I am not so sure about the non pitchers on this roster. I am not sure that they are all right because they include some people you would expect to be at a higher level this year like Junior Sosa and Joey Schoenfeld. Still you probably should expect to see Jared Lakind playing first base, so that hitters will be not be all unknowns.

The State College Spikes have a much more trustworthy looking semi-roster up. They have Zack Dodson on their staff. He is probably just waiting for someone to depart West Virginia because he was not bad there, but he is the odd man out in that crowded rotation. Logan Pevny and James Archibald join Dodson on that staff along with lesser known names like Mitchel Fienemann for Australia who will be a starter, and Joely Rodriguez who had a fairly successful stint in the Rookie League last year. He will probably start. They only have four position players on the roster right now two catchers: Miguel Mendez and Matthew Skirving, making it seem more probable that Schoenfeld will be in the GCL. And short stop Walter Gourley, a 2009 draftee, and Jodaneli Carvajal who seems to be making a leap from the DSL and playing second. You can expect a few quick signings to probably bolster this team including: Brian Sharp, SS, 21st round; Derek Trent, C, 31st round; and I think that the Pirates will also get Taylor Lewis, OF, fairly fast despite him being a junior. There are some others that I am unsure whether they are juniors or seniors right off hand, and I am too lazy to look it up. But eventually this team will include Daniel Gamache, 3B, and Alex Dickerson, OF/1B, and then they will be something to watch in the hitting department.

A lot of good stuff to watch here. Hoping we get a few signings soon. I am breaking out into cold sweats waiting for this stuff.

According to Jennifer Langosh the Pirates have assigned Stetson Allie to State College, not to GCL Rookie league. This is more in line with where expectations would have had him. Now the only thing to figure out is why they have him on the Roster for the GCL Pirates at Either way this is good news for the Pirate organization. I was a little worried that his control issues were not going well for him to start in Rookie League.

Also the Pirates drafted 4 total seniors, who should all sign fairly quickly and be at State College. I remembered two, who the other two are escapes me right now.

Losing streak over

McDonald got a quality start, which just goes to show you that the Quality Start stat is not so revealing. He was shaky. But it is a very encouraging sign that the Pirates could win a game where their pitching was so shaky. Last year their defense would never have been able to pull together this win. Remember that this game was played with Harrison at short, Wood at third and fifth string catcher Wyatt Torregas behind the plate. Not a one of that group was on the 40 man roster to start the season. All necessitated by injuries. Tim Wood, who pitched a nice inning of relief, fits that category as well. This was a really good win because Charlie Morton had his first "Old Morton" outing when he gave up a ton of runs in the fourth. Let's hope that the starting pitching can turn it around again because they have been carrying this team, and with Snyder out, they will have to continue to do so.

On the bright side, Harrison is hitting well. Tabata seems to be finding his stroke again. And while Walker is tailing off, he still gets involved in the offense. His walk turned into a run today. McCutchen is also now consistently good.

A series win is possible tomorrow, so let's go Bucs!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pirates dominate, but have to edge out a 12th inning win

The Pirates beat around the D-Backs, but ended up in extra innings clawing for their life. They did get the win thanks to the big guns stepping up as they should. But, they get to .500.

The great news is that the big three bats all played big. McCutchen had multiple hits including the walk-off homer, plus a sac fly for the first RBI of the game. He scored the second run and the third as well. Tabata had a four hit night, scored the first run of the game. Walker had the worst night of the three, but got the clutch base hit in the bottom of the 10th when the Pirates were down 2-1, and things looked bad. So he pulled out an important RBI.

Maholm was also solid. I say solid and not great because he walked 3 guys, but only gave up one hit. Pitch count seemed a little high after 6 when he left with a 1-0 lead. Resop did a good inning. Veras gave up the tying run, but Tony Watson bailed Veras out of the 8th inning. Watson looked good inherited 2 runners and they did not move as he struck out both batters. Moskos was not so good tonight. His slider seemed off. He gave up the run in the 10th after Hanrahan worked a clean 9th. Moskos did get of the inning with only one run, which looked real bad for a minute. Daniel McCutchen pitched the 11th and the 12th and looked bad doing it. He was in trouble both innings. He had to get out of a 1st and 3rd one out jam, and did it. He had people on base the next inning as well. I think Clint was going to stick with him because the bullpen was getting thin.

Bad things did happen. The Pirates racked up 15 hits in 12 innings and only walked away with 3 runs. That is not good. Lots of guys left on base. Chris Snyder got hurt, or at least left the game. That means Dusty Brown is the starter and Matt Diaz the back up catcher. If it is serious then Eric Fryer is probably going to make the majors.

On a side note, the Pirates promoted Kyle McPhearson to AA. Matt Curry was promoted a few weeks ago. This is the beginning of moving up some guys that need to move up. Starling Marte maybe first on that list. Also Sanchez might need to be promoted to AAA soon. Will Taillon get moved up to High A to take McPhearson's starting spot? Someone from West Virginia ought to go up, it is too crowded down there. Crumpton? Waldron? Both would be good candidates. And don't look now, but Robbie Grossman is not fading in June. He is up to .276 and most impressively he went 1 for 2 today with 3 walks. 3 WALKS. If you are familiar with Grossman it is unheard of for him to walk 3 times in one game. No strikeouts is an accomplishment for him, but 3 walks? Wow.

As for day 3 of the draft, it is mostly people who will not sign or are organizational depth. Just so you know who you will see in State College soon, here are the seniors drafted.
31. Derek Trent - C - lefty that can play outfield as well. Only real person to watch taken today.
33. Christ Lashmet - 3B - from Northwestern

Those are the guys that are shoe-ins because they are seniors. There are several prep players, I can't imagine many of them signing. There are one or two other guys that were from a junior college or long shot signs from college. You will see a few of them like maybe Jonathan Schwind the 41st round pick. He is a junior from Marist, and he might go to the Pirates. We will see.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Draft 2nd Day

A lot of great picks today. Tomorrow's draft will be a lot less exciting, but I am going to break down today's group into three categories. Signings to watch, players to watch, and the organizational depth. I will put what round they were drafted in before their name.

The Signings to Watch are guys that could have high expectations and might be hard to sign. The more of this group we sign the better the over all draft.
1. Garrit Cole. - I put him here simply because he is important must sign. He will, but it won't be until the last minute.
2. Josh Bell - He is going to be amazingly hard to sign. If he does this is a great draft.
7. Jake Burrnette - hard throwing right handed high school arm
8. Jason Creasey - hard throwing right handed high school arm
9. Clay Holmes - hard throwing right handed high school arm. Top 200 prospect.
12. Candon Miles - center fielder with real speed. I hope this one signs.
13. Brandon Platte - hard throwing right handed high school arm. Probably getting to the range where the Pirates don't try if they have to spend a lot on the higher picks.
13. Jordan Dunatov - high school center fielder. Probably goes to college because he will go higher the next time he is in the draft.
15. Kody Watts - hard throwing right handed high school arm. Top 200 Prospect. Throws a splitter. Pirates will probably try to throw cash at Kody. Signing him would be a great sign.
16. Eric Skoglund - hard throwing LEFT handed high school arm
17. Aaron Brown - can throw 90 MPH, but also plays outfield. Probably won't sign. Going to Pepperdine.
19. Taylor Nunez - projectable high school arm. Not as hard throwing but could be.
26. Nicolas Flair - short stop from high school. Probably won't sign, but if he does it could be interesting to see him in the middle infield.
28 - Brandon Zajac - hard throwing LEFT handed high school arm. There is just not enough money to go around.

Players to Watch are guys who are probably going to sign and will be fun to watch in the short season ball. These guys might have a future in the pros.
3. Alex Dickerson - this guy has really bad defense and will never be ranked better than he is now. He will be above slot, but will sign. Good bat, so he should put up some numbers at State College.
4. Colten Brewer - hard throwing right handed high school arm. Get used to that phrase. Should sign.
5. Taylor Glasnow - hard throwing right handed high school arm. The kid is enormous and not filled out. Has no real secondary stuff, but wow. I like this pick. Some are saying he will sign for slot.
10. Taylor Lewis - good hitting outfielder from University of Maine. All time triples leader.
11. Jo-El Bennett-Lowe - outfielder who can hit from high school. I put him in this category because a commitment to Troy State is what he has. I think he wants to play pro-ball. Pirates will probably try to sign him.
6. Daniel Gamache - an out of no where pick from Auburn. 3B. He hit .299 and has a decent .414 OBP. The Pirates saw something, so he is worth watching.

Orgainzational Depth are the guys that probably sign on, but are not really worth following as they have little to get excited over.
18. Josh Poytress - drafted out of high school two rounds higher than now. Left handed pitching depth.
21. Alex Fuselier - outfielder. Senior, so he is signing.
22. Michael Jefferson - left handed pitcher.
24. Brian Sharp - 23 years old. SS. Can go back, but I doubt it. He will be in State College.
25. Josh Martin - hard throwing right hander from college. Could go back. Bullpen guy.
29. Kirk Singer - SS. Good defense.
30. Matthew Benedict - college senior. Right handed pitcher. Although as a SoCon Player, I will be watching Benedict.

Guys I don't think will come at all:
20. Trea Turner - short stop. Someone has to play there. But I doubt that the Pirates try hard with him.
23: Jordan Cooper - He can go back, but the Pirates drafted him higher out of high school. I think he goes back.
27. Ryan Hornbeck - I think he will not be pursued, and I think he could increase his stock after some SEC ball. Catcher.

There was a game today?

In all the excitement about the draft don't miss an important series against the D-Backs, who are the hottest team in baseball. And the Pirates had a great come from behind win tonight. The Pirates managed three runs off of the D-Back starter Haren, but it was only on three hits, and really McCutchen was out at home on a sac fly. Really bad call by the ump. Then after Correia ended up giving up four runs and the Pirates trailed 3 to 4. Meek is having problems again. Velocity down for the second straight outing. He did try to go two innings and in the second one ran into a mess of trouble including giving up a solo home run. Resop bailed him out of more. Before Meek was another great inning by Moskos. Then the first D-Back reliever was just awful. He threw lots of strikes (except for a semi-intential walk to McCutchen), and all his pitches were up. That is a dangerous combo. The Pirates hit him hard. First a Garrett Jones (pinch hitting) got a double. Then Tabata doubled home Jones. Single by Harrison to tie the game. Harrison's hit was a two strike pitch after a failed bunt attempt. Paul got another single, then the walk to McCutchen to load the bases, and a quick 3-0 count to Overbay. Overbay was taking all the way and it was a strike. Then the 3-1 was down for what he had been throwing all night, but it was not low enough and Overbay laced a double to the center field wall clearing the bases. That was it for that guy, and then Hanrahan nailed it down.

The Pirates called up Tony Watson and Designated for Assignment Jose Ascino. Good move. It is time to see what Watson can do. i am a firm believer in the 2 lefty bullpen, and Ascino has no real future with the team. He is one of the guys that had to be moved off of the 40 man anyway to make room for the flood of guys coming this off season. Might as well move him now and see what Tony can do.

The Pirates play is important between now and August 15th. Some of these draft picks have never seen the Pirates have a winning season. They need to be convinced that the Pirates are almost there and are a real winner now.

First Five Round and the dramatic 6th round

The Pirates have a very aggressive draft so far. In addition to Garrit Cole the Pirates have drafted the following.

1. Cole
2. Bell - High School switch hitter demeaning 6 mil with Boras as an advisor and Texas as a destination
3. Alex Dickerson - Junior from Indiana great bat horrible defense.
4. Colten Brewer - hard throwing High Schooler
5. Tyler Glasnow - hard throwing High Schooler with no other developed pitches.

and the 6th round guy where it had been Grossman and Von Rosenburg they take Daniel Gamache, who is a third baseman from Auburn. 7th round is Jake Burnett, a High Schooler pitcher from Georgia.

So, the Pirates have potential to have a real great draft with 3 top 50 talents (first three round guys) and two in the top 20. Amazing. But Bell is going to be a very difficult sign, and Dickerson will cost a little money, but probably signs if the Pirates have the money. Glasnow looks like a singable guy, but a project. So we are looking at a good group of guys, but not necessarily a very cheap draft.

If Bell goes to Texas as the guys on think he will, then the Pirates have a problem. It is an aggressive move, but one that can be very rewarding.

Garrett Cole it is!

The Pirates picked Garrett Cole as the first overall pick in the 2011 draft. Cole is a college pitcher for UCLA who was actually a 28th pick of the first round for the Yankees coming out of high school. He is having a down year at UCLA, but his ERA is still just over 3. Low walk total shows he has good command. High strikeouts. In fact his fast ball is 91-98 consistently at 95-96. He has a plus change up, and a plus slider that both go about 88-90. Maybe some room to slow down that change a bit more. The guy is a potential ace, and should start at least in High A next year. Many have said that it he could show up in the majors after a year of minor league ball.

The other guy many wanted Anthony Rendon shocked the world by falling all the way to the Nationals at 6. Cost that kid a lot of money. Oddly enough the Mariners went with a pitcher, and Danny Hultzen in fact. Hultzen is good and close to the majors as well, but is not a real ace. A great 3 and a strong 2, but not an ace.

I would have been happy with Rendon or Cole. The others worried me a bit, but overall all top 6 guys are going to be good.

Now the fun begins. Seeing who the Pirates can steal in the next couple of rounds. has a list of Top 50 rated guys left. This pick is a protected pick meaning that they get the 62nd overall pick next year if they fail to sign this year's 62nd overall pick. So expect the Pirates to go for Josh Bell or Daniel Norris. Bell a power hitting switching hitting outfielder who is asking for 6.25 Mil. Norris is the third best left handed pitcher in the draft, and is asking for around 3 Mil.

I favor picking Norris, as I think he would be an easier sign. 6.25 million is insane. Taillon got that. Even if that is a starting point. That is going to end up being first round money. I would rather try spreading it around to a few more high schoolers later in the draft to get quantity over quality. Plus, Norris will still be a great pick.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I love beating the Phillies

Clearly the Phillies are the best team in the NL, but right now they are the second best team in PA. The Pirates have won their series after surviving Cole Hammels, and beating the 5th starter, who is Kendrick for this week at any rate. Morton settled down after giving up a first inning run, and the Pirates offense responded immediately with McCutchen knocking in Tabata on an infield hit, who led off with a double, and was moved to third by a bunt by Paul. Overbay then banged one off of the Clemente wall to grab a lead.

All in all Morton did well. He limited early damage and kept the Phillies in the park. Good job by Charlie. I am officially impressed and a believer in his turn-around. Hanrahan made it far too interesting in the 9th loading the bases, and giving up a run on a Palanco single. I am ready to see Palanco leave town. He has hurt the Pirates on offense as well as defense. But Joel did get the next guy to end the game.

McCutchen, Overbay, and Wood had great games. Multiple hits for Overbay and McCutchen, although Overbay's triple was really a single with a 2 base error, but that is modern score keeping for you. Wood homered, which is a real good thing to see as Alvarez is not ready yet. In fact, he is still not doing anything other than hitting and running to first. I don't think we are going to see much of Alvarez this year.

The Pirates go for the sweep and a return to .500 Sunday. However, they also return to the Phillies Rotation of Death. We will see how it goes.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lose when you ought to win, Win when you ought to lose

The Pirates had a strange couple of days. The Pirates showed a lot of punch against the Mets and in the final game trying to win 3 of 4 from the Mets. They put 3 quick runs in the 1st. 3 more in the third, and added another in the 4th for good measure to go into the bottom of the 4th with a 7-0 lead and Paul Malholm pitching. Paul had trouble getting the third out sometimes. He gave up a 2-out 3 run shot to Beltran in the 4th, but recovered to put up a blank 5th. Then with 2 outs in the 6th the wheels came off. The inning ended with a tie at 7. The bullpen failed, especially Jose Veras as he gave up two more runs. Neil Walker did manage to plate another run so that they only lost by a run. Unbelievable.

Today the Pirates opened a big homestand against the Phillies. Cole Hamels was brillant. He gave up 1 hit in 8 innings. However, he had one hiccup in the 6th to give away a run. Hammels walked Cedano, gave up a sac bunt to Karstens. Then uncorked a wild pitch that moved up Cedano. Tabata started his fun with a sac fly to tie the game. No hits, but one run in the inning. This one went into extra innings until Tabata plated Xavier Paul with a single. Tabata had missed a chance to plate the winning run in the 10th as he was just thrown out at first while Ciraco crossed the plate. He redeemed himself in the 12th. Game over. Pirates win.

Karstens was great and went 7 innings and into 90 pitches I believe. This game was super exciting as both teams had great pitching and great defense. Nice win.

I do think it is time to call up Brad Lincoln as he had a nice outing again, but maybe we ought to make him a pinch hitter. Lincoln is hitting .333 at Indy and was 2 for 2 tonight with a double and a triple. Nice stuff.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Around the World, the Pirates get better

I just thought I would take a quick moment to talk about one of the ways the Pirates have gotten better as an organization. And if the new collective bargaining makes it tough to sign over the slot, this is the most important ways the Pirates are better: International Signings.

I write this now because Danny Arribas is about to start playing in the DSL. Arribas plays catcher, third base, and outfield. He was a signee from the Netherlands.

The Pirates will also be returning Dovydas Neverauskas in the Rookie League this year. He is from Lithuania and throws 93-94. Plus he is only 17 and he is 6'3". Thus, a very projectable pitcher. Worth a shot.

The Pirates have in the recent past signed guys from India, China, and a pitcher from Japan who briefly played in the majors.

This is all in addition to the improvement in the traditional gold mine of Central America. Luis Heredia is the best position. The Pirates missed out on, but were in the running with Miguel Sano. However they won the Heredia sweepstakes. He will be in the GCL this year.

The Pirates have had some guys show up like Diego Moreno and Eric Avila (although he is struggling now), who have shown signs of producing. This is important for long term success as good team don't draft first overall.