Results tagged ‘ dodgers ’
The Pittsburgh Pirates (5-4) will face the Colorado Rockies (5-2) for the final game of a four games series at 1:35 PM/ET.
Right-hander James McDonald will face righty Jhoulys Chacin.
- McDonald missed time during spring training with left side soreness, but pitched well during his first start of the season. He allowed two runs on four hits over 4.2 innings, with four strikeouts and four walks. 51 of his 87 pitches were for strikes.
- Chacin seven scoreless innings against the Dodgers during his first start of the season.
- Ryan Doumit’s home run in the 2nd inning of last night’s game was his 48th of his career. He is tied with Smoky Burgess and Manny Sanguillen for fourth place all-time on the clubs homer list.
- Jose Tabata’s solo home run in the 8th inning last night extended his hitting streak to nine games. He has hit safely in each of the first nine games of the season. The streak is currently the longest in the majors. During that span, Tabata is batting .343 with two-home runs, six walks, four stolen bases and 10 runs scored.
Tabata also hit home runs in back-to-back night’s for the first time in his career (He also homered in the 5th inning of Friday’s game).
- The Pirates pitching staff’s 3.00 ERA through nine games (28 earned runs in 84.0 innings) ranks third in the National League behind the Colorado Rockies (2.71) and San Francisco Giants (2.92).
- The Pirates have their first off day on Monday after 10 straight games to start the year. No other team has had that long of a stretch without an offday to start the season.
- Catcher Chris Snyder was eligible to come off the DL on Saturday and it shouldn’t be much longer before he is back with the big league club. Snyder is scheduled to catch nine innings on Sunday and he is having no issues with his back. To make room for Snyder on the roster, Jason Jaramillo is most likely the one to be sent down to Triple-A Indianapolis.
Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune reports that Manager Clint Hurdle confirmed the team will not carry three catchers once Snyder is healthy.
If the Bucs need an emergency catcher, the No. 3 catcher would be Matt Diaz or Steve Pearce.
- Evan Meek (right shoulder soreness) is unlikely to see action until Tuesday for precautionary reasons. Meek threw long toss on Saturday and it was reported that he is feeling better.
- The Pirates placed right-hand pitcher Ross Ohlendorf (right shoulder posterior strain) on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday. Righty Daniel McCutchen was re-called from Triple-A Indianapolis.
- Righty Brad Lincoln (right arm contusion) is scheduled to start a rehab assignment today for the Triple-A Indians. He will pitch about four innings (65 pitches).
Dexter Fowler CF, Jonathan Herrera 2B, Jason Giambo 1B, Troy Tulowitzki SS, Seth Smith RF, Jose Lopez 3B, Ty Wigginton LF, Chris Iannetta C, Jhoulys Chacin RHP
Jose Tabata LF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Lyle Overbay 1B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Ryan Doumit C, Garrett Jones RF, Ronny Cedeno SS, James McDonald RHP
The Pirates cut 10 players from camp on Monday Morning: Andrew Lambo, Brian Friday, Chase D’Arnaud, Aaron Thompson, Ramon Aguero, Jeff Locke, Tony Watson, Gorkys Hernandez, Alex Presley and Daniel Moskos.
Lambo was reassigned to minor league camp. Expect him to play a corner infield (with first base as a fall back option) with the Triple-A Indians this year. Lambo was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 4th round of the 2007 draft (He was acquired in the Octavio Dotel trade last July). In 26 games with the Altoona Curve, Lambo batted .275 with two homeruns and10 RBI.
Friday was reassigned to minor league camp. He should spent the most of his playing time at second base. Friday was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2007 draft by the Pirates. In 93 games with the Triple-A Indians, the 25-year-old batted .257 with two home runs and 28 RBI.
D’Arnaud was reassigned to minor league camp. He will spend the season playing short, but General Manager Neal Huntington said he will also play some time at third base. D’Arnaud was drafted in the 4th round of the 2008 draft by the Pirates. In 132 games with the Altoona Curve, the 24-year-old batted .247 with 33 doubles, nine triples, six home runs and 48 RBI.
Thompson was optioned to Double-A Altoona. Although he was optioned to the Curve, he could start the season at Triple-A, depending on how the pitching shakes out. Thompson was drafted in the 1st round (22nd overall) by the Florida Marlins in the 2005 draft. The Pirates claimed the lefty off waivers from the Washington Nationals. Last year, combined with Double-A and Triple-A for the Nats, the 24-year-old went 5-13 with a 5.64 ERA in 141.2 innings.
Aguero was optioned to Double-A Altoona. Aguero had an injury plagued 2010 season (elbow soreness and back stiffness) and only pitched in 25 games. He had a 6.14 ERA combined with the High-A Bradenton and Double-A Altoona.
Locke was optioned to Double-A Altoona, but like Thompson could start the season with Triple-A. Locke was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 2nd round of the 2006 draft (He was acquired in the Nate McLouth trade). The 23-year-old went 12-5 with a 3.56 ERA combined with High-A Bradenton and Double-A Altoona last year. He also struck out 139 batters in 144 innings.
Watson was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. The organization is still undecided on if he will be used as a starter or a reliever. Watson was drafted by the Pirates in the 9th round of the 2007 draft. The 25-year-old went 6-4 with a 2.67 ERA in 34 games (nine starts) with Double-A Altoona in 2010.
Hernandez was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis and will be the Indians primary center fielder. Hernandez batted .266 with 11 doubles, two homers, 26 RBI and 10 stolen bases with Double-A Altoona.
Alex Presley was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Presley will bounce around in the outfield with Hernandez being the teams primary center fielder. Presley was drafted in the 8th round of the 2006 draft. In 136 games (combined with Double-A and Triple-A) last season, the 25-year-old batted .320 with 28 doubles, 13 triples, 12 home runs 85 RBI and 13 stolen bases. Presley also made his major league debut with the Bucs where he batted .261 in 19 games.
Daniel Moskos was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Although he and Watson were two lefty candidates for the Bucs bullpen, the organization believes they could use more seasoning in the minors before making their debuts. Moskos was drafted in the 1st round (4th overall) of the 2007 draft. He had a 4.14 ERA in 56 games (1.52 ERA with Double-A Altoona) with 61 strikeouts over 58.2 innings. Moskos also picked up 22 saves.
44 players remain at big league camp.
The Pirates made four cuts on Saturday morning: Kyle McPherson was optioned to Bradenton (High-A), Bryan Morris was optioned to Indianapolis (Triple-A) and Rudy Owens and Justin Wilson were reassigned to minor league camp.
McPherson appeared in one game this spring where he allowed one hit and no runs through two innings. McPherson was drafted by the Pirates in the 14th round of the 2007 draft. The 23-year-old right-hander went 9-9 in 28 games (21 starts) with a 3.48 ERA combined with West Virginia Power and Bradenton Marauders last season.
Morris allowed two runs on four hits with one strike out through three innings (two games) this spring. Morris was drafted in the 1st round (26th overall) of the 2006 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers (He was one of the players acquired in the Jason Bay trade). He went 6-4 in 19 games (16 starts) with a 4.25 ERA with the Altoona Curve in 2010. Morris struck out 124 batters in 133.2 innings combined with Double-A and High-A last season.
Owens allowed three runs on six hits this spring through four innings (two games) and walked two. Owens was drafted in the 26th round by the Pirates in the 2006 draft. The 23-year-old lefty went 12-6 with a 2.46 ERA with Double-A Altoona last year. He struck out 132 batters in 150 innings, walking just 23.
Wilson allowed three runs on one hit with four walks and three strikeouts this spring in 1.2 innings. Wilson was drafted in the 5th round by the Pirates in 2008. He went 11-8 with a 3.09 ERA in 26 starts with 71 walks and 134 strikeouts.
54 players remain at big league camp.
“[With the] small snapshots that I was able to view, I was impressed with all of them,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “It just reinforces everything I heard, everything I felt, everything I had seen about our player development system. These guys are grounded. These guys are focused. These guys are committed. They are professionals. They used their eyes so well, their ears so well here.”
- The Pirates will face the Phillies today at 1:05 pm in Clearwater, Fla.
Paul Maholm will start for the Bucs, followed by Jeff Karstens, Mike Crotta, Sean Gallagher, Chris Leroux and Rudy Owens.
Roy Halladay will start for Philly.
- Pitchers Cesar Valdez, Donnie Veal and catchers Eric Fryer and Tony Sanchez have been reassigned to minor league camp on Saturday. They are the first group to be cut from spring training this year. 58 players remain at big league camp.
- The Houston Astros received bad news on Friday, as their catcher Jason Castro, will under go season ending knee surgery.
It’s been publicly known that the Pirates have been shopping Ryan Doumit. Could a trade happen soon? While it’s still very early, Doumit does come with a hefty price tag ($5.1 m). The Pirates could be willing to eat some of his salary, if they got the right guys back in return. Just something to keep your eye on.
- Andrew Lambo is settling in with the Pirates after a rough past and reputation while in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. -Great story on the Bucs minor legaue prospect
- During spring training, the late inning pitchers like Joel Hanrahan, are used in mid innings. A shake in their usual in game prepreations can be tough.
“It is different, sometimes it isn’t easy,” Hanrahan said. “But you still have to go out there and do your job. The pregame routine is different, though. Like here, in spring training, if you are pitching in the fifth you have do your stretching in the second and maybe drink your Red Bull or whatever you do in the second. Definitely a different feel, though. Because I really am a guy who feeds off the crowd.”
“Toward the end of spring, they will try to get us more into what our real roles will be,” Harahan said. “Now, obviously, they are just trying to get our feel back out on the mound at this point in spring. They are just trying to get us to get used to facing hitters again and seeing competition. I see it as competition every time, but I can’t wait to get back into the regular season and get into the regular atmosphere.”
- The Pirates have not yet named an opening day starter, but Bucs Paul Maholm says he would be honored to be that guy.
“I wouldn’t say it’s do or die, but it’s fun,” Maholm said. “If they come to me and ask or tell me I’m the guy, then I’m more than happy to do it. I’ve enjoyed it.”
Maholm was the opening day starter two years ago. He went 6.2 innings allowing one run on seven hits, getting a no-decision.
Pitchers: Maholm, Karstens, Crotta, Gallagher, Leroux, Owens
Lineup: McCutchen CF, Tabata LF, Alvarez 3B, Overbay 1B, Walker 2B, Jones DH, Doumit C, Bowker RF, Cedenon SS
Pitchers: Roy Halladay,
Lineup: Rollins SS, Victorino CF, Ibanez LF, Howard 1B, Polanco 3B, Francisco DH, Brown RF, Young 2B, Schneider C.
Joe Beimel may be back in Pittsburgh for his second stint in his career, but he insists he is a much different pitcher now.
“I’m way different now than I was before,” Beimel said. “I’m much wiser.”
“When I was here the first time, I don’t think I was very good because now, looking back on it, I don’t know what kind of pitcher I was at the time,” said Beimel, who pitched in 164 games with the Pirates between 2001-03. “I was out there trying to strike guys out, wasn’t throwing strikes. I just watched some of those old tapes and, you know, it really made me sick. … I’m not that pitcher anymore.”
Beimel has previously pitched with the Twins, Rays, Dodgers, Nationals and Rockies during his 10 year career.
Manager Clint Hurdle will be using the lefty as a bridge between the starters and the late innings of the bullpen reserved for Evan Meek and closer Joel Hanrahan.
“I’m very strong against left-handed hitters and I can get right-handers out, too,” said Beimel, who has a career 4.16 ERA. “I think, with me, sometimes I get pigeonholed into being a left-handed specialist. I don’t like that, because you are only working one side of the plate. … I am very confident that I can face both and get both out, and I think that is the opportunity they are going to give me here.”
Former Pirates’ manager Chuck Tanner passed away on Friday at the age of 82.
Tanner managed the Pirates from 1977-85, and led the “We are family” Bucs to a World Series title in 1979 by defeating the Baltimore Orioles. The Pirates rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to win the title in seven games.
Tanner also managed the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and Atlanta Braves. He retired with a managerial record of 1352-1381.
A native of the Pittsburgh suburb of New Castle, Tanner’s playing career lasted eight years. He played the outfield for the Braves, Angeles, Indians and Cubs.
Tanner most recently served as a senior adviser to Pirates general manager Neal Huntington.
“The news of Chuck’s passing at the age of 81 was met today with heavy hearts by everyone within the Pirates organization,” team president Frank Coonelly said in a statement. “Chuck was much more than a highly successful major league manager who guided the Pirates to the World Series championship in 1979, he was an integral and loved member of the Pirates family.”
“Chuck was a class act who always carried himself with grace, humility and integrity. While no one had a sharper baseball mind, Chuck was loved by his players and the city of Pittsburgh because he was always positive, enthusiastic and optimistic about his Bucs and life in general,” said Pirates president Frank Coonelly.
“My early memories of the Pirates organization are of Chuck’s teams, the way they played the game and the genuine affection they seemed to have for each other,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. “This made an impression on me and never did I imagine that I would have a chance to work with Chuck himself.”
Tommy Lasorda tweeted upon hearing the news of Tanner’s death: “Rest in Peace Chuck Tanner. I loved you like a brother. You taught me a lot about managing, and I always appreciated it.”
“The Tanner family would like to express their sincere thanks to friends, fans, and the entire baseball community for their thoughts and prayers during Chuck’s recent illness,” Bruce Tanner said. “He will forever be remembered as a loving husband, father and grandfather to his family, and a good friend to every life he touched. In baseball we will remember his eternal optimism and his passion for the game.”
On Tuesday’s edition of Hot Stove on MLB Network, they showcased the Pittsburgh Pirates in part of the 30 Clubs in 30 Recaps.
Here is what the analysts had to say:
“1992 was the last season in which Pittsburgh finished with a winning record. For a once proud franchise the Buccos have become somewhat of a forgotten team in their own city. It also doesn’t help the Penguins won a Stanley cup two years ago, and Sunday, the Steelers can win their third super bowl in six years. We look back at the 2010 Pittsburgh Pirates.”
*Video clips through out the season were showed. Garrett Jones two run homerun on opening day, Evan Meek’s first career save (against the Dodgers), Andrew McCutchen’s hot month of May (.327 avg), the rookie debuts of Neil Walker, Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez, the 12 straight losses, Alvarez’s walk-off three run homer against the Rockies, notching the 18th consecutive losing season, John Russell getting fired, and the hiring of Clint Hurdle.
Greg Amsinger: “Another rough season in 2010 for the Pirates. Hence all of these changes:”
Pirates Notable transactions this offseason by MLB Network:
RP Joe Beimel
SP Kevin Correia
OF Matt Diaz
3B Josh Fields
SP Scott Olsen
1B Lyle Overbay
SS Cesar Valdez
SP Zach Duke
SP Dana Eveland
RP Chan Ho Park
3B Andy LaRoche
RP Joe Martinez
OF Lastings Milledge
Amsinger: “Zach Duke is gone. He’s not going to be in that rotation. Andy LaRoche is not going to be at third base. Lastings Milledge is still a free agent so who knows where he’ll go. But you see all the additions. The biggest addition though, is the skipper of this club, Clint Hurdle.”
Todd Zeile: “I agree with you 100 percent. Clint, you heard him in the press conference say, ‘It’s got to turn eventually. We’re not going to back down to anybody.’ That’s the kind of mentality Clint Hurdle has. I think he truly believes in it. I think he instills that kind of confidence in his players –especially young players. In 2002, Clint took over for Buddy Bell, when Buddy Bell was fired. We were on the ropes. We had a bunch of veteran guys that he just let play. But at the same time, we had a guy named Juan Uribe, who we saw in the world series last year, this guy was as raw and unfettered as you could find. Clint found a way to get him to hone in his skills, but still let him play and didn’t destroy his confidence. He made sure he knew every time he walked out there, Clint believed in him. I think he’s got that same kind of capability. Look, realistically, they are looking to the future. While they got a lot of kids on that team that have a lot of potential in the future, including Pedro Alvarez. You showed the highlight of him, Alvarez had a really rough start but finished really strong. A guy like Clint I think can help take him to the next level.”
Al Lieter: “I agree. I love Clint. You mentioned about Alvarez, Greg Smith their scouting director, whole new deal there. Neal Huntington a whole lot different from Dave Littlefield, cleaning up the mess. You have a $40 million payroll. I think about all the additions and what is important. I think what is important is your starting rotation. No question about it. I go to what the Padres did last year. You have really nice quality pitchers like the Padres did in [Clayton] Richard, [Mat] Latos, and [Wade] LeBlanc. You have to get something out of your guys and look for the future. You got James McDonald, nice pickup with the Dodgers. Paul Maholm, making a lot of money right now for what he’s bringing in. Ross Ohlendorf was 1-11. You bring in a guy with some innings, that you can bring in a Kevin Correia that can maybe hold over for the future. This is about draft picks, this is about your player development. Everything that goes on from the bottom up, to eventually find that diamond. That’s what I would be sitting on and I look to the Padres. Last year, two teams under $40 million dollars in payroll: both the Pirates and the Padres. It starts with pitching.”
Harold Reynolds: “It does. It actually starts with draft also. I love what Clint Hurdle can bring to the table. You got to be positive with the young guys. You heard me say, ‘You got to play the young talent’. Some of the guys they are bringing in, the draft they had last year. They had two top picks, you get [Jameson] Taillon and you also get [Stetson] Allie, who should have been a number one pick as well. So they get those two guys to get it going in the minor leagues. It starts with pitching. You can move pitching and you can add players with having good pitching. But I love the fact that guys they have in the big leagues already. With [Andrew] McCutchen, I love [Neil] Walker the second baseman, and you look at Alvarez. Those three guys are a great core to start with and you go from there. The Pirates are on up!
Amsinger: “It’s a great sports city. They love the penguins, of course they love the Steelers, if they can get a winning product there for the Pirates they will come fill the most beautiful ball park in the game.”
Pirates Projected Rotation (According to MLB Network)
Kevin Correia had a difficult year both on and off the mound. After finishing the season 10-10 with a 5.40 ERA (he went 12-11 with a 3.97 ERA in 2009) Correia used this offseason to deal with the death of his younger brother.
In May, Trevor Correia fell off a cliff while hiking at Channel Islands National Park in Santa Barbara, Ca. Kevin was scheduled to start the next day against the Houston Astros.
After taking a week of bereavement leave, Correia started against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 15th and allowed four runs in 5.1 innings.
The Padres were in the mist of an unbelievable season, leading the National League West. Correia’s week leave wasn’t enough time to come to grips with the loss of his brother and he felt a responsibility to continue to go out to the mound.
“It was tough,” he said. “It was the middle of the season and I still had work to do, so I had to push it back as far as I could. It’s hard to really focus on the games. It’s hard to put your whole heart into it.”
Correia believes that after coming to peace with his loss, he can live up to his potential.
“I was able to sit back and figure things out,” he said. “In the long run, that will make me stronger and better from a baseball standpoint. I can go out there and know it’s not a do-or-die situation. There are other things in life that are more important. It frees me to go out there and maybe do some stuff I wasn’t able to do before.”
The 30-year-old right-hander was non tendered by the Padres in November, and was on General Manager Neal Huntingon’s radar.
“Our scouts saw almost the exact same stuff they saw during his success in 2009,” Huntington said. “The huge bump in his ERA was due to a lot of factors beyond his control.”
“We saw some very positive signs,” he said. “There’s every reason in the world to believe he’ll have a solid bounce-back year and again be that guy who has a chance to win every time he takes the ball.”
The Pirates signed Correia to a two-year $8 million contract in December.
After spending the weekend at Piratefest, meeting his new teammates and the fans of Pittsburgh, Correia is excited for the new season to start. “Coming to an event like this, it helps me flip the switch,” he said. “I’m excited to get back out there and throw the ball again.”
The Pirates still have not decided who will close out games during the 2011 season: Joel Hanrahan or Evan Meek.
“They haven’t said anything,” said Meek, here at Pirate City for a weeklong voluntary minicamp. “In terms of [management officials] making their decision, they have haven’t said anything, but it isn’t something that should keep you up at night. Whether it is the eighth or ninth inning that I end up working, you still need to go out and get three outs. You know that as a person who does what I do.”
“If they’ve got their mind up already about who the closer is going to be, I don’t know,” Hanrahan said. ”I’m just trying to get ready for spring training. I’d be happy with doing either one, working the eighth or ninth. I know I’d be fine with whatever role it is, just as long as we are getting the opportunities. If we get the opportunities, that means we are winning games and, really, that’s the main concern around here.”
General Manager Neal Huntington has said they are discussing the role, and would name a closer before spring training starts (pitchers and catchers report February 13th, first workout for all players is on the 19th). It’s also not his main priority in mid-January.
“We have talked in generalities of choosing one or the other for those specific roles. We have talked in generalities of using both. Clint and I need to spend some more time, in the future, talking about this because I know both guys, Evan and Joel, are hungry to pitch.”
“This is not something that we have to answer right now, but this is something that we want to have an answer to before spring training,” Huntington said. We won’t have a competition for the closer … during spring training. Whoever is our closer, is our closer.”
After Octavio Dotel was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July, both Hanrahan and Meek split closing duties; Joel picking up six, Evan four.
The guys in the pen, however, are used to routine and the uncertainty of who would pitch in the ninth did effect them.
“It was different,” Hanrahan said of last season. “Everyone likes to have a role and know when exactly the situations are that they Dere going to come into a game. Last year was different. We’d kind of sit there and look at each other, and then the phone rang [in the bullpen] and sometimes that is how we found out who was going to work. It was just different.”
Both have said they would they would be happy being the closer, but there is no adversarial between them.
“You just learn to control the things that you can control. That is all you can do,” Meek said. “And, after that, you let everything else just be. That is something you learn the more you play this game.”
With a start of a new year, it’s a clean slate for the Bucs, who endured 105 losses. The new season is right around the corner: Only 41 days until Pitchers and catchers report and 88 until opening day.
Here is a list of 11 things to look forward to in 2011:
11) Interleague series against the Boston Red Sox at PNC Park – Some of the die hard Pirates fans may not like the idea of facing the potent lineup of the Red Sox, but baseball fans in general will enjoy seeing the All-star lineups. Stars like Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Jon Lester and Josh Beckett (the list goes on and on) will be in Pittsburgh –a glimpse of a possible 2011 playoff contender.
10) The new offseason acquisitions and how they impact the ball club – The Pirates made several signings this offseason in hopes to improve the team in 2011. Lyle Overbay will be the new everyday first baseman and Matt Diaz will platoon in right field with Garrett Jones.
Other signings include: Third baseman Andy Marte, short stop Josh Rodriguez, center fielder Corey Wimberly, left handers Scott Olsen, Kevin Correia and Aaron Thompson.
9) A better pitching rotation – The Pirates starters went 34-84 with a 5.28 ERA last season. The Bucs are hoping Ross Ohlendorf, and Paul Maholm will perform much better in 2011. New Pirate Kevin Correia also helps to improve the staff and James McDonald, who had great success since being acquired by the Dodgers, will round out the top four. Scott Olsen, Charlie Morton and Brad Lincoln will be fighting for the fifth spot.
8) Number one draft pick- The Pirates lost 105 games last season, sealing the first pick in the 2011 draft. Third baseman Anthony Rendon is considered to the be the top talent. He finished 2010 at Rice University batting .394 with 26 home runs and 85 runs batted in.
7) Young prospects making their way through the system – Players like Tony Sanchez, Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer and Andrew Lambo (to name a few) are getting closer to making their major league debuts while adding more young talent to the Pirates ball club.
6) Glimpes of solid arms in late 2011 – Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson and Daniel Moskos (reliever) could make their debuts as early as July. Bryan Morris and Jeff Locke are also two more starters that will make a impact on the Pirates rotation but it’s more likely to be in 2012.
5) Debuts of young aces- Jameson Tallion and Stetson Allie will be making their Pirates debut at Low-A West Virginia in 2011.
Tallion was selected second overall by the Bucs in the 2010 draft. The 6’7, 230 pound right hander’s fastball already reaches 94-99 on the gun and has “explosive movement” according to scouts. Tallion also has a plus curve (81-85) and breaking ball (84-88).
Allie has an even stronger arm. The 6’4, 225 pound right-hander throws both a two-seamer and four-seamer fastball that clocks regularly at 98. He also has an above average slider (87-91) and a change, with very good sink at 85-87.
4) Clint Hurdle managing the Bucs – Hurdle is exactly what the young Pirates need in a new skipper. He is very charismatic and passionate about baseball, smart, motivational and has past success in managing a young team. Hurdle is aware of the changes ahead and has said, “I’m all in.”
3) Ending the 18 year consecutive losing streak? -While it may be a long shot –the Pirates would need to have a 24 game improvement to finish .500– it still is possible. Example: The 2007 Tampa Bay Rays went 66-96, in 2008 they finished 97-65 –a 31 game improvement as well as a American League Championship title. The1991 Braves went 94-68 after finishing 65-97 in 1990. Tough, but not impossible.
2) The young Bucs continue to improve – Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata and Neil Walker (all under 25) will continue to get better and better with more major league experience. Tabata and Walker finished their rookie seasons better than expected. Tabata had 121 hits in 102 games, Walker with 126 in 110 games. Both hit most of the season over .300 and finished .299 and .296 respectively. McCutchen in his first full major league season continued to be a hitting and running machine. He finished .286 while adding 94 runs, 16 home runs, 56 RBIs and 33 stolen bases.
1) Pedro Alvarez to become a superstar- Pedro finished his rookie campaign with a .256 average, 16 home runs and 64 RBI’s. If Alvarez’s month of September is a glimpse of what’s to come (.306 avg, 10 doubles, six home runs and 27 RBI in 29 games) Pirates fans should be excited for years to come. He has an ability to change the game with one swing –the three-run walk-off bomb against the Rockies made highlights and one of MLB Network’s top moments of the season. There’s no doubt he is a superstar in the making.