Results tagged ‘ starters ’
Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington chatted with Jim Duquette and Jody McDonald of MLB Network radio’s Baseball Today on Sunday. He discussed: Clint Hurdle’s energy, the impact by the new Veterans, the closers role, young prospects who could make their debuts, and a possible long term extension with Andrew McCutchen.
On Clint Hurdle’s energy: “It’s great to know that we got Clint leading this group and the excitement, the enthusiasm, knowledge, the passion, and the intensity he brings, it’s going to be different for our players. We felt like we needed a new voice, new direction and not only with Clint but with our staff. We got a great staff in place. Our guys are excited. They are looking forward to this year. Looking forward to surprising some people.”
On the reason Huntington sough out Veterans Matt Daiz and Lyle Overbay: “Obviously, coming off a tough season, we wanted to get better. We knew we needed to upgrade our rotation, try to upgrade our bullpen, wanted some offensive ability. We wanted to improve our defense. When you win 57 games you pretty much need to improve everywhere. We had a lot of great young players who we’re excited about. This group of 25 and under both at the major league level and through our system is going to be the foundation of our future success. We are hoping we can have some current success. Guys like [Kevin] Correia, [Scott] Olsen, can add some veteran presence to our rotation. We got some guys that are competing to make our bullpen whether, it’s [Joe] Beimel or [Jose] Veras, that can help out [Joel] Hanrahan and [Evan] Meek, who were so good for us last year. Overbay, we upgrade defensively at first base with Garrett Jones in a platoon situation in right field…We put Garret in a position to be successful. Then we added Matt Diaz and all of a sudden we have a very productive right field…You talk to the people that were around that Atlanta [Braves] club, whether it’s front office people, people in the dugout, people around that club, Matt was one of their leaders last year. Lyle is a constant professional. And we needed to help Neil Walker and Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen, take some of the pressure off them. Let them go play and provide some of that veteran leadership to help them mature both on the field and off.”
On what Huntington is looking for this spring, compared to last: “I think our guys believe that we’re ready to start taking a huge step forward. In the past we hoped. And we kind of looked around and wondered who the guy was, that was going to put the team on his back and carry it. Now, we got a handful of guys that are capable of doing that…Talking with our guys, reading their quotes in the papers, they believe we can take a huge step forward this year. Clint’s only going to foster that. Our staff is only going to help that. There’s no question; we need to take a big step forward this year.”
On if there is an open competition between Hanrahan and Meek for the closers role at spring training: “We are going to go with one guy. We have not announced it publicly first. We honestly spent more time trying to see if there was a veteran closer, as we have with Octavio Dotel last year. That would come in here and close out some games, and allow Clint to use meek and Hanrahan anywhere through the sixth through the eighth. That worked out really well for us…We weren’t able to do that. Our energy and our focus has been on preparing for spring training. It’s been on trying to recruit some guys to try to come in here and step forward. We will meet as a staff, Clint, and Ray Searage and I will sit down and we will identify who is going to be our closer. No it won’t be an open competition at spring training. It’s too tough…It’s not like we got a bad choice. Whichever guy we go with, we believe can close games at the major league level and believe will do a nice job for us…We will commit to somebody and over an extended period of time and they will get the opportunity to show us that they can hold the job. The other guy is going to be getting big outs for us in the seventh or the eighth inning.”
On what young prospects could make their debuts this year: “Any of that rotation that was in Double-A last year that led that club to the Eastern League Championship. Whether it’s Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson, or Bryan Morris, Jeff Locke, there may be some of the guys out of the bullpen that get here quicker. Danny Moskos has great stuff from the left side, we just got to build that confidence that allows him to feel like his stuff can compete. There may be a couple guys that kind of surprise some people. Position player wise, there are some guys moving up from that group. Gorkys Hernandez, Andrew Lambo that are probably a little ways away. There is a good wave of talent coming through…If those guys don’t show up instantaneously, it’s not Sidney Crosby or Lebron James, that show up at the highest level on the day that they sign. It takes years. For Pedro Alvarez to get here in essentially in two calendar years is quick decent. We are looking forward to that next group of guys from the ’08 draft and ’08 signing class getting here.”
On Chris Snyder’s key to getting back to past years: “We traded for Chris to help our pitching staff. To stabilize the game calling, to stabilize our young starters, to help them get through tough innings, to help them get through tough outings. Whether it was the pitching coach change or Chris Synder traded for in late July, it did that. Our starting pitchers really threw the ball much better in August and September…He’s excited to get a full offseason of workouts. He’s coming, from what we’ve been told, in very good shape….In last offseason, his offseason was impacted by the back surgery and this is his first real healthy offseason in a while. He’s fired up to come in and help us.”
On potentially doing a long term deal with Andrew McCutchen: “They key to any of those situations is; One: the club wants it to happen, and we do. Two: the player wanting it to happen and that doesn’t always happen. Contracts take a willingness to share a risk of these type of situations. In some cases the club isn’t willing to take on that risk and other cases the player isn’t willing to compromise his potential future earnings value. He’s not interested in the security, he’d rather go out and see how much he can make year in and year out. Or, he doesn’t feel it’s the right time…It is something we absolutely intend to do. But the only way these deals get done is if two sides are interested in it.”
On what starter needs to step up this year: “…We need a multitude of guys to step forward. We need Paul Maholm to do what Paul Maholm did, whether it’s in ’08 or at least in ’09 and not what he did in ’10…Kevin Correia, we are looking forward for him to bounce back two what he was in ’09 given a very tough 2010 season both on and off the field. Charlie Morton has got tremendous stuff, yeah we need Charlie to take a step up. We need Ross Ohlendorf to stay healthy the whole year. We need to give him some run support. James McDonald. Can he do what he did for us the last two months of the season? Can he do that over the course of the season? Scott Olsen. Can we get that stuff to play on a consistent basis and get him back healthy. Can we get Brad Lincoln back to where he was? The nice part is, here comes that Owens, Wilson, Locke, Morris group that if we have some struggles, we’ve got some depth. Jeff Karstens did a nice job through five innings, as pretty much as anybody in baseball, just seemed to hit a wall in that sixth and seventh inning. The reality is, there isn’t just one person that needs to step forward for us to go where we believe we can go. We are going to need a couple guys to step up.”
In Part two, here is the list of the Pirates starting rotation and bullpen projected stats for the new season according to MLB.com Fantasy.
- Paul Maholm (LHP) Ranked: 440
2011 projections: 9-13, 190 IP, 211 H, 74 BB, 112 K, 4.45 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
*Notes: Opponents batted .263 off the lefty in 2008, .290 in ’09 and .303 in ’10. He’s also fallen well below the league average in strand rate since ’09, finishing last amongst all qualified starters last season. At 28, he appears in the wrong direction.
- Kevin Correia (RHP) Ranked: 410
2011 projections: 8-12, 181 IP, 164 H, 84 BB, 131 K, 4.38 ERA, 1.37 WHIP
*Notes: Correia posted 12 wins and a 3.91 ERA in his first year as a full time starter back in ’09…The right hander will no longer have the luxury of pitching home turns in PETCO Park, so don’t expect a full return to form.
- James McDonald (RHP) Ranked: 208
2011 projections: 10-11, 171 IP, 165 H, 72 BB, 153 K, 3.53 ERA, 1.39 WHIP
*Notes: After arriving in the Steel City, McDonald showed why he was considered one of LA’s top prospects, ratting off a fantastic September, highlighted by a 2.31 ERA and a 30/13 K/BB ratio over 35 frames…He throws hard and has proven that he can miss bats consistently. The Bucs will look to McDonald to be the ace of a developing young staff.
- Ross Ohlendorf (RHP) Ranked: 441
2011 projections: 7-13, 155 IP, 169 H, 43 BB, 103 K, 4.01 ERA, 1.37 WHIP
*Notes: The right-hander made 21 starts for the Bucs last season and came away with just one win and a GB/FB rate that has plummeted from 1.31 in 08′ to just 0.68 last year.
Split Duties: Starter/Bullpen/Minors
- Scott Olsen (LHP) Ranked: 607
2011 projections: 3-7, 111 IP, 125 H, 42 BB, 76 K, 4.70 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
*Notes: At 27-years-old, the right-hander is unlikely to ever become the dominant force that many envisioned him as several years ago. A few more strikeouts, however, could make him a serviceable mid-rotation hurler.
- Charlie Morton (RHP) Ranked: 626
2011 projections: 5-6, 90 IP, 106 H, 34 BB, 62 K, 4.30 ERA, 1.56 WHIP
*Notes: Morton’s soaring 2009 K/BB ratio had some tabbing the 27-year-old right-hander as a possible breakout candidate last season, but the strides he made at Triple-A never translated to the major leave level. Morton’s chances of starting the season in Pittsburgh rotation were dealt a serious blow by the team’s acquisition of Scott Olsen and Kevin Correia this offseason.
- Brad Lincoln (RHP) Ranked: 760
2011 projections: 2-5, 60 IP, 66 H, 14 BB, 36 K, 5.10 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
*Notes: The fourth overall selection of the 2006 first-year player draft has had to play catchup after recovering from Tommy John Surgery that coast him all of ’07. His velocity has fully returned after the procedure, but high strikeout totals haven’t followed…He’ll need to have a standout spring to avoid starting the year back with Triple-A Indianapolis.
- Jeff Karstens (RHP) Ranked: 617
2011 projections: 3-4, 94 IP, 106 H, 23 BB, 63 K, 4.60 ERA, 1.37 WHIP
*Notes: Karstens gave the Bucs innings as both a starter and reliever last year with slightly better results than in 2009. His 2.0 BB/9 ratio an improvement, but the advanced control was offset by a .300 average against and a 1.5 HR/9 mark.
- Joel Harahan (RHP) Ranked: 215
2011 projections: 2-4, 26 SV, 66.2 IP, 60 H, 25 BB, 82 K, 3.92 ERA, 1.28 WHIP
*Notes: A spring training competition with Evan Meek for the Pirates closing gig awaits, but Hanrahan’s far superior strikeout rate should give him the early edge.
- Evan Meek (RHP) Ranked: 259
2011 projections: 4-3, 7 SV, 74.1 IP, 62 H, 28 BB, 63 K, 3.27 ERA, 1.21 WHIP
*Notes: The emerging righty pitched to a 1.11 ERA and 1.05 WHIP before the All-Star break and finished the year with stellar all-around umbers, collecting a handful of saves in the process. Should serve as a key late-inning contributor even if he doesn’t assume the stopper role.
- Chris Resop (RHP) Ranked: 747
2011 projections: 1-2, 53.1 IP, 49 H, 27 BB, 44 K, 4.22 ERA, 1.43 WHIP
*Notes: In 22 appearances for Pittsburgh, Resop registered a nifty 1.89 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. The right-hander figures to fill a larger bullpen role for the club in ’11.
***Neither Joe Beimel or Jose Veras, both who I project to be a part of the Pirates bullpen, were ranked in the MLB.com Fantasy projections.
On Monday, MLB.com Fantasy released the Top 100 fantasy players for the 2011 season. Andrew McCutchen (52) and Pedro Alvarez (79) made the list.
In Part one, here is the list of the Pirates starters and bench players projected stats for the new season.
- Chris Snyder (C ) Ranked: 451
2011 projections: 325 AB, .215 AVG, 35 R, 13 HR, 45 RBI, 0 SB, .318 OBP, .363 SLG, .681 OPS
Notes: What Snyder lacks for in batting average, he makes up for in power, smacking at least 13 homers in four of his last five seasons. He will likely supplant Ryan Doumit as Pittsburgh’s primary backstop this season.
- Lyle Overbay (1B) Ranked: 294
2011 projection: 510 AB, .269 AVG, 66 R, 17 HR, 74 RBI, 1 SB, .346 OBP, .437 SLG, .783 OPS
Notes: Overbay probably wont show much more power in Pittsburgh, but his average should come up a it and RBI opportunities will be plentiful hitting behind table-setters Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen.
- Neil Walker (2B) Ranked: 144
2011 projection: 570 AB, .284 AVG, 80 R, 17 HR, 84 RBI, 5 SB, .338 OBP, .449 SLG, 787 OPS
Notes: The 25-year-old appears entrenched in the third spot in the Pirates’ order in 2011, so a repeat of his ’10 performance could result in 90-plus RBI’s.
- Pedro Alvarez (3B) Ranked: 79
2011 projection: 559 AB, .263 AVG, 80 R, 28 HR, 89 RBI, 2 SB, .340 OBP, .481 SLG, .821 OPS
Notes: With his prodigious power, Alvarez is in Pittsburgh to stay, and the strikeouts won’t prevent him from putting up impressive numbers in his first full big league campaign.
- Ronny Cedeno (SS) Ranked: 425
2011 projection: 415 AB, .255 AVG, 40 R, 8 HR, 37 RBI, 9 SB, .295 OBP, .383 SLG, .678 OPS
Notes: The 28-year-old infielder has hit a combined .257 over the last two seasons and a lack of plate discipline (career 4.6 percent walk-rate) has prevented him from becoming a more complete hitter.
- Jose Tabata (LF) Ranked: 148
2011 projection: 560 AB, .288 AVG, 84 R, 6 HR, 57 RBI, 31 SB, .337 OBP, .396 SLG, .734 OPS
Notes: The 22-year-old doesn’t walk much and his power hasn’t materialized, but he should wind up around the National League leaders in steals with a full season of at-bats in 2011.
- Andrew McCutchen (CF) Ranked:52
2011 projection: 585 AB, .292 AVG, 103 R, 18 HR, 68 RBI, 37 SB, .371 OBP, .473 SLG, .845 OPS
Notes: A complete package of talent, 24-year-old has speed, power and a keen batting eye. Playing in Pittsburgh may reduce his name recognition, but McCutchen’s numbers will ensure plenty of National attention in the years to come.
- Matt Diaz (RF) Ranked: 501 / Garrett Jones (RF) Ranked: 399 —platoon
2011 Projections (Diaz): 240 AB, .288 AVG, 28 R, 8 HR, 32 RBI, 5 SB, .329 OBP, .471 SLG, .800 OPS
Notes: Diaz saw his numbers fall drastically across in the board in 2010, but he’s always shown the ability to torch southpaws (career .907 OPS vs. LHP). The 32-year-old will be asked to do just that in Pittsburgh, where he’ll see most of his time in a right-field platoon with Garrett Jones.
2011 projections (Jones): 370 AB, .259 AVG, 45 R, 13 HR, 58 RBI, 3 SB, .322 OBP, .435 SLG, .757 OPS
Notes: The late blooming 29-year-old should still rack up around 350 at-bats, but his overall production is due to take a major hit.
- Ryan Doumit (C/OF) Ranked: 467
2011 projections: 292 AB, .267 AVG, 36 R, 10 HR, 40 RBI, 2 SB, .318 OBP, .432 SLG, .750 OPS
Notes: Despite the ability to play three positions, Doumit may be the odd man out in Pittsburgh. Doumit a $5 million bench player and likely trade candidate.
- John Bowker (OF) Ranked: 556
2011 projections: 218 AB, .266 AVG, 23 R, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 1 SB, .331 OBP, .431 SLG, .762 OPS
Notes: A July trade to Pittsburgh gave Bowker another chance to establish himself a big league regular. The 27-year-old struggles to hit left-handers and the Pirates starting outfield appears set. Bowker has some power, and he could carve out a decent niche in a part-time role.
- Josh Fields (3B) Ranked: 526
2011 projections: 246 AB, .252 AVG, 26 R, 8 HR, 30 RBI, 2 SB, .313 OBP, .390 SLG, .704 OPS
Notes: Fields will attempt to get his career back on track in Pittsburgh after several injury-plagued seasons. He could stick with the big club if his health holds up and rediscover some value as a utility man.
- Josh Rodriguez (SS) Ranked: 787
2011 projections: 159 AB, .252 AVG, 13 R, 5 HR, 11 RBI, 3 SB, .328 OBP, .415 SLG, .743 OPS
Notes: Rodriguez has played three in field positions and even some outfield as a pro. That defensive flexibility –along with some offensive ability –could spell a pretty good career as a utility man, staring in ’11.
** MLB.com Fantasy also listed:
- Garrett Atkins (1B) Ranked: 722
2011 projections: 148 AB, .236 AVG, 9 R, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 0 SB, .302 OBP, .351 SLG, .654 OPS
- Steve Pearce (1B) Ranked: 820
2011 projections: 70 SB, .229 AVG, 10 R, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SB, .289 OBP, .329 SLG, .618 OPS
- Jeff Clement (1B) Ranked: 786
2011 projections: 92 AB, .239, 13 R, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 0 SB, .300 OBP, .391 SLG, .691 OPS
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.
General Manager Neal Huntington discusses day two of the winter meetings with Pittsburgh media.
- On what the Pirates are looking for in a starter: “At this point, we’d like to find some stability in the rotation. We need a guy who we feel comfortable with, who is going to take the ball every fifth day. You never know with pitchers. But we’ve looked at track records. And maybe there is a guy out there that’s got some upside that is coming back from injury in the last couple of years that may be a fit or maybe we have two stabilizers. We need to eat some innings. We need to lighten the load on our bullpen. We need to get deeper into the games as a rotation. We need to give ourselves some options.”
- On how Huntington wants to build his bullpen: “A little bit of everything. We’re exploring the free agent market. We’re exploring the trade market. We’re looking at the 4-A free agent market. We’ve got a lot of internal options as well. If we add more starters than we need, we’ve got some additional bullpen options. Maybe then that pushes a guy who has had some success as a starter, maybe it pushes him back in the bullpen again and we deepen our bullpen. Maybe it pushes some of our internal options to come into camp in a little bit better shape. Too many options is never a bad thing, and that’s where we’re trying to go. We’re trying to add depth. We’re trying to give ourselves choices to make. We love power with strikeouts, but short of that, sometimes a variety of looks and a variety of stuff can help give a manager options.”
- On whether he expects to have an upgrade at shortstop after the winter meetings: “Maybe not out of the Winter Meetings. We have laid some groundwork on some things that we can improve upon defensively.”
- Ronny Cedeno’s future with the ball club: “Ronny is still the guy, but at some point you have to stop talking about potential and you have to talk about performance. We’re getting to that point with Ronny. The consistency was there for a good portion of the year. He struggled at the end, no question.”
- On the status of Jeff Clement, Steve Pearce and Kevin Hart: “Everybody is on schedule. Nobody has had any significant setback. Everyone is on schedule for where we thought they would be. As we sit here today, yes, [all will be ready for Spring Training].”
- On possible internal bullpen options: “I think a lot of people are beating up our bullpen because of the unknown. There is some power there. There is also some risk. It makes us feel like we don’t have to go seek an upgrade. But if there is one there that makes sense for us, we’ll certainly look.”
- On Kevin Hart and his best fit in the Bucs bullpen: “Given Kevin coming off the injury, it looks that way. It would be awfully hard to stretch him back out and expect him to eat 200 innings. We want to see where he is physically. We want to see where he is as his rehab continues to progress. Sitting here today, it’s a lot harder to envision him as a 200-inning starter next year. Maybe somewhere back down the road, but his quickest path back may be as a reliever. He’s also out of options, and that’s going to be the other challenge.”