Comments on: Tyler Yates elects free agency Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Thu, 26 Mar 2015 18:17:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: szielinski Mon, 07 May 2012 23:53:00 +0000  Rendon can play third or second. He’d win Gold Gloves if he were a thirdbaseman, all other things being equal.

Rendon’s power declined last year because of a shoulder injury.

Rendon has one question mark: Will he remain healthy.

By: John Lease Mon, 07 May 2012 21:25:00 +0000 One is a kind estimate.  The Pirates still seem to have one plus player in McCutchen, and so far 2 average players in Alvarez and Walker.  Walker’s been below average but has a track record.  Alvarez has been above, but also has a track record.  Tabata’s played enough, I’d rate him at below average but on the low end of acceptable since he can hit leadoff.  After that it’s question marks.  Jones/McGehee average?  Ok, I’ll buy that.  That give you, at best 5 average players, and 3 minuses. The only thing in Presley’s favor is youth.  Pirates are still very far away from a competitive club.

By: burgh_fan Mon, 07 May 2012 14:02:00 +0000 I don’t get why you call this a myth? If it doesn’t matter who is hitting behind you why in the world does Rod Barajas have two IBB walks this season?

By: Andrew Smalley Mon, 07 May 2012 13:45:00 +0000 It seems that others have doubts where you do not. Where will he play in Washington? Is he going to move Zimmerman off 3B? Is he athletic enough (not to mention the injuries) to play 2B w/ all the risks associated w/ the same (re: turning double play)?

If his power is not doubtful, why did it drop off his last year in college? 

Saying “if Rendon were not injury prone” he’d be the best player in the draft is similar to saying “if Mark Prior wasn’t injury prone, he’d be the next Nolan Ryan”.  Being injury prone or being injured is a huge deal and obstacle to realizing one’s potential.

Rendon is/will be a fine player, in my eyes, but there are more question marks than you realize.

By: ecbucs Mon, 07 May 2012 12:00:00 +0000 we know that Barmes and Barajas are minues on offense.  we know that Tabata and Pressley are average at best for corner outfielders as they need to have high OBA to make up for lack of power.  That is 4 spots out of the line-up.  First base with Jones and MaGahee might be average as a platoon for the position.  So Walker, Alvarez and McCuth have to be way above average to even get the Bucs to an average offense.  IMO, the team needs to get to at least average offense at short and catcher and then add another plus bat at either first, right or left.

By: Tim Williams Mon, 07 May 2012 03:29:00 +0000 I think it just really depends on your view of April.

You’re looking at what they’ve done in the SSS this season. Statistically, the offense has been bad in the first month of the season. But is the offense really that bad?

I’m not really focused on the numbers in April. I’m focused on the actual players and their upside. The April numbers aren’t the baseline for my evaluations. I’d consider those numbers below what the baseline would be. For each player there’s a best case scenario, there’s average, and there’s a worst case scenario. I think a lot of guys were playing closer to their worst case scenario in the early part of the season. So even if they do improve on the April numbers, I think there would be more room for improvement beyond that, since I think the April numbers were unlucky.
It’s kind of ridiculous to look at the entire season numbers as it pertains to this article, since the focus of this article is a lineup that has only been used once this year, and centers around a strong middle of the order featuring Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez. The Pirates need one more guy to add to that middle of the lineup mix, in my opinion.

By: Randy Linville Mon, 07 May 2012 03:18:00 +0000 Let me back up: the 2012 lineup is not a piece away from being good. That’s my belief. We are approaching 20% of the way into the season and the team is last place in the league in runs. Even if we said April was an aberration because Tabata and Alvarez were off to a bad start and they have been better of late, the offense is still not good. Through six games in May (with Tabata and Alvarez hitting), the team has scored only 20 runs. That puts them in the middle of the pack in all of baseball. Small sample size – yada, yada, yada. This team has not shown in 2012 that it is a piece away from being good. In the biggest sample size we can take, it is the worst lineup in baseball. In a smaller sample size – the current month – it is average at best.

That being said, if you take everyone’s peak/upside, then, yes, this lineup could be good, even in 2013. But having a group of aging, average players (McGehee, Jones, Barmes, Barajas) post their best numbers in the same season that young players develop into good players almost never happens.

The example of the pitching staff was used to demonstrate that. We have had poor pitching in the last decade. But we have had individual pitcher seasons that were pretty solid. Had they all come together in one year, we’d have been in good shape. Some holds true for the hitters – give me the best seasons of Jones, Barmes, Barajas and McGehee all at the same time and the team would be in good shape. Not going to happen. Absent of those four peaking all at once, this club is not one piece away from being good.

For this lineup to be good in 2013 (because it isn’t good in 2012), that is exactly what we need – the vets have to peak and the young guys have to develop.

The point is to make the post season. So, let’s look at the offenses for the four NL playoff teams in 2011:

St. Louis posted a team OPS+ of 111. The worst player who got 250 or more PAs was Ryan Theriot with an 84 OPS+

Milwaukee had a 103 aggregate with McGehee (now in Pittsburgh) being the worst at 70.

Arizona was 99 as a whole with Willie Bloomquist (off the bench) as the worst at 79.

Philadelphia was 95. Wilson Valdez (off the bench) was the weak link at 73.

The current club – through the largest sample size possible in 2012 – has four starting players (Barmes, Barajas, Presley, Tabata) who are at 75 or worse. There is another bench player (McLouth) trending toward 250 PAs who is also below 75

Yes it is early. Yes everyone can turn it around and get going. But to suggest this lineup is a piece away from being good in the immediate future (even next year), is, as I stated in my first comment, overly optimistic. This club is currently last in the NL in runs and on base percentage and 15th in slugging percentage. We have one player with an OPS+ of better than 120. And only two players over 110 OPS+.  We are more than a single piece away from having a good lineup.

By: Tim Williams Mon, 07 May 2012 01:56:00 +0000 You’ve lost me on this. You started talking about hitters, then made your argument based on the inconsistency of pitchers, many of which were just playing over their heads for one season. I don’t know what the pitching argument has to do with the lineups.

Also, I’m not saying that everyone will play to their upside, or that everyone will stay healthy. That’s never a guarantee, no matter who you are talking about. Therefore, I don’t think it needs to be mentioned that if someone gets hurt, or someone slumps, things won’t work out as expected. That’s assumed any time you’re talking about the potential performance of human beings.

If you’re focusing on building a lineup, you’re focusing on the upside of the players in that lineup. Your argument seems to be based around “what if Scenario X happens”. That’s more a focus on the depth behind the starting lineup, rather than the actual lineup.

By: Randy Linville Mon, 07 May 2012 01:40:00 +0000 Taking players who have had average careers or average starts to their careers (at best) and then looking at upside/peak is overly optimistic. Other than Cutch, no one in the lineup on Saturday has posted a career OPS+ of 120 or better.

So, I agree that if you take everyone’s upside – Tabata’s, Cutch’s, Walker’s and Alvarez’ potential along with the best seasons of Jones, McGehee, Barmes and Barajas – then you might have a solid lineup. One that could potentially contend. Here’s the problem: everyone has to develop and the older guys have to perform at peak level. Plus, no one can get hurt. That scenario won’t happen all too often.

For example, if we could take the following five pitching seasons:
2004 Oliver Perez
2005 Zach Duke (even at half as good as he was)
2007 Tom Gorzelanny
2007 Ian Snell
2008 Paul Maholm

If we had those five pitching seasons all in one year, then we’d have a pretty solid rotation. Problem is that those seasons weren’t put together in the same actual season. So, we had nothing short of mediocrity season after season as one pitcher would step up while everyone else would regress, stagnate or get injured.

So, whether this lineup becomes dangerous depends on the four young guys developing and the older players playing at their peak level, plus no one getting hurt. I’m not ready to say that this team is one away from a good lineup. It’s a lot more than that. 

By: szielinski Sun, 06 May 2012 22:34:00 +0000  Rendon’s position is not unknown. His power is not doubtful. And he played games this season.

If Rendon were not injury prone, he was the best player available in the 2011 draft.