Comments on: PLC Myth-Smashers: “Neal Huntington can’t spot talent” Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Wed, 12 Nov 2014 15:27:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: Will Thu, 27 May 2010 22:49:52 +0000 And don’t even get me started on Charlie Morton. To me, he is Exhibit A in how sabremetric fetishism has severely distorted the average fan’s perspective on the game (and has probably led many GMs astray as well). Das Boot is absolutely right: Morton is NOT a good starting pitcher, at least, not right now and not for the most part since coming to Pittsburgh. He’s teased us with the occasional excellent outing, yes, definitely. And you can see why they like him. But once again, the bottom line is the bottom line: either you can get hitters out, or you can’t. Want proof? Larry Gura, Bob Tewksbury, and especially Tom Glavine, Tommy John, and Greg Maddux were all good-to-excellent major league pitchers, but none of them could throw hard enough to break a pane of glass. I am quite confident that none of them would even get a sniff from most big league organizations’ “talent evaluators” today. But they all won, and won, and won. Baseball is chock full of meatheads who could THROW hard but who had no idea how to PITCH. Mind you, we all want the handful of guys who can do both. But they’re very rare. In the meantime, what counts most is getting batters out, not their BABIP or LD or GB or FB percentages. Period.

By: Will Thu, 27 May 2010 22:28:00 +0000 Wow, that is about the largest helping of Neil Huntington Kool Aid I’ve ever seen any one person ingest. To be sure, the bulk of Huntington’s trades were veterans-for-prospects—though not all of them—and to be sure, the jury is still out on some of them (notably the Wilson/Snell to the Mariners deal). Huntington has done very well in the draft and has made some very astute bargain-bin free agent signings, as well.

But too many of the players on your list have caveats in your comments such as “—is showing signs of—“, “—was terrible last year, but—” and so on. Andy LaRoche is not even a league average 3B right now, though I don’t think that’s ultimately his fault; I think he’s had a bad back for years and that he was damaged goods when we acquired him. Still, he’s not getting it done and he’ll be lucky to have a job at all if Neil Walker hits and Pedro Alvarez becomes the starter at third. That would leave Brian Morris as the only hope that the Jason Bay trade will pan out, and that’s not good enough. If Huntington knew LaRoche was damaged goods, then that trade is even worse.

Huntington also failed to sign anything approaching a functional bullpen his first two seasons on the job, and while you can argue that he spent his money in the draft instead, relievers are the cheapest established commodity you can sign in baseball, and the great job Huntington did with the ‘pen this offseason has me asking why that wasn’t done in the past. (And I reject utterly the notion that somehow it’s alright to tank entire seasons with your on-field, supposedly major league product because “well, we’re rebuilding”. Professional and competitive integrity, anyone?)

The Gorzellany-Grabow trade has been a total loss to this point, too, though I wasn’t shedding any tears over seeing Gorzellany go and be someone else’s surly jerk.

Anyway, while I’m not saying Huntington is a bad GM, I’m definitely saying he’s also not a great GM, not even close. He has a chance to succeed in Pittsburgh because the one thing this front office is demonstrably good at, is the most important thing: drafting well. But to dismiss criticism of his ability to properly evaluate big league talent is drinking the Kool-Aid in a big way. Huntington can, and should, be criticized or at least heavily scrutinized for his trades involving big league talent. His record in such deals is mixed at best.

By: Matt Bandi Sat, 15 May 2010 20:36:59 +0000 Scheppers is irrelevant here because I wasn’t talking about players Huntington should have signed. All I did was point out that plenty of his acquisitions have performed at an average level or above. Of course I would like to have Scheppers in the system right now. Everyone knows he was and is an elite talent. That’s why management offered him something like $1 million to sign, even though he could barely throw at the time. Looking back, I wish they would have given him a higher offer, but I can understand why they didn’t. He simply wasn’t healthy, and is probably still a huge injury risk.

McCutchen has been unimpressive in his limited major league time, but he has been pretty solid so far in the minor leagues. That’s why I put him quite a ways down the minor league list.

Which major leaguer is hurt? Ohlendorf? He’s back from his injury. And I assume you are referring to Morton being in danger of going to Triple-A? Strongly disagree. He’s probably the best pitcher on the staff right now.

By: Matt Bandi Sat, 15 May 2010 20:19:24 +0000 Stats and results are the same thing. Just depends on what results you are looking at. You may be looking at Morton’s ERA to determine that he has been terrible. I am looking at his K, BB and GB numbers and determining that he has been good. More strikeouts + fewer walks + more groundballs = a very good pitcher (

By: Hitters park Sat, 15 May 2010 12:50:23 +0000 Ok, getting nothing for Capps was terrible, you wont find anybody toi disagree for that. The other trades, not mentioned Ohlendorf and Karstens have been average starting pitchers/long reliever which is worth more then average right fielders like Nady, and an Ok reliever like Marte. Lets not forget how bad MArte was for a stretch last year, too. That isnt even counting Tabata who leads AAA in hits. I dont understand we are talking about helping them now and not taking into account how bad BAy and Mcclouth are right now. If we still had McClouth this same post would be complaining that we didnt trade him when his stock was higher, Morton has Perez type stuff and a better head he will be fine by 11. If we still had Bay we would be hearing the same thing, except those two would of prevented McCutcheon from ever gettting a chance. They should trade more away, like Doumit while he is high, not to mention the renting signs they made for bullpen this offseason which will get them more in trades for next year to lock up. NH is doing ok, as is evident by our Minor leagues playing so well right now. What else wasnt mentioned is all the high school players we signed, 2 of which were projected to be high picks in 3 years had they gone to college. That is 4 years down the road, before we see those and Morris, but thats how it works for teams like the buccos. I support NH, and think he has done ok. Now, I cant defend the terrible signing of the second baseman this offseason

By: Das Boot Sat, 15 May 2010 12:12:38 +0000 How is Scheppers irrelvant? The Buccos had a chance to sign him to a contract and have him in the org. They used a high draft pick and missed with him.

He’s doing pretty well in the Texas system.

Of course there are players on this list from his trades, but imo, you are wrong on several. How is Dan McCutcheon a quality player, seriously? I would love to hear how he has helped our Buccos.

Of the six players that you mention on the big club, one is average at best, one is pitching his way to AAA and one is hurt. That’s not exactly a solid resume.

By: Das Boot Sat, 15 May 2010 12:07:13 +0000 Don’t get caught up in the stat-salivating world we’re living in right now. What matters is results, and Morton doesn’t have them. He’s extremely inconsistent.

You can’t pick and choose stats to try to justify a TERRIBLE career.

By: Matt Bandi Sat, 15 May 2010 01:57:05 +0000 I would say that opposing GM’s probably considered expected future performance when they acquired those players. Bay was showing signs of age, had knee problems and was approaching free agency. Sanchez hadn’t produced since 2007 while battling numerous injuries. Ian Snell was good for a couple months in 2007, and that’s it. Nady was injury prone and playing well above his career norm. Jack Wilson hit decently in 2004 and 2007, and otherwise has been an all-glove SS that’s often hurt.

Nothing that has happened to these players since they left was all that unexpected. I’m sure opposing GM’s knew all this.

By: Matt Bandi Sat, 15 May 2010 01:48:31 +0000 I’m not going by what the broadcasters are saying about Morton. As I said above, I’m going my his above average peripheral stats.

Again, I am not analyzing the Bay trade. I am simply listing the players who have been at least average. Two of the players from the Bay trade are on the list, for what that’s worth.

Dubee was only promoted to Indy to temporarily fill an injury hole.

Gorkys, Salas, Clement, Roberts, Moss, Hansen and Alderson are not on the list, because they didn’t meet the criteria. Not sure how Scheppers is relevant to this topic.

“Missing” on trades and draft picks is pretty vague. But, based on a quick glance, I would say there is at least one player on this list from around 75% of his trades. And I see 12 drafted players, whatever that means.

By: Matt Bandi Sat, 15 May 2010 01:23:36 +0000 Well, Hinske was above average while with the Pirates. He didn’t hit for much power, but a .373 OBP off the bench is anything but horrible. To be honest, I didn’t even consider bench players for this list, because they’re not that relevant. I guess I could add Church to this list, since he’s been slightly above average.

I never liked the Capps non-tender, and I said that at the time. But his loss will not by any means “haunt” the franchise.