First Pitch

First Pitch: Reviewing the Pre-Season Over/Unders

First Pitch: Reviewing the Pre-Season Over/Unders

At the start of the year I ran a few polls, asking for over/under predictions on several key topics for the 2012 Pirates season. Now that the season is over, I thought it would be a good time to look back and see the results of some of those key story lines.

Pedro Alvarez Home Runs

Remember back at the start of the season when people wanted to send Pedro Alvarez to Triple-A? Almost two thirds of voters had Alvarez hitting 20 or fewer homers this year. He surpassed that total, although he was a bit streaky throughout the year.

Erik Bedard Starts

This is what I said in the original article:

It’s not really a question of how good Erik Bedard will be. It’s more a question of how long he will stay healthy. He made 24 starts last year, but hasn’t made more than 15 from 2008-2010. How many will he make for the Pirates?

Turns out, it was a question of how good Bedard would be. He made 24 starts, which was exactly matching his 2011 total. But he also posted a 5.01 ERA. Bedard was great to start the year, but fell off after the first month. The drop in production coincided with him being hit with a line drive and removed from the game, although that wouldn’t seem to answer why his struggles continued several months later.

Alex Presley OPS

Presley had an .804 OPS in 215 at-bats in 2011. Almost two thirds of voters predicted he would be under the .800 OPS mark this year. They were right, as he finished with a .691 OPS.

Jeff Karstens ERA

Vegas oddsmakers like to set lines so that the public is fairly split on either side, which guarantees them money no matter what the outcome. This line would be my best attempt at setting odds, as it was close to even at 55/45. Karstens ended up pretty close to that line, with a 3.97 ERA. So the “over” crowd won, although it wasn’t a horrible drop. The bigger issue was that Karstens dealt with injuries and only threw 90.2 innings.

Joel Hanrahan Last Pirates Appearance of the Season

Hanrahan wasn’t traded at the deadline, so the roughly one-third of the people who predicted he would still be a Pirate in August were correct.


A large majority felt that the team would top their 2011 win total. A better line might have been .500.

I think the most interesting one was Alvarez. There was so much debate at the start of the season over whether he should have started in Triple-A. His overall numbers were in the Carlos Pena/Mark Reynolds range, but I think that people were expecting much worse than that at the start of the year, especially since so many wanted him to start in Triple-A.

Two of the most important questions for the season from this list ended up being the Bedard and Karstens questions. The team faded down the stretch for several reasons, but largely it was due to the drop off in pitching. The look of the pitching staff would have been much better with a productive Erik Bedard and a healthy Jeff Karstens in the final month. That might not have solved all of their problems, but it definitely would have helped.

Links and Notes

**The Pirates lost to the Braves 4-0. They finished with a 79-83 record.

**Pirates Notebook: Burnett and McCutchen Finish With Ovations.

**Polanco and Hanson Make the South Atlantic League Top 20.

**Pirates Hitting Coach Gregg Ritchie Will Not Return in 2013.

  • Lee Young

    Very ‘neat’ article.

  • piratemike

    To say Alvarez was ” a bit streaky ” is a huge understatment.
    If I was told what HR number Pedro would end up with I would have been happy but it ended up for me the most unsatisfying 30 I ever experienced.
    I just hope that in the future he becomes more consistant and cuts those K’s in half.

    • buccotime57

      Ks are not the worst thing for a HR hitter….he does though need to walk more and increase his OBP

      • piratemike

        And dying from a heart attack is better than termininal cancer.

        • buccotime57

          Oakland lead the league with the most SO(1387) and they did pretty good number 4 was washington (1325) also did pretty well….Oakland also grounded into the second fewest DPs (97)…davey johnson of the nats stated he is encouraging his batters to try to turn on more inside fastballs which has increased their SO and SLG

        • An out is an out is an out. I think his plate patience and discipline is slowly improving as well. He’ll probably always have an above average K rate…but I think there’s a decent shot of him avoiding more K’s in particular situations like chasing pitches out of the zone, etc.

  • Did anyone look at the comment on Pedro poll question? I thought that was pretty funny.

  • azibuck

    >His overall numbers were in the Carlos Pena/Mark Reynolds range, but I
    think that people were expecting much worse than that at the start of
    the year,

    And that’s what we got. On June 15 he was hitting .189/.254/.373.

    I was one of the ones that thought he should start the year in AAA. In hindsight, I think we ended up in about the same place we would have if we did send him down. I don’t think it was facing MLB pitching that brought progress, it was working through things mechanically. I don’t think that happens often at the MLB level, so I will tip my cap to Pedro, and probably Ritchie and Hurdle as well, such as they were his hitting coaches. And maybe he wouldn’t have gotten that kind of guidance in AAA.

    So I’m still not sure you were right, but you weren’t wrong.

First Pitch

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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