Comments on: Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Season Preview: The Starting Rotation Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Mon, 17 Nov 2014 18:10:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: The Green Weenie Fri, 29 Mar 2013 20:27:51 +0000 First, 31 is past a players prime, which generally occurs around age 27-28, so we are actually getting him in his prime now. Yet, Walker is an average to below averaged defensive second baseman and an average to above average hitting second baseman. In other words he roughly average or maybe a wee bit better than average. Looking the stats from 2010-2012 (ie the course of his career) Walker ranks 17th out of 17 qualifying second basemen when it comes to fielding (UZR)

and 7th when it comes to batting (wRC+),d

I’m willing to give him somewhat of a pass on the fielding stats because they incorporate the beginning of his mlb career when he was still learning the position, but fielding statistics need large sample sizes (3 years) to stabilize. Still even if you look only at last year he only ranked 15th, therefore no matter how you cut it the description “excellent defensive 2B” is far too generous.

He’s a nice player, a good team player, and I would like to see the Bucs keep him around. The thing is they don’t have to sign him to a long term extension to do that. Go to arbitration and/or pay him through his arb years and wait until he hits free agency, if other teams throw boatloads of cash at an aging average to above average 2B so be it, hopefully by that point Hanson or better yet Herrera will be ready to step in. Or the Bucs could resign him then to a nice contract then. The savings (ie reward) of a long term extension is not worth the risk (injury, age related regression, overpaying a middling infielder). Smart teams give long term extensions to young (think 21 or 22), projectionable players in order to capture their prime years that coincide with their free agency; not older players in the midst of the prime with arbitration years to spare.

Finally, to compare Cutch to Walker as franchise building blocks as in “this kid is the same” is utterly ridiculous. Cutch is arguably one of the 5 to 10 best players in all of baseball; Neil Walker is arguably NOT one of the 5 to 10 best 2B in all of baseball and 2B might be the weakest position in the sport.

By: Lee Young Fri, 29 Mar 2013 19:59:00 +0000 McPherson–22.1 innings 30 hits 21 ER 5 HR 1.567 WHIP

Locke 27.1 innings 26 hits 8 ER 1 HR 1.244 WHI

By: Lee Young Fri, 29 Mar 2013 19:30:04 +0000 “The argument could be made that Kyle McPherson had a better camp than Locke, but for the time being, Locke is the No. 5 starter. Stay tuned.”

I’d love to see that. Locke CLEARLY outpitched Kyle.

By: Tom Bragg Fri, 29 Mar 2013 19:16:24 +0000 Re: Walker
I still think the team should try and lock him up for a long time as soon as possible, I was backing off my statement that it really needed to happen this season.

By: emjayinTN Fri, 29 Mar 2013 18:34:52 +0000 Tom: Totally disagree with you backing off calling for the Pirates to sign Neil Walker long term. It is what the smart teams do rather than wait until the relationship gets testy. Neil is a Super Two meaning he qualified for Arbitration after only 2 years rather than the usual three. When he hits Free Agency, he will be in his prime at age 31. He has been an excellent defensive 2B hitting and has averaged .280, 30 doubles, 12 HR’s, and 72 RBI’s over the 3 years he has been in the majors. ‘Cutch was a solid part of the Foundation, and this kid is the same – unless we have not seen enough over the first 3 years? He already has $3 mil in his first year of Arb – so, how about 5 years (3 Arb, 1st two of FA) for around $37 mil, and a Club Option for the 6th year.

By: leadoff Fri, 29 Mar 2013 15:58:25 +0000 This rotation reminds me of the 60’s Pirate rotation and the 71 rotation, not in a class with some of the other rotations around the league on paper, but this one looks to me like the grinder kind of rotation, they could beat anyone, but they could lose to anyone.
Looking around baseball there are a lot of teams that don’t go more than 3 deep in starting rotation quality. If you break down the Reds for example, Arroyo and Leak don’t impress me at all, IMO, that makes the Reds a 3 deep starting pitching staff, the question is how much better are the 3 at the top of the Reds staff than the Pirates 3 at the top? The top 3 for both teams can take it into the 7th and 8th innings, where I think the Reds would then have the advantage.
What I like about this rotation is they should keep the Pirates in games, I don’t expect very many shutouts, but I think this team can score runs once the weather warms up.