First Pitch

First Pitch: Like the Pirates Pitching Staff? Thank Neal Huntington.

First Pitch: Like the Pirates Pitching Staff? Thank Neal Huntington.

Dave Littlefield has not been in the general manager's office for over five years, but his impact on this Pirates team can still be felt.

Neal Huntington became Trader Neal to get a lot of young players in his early years.

No, that's not a bad thing! Sure, he left the Pirates' minor-league system in shambles despite six straight Top-11 picks, but at least a couple of those prospects worked out. Three productive players in the Pittsburgh lineup were all amateurs picked up by Littlefield: Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and Starling Marte. The current front office gets credit for taking these guys as minor leaguers and polishing them into starters, but kudos to Littlefield for getting them.

As for the success of today's Pirates' pitching staff, that is pretty much all Neal Huntington ...

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First Pitch

James dabbles in the baseballey-writey world. He won the SABR Analytics Conference Research Award for contemporary baseball analysis. It was for that defensive shifts piece, you remember that? Not a huge deal, he also lost a bunch of other awards. He has also written for NBCOlympics.com, Pittsburgh Magazine, Pittsburgh Sports Report and the official websites of the Los Angeles Clippers and Pittsburgh Penguins. By night, James is a television news reporter and weekend anchor for WKBN and WYTV in Youngstown, Ohio. Makes sense, seeing as how his degree from the University of Southern California is in Broadcast Journalism. James dispenses more bad jokes at his Twitter account, @JamesSantelli. It's there that he promises to write in the first-person.

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