P3 Episode 17: The Pirates Issues With RISP, Platoons, and Small Ball

Pirates Prospects PodcastEpisode 17 of The Pirates Prospects Podcast can be downloaded or streamed below. This episode includes analysis from Nate Barnes (@NateBarnes_TPN), James Santelli (@JamesSantelli) and myself (@timwilliamsP2) on the Pirates. Highlights of the show include:

**The Pirates went 1-5 in the last week on their six game road trip, but still remain in first place by two games over the St. Louis Cardinals. We review the recent games and how the Pirates looked in those losses. The Pirates won a lot of close games last week, and lost a lot of close games this week. That’s natural, as most teams aren’t going to win every close game.

**A big focus this week due to all of the close losses has been runners in scoring position. I wrote about that Thursday night in First Pitch, getting the input of some of my followers on Twitter on what could be a solution. In the show I ask James and Nate for their input on the problem.

**We talk all year about guys who are going to regress from good numbers to numbers that aren’t as good. In this case, the Pirates have a lot of hitters who you could expect to regress in a positive manner. We also talk about how the word “regression” carries a negative connotation, when in fact it is a neutral word.

**Nate feels that we shouldn’t be looking at the RISP numbers, but numbers such as Leverage Index that focus only on big situations.

**The Pirates have so many hitters in the lineup who can’t hit lefties, which is a big problem because they don’t have as many guys on the bench who can hit lefties. We’ve talked about this problem a lot this year, and that’s a big issue why the offense is struggling for extended periods this year. It’s also not a bad thing to call a player a platoon player.

**Gaby Sanchez draws a lot of criticism, and we discuss why he is so under-rated, and why the Pirates would do well to find a Gaby Sanchez for a few other positions around the field.

**The Pirates have a boom or bust offense that isn’t built for small ball. So why do they keep playing small ball like the seventh inning on Thursday against the Cardinals? I rant for several minutes on why this is a failed strategy.

**The Pirates do have some problems, but ultimately they’ve had those problems all year and they’ve been competitive all year. Their strengths have been much bigger than their weaknesses, and that’s why they’ll remain competitive the rest of the year.

**Music: ‘Let’s Get it Started’ by Oh No Not Stereo. Courtesy of BeatPick.com

Click here to download the show (right-click and “Save Link As”) or stream it below.

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‘Let’s Get it Started’ by Oh No Not Stereo. Courtesy of BeatPick.com

Author: Tim Williams

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 AccuScore.com, 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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