It seems that every Spring Training the last few years has had a theme. Last year the focus was on controlling the running game, which came a season after teams were stealing bases at-will on the Pirates. The year before the focus was the importance of pitching inside. The Pirates did a better job with each improvement, especially with their focus on catching runners last year.
Russell Martin was brought in for his defense, and ended up responding with a 40% caught stealing rate, which was the best mark of his career. That wasn't entirely on Martin, since the entire pitching staff focused on mixing up their deliveries to the plate to keep base runners guessing. The overall approach paid off, which means we won't hear quotes about controlling the running game every day this Spring Training.
What we're probably going to hear instead this year is a focus on the offense, and more specifically, the focus on the offense being more consistent.
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.