If you want a summary of the last week in 140 characters or less, then Ed Giles has you covered with this tweet from Saturday night.
The old Bucs are back! Terrible vs. Milwaukee, bad in interleague, terrible on road. Tough to counter the view 2013 was a fluke right now.
— Ed Giles (@InClementeWthr) May 17, 2014
I don’t know if I agree with the last sentence. I don’t think the 2013 season and the 2014 season have to be linked. It’s possible that 2013 was legit, and the performance this year is also separately legit. Then again, Ed might have just been talking about the actual performances against the Brewers and in interleague play. In those cases, the Pirates have fallen back into some bad trends recently.
This week they lost two of three to the Yankees, dropping their interleague record to 3-5 on the season. They’re 2-1 at home, and 1-4 on the road. They also went 1-2 against the Brewers, dropping their season total to 2-8. I wrote about how they’ve returned to the time where they can’t beat Milwaukee.
The encouraging thing is that they’ve been decent against everyone else, and close to a .500 team. But right now they’re in a deep hole, and have probably lost their chance of contending this year.
Here is the recap of stories from the last week.
I don’t know how to classify Gregory Polanco. When people talk about the farm system, they don’t really include him anymore. I’d put him in the prospects section, but the truth is that he’s more relevant to Pirates news now, so he’s in this section.
Ryan Palencer wrote about Polanco this week, looking at his overall success this season, and talking to a scout who says Polanco has the chance to be a star. It’s funny how that statement was received. A year ago, most people would have been pleasantly surprised at that statement. Now it’s as if most people are expecting Polanco to be a star.
We also learned a few more details on the offer that was made to Polanco. The details still didn’t give the complete picture, but they did tell us that Polanco would have gotten a raise if he would have ended up a Super Two guy. It also seems that raise is lower than what Polanco would have been worth as a Super Two player. As a result of the new information, I went from saying that his $25 M guarantee was fair, to saying it was low if that was his guarantee as a Super Two player. He should be guaranteed $25 M for his 0-6 years as a non-Super Two player, which seems to be a raise over the reported offer.
**Russell Martin Expects to Return From the DL on Wednesday. Meanwhile, I wrote about how Tony Sanchez might be throwing away his chance at being a starter. If the throwing issues from Sanchez continue, they could prevent him from taking over for Martin next year. I also looked at what Martin could cost in free agency. It’s a price the Pirates can afford, and might want to consider paying.
**I’ve been looking at guys who could see a positive regression to the mean in the last few weeks. I looked at Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker, and both players have already seen improvements. This time around I looked at Jordy Mercer, who has all of the same bounce back signs that Alvarez and Walker had. One thing is for sure: The Pirates need Mercer to bounce back. A look at their current and future shortstop options shows that it’s pretty much him for the next year and a half, if not longer.
As I’ve written many times this year, the two biggest themes in the minor league system have been injuries and Gregory Polanco. I looked at the overview of the system earlier this week, wondering where the breakout prospects were. The Pirates have had some good stories at each level, and Polanco is a breakout guy in his own way. However, they haven’t had a breakout prospect yet in the “Gregory Polanco-Alen Hanson-Tyler Glasnow” sense.
**In our weekly top ten lists, I looked at whether Mel Rojas is finally putting things together, and how Brandon Cumpton continues pitching well, even if it is for Indianapolis. A lot of good prospect tidbits in these articles each week. They go up every Monday.
**Ryan Palencer wrote about how Phil Irwin is getting back the feel for his pitches.
**Here are the minor league recaps from this week, highlighting all of the notable prospect performances each day. Many of these also feature live game recaps and prospect reports on some of the top players in the system.
- Gregory Polanco Hits His Fifth Homer
- Gregory Polanco Just Misses the Cycle in Four Hit Night
- Harold Ramirez Returning Strong From Hamstring Injury
- Alen Hanson and Josh Bell Homer, Six No-Hit Innings From Buddy Borden
- Locke and Glasnow Pitch Well; Three Hits For Polanco
- Three Hits Each For Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco
- A Good Report on the Defense From JaCoby Jones
**And here are the Prospect Highlights from this last week, looking at clips of some of the best plays from the top prospects over the last week.
- Double From Gregory Polanco, Home Run By Stetson Allie
- Gregory Polanco’s Triple, Alen Hanson’s Homer
- More Extra Base Hits From Gregory Polanco
- Strikeout From Casey Sadler, More From JaCoby Jones
- Home Runs From Stetson Allie and Gift Ngoepe
- Keon Broxton Continues to Hit, Walk-Off For Indianapolis
The 2014 amateur draft is now less than 20 days away and we are getting into the mock draft season. Over the next couple weeks, we will see more and more mock drafts leading up until June 5th when teams start making their selections. The Pittsburgh Pirates will make their first round pick that day, selecting 24th overall. They will also make their second round pick(65th) and nine picks later, the will make their competitive balance pick, wrapping up the first of three days worth of draft picks.
Below, you will find links to some mock drafts from industry experts, as well as our preview of the draft and some recaps from the week. Besides the upcoming mock drafts, we will be concentrating on a smaller group of players, ones that are mentioned within ten picks or so(higher and lower) of the Pirates first round pick. Most high school seasons are done already and most college teams have wrapped up their regular seasons as well. That means most of the news between now and the draft will be playoff action in the NCAA and covering any mock drafts and rankings.
**Draft Prospect Watch: Keep an Eye on Kentucky’s A.J. Reed A.J. Reed is getting a late push into the back-end of the first round.
**Draft Prospect Watch: Updated For Players Linked to Pirates First Round Pick. Recap of the Thursday/Friday action for players in the Pirates range
**Draft Prospect Watch: Kyle Schwarber Homers, Matt Imhof Goes to Pirates in Latest Mock Draft. Early week action and a mock draft from Dan Kirby that has the Pirates selecting Cal Poly pitcher Matt Imhof
**First Mock Draft From Jonathan Mayo Has a Familiar Name For Pirates. Jonathan Mayo releases his first mock draft and he sees what a lot of people recently have seen for the Pirates.
**Baseball America’s Second Mock Draft Has Pirates Going With Monte Harrison. BA thinks the Pirates could go with a toolsy prep outfielder with huge upside.
**2014 Pirates Draft Prospects: Kyle Schwarber, Matt Imhof, Foster Griffin, Forrest Wall Scouting reports and video on four players the Pirates could be looking at.
**Keith Law’s First Mock Draft Has Pirates Taking Vanderbilt’s Tyler Beede. Law believes the talented pitcher from Vanderbilt could drop all the way to the Pirates, while most think he will go much earlier.