First Pitch: Pirates Will Need More Than John Axford to Upgrade the Bullpen
Aug15

First Pitch: Pirates Will Need More Than John Axford to Upgrade the Bullpen

Last night I wrote about the problems that have been plaguing the Pittsburgh Pirates in the bullpen. They’ve had a lot of guys who were key players in the bullpen last year struggle this year. They’ve had guys traded away who instantly turned things around, which was a process that usually worked out the opposite way, with the Pirates adding the rebound candidates. They added bounce back candidates to the bullpen, and none...

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Prospect Watch: Sampson Gets Hit Hard in AAA Debut, Jones Homers Again
Aug14

Prospect Watch: Sampson Gets Hit Hard in AAA Debut, Jones Homers Again

TOP OF THE SYSTEM A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today.  Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors. If a player is in the majors, he will be removed, everyone below him will be shifted up a spot, and a new player will be added to the bottom of the list. If a player is out for the season (Jameson Taillon #1, Clay Holmes #12), he will be removed and everyone below him will move up a spot....

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Pirates Acquire John Axford
Aug14

Pirates Acquire John Axford

The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired John Axford, per Ken Rosenthal. Source: #Pirates acquire John Axford. — Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 14, 2014 Axford has had some good surface numbers with the Cleveland Indians this year, posting a 3.92 ERA in 43.2 innings. He also has a 10.5 K/9 rate. However, he’s posting a 6.2 BB/9 rate and was demoted from the closer’s role earlier in the season. He’s making...

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Can JaCoby Jones Become a Starting Shortstop in the Majors?
Aug14

Can JaCoby Jones Become a Starting Shortstop in the Majors?

JaCoby Jones is having an impressive season at the plate in West Virginia. Last night he hit two homers, giving him 20 on the year. I pointed out how he is the first shortstop prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ system to do this since 1996, when Chad Hermansen was playing the position and hit 24 homers. Obviously no one wants to ever hear a prospect mentioned in the same sentence as Hermansen. Then again, the Pirates had a...

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Morning Report: High-Priced Arm Has a Tough Debut
Aug14

Morning Report: High-Priced Arm Has a Tough Debut

Down in the Gulf Coast League on Wednesday afternoon, 11th round draft pick Gage Hinsz quietly made his pro debut. He went 1.2 innings, allowing two runs(one earned) on two hits and one walk, with one strikeout. His first inning started out rough, though it wasn’t totally his fault. Before he knew it, one batter had reached on an error, then moved up on a passed ball, before scoring on a double. Hinsz gave up another double and...

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First Pitch: A Look at Everything Going Wrong For the Pirates Bullpen This Year
Aug14

First Pitch: A Look at Everything Going Wrong For the Pirates Bullpen This Year

If there’s one thing Neal Huntington has been consistently good at, it has been building a bullpen and finding a lot of quality relievers. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case during the 2014 season. Last year the Pirates had a ton of success stories with their bullpen. Jason Grilli was given the chance to close, and was fantastic in the role. Mark Melancon was acquired in a trade from Boston, and bounced back from a...

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