First Pitch: The 2014 Version of Jeff Locke Looks Like the Real Deal
Jun25

First Pitch: The 2014 Version of Jeff Locke Looks Like the Real Deal

Last year Jeff Locke was an All-Star in the first half. His 2.15 ERA looked like the numbers of a top of the rotation pitcher. And none of it would last. We threw around the word “regression” last year, talking about how Locke wouldn’t continue pitching the way he was pitching. He had a 3.80 FIP and a 4.21 xFIP in the first half, which suggested the strong ERA wouldn’t last. It didn’t, although Locke went...

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First Pitch: Don’t Look Now, But the Pirates Have an Offense
Jun24

First Pitch: Don’t Look Now, But the Pirates Have an Offense

Last year the Pittsburgh Pirates won because of their pitching. The pitching staff as a whole combined for a 3.58 xFIP, which tied the Atlanta Braves for third in the majors, and second in the NL. The offense was middle of the pack, by advanced metrics, with the Pirates ranking 13th in baseball with a 98 wRC+. The actual results under-performed the advanced metrics, leading to the Pirates finishing in the bottom third in runs scored....

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First Pitch: The Moves the Pirates Will Have to Make This Week
Jun23

First Pitch: The Moves the Pirates Will Have to Make This Week

The Pittsburgh Pirates will get a boost this week, seeing two of their top players returning. Neil Walker has been a hot hitter this year, and is expected back on Tuesday. Gerrit Cole is expected to re-join the rotation this weekend. That combination means the Pirates will have to make a few moves this week. Those moves could include a decision on Travis Snider or Jose Tabata, and the demotion of one of three starting pitchers who are...

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First Pitch: The Pirates Are Stockpiling Shortstop Prospects
Jun22

First Pitch: The Pirates Are Stockpiling Shortstop Prospects

Today I was working on the GCL Preview, and noticed how many shortstops the Pirates have at the level. The main guy to watch this year will be 2014 first round pick Cole Tucker, although there are some other promising guys at the same level. Sam Kennelly received $225,000 out of Australia, and started the first two games while Tucker gets ready for his season to begin. Nelson Jorge was taken in the draft this year, and has the skills...

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First Pitch: When Do the Pirates Promote Their Pitching Prospects?
Jun21

First Pitch: When Do the Pirates Promote Their Pitching Prospects?

The Pittsburgh Pirates have invested a lot of money into pitching prospects, especially through the MLB draft. They seem to have a very systematic way of moving guys through the system, with the innings at each level being a key trend to determine when a pitcher might move up. Ultimately, a player will only move up when he’s ready from a developmental standpoint. If he has the innings, but isn’t ready to move up, he...

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First Pitch: It’s Time For the Pirates to Make a Switch at Closer
Jun20

First Pitch: It’s Time For the Pirates to Make a Switch at Closer

Earlier today, Max Fogle wrote about the struggles that Jason Grilli has been having this year, breaking down some of the key problems that might be leading to the poor results. It was actually an article that Max had written before today’s game, and was originally set to go up tomorrow morning. However, with the blown save this afternoon, it seemed like an appropriate topic to discuss sooner, rather than later. Grilli...

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