First Pitch: The Pirates 2014 Draft is Making More Sense
Jun30

First Pitch: The Pirates 2014 Draft is Making More Sense

When it comes to draft analysis, the first look at the draft is never final. The second look isn’t final either. Evaluating a draft is a constant process, changing for better or worse as new information comes along. Earlier this month, I wrote that I didn’t like the draft the Pittsburgh Pirates had. That was rare, as I’ve liked a lot of the drafts they’ve had under Neal Huntington and company. I did write about...

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First Pitch: The Pirates Second Half Pitching Depth
Jun29

First Pitch: The Pirates Second Half Pitching Depth

A big reason why the Pittsburgh Pirates were successful last season was due to their pitching staff, and more specifically, the depth of their staff. Every time a starting pitcher went down, someone was there to step in and keep the team afloat. The depth in 2014 has also been strong, although the story isn’t exactly the same for the guys that are being replaced. The Opening Day rotation included Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole,...

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First Pitch: The Sequel to the Mark Melancon Trade
Jun28

First Pitch: The Sequel to the Mark Melancon Trade

There are two things I feel should be common knowledge by now about relief pitchers. 1. Relief pitchers are very volatile. 2. ERA is a horrible stat to evaluate relievers. The Pittsburgh Pirates have had success finding strong relievers at low costs because they’ve ignored short-term struggles, and have looked past a poor ERA to see potential with advanced metrics. Meanwhile, other teams give out long-term deals to relievers,...

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First Pitch: Have the Pirates Already Added the Pitching They Need?
Jun27

First Pitch: Have the Pirates Already Added the Pitching They Need?

A few weeks ago, the Pittsburgh Pirates looked to be sitting on the fence between buyers and sellers. They were just below .500, just saw their top prospect promoted, and had several teams to jump in the Wild Card race. I wrote about how they needed pitching, and should pursue a pitcher that they can control beyond the 2014 season, as the need for pitching and the chances to contend in 2015 looked to be greater than their chances in...

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First Pitch: Thoughts on Glasnow, Polanco, Hanson, Pitching, Castro
Jun26

First Pitch: Thoughts on Glasnow, Polanco, Hanson, Pitching, Castro

Last week when I looked at the schedule, I saw the opportunity to cover six games in three days. I didn’t have to cover six games. I could have taken a break from the minor league coverage for three days while the Pirates were in Tampa. But it sounded like fun, and almost a reminder of the first few years running this site, when I would go on a season ending tour at the end of the year, stopping in a different minor league city...

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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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