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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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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