First Pitch: On the Hurdle Extension and the First Day of Minor League Camp

When I looked at my calendar for a potential move to Bradenton, I had two choices. The week of January 20th would get me here a month before Spring Training, and I’d be settled in when pitchers and catchers reported. A month later would get me in after the first week of camp, and right before the games started. Plus I’d save a month of rent in the process. Since nothing usually happens early in camp (stretching, fielding...

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First Pitch: Mark Appel Made a Very Common Decision

Friday night saw the 2013 college season debut of a former Pittsburgh Pirates draft pick. This pick is a pitcher, and passed on signing with the Pirates over money. He held to his high asking price, and when the Pirates decided they couldn’t meet that price they moved on to some later round players. The pitcher decided to try his luck again in the 2013 draft, hoping to get the money that he couldn’t get the first time...

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First Pitch: Upcoming Spring Training Coverage

Spring Training started this week, and so far we’ve been providing coverage from a far. As I mentioned a few months ago, I’m moving to Bradenton this year and will be covering everything that is down there. When I say everything, I mean everything. Spring Training, the Marauders, the GCL Pirates, instructs, mini camps, orange juice sales at Mixon’s. All of those things. But mostly the orange juice. Unfortunately my...

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First Pitch: Platooning Pedro Alvarez

My initial approach with the Brandon Inge news tonight was the same as any minor league signing: acknowledge that it happened and move on. Danny Knobler reported that the Pirates are close to a minor league deal with Inge, who turns 36 this season. Like 99% of minor league deals, this one comes with no risk, and a small chance to provide some sort of reward. For that reason, there’s not much point in analyzing what Inge could do...

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First Pitch: Murphy’s Law and James McDonald in the Rotation

Pittsburgh Pirates fans have a tendency to expect the worst. It’s not really any fault of their own. In the last 20 years, pretty much every bad thing that could possibly happen to the team has happened. You reach a point where the team looks like a true contender in July, to the point where you actually believe it. Then the team has one of the worst collapses ever in the final two months of the year. It’s almost like the...

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First Pitch: Why Advanced Stats Are Better Than Traditional Stats

If you’ve read this site for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed that we use the WAR stat. A lot. The trade values series is based off WAR (although that wasn’t originally designed by us). We point out WAR when talking about the overall value of a player in a given season, or to compare two different players. We use WAR when estimating what a player will receive through the arbitration process. The WAR stat...

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