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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First Pitch: Would You Rather Have Polanco/Hanson or Chase Headley?

Jim Bowden had an article at ESPN talking about how the San Diego Padres should trade Chase Headley right now. In the article he listed the Pittsburgh Pirates as one of two teams with a moderate chance of landing Headley, noting that a package of Gregory Polanco and Alen Hanson could get the deal done. Bowden does a lot of these types of articles. He takes a player who isn’t necessarily on the market, then takes a group of teams...

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First Pitch: The Starting Pitching Depth

With yesterday’s news that the Pirates were adding Jonathan Sanchez, and today’s news that they’re still on track to sign Francisco Liriano, the starting pitching scene is getting crowded. Here is a breakdown of all the options who are either currently on the team, or in the case of Sanchez/Liriano, expected to sign. Guarantees for the Rotation A.J. Burnett - Burnett had a 3.51 ERA in 202.1 innings last year, and his...

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First Pitch: Francisco Liriano vs Jonathan Sanchez

When the news came out that the Pittsburgh Pirates were close to an agreement with left-handed pitcher Jonathan Sanchez, my initial reaction was that he was very similar to Francisco Liriano. It started out as a basic comparison. They were both left-handed pitchers coming off down seasons with control issues, high strikeouts, and they were each a few years removed from a great season. The Liriano signing has been crazy. The Pirates...

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First Pitch: Looking at the Grades From Huntington’s Drafts

Every year I always purchase a copy of the Baseball America Prospect Handbook. I only cover the Pirates’ farm system, and while that does give me a chance to see prospects from other systems, my focus is usually on the players with the Pirates. I like the BA handbook because it shows what other teams have in their system, which gives you some perspective on how the individual Pirates players stack up to players on other teams....

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