• 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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,...

  • 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...

  • First Pitch: Will the Pirates Make Any More Moves?

    Today the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to deals with Neil Walker and James McDonald, avoiding arbitration with each player. Outside of the pending Francisco Liriano deal, that should wrap up the key moves for the Pirates. With pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training in ten days, there's not much time to add...

  • First Pitch: MLB Has Two Major Problems, Only Cares About One

    There are two big problems for Major League Baseball that have come up over the last few days. The big story in all the national outlets is the most recent steroids scandal. The Miami New Times broke a story this week linking several top players to illegal steroids, including Alex Rodriguez, Gio...

  • First Pitch: Looking at the Bigger Picture

    Earlier today, Grant Brisbee of SB Nation wrote about "the perfectly whelming offseason of the Pirates". As the title indicates, the article talks about how the Pirates haven't done much this off-season, with their key additions being Russell Martin and Francisco Liriano. Or, as Brisbee puts it, "an average catcher and a...

  • First Pitch: How Can the Pirates Catch the Cardinals?

    Earlier today, John Sickels released his farm system rankings and had the Pittsburgh Pirates fifth overall. He also had the St. Louis Cardinals first overall. The Cardinals seem to be the consensus top farm system this year. I haven't received my Baseball America 2013 Prospect Handbook yet, but I've already seen that...

  • First Pitch: The FanGraphs Reports, and Luis Urena as a Sleeper

    Over the last month, Kiley McDaniel has been posting some great reports over at FanGraphs. I've been retweeting them on Twitter, but keep forgetting to link to them in the nightly First Pitch column. So here are links to all three reports, with some thoughts on each one. Gerrit Cole The first...

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