First Pitch: Yes, The Farm System Has Been Dramatically Upgraded Since 2007

There’s been a lot of frustration with the Pittsburgh Pirates in recent weeks. The team went from 16 games over .500 at the end of July, to clinching their 20th losing season in a row on Sunday. The frustration has brought on a lot of criticism. A lot of that criticism is warranted. But some of the criticism has been a bit of a reach, which is confusing. There are things you can legitimately criticize this team about....

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First Pitch: What the Losing Streak Means to Me

When I was a kid, baseball was by far my favorite sport. I used to watch every game that was on TV, which usually consisted of the Braves on TBS, the Cubs on WGN, and the Pirates. I would keep score for every Pirates game, but at the same time I’d try to keep score for the other games by flipping back and forth. I’d check the box scores each morning in the paper. Ah, the pre-internet days. We had a league in our...

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First Pitch: McDonald and Karstens Should Be Locks For the 2013 Rotation

Looking ahead to the 2013 season, there has been some talk and speculation that Pirates starters James McDonald and Jeff Karstens might not be locks for the 2013 rotation. If you ask me, both pitchers should be locks for the rotation next year. The knock against McDonald right now is that he’s faded in the second half. The right-hander posted a 7.52 ERA in 61 innings in the second half, and was eventually removed from the...

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First Pitch: Instructional League Player Updates

Games are underway in the Florida Instructional Leagues, and ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel was covering the Pittsburgh Pirates this afternoon. Below are some tweets from McDaniel on today’s progress from some of the players, along with some of my notes below those tweets. Stetson Allie hit by another pitch and fouled one off his foot. I think there's a silent protest against him for his work on the mound. — Kiley...

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First Pitch: 2013 Is the Make or Break Year for Huntington and Company

Last September, Neal Huntington was given a three year extension, running through the 2014 season with a team option. This September was filled with questions of whether Huntington would be fired at the end of the year. Those questions picked up when the Pirates drew national attention for their Navy SEAL workouts over three days in the minor league instructional leagues. But those questions reached an end today, as Frank Coonelly...

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First Pitch: Some Perspective on Prospect Rankings

Today Baseball America released their top 20 prospects from the 2012 GCL season, which was the first league they’ve covered that had a Pirates affiliate. Over the next few weeks they’ll cover every league that featured a Pirates minor league affiliate, which will give us a chance to see where the minor leaguers stack up compared to other teams. We’ve also been running a lot of season ending reports over the past few...

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