The Bucs Should Have Tinkered with Rajai Davis

Congratulations are in order for Barry Bonds, of course, as the former Pirate passed Hank Aaron in baseball’s record books last night. I won’t say much more about that—there’s plenty of coverage all over the network—but I’ll tip my cap in Barry’s direction and thank him for allowing me to watch history being made. It’s actually a nice transition into what I’d like to write about...

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Game #109 at Arizona

Chase Field | 9:40 | Gorzelanny vs. Micah Owings | Box First things first: congrats to Barry Lamar Bonds. Ladies and gentleman: Tom Gorzelanny has returned! The Bucco hurler was strong in seven innings. He allowed just four hits and two walks while whiffing nine. One of the four hits was Justin Uptons’ first career tater. Micah Owings was hurt early as Ronny Paulino delivered a two run single in the fourth and was driven home...

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Pirates’ True Prospects are Few and Far Between

I figure it’s about time to provide an update of sorts on the progression of our prospects.
I’ve gone affiliate by affiliate to see who’s been earning playing time where. The result is the organizational depth chart that follows.
Each position table features the most promising player from each of the Pirates’ top five farm teams: Indianapolis (AAA), Altoona (AA), Lynchburg (A+), Hickory (A) and State College (A-). I haven’t included anyone playing for the GCL, DSL or VSL Pirates as coverage of those levels is hard to come by.
I’ve only included stats for interesting players; that is, if you’re 30 years old and still in Double-A, I didn’t bother looking up your numbers.
Today, I’ll release the catchers and infielders; outfielders and pitchers will be posted later in the week…


Catcher

Level

AB

AVG

HR

RBI

BB

K

Carlos Maldonado

AAA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Peterson

AA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Lerud

A+

225

.213

3

22

22

47

Kris Watts

A

252

.254

5

29

23

42

Andrew Walker

A-

84

.250

0

7

11

24

Maldonado and Peterson have no chance at ever starting in the major leagues. Really, at this rate neither do Lerud or Watts. Walker was the Pirates’ fifth round pick in the June Rule 4 draft.
After moving Neil Walker to third base and passing on Matt Wieters, the Pirates have no catching depth.


First Base

Level

AB

AVG

HR

RBI

BB

K

Steven Pearce

AAA

25

.320

1

2

1

4

Jason Delaney

AA

133

.286

7

24

27

27

Ron Davenport

A+

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kent Sakamoto

A

363

.278

12

52

25

66

Justin Byler

A-

150

.313

3

21

10

38

A position of strength in the system, starting with Adam LaRoche at the major-league level and continuing on down through Pearce and Delaney. Though the latter two were a bit old for their levels at the start of 2007, they made an effort to correct that problem by earning quick promotions.
Sakamoto and Byler aren’t anything to write home about, but they’ve done a swell job of filling in at the lower levels.


Second Base

Level

AB

AVG

HR

RBI

BB

K

Yurendell de Caster

AAA

347

.280

8

43

54

76

Jason Bowers

AA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shelby Ford

A+

360

.281

5

55

34

68

Jim Negrych

A

247

.279

2

38

16

33

Matt Cavagnaro

A-

164

.226

2

21

12

31

There’s no right place to plug in de Caster—he’s a prototypical utility guy that could play anywhere on the diamond. Surprisingly, his stat line is eerily similar to that of Brian Bixler. Draw your own conclusions there: It’s either a good sign for Yurendell or a bad one for Brian.
Ford and Negrych represent the future, and with 29-year-old Bowers at Altoona, both should be able to earn promotions as soon as they’re ready. Cavagnaro, a Penn State grad, is realizing his dream of playing professional baseball.


Shortstop

Level

AB

AVG

HR

RBI

BB

K

Brian Bixler

AAA

384

.289

5

46

47

96

Javier Guzman

AA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greg Picart

A+

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Ambrose

A

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Friday

A-

44

.273

1

1

2

10

Absolutely nothing to speak of between the two Brians. Bixler, a second-round draft choice and heir apparent to Jack Wilson, is doing pretty well at Indianapolis. I wouldn’t put all my eggs in his basket if I were in charge, but that’s what the Pirates have done after trading Brent Lillibridge to Atlanta in the LaRoche-Gonzalez deal.
Guzman proved in spring training that he has no business being on the same field as big leaguers, and Picart and Ambrose are filler. Brian Friday, this year’s third-round selection, is a younger version of Bixler—a utility guy at the least, an adequate starter at most.


Third Base

Level

AB

AVG

HR

RBI

BB

K

Jose Hernandez

AAA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neil Walker

AA

395

.289

12

57

47

64

Tripper Johnson

A+

376

.258

9

53

47

56

Eddie Prasch

A

263

.232

6

38

25

87

Bobby Spain

A-

115

.217

0

6

8

22

Lots of draft talent here: Walker was the Pirates’ first round choice in 2004; Johnson went in the first round in 2000 to Baltimore; Prasch was a third rounder in 2004. Even Spain has a bit of a pedigree—he hit .414 with Oklahoma State this year before being drafted by the Pirates in the 19th round.
Only Walker, though, projects to be something special. At 25, Johnson’s too old; Prasch can’t hit and can’t field; as a mid-round pick, Spain has a lot to prove.
Jared Keel has played a little third in 2007, but I’ve considered him to be an outfielder for the purposes of this exercise.

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Pirate Fans: What is Your PNC Park Routine?

The Pittsburgh Pirates will play 54 more baseball games this season. Exactly one-third of the schedule remains. If you’re like me, you could use a breather—maybe a week’s worth of rainouts, or a few Steelers games—to break up the monotony. I’m just not that excited watching games right now. Rather than write another halfhearted post about a miserable offense or an overpriced starting pitcher, let me go...

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Pirates’ True Prospects are Few and Far Between

I figure it’s about time to provide an update of sorts on the progression of our prospects.
I’ve gone affiliate by affiliate to see who’s been earning playing time where. The result is the organizational depth chart that follows.
Each position table features the most promising player from each of the Pirates’ top five farm teams: Indianapolis (AAA), Altoona (AA), Lynchburg (A+), Hickory (A) and State College (A-). I haven’t included anyone playing for the GCL, DSL or VSL Pirates as coverage of those levels is hard to come by.
I’ve only included stats for interesting players; that is, if you’re 30 years old and still in Double-A, I didn’t bother looking up your numbers.
Today, I’ll release the catchers and infielders; outfielders and pitchers will be posted later in the week…


Catcher

Level

AB

AVG

HR

RBI

BB

K

Carlos Maldonado

AAA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Peterson

AA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Lerud

A+

225

.213

3

22

22

47

Kris Watts

A

252

.254

5

29

23

42

Andrew Walker

A-

84

.250

0

7

11

24

Maldonado and Peterson have no chance at ever starting in the major leagues. Really, at this rate neither do Lerud or Watts. Walker was the Pirates’ fifth round pick in the June Rule 4 draft.
After moving Neil Walker to third base and passing on Matt Wieters, the Pirates have no catching depth.


First Base

Level

AB

AVG

HR

RBI

BB

K

Steven Pearce

AAA

25

.320

1

2

1

4

Jason Delaney

AA

133

.286

7

24

27

27

Ron Davenport

A+

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kent Sakamoto

A

363

.278

12

52

25

66

Justin Byler

A-

150

.313

3

21

10

38

A position of strength in the system, starting with Adam LaRoche at the major-league level and continuing on down through Pearce and Delaney. Though the latter two were a bit old for their levels at the start of 2007, they made an effort to correct that problem by earning quick promotions.
Sakamoto and Byler aren’t anything to write home about, but they’ve done a swell job of filling in at the lower levels.


Second Base

Level

AB

AVG

HR

RBI

BB

K

Yurendell de Caster

AAA

347

.280

8

43

54

76

Jason Bowers

AA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shelby Ford

A+

360

.281

5

55

34

68

Jim Negrych

A

247

.279

2

38

16

33

Matt Cavagnaro

A-

164

.226

2

21

12

31

There’s no right place to plug in de Caster—he’s a prototypical utility guy that could play anywhere on the diamond. Surprisingly, his stat line is eerily similar to that of Brian Bixler. Draw your own conclusions there: It’s either a good sign for Yurendell or a bad one for Brian.
Ford and Negrych represent the future, and with 29-year-old Bowers at Altoona, both should be able to earn promotions as soon as they’re ready. Cavagnaro, a Penn State grad, is realizing his dream of playing professional baseball.


Shortstop

Level

AB

AVG

HR

RBI

BB

K

Brian Bixler

AAA

384

.289

5

46

47

96

Javier Guzman

AA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greg Picart

A+

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Ambrose

A

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Friday

A-

44

.273

1

1

2

10

Absolutely nothing to speak of between the two Brians. Bixler, a second-round draft choice and heir apparent to Jack Wilson, is doing pretty well at Indianapolis. I wouldn’t put all my eggs in his basket if I were in charge, but that’s what the Pirates have done after trading Brent Lillibridge to Atlanta in the LaRoche-Gonzalez deal.
Guzman proved in spring training that he has no business being on the same field as big leaguers, and Picart and Ambrose are filler. Brian Friday, this year’s third-round selection, is a younger version of Bixler—a utility guy at the least, an adequate starter at most.


Third Base

Level

AB

AVG

HR

RBI

BB

K

Jose Hernandez

AAA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neil Walker

AA

395

.289

12

57

47

64

Tripper Johnson

A+

376

.258

9

53

47

56

Eddie Prasch

A

263

.232

6

38

25

87

Bobby Spain

A-

115

.217

0

6

8

22

Lots of draft talent here: Walker was the Pirates’ first round choice in 2004; Johnson went in the first round in 2000 to Baltimore; Prasch was a third rounder in 2004. Even Spain has a bit of a pedigree—he hit .414 with Oklahoma State this year before being drafted by the Pirates in the 19th round.
Only Walker, though, projects to be something special. At 25, Johnson’s too old; Prasch can’t hit and can’t field; as a mid-round pick, Spain has a lot to prove.
Jared Keel has played a little third in 2007, but I’ve considered him to be an outfielder for the purposes of this exercise.

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Indy Indians: A Few Numbers

With one month or so left in the season, some numbers for your consideration — some significant, some insignificant, some just plain weird.
.509 — The Indians’ winning percentage at this point in the season. That’s 58 wins, 56 losses, and one tie (which doesn’t count in the standings).
418 — Number of days, out of 425, that the Indians have been playing over .500 in the past nearly-3-years as an affiliate of the Pirates.
29 — Number of games left in the Indians’ 2007 season. (One double header)
15 — Number of home games left.
7– Games behind the first place Toledo Mud Hens.
3 — Number of teams ahead of the Tribe in the Wild Card Race (Rochester, Buffalo, and Durham).
48 — Number of players who have been on the Indians’ roster at some point in this season.
105 — Number of games Brian Bixler has played in, the team high.
Kip Bouknight  -- photo by NancyZ
.500 — Kip Bouknight’s (photo) batting average, highest among pitchers.
.250 — Runelvys Hernandez’s batting average (1 for 4), the highest among the active pitchers.
.320 — Steve Pearce’s batting average, the highest among active players.
.302 — Luis Ordaz’s batting average, the highest among active players who have more than 200 at-bats.
.497 — Michael Ryan’s SLG, the highest among active players.
.402 — Adam Boeve’s OBP, the highest among active players.
.388 — Brian Bixler’s OBP, the highest among active players who have more than 200 at-bats.
Michael Ryan -- photo by NancyZ
15 — Home runs by Michael Ryan (photo), the team high.
46 — RBI’s by Brian Bixler, the team high.
9 — Triples by Brian Bixler, the team high.
23 — Doubles by Luis Matos, the team high.
68 — Runs scored by Brian Bixler, the team high.
7 — Games in Luis Ordaz’s hitting streak.
21 — Games in Rajai Davis’s hitting streak, the longest of the season for the Indians. (May 12 – June 3)
2 — Most triples in one game, by Brian Bixler on June 6th.
6 — Most stolen bases in a game, on April 19th (Luis Matos, Russ Johnson, Rajai Davis, Ryan Doumit, and two by Nyjer Morgan)

Bryan Bullington -- photo by NancyZ
119 — Innings Bryan Bullington (photo, at bat) has pitched, the team high.
20.2 — Innings in the longest scoreless pitching streak, by John Van Benschoten, April 27 to May 12.
16 — Most strikeouts in a game by Tribe pitching, against Norfolk on July 22nd (1 by Runelvys Hernandez, 6 by Brian Rogers, 8 by Juan Perez, and 1 by Franquelis Osoria)
10 — Most walks in a game by Tribe pitching, against Pawtucket on May 4th (6 by Sean Burnett, 1 by Josh Sharpless, 2 by Dan Kolb, and 1 by Franquelis Osoria)
21 — Games Bryan Bullington has started, the team high.
1 — Complete games pitched in 2007, by Michael Tejera.
11 — Saves by Franquelis Osoria, the team high.
39 — Pitching appearances by Franquelis Osoria and Jesse Chavez (each), the team high.
2.50 — John Van Benscoten’s ERA, lowest on the team, for pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched.
71 — strikeouts by Marty McLeary, the team high
Brian Bixler -- photo by NancyZ
.154, .278, .274, and .299 — Michael Ryan’s batting averages in April, May, June, and July, respectively.
11, 14, 1 — Steve Pearce’s home runs in Lynchburg, Altoona, and Indianapolis, respectively.
.284, .324 — Luis Ordaz’s batting average with the bases empty, and with runners on base, respectively.
.324, .256 — Brian Bixler’s (photo) batting average at home, and on the road.
11, 11 — Brad Eldred’s RBI’s when behind in the count, and when ahead in the count.
18, 17 — Brad Eldred’s RBI’s in home games, and in away games.
.338, .323, .263, .222 — Yurendell de Caster’s batting average in April, May, June, and July.
2, 2, 2 — Russ Johnson’s home runs in May, June, and July.
19, 31 — Luis Matos’ strikeouts in home games, and in road games.
.182, .263 — Don Kelly’s batting average in 15 games before the All-Star break, and in 13 games after the All-Star break.
Josh Sharpless -- photo by NancyZ
3.24, 3.62 — Michael Tejera’s ERA as a reliever, and as a starter.
0-5, 4-1 — Shane Youman’s won-loss record at home, and on the road.
3-1, 1-3 — Marty McLeary’s won-loss record at home, and on the road.
24, 24 — John Van Benschoten’s strikeouts of right-handed batters, and of left-handed batters.
33, 6 — Sean Burnett’s walks of right-handed batters, and of left-handed batters.
14, 15, 14 — Jesse Chavez’s strikeouts in May, June, and July.
4, 17 — Franquelis Osoria’s saves in 17 home games, and in 13 away games.
3 — Josh Sharpless’s (photo) saves, all in May.
1.85, 9.16 — Juan Perez’s ERA in home games, and in away games.
21, 25 — Brian Rogers’ strikeouts against left-handed batters, and right-handed batters.
Go Tribe!
(photos by NancyZ)

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