Question #1: Earlier this off-season, Dave Littlefield said: “Right now, were very cautious about duplicating the positions and the players that we have in those positions.” Do you agree with the practice of trying Neil Walker, Ryan Doumit and Brad Eldred at other positions because the Pirates already have Ronny Paulino and Adam LaRoche entrenched as starters? How would abandoning their natural positions affect their...
There aren’t many Spring Training statistics you can rely on as solid predictors of regular season success. For pitchers, though, these numbers are a good measure of Grapefruit League progress: GB=Ground balls (we prefer to keep the ball out of the air) FB=Fly balls K=Strikeouts BB=Walks Total Pitches/Strikes I used the game-by-game logs available at the mothership to track the numbers for select Pirates pitchers through...
Are you ready for more stat trivia?� Think back to the 2006 season….
For each of the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2006:
1. Which pitcher had the lowest ERA? (based on at least 20 – 25 innings pitched)
2. Which pitcher had the most strikeouts?
3. Which batter had the most strikeouts?
YURENDELL DE CASTER
infield – outfield
born:� 9/26/1979� in �Curacao, Netherlands Antilles�
�Ht: 6′ 1″��� Wt: 205 lb���������� B: Right��� T: Right
Yurendell de Caster has an unusual name and comes from an unusual place.� His first name is pronounced “SHUR – en – dell” and he says he doesn’t know exactly why his mom chose that name.� His two sisters also have names starting with “Yur-” and are pronounced like “Shur-”.� He was born in Curaco, in the Netherlands Antilles, off the coast of Venezuela.� Indy Indians’ hitting coach Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens is also Curacaoan.� Because the Netherlands Antilles are part of the kingdom of the Netherlands, Curacaoans are Dutch Nationals — and so de Caster was eligible to play for the Netherlands baseball team in the 2004 Olympics and in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.� Like most Curacaoans, de Caster speaks fluent English, Dutch, Spanish, and the local language, Papiamento.�
De Caster was initially signed by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1996, as a 16-year-old amateur free agent.� He played in the Devil Rays’ system through the 2000 season.� The Pirates selected de Caster in the 2000 Minor League Rule 5 Draft.� He spent most of 2001 with Hickory, and the rest of 2001 plus 2002 and 2003 with Lynchburg.� In his time in Lynchburg, he hit .235 AVG, with 28 HR and 122 RBI.� He advanced to Altoona for the 2004 season, where his hitting improved to a .270 AVG with 15 HR and 42 RBI.� He took most of the month of August away from the Curve in order to participate in the Olympics.�
De Caster spent both the 2005 and 2006 seasons with the Indianapolis Indians, and both years he was named the team’s Most Versatile Player.� He moves easily between first, second, and third bases, and left and right field, and plays all these positions well.� In both seasons, he led the team in number of games played.� He was second and third (in respective seasons) in RBI, second and first in hits, and first and second in doubles.� Over the two years, he hit for a .276 AVG, with 53 doubles, 22 HR,�and 112 RBI.��He made his MLB debut in May 2006, when he�was called up to the Pirates for a few days to fill in for Jose Bautista who was on the bereavement list.� He played in two more games for the Pirates in another short stint in�June, but was unable to record a hit.� De Caster has played for Oriente in the Venezuelan Winter League for the past two winter seasons, and�was named the Winter Player of the Year for 2005, when he hit .325 AVG with 17 HR and�47 RBI.
�De Caster�is a non-roster invitee to the Pirates’�spring training camp.� He has made 11 appearances in Grapefruit League games,�as usual playing several different postions.� He has hit .333 AVG, with one RBI.� Manager Jim Tracy is known to value players who�are versatile enough to play�several postions.� This could be key for�de Caster.� He is most likely to start the 2007 season in Indianapolis, where he is a fan favorite — the longest lines on Autograph Night are always at his table — but with his ability to play all over the field could earn him another trip to Pittsburgh.�
OTHER NOTES — The Indy Indians announced today a “guarantee” of warm weather for their home opener on April 5th.� If the game-time temperature at 2 pm on Thursday April 5th is not 60 degrees or above, then everyone in attendance will receive a free ticket to another Indians’ home game in April.� Hmmm …. first week of April in Central Indiana….. well, the temps could be over 60…. but they could just as easily be in the 30′s.� Or anywhere in between.�
Onward with analysis of the trades that brought in members of the 1979 Pirates. The Trade On December 7, 1976 the Pirates sent Craig Reynolds and Jimmy Sexton to the Mariners for Grant Jackson The Background Bob Moose, who had both started and relieved in his career, pitched primarily in relief in 1976. He was killed in a car accident that off season, leaving the Pirates both saddened and in need of relief help. Enter Grant...
Pirates 3, Red Sox 2. Pirates.com recap here. If you’re reading the transcript after the conclusion of the game, you’ll want to start from the bottom and work your way to the top. 3:08: Live box. BOTTOM OF THE SEVENTH 3:07: Andrew strikes out on yet another full count. I’m due for a seventh inning stretch, I think, but I’ll be back for the recap later. 3:04: Neil Walker works the count, then pokes one out to...