Pearce, Bayliss Face New Challenges After Promotions

Two young Pirates got the calls they’d been waiting for on Sunday.� The organization’s hottest hitter, Steve Pearce, and one of its many bullpen prospects, Jonah Bayliss, each were moved up a level.
Pearce, 24, will be playing at Triple-A Indianapolis after starting the 2007 season with High-A Lynchburg as only a marginal prospect.� Pearce had an on-base plus slugging percentage of 1.279—absolutely monstrous—with the Hillcats through 75 at-bats, prompting the Pirates to move him to Double-A Altoona.� With the Curve, Pearce hit .334 with 14 home runs and 72 RBI in 287 at-bats.� With an OPS of .984—and a bevy of drooling scouts gawking at his every swing—it was time to see what he can do at the next level.
I wrote last week that I was worried Pearce’s power (as a pull hitter) wouldn’t translate well to the spacious gap in left-center field at PNC Park.� We’ll see how much water that argument holds soon enough, as Victory Field in Indianapolis is built bigger to left field, too.� It’s just 320 feet to the wall down the third-base line, but the left-center gap is 418 feet away from home—a good 50 feet farther than at Blair County Ballpark.
Bayliss, 26, was promoted not for his strong performance, but instead out of necessity.� He takes the roster spot vacated by John Van Benschoten, and will assume the long-relief role of Tony Armas, who now shifts into the rotation.� The Pirate pitching staff continues to play musical chairs.
Bayliss has been scored upon in six of his 10 July outings for the Indians.� He has worked more than an inning six times, too, after throwing just 34.2 innings in 38 appearances with the Pirates this season.� He clearly needs a little more work—he’s walked eight batters in 15.1 Triple-A innings—but since Jesse Chavez and Franquelis Osoria aren’t on the 40-man roster, Bayliss was the best possible option readily available.

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Former Buc Bill Robinson Found Dead Sunday

Bill Robinson, a corner infielder and outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirate teams of the 1970s, was found dead in his hotel room Sunday. Robinson, 64, had been serving as a minor-league instructor for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Robinson, who also played with the Braves, Yankees and Phillies in his 16-year major-league career, was a regular on the 1979 team that won the World Series. Randy Linville took a look at Robinson’s career...

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Game #103 at Phillies; Ian Snell, Please Show Up

Citizens Bank Park | 1:35 | Snell vs. Kyle Kendrick | Box The good news is that Ian Snell threw a quality start, allowing 3 runs in 6 innings while striking out 7 Phillies. The bad news is that Kyle Kendrick did too: The rookie right-hander tossed seven innings of one-hit ball, an up-and-down Philadelphia bullpen held Pittsburgh scoreless over the final two frames, and the Phillies finished off a sweep of their Keystone State rivals,...

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JVB Back to Indy; Who’s Pitching for the Indians?

The Associated Press is reporting that the Pirates optioned John Van Benschoten back to Indianapolis this afternoon, but have yet to make a corresponding roster move.
With Shawn Chacon, Salomon Torres and Damaso Marte all being mentioned in trade talks, the Pirates’ pitching staff is relatively short-handed. Trading three relievers (without receiving any in return) would blow a hole wide open in the major-league bullpen. More than likely, the arms at Indianapolis would be asked to fill out the 12-man staff.
Let’s look at what the Indian relievers have been doing this season to better gauge who might have earned a promotion:

 

IP

ERA

H

BB

K

Jonah Bayliss

15.1

6.46

17

8

11

Jesse Chavez

62.0

3.34

69

15

48

Marty McLeary

80.1

3.81

72

38

59

Franquelis Osoria

51.2

2.44

48

17

31

Juan Perez

37.2

5.26

39

17

37

Brian Rogers

45.2

3.94

35

24

41

Josh Sharpless

46.2

4.05

43

33

46

Michael Tejera

83.1

3.78

83

30

46

John Wasdin

35.1

6.37

43

3

40

The first thing that jumps out is what seems to be a lack of control from every pitcher in the Pirates’ organization. Our major-league club can’t throw strikes; look at the ratios here, too. Too many walks.
The San Diego Padres just acquired three pitchers from the Milwaukee Brewers in a trade for Scott Linebrink. All three were somewhat unremarkable minor-league arms with questionable “stuff.” What’s undeniable, though, is that they all fill up the zone with strikes.
Kevin Towers, the Padres’ general manager, realizes that if a pitcher has control, you can teach him how to survive in professional baseball. (Look at Trevor Hoffman.) What the Pirates don’t seem to understand is that if a pitcher has no clue where the ball’s going, he’s not going to have much success.
That being said, Jesse Chavez and Wasdin stick out as pitchers who have a good bit of control. Chavez is a kid who, if he were on the 40-man roster, almost certainly would’ve gotten a shot by now. Wasdin’s had his cup of coffee and got shelled. He’s only walked three batters in Triple-A because everything he puts over the plate gets hammered.
As the Pirates retool their roster over the next few days, I’d think they’d take a long look at Chavez and Franquelis Osoria, the only young relievers we haven’t seen in Pittsburgh this year. It might be time to test both at the next level.
John Wasdin, Marty McLeary and Michael Tejera could be used to eat innings, too, as they’re nothing more than veteran filler. Jim Tracy could throw these three to the dogs every other day without feeling too badly about the situation.
All five would need to be added to the 40-man roster before being called up to Pittsburgh.
Jonah Bayliss, Juan Perez, Brian Rogers and Josh Sharpless are all on the 40-man, but probably aren’t ready to return to the show. Hopefully Dave Littlefield will be able to manage his roster such that a player’s development isn’t sacrificed for a short-term fix.

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JVB Back to Indy; Who’s Pitching for the Indians?

The Associated Press is reporting that the Pirates optioned John Van Benschoten back to Indianapolis this afternoon, but have yet to make a corresponding roster move.
With Shawn Chacon, Salomon Torres and Damaso Marte all being mentioned in trade talks, the Pirates’ pitching staff is relatively short-handed. Trading three relievers (without receiving any in return) would blow a hole wide open in the major-league bullpen. More than likely, the arms at Indianapolis would be asked to fill out the 12-man staff.
Let’s look at what the Indian relievers have been doing this season to better gauge who might have earned a promotion:

 

IP

ERA

H

BB

K

Jonah Bayliss

15.1

6.46

17

8

11

Jesse Chavez

62.0

3.34

69

15

48

Marty McLeary

80.1

3.81

72

38

59

Franquelis Osoria

51.2

2.44

48

17

31

Juan Perez

37.2

5.26

39

17

37

Brian Rogers

45.2

3.94

35

24

41

Josh Sharpless

46.2

4.05

43

33

46

Michael Tejera

83.1

3.78

83

30

46

John Wasdin

35.1

6.37

43

3

40

The first thing that jumps out is what seems to be a lack of control from every pitcher in the Pirates’ organization. Our major-league club can’t throw strikes; look at the ratios here, too. Too many walks.
The San Diego Padres just acquired three pitchers from the Milwaukee Brewers in a trade for Scott Linebrink. All three were somewhat unremarkable minor-league arms with questionable “stuff.” What’s undeniable, though, is that they all fill up the zone with strikes.
Kevin Towers, the Padres’ general manager, realizes that if a pitcher has control, you can teach him how to survive in professional baseball. (Look at Trevor Hoffman.) What the Pirates don’t seem to understand is that if a pitcher has no clue where the ball’s going, he’s not going to have much success.
That being said, Jesse Chavez and Wasdin stick out as pitchers who have a good bit of control. Chavez is a kid who, if he were on the 40-man roster, almost certainly would’ve gotten a shot by now. Wasdin’s had his cup of coffee and got shelled. He’s only walked three batters in Triple-A because everything he puts over the plate gets hammered.
As the Pirates retool their roster over the next few days, I’d think they’d take a long look at Chavez and Franquelis Osoria, the only young relievers we haven’t seen in Pittsburgh this year. It might be time to test both at the next level.
John Wasdin, Marty McLeary and Michael Tejera could be used to eat innings, too, as they’re nothing more than veteran filler. Jim Tracy could throw these three to the dogs every other day without feeling too badly about the situation.
All five would need to be added to the 40-man roster before being called up to Pittsburgh.
Jonah Bayliss, Juan Perez, Brian Rogers and Josh Sharpless are all on the 40-man, but probably aren’t ready to return to the show. Hopefully Dave Littlefield will be able to manage his roster such that a player’s development isn’t sacrificed for a short-term fix.

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Van Benschoten Down, Armas to Enter Rotation

Per the AP: The Pittsburgh Pirates sent John Van Benschoten to Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday, a day after the right-hander lost his fifth straight decision. … The Pirates plan to make a roster move Sunday to replace Van Benschoten. Tony Armas Jr. will take his spot in the rotation and start Wednesday night against St. Louis. With deadline deals possibly in the works, I suppose it makes sense to wait to make a roster move...

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