Downfall of the Fam-A-Lee – Part 15

In 1981 the Pirates failed to win either half of the regular season and finished in last place in the second half with a sad 21-33 record. Both the offense and pitching finished near the middle of the NL pack in runs per game. The club acquired a new second baseman in Johnny Ray. An aging Willie Stargell had been replaced at first base by Jason Thompson. What other off season and in-season moves were made to put the club into...

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Bucs Killed Kendall's Career Thru Overuse

It’s hard not to look at Jason Kendall’s awful 2007 numbers and claim that such sharp drop isn’t uncommon for catchers that are about his age. I’m hopeful he can turn it around in Wrigley, help the Cubs to the playoffs and be a post-season hero. But I doubt it. Kendall just turned 33 last month, but is a shadow of the player he once was. When he came up with the Bucs in 1996 as a 22 year old, he didn’t...

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Game #100 at Mets; Live Blog as Perez Faces Bucs

Shea Stadium | 12:10 | Maholm vs. Oliver Perez | Box You didn’t see this one coming. Don’t lie. Oliver Perez was dominant through five and it looked like New York was well on its way to a series sweep. But Paul Maholm threw yet another quality start, shaky Mets defense opened a door, and the Pirates took the set’s finale, 8-4. Ollie was cruising until glovework (including his own) let him down. Two botched bunt plays...

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Linebrink Deal Sets Value for Pirate Arms on Market

Wednesday night, the San Diego Padres dealt relief pitcher Scott Linebrink, a coveted commodity on the trade market, to the Milwaukee Brewers for three minor-league arms. This isn’t the type of trade that has much sex appeal, even though Linebrink’s name had long been mentioned in talk surrounding the Red Sox and Yankees. But to Pirate fans, it should be intriguing. At this year’s deadline, Dave Littlefield will be...

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Will Steve Pearce’s Power Translate to Pittsburgh?

I was looking at Steve Pearce’s First Inning profile today, brimming with enthusiasm over the Pirates’ first power-hitting prospect since Brad Eldred. I got to thinking about how Pearce’s minor-league power will translate to PNC Park.
Take a quick look at where Pearce pelts the pill. The chart comes courtesy of FirstInning.com.

He’s the definition of a pull hitter. When Pearce is at the plate, it’s as if the first and second baseman and right fielder could all head to the dugout. Everything he hits is headed to the left side or up the middle.
At Blair County Ballpark, that’s fine—the Curve’s home accommodates his stroke, at just 325 feet down the left-field line and 365 to the left-center gap.
Pearce has hit eight of his 12 Double-A homers at home, despite having only 17 percent more plate appearances there (171 PA at BCB as opposed to 141 on the road).
I’m not sure how far those balls have been traveling, as I haven’t had a chance to see Pearce with my own eyes (other than a brief appearance at the All-Star Futures Game televised on ESPN). Perhaps he’s launching bombs halfway to Harrisburg, in which case I’d be making a stink unnecessarily.
What I’m worried about, though, is how Pearce’s power will eventually translate to PNC Park’s expansive left field.

It might be a little too early to be seriously concerned, but it’s something to consider: Could Pearce possibly be more effectively used as a trade chip, with the Pirates already in possession of first baseman Adam LaRoche, a left-handed hitter capable of assaulting a short porch, the Roberto Clemente wall in right field?
With so little power in the system, it’d be hard to send him off—but would Pearce be able to put up an impressive slugging percentage playing 81 games a year at a home park that doesn’t cater to his swing?

Read More

Will Steve Pearce’s Power Translate to Pittsburgh?

I was looking at Steve Pearce’s First Inning profile today, brimming with enthusiasm over the Pirates’ first power-hitting prospect since Brad Eldred. I got to thinking about how Pearce’s minor-league power will translate to PNC Park.
Take a quick look at where Pearce pelts the pill. The chart comes courtesy of FirstInning.com.

He’s the definition of a pull hitter. When Pearce is at the plate, it’s as if the first and second baseman and right fielder could all head to the dugout. Everything he hits is headed to the left side or up the middle.
At Blair County Ballpark, that’s fine—the Curve’s home accommodates his stroke, at just 325 feet down the left-field line and 365 to the left-center gap.
Pearce has hit eight of his 12 Double-A homers at home, despite having only 17 percent more plate appearances there (171 PA at BCB as opposed to 141 on the road).
I’m not sure how far those balls have been traveling, as I haven’t had a chance to see Pearce with my own eyes (other than a brief appearance at the All-Star Futures Game televised on ESPN). Perhaps he’s launching bombs halfway to Harrisburg, in which case I’d be making a stink unnecessarily.
What I’m worried about, though, is how Pearce’s power will eventually translate to PNC Park’s expansive left field.

It might be a little too early to be seriously concerned, but it’s something to consider: Could Pearce possibly be more effectively used as a trade chip, with the Pirates already in possession of first baseman Adam LaRoche, a left-handed hitter capable of assaulting a short porch, the Roberto Clemente wall in right field?
With so little power in the system, it’d be hard to send him off—but would Pearce be able to put up an impressive slugging percentage playing 81 games a year at a home park that doesn’t cater to his swing?

Read More