Can James McDonald Be More Like the First Half Pitcher From 2012?

Last night James McDonald got off to a great start for the 2013 season. The right-hander pitched seven innings, giving up one run on two hits, with two walks and four strikeouts. McDonald didn’t always look as good as the stat line. In the early innings he looked a bit shaky, but the Cubs didn’t capitalize on anything. Soon enough he settled down, taking away any opportunity for Chicago. Probably one of the biggest...

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Pirates Pregame: McCutchen Making Moves on the Base Paths

Last season the Pittsburgh Pirates finished last in the National League with 73 stolen bases. Andrew McCutchen led the club with 20 stolen bases, but that was down from 23 in 2011. So far this season, McCutchen has two stolen bases in as many games and said being more aggressive while on base has been a point of emphasis for him entering the 2013 season. “I’m just trying to get to the next bag because I have the speed to...

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Can Zack Dodson Bounce Back From His 2012 Season?

Zack Dodson has had two years worth of set backs in low-A. In 2011 he missed half the season with a broken hand. He did have good numbers when healthy, but only made 13 starts at the level. Dodson returned to West Virginia in 2012 and saw some struggles. In 2011 he had a 2.66 ERA in 66.2 innings, with a 6.2 K/9 and a 2.0 BB/9. In 2012 he had a 4.86 ERA in 100 innings, with a 6.0 K/9 and a 3.6 BB/9. The lefty entered the 2012 season...

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How Did Vic Black Get His Unusual Delivery?

The majority of Pirates fans haven’t had many chances to see Vic Black pitch. They’ve probably seen the numbers, highlighted by a 1.65 ERA and an 85:29 K/BB ratio in 60 innings in Altoona last year. They might have heard of his fastball, which usually sits in the 96-98 MPH range, and has touched triple digits. He’s been on top prospect lists, is named as one of the top relief prospects in the system, and was added to...

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Pirates Projected Among NL’s Top Four Benches

When we last left the Pirates’ pinch hitters, they were bringing down the team’s offense with an astounding lack of punch. The Pirates hit .176 in pinch-hitting situations last season, with just two home runs in 227 at-bats, both second to last in the National League. The main culprits in the Bucs’ dreadful hitting off the bench were the players that got the most pinch-hit chances: Josh Harrison (4-for-29), Jeff...

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The Transformation of Phil Irwin From a 21st Round Pick to a Legit Prospect

When the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Phil Irwin, he was known as the other pitcher from Mississippi in the 2009 draft. The Pirates also selected Nate Baker in the 5th round that year. Baker and Irwin were the number two and three starters in the Ole Miss rotation in 2009, with the ace of the staff being 2010 first rounder Drew Pomeranz. Irwin was taken in the 21st round. A college pitcher taken in the 21st round usually doesn’t...

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