I’ve spent a lot of time the last few weeks working on the stuff you don’t see on the site. Specifically I’ve been preparing for all of the arrangements for the upcoming playoff coverage, along with getting the 2015 Prospect Guide set up. As I discovered last year, when the team you cover makes the playoffs, it can eliminate about a third of the time you have to work on the book.
With instructs starting this week, I wanted to see what information I still needed for the book. I spent a bit of time working on that tonight, until the point when I looked up, saw it was 3 AM, and realized that I have this nightly article where I usually give a few thoughts, and that article wasn’t done. So here are two quick thoughts I had today, before I get my five hours of sleep and head over to Pirate City for instructs tomorrow morning. I’ll be having reports from there for the next week or two, until I leave to cover the post-season.
**How good has Russell Martin been this year? After tonight’s game, Martin has a 5.0 WAR. That’s a win shy of Andrew McCutchen’s team-leading 6.0 WAR, although it doesn’t include the value that Martin brings with his pitch framing, game calling, and work with the pitching staff. You could easily make the argument that Martin has been the MVP of the team this year, and an MVP candidate in the league. That wouldn’t be a slight to McCutchen, who is having an amazing season. It would be a testament to how good Martin has been.
**Earlier today I posted the latest playoff odds, which pretty much had the Pirates as a lock for the post-season. After tonight’s win against Milwaukee, the magic number is down to five, and that number could go down in a hurry if they keep winning at the rate they’re going. I pointed out in the article that the division seems unlikely, since the Cardinals have a fairly easy schedule in the final week. That said, getting home field in the Wild Card game isn’t totally out of the question. The Giants have a difficult stretch, including three games against the Dodgers to start next week. Meanwhile, the Pirates play the Brewers and Braves (two teams that are fading), and the Reds (a team that already faded). It’s very possible that the Wild Card game could be played in Pittsburgh for the second year in a row.
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