Pirates Talk With David Todd: Hanson, Ramirez, Taillon, Kingham, Richard, Worley

I was on 970 ESPN in Pittsburgh this afternoon for my weekly segment with David Todd. The podcast can be heard below. Here is a summary of what we talked about this week, along with links to relevant articles.

**We discussed Alen Hanson, and how he has been lost in the mix this Spring. I wrote about what Hanson has been working on, and what he needs to do to reach the majors this year. He’s got a chance to arrive this year, but needs to find consistency with the bat. He has the hitting skills to eventually be a starting second baseman.

**I wrote last week about how Harold Ramirez has been dealing with conditioning issues. He’s back in games now, and should be ready close to the start of the season. We talked about the trend with conditioning problems with Luis Heredia and Ramirez.

**We discussed the rehab progress for Jameson Taillon and Clay Holmes, who are both returning from Tommy John, and who will both be pitching in games in extended Spring Training.

**David wanted to hear about Nick Kingham’s status this Spring. I wrote about him last week, noting that he was working on improving his two-seam fastball this year. David asked if he will make his debut this year, and I think he absolutely will.

**We discussed the Clayton Richard news today, and whether he will arrive in the majors this year with the Pirates (I say yes). David asked about the Indianapolis rotation, and I forgot to answer after talking about Richard. Right now the rotation looks to have Kingham, Adrian Sampson, Casey Sadler, Chris Volstad, and one more starter, which might be Jeremy Bleich to start the year. Eventually Richard will join the mix, and Taillon could be there by the middle of the year.

**We discussed the decisions this week to send down John Holdzkom, and to go with Jeff Locke over Vance Worley in the rotation. I agree with the Holdzkom decision because of what Arquimedes Caminero has shown. I disagree with the Worley/Locke decision, because I think Worley is the better starter.

**David, on the site moving to a subscription site: “The rates are cheap. It’s absolutely worth every penny of it. Can’t endorse it fully enough.” You can subscribe to the site here, with rates below $2.50 per month, or less than one cup of coffee per month.

  • I remember the way Jeff Locke started a season the last time A.J Burnett was on his team.. Jeff Locke was our ace no joke for a for the firt half of 2013. I remeber him being nearly unhittable. I do not think he will ever be able to maintain that kind of success. He was an all-star that summer. I just remember thinking we were going to get crushed when he pitched for a while but then he kept putting up 1 run,2 run games. It was great. I would take a half like that from Jeff Locke for a second half where he falls apart and is replaced by a Richard,Taillon,Kingham,or Worley

    • Jeff Locke was never unhittable. He constantly put men on base but he most always worked his way out of jams the first half of the 2013 season . That is why we all felt he was going to get crushed for a while. Then we all started to believe after he made the all star team. He’s never been the same since

  • I wonder if Mr Williams ever has a chance to see the big club in person with his busy schedule especially now that he’s going to be doing even more work with the site going to subscription? Just wondering….

  • pilbobuggins
    April 2, 2015 12:03 am

    It appears to me that going locke over worley is more about lockes fragile ego than it is about who is the better pitcher overall. Locke will probably be his usual good not great self to start the season before the wheels fall off and worley has to step in.

    • Luke sutton
      April 2, 2015 3:38 am

      Even for rather subjective ideas, this one has no merit. Locke has a fragile ego because the team went with him over Worley? Harp on the team and its process in making that move, dont conjure up an issue with the player.

      • pilbobuggins
        April 2, 2015 1:53 pm

        Hi luke, how are you today? Hope everything is well in your world where truth is not self-evident and everything has a lovely rose shade to it. Anyway be safe and have a great day. : )

        • Luke sutton
          April 2, 2015 5:07 pm

          Lol c’mon, you know what you said was nonsensical. I love discussing Pirates issues with those with varying viewpoints, but you literally created an issue with Locke because you disagree with him getting a roster spot. What a huge ego Polanco must have since they traded Snider and allowed Polanco to take over RF, he must be fragile.

          • pilbobuggins
            April 3, 2015 1:48 am

            Not really luke, it’s pretty evident that he lacks confidence. Any kind of adversity or setback during a game and the wheels fall off and stay off for a good while. Baseball is a mostly mental game and mental toughness is a very real and tangible part of the game if not the most important part of the game.

            • Luke sutton
              April 3, 2015 2:15 am

              Also one of the toughest to quantify beyond “i see him and i know what toughness looks like” type evaluations. You say its clear he lacks confidence, yet i could get 10 people in a room that bring back 6 different opinions that vary from you. I really dont see him struggling with adversity in the way you describe. He doesnt often start off fine and then boom suck. Its usually very clear early on when Locke is in bad form.

              All the long tired talks about what Locke is and, for me, its pretty simple. Locke has decent “stuff”and pitches the corners trying to induce weak contact and get guys to chase. Which gives him little room for error with his command and with the umps zone….which leads to his inconsistencies. He basically alternated good month-bad month last year, which seems about what to expect. A useful back end arm to have, but not one that will make ya fall in love over an entire year.

              Last year, overall he was poor in the 1st inning (4.71 ERA, .286 BA) and the 6th (5.74 ERA, .290 BA) yet was sub 4 ERA and .270 BA or below in the 2nd-5th innings. Those stats show a guy who, when struggling does so early yet more often than not can settle down the first time or two through the order. As well as a guy who doesnt do well the 3rd time through the order near the 6th inning.

              • pilbobuggins
                April 3, 2015 12:05 pm

                Your right about that luke and you bring up a valid point, the problem could very well be that locke is not scared but poed the results are the same either way though. Losing your cool or rabbiting the results in this case are the same.

                • But if the stats clearly show he settles down after early struggles…..how the bleeping bleep is that losing his cool? Bad first inning, decent stuff 2-5 and then the 6th hits him. That aint a guy with a mental issue….its a guy who for whatever reason struggles in the 1st, is able to be productive after he gets out of that until about the 3rd time. Locke isnt a mentally weak option or loses his cool….he just doesnt have great stuff and is a typical back of rotation arm.

                  • pilbobuggins
                    April 3, 2015 12:36 pm

                    I agree with that luke, it just goes too show how frustrating it can be to find a solution to this. I’m sure the pirates coaches have had similar conversations on this subject. A good thing from all this is that the pirates long relief is a whole lot better than it was last year with mainly pimentel due to worley being in the pen. And one last thing I forgot to mention, it is a mental issue all of baseball is a mental issue, baseball is a mental game.

                  • pilbobuggins
                    April 3, 2015 12:46 pm

                    Luke you seem to be a smart guy with computers so let me ask you this, how do I get my pp account and my discus account on the same page? When I paid for pp last night it logged me in under my real name and diplayed it in the discussion, yet when I log in here it goes to pilbo. I don’t mind folks knowing my name I’m just kinda partial to pilbo.

                  • pilbobuggins
                    April 4, 2015 7:34 pm

                    Calm down,take a deep breath and look at this from a different angle. Then and only then can you put your feet on the path to enlightenment. Be happy my friend I’m rooting for you.

    • Lee Foo Young
      April 3, 2015 9:25 am

      Pilbo…I’m with Luke. In fact, all I’ve ever read is how much of a battler Locke is.

      You’re about as close to being right on this as Honolulu is to Pittsburgh.

      • pilbobuggins
        April 3, 2015 12:11 pm

        You and luke may be right, falling apart does not have to mean that he is scared maybe his problem is he gets mad and ” battles” to much. What I’ve seen is that when locke gets in a jam he becomes a different pitcher, it could very well be that he is simply trying to hard.

  • About the AAA rotation what’s up with AJ Morris? Does he have a shot at it?