Our Latest Posts

17 March 2009

News, Notes, and Buried Treasures 2.0

  • The Bucs Spring Training record is 10-7-2.
  • Andy LaRoche continues to lead all of Major league Baseball with a batting average of .538.
  • Craig Monroe leads MLB with 6 homeruns. He went bonkers on March 12th against the Minnesota Twins hitting 3 homeruns. The Pirates spring training homerun record is 8, by Craig Wilson in 2005.
  • The Bucs pitching has struggled as of late, more so in part due to younger players getting looks as bullpen possibilities. It’s not that teams are smashing the ball, it’s more a sign of pitchers not hitting the strike zone and allowing batters to gain the base paths by way of walks. The Bucs pitching staff is currently ranked 14th in team era at 4.79 but 2nd in opponent batting average at .239. The Bucs have given up the 4th most walks with 72.
  • Roster moves are soon to be coming at a rapid pace as we are now less than 3 weeks until opening day. Eight players were reassigned on March 16th to minor league camp and designated to their minor league teams. Third baseman Pedro Alvarez and RHP Ronald Uviedo were designated to high Single A - Lynchburg. Catcher Steve Lerud and RHP Jeff Sues were sent to AA Altoona. RHP Jimmy Barthmaier, P Daniel McCutchen, 2B Shelby Ford, and RHP Juan Mateo were sent to AAA Indianapolis.
  • Monroe vs. Morgan - The left field starting position battle might just be heating up. Morgan, who I previously outlined in a my season preview/lineup project post on March 9th, has not been doing a whole lot, while Craig Monroe as stated above is leading MLB in homeruns this spring. The 2 players offer a different dynamic to the lineup. Morgan is going to bring speed and lots of it. He will have the legs to cover the large left field at PNC park as well as provide a jumpstart to the top of the lineup. Monroe brings a much needed power bat from the right side of the plate, something the Pirates desperately need. Up until this point, Monroe was penciled in as bench player getting spot starts, however, if it his bat continues to whack balls over the wall, the management group and manager John Russell will have no choice but to get that bat in the lineup on a daily basis. Eye witness accounts however have been critical of Monroe’s hustle and that ultimately might spell trouble for him gaining that starting nod.
  • Brandon Moss Injury Update - Brandon is making great progress and could be playing in a Spring training game as soon as Thursday of this week. The thumb sprain/bruise is holding up and healing well. On Monday he took swings in the batting cage and today planned to participate in batting practice. If that went well, another round of batting practice would occur on Wednesday and game play on Thursday. This is outstanding news, as some speculated if he would be ready for the April 6th opener in St. Louis.
  • Hinske Returns - Eric Hinske who has been out of action since Feb. 26th with a left rib cage injury played in a minor league game on Monday and was expected to return to the lineup Wednesday as a designated hitter.
  • The Pirates had 14 players within their system taking part in the World Baseball classic. Four players from their major league roster were involved and until last night all remained “alive” as second round play continues. The one player not remaining in tournament play is infielder Luis Cruz for Mexico. Those remaining are pitcher Ian Snell and infielder Ramon Vazquez for Puerto Rico, and relief pitcher John Grabow for the USA. Puerto Rico and the USA were playing this evening in an elimination game, ensuring that at least one of those 3 remaining players will be returning to Pirates City in Florida after tonight.
  • When was the last time the Pirates minor league system was anything but the bottom of the barrel? The last known prospect to come thru the Pirates minor league system was Aramis Ramirez in 1997 and we all know what and where that lead to. Hardball Times recently ranked all 32 MLB teams minor league systems, basing each teams ranking on players within the top 100 prospects in MLB. The Pirates routinely and almost expectedly are usually in the bottom half of the league, until this year! Our Bucco’s came in at #11! Three players are among the top 100 in baseball and they are Pedro Alvarez (12), Andrew McCutchen (19), and Jose Tabata (60). The only bad news, had the Pirates and Dave Littlefield in 2007 drafted Orioles superstar catcher Matt Wieters, the Bucs would be a top 5 minor league system. Neil Huntington and Frank Coonley need a pat on the back for acquiring 2 of those 3 players under their short time her in the ‘burgh.
  • Props to HEINZ77 for his earlier post on his first hand account of the future of Bucco’s baseball. I had a small snippet ready to go on that occasion, but he did well enough for me to leave it alone.
  • Upcoming game(s) on TV - Saturday March 21 vs. Cincinnati Reds 1:05pm on FSN Pittsburgh and MLB.TV.

No comments:

Post a Comment