Gerrit Cole is a one-trick pony, right now, but it’s a good trick

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SOUTH HILLS COMMAND CENTER - Gerrit Cole threw 81 pitches in his debut Tuesday, sixty-five were fastballs.

 

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was asked after the game if such a ratio – 80 percent fastballs – is a sustainable path to success.

 

Hurdle brushed off the question as if it was out of context. After all, Cole had left the game to a standing ovation, after a mostly dominant major league debut.

Continue reading Gerrit Cole is a one-trick pony, right now, but it’s a good trick

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Monday morning mop-up duty: what to do about the Pirates’ missing offense

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SOUTH HILLS COMMAND CENTER – Even if the Pirates’ pitching staff continues its excellent work, the Pirates’ offense is really bringing into question whether there is going to be meaningful baseball played in Pittsburgh in September.

 

The Pirates’ OPS has dipped below .700, now resting at .675 (12th in the NL). The Pirates have a .299 on-base percentage as a team (12th in the NL).

 

Those are truly anemic numbers and it’s now nearly the middle of June. Even a slight dip in pitching performance could yield significant regression without offensive improvement.

 

Continue reading Monday morning mop-up duty: what to do about the Pirates’ missing offense

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Where are Gerrit Cole’s strikeouts? … and wrapping up the draft

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SOUTH HILLS COMMAND CENTER -  When I traveled to Indianapolis earlier this week to catch up with Gerrit Cole for today’s feature I was curious to learn, like a lot of folks, why Cole was posting an average strikeout rate.

 

Cole leaves Indianapolis for his first Major League start Tuesday having struck out just 6.2 batters per nine innings in Triple-A.

 

For a player with Stephen Strasburg-like stuff, we have not seen Strasburg-like strikeouts.

 

Continue reading Where are Gerrit Cole’s strikeouts? … and wrapping up the draft

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About last night: evaluating a draft the morning after

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SOUTH HILLS COMMAND CENTER – A lot of folks say you cannot judge a draft  until years down the road. I agree you cannot form a final opinion until, you cannot form an “outcome” judgment until a significant portion of a player’s career has been observed.

 

But I think you can make immediate evaluations of “process” and philosophy in regard to a draft. After all, teams are drafting in real-time and making decisions in real-time and some are better than others. There is a skill to working a draft. (See: Cardinals, St. Louis.)

 

We cannot judge outcome, yet. That will take years. We can’t predict injuries, or at least not to a satisfactory degree. Makeup is hard to measure. But we can judge real-time process.

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The John Hart draft doctrine … Scouting Gerrit Cole … and is the Pirates’ bullpen really overworked?

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INDIANAPOLIS – Greetings from the crossroads of America where I’ve come to watch Charlie Morton throw a bullpen. OK, OK, I’m really here to watch Gerrit Cole pitch. More on that later.

 

But first, I wanted to talk some more MLB draft. I caught up with former Cleveland and Texas GM John Hart, a current MLB Network analyst, to chat for tomorrow’s draft preview.

 

Hart was the architect of one of the better rebuilding jobs in modern baseball history: turning around the Cleveland Indians from laughing stock to one of the best teams in baseball.

 

Continue reading The John Hart draft doctrine … Scouting Gerrit Cole … and is the Pirates’ bullpen really overworked?

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Monday morning mop-up duty: Huntington’s efficiency and draft talk

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SOUTH HILLS COMMAND CENTER – Neal Huntington entered the year, the offseason, viewed as an embattled GM.

 

The Pirates had posted five losing seasons under his watch, and while he inherited a mess in 2008, patience is at a minimum in the Steel City after two decades of losing.

 

But I think you can make the case that his last two seasons and offseasons have been among the best in baseball when it comes to finding bargain talent and reclamation projects, those acquisitions on the cheap are the main reason the Pirates are playing .614 baseball as of today.

Continue reading Monday morning mop-up duty: Huntington’s efficiency and draft talk

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Why it’s time for the Pirates to extend (or attempt to extend) Pedro Alvarez .. and what Clint said that dropped our jaws

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PNC PARK  –  “When people are greedy be fearful. When people are fearful be greedy,” – Warren Buffet.

 

In case you missed it, our own Rob Biertempfel caught up with superagent Scott Boras yesterday and broke the news that Boras is “open” to talking extension with Pirates about Pedro Alvarez.

 

Alvarez is an interesting case because he’s eligible for arbitration next year, meaning he’s about to become more expensive.

 

Continue reading Why it’s time for the Pirates to extend (or attempt to extend) Pedro Alvarez .. and what Clint said that dropped our jaws

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