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Taillon over Cole? And updating the Andrew Lambo project

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SOUTH HILLS – The Pirates paraded their front-of-the-rotation future before the good citizens of Dunedin, Fla. this afternoon, as Jameson Taillon followed Gerrit Cole on the mound. Spring training stats hold the value of Confederate currency, but Taillon did throw two clean innings.  He threw strikes. More interesting is what ESPN’s Jayson Stark passed along from one scout:

 

After watching Cole’s September and October, after watching him improve his velocity separation, pound the strike zone with 95-100 mph fastballs, pitch with no fear, miss bats, and showcase general beastliness, I assumed most in the baseball community would prefer Cole.

 

Now, perhaps the scout Stark spoke with had something of an outlier opinion. Perhaps he went on vacation after the end of the minor league seasons. But here’s the thing, it’s not the first time we’ve heard this assessment.

 

I’ve told this tale before, but when I was watching Cole’s last Triple-A start in Indy last June before he was called up, I sat with the scouts at Victory Field. One of the scouts on that day also said he preferred Taillon. Now remember at the time Cole wasn’t missing many bats, many were wondering why the results weren’t matching the raw stuff. But after Cole’s September and October when he averaged 10 strike outs per nine and was dominant in the season’s most critical stretch I figured most of those opinions had changed. But maybe not.

 

Maybe these opinions will remain static until we get more information on both pitchers. Maybe there’s not a clear 1 or 2 in the Cole-Taillon pecking order. (I still think there is .. Taillon cannot average 96 mph like Cole).

 

 

Taillon is a bit taller, a bit longer than Cole.  He can produce better extension. His breaking pitch has better shape and has been a more consistent offering and he also has an improved changeup. He has a bit of projection left. I prefer Cole, but I suppose I can see why some might prefer Taillon. (The scout noted to me that he thought Taillon had an awful defense behind him at Altoona, which affected his numbers).  Moreover, I don’t think the scouts were really knocking Cole.  More than anything they were envious of Cole-Taillon duo, which is perhaps the best 1-2 Under25 starting pitcher duo in baseball.

 

And just as Cole was something of a savior last June for the Pirates, Taillon might be required to be critical second-half reserve in 2014.

 

See you in June, Jameson.

 

UPDATING THE ANDREW LAMBO PROJECT 

 

Much of the focus surrounding the question of whether or not Andrew Lambo could be a legit platoon partner for Gaby Sanchez focused on whether or not  he could hit enough to be something of a league-average bat at first.  We have a very small sample size suggesting the power is real. We know he’ll strike out. That’s about it.

 

Not enough attention has been focused on defense, and on ThursdayLambo made several nice picks around the bag and generally acquitted himself adequately around the bag. That’s a big first step in the Andrew Lambo Project.

 

This is a big deal because if Lambo is to be a true platoon partner he’s going to see a lot of time in the field penciled in against right-handed pitching. If he has an average bat but below-average defense he’ll be a liability. If he has a below-average bat and a below-average glove, that’s a big problem. That means he is a below-replacement-level player and will hurt at team that figures to be on the contention bubble.

 

With 600 at bats, the Oliver projection thinks Lambo would hit 26 home runs, get on base at a .290 clip and strike out in a third of his plate appearances. I think that is all plausible. It’s harder to project the glove. But it appears Lambo passed his first test on Thursday. If he keeps it up, he lessons the need for a Justin Smoak, Ike Davis or Mitch Moreland. It’s a story line to watch this spring.

 

-TS

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Comments

  1. Nate83 says:

    Very exciting stuff about Taillon especially when added to how he pitched in the high pressure situation of the World Championships of Baseball last year. People forget that he would have just been drafted this year out of College and you are correct in saying he is still projectable. No need to compare him to Cole. They took different paths at different ages to get to this point. I’m just thankful they are both Pirates.

    Wouldn’t it be great if the best move was to make no move at first. To still have the 8-9 million they would have spent on Loney or prospects on Smoak, Lind, Davis will be nice. It’s early and I personally believe there is a better chance of Lambo not working out then there is that he sticks but early reports are a little encouraging. If his power is legit and translates to the major he can bat .250 and still have value.

  2. NMR says:

    Travis, you clearly haven’t been paying attention to Groat’s reports if you think people aren’t talking about Lambo’s defense. He may be able to pick, but his hands are far from SUPPLE. ;)

    You know the best news of Spring Training thus far? Absolutely no updates for the last week on Wandy Rodriguez. No news is good news.

  3. cmat0829 says:

    Seems to me the ‘readiness’ of Taillon is an underreported element of the AJB saga. No doubt that Jameson is on the “ColeTrain” and will be in the rotation in mid June. Knowing that, with Cole/Liriano/Morton and Taillon locks for the June rotation…. the attention then turned to Wandy. NH was consistent through the offseason saying they believed Wandy would be healthy and ready to pitch… so the starting pitching need was less of a ‘must have’ starter and more for a Wandy injury insurance. Yes, we know that you can never have enough pitching depth, but to me ‘being opportunistic’ was a reasonable approach to starting pitching in the offseason. That means either a risk/reward signing (Josh Johnson was the preferred, Volquez was the fallback) OR getting AJB back at a bargain.

    My only criticism of NH is not that they didn’t offer AJ the QO or try harder to pay him more to lure him farther away from the house… it is they didn’t sign someone like Maholm or Capuano as Wandy insurance. AJB, like him or love him, is not ‘insurance’. He demands the ball, wants to be the ace of the staff, and so you would have had perhaps an ugly situation if Wandy were healthy and Taillon came up in June. Yes, you can always trade someone, but what if AJ were struggling and note that tradeable….ugh, I shiver just thinking about it.

  4. cmat0829 says:

    1B is going to be interesting… how much ‘replacement value’ do we think Smoak, Davis or Moreland provide over Lambo projection or Gaby playing everyday? If Lambo can play at a Garrett Jones level at 1B (and he did get much better over time), then it will be all about the bat.

    I can’t imagine we are talking about more than 2 WAR, but yes, every game will count this year. A full season of Gerrit Cole, especially replacing the awful April starts of Jonny Sanchez, should make up the 2 WAR right there.

  5. Nate83 says:

    I think that is a good read on the situation cmat. They were willing to add depth at the right price but didn’t think they needed to do it in a risky type of way. They looked at it as a luxury instead of a need.

    I also would have rather Capuano instead of Volquez. Not as high on Maholm but would have been OK with that as well.

  6. cmat0829 says:

    i think there was room for both one lottery ticket (volquez or johnson) AND one insurance signing, especially if maholm or capuano would sign a minor league deal…. that’s the ultimate insurance with a packed bullpen.

    we also have reasonable depth here already , as insurance, locke, cumpton, and even someone like gomez.

  7. Ghost says:

    If Lambo can hit, it won’t matter how he fields.
    As for his fielding, he, indeed, looked good saving those plays, yesterday. But the real test for him would be day in, day out, delivering the goods. He just doesn’t have the experience / reps at first under his belt to be a consistent 1st bagger. Yet. If his bat plays, we’ll just have to take our lumps as he figures out the position on the fly. Would hardly be the first time a team did that. Again, it all really comes down to his bat.

  8. NMR says:

    Very good thoughts on 1B, cmat.

    One of the more amusing parts of offseason discussion revolving around projections was the insisatnce that Gaby would kill the club as an everyday 1B…despite not a single one of the replacement options projected to be even a 2 WAR player.

    Now I’m not a fan what-so-ever of absolute value use of projections, but they have value as ballpark figures. No matter how you look at it, the 1B options available just weren’t that much of an improvement.

    It’s tempting to bet on a Smoak or Davis breakout considering both have the talent to be much more, but the odds are long.

  9. NMR says:

    You really have to wonder about Capuano’s medicals.

  10. Chris says:

    “Spring training stats hold the value of Confederate currency…”
    Great line!

  11. He only has one gonad. Is that what you mean by medicals?

    One can never say, “If he had the balls, he’d pitch inside more.”

  12. I reported on Lambo’s defense for 10 straight days.

    He does not caress the ball into his glove.

  13. Great line by 24/7 in his report on Neil Walker: “Some stats wonks insist it would be better for Walker to give up switch-hitting.”

    I like 24/7′s writing more and more each day.

  14. Bizrow says:

    Seems like much more coverage on the PBC this year

    And good quality to boot

    Hi Frank

  15. Crematorium,

    Every fan LOVED AJ when he was screaming STFD.

    It’s amazing how many have assessed him a troubling attitude since BMTIB chose not to offer him appropriate recompense.

    “He’s a bad guy.” “His leadership may have turned sour.” “His bad attitude would have affected the rest of the rotation.” “There might be an ugly situation.”

    AJ Burnett was the Pirates’ best starting pitcher for 2 straight seasons. The Pirates do not make the 2013 post-season without AJ Burnett leading this staff.

    Luckily, this is the first time the Front Office has ever bungled negotiating ploys. Well, except for Sano. And for Pedro. And Matt Capps. And Tanner Scheppers. But they get credit for Josh Bell.

    Isn’t it amazing that the report always gets printed AFTERward that Bucs were “right there”: on Josh Johnson, on Santana, on Loney. Satisfied with 2nd Place. Or, satisfied to SAY they were in 2md Place! Even now Bucs FO seems to have conceded 1st Place to the Cardinals and are aiming at the 1-game Playoff again. 1st Place Cardinals have improved———Pirates have subtracted 2 big spots/players from beginning of last season, 3 big spots/players from end of season.

    That AJ Burnett could be dangerous!!!

  16. Bizrow says:

    Groat, Sir

    I must say I’m back to hope but expect.

    A missed opportunity by the BMTIB to really build

    The hope is that growth comes from within, nuttin came from the outside.

    That being said, you don’t spend simply to spend

    But, missing opportunity years

    Crap

  17. Jim S. says:

    First of all, regarding the scout who whispered sweet Taillons in Jason Stark’s ear … please be right, dude! :-)

    Next, on the 1b issue:

    Gaby vs. RHP the last 2 seasons:

    2013 – .204/.304/.315 (194 plate appearances)
    2012 – .207/.251/.315 (215 plate appearances)

    I see a disturbing trend there.

    On the other hand, Gaby vs. LHP the last 2 seasons:

    2013 – .333/.448/.539 (126 plate appearances)
    2012 – .240/.333/.396 (111 plate appearances)

    I sort of like that trend!

    Justin Smoak vs. RHP the last 2 seasons:

    2013 – .260/.361/.477 (357 plate appearances)
    2012 – .208/.282/.345 (347 plate appearances)

    I believe there was a bit of a mitigating circumstance for Smoak in 2012, in that Safeco was close to the toughest hitter’s park in MLB in 2012. I believe the fences were brought in last year, to make things a bit more fair for hitters, and he hit 18 HR off RHP in 357 plate appearances.

    So, would you not like a platoon of Smoak and Gaby more than a platoon of either Lambo and Gaby or Gaby and Gaby? I would. I believe Lambo may end up similar to Justin Smoak, but he is a couple of years behind in development and we are a playoff intender. Go get Smoak, NH!

    Now, I assume part of the problem is that Seattle has been giving Smoak 500 plate appearances the last few years. So, they are packaging him as a full-time starter. He is a switch hitter. But, we only need him to hit lefty, where he is better, for the most part. Being a switch hitter is a nice throw-in, but he is sort of like Walker in that he can only hit one way (lefty). Back to Seattle and Jack Z. If he is not making Smoak reasonable in a trade, I guess there is nothing NH can do. I don’t know that part. Smoak is not a superstar, of course. But, I’m thinking he could be the difference in, maybe, 2 more wins. That could be gigantic this season for our playoff hopes.

    It’s just my opinion, but I’d like them to get him, if possible, for a reasonable price. By that, I mean for something like Morris and Cumpton.

  18. Jim S. says:

    But, I watched an episode of Pawn Stars last week and Confederate money was worth a fortune! :-)

  19. Bizrow says:

    Morneau, at his price?

    That would have solved the problem??

  20. Bizrow says:

    I’m sayin, yup, btw

  21. Jim S. says:

    Or, at least a 90 MPH fastball.

  22. Jim S. says:

    Amen to the Wandy point, NMR.

  23. Jim S. says:

    But, Biz, he didn’t hit a lick for us last year. Drove in, I think, one run in all those ABs.

    If they had brought back Morneau just to hit vs. RHP, I guess maybe that could be as good as Smoak. But, he had starting on his mind this year again, and he found the one ballpark where he can probably still put up good full-time #’s.

    I wanted Loney, but that ship has sailed. I believe they offered what Tampa offered, essentially, and he stayed put. Also, I believe they offered a 3rd year. Tampa is pretty shrewd, but I thought the 3rd year was a bit of a stretch for him.

    Who knows.

  24. Goose says:

    Is it crazy to think they could sign Kartens if Wandy-Volquez-Locke don’t come thru?

  25. Don’t tell me about the labor pains . . . show me the baby!!

    Pirates always saying they offered as much or almost as much. Easy to say, “We almost had Josh Johnson!” “We came this close to getting James Loney.” “We offered AJ $12 mill ( and signed Edinson Volquez for $5 mill) but we did not want to go $14-15-16 million for AJ.”

    Wimps!!!!!!!

  26. Andrew says:

    Capuano had his 2nd UCL reconstruction and I read, do not remember where, that his sinker was extremely hittable, few whiffs and not a lot of grounders.

  27. Andrew says:

    NMR is right that the big half of the options for the big half of the platoon are not great, I like Moreland but need to see his triple slash line park adjusted.

    The problem with Smoak, not that the other options are better, is that he is a switch hitter and switch hitters, on average do not have platoon splits. And neither did Smoak before last year. How much do you buy last year, because you could be trading for a first baseman who has been below average hitter, over his career

    http://www.fangraphs.com/splits.aspx?playerid=9054&position=1B&page=8&split=lr&type=full

  28. Thundercrack says:

    Does Justin Smoak really make us more of a playoff contender and increase our ‘playoff hopes’?

    He’s a lifetime .227 hitter and struck out 26% of the time last season.

  29. Thundercrack says:

    Did they Pirates every come out and say what they actually offered Josh Johnson?

    I see what you are saying Groat, but they have signed some players and I think you are exaggerating a bit.

  30. Jim S. says:

    But, I only want him as a lefty hitter. That’s why I posted his lefty stats from last year. I think it was brutal hitting in Seattle until last year, and that depressed his offensive stats, TC.

    I’m not saying he’s a star, or anything near a sure thing. But, it is what it is at this point. There’s not a lot out there. I hope Lambo does well. I just happen to think a guy like Smoak might help us a bit more than Lambo.

  31. Jim S. says:

    I have wondered about that also. Is he still a free agent?

  32. Jim S. says:

    It’s a good point, Andrew. I thought something changed with Smoak last year. Part of it, I thought, was that the park became easier to hit in. And, maybe just maturation a bit. I realize I am grasping for something here, hoping last year was not an aberration.

  33. Jim S. says:

    But, if you do offer a guy like Johnson a better deal than he took to stay close to home, or his wife’s home, or whatever, what are you supposed to say?

  34. Jim S. says:

    Let me try to illustrate, as easily as possible, that hitting in Seattle got a whole lot easier in 2013. It still seemed like a fairly tough park to hit in, but much easier than previous years.

    Mariners offensive stats at home:

    2013 – .239 Avg., 130 doubles, 88 HR
    2012 – .220 Avg., 106 doubles, 56 HR

  35. Andrew says:

    All of the options are flawed, I like Moreland, best defensive option of frequently mentioned names, but he would be going from one of the better parks for left handed power to PNC which is in the bottom 3rd.

    You could be right that something changed; I do not watch much West Coast baseball, his FB% rate was up along with the power numbers. Smoak is also the more likely to be available if the Mariners sign Morales. And to answer Thunder’s question Sanchez has a career .309 wOBA versus RHP if the Pirates can get/or have a guy who can hit around .340 vs RHP over 450 PAs that is worth about 10 batting runs or 1 WAR.

  36. Andrew says:

    You are correct they altered the fences, but one year park factors can be tricky. I think someone on one of USSMariner had a similar observation that the park was a little less pitcher friendly in 2013.

  37. Danny Murtaugh says:

    Keep an eye on Chris McGuiness. So far, so good.

  38. Carlos Danger says:

    I’m not sure why given the obvious injury concerns but I think karstens would be a good addition for depth. Would he be willing to sign a minor league deal? I would think he would be getting desperate at this point. Also, will they have a platoon in right field before polanco gets the call? Or will Snyder be the everyday starter? I would love to see Snyder fulfill his potential. I still remember reading the description when we got him that he was “oozing with power”. Hope we get to see it while he is still a pirate.

  39. Ghost says:

    “Dripping.” Which DK never said, but to whom blame for this has nonetheless been assigned.

  40. Steelkings says:

    Locke looked REALLY good in his two innings.

  41. Steelkings says:

    Sano is going under the knife in a few days

  42. Steelkings says:

    The two names you are not allowed to mention on this blog without getting whacked are Byrd and Morneau

  43. NMR says:

    Jim,

    29 of those 32 additional home runs at home in 2013 were hit by Raul Ibanez and Kendrys Morales, players who weren’t on the 2012 team.

  44. Leo Walter says:

    cmat : They were never going to sign any pitcher that can’t break 90 mph,let alone sit in the low 90′s with their 4 seam. That should be fairly obvious by now. And neither of those two guys get close.

  45. Leo Walter says:

    Andrew : the ballpark in Texas wasn’t nearly as HR friendly last season as in the past. They adjusted the air flow.

  46. Leo Walter says:

    Jim : do you REALLY want to see Karstens walking up and down the dugout again ? He is a walking DL candidate.

  47. Leo Walter says:

    Just remember this : a left fielder at shortstop is never a good thing. Ozzy Smith said,and this is a quote : he ( Pheralta ) has great hands,but I don’t think we should expect a lot of range from him “.

  48. Leo Walter says:

    ” Yup ” what Bizrow ? Morneau’s bat speed is down so far that all you were going to see out of him were slap hits to Left Center. For $ 6 mil a year ???? No thanks.

  49. Steelkings says:

    Projected Starters

    Starling Marte
    Jordy Mercer
    Andrew McCutchen
    Pedro Alvarez
    Neil Walker
    Russell Martin
    Gaby Sanchez
    Jose Tabata

    Projected Bench

    Chris Stewart
    Clint Barmes
    Josh Harrison
    Andrew Lambo
    Travis Snider

    Projected Starting Rotation
    Francisco Liriano
    Gerrit Cole
    Wandy Rodriguez
    Charlie Morton
    Edinson Volquez

    Projected Bullpen
    Jason Grilli
    Mark Melancon
    Tony Watson
    Bryan Morris
    Justin Wilson
    Stolmy Pimentel
    Vin Mazzaro

    Lets say no one gets hurt. And no one really flames out in spring training. Here are my questions.

    1. Would the Pirates be willing to eat 5 Million to keep Locke on the 25 man?
    2. Obviously Snyder has no chance to stay longer than June. But there is 2 guys coming up. Who else goes?
    3. If the Buc’s trade for Smoak, Davis or Moreland, Does Lambo get cut?

  50. Steelkings says:

    I’ll comment on my own post. I think the Pirates are setting themselves up for a big trade. Not a Somebody for Smoak type deal. I mean a big trade. Something along the lines of Locke, Polanco and Morel for Gioncarlo Stanton. Who BTW continues to grumble in Miami about lack of competitiveness.

    That is just an example. I’m sure it wont happen, but the Pirates have an awful lot of 4H beef that is ready to bust out of the farm. Indianapolis is closing in on being a major league baseball team. Something has got to give.

  51. NMR says:

    Hey Steel, I’ll start with your first post…

    -I assume you’re referring to Edinson Volquez, the $5m man, being released in favor of Jeff Locke. I do not think they’d do that, at least not right out of camp.

    I think they’ll use Locke’s option as rotation depth in AAA, and yeah, that rotation is looking awfully deep. Consider an Indy rotation featuring Locke, Taillon, Cumpton, Irwin, and Kingham with the forgotten one – Kyle McPherson – back from TJ around mid season. Those guys are all legit big league depth.

    -Snider does look to be the odd man out when Polanco arrives, but Lambo can always be sent back to AAA. I assume the other guy coming up is Jameson Taillon, but that to me will be more need-based. If somehow the Opening Day rotation is healthy and performing, Volquez would be a good bet for the pen. Almost no chance all 7 guys will be healthy and pitching lights out.

    -As for the trade idea, you may be right (not gonna comment on specifics since I think you were just throwing names out to support your point). However, I’m not sure they’d be comfortable trading for a guy like Stanton who’s salary is about to explode in arbitration.

  52. RobertoForever says:

    Travis,

    As usual, great stuff. This time behind the scenes talk that provides access that few of us have. And for the record, you can write about Pirate contracts, possible contracts, possible trades, fantasy trade, playing field conditions, locker assignments, fish tank clean schedule – anything to do with our Pirates. And even non-Pirate stuff sometimes. I appreciate the consistent day in, day out coverage. Best in print, in my humble opinion.

    And wouldn’t it be a fine problem to have – debating whether Cole or Taillon is the aced of the best young pitching duo. Let’s hope we do!

    Can’t wait to see your coverage when you get in person next week.

  53. NMR says:

    Jim, take a look at Smoak’s batter ball profile from 2012. He had a higher proportion of pop ups than line drives. That’s the reason he was awful, and doesn’t have anything to do with fences.

    However, Smoak’s 2013 success does seem to be supported by an improved batted ball profile. For the first time in his career, his line drive rate was over 20% and pop up rate under 10%. He rolled less balls over on the ground and finally hit fly balls at a rate more typical of a power hitter. All signs that he was flat out hitting the ball harder, which could reasonably support the big BABIP and ISO jumps he saw. (All stats vs RHP, btw)

    So yeah, one could talk themselves into Smoak. Now the question is how much value do we put in one sample size that is smaller than the rest of the career. This question is the same one we must ask of Gaby Sanchez, but in reverse. Sanchez was .256/.329/.415 over 982 PA from ’10-’11, and .205/.315/.315 over 409 PA from ’12-’13.

    Now the fun part is watching this play out in real life.

    The only thing I’ll flat out disagree with is that Smoak could be worth 2 wins over the Pirates internal options. That seems wildly optomistic, considering Smoak was only worth .4 wins last year with the offensive performance you’re touting.

  54. Jim S. says:

    I just don’t see a big trade for the Bucs with them being on the receiving end of the established talent, Steel. They are the team that will be giving up the established talent in any deal like that.

  55. NMR says:

    Oh, and I really would like to find a way to keep Jeanmar Gomez in the organization. Seems like his stuff is actually starting to play up with his newfound approach with the Pirates.

  56. Jim S. says:

    You’re right, Leo. I’m just saying Karstens might not be bad to take a flyer on, and see what happens. In reality, they are deep enough in both AAA and Pgh to not need him. I just liked the guy. He didn’t have the arm, but he battled and was not afraid to go after guys. I wish Locke would take a page out of his book, from the left side.

    I’m rooting for a healthy Karstens somewhere in MLB again.

  57. Andrew says:

    Thanks, I do remember reading that, and had forgot about it, just looking at the raw PA/HR, there does seem to be a drop, HR every 38.7 PAs in 2013, the prior five year average was 31.1 PA/HR. However park factors can be volatile especially when establishing when talking about homeruns.

  58. Jim S. says:

    It’s a fair argument, NMR. No way to tell, for sure, from the small bit of info. I have provided that Smoak would be better than Gaby full-time or Lambo as the lefty platoon. I just happen to think it would help a bit. I hope no one is thinking I am saying Smoak is the savior here. I would have preferred Loney because he would have been a safer option. I would only go after Smoak if the price is right.

    I do think Smoak’s stats were depressed by Seattle, though. Everyone’s were. They hit 56 HR at home in 2012 as an entire team. That’s with no pitchers hitting for them. It was a black hole, and it is still a tough park to hit in, I think.

    Bottom line, though, I’m just looking for an under-valued alternative to take those 1b ABs vs a RHP.

  59. Jim S. says:

    But, it was 56 HR as a team there in 2012. So, everyone’s stats were depressed by Seattle. That plays a part in why Smoak struggled earlier, I have to believe. I’m not saying it is the only reason, but I think we’d all agree that there are righty hitters on the Bucs who would hit more HR if they had the LF/LC that guys in other parks get to experience 81x a year rather than PNC. Parks play a big factor in stats.

  60. Steelkings says:

    Understanding that its just speculation, but a proven Veteran like Stanton, if you could sign him to a 3 year or so extension, would make this Pirate team extremely legit. Could you imagine McCutchen in the 3, Stanton in the 4 and Pedro in the 5? Get a guy on in front of that group. Just WOW!

  61. Steelkings says:

    Cumpton sure looked like crap yesterday.

  62. Jim S. says:

    Good stuff, Andrew.

    Is Moreland considered the better glove at 1b than Smoak? I thought Smoak was considered to have a nice glove. That is part of the reason I like him.

    I’ll hang up and take my answer off the air. Gotta get my son to the cages for a bit.

  63. NMR says:

    Unreal.

  64. NMR says:

    Yes, Jim, but the 2013 team was not the same as the 2012 team. You cannot compare apples to oranges and get accurate results.

    I’m well aware of park factors, but the question here is quantity, How MUCH did the fence move account for. The reason many saber-friendly fans use stats like wRC+ and WAR is that they’ve already taken the guess work out of things by adjusting for park factors.

  65. NMR says:

    By the way, park factor for HR by a left handed hitter at Safeco went from 94 in 2012 to 96 in 2013.

    Park Factor for HR by a left handed hitter at PNC held constant at 93.

  66. Andrew says:

    Not certain on the defense, going by the numbers, Moreland is average by DRS, has a positive UZR. Smoak is average by UZR, -12 runs by DRS over his career. Moreland has a few hundred innings in the outfield for what it’s worth. Honestly think Texas will need Moreland, its him and Fielder for DH and 1st.

  67. Leo Walter says:

    Jim,I do feel exactly as you do about Karstens,but I just don’t think they need him in the organization at this point.

  68. Leo Walter says:

    Steelking, you can bet that Polanco isn’t going anywhere soon…for anybody. Marte will go before he does,he is a better baseball PLAYER. No slap at Marte,just the facts.

  69. Leo Walter says:

    Casey Sadler is ready for AAA also NMR,even if he opens here in Altoona.

  70. NMR says:

    Wonder if they’ll send him to the pen, or keep him stretched out in Altoona? The AA rotation seems awfully light on prospects, at least to start the year.

  71. Jim S. says:

    I was not high on that signing for the money and years, either, Leo. We’ll see how it plays out.

    And, as I often say about the PED guys – he was cheating for a reason. Maybe he’s not the hitter he once was. As with all things Cardinals, since they are our biggest roadblock to the playoffs, I hope that deal blows up in their faces. But, with that team, it usually turns out that they get it right. Pretty good track record, I would say.

  72. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, part of why I keep bringing up Smoak is that he seems like a guy who might become available. I know, Lloyd keeps calling him the starting 1b. But, they have options and they are supposedly still looking at Kendrys, which could push someone else to 1b.

  73. Jim S. says:

    Something changed for the better for Smoak last year. Could have just been an aberration, I guess.

  74. Jim S. says:

    Probably so, Leo. They definitely don’t need him. I let my like for the guy cloud my judgment on him.

  75. Jim S. says:

    I wasn’t disagreeing that Stanton is a beast. I love the guy. I just don’t think we are players in trades like that.

    NH: “Boss, I just traded for Stanton. You’re going to be paying a lot of scratch for him the next few years. But, it really increases our chances of winning the WS.”

    BN: ” You %*#@%& did what? Frank, get this guy out of my sight.”

  76. Jim S. says:

    If the Bucs trade for a 1b, Steel, I think Lambo most likely gets cut – or, possibly Snider/Jaff.

  77. Carlos Danger says:

    I wasn’t blaming DK, I just remember hearing about his power from a few different outlets. I would just really like to see that happen before polanco gets the call. I knew “oozing” wasn’t the right word but couldn’t remember the exact word, thanks Ghost.

  78. Leo Walter says:

    I would think he will be starting NMR. Just an educated guess,( or maybe I saw it on P2 ) right now I would think both Sadler and Rodriguez would be starting,and from looking at your list,even Kingham could start the season back in AA till the inevitable takes place.

  79. Leo Walter says:

    Jim,don’t you think the Pirates have to give Lambo a full season at least to see if those HRs last season were a fluke or for real ? I would think that as much as power is in short supply today they have to find out for sure. If it were me,Snider and Decker would be the guys on the bubble.

  80. Travis Sawchik says:

    Thanks for reading, Roberto. And the kind words!

  81. Jim S. says:

    I’m intrigued by Lambo, Leo. I have said that I actually think he will be a pretty good hitter over time. I think he profiles similarly to GIJ. But, last year was a disaster at 1b. I am leery of a rookie learning a new position and being asked to produce in 450 ABs there. Not saying he can’t do it, but I’d like another option since we are intending to contend. Maybe Gaby is that other option, but I think he is subpar batting vs. RHP.

    That would be a nice motto for the season, btw. Intending to Contend.

  82. Jim S. says:

    Oh, and I didn’t answer on Snider and Decker. I don’t know enough about Decker, but I kind of like him so far, Leo.

    I was really speaking of Lambo at 1b above, but we know he is a RF as well. That gives him more flexibility, and maybe keeps him on the team if they give Gaby most of the 1b ABs.

  83. Jim S. says:

    Agreed on Kingham, Leo. I read that somewhere as well.

  84. Travis Sawchik says:

    Good point on Wandy. No news is indeed good news for Pirates

  85. Jim S. says:

    Wouldn’t that be a pleasant development, Danny?

  86. NMR says:

    I bet your right, Leo.

  87. Steelkings says:

    Not as much trade value in Marte as super upside Polanco

  88. Steelkings says:

    Jaff Decker is not on “My” 25 man.

  89. Jim S. says:

    You like Snider more, Steel?

    I really don’t know a ton about Decker. Just a few blurbs I read and saw some stats. Seems to get on base, which is an area where this team struggles.

  90. Leo Walter says:

    Jim,about Decker,I know he hd a decent OBP. But his lack of power while playing in the PCL is telling us something. Not only that,I heard some MLB folks talking about players like him,those with a high percentage of BB,and they all agreed that to make an MLB roster, you have to hit your way on,not walk your way on.

  91. Jim S. says:

    Lack of power in the PCL is a good catch on your part, Leo. That’s a red flag for a corner OF.

    Of course, most of Snider’s so-called power occurred there also.

    Maybe Lambo is the guy to keep, regardless of how 1b turns out.

    I am not really expecting a RF platoon. I believe the lefty bat for that spot will get some ABs, but Tabata has been pretty close to the same hitter vs. RHP and LHP, I believe. If he hits like he did down the stretch last year, he will get the majority of ABs, I think. I also believe if he has any competitive fire whatsoever, he will realize this might be his last extended chance to prove himself to this organization, with GP on the way. I know I would be fired up if I were him and having to watch all the praise of Polanco, all the drooling over the SM/AM/GP outfield, etc. every day. Time for him to get it done.

  92. Steelkings says:

    I’m not sure why the BMTIB tosses darts at player they know surely wont stick.

  93. Jim S. says:

    I have a feeling we may be seeing a thread from Travis today on the new tracking technology that is about to arrive.

 
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