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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

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  1. pghboyinca says:

    As exciting as the great start has been for the Pirates how does one see the next two years as anything other than hoping for a miricle producing pitching staff to keep us reaching for .500? The hitting is abysmal and there are not any prospects anywhere near ready to step in and help. Alvarez wold be a great addition but he is far from a certainty. Who will be catching, playing short, playing first, playing right field?

    The pitching has been miraculous but is it masking a fundamentally flawed 2012-2014? As bad as the hitting is imagine the team without Maholm if he is dealt and Morton being shut down with a dead arm. Love what I am seeing form this group but I get feeling this high wire act is going to be hard to sustain.

  2. TS says:

    It seems puzzling that J Harrison was sent down. My guess is that it was for something other than performance reasons. An “attitude” or something he said behind the scenes which didn’t please Clint? And keeping Ciriaco? There’s something more than meets the eye here. Does Cedeno’s bunt benching play in? Thoughts DK?

  3. Mike says:

    DK,

    The talk seems to be more focused on TK or Jagr, but I really think it’s more TK and Jagr or TK and Rupp and Talbot/Dupuis or some combination of those 3. I think you sign Jagr at no more than 2.5 and if he wants more than that Detroit or the KHL can have him. If he fits in that range or below though would you rather have a 40 year old Jagr or a couple guys like Rupp and Dupuis? To me that’s more the choice Shero will be faced with as I bet something gets worked out with TK regardless. Thoughts?

  4. Matthew says:

    Between Tiki Barber, Plaxico Burress, and Jagr, old (washed-up?) stars seem to be all the rage when it comes to whether or not they’ll play in Pittsburgh. I realize Tiki never played for the Steelers, but he’s a well-known quantity.

    What’s next? Barry Bonds coming out of retirement to play for the Pirates?

    Please give a percentage for the likelihood of each of these players coming to play in Pittsburgh.

  5. Baywatch says:

    pghboyinca … Hey Buddy! Excellent, excellent points: Where IS the hitting going to come from, and as you say, not much evidence that there’s much in the minors. The guy, Curry, who started at West Virginny and by-passed Bradenton to Altoona shows some promise, I think. But … it also seems a little flukish that a good few on the current team is not hitting like you would figure them to: Tabata has not flashed like he did last year, Cutch is starting to get going after being abysmal at times, Jones – one would think – would hit better.

    But still, as you say, not much to hang your offensive hat on.

  6. Fat Jimmy says:

    Boo! (for not taking any of my questions)

  7. Fat Jimmy says:

    PGHBoy, your post basically surmises “Is this year a fluke?” But I’ll address that by answering your question above.

    *********
    Who will be catching, playing short, playing first, playing right field?

    ********

    Does it matter? Because whoever it is, will likely be better than who is there now (on a .500 team!).

    Consider:

    For catcher, a .669 OPS and 0.8 WAR by the primary starter
    For 1B, a .666 OPS and -0.7 WAR by the primary starter
    For SS, a .608 OPS and 1.1 WAR by the primary starter
    For RF, a .702 OPS and 1.1 WAR by the primary starter

    And, btw, the C, RF and SS are all controlled for a number of years.

    I take heart in these points:

    1) There appears to be some pitching talent in the majors
    2) There is at least SOME pitching talent in the minors
    3) Very few players are scheduled to be free agents in the near future, so any moves would be additive
    4) The team is playing competitive baseball despite little production from key positions — nowhere to go but up!

  8. Drew71 says:

    Sorry I missed the chat. Some interesting stuff.

  9. TC says:

    @TS regarding Harrison…
    Rob B on this site has a good reason why its Harrison. Nothing to do with attitude but due to the other callups needed and timings around them. He will go down but then able to be called up sooner than later.

    TC

  10. Dejan,
    Still interested on your take/study on whether Front Office is handling the young pitchers correctly. White Sox, Reds, Indians, Royals all have pitchers on their Major League staffs drafted in last two years, while Pirates——who overloaded last three drafts on pitching——have no pitcher from last THREE drafts higher than High A.

    I don’t understand how pitching 4 innings per average appearance can help a pitcher learn and grow. Nolan Ryan says Pitch, Pitch, Pitch. Steve Blass says Pitch, Pitch, Pitch. Bucs Minor Leagues say Count The Pitch.

    None of our drafted pitchers are dominating. Are we handling them right? Evidence?

  11. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @Groat: It’s a good idea, but that’s not something I’d toss away in a two-sentence answer. Let me keep an eye on it.

  12. Drew71 says:

    i would pile on and ask: do a number of other teams hold the same baby-the-arms philosophy? if so, how are the Pirates doing compared to just those teams. if much worse, then is that an indictment of the philosophy, or rather who and how they drafted? (Not counting the 2010-2011 drafts due to relative inexperience of the players.)

  13. pipecock says:

    The Pirates’ high end pitching prospects have all been high school arms. In fact, the argument I’ve seen for drafting HS pitchers is that college coaches tend to overuse pitchers like crazy. Obviously, a pitcher who has 3 or 4 years of experiences (and whom are 3-4 years older!) are going to have a decent headstart in getting to MLB. This almost has to be the difference here, since there are few 20 year olds in MLB and that’s the age you would be if drafted out of high school only 2 years ago….

  14. SherinFan says:

    The comparison between the Guerin signing and the Jagr potential signing is not entirely apt. Guerin looked to my inexpert eye throughout his career to never act like a spoiled brat. He played two way hockey. Guerin was comparable to Gary Roberts in my mind. Jagr always liked to hang around the blue line while on defense and just wait for an outlet pass. Kovalev was somewhat like that, and Sherin does not want another Kovalev. Bylsma can’t maintain team discipline and unity if one guy is not playing his two way system. Maybe someone can tell us whether Jagr ever played any defense while he was with the Rangers, or during his last 3 year stint. Jagr created for himself the image of a spoiled and immature player, and only those who have watched him closely in recent years can tell us if he changed. Maybe his contract needs incentive clauses deducting money for puck giveaways and face-offs lost.

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