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Pirates that are unlikely to make the opening day roster

Posted: 01/02/2013 2:10 PM

Pirates that are unlikely to make the opening day roster 


The last few years the team has collapsed at the second half of the year.  Part of that is because when you graduate so many players you don't have the depth to replace them as it's impossible to have a farm system that can have good players at every single level at every position on the roster.  I think the Pirates AAA team will be pretty good this year though in providing depth should it be needed.  It's likely to contain the following players.

Gerritt Cole
Charlie Morton
Jeff Locke
Justin Wilson
Andy Oliver
Victor Black
Tony Sanchez
Ivan DeJesus
Chase D'Arnaud
Clint Robinson
Jerry Sands
Alex Presley

That is a pretty good set of players.  Third base and middle infield are kind of sketchy but everywhere else looks pretty strong.

If I'm the Pirates I would send Josh Harrison down to the minors as well and try and sign Freddy Sanchez to provide insurance at second and third base and Mercer can handle the backup shortstop position.

That would put your major league bench as the following

McKenry, Tabata or Snider, Mercer, Gaby Sanchez and Freddy Sanchez.  That would be a pretty strong bench in my opinion and I can't see Freddy Sanchez costing more than a million or so bucks.

Last edited 01/02/2013 2:12 PM by katoy2j

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Posted: 01/02/2013 2:31 PM

Re: Pirates that are unlikely to make the opening day roster 



I would be down with a return of the hit king. He was a solid Bucco and in a bench role he might be able to stay healthy.
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--- katoy2j wrote:

The last few years the team has collapsed at the second half of the year.  Part of that is because when you graduate so many players you don't have the depth to replace them as it's impossible to have a farm system that can have good players at every single level at every position on the roster.  I think the Pirates AAA team will be pretty good this year though in providing depth should it be needed.  It's likely to contain the following players.

Gerritt Cole
Charlie Morton
Jeff Locke
Justin Wilson
Andy Oliver
Victor Black
Tony Sanchez
Ivan DeJesus
Chase D'Arnaud
Clint Robinson
Jerry Sands
Alex Presley

That is a pretty good set of players.  Third base and middle infield are kind of sketchy but everywhere else looks pretty strong.

If I'm the Pirates I would send Josh Harrison down to the minors as well and try and sign Freddy Sanchez to provide insurance at second and third base and Mercer can handle the backup shortstop position.

That would put your major league bench as the following

McKenry, Tabata or Snider, Mercer, Gaby Sanchez and Freddy Sanchez.  That would be a pretty strong bench in my opinion and I can't see Freddy Sanchez costing more than a million or so bucks.

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Posted: 01/03/2013 8:28 AM

Re: Pirates that are unlikely to make the opening day roster 


Katoy has made this suggestion before, and I think it's a terrific idea.  Yes, yes, YES to Freddy Sanchez as a part timer in Pittsburgh.  If he can throw even a little bit, he would be a huge upgrade over Josh Harrison at 3B and 2B.  He has had severe problems with his throwing shoulder for many years now, though, and he missed all of last season.  So, I don't know if he has anything left.  Maybe he can't throw at all.  But if he's anywhere close to healthy, he would be great insurance against a recurrence of Walker's back injury, and I'd sure rather see him out there at third against lefthanders than Alvarez.
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Posted: 01/03/2013 2:06 PM

Re: Pirates that are unlikely to make the opening day roster 


Phil Irwin too! Chris Leroux maybe.
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Posted: 01/03/2013 4:43 PM

RE: Pirates that are unlikely to make the opening day roster 


I think Leroux is out of options so he will likely make the majors
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Posted: 01/03/2013 7:51 PM

RE: Pirates that are unlikely to make the opening day roster 



katoy2j wrote: I think Leroux is out of options so he will likely make the majors
Actually, you are correct.  Good point.  Still, Irwin will provide depth.
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Posted: 01/03/2013 8:16 PM

RE: Pirates that are unlikely to make the opening day roster 


Irwin has pitched well but he's always been old for his levels so its hard to put much stock in him. Perhaps if he dominates AAA I'll think higher of him but he'll be 26 on opening day and doesn't have more than 30 innings above AAA. He's got good stroke out numbers despite mediocre velocity. I don't see him as a starter in the majors as I would think he would be the type of pitcher that gets lit up the second and third time through. I picture him as a mop up man if he makes the majors. Who knows though starters converted to relievers generally add a few MPH to their fastball so if they did put him in the bullpen maybe his stuff will get a little nastier
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Posted: 01/03/2013 11:21 PM

RE: Pirates that are unlikely to make the opening day roster 


Eh, you could be right, but I think he's got enough stuff to be a #5 starter.  If Karstens or Mike Fiers (two examples I thought of first) can do it, so can Irwin. He's not a bad guy to have like 9th on your starting pitching depth chart.
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Posted: 01/04/2013 1:55 PM

RE: Pirates that are unlikely to make the opening day roster 


Hopefullly McPherson can do a Don Robinson and essentially (just a few games) skip over AAA.

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Posted: 01/05/2013 7:27 AM

RE: Pirates that are unlikely to make the opening day roster 



Sangue wrote:

Hopefullly McPherson can do a Don Robinson and essentially (just a few games) skip over AAA.



McPherson appears to have a few things in common with Robinson, including an unfortunate propensity for shoulder injuries.  Sure would be great if he could hit like "Caveman", but few pitchers could (or can).  Robinson never quite equalled his rookie season excellence over the remainder of his career, but he was a solid-to-better-than-average major leaguer all things considered.  I don't know that McPherson projects to as high a ceiling, but I'd be inclined to throw him into the deep end as the Pirates' fifth starter right out of spring training.  Given that we don't know how many more bullets he has left in his arm, it might be better to get what use we can out of him sooner rather than later.


Robinson's decent body of work is found here:  


http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/robind o01.shtml

Last edited 01/05/2013 7:30 AM by williamjpellas

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Posted: 01/05/2013 10:03 AM

RE: Pirates that are unlikely to make the opening day roster 


I don't know much about Robinson, I was 8 when he left the Pirates, but I am a huge McPherson fan. He has above average stuff, but good command and control and strikes me as the type that will know how to use it. I was very impressed with him in AAA last season.
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Posted: 01/05/2013 7:12 PM

RE: Pirates that are unlikely to make the opening day roster 



BAMSTEELERFAN wrote: I don't know much about Robinson, I was 8 when he left the Pirates, but I am a huge McPherson fan. He has above average stuff, but good command and control and strikes me as the type that will know how to use it. I was very impressed with him in AAA last season.


Robinson jumped up from Double A directly to the Pirates in 1978 and went 14-6.  He was named The Sporting News Rookie Pitcher of the Year.  After that, unfortunately, he battled a series of shoulder injuries.  I well remember hearing several stories during Pirates game broadcasts about Robinson receiving cortisone injections for his shoulder. Eventually the Pirates moved him to the 'pen in an attempt to conserve his arm---much the same as when the Braves took John Smoltz out of their rotation and made him a reliever.  Robinson was okay in the 'pen---he had 57 saves for his career---but when he was dealt to the Giants they rightly put him back in the rotation.  I always thought he was better as a starter, and that's where he had the most success.  He was also an excellent hitter for a pitcher, with a career line of .231-13HR-69RBI, and of course his bat was much more useful in a starting role than it was when he was a reliever.  Unfortunately his arm acted up again after two fairly good years in San Francisco, and from there he bounced to the Angels and to the Phillies and that was that.  


They used to play John Denver's "Thank God I'm A Country Boy" over the public address system at Three Rivers Stadium when Robinson came into a game, a reference to his being from Ashland, KY, right across the river from West Virginia.  I always got a smile out of that.  Overall he was 109-106 with 57 saves and a 3.79 ERA in 524 games, of which 229 were starts.  He threw 34 complete games and had 6 shutouts.  His career WHIP was a respectable 1.295.  Probably the most interesting footnote about "Caveman" was that he actually started a game for the Pirates as a left fielder.  If memory serves he went 1-4 in that contest.  He was used from time to time as a pinch-hitter, as well.  He won three National League Silver Slugger Awards as the best hitter at his position in the league and once batted .333 for the season for the Pirates.

Last edited 01/05/2013 7:15 PM by williamjpellas

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Posted: 01/07/2013 6:35 AM

RE: Pirates that are unlikely to make the opening day roster 



williamjpellas wrote:
BAMSTEELERFAN wrote: I don't know much about Robinson, I was 8 when he left the Pirates, but I am a huge McPherson fan. He has above average stuff, but good command and control and strikes me as the type that will know how to use it. I was very impressed with him in AAA last season.


Robinson jumped up from Double A directly to the Pirates in 1978 and went 14-6.  He was named The Sporting News Rookie Pitcher of the Year.  After that, unfortunately, he battled a series of shoulder injuries.  I well remember hearing several stories during Pirates game broadcasts about Robinson receiving cortisone injections for his shoulder. Eventually the Pirates moved him to the 'pen in an attempt to conserve his arm---much the same as when the Braves took John Smoltz out of their rotation and made him a reliever.  Robinson was okay in the 'pen---he had 57 saves for his career---but when he was dealt to the Giants they rightly put him back in the rotation.  I always thought he was better as a starter, and that's where he had the most success.  He was also an excellent hitter for a pitcher, with a career line of .231-13HR-69RBI, and of course his bat was much more useful in a starting role than it was when he was a reliever.  Unfortunately his arm acted up again after two fairly good years in San Francisco, and from there he bounced to the Angels and to the Phillies and that was that.  


They used to play John Denver's "Thank God I'm A Country Boy" over the public address system at Three Rivers Stadium when Robinson came into a game, a reference to his being from Ashland, KY, right across the river from West Virginia.  I always got a smile out of that.  Overall he was 109-106 with 57 saves and a 3.79 ERA in 524 games, of which 229 were starts.  He threw 34 complete games and had 6 shutouts.  His career WHIP was a respectable 1.295.  Probably the most interesting footnote about "Caveman" was that he actually started a game for the Pirates as a left fielder.  If memory serves he went 1-4 in that contest.  He was used from time to time as a pinch-hitter, as well.  He won three National League Silver Slugger Awards as the best hitter at his position in the league and once batted .333 for the season for the Pirates.

Robinson was a fantastic hitter for a pitcher.  When I was growing up, I was a Giants fan in addition to being a Pirates fan, based on seeing Will Clark play at Three Rivers.  He was my favorite as a child.  Loved the way he approached the game, and had one of the smoothest swings I'd ever seen.  Bit of an ass off the field I always heard, but his NLCS performance against the Cubs was unreal.

Anyway, back to Robinson.  I remember watching one late night Giants game that went extra innings.  They were out of bench players to come in and pinch hit, so the brought Robinson to the plate and he ended up hitting a home run.  It was either to tie or win the game, I can't remember.
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Posted: 01/07/2013 10:11 AM

RE: Pirates that are unlikely to make the opening day roster 


Just a hunch but I think Oliver has the inside track for the 5th spot. Listening to NH and knowing his track record I think if Oliver has a decent ST then he will get the spot no matter what McP does. Like I said just a hunch based on NH personality.
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Posted: 01/07/2013 11:49 AM

RE: Pirates that are unlikely to make the opening day roster 



WVUKowski wrote:
Anyway, back to Robinson.  I remember watching one late night Giants game that went extra innings.  They were out of bench players to come in and pinch hit, so the brought Robinson to the plate and he ended up hitting a home run.  It was either to tie or win the game, I can't remember.

I had a front row seat over the Pirates dugout when Robinson gave up Mike Schmidt's 500th HR.  It was a very tough loss for the Pirates.
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Posted: 01/07/2013 12:12 PM

RE: Pirates that are unlikely to make the opening day roster 


I don't think Oliver has any chance at starting in the majors in 2013. I don't even see this as a possibility. For one Oliver has done nothing in AAA to show that he can be a starter in the majors. He has shaky control at best. Even if you want to ignore all of that then Justin Wilson is the same type of player but better and has more control. I would say Oliver at best is the 4th option behind McPherson, Locke, Wilson in that order.

Oliver has a chance to make the majors as a reliever I believe because not starting will likely help his control.

I think the most likely scenario now by adding Liriano is they will be unlikely to have three left handed starters and Locke will be the long man and second lefty in the bullpen.

They see something in Oliver most likely and think they can fix him. What that probably means is they will work with him, send him to AAA to start so he can get reps and then evaluate his role on the team down the line but I would put the odds at 95% he is in AAA to start the season.  The remaining percentage would be either hurt in some capacity or a reliever but I just don't see any reason why he's starting in the majors to open the season.

Last edited 01/07/2013 12:13 PM by katoy2j

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Posted: 01/07/2013 2:33 PM

RE: Pirates that are unlikely to make the opening day roster 



katoy2j wrote: I don't think Oliver has any chance at starting in the majors in 2013. I don't even see this as a possibility. For one Oliver has done nothing in AAA to show that he can be a starter in the majors. He has shaky control at best. Even if you want to ignore all of that then Justin Wilson is the same type of player but better and has more control. I would say Oliver at best is the 4th option behind McPherson, Locke, Wilson in that order.

Oliver has a chance to make the majors as a reliever I believe because not starting will likely help his control.

I think the most likely scenario now by adding Liriano is they will be unlikely to have three left handed starters and Locke will be the long man and second lefty in the bullpen.

They see something in Oliver most likely and think they can fix him. What that probably means is they will work with him, send him to AAA to start so he can get reps and then evaluate his role on the team down the line but I would put the odds at 95% he is in AAA to start the season.  The remaining percentage would be either hurt in some capacity or a reliever but I just don't see any reason why he's starting in the majors to open the season.
I agree 100% with you, but NH has said that Oliver will be in the mix. Plus there is just something about NH's ego that he will push for Oliver. I don't think Oliver deserves the spot, but I have a feeling he will get it. Like I said it has more to do with a gut feeling about NH's ego over who is the better player.
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Posted: 01/07/2013 3:19 PM

RE: Pirates that are unlikely to make the opening day roster 


Of course he will say he's in the mix. That's the GM's job to say he's in the mix. Why would Huntingtons ego play any role in this whatsoever? Of the other competitors Jeff Locke was a guy that Huntington traded for and Justin Wilson was a guy that was drafted by Huntington and McPherson was a guy nearly completely developed by the Huntington regime.

One thing I sort of hate is when people say well McPherson and Marte were here before Huntington got here. When Huntington got here those two players were non entities. They were nowhere on the prospect radar. It's like people think that the only thing is drafting the player and waiting for them to get to the majors like they're a pie or something. There is a very good chance that under different management Marte and McPherson never develop and would have been discarded well before this point in time.
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Posted: 01/07/2013 3:56 PM

RE: Pirates that are unlikely to make the opening day roster 



Sangue wrote:
WVUKowski wrote:
Anyway, back to Robinson.  I remember watching one late night Giants game that went extra innings.  They were out of bench players to come in and pinch hit, so the brought Robinson to the plate and he ended up hitting a home run.  It was either to tie or win the game, I can't remember.

I had a front row seat over the Pirates dugout when Robinson gave up Mike Schmidt's 500th HR.  It was a very tough loss for the Pirates.
That was the first ballgame I ever attended.
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Posted: 01/07/2013 4:06 PM

RE: Pirates that are unlikely to make the opening day roster 


There is a very good chance that under different management Marte and McPherson never develop and would have been discarded well before this point in time.


Sorry, but this is complete and total fabrication and speculation. 


If it's possible that Marte and McPherson would never have developed under another management - ownership regime, isn't the inverse also just as likely (or unlikely)?  Meaning, isn't it also true that under a different regime, either or both would already have become effective big leaguers?  I get that you want to defend and stump for current ownership and management at every turn, and that's your prerogative.  But you're really reaching here, to the point of putting your fervent fan's opinion out there as objective fact. 


There is no way you can say any of this based on anything other than your opinion about the efficacy of the player development program currently in place in the Pirates' minor league system.  That opinion is NOT the same thing as objective fact (or as close as we can come to objective fact in the human experience).  In terms of raw number of players coming up to the Pirates, while it is true that we are starting to see higher numbers of players graduating from that system, it is also true that there has been next to nobody who is an impact player.  Alvarez comes closest, but that's only by virtue of his hitting some bombs.  The rest of his game is, at best, a work in progress at the moment.  No other Pirates produced by the current regime have become solid-average or better players at the major league level (or to use your terminology, "replacement level or better"). 

Last edited 01/07/2013 4:08 PM by williamjpellas

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