Free Trial Ad
Why Subscribe?
  • Player/Prospect News
  • Exclusive Insider Info
  • Members-Only Forums
  • Exclusive Videos
  • Subscribe Now!
Inbox

Pirates farm system has had almost no impact this year

Avatar

Posted: 08/24/2014 9:02 PM

Pirates farm system has had almost no impact this year 


I'm not dense

I can clearly see that the Pirates have guys like Starling Marte and Gerrit Cole make huge impacts on this Pirates team. The Pirates farm system has been highly rated for good reasons. However if we just look at the 2014 season the Pirates have gotten almost no impact from the farm this year.

Let me qualify this by saying I don't count Vance Worley, Jeff Locke, etc for the purposes of this post. If you want to include them that's fine, but for my purposes I'm just talking about guys who were in the top 30 Pirates prospects according to Baseball America. Here's the list.

G. Polanco
J. Taillon
T. Glasnow
A. Meadows
N. Kingham
A. Hanson
J. Bell
R. McGuire
H. Ramirez
L. Heredia
B. Cumpton
W. Mathisen
B. Barnes
W. Garcia
T. Sanchez
S. Pimentel
C. Holmes
B. Taylor
J. Jones
C. Dickson
A. Lambo
J. Decker
S. Allie
E. Escobar
W. Wang
A. Sampson
J. Sandfort
G. Ngoepe
J. Rodriguez

Looking at that list the only guys who have impacted the 2014 team are

Polanco
Cumpton
Sanchez
Pimentel
Taylor

I'll address these players one by one

Gregory Polanco
64 G 249 AB 241/308/349 -2 Defensive Runs Saved

Exhibit A in my case is the production of this uber prospect. Polanco hasn't excelled in his first go round in MLB. His defense has been shaky and his offense hasn't been much better than Travis Snider/Jose Tabata. I don't say these things to disparage the kid, but clearly there's been an adjustment period for Polanco. I think it's safe to say we expected more. There's no doubt that this kid has the tools to be a great player, but his 88 OPS+ and his 0.1 bWAR make him basically a replacement level player for the 2014 Pirates thus far.

Brandon Cumpton
13 G 10 GS 64.2 IP 5.01 ERA 72 ERA+

Cumpton was expected to be a depth option for the rotation when the season started, so his performance isn't all that bad in that light. It's easy to see that any game Cumpton started was supposed to be started by Taillon if he was healthy. It's a fair point, but that doesn't put any wins on the record. The fact is Cumpton overall wasn't a factor in adding to the 2014 playoff push.

Tony Sanchez
21 G 72 AB 278/316/375

Sanchez was just a fill-in for Russell Martin, but while he was the starting catcher he showed why the Pirates were wise to sign a veteran backup. Offensively he was fine for a catcher, but we all remember cringing whenever he had to make a throw from behind the plate. Sanchez had some big hits early in the year, but the team lost with him as the starting catcher. That's not all on him, but he certainly didn't help the pitchers as much as Russell Martin or even Chris Stewart.

Stomly Pimentel
19 G 31.2 IP 5.40 ERA 67 ERA+

Pimentel has been ok in a few appearances, and horrible in a few more. I think he has a shot to make the starting rotation in 2015.... but he hasn't helped the team make the playoffs in 2014.

Blake Taylor
N/A

Taylor impacted the team in that he was the PTBNL in the Ike Davis deal. Ike has disappointed to be sure so we have to say Taylor impact was minimal on the 2014 team.

If you want to bring up Jaff Decker, that's your prerogative, but clearly neither he or any other players from the farm system made a difference in 2014The season still has 32 games, so there's still time to make an impact.... but the Pirates haven't been improved by any of their prospects this season to this point. 

So what's my point.... 

I'm not saying the Pirates prospects haven't made progress this year, but coming off a playoff year in 2013 that saw the Pirates get big contributions from Starling Marte, Gerrit Cole, Dillson Herrera(turned into Marlon Byrd), etc... the 2014 newcomers haven't made much of an impact at all. The Pirates counted on internal improvement to carry the team back into the playoffs this year, they simply haven't gotten the kind of impact they needed to justify not improving the team.
THE IGNORE FUNCTION IS A BEAUTIFUL THING
Reply | Quote

Posted: 08/25/2014 5:36 AM

Re: Pirates farm system has had almost no impact this year 


Very well said. Having a great minor league system is great, but you still need time for the players to adjust to the ML level. Polanco is a great example. I think most of us will agree that he will be a good player, but to expect him to come up mid season and have a playoff type impact was silly. That is too much pressure to put on any one player.

Cole came up last season and had success, but Lirano was having a career season and Burnett pitched very well and was a great mentor. Cole was only asked to come in and be a 4th/5th starter. Polanco on the other hand was asked to be key piece of the team, one that was essential for the team to win. I said it before he was called up and I said it before the season, its not fair to him to expect him to be an all-star out of the box.

The FO had a terrible off season plan to improve this team. I understand the build from within approach, but the Pirates were not in a position to do that. They had serious holes at 1B/RF/P and they failed to address any of the positions with any sense of seriousness. They seemed content with a decent team where the bottom line was money and not wins. And pretty much every hardship that has happened to the Pirates was talked about or predicted before the season.

I will be interested to see what they do this off season as there are going to be even more holes to fill for 2015.
Reply | Quote
Avatar

Posted: 08/25/2014 6:35 AM

Re: Pirates farm system has had almost no impact this year 


I still maintain that the expectations of the fans was too high for the exact reason Fish pointed out.  When Huntington took over, he had his 5-year plan.  Fans incorrectly assumed that he meant for that 5 years to mean that he was going to turn this team into a playoff/championship contender.  He was talking about the minor league system.  To me, the year we need - and should have been targeting as fans, is the 2016 season.  Last season was great... and even by the front office - unexpected.  This year, expectations were too high.  Next year, they probably will be as well, but I do think they'll be similar to this year.  They will be competitive and a winning team, but may not make the playoffs.  This team has entirely too many pitching needs.  I think we can expect an influx of kids (pitchers specifically), to hit the majors at some point.  In 2016 is when we'll really see them starting to develop and the true window open.
#fringeprospect
Reply | Quote
Avatar

Posted: 08/25/2014 6:43 AM

Re: Pirates farm system has had almost no impact this year 


Yep - and all the talk about depth resulted in watching Nix. Morel, and Martinez play.
Reply | Quote

Posted: 08/25/2014 7:45 AM

Re: Pirates farm system has had almost no impact this year 



TBayXXXVII wrote: I still maintain that the expectations of the fans was too high for the exact reason Fish pointed out.  When Huntington took over, he had his 5-year plan.  Fans incorrectly assumed that he meant for that 5 years to mean that he was going to turn this team into a playoff/championship contender.  He was talking about the minor league system.  To me, the year we need - and should have been targeting as fans, is the 2016 season.  Last season was great... and even by the front office - unexpected.  This year, expectations were too high.  Next year, they probably will be as well, but I do think they'll be similar to this year.  They will be competitive and a winning team, but may not make the playoffs.  This team has entirely too many pitching needs.  I think we can expect an influx of kids (pitchers specifically), to hit the majors at some point.  In 2016 is when we'll really see them starting to develop and the true window open.
I think NH was right on with his 5 year plan. To me it meant that in 5 years the Pirates would have a core group that would be able to play .500 ball on a consistent basis. He has hit that right on the head and looks like they will be able to maintain that. Where he is FAILING is to make the deals to build on that core. The Pirates had a chance to build on that core and they decided no to. They threw the season away in April with their decision not to do anything.

I still will argue that if the would have offered Burnett or went after a proven pitcher like Kasmir and addressed the RF or 1B position with a real true every day player they could have at least went 13-13 to start the season and at this point would be in 1st place right now. Instead they went cheap and are struggling to even be the 2nd wild card team.
Reply | Quote

Posted: 08/25/2014 9:00 AM

Re: Pirates farm system has had almost no impact this year 


Here's two questions for fish or some of the other prospect watchers out there.....

#1, will next year be similar?  By that I mean I don't see any bats making their way up here or being traded next year (we all know how Neal likes his prospects) and the only arms I see having a chance to make it are Taillon and Kingham.  Neither of which have ever thrown a pitch at the MLB level and one of them is coming off a major injury. 

#2, and this is more for my curiosity, but what has Milwaukee's farm system contributed this year?  I remember many bashing them for being poorly run, having a gutted farm system and not having the horses to really compete this year.  If they got more production from their farm system, on top of looking like a threat to go the world series, that would be upsetting.
"I originally said he would get fired in mid-May after a poor start, but honestly, he might not make it to May at this rate." A 'professional' opinion of Manager of the Year Clint Hurdle 4/8/13

Last edited 08/25/2014 9:02 AM by GhostOfPBG

Reply | Quote
Avatar

Posted: 08/25/2014 11:03 AM

Re: Pirates farm system has had almost no impact this year 


By speaking such rash and vile heresy on a public message board, fishmong is at risk of incurring the never ending wrath of the Neal-Huntington-Is-SABR-And-A-Genius-And-Most-Of-All-Young-Hip-Trendy-And-With-It-Just-Like-Us-And-Therefore-Can-Do-No-Wrong --- Crowd.  


I've said it many times and I'll say it again: Huntington is certainly a fairly competent GM overall.  He is, quite obviously, a vast improvement over Dave Littlefield and over most of the GM's who preceded him from the time the Syd Thrift era ended to last season's playoff appearance. 


BUT:  number one, Huntington's farm system---while again, greatly improved---HAS NOT produced impact major leaguers in numbers anywhere close to commensurate with the Steinbrenner-ian resources he was given at the beginning of his rebuilding project, and----


Number two, he has missed and missed badly on a number of player evaluations, both in terms of getting rid of guys prematurely AND in terms of overrating players he was acquiring (and also in inexplicably missing entirely the fact that more than a few were probably badly damaged goods before ever getting here---Andy LaRoche, Kevin Hart, that reliever they got from Boston, Dana Eveland, the Japanese 2B, Brandon Moss, etc)---and,


Number three, he has yet to demonstrate that he can make the moves necessary to transition effectively from the rebuild to a sustained run of postseason appearances and a realistic shot at the World Series.  As ABO put it once, Huntington has more than proven that he is "an effective change agent", but that is not the same thing as switching to "how do we stay at or near the top for an extended shot at a championship" - mode.

Last edited 08/25/2014 3:23 PM by williamjpellas

Reply | Quote

Posted: 08/25/2014 11:17 AM

Re: Pirates farm system has had almost no impact this year 


Very good post, William.  You know I just noticed some irony too.  It seems the Hurdle bashers generally like Huntington.  Conversely, a lot of Huntington bashers seem to like Hurdle.  Their arguments against the other are almost identical too! 

"Hurdle was good at turning the tide but he can't take us to the promised land"

"Huntington did a good job turning us around, but can't take us to the promised land"

The beauty of fandom -- all the pros are morons and we are always right!!  biggrin
"I originally said he would get fired in mid-May after a poor start, but honestly, he might not make it to May at this rate." A 'professional' opinion of Manager of the Year Clint Hurdle 4/8/13
Reply | Quote
Avatar

Posted: 08/25/2014 12:02 PM

Re: Pirates farm system has had almost no impact this year 



williamjpellas wrote: By speaking such rash and vile heresy on a public message board, fishmong is at risk of incurring the never ending wrath of the Neal-Huntington-Is-SABR-And-A-Genius-And-Most-Of-All-Young-Hip-Trendy-And-With-It-Just-Like-Us-And-Therefore-Can-Do-No-Wrong----Crowd.  


I've said it many times and I'll say it again: Huntington is certainly a fairly competent GM overall.  He is, quite obviously, a vast improvement over Dave Littlefield and over most of the GM's who preceded him from the time the Syd Thrift era ended to last season's playoff appearance. 


BUT:  number one, Huntington's farm system---while again, greatly improved---HAS NOT produced impact major leaguers in numbers anywhere close to commensurate with the Steinbrenner-ian resources he was given at the beginning of his rebuilding project, and----


Number two, he has missed and missed badly on a number of player evaluations, both in terms of getting rid of guys prematurely AND in terms of overrating players he was acquiring (and also in inexplicably missing entirely the fact that more than a few were probably badly damaged goods before ever getting here---Andy LaRoche, Kevin Hart, that reliever they got from Boston, Dana Eveland, the Japanese 2B, Brandon Moss, etc)---and,


Number three, he has yet to demonstrate that he can make the moves necessary to transition effectively from the rebuild to a sustained run of postseason appearances and a realistic shot at the World Series.  As ABO put it once, Huntington has more than proven that he is "an effective change agent", but that is not the same thing as switching to "how do we stay at or near the top for an extended shot at a championship" - mode.
Here's what I think... not what I know.  I believe that Huntington has done a great job overall in building the farm system.  While his first 2 first round picks are busts, I think he did get some nice talent in those drafts with Mercer and Wilson in '08 and Black, Holt (that "fringe prospect" who's hitting .290 in Boston right now), and Phil Irwin.  Granted, we hoped they'd hit their ceilings, but at the very least, they are quality players that have produced.  Since then, there has been a lot of "potential".

In 2010 is where the change is really being felt.  I believe in Taillon.  Rojas has been doing well the last 2 years.  Plus there's still a chance at an ace in Kingham.  Sure, he may be a #2 or #3, but things look promising.  There's also Cumpton and Sadler who have been and could continue to be productive.  That's a pretty solid draft.

The 2011 draft is looking solid too with Cole, Bell, and Glasnow... and there still may be more to come.

The point I'm getting at is that as far as "core" players that Vinny did elude to, didn't really happen until 2010, not 2008.  I think Huntington knew this as well.  Just being "competitive" now is the priority.  Get fans excited.  Get fans interested.  Generate a bigger fan base.  Generate more revenue.  The 2016 season is the target for the window's opening.  With the players on the ML roster and in the system... the window is 2016 to 2020.

We've been patient for over 20 years, what's 2 more.  I get the "we've been waiting and want to win now" attitude, but what good is winning for 3 years (with nothing guaranteed), if you have to deplete the farm system that it just took 6 years to build?  Especially since you'll have to do it all over again in those 3 years because there's nothing left.  Plus, have to pay $10-$20 more per ticket to see another rebuilding process.
#fringeprospect
Reply | Quote
Avatar

Posted: 08/25/2014 12:24 PM

Re: Pirates farm system has had almost no impact this year 



GhostOfPBG wrote: Here's two questions for fish or some of the other prospect watchers out there.....

#1, will next year be similar?  By that I mean I don't see any bats making their way up here or being traded next year (we all know how Neal likes his prospects) and the only arms I see having a chance to make it are Taillon and Kingham.  Neither of which have ever thrown a pitch at the MLB level and one of them is coming off a major injury. 

#2, and this is more for my curiosity, but what has Milwaukee's farm system contributed this year?  I remember many bashing them for being poorly run, having a gutted farm system and not having the horses to really compete this year.  If they got more production from their farm system, on top of looking like a threat to go the world series, that would be upsetting.
I wouldn't discount a trade, but assuming no deal is made the Pirates position prospects aren't going to be making the kind of impact that we assume. First and foremost their isn't likely to be a spot open. With the emergence of Josh Harrison, the move of Pedro to 1B, and the probable improvement from Polanco the Pirates will likely go into next season with the current crop of position players. Maybe they swap out Chris Stewart and Clint Barmes for better bench options, but I don't think that those guys automatically come from the farm system.

There's been some talk of Josh Bell being ready next year by posters on this board- maybe he breaks in as a backup 1B/OF, but I don't see that happening(.652 OPS in AA). Alen Hanson has the bat to be a decent backup IF, but I doubt he opens the season in that role. I see a full year of AAA in store for Hanson next season. Andrew Lambo doesn't seem to have any fans in the front office despite his production at AAA. If the Pirates had a DH option I could see him on the team next year, but they don't. The Pirates have a couple interesting OF options in Mel Rojas Jr, Wily Garcia, and Keon Broxton, but again the Pirates have the OF set next year. The depth is great, but as we saw with Polanco this year we can't count on the prospects making a big difference year one. 

Pitching wise, it's hard to imagine what'll happen, I have no idea what to expect from Taillon. The history of TJ recoveries is good news, however in addition to breaking in at the ML level he'll be coming back from injury. Hopefully he comes back strong, but if the Pirates have playoff hopes next year they'll need a little more than hope.

Nick Kingham and Adrian Sampson are good depth options, maybe more, but I don't think either breaks camp with the Pirates. The same people talking about Josh Bell hitting Pittsburgh will tell you that Tyler Glasnow is a candidate to make the jump to Pittsburgh next year, I don't buy that, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. Even if I assume he does make it to Pittsburgh, I have no idea if he'll command his pitches well enough to succeed.

I don't mean for this to come across as pessimistic, we just see several posters touting these prospects year in year out. This season the Pirates absolutely need to get production from their farm system with the lack of moves in the winter, and they simply haven't gotten it this year.
THE IGNORE FUNCTION IS A BEAUTIFUL THING
Reply | Quote

Posted: 08/25/2014 12:33 PM

Re: Pirates farm system has had almost no impact this year 


their was no 1B that was that much better then what they have and the ones that were didn't wanna leave their teams,that goes with the RF out their,Abreu was the only real viable option and he got what 70mill?and cruz was out their but he wanted to play in American league so saying they didn't do much is over stated,their wasn't that many viable options and this offseason is going to be much worse unless your looking for a starting pitcher which is going to be very deep,like 4-5 top of the rotation starters
vinnybravo wrote:
TBayXXXVII wrote: I still maintain that the expectations of the fans was too high for the exact reason Fish pointed out.  When Huntington took over, he had his 5-year plan.  Fans incorrectly assumed that he meant for that 5 years to mean that he was going to turn this team into a playoff/championship contender.  He was talking about the minor league system.  To me, the year we need - and should have been targeting as fans, is the 2016 season.  Last season was great... and even by the front office - unexpected.  This year, expectations were too high.  Next year, they probably will be as well, but I do think they'll be similar to this year.  They will be competitive and a winning team, but may not make the playoffs.  This team has entirely too many pitching needs.  I think we can expect an influx of kids (pitchers specifically), to hit the majors at some point.  In 2016 is when we'll really see them starting to develop and the true window open.
I think NH was right on with his 5 year plan. To me it meant that in 5 years the Pirates would have a core group that would be able to play .500 ball on a consistent basis. He has hit that right on the head and looks like they will be able to maintain that. Where he is FAILING is to make the deals to build on that core. The Pirates had a chance to build on that core and they decided no to. They threw the season away in April with their decision not to do anything.

I still will argue that if the would have offered Burnett or went after a proven pitcher like Kasmir and addressed the RF or 1B position with a real true every day player they could have at least went 13-13 to start the season and at this point would be in 1st place right now. Instead they went cheap and are struggling to even be the 2nd wild card team.
Reply | Quote
Avatar

Posted: 08/25/2014 12:34 PM

Re: Pirates farm system has had almost no impact this year 


The Brewers haven't gotten much out of their system this year either. Jimmy Nelson is really the only player to make an impact and it's been a small one.

Ironically 3 of last years prospects are making a difference for the Brewers

Wily Peralta(#1) has been as good if not better than Gerrit Cole this year
Scooter Gennett(#8) has a 125 OPS+ and a 1.7 bWAR as a platoon 2B
Khris Davis(#16) has a 116 OPS+ and has been a 2.9 bWAR player in LF.

The worst farm system in the majors has seen 3 of its homegrown players make a difference...
THE IGNORE FUNCTION IS A BEAUTIFUL THING
Reply | Quote
Avatar

Posted: 08/26/2014 10:26 AM

Re: Pirates farm system has had almost no impact this year 



williamjpellas wrote: By speaking such rash and vile heresy on a public message board, fishmong is at risk of incurring the never ending wrath of the Neal-Huntington-Is-SABR-And-A-Genius-And-Most-Of-All-Young-Hip-Trendy-And-With-It-Just-Like-Us-And-Therefore-Can-Do-No-Wrong --- Crowd.  




You're talking about me, aren't you William?  biggrin

___________

 

  

Reply | Quote
Avatar

Posted: 08/26/2014 10:28 AM

Re: Pirates farm system has had almost no impact this year 



gr1111 wrote:
williamjpellas wrote: By speaking such rash and vile heresy on a public message board, fishmong is at risk of incurring the never ending wrath of the Neal-Huntington-Is-SABR-And-A-Genius-And-Most-Of-All-Young-Hip-Trendy-And-With-It-Just-Like-Us-And-Therefore-Can-Do-No-Wrong --- Crowd.  




You're talking about me, aren't you William?  biggrin


OH, definitely.  Was there any doubt?!  tongue

Last edited 08/26/2014 10:38 AM by williamjpellas

Reply | Quote

Posted: 08/26/2014 10:37 AM

Re: Pirates farm system has had almost no impact this year 



chu8870 wrote: their was no 1B that was that much better then what they have and the ones that were didn't wanna leave their teams,that goes with the RF out their,Abreu was the only real viable option and he got what 70mill?and cruz was out their but he wanted to play in American league so saying they didn't do much is over stated,their wasn't that many viable options and this offseason is going to be much worse unless your looking for a starting pitcher which is going to be very deep,like 4-5 top of the rotation starters
vinnybravo wrote:
TBayXXXVII wrote: I still maintain that the expectations of the fans was too high for the exact reason Fish pointed out.  When Huntington took over, he had his 5-year plan.  Fans incorrectly assumed that he meant for that 5 years to mean that he was going to turn this team into a playoff/championship contender.  He was talking about the minor league system.  To me, the year we need - and should have been targeting as fans, is the 2016 season.  Last season was great... and even by the front office - unexpected.  This year, expectations were too high.  Next year, they probably will be as well, but I do think they'll be similar to this year.  They will be competitive and a winning team, but may not make the playoffs.  This team has entirely too many pitching needs.  I think we can expect an influx of kids (pitchers specifically), to hit the majors at some point.  In 2016 is when we'll really see them starting to develop and the true window open.
I think NH was right on with his 5 year plan. To me it meant that in 5 years the Pirates would have a core group that would be able to play .500 ball on a consistent basis. He has hit that right on the head and looks like they will be able to maintain that. Where he is FAILING is to make the deals to build on that core. The Pirates had a chance to build on that core and they decided no to. They threw the season away in April with their decision not to do anything.

I still will argue that if the would have offered Burnett or went after a proven pitcher like Kasmir and addressed the RF or 1B position with a real true every day player they could have at least went 13-13 to start the season and at this point would be in 1st place right now. Instead they went cheap and are struggling to even be the 2nd wild card team.
See I think there were plenty of options. I do believe they could have got Cruz for $10 mil as he was coming off a suspension, also there are plenty of 1B and RF that could have been traded for. But there is the main issue I have with the Pirates right now, they refuse to give up anything to get anything. They seem happy with what they have and will dumpster dive in the hopes of finding a diamond in the rough instead of making a play for an established player that has known results.
Reply | Quote