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User Blog

Negro League Statistics Added to Baseball-Reference.com

Technically, this isn't Pirates-related, but it's Pittsburgh and baseball, so I figure that's close enough. Sean Forman has added Negro League statistics to the B-R database. It was a massive effort - there's a description of the data collection here. The link in the header goes to the stat page for Josh Gibson, who needs no introduction. Take some time this afternoon, and look around.

BPro: 2012 Organizational Rankings

A #8 overall ranking for the Pirates' farm system, with a few nice comments from Kevin Goldstein.

Pirates Mexican Signees: One 1B, One LHP, One RHP

The Pirates signed three young Mexican prospects from the Leones de Yucatan. Who are these young men, and what can Pirates fans expect from them in the future?

Lucas Giolito Sprained His UCL, Might Be Done for Year

Giolito, a 6'6" right-handed high school pitcher from California, had been regarded as the top high school pitcher in the 2012 MLB draft class. Giolito's coach Matt LaCour says that Giolito is not expected to need surgery - of course, LaCour admitted in the same statement that he had lied to a reporter about the nature of Giolito's injury after his last game in order to protect Giolito, characterizing it as a groin strain rather than an elbow problem, so who knows how trustworthy he is here? If Giolito really is done for the year, it will be interesting to see how teams evaluate him during the pre-draft period. I liked him quite a lot before the injury, and even if he were known to be facing Tommy John surgery, I don't know that I'd rule him out as a possibility for our first-round pick. The recovery rate from TJ is very high these days, and most high school pitchers tend to be used fairly conservatively down the stretch in their signing year anyway, so he wouldn't lose much ground relative to his peers. The Angels made a similar gamble in 2004, signing an injured Nick Adenhart to a well-above-slot $710,000 after he injured his elbow and had TJ during his senior year, and that decision likely would have paid off handsomely if not for his untimely death in 2009. What do you think?

Pirates Signed Some Number of Mexican Prospects Yesterday

According to a (Spanish-language) report in the daily newspaper El Diario de Yucatán, the Pirates on Tuesday signed some number of "prospects" (plural) under control of the LMB's Leones de Yucatán. As its source, the paper cited a statement made at a press conference staged by the Leones. No specific information on the players was available. As soon as I learn more, I'll add an update. The LMB staged a prospect showcase last week in Veracruz, and the Pirates were reported as being one of the teams in attendance, so it's possible that one or more of the signings might be players who performed there. That's pure speculation on my part, though. With the cap on international signings coming into effect later this year, MLB teams have a strong incentive to spend for amateur talent during the remaining portion of the current signing period.

Surprises On Pirates' Minor League Spring Training Roster

As Charlie noted in a FanShot yesterday, Pirates Prospects obtained and posted a copy of the team's roster for minor league camp. One of the most interesting parts of the roster is the revelation...

A.J. Burnett's Broken Orbital Bone Not the First

Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett was recently diagnosed with a broken orbital bone. Which other recent Pirates helped pioneer this emerging trend, and how did they fare?

Baseball America: 2012 Top 100 Prospects

Four Pirates made the cut: Gerrit Cole (12), Jameson Taillon (15), Josh Bell (60), and Starling Marte (73). Update: Jim Callis was asked during a chat today about players who just missed the cut for the top 100, and Luis Heredia was one of the ten players he named in his response.

Weidman's Pittsburgh Pursuit Continues

This is a nice piece about Pirates pitching prospect Bryce Weidman from his local paper, The World (of Coos Bay, Oregon). It includes a few tidbits about his struggles at State College last year, the adjustments he's made as a pro, and his training program this offseason. Weidman also says that he expects to start the year with the West Virginia Power, which is interesting if true.

[Geovany] Soto was almost traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates last season and could be moved this...

[Geovany] Soto was almost traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates last season and could be moved this summer if the other catchers step up.

Bruce Levine, "Cubs spring preview: Catchers", ESPN.com, 2/15/12. We knew that the Pirates had made inquiries about Soto, but this is the first report I've seen indicating that a deal was ever close. I wonder what the Cubs would have received?

Milo Hamilton to Retire After 2012 Season

The longtime voice of the Astros, Hamilton was the Pirates' play-by-play man for four seasons, starting with 1976. Calling the 1979 championship season ensures that his work here will never fall entirely out of the public consciousness, but in Pittsburgh, Hamilton will always be remembered first and foremost as the man who replaced Bob Prince. I've never been a big fan of Hamilton's vocal style, but I'm not sure there's a man alive who would've been able to fill The Gunner's shoes. It's probably for the best that he ended up in Houston.

Indians DFA Kelvin De La Cruz

De La Cruz, who will be 23 next year, is a promising lefty who in my view might be worth a waiver claim. He's tall and lean (listed at 6'5", 190 lbs.) and has a low-90s fastball and a big curve. He's got a smooth-looking delivery, and I think there might be some physical projection remaining as well. De La Cruz started encountering elbow problems in 2009, and his command and control have been iffy ever since, but I don't think it's impossible that he'd show some improvement in locating his pitches, and if he does, look out. De La Cruz's history of arm problems probably means that he'd project best as a reliever going forward, even though he's been brought up as a starter for developmental reasons. He spent 2011 at AA, and has one option remaining. What do you think?

MLB Network's Brian Kenny Loves the Barmes Signing

The link goes to a video of Kenny counting down his top six moves of the offseason, and his list includes the Pirates' signing of Clint Barmes.

Former Pirates Prospect Danny Clyburn Shot and Killed in South Carolina

The Pirates selected Clyburn, a right-handed outfielder, with the 47th overall pick in the 1992 draft, a pick the team had received as compensation from the Mets in exchange for the loss of Bobby Bonilla as a free agent. They traded him to the Reds on October 13, 1994, in exchange for Jacob Brumfield. The cousin of major league pitcher Pep Harris, Clyburn was an International League All-Star in 1997, and he spent parts of three seasons in the major leagues with the Orioles and Devil Rays. He played his last professional season in 2004, as a member of the Atlantic League's Newark Bears. At the time of Clyburn's death, he was only 37 years old.

Retrospective Scouting Reports (2011/2012) - Guess the Player

It's time for an annual tradition: the Retrospective Scouting Reports challenge. Can you identify three current Pirates players by looking at their scouting reports on draft day?

2012 Projected MLB Standings

Using Marcel projections, with current rosters. The Pirates' average finish was 72-90 and fourth place, in front of the Cubs and Astros. The Bucs won the division 1.6% of the time, took the first wild card 0.2% of the time, and took the second wild card 1.0% of the time, for total playoff odds of 2.8%. I actually find these results somewhat encouraging. We've certainly gone into a few seasons with worse odds than those.

BA's Scouting Reports On Gustavo Nunez, Harold Ramirez

Every year, Baseball America prints a few scouting reports on players who are decent prospects, but not quite good enough to make it into their team's Top 30 list for BA's printed prospect guide. The piece at the link includes reports on two such players from the Pirates' system: shortstop Gustavo Nunez and outfielder Harold Ramirez.

Pirates Sign Doug Slaten to Minor League Deal With NRI

As noted by BadAndy in the FanShots, the ex-Nat will compete for a job as a lefty specialist in the bullpen this spring. Slaten throws a 90-ish fastball, a slider, and a changeup. He's mostly been used in a situational role during his ML career, with good reason: Over his career, he's held lefties to a solid .241/.304/.361 batting line, but righties have smacked him around at a .297/.391/.473 clip, with more BB than K. If Slaten does end up making the 25-man roster (and Daniel Moskos isn't exactly an insurmountable obstacle in his path), Clint Hurdle will need to handle him carefully in order to maximize his value to the club. It's also worth noting that Slaten missed a significant amount of 2011 with ulnar neuritis in the elbow of his throwing arm, and that after returning in September he put up an 11.25 ERA in eight games. Did his injury play a role in his late-season struggles, and if so will he be back at full strength this spring?

Three Pirates Play in Australian Baseball League All-Star Game

The game actually took place on Wednesday, but due to holiday craziness, I didn't get a chance to post it until now. It's staged in an Australia vs. The World format, and the World team won this year by a score of 9 to 5 - the link above goes to the box score. First baseman Stefan Welch, a minor league free agent signed out of the Mets' system this offseason, started and batted cleanup for Team Australia, going 1-for-4 with a run scored. Rinku Singh pitched the sixth inning for the World and allowed three hits and three runs (only two earned - the last one scored on a two-out passed ball). Welch's hit and run came against Singh. Ryan Beckman pitched the eighth inning for the World and allowed one run on one hit, a home run to left by former Indians minor leaguer Joshua Roberts. In addition to the three players, Pirates scout (and Adelaide manager) Tony Harris was one of the coaches for Team Australia.

#Padres PTBNL questions will be cleared after Rule 5 draft. They owe Rockies a player and will get...

#Padres PTBNL questions will be cleared after Rule 5 draft. They owe Rockies a player and will get players from the Cubs and Pirates

The San Diego Union-Tribune, via Twitter. The PTBNL in question is the one from the Ludwick trade.

Rule 5 Draft Guide, 2011

The 2012 Rule 5 draft is fast approaching. Learn all about the best available players in this in-depth guide.

Pirates Offered $200,000 To Mexican Pitcher Julio César Urías

The Pirates have made a $200,000 offer to 15-year-old Mexican pitcher Julio César Urías. Who is this man of mystery? Read on to find out.

Former #Pirates C Ryan Doumit has received multiple offers & expects to sign by end of November....

Former #Pirates C Ryan Doumit has received multiple offers & expects to sign by end of November. He's getting married this weekend. [...] Doumit viewed as a combo C, corner OF, DH guy by some clubs. He's looking for 1-year deal after hitting .303 in 77 games this year.

-Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, via Twitter (Link 1, Link 2)

According to Max Marchi’s work on The Hardball Times presented earlier this year, Barajas is one of...

According to Max Marchi’s work on The Hardball Times presented earlier this year, Barajas is one of the game’s very best pitch framers. Among starting catchers, only Russell Martin and Brian McCann do better in that area, which was pretty much impossible to evaluate before PITCHf/x data came along. The Pirates probably have their own proprietary data on the subject that also suggests Barajas ranks among the game’s best defensive catchers. -Matthew Pouliot, "Why were the Pirates so quick to pounce on Rod Barajas?", NBCSports.com, 11/10/11

Today in News of Former Pirates (11/9/2011)

2010 Rule 5 pick and 2007 Sally League MVP John Raynor has announced his retirement as a player. He's going to join the coaching staff of his former college, UNC-Wilmington, and finish up his...

Bryan Bullington: Hall of Famer

Our former #1 pick is due to be honored in February with induction into Ball State University's Hall of Fame.

Orioles Considered Littlefield for GM Job

Per Roch Kubatko of MASN. Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it...

Larry Corrigan Lands on His Feet

Well, that didn't take long. The former member of the Pirates' front office, who was let go during this offseason's restructuring, will be joining the Angels' front office as one of new GM Jerry Dipoto's first hires. Good for him.

Pirates Re-Sign Tim Wood to Minor League Deal

No complaints from me about this move. Wood didn't experience any notable success in the majors last year, but he has some good natural abilities that just need more refinement. 94 MPH fastballs don't grow on trees, after all. He'll be a solid depth player to have in camp as a NRI during spring training, and if he puts it all together during the season, we might really have something.

Jordy Mercer Playing For A Gold Medal Tonight

Team USA defeated Cuba yesterday in the semifinals, 12-10, and will play Canada for the championship at 8:00 P.M. this evening. Mercer was 1-for-3 with two runs scored, two RBI, and two sacrifice bunts. The full box score is here. The games are being televised on ESPN3, if you have a much fancier cable package than I do (i.e. none). There's also an online stream for some cable subscribers at this link.

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