• joined Mar 26, 2008
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User Blog

On the fallacy of the predetermined outcome, and the trade deadline

The fallacy of the predetermined outcome is a type of causal fallacy, derived from counterfactual thinking: Counterfactuals are conditional propositions, containing an antecedent and a...


On leverage index and Clint Hurdle

Recently, there was discussion on the changes to the Pirates bullpen at the trade deadline. Courtesy of, here are the Pirates' moves after trading for Wandy Rodriguez: J...

Fuck you, Pirates


Pat Lackey's succinct summary of last night's game, at I can't argue with that.

The sword of Damocles hanging over the Pirates' bullpen


RHP Chad Qualls (irritation of left toe) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 25. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Indianapolis on Sept. 3 and will be activated Sept. 9.

"A Pirate for Life", by Steve Blass (BD Book Club nomination?)


I didn't see it mentioned anywhere, but earlier this week the Trib had an article on Steve Blass and his new book, "A Pirate for Life". I haven't read it, and don't (yet) own a copy, but I thought others here might like to know about it. The book is available through the usual online retailers; here is the book's page on the publisher's website.

To me, the most surprising stat about the 2012 Pirates' season...


... is that Pirates' catchers have only caught 4 baserunners in 53 stolen base attempts. (Barajas and McKenry have each caught two.) The 7.5% CS rate is by far the worst in the majors (the MLB average is 27%, and the next lowest is Tampa Bay at 17%). For comparison purposes, last year the parade of 8 different Pirates catchers caught 25% of would-be stolen base attempts. However, the Pirates are otherwise playing decent defense (10th in MLB dWAR, league average fielding percentage and defensive runs saved), and are currently 3 gaves over .500 and in second place in the NL Central. I realize that in many cases bases are stolen off the pitcher, rather than the catcher, but allowing 92% of stolen base attempts to succeed doesn't bode well. In the minors, Tony Sanchez has thrown out 17 of 62 basestealers (27%), split between AA and AAA, but there doesn't seem to be much help for this year.

Grant Brisbee Breaks Up With The 2012 Pirates


Equal parts hopeful and sobering, Brisbee's latest is well worth your time, in my opinion.

Rangers call up Tanner Scheppers


Tanner was the Pirates' 2nd round draft choice in 2008, but he did not sign due to his bonus demands amid injury concerns. This year, he posted a 3.72 ERA at AAA Round Rock, with a 1.172 WHIP, 4 BB, and 27 K in 29 IP.

This bothers me more than it probably should (bobblehead content)


In all seriousness, what the fuck? Were the Braves originally going to make one depicting Jerry Meals' blown call last year, but decided that would be in poor taste?

FanGraphs Staff Predicts 2012, Omits the Pirates


No big surprise, I suppose... although I think the Pirates will break the streak this year, I wouldn't predict the Pirates to make the playoffs or win any awards this year either. and speaking of 2012 predictions, this is as good as anyplace else to list mine; feel free to list yours in the comments. 2012 MLB playoffs NLE Phillies NLC Reds NLW Giants NLWC1Rockies NLWC2 Nats ALE Rays ALC Tigers ALW Angels ALWC1 Yankees ALWC2 Rangers NLDS Nats, Reds NLCS Nats ALDS Tigers, Angels ALCS Tigers WS Tigers

The MLB channel's 30 Teams in 30 Days got to the Pirates last weekend


I only caught the very end of it, but it seems like I didn't miss much. The supplemental text crawling below the video included "notable additions" such as Joe Beimel and Dusty Brown, and the statistical leaders listed were also a year out of date for a 2012 preview. It's obvious that Bud Selig and MLB don't give a shit about the Pirates, but a gaffe like this in their tv programming seems especially stupid. So, did anyone see the complete 1-hour episode? If so, did MLB get it right elsewhere in the program?

We're number 27!


Fangraphs ranks the Pirates organization at #27. I don't agree with everything written -- for example, the article notes that the Pirates finished next to last in attendance among NL teams, but they drew more fans last year than 7 AL teams -- but I'll give the writer props for not mentioning Jo-Jo Reyes.

Would a starting rotation of recent retirees be better than the Pirates' 2012 rotation?


With the recent comeback of Andy Pettitte, Fangraphs writer Wendy Thurm wonders if a rotation made of recently retired players (Pettitte, Mike Mussina, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and Greg Maddux) would be better than the rotation in any team this year. She estimates that such a rotation would indeed be better than a Pirates rotation composed of Charlie Morton, James McDonald, Brad Lincoln, Kevin Correia, and Jeff Karstens (based on the top 5 starters in Fangraphs' Positional Power Rankings). I don't know whether to feel insulted that the writer didn't include Erik Bedard and A.J. Burnett in the comparison, or grateful that Jo-Jo Reyes likewise wasn't mentioned.

Interesting article on Nick Leyva and positioning the Pirates' infield


For defensive positioning, "The Pirates’ third base coach still uses his instincts and experience — but he also relies on data supplied by Dan Fox, the team’s director of baseball systems development."

Robbie Grossman is for Real


This is a nice breakdown of Robbie Grossman's breakthrough 2011 season; it's a week old now, but I didn't see it linked anywhere else around here. Charlie, I'd also like to nominate to be included on the Bucs Dugout blogroll. (h/t to

Head of World Anti-Doping Agency says Braun wouldn’t have been cleared under WADA code


For all the gnashing of teeth over "chain of custody", it wouldn't have mattered under WADA rules: "David Howman, the director general of WADA, said in a statement Friday that in a case following WADA code, "the athlete would have to show that the departure from the rule caused the adverse finding. That is not the situation in this case." He said the "very experienced" director of the anti-doping lab in Montreal gave evidence that Braun’s sample had not been compromised or tampered with. h/t to Kellin in the comments of this post at Fangraphs

Paul Maholm Apparently Agrees To Deal With Cubs


Many of the folks in the comments at that link seem to think this is a prelude to trading Matt Garza. It will be interesting to find out how many years and how much money he'll receive, relative to the option the Pirates declined a while back. UPDATE by Charlie: Maholm tweets that he has, in fact, signed with the Cubs. UPDATE by Charlie: It's for one year, $4.25 million (via MLB Daily Dish), with a $6.5 million 2013 option with a $500,000 buyout. That's just a fantastic deal for the Cubs, frankly.

the Pirates increased payroll in 2011 by 17.3% compared to 2010


FWIW, the Pirates' $51,784,810 EOY payroll doesn't include the $17M spent on the draft last year, or on anything spent in Latin America

Clint Hurdle: Four Scouting Reports


Clint Hurdle's scouting reports on Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata, Pedro Alvarez, and Neil Walker, plus some comments on the use of video and scouting reports.

Jenifer Langosch has contract details for recent Pirates signings


including a list of incentives. I understand some of the playoffs-related incentive clauses -- presumably they would transfer if/when a player is traded -- but does Rod Barajas really need an incentive clause for finishing third in MVP voting? Is Erik Bedard likely to be in the top three for Cy Young voting? and how likely is Clint Barmes to earn a Silver Slugger award?

The 2011 Pittsburgh Pirates' season, summarized in one panel


The 2011 Pittsburgh Pirates' season, summarized in one panel

Big Spenders: Pittsburgh’s 2010 Draft Class


Marc Hulet at Fangraphs tracks some of the Pirates' 2010 draftees. Not sure how much new there is in that article to most of the folks here, but it's always nice when someone else acknowledges "over the past three seasons (2008-10), the Pittsburgh Pirates organization has spent more cash on the amateur draft than any other club in Major League Baseball."

Clint Hurdle positive on the Pirates


Nice article on Clint Hurdle's relentlessly upbeat personality by ESPN's Jason Stark. Hurdle might be the first Pirates manager to ever quote Popeye the Sailor Man. (h/t to

Did you know that Bobby Bonilla is still on the Mets' payroll?

Bonilla is apparently a MLBPA representative, so he's not working for the Mets' front office. Cot's Contracts doesn't list anything, so it might be deferred money.

Success and Failure Rates of Top MLB Prospects


Nice article by Scott McKinney at Royals Review. Based on the average WAR for the cost-controlled years from Baseball America's top 100 prospect lists from 1990 to 2003, he classified each prospect as a bust or a success. Towards the end, the author looks at prospect bust or success percentage by organization. The Pirates' rank next to last in success rate, which is no surprise given how few homegrown stars were developed over that time period, and how rarely the Pirates won over that time period (excluding 1990-92, of course, but then again none of the Pirates on the list from 1990-92 made a significant impact on those winning teams). The good news is that there's hope: the other three teams in the bottom four with the Pirates all went to the playoffs last year, and the organization ranked last won the World Series. (link to the BA top 100 lists)

Fangraph's 2011 NRI All-Star team has a few familiar faces


notably Lastings Milledge and Dana Eveland, and author Dave Cameron predicts they'd combine for +15-20 fWAR (or about 61-66 wins). Unfortunately, there's also the predictable Pirates bashing in the comments, including one ignoramus accusing the Pirates of pocketing "their share"(!) of the Yankees' luxury tax money.

Joe Martinez DFA'd To Make Room For Kevin Correia


I thought Martinez might be useful as depth, but I won't lose sleep if the Pirates lose him. UPDATE by Charlie: Not a surprise. I think there's a pretty decent chance Martinez gets through waivers. I think he's a somewhat better pitcher than he showed since arriving in a trade from the Giants - most of that ugly Indianapolis stat line is the result of him allowing a lot more homers than he probably will in the long run. He'll never be a rotation staple or anything, but he gets enough groundballs to be modestly useful as a Jeff Karstens type in the next few years.

What if Cliff Lee had signed with the Pirates?


an outstanding 'what if' by Xander at of course, Cliff Lee ultimately signed with the Phillies, but at least the ending of this story is still possible.

The AP has a nice article on the connections between Neil Walker and Clemente


Did you know that Neil Walker's dad almost got on the plane with Clemente? The article also includes how Walker sought advice from Bill Mazeroski a few years ago, long before Walker was thought of as a second baseman.

Pirates’ Morton on pace for historically bad ERA


The AP wrote an article about Morton's historically awful performance to date. The good news is that a young Roy Halladay had a similar season in 2000, and we all know what happened to him. The bad news is that Steve Blass had a similar season in 1973 that pretty much ended his career.

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