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 Post subject: Stockpiling power arms
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 1:27 pm 
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Neal Huntington clearly has a bias towards power arms, and the outcome for his penchant seems to be evidenced by the current Pirates' staff and the arms in the minor leagues. Here is my overview of the arms that the Pirates have in their system:

A.J. Burnett - mid 90's, swing-and-miss slider
Morton - dealing up to 96 mph before surgery, reportedly hitting 97 mph in the minors this year
Wilson - 95 mph lefty
Watson 94 mph lefty
Grilli - 94-95 mph, filthy slider
Melancon - 94 mph cutter
Mazzarro - 95 mph sinker
Morris - relying on 91-92 mph cutter, but can deal at 95 mph when necessary
Cole - 94-96 mph in the minors
Taillon - 92-95 mph in the minors
Welker - 97 mph in AAA
Black - 99 mph in AAA
Kingham - 92-94 mph consistently in high-A
Glasnow - huge kid, project, dealing in upper 90's in A ball
Heredia - waiting to see how he is dealing in low A later. Likely low to mid-90's stuff

Some serious power arms here.


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 Post subject: Re: Stockpiling power arms
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 3:47 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Stockpiling power arms
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 4:48 pm 
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Good list. I'm super excited about Glasnow, who is tearing up A ball. He could be the "fourth horseman" of the future Pirate rotation along with Cole, Taillon and Heredia.


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 Post subject: Re: Stockpiling power arms
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 8:28 am 
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Nice post.

I remember 6-8 years ago when we didn't really have anyone in the system who could throw 95+. I think McPherson can deal in the low to mid 90s as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Stockpiling power arms
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 9:33 am 
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No question the pitching depth is better now top to bottom. Of course bringing in Burnett, Rodriguez, Liriano, and Gomez has a lot to do with that.

Now the challenge is to transition from a decent rotation to an elite one. And those elite pitchers are always hard to find.

Cole and Taillon have been a little disappointing to this point.


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 Post subject: Re: Stockpiling power arms
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 10:02 am 
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doug frobel wrote:
I remember 6-8 years ago when we didn't really have anyone in the system who could throw 95+.


Ah yes, who can forget the Zach Duke/Josh Fogg era of Pirates baseball?!

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 Post subject: Re: Stockpiling power arms
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 10:20 am 
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burghermeister wrote:
Good list. I'm super excited about Glasnow, who is tearing up A ball. He could be the "fourth horseman" of the future Pirate rotation along with Cole, Taillon and Heredia.


Kingham is tearing it up as well. Got shellacked to start last year which inflated his numbers, but he straightened things out and seems to have built on it this year.

Also, Stolmy Pimentel was sitting 96 and touching 98 two starts ago and is pretty consistently 94-95. Andy Oliver sits 93-94 as a lefty, too. Will be very interesting to see if they can maintain that velocity while improving control....could be the difference for them.

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 Post subject: Re: Stockpiling power arms
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 11:07 am 
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Interesting to see the evolution on this board from many making fun of this approach by NH at the start of his tenure.

Also of interest to me, if we draft a ton of rangy fireballers, is why is it so "ridiculous" to have the lower minors focus on fastball command during development? RE: any BD snarky response to the "fastball academy".

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Stockpiling power arms
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 11:23 am 
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ZelieMike wrote:
Interesting to see the evolution on this board from many making fun of this approach by NH at the start of his tenure.


I'm personally in awe on his approach with pitching. I think it's been spectacular. When he first started I agreed with his approach to acquire power arms. His track record with the bullpen is bordering silly at this point.

My biggest beef with NH has been (and still is) his approach to free agents. I still would rather sign one over-priced (because it would take more money to get said player to Pittsburgh) than a handful of garbage free agents.

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 Post subject: Re: Stockpiling power arms
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 11:46 am 
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IA Pirate wrote:
doug frobel wrote:
I remember 6-8 years ago when we didn't really have anyone in the system who could throw 95+.


Ah yes, who can forget the Zach Duke/Josh Fogg era of Pirates baseball?!


There are still Josh Fogg homerun balls in orbit around PNC Park and Coors Field.

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 Post subject: Re: Stockpiling power arms
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 12:06 pm 
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Stockpiling power arms is a great idea. Telling your minor leaguers to throw nothing but fastballs is a horrible idea.


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 Post subject: Re: Stockpiling power arms
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 12:27 pm 
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Ralphie wrote:
Stockpiling power arms is a great idea. Telling your minor leaguers to throw nothing but fastballs is a horrible idea.

But that was never the case Ralphie. It was to focus on fastball command, and if that meant you get away from your "favorite" high school out pitch to work on that command, so be it.

This model has worked over the baseball ages for the Dodger and Cardinals.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Stockpiling power arms
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 12:33 pm 
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Ralphie wrote:
Stockpiling power arms is a great idea. Telling your minor leaguers to throw nothing but fastballs is a horrible idea.


Why? It typically accounts for less than 50 innings due to it taking place in short season ball and most of the time it's kids straight out of HS who should barely be throwing breaking pitches anyway. They then have 4 more years, at a minimum, where they have their other pitches back.

As for free agent signings, I'll judge when the Pirates are close to contending. Right now they need to focus on finding which young guys can hack it in the bigs. Then, when you are a piece or two away, you can overpay a guy for 3-4 years. You don't wanna sign a bad, unmovable contract to a guy who winds up blocking a youngster you can have for more years and at a cheaper price.

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 Post subject: Re: Stockpiling power arms
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 12:37 pm 
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IA Pirate wrote:
ZelieMike wrote:
Interesting to see the evolution on this board from many making fun of this approach by NH at the start of his tenure.


I'm personally in awe on his approach with pitching. I think it's been spectacular. When he first started I agreed with his approach to acquire power arms. His track record with the bullpen is bordering silly at this point.

My biggest beef with NH has been (and still is) his approach to free agents. I still would rather sign one over-priced (because it would take more money to get said player to Pittsburgh) than a handful of garbage free agents.


What do you think of his job with Free Agents this year?

Martin - Great signing
Grilli - Great signing
Karstens - I know he's hurt but for the money we paid even half a season will be fine
Inge - I like him as a bench player
Liriano - so far so good


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 Post subject: Re: Stockpiling power arms
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 1:06 pm 
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rellimie wrote:
What do you think of his job with Free Agents this year?

Martin - Great signing
Grilli - Great signing
Karstens - I know he's hurt but for the money we paid even half a season will be fine
Inge - I like him as a bench player
Liriano - so far so good


So far so good. It's a small sample size but it's been good so far. I try not to overreact so early in the season because we could very well have the same scenario as the past two seasons. I'm certainly cheering loudly that he can turn out to be a good GM but the facts are laid out, the past six years have been a complete and total failure on his part. I go by wins and losses for the Pirates, not the farm system. I understand everything was bare when he started but at some point we need to see results (playoff appearances) for the big club.

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 Post subject: Re: Stockpiling power arms
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 1:14 pm 
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That's kind of unfair though when the average HS draft pick takes 5 years to reach the majors (6-7 if a pitcher) and the average college player takes 4 (if drafted out of a big school) or 5 (if JC or small school) years.

They don't have the resources to build a contender through free agency and had no prospects to deal for major league players so at this point you'd just now be hoping to see his first class start to make an impact.

Such is life as a small market team who was taken over with an awful farm system. For perspective, our #5 prospect in 2008 (the year Huntington took over), was a relief pitcher. Our #9 prospect was as well. And our #2 prospect (Walker) was trending towards utility man status. It was quite literally in shambles.

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 Post subject: Re: Stockpiling power arms
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 2:22 pm 
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IA Pirate wrote:
rellimie wrote:
What do you think of his job with Free Agents this year?

Martin - Great signing
Grilli - Great signing
Karstens - I know he's hurt but for the money we paid even half a season will be fine
Inge - I like him as a bench player
Liriano - so far so good


So far so good. It's a small sample size but it's been good so far. I try not to overreact so early in the season because we could very well have the same scenario as the past two seasons. I'm certainly cheering loudly that he can turn out to be a good GM but the facts are laid out, the past six years have been a complete and total failure on his part. I go by wins and losses for the Pirates, not the farm system. I understand everything was bare when he started but at some point we need to see results (playoff appearances) for the big club.


I don't know how you can say that. In the last 3 years we went from 57 wins to 72 to 79 and I'd be willing to bet we'll win more than 79 this year.

He undertook a total rebuild. There were many mistakes made along the way, and its taken longer than anyone wanted or expected, but a complete and total failure it is not.

Plus you have to look at the business side. We've significantly narrowed the payroll gap between us and our division rivals, so I give this regime credit for that too.


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 Post subject: Re: Stockpiling power arms
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 2:29 pm 
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Ralphie wrote:
I don't know how you can say that. In the last 3 years we went from 57 wins to 72 to 79 and I'd be willing to bet we'll win more than 79 this year.

He undertook a total rebuild. There were many mistakes made along the way, and its taken longer than anyone wanted or expected, but a complete and total failure it is not.

Plus you have to look at the business side. We've significantly narrowed the payroll gap between us and our division rivals, so I give this regime credit for that too.


Fair points, all I know is they haven't reached the playoffs in six years, let alone finish above .500. Hell, the Marlins franchise began in 1993 and they won the World Series in 1997.

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 Post subject: Re: Stockpiling power arms
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 2:33 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
Also, Stolmy Pimentel was sitting 96 and touching 98 two starts ago and is pretty consistently 94-95. Andy Oliver sits 93-94 as a lefty, too. Will be very interesting to see if they can maintain that velocity while improving control....could be the difference for them.

Forgot Pimentel - he deserves a spot on the "power arm" roster. Had not even considered Oliver, either.

One thing is klieg-light clear to me: Huntington knows how to get good pitching. If he can improve the results on his offense additions, happy times.


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 Post subject: Re: Stockpiling power arms
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 3:21 pm 
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Very interested to see what happens with the Big 3 bats. They've definitely tended to lean pitching in the draft but that could be more due to scarcity of high upside bats in later rounds.

I have a feeling they grab at least one bat in the draft and I'd really prefer 2 if possible. Obviously you can't pass on Gray or Appel if they fall and I haven't minded seeing Manaea and Ball at 14 since we don't have many lefties either but would really prefer a guy like McGuire, Meadows, Frazier, Moran, etc over a guy like Stanek or Shipley at 9.

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