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 Post subject: Re: Offense Weak Links
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:34 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
IA Pirate wrote:
The offense is adequate if the Pirates want to be average. If the Pirates want to win a World Series (or even one playoff series) they need a massive upgrade externally.


For this year, yeah probably. Don't think that guy is out there though, a bench bat can't really be considered a massive upgrade and there are no RF/1B available who would be a massive upgrade.

Overall I think the young guys will just continue to progress and the offense will improve naturally, although probably not substantially this year since that's a tiny window.

Babe Ruth is dead. Who would you suggest?

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 Post subject: Re: Offense Weak Links
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:36 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
Don't have an RBI guy with Walker hurt/struggling.

Let the blowback start.

ZM

Didn't have one when he was playing, either. To me, Walker has been the biggest disappointment on the team thus far.

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 Post subject: Re: Offense Weak Links
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:56 pm 
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Walker's OBP against righties is .374. And Clint often had him batting 6th or 7th.


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 Post subject: Re: Offense Weak Links
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:23 pm 
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sisyphus wrote:
StarlingArcher wrote:
IA Pirate wrote:
The offense is adequate if the Pirates want to be average. If the Pirates want to win a World Series (or even one playoff series) they need a massive upgrade externally.


For this year, yeah probably. Don't think that guy is out there though, a bench bat can't really be considered a massive upgrade and there are no RF/1B available who would be a massive upgrade.

Overall I think the young guys will just continue to progress and the offense will improve naturally, although probably not substantially this year since that's a tiny window.

Babe Ruth is dead. Who would you suggest?


Honestly, I couldn't even offer a suggestion. Stanton's appealing, but he's apparently off the block. Trumbo is an intriguing name due to age/controllability but his current production wouldn't be a big boost. Nobody that would be considered a massive upgrade is available, and the cost to make them available is likely prohibitive.

I just don't see a guy like Rios, Schierholtz, Soriano as a player that puts you over the top, and those are the names constantly being floated out on the market. Like, Alex Rios is sporting a .755 OPS. Jose Tabata has thus far contributed a .782 OPS. If Tabata is perceived as having a negligible impact on the offense, why would Rios have one? Or Schierholtz, whose OPS is only .04 higher than Tabata's? Likewise with Soriano, who has an OPS .022 less than Tabata.

I know Tabata might regress, but .782 production is .782 production to this point and he's seen as a weak link having produced that. How are those guys, with their numbers, going to somehow help the offense?

Are there even any 1B who are remotely available? I know Cuddyer's been mentioned but the Rockies have said they'd need to be blown away to consider it and the NL West is a giant crapshoot. Would love Jhonathan Singleton but there's no way the Astros are dealing him.

Martin is scuffling but you obviously don't replace him. Obviously Marte/Cutch/Pedro/Walker are guys you don't replace. The only SS I've seen speculated as being available is Alexei Ramirez and Mercer is contributing more offensively than him.

I think at this point you just keep doing what you're doing, let Marte/Cutch/Pedro progress, see what you have next year in Polanco and T Sanchez, and then look to the FA market to fill holes in the coming years with legitimate FA signings.

Short term contracts are/were fine when you wanted to make sure you weren't blocking prospects or getting yourself financially hamstrung, but 1-2 year deals aren't going to get bona fide major leaguers and with the window open they should have plenty of payroll and window years to work with in signing guys.

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 Post subject: Re: Offense Weak Links
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:33 pm 
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sisyphus wrote:
The Pirates are currently four games ahead of the Reds. How many gaping holes do the Reds have?


LF. SS. C. 3B could use an upgrade. Brandon Phillips isn't playing up to snuff and could possibly be regressing at this point.

It's really no surprise that they're barely ranked ahead of us in park adjusted Runs Created. They have some chinks in the armor and play in a bandbox to boot. But, Votto, Choo, and Bruce are a heck of a trio to contend with so you have to respect them.

Dusty Baker exacerbates the issues with his lineup construction, too.

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 Post subject: Re: Offense Weak Links
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:47 pm 
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The biggest contributor to runs being scored in the second will probably revolve around a drop in humidity in WPA. I am pretty well convinced now that I've looked SA's ballpark contributions that this year's cold/wet spell at home followed by this extremely humid spell we've been in, has kept a lot of balls on the warning track.

I see some help with Jones and Walker having typical second halves (progressing to their mean, or "getting hot") and a shift to Canadian Clippers coming through.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Offense Weak Links
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:55 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
The biggest contributor to runs being scored in the second will probably revolve around a drop in humidity in WPA. I am pretty well convinced now that I've looked SA's ballpark contributions that this year's cold/wet spell at home followed by this extremely humid spell we've been in, has kept a lot of balls on the warning track.

I see some help with Jones and Walker having typical second halves (progressing to their mean, or "getting hot") and a shift to Canadian Clippers coming through.

ZM


I think that's fair. The link I'll post below is data collected for the years 2010-2012, and PNC comes out to about 74 HRs per 100 at a neutral park so it's well below that this year. Should progress, as we only have a half year's sample to work with this year.

http://www.parkfactors.com/PIT

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 Post subject: Re: Offense Weak Links
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:56 pm 
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sisyphus wrote:
Didn't have one when he was playing, either. To me, Walker has been the biggest disappointment on the team thus far.


I would probably cite Jones as a bigger disappointment since he isn't succeeding at his one role of hitting RHP which he gets almost all of his ABs against, but I agree with you about Walker.


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 Post subject: Re: Offense Weak Links
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:13 pm 
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Eye test only, but both those guys are "this close" to "being there".

Thought the sabre guys would appreciate the quotes for context! 8-)

Seriously, there are a number of guys on this team that are not up to their historical numbers, whether primary or peripheral metrics. Unless you believe they are washed up, I can only see them having better second halves. Walker and Jones are primary among them, but this also includes the recent slump Gabby has been in against lefties, and even 'Cutches underwhelming results relative to his numbers.

That said, and some cooler, drier air might mean a strong second half. Especially if you get a Nate Schierholtz type in here.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Offense Weak Links
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:43 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
Here's how NL Central teams have fared with a runner on third and less than two outs. Opportunities/Runs Scored/Percentage:

1. Reds 227/121 (53%)
2. Cardinals 197/99 (50%)
3. Brewers 201/96 (48%)
4. Cubs 143/67 (47%)
5. Pirates 179/72 (40%)

YIKES.

That piqued my interest so I decided to invest more of my lunch hour by looking at the remainder of the NL:

Braves 179/90 (50%)
Nats 169/87 (51%)
Phillies 171/85 (50%)
Mets 155/79 (51%)
Marlins 157/67 (43%)
D'Backs 195/102 (52%)
Dodgers 200/98 (49%)
Rockies 169/81 (48%)
Padres 194/103 (53%)
Giants 180/86 (48%)

DOUBLE YIKES.


Wow. Yes, very concerning.

However, if the Bucs were among the league leaders we'd all be calling for 'regression to the mean'.

So, using homer logic, there is plenty of opportunity for 'progression to the mean'.

:D

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 Post subject: Re: Offense Weak Links
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:47 pm 
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buccosfan77 wrote:
We need a slugging right fielder. Ibanez?


Ibanez playing OF : Doumit playing C

He might be a good PH option, but he's gimpy Adam Dunn in the field.

Ibanez will either stay put in Sea-town because their ownership is inept and what's left of their casual fanbase is too in love with a 'favorite' like Rauuuuuuuuuuuuuul or he will be traded to a contending AL team with a DH/PH need.

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 Post subject: Re: Offense Weak Links
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:59 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
'Cutches underwhelming results relative to his numbers.


With his improvements over the last few weeks I don't think you can really say McCutchen is having a disappointing season anymore. His OPS, BA and I'd also add SB rate are all the best they've been in his career after last year. Of course coming off of last year's potentially career year there is of course a contingent who will define anything less as a disappointment (not saying this is you, just in general). The only thing that could be considered a "big" disappointment would be the power, which again is currently in line with her career averages as opposed to last year which I personally believe with be an outlier on his career.


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 Post subject: Re: Offense Weak Links
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:06 pm 
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NSMaster56 wrote:
buccosfan77 wrote:
We need a slugging right fielder. Ibanez?


Ibanez playing OF : Doumit playing C

He might be a good PH option, but he's gimpy Adam Dunn in the field.

Ibanez will either stay put in Sea-town because their ownership is inept and what's left of their casual fanbase is too in love with a 'favorite' like Rauuuuuuuuuuuuuul or he will be traded to a contending AL team with a DH/PH need.


Yeah. I didn't see many left handers to fill this spot. They need more out of the platoon than what Snider is giving. Maybe Snider deserves more chances. This team needs to start scoring more. Ibanez was probably a stretch. Lambo? He's rakin


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 Post subject: Re: Offense Weak Links
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:24 pm 
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NSMaster56 wrote:

Ibanez playing OF : Doumit playing C


I'd be extremely happy with this.

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 Post subject: Re: Offense Weak Links
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:50 pm 
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I thought the last couple of games, Jones was swinging it pretty well..several times just under it a bit....I say stand pat unless you can get some bench help that can pinch hit.....We are abysmal in the PH department.. :? :? :? :?


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 Post subject: Re: Offense Weak Links
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:30 am 
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They need to let it ride with this team. There's no sense in sacrificing what you've been BUILDING to try and take it all in one year, I said it last season and I'm still with the exact same mindset. This team is being built to be competitive for the next decade, not win one WS. If you have to do anything at the deadline that involves giving up stud prospects like Polanco or Taillon, then you're just not thinking long-term. You're barely thinking short-term, since those guys could realistically contribute to the Pirates as early as next season.

We are not in a position to gamble on the type of guys that are there at the deadline. Keep with the low-risk deals, and hope that we hit on one of them. We're this far over .500 right now, and that's without Andrew McCutchen going on one of his MVP-like offensive streaks. Imagine if that happens again this season, combined with Pedro starting to hit his potential. I think their offense is just fine as it is. It's not perfect, but nobody's is. Pretty much every other team has the same droughts and same runners stranded issues.


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 Post subject: Re: Offense Weak Links
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:52 am 
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Leway512 wrote:
They need to let it ride with this team. There's no sense in sacrificing what you've been BUILDING to try and take it all in one year, I said it last season and I'm still with the exact same mindset. This team is being built to be competitive for the next decade, not win one WS. If you have to do anything at the deadline that involves giving up stud prospects like Polanco or Taillon, then you're just not thinking long-term. You're barely thinking short-term, since those guys could realistically contribute to the Pirates as early as next season.

We are not in a position to gamble on the type of guys that are there at the deadline. Keep with the low-risk deals, and hope that we hit on one of them. We're this far over .500 right now, and that's without Andrew McCutchen going on one of his MVP-like offensive streaks. Imagine if that happens again this season, combined with Pedro starting to hit his potential. I think their offense is just fine as it is. It's not perfect, but nobody's is. Pretty much every other team has the same droughts and same runners stranded issues.


Agreed.


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 Post subject: Re: Offense Weak Links
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:57 am 
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Except the Cardinals. You know, the team the Pirates are chasing, who have the best offense in the NL and hit .337 with runners in scoring position.

If the Pirates want to catch the red birds, they need to add a BAT. Capital letters. And Kendrys Morales may be it.


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 Post subject: Re: Offense Weak Links
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:29 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
Willton wrote:
I'm sorry, is that a problem? Is this supposed to be indicative of something? What conclusions are we supposed to draw from this? Because to me, stats like this indicate very little in the way of valuable information.


Not scoring runs from third base with less than 2 outs a problem? Yeah, I'd say that's a problem. I'd go so far as to say that an offensively challenged team blowing those opportunities are a pretty big problem.

Ok . . . I understand that any post using the word "sacrifice," "RBI" or which hints at "productive outs" will elicit a visceral reaction from some similar to a leech when salt is poured on it. I get it. I'm familiar with the mantra. Outs are bad. RBIs are merely creatures of opportunity. Let me try to put it in other terms which may fully point out why JC's observation is not only relevant but indicative of a problem.

Here's how NL Central teams have fared with a runner on third and less than two outs. Opportunities/Runs Scored/Percentage:

1. Reds 227/121 (53%)
2. Cardinals 197/99 (50%)
3. Brewers 201/96 (48%)
4. Cubs 143/67 (47%)
5. Pirates 179/72 (40%)

YIKES.

That piqued my interest so I decided to invest more of my lunch hour by looking at the remainder of the NL:

Braves 179/90 (50%)
Nats 169/87 (51%)
Phillies 171/85 (50%)
Mets 155/79 (51%)
Marlins 157/67 (43%)
D'Backs 195/102 (52%)
Dodgers 200/98 (49%)
Rockies 169/81 (48%)
Padres 194/103 (53%)
Giants 180/86 (48%)

DOUBLE YIKES.

By my count, there are 6 teams that have a decided advantage over the Pirates in scoring opportunities with a runner on third and less than 2 outs. There are 2 teams that are the essential equivalents (Braves and Giants). There are 6 teams that have had decidedly fewer opportunities.

Yet, despite being middle of the pack for opportunities, only the Cubs and the Marlins have failed to score as many runs as the Pirates in those situations. And, both the Cubs and the Marlins have higher percentages of scoring runs in those situations. The Pirates are dead last - and by a significant margin - than their NL brethren. Roughing it "by eye" only, it appears that most teams are in the 50% range. If the Pirates could improve to simply "average," that would increase their run total in those situations from 72 to 90. An increase of 18 runs.

Call me crazy but 18 more runs is a significant number - particularly when the pitching has been so damn good. An additional 18 runs would account for 5% more run production this year. Yes, you always have the argument of when those runs would have scored and whether it would actually translate into more actual wins. (That would fit with my consistent "situational" analysis theme) However, my point is simple. If the Bucs could simply get to being average when they have a runner on third and less than 2 outs, they'd generate significantly more offense. Whether it is accomplished by a base hit or by other meaningful contact at the plate, this is an area in which the Bucs have been comparatively pathetic.

And . . . I posit . . . the lack of any sacrifice flies since mid-June is entirely consistent with these struggles.

And . . . for my last point . . . this pretty much supports my position on why reliance on Run Expectancy Tables for dictating specific strategy in a particular game is folly. If you looked at Run Expectancy with a runner on third and less than 2 outs for the NL as a whole, you'd get a markedly divergent number from what the Pirates have accomplished in similar situations this year.


Digging deeper: I checked last night and Pirates' pitchers have had 9 situations where there has been a runner on 3rd and less than 2 outs. The runner on 3rd has scored 2 times. Thus, if you subtract the pitchers from the equation, the Pirates percentage jumps from 40% to 41%. Consequently, you cannot blame the pitchers for the pathetic scoring percentage in those situations.

How about the whipping boys: Inge and Barmes?
Both of them are at 25%. Inge? Runner has scored in 1 out of 4 chances. Barmes? Runner has scored in 2 out of 8 chances.

Mercer? The runner has scored in 2 out of 7 chances.

How about some of these regulars whose role is to drive in runs?
Alvarez 25/10 (40%)
McCutchen 33/14 (43%)
Marte 12/4 (33%)
Walker 12/5 (42%)
Collectively, this group has left a runner stranded at 3rd base with less than 2 outs (and that runner DOESN'T score in the inning) in a whopping 49 out of 82 opportunities. That's a 40.2% rate. Those four comprise a large part of the "heart" of the Bucco order. I don't think that it is unrealistic to expect this group to be at league average (@50%) or, to be blunt, better than league average.

Jones is 11 for 18 in those situations. He's getting the job done when it is presented.
Martin is 10 for 21 in those situations. He's close to 50% but you'd like to see more out of him as well.
Gaby Sanchez is 4 for 15 in those situations. He has to be better than that.
Both Tabata and McKenry are 1 for 4 in those situations. Blah.
Snider hasn't had many opportunities but he's stepped up when needed - 4 for 6.

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 Post subject: Re: Offense Weak Links
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 7:09 pm 
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Ralphie wrote:
Walker's OBP against righties is .374. And Clint often had him batting 6th or 7th.

Love the OBP. Power is way down, average is way down, and can't hit lefties. I thought that this was the year he would put it all together.

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