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 Post subject: Off-Day Musings, 2014 Part II (All-Star Edition)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:26 pm 
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It is Monday afternoon, July 14, 2014, and your smiling, baseball-obsessed confidant J_C_Steel is back once again for another installmant of Off-Day Musings. Prepare yourselves -- this one's an All-Star edition, folks. For those who haven't read any of my previous tombs (and judging from the view numbers, there are a lot of you), here are the links to 2013's five musings and 2014's initial first soliloquy:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=10940

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=11168

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=11200

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=11245

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=11704

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=12915

* When last I wrote, the Pittsburgh Baseball Club was 42-40, fourth place in the National League Central Division (8 games back), and 1.5 games back of the final NL Wild Card slot, with four teams ahead. Today, the Pirates are 49-46, fourth place in the National League Central Division (3.5 games back), and 3 games back of the final NL Wild Card slot, with four teams ahead. So that 7-6 July record has not helped our Buccos at all in the Wild Card race, but it has helped them catch the fast-sinking Brewers. Overall, it appears that five of the following eight teams will make the playoffs in the NL: Los Angeles Dodgers (+50 run differential), Washington Nationals (+61), Milwaukee Brewers (+17), Atlanta Braves (+12), San Francisco Giants (+23), St. Louis Cardinals (+14), Cincinnati Reds (+28), and Pittsburgh Pirates (-2). Right now, the Pirates are 8th in the group, and the only one with a negative run differential, but all of the teams have between 42 and 46 losses. If someone forced me to predict how it would all shake out, I'd go with this:

NL East -- Washington Nationals (easily better than the Braves)
NL Central -- Cincinnati Reds (best pitching and enough hitting)
NL West -- Los Angeles Dodgers (great pitching depth and more money than God)
Wild Cards -- St. Louis Cardinals (like a zombie that keeps... coming... back), Atlanta Braves (fairly easy 2nd half schedule)

I sure hope I'm wrong. And I'll be likely to change my opinion once we see how and what teams do prior to the trade deadline.

* I don't really need to write much about Andrew McCutchen, do I? I will note that after winning the National League Player of the Month award for June 2014, he's done this so far in July: .385/.431/.865 (OPS 1.296), 4 2Bs, 3 3Bs, 5 HRs, 13 RBI, 13 Runs, 3 SB. He has 50 extra-base hits on the year (behind only Mike Trout and Paul Goldschmidt, each of whom have 53) and he's sporting a tidy .995 OPS. So, uh, yeah, he's good at baseball. And as to Saturday's virtuoso performance, here's what I wrote in the immediate aftermath:

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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, 2014 Part II (All-Star Edition)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:02 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
* The Pirates have a good chance to make some hay right after the All-Star break, with two series against the struggling Rockies and series against the Diamondbacks, Marlins, and Padres. They also have to play the Dodgers and Giants, but overall the team should be in position to win games at a good clip at home and then on the west coast. But the key to the 2014 season will be the stretch of games between August 22nd and September 3rd when the Pirates play the Brewers, Cardinals, Reds, and then Cardinals again. If the team is going to somehow win the NL Central, then they'll have to bring it over that two-week stretch.


This team, as currently constructed, doesn't look capable of somehow taking the NL Central. Last year they had a better rotation and FAR superior 'pen and they couldn't do it.

These Buccos are frisky enough to nab one of the two playoff spots, and beating up the lesser teams like AZ, CO, FL and SD will help in that regard, but vs. the better teams in the league---specifically the NL Central teams thus far---there's nothing doing.

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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, 2014 Part II (All-Star Edition)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:07 pm 
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Would you trade Gregory Polanco + Beltre for a return of Pedro Alvarez and Josh Bell? Because that's about where Gallo is right now.

I'd probably come off of that particular pipe dream.

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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, 2014 Part II (All-Star Edition)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:11 pm 
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NSMaster56 wrote:
J_C_Steel wrote:
* The Pirates have a good chance to make some hay right after the All-Star break, with two series against the struggling Rockies and series against the Diamondbacks, Marlins, and Padres. They also have to play the Dodgers and Giants, but overall the team should be in position to win games at a good clip at home and then on the west coast. But the key to the 2014 season will be the stretch of games between August 22nd and September 3rd when the Pirates play the Brewers, Cardinals, Reds, and then Cardinals again. If the team is going to somehow win the NL Central, then they'll have to bring it over that two-week stretch.


This team, as currently constructed, doesn't look capable of somehow taking the NL Central. Last year they had a better rotation and FAR superior 'pen and they couldn't do it.

These Buccos are frisky enough to nab one of the two playoff spots, and beating up the lesser teams like AZ, CO, FL and SD will help in that regard, but vs. the better teams in the league---specifically the NL Central teams thus far---there's nothing doing.



This team is hitting much better recently than last year's team. By WRC+ they were the third best in MLB in June. All depends on what you think of that and other stats, but it seems evident to my eyes as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, 2014 Part II (All-Star Edition)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:16 pm 
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SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
NSMaster56 wrote:
J_C_Steel wrote:
* The Pirates have a good chance to make some hay right after the All-Star break, with two series against the struggling Rockies and series against the Diamondbacks, Marlins, and Padres. They also have to play the Dodgers and Giants, but overall the team should be in position to win games at a good clip at home and then on the west coast. But the key to the 2014 season will be the stretch of games between August 22nd and September 3rd when the Pirates play the Brewers, Cardinals, Reds, and then Cardinals again. If the team is going to somehow win the NL Central, then they'll have to bring it over that two-week stretch.


This team, as currently constructed, doesn't look capable of somehow taking the NL Central. Last year they had a better rotation and FAR superior 'pen and they couldn't do it.

These Buccos are frisky enough to nab one of the two playoff spots, and beating up the lesser teams like AZ, CO, FL and SD will help in that regard, but vs. the better teams in the league---specifically the NL Central teams thus far---there's nothing doing.



This team is hitting much better recently than last year's team. By WRC+ they were the third best in MLB in June. All depends on what you think of that and other stats, but it seems evident to my eyes as well.


Yeah, I dig the offense, but I'm not one who believes that a team can 'slug their way' to a World Series nor that this offense is quite 'at that level' yet (if stats say otherwise then cool and better for the Bucs).

Look at Detroit. Their bats went fairly silent and then their bullpen let them down last year.

This team needs better pitching if they want to win in the postseason. That problem doesn't look fixable this year.

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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, 2014 Part II (All-Star Edition)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:41 pm 
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SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
Would you trade Gregory Polanco + Beltre for a return of Pedro Alvarez and Josh Bell? Because that's about where Gallo is right now.

I'd probably come off of that particular pipe dream.


Gallo wasn't one of the Rangers' top 7 prospects going into 2014. If the Pirates would have to accept a lesser prospect like, say, Ronald Guzman (1B), then fine. To me, Gallo isn't the key to the deal.


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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, 2014 Part II (All-Star Edition)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 5:23 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, 2014 Part II (All-Star Edition)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:18 pm 
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NSMaster56 wrote:
J_C_Steel wrote:
* The Pirates have a good chance to make some hay right after the All-Star break, with two series against the struggling Rockies and series against the Diamondbacks, Marlins, and Padres. They also have to play the Dodgers and Giants, but overall the team should be in position to win games at a good clip at home and then on the west coast. But the key to the 2014 season will be the stretch of games between August 22nd and September 3rd when the Pirates play the Brewers, Cardinals, Reds, and then Cardinals again. If the team is going to somehow win the NL Central, then they'll have to bring it over that two-week stretch.


This team, as currently constructed, doesn't look capable of somehow taking the NL Central. Last year they had a better rotation and FAR superior 'pen and they couldn't do it.

These Buccos are frisky enough to nab one of the two playoff spots, and beating up the lesser teams like AZ, CO, FL and SD will help in that regard, but vs. the better teams in the league---specifically the NL Central teams thus far---there's nothing doing.

Last year the Cardinals seldom failed to come through with runners in scoring position and the Reds had two guys who could actually get on base in the lineup. I'd say that the division is pretty close to wide open.

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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, 2014 Part II (All-Star Edition)
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:05 am 
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J_C_Steel wrote:












* That's all for me, my fine friends. I hope you can all enjoy my favorite summer beverage, which is named after a certain Pittsburgh native...

Image


I didn't know Jack Daniels hailed from the 'Burg... ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, 2014 Part II (All-Star Edition)
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:52 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
Would you trade Gregory Polanco + Beltre for a return of Pedro Alvarez and Josh Bell? Because that's about where Gallo is right now.

I'd probably come off of that particular pipe dream.


Gallo wasn't one of the Rangers' top 7 prospects going into 2014. If the Pirates would have to accept a lesser prospect like, say, Ronald Guzman (1B), then fine. To me, Gallo isn't the key to the deal.



Well Gallo is a top 10 in all of baseball prospect right now. Gallo is the absolute biggest part of that deal.

EDIT: Misread your post. Yeah, sights would have to come down from Gallo.

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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, 2014 Part II (All-Star Edition)
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:39 pm 
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doug frobel wrote:
J_C_Steel wrote:
* That's all for me, my fine friends. I hope you can all enjoy my favorite summer beverage, which is named after a certain Pittsburgh native...

Image


I didn't know Jack Daniels hailed from the 'Burg... ;)


You know I'm talking Arnold Palmer, doug. But I hear Arnold & Jack are very good friends...


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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, 2014 Part II (All-Star Edition)
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:40 pm 
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SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
Well Gallo is a top 10 in all of baseball prospect right now. Gallo is the absolute biggest part of that deal.

EDIT: Misread your post. Yeah, sights would have to come down from Gallo.


I saw that Fangraphs ranked Gallo 6th overall in baseball. So yeah, he's not going anywhere. I'd still do the trade with Guzman swapped in for Gallo.


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