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 Post subject: Good for Pedro
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:39 pm 
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That clutch game-tying double must've felt awfully good. Hopefully he can build on it.

'Atta boy!


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 Post subject: Re: Good for Pedro
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:46 pm 
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Agree. A feel-good moment in the midst of an extremely rough stretch.

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 Post subject: Re: Good for Pedro
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:59 pm 
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I wonder how much of his throwing woes have gone to the plate with him?

I have a feeling he has to be a mental wreck right now with the fans and media on him about his lack of power this year and now the throwing problems.

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 Post subject: Re: Good for Pedro
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 6:43 pm 
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Yeah that was a big hit and a big win. I was worried we were heading for a slide like Milwaukee and then Cincy recently had. Now not so much.


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 Post subject: Re: Good for Pedro
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 6:48 pm 
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nad69dan wrote:
I wonder how much of his throwing woes have gone to the plate with him?

I have a feeling he has to be a mental wreck right now with the fans and media on him about his lack of power this year and now the throwing problems.


No doubt.

But he's lucky he isn't wearing pinstripes. His head would REALLY be in bad shape.


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 Post subject: Re: Good for Pedro
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:45 am 
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The Pedro Error Machine story is starting to spread.

Sitting on my deck last night, watching the game and enjoying a nice adult beverage when Pedro launched the throw over Davis' head. Started shaking my head and muttering "unbelievable" to myself when my phone starts "whistling" with text messages. In total, before the end of the night, I heard from no fewer than 12 different people about Alvarez's apparent Steve Blass disease.

Some examples:
"Holy shit. Another Alvarez error." - courtesy of Cardinals fan neighbor
"Alvarez at it again." - courtesy of Cardinals fan former classmate in eastern Iowa
"They have to do something. This is no longer humorous its ridiculous" - courtesy of Nationals fan friend in D.C.
"You have got to be f----g kidding me. For our sake, keep him out there!" - courtesy of Brewers fan former classmate in suburban Milwaukee
"The Pirates can't seriously keep running this guy out there, can they?" - courtesy of friend of 20+ years who follows the Reds casually
"Matt, the guy needs professional help. Seriously." - courtesy of former professor, die-hard Dodger fan and current prof at USC.

I know that members of this Board come here for lively debate and Pedro has been a lightning rod for debate practically since he was promoted from Indianapolis. I will raise my right hand and fully admit that I have been a vocal critic of him, primarily due to his propensity to strike out (I have referred to him as Kdro) and seeming ineptitude when a lefty is on the mound. I will also readily admit that my criticisms of Pedro derived from my perception of what his role on this team ought to be. He was paid to be a big-time hitter, to launch huge home runs and to dent walls and pull into second base with doubles. He is paid to be in the middle of the lineup and drive in runs. I won't sugar coat it; I hate his inconsistent bat. Hate it. With a passion.

My issues with Pedro's hitting still exist. I think it was ZM who opined that Alvarez's bat speed is a concern and may always be a concern. I think that some scouts identified that when he was drafted. That he simply doesn't have the bat speed necessary to be a good pitch recognizer. Perhaps he can't benefit from that extra split second that great hitters (like Bonds) can take to recognize and pitch and react. Perhaps Alvarez needs to start his swing a tad earlier and cannot properly adjust. Teams certainly aren't throwing him fastballs (why would they?) and are trying to force him to lay off breaking pitches. Complicating matters (and I know that the SABR adherents will not agree with this opinion) is that Alvarez is hitting 7th in the lineup. He lays off the breaking stuff and you walk him? So what? You've got the 8th place and 9th place hitters following. Jordy Mercer has hit the ball well over the past couple of months (and . . . I will readily admit that he has played very solid defense as well; grown into the position) but he doesn't exactly strike fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers. Alvarez can still turn a mistake fastball into a run with regularity. Mercer with far less regularity. If I'm a catcher; I'm making Jordy Mercer drive in the runs; I'm not giving in to Alvarez. Good chance that Alvarez will K on a breaking pitch and, even if he walks, not a huge loss.

Pedro's defensive woes can't be swept under the rug. If he were to match last year's total of number of chances (I know; highly speculative; offered only for illustration), he will have another 142 chances over the final 52 games. That's about 3 chances per game. And that is a fair estimate based upon ratios as well. How many on this Board have any confidence . . . ANY confidence . . . that Pedro will make a solid throw on 75% of those plays? How about 50% of those plays? 25% of those plays?

Since July 22nd, he's had 10 chances in the field. He's made 3 errors. (30% error rate)
Since July 11th, he's had 33 chances in the field. He's made 6 errors. (18% error rate)

Davis was charged with an error on a ball thrown low but catchable. Davis saved an error last night on a throw that Alvarez babied and bounced 10 feet in front of first base.

It is now way beyond "occasional." It is a full-fledged problem. Glaring. Blinding.

At 18%, he's got another 25 errors in him. That's about one every other game.
At 30%, he's got another 42 errors in him. That's just short of about one per game.

I'll repeat what I wrote above. It does not appear to be getting any better. It only appears to be getting worse.

The Clint Barmes debate last year involved whether Barmes' glove outweighed the lack of bat. The Pirates were structured on pitching and defense and it was my opinion then that there were decent reasons why that team could afford to "hide" Barmes' bat because of the positive contributions in the field and with how the Pirates were structured to win games. I also contended that it was my belief that Mercer's bat wouldn't bring enough to outweigh the drop off in defense.

The Pedro Alvarez situation is the inverse. Can the Pirates "hide" his defensive issues due to what he brings to the offensive side of the equation? This is where his extreme hot/extreme cold comes into play. Even if we see the patented Pedro "hot streak" at the plate (and I'm not particularly convinced that its coming), how long will it last? Will it offset the steady stream of poor throws and giving other teams extra outs and extra bases? How well will the other players react to the situation (imagine AJ Burnett's visible reaction on the mound if Alvarez is launching balls all over the ballpark!) especially when Pedro is going through one of his patented "cold spells" and not offering anything to generating runs? Nothing quite so depressing as a player who gives other teams extra outs and extra bases while stranding a bunch of runners on base.

As depressing as it is for me to type this . . . . I have never wanted to see Alvarez fail; I've only wanted him to develop into a well-rounded consistent superstar . . . . when Marte comes back, Harrison has earned full-time playing rights. Harrison now has to be considered the regular third baseman. I have no idea whether Harrison can keep up this hitting pace or even 75% of this pace. But, IMO, 75% of Harrison's hitting, coupled with his OK fielding is a greater contribution - perhaps a MUCH greater contribution - than Alvarez's hitting and fielding right now. And, I believe in intangibles. Harrison brings a positive energy to the team. When I write that, I'm not calling Alvarez a negative energy or a slacker. By all accounts, Alvarez works his ass off and wants to be the best he can be. He hustles on the bases and, IMO, has a better glove and better range than Harrison at third base. But . . . those throws . . . nothing more deflating than an easy out turned into a double because Alvarez launches a souvenir into the crowd. That brings negative energy to a game. And, I've reached the point where the formerly pressing issue of how the Pirates can find playing time for Josh Harrison is now easily answered. When Marte comes back, Harrison takes over at 3B.

And, if it helps the cause, I'll personally buy Alvarez a first base mitt so that he can start working with it.

Lastly, it is not lost on me that as bad as I feel for him . . . it has to be 1,000,000 times worse for him. Has to be awfully lonely on that island when an easy grounder is hit to him. The voices screaming in his head as he is trying to make a throw have to be deafening. Can't help but feel for the guy.

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 Post subject: Re: Good for Pedro
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:08 pm 
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Truth……. 8-) 8-)


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 Post subject: Re: Good for Pedro
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:23 pm 
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I've been as critical of him as you. Same reason...inconsistent bat with lofty expectations.

I also feel bad for him. His brain has to be mush right now. He keeps doing the same thing(extra crow hops, extra pats of the glove) which tells me his head is beyond messed up, and he can't NOT do those things. When he does those things he is obviously thinking(not positively) about the throw.

In the post game last night it sure sounded like Hurdle is done with him. Said he has to talk to Huntington to see what their options are. He said you WANT to take care of the individual players, but you HAVE to take care of the team. Obviously running Pedro out there right now is not good for the team. They were debating last night on Twitter if he had any options left. It seemed the consensus was he did not, but that wasn't for sure. Apparently the 4th option on a player is a bit confusing.

Considering how awful Ike Davis is, a move to first base for Pedro could happen right now as far as I'm concerned. Waiting on Davis to start his "second half hot streak" is getting old. The guy looks terrible, and is not a real good defensive first baseman. If they haven't yet, I'd start working with Pedro at first base. He would be a better platoon with Gaby than Davis, and clearly would be our best defensive first baseman.


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 Post subject: Re: Good for Pedro
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:48 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
I will also readily admit that my criticisms of Pedro derived from my perception of what his role on this team ought to be.

Points for honesty. We all do this to some extent, but with Pedro, there's now enough body of stats at the MLB level to adjust our expectations. I think a reasonable expectation, coming in to this year, was for Pedro to hit .240, 30-35 HRs, drive in 90-110, and play a solid 3B -- all in all a very valuable player. It is no longer reasonable to expect him to be a star, though we can still hope.

No. 9 wrote:
Complicating matters (and I know that the SABR adherents will not agree with this opinion) is that Alvarez is hitting 7th in the lineup. He lays off the breaking stuff and you walk him? So what? You've got the 8th place and 9th place hitters following.

While I tend to think getting on base is fine either way, if Pedro's hitting .240 with power, hitting him 5th or 6th is more likely. You may be right about his batspeed; I'm not a scout and can't say. But by the results, he has put together a year where he was very effective, and so I believe he can do it again.

No. 9 wrote:
Pedro's defensive woes can't be swept under the rug. ...
At 18%, he's got another 25 errors in him. That's about one every other game.
At 30%, he's got another 42 errors in him. That's just short of about one per game.
...
Can the Pirates "hide" his defensive issues due to what he brings to the offensive side of the equation?

No, absolutely not, at the current production. We can reasonably say that last year's Pedro was a net positive, and the July '14 Pedro was a net negative. So which Pedro do you get going forward? No one really knows, so reasonable people can disagree on what the right thing is to do.

No. 9 wrote:
This is where his extreme hot/extreme cold comes into play.

FWIW, for low-contact guys, streaks just fall out of the stats. Rolling a "1" on a 6-sided die will feel more streaky than flipping heads on a coin. It's possible Pedro has more going on than most, but I suspect he's not particularly streaky for a .240 guy.

No. 9 wrote:
I have never wanted to see Alvarez fail; I've only wanted him to develop into a well-rounded consistent superstar

That's, of course, a very high bar. Not unreasonable initially, given his #1 overall selection, but I think it's right to reset expectations now that we have multiple MLB years to look at. Would you be happy, at this point, with the 2013 Alvarez, for the rest of his time as a Pirate?

No. 9 wrote:
. . . . when Marte comes back, Harrison has earned full-time playing rights.

I think I agree. I think it's reasonable to mostly bench Alvarez until there's some reason to believe he's making progress. Of course, the throwing woes are likely only during games, so it's hard to know if he's improving unless he's playing. Has anyone watched him between innings on the throws to 1B? Are they accurate?

No. 9 wrote:
And, if it helps the cause, I'll personally buy Alvarez a first base mitt so that he can start working with it.

Maybe, but I'm not ready to give up just yet on Pedro as a 3B. Didn't Steve Sax cure his yips?

No. 9 wrote:
Lastly, it is not lost on me that as bad as I feel for him . . . Can't help but feel for the guy.

Yup. It's gotta be a nightmare right now for him.


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 Post subject: Re: Good for Pedro
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:50 pm 
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PirateParrot wrote:
He keeps doing the same thing(extra crow hops, extra pats of the glove) which tells me his head is beyond messed up, and he can't NOT do those things. When he does those things he is obviously thinking(not positively) about the throw.

I assumed this is something that they've been telling him to do. The idea is to get into a rote routine where your body's in autopilot, precisely to eliminate the brain from the process. The same thing golfers do in their pre-swing routine.

No?


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 Post subject: Re: Good for Pedro
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:24 pm 
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PirateParrot wrote:
He said you WANT to take care of the individual players, but you HAVE to take care of the team.


As of this moment in time, I'm thoroughly convinced that "taking care of Pedro" and "taking care of the team" lead to the same conclusion. I'm of the opinion that playing Pedro isn't going to get him better and it may make things worse for him from a mental/confidence standpoint. While I understand that you can't cure the yips by only being a pinch hitter, I think that there is significant risk of making matters worse for him.

While this may come off as awful, I wish that the D'Backs plunked Pedro last night instead of McCutchen and given the Pirates an excuse to DL Pedro and send him to Indy for an extended rehabilitation stint.

A part of me wonders if we'll hear about a lingering knee issue which lands him on the DL after Marte comes back. I can't even help but wonder if Pedro would welcome the opportunity to work out the throwing issues in Indianapolis. Or, alternatively, start working at first base. That being written, I am not in the same camp as Sisyphus and others who think learning first base is a weekend task. Reading balls off the angle of the bat on opposite side of the diamond, the footwork around first base, the timing of when to stretch for a ball and associated footwork (this is not an easy task), the timing of tossing a ball to a pitcher covering first base, "unlearning" the 3Bman job of getting any ball he can get and "learning" what balls to let Neil Walker have while covering first base, cut off responsibilities and positioning himself properly for Polanco's arm strength and McCutchen's arm strength, when to trail runners to second base, learning the tendencies of Walker, Mercer and Harrison and how their throws may tail or move under the circumstances and the somewhat "unnatural" action of not watching the ball after it is hit to an infielder but getting to first base and then re-finding where the ball is located to take the throw.

I think that the conversion process is more difficult than some would surmise. I would expect growing pains on the field in "real" games next year even if he played 1B in winter ball and spent all spring training there.

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 Post subject: Re: Good for Pedro
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:40 pm 
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I still think an "assignment" in AAA would do Pedro well. To get his head back on straight without the pressure you have with the big league club.


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 Post subject: Re: Good for Pedro
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 2:18 pm 
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rks wrote:
PirateParrot wrote:
He keeps doing the same thing(extra crow hops, extra pats of the glove) which tells me his head is beyond messed up, and he can't NOT do those things. When he does those things he is obviously thinking(not positively) about the throw.

I assumed this is something that they've been telling him to do. The idea is to get into a rote routine where your body's in autopilot, precisely to eliminate the brain from the process. The same thing golfers do in their pre-swing routine.

No?

Yep. If you've ever had the shanks in golf, that's what is happening with Pedro. It gets in your head and you just can't seem to stop the wrong process.


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 Post subject: Re: Good for Pedro
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 2:26 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
PirateParrot wrote:
He said you WANT to take care of the individual players, but you HAVE to take care of the team.


As of this moment in time, I'm thoroughly convinced that "taking care of Pedro" and "taking care of the team" lead to the same conclusion. I'm of the opinion that playing Pedro isn't going to get him better and it may make things worse for him from a mental/confidence standpoint. While I understand that you can't cure the yips by only being a pinch hitter, I think that there is significant risk of making matters worse for him.

While this may come off as awful, I wish that the D'Backs plunked Pedro last night instead of McCutchen and given the Pirates an excuse to DL Pedro and send him to Indy for an extended rehabilitation stint.

A part of me wonders if we'll hear about a lingering knee issue which lands him on the DL after Marte comes back. I can't even help but wonder if Pedro would welcome the opportunity to work out the throwing issues in Indianapolis. Or, alternatively, start working at first base. That being written, I am not in the same camp as Sisyphus and others who think learning first base is a weekend task. Reading balls off the angle of the bat on opposite side of the diamond, the footwork around first base, the timing of when to stretch for a ball and associated footwork (this is not an easy task), the timing of tossing a ball to a pitcher covering first base, "unlearning" the 3Bman job of getting any ball he can get and "learning" what balls to let Neil Walker have while covering first base, cut off responsibilities and positioning himself properly for Polanco's arm strength and McCutchen's arm strength, when to trail runners to second base, learning the tendencies of Walker, Mercer and Harrison and how their throws may tail or move under the circumstances and the somewhat "unnatural" action of not watching the ball after it is hit to an infielder but getting to first base and then re-finding where the ball is located to take the throw.

I think that the conversion process is more difficult than some would surmise. I would expect growing pains on the field in "real" games next year even if he played 1B in winter ball and spent all spring training there.

Having played first base myself, I agree with most of what you say. However, a player at this level and with Pedro's athleticism can pick up the footwork and flip to the pitcher fairly quick. Depending on how important you think his bat is to the lineup, you could get him out there in a matter of a couple of weeks without hurting the team. I agree that a mystery stint to the DL would be a great idea.


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 Post subject: Re: Good for Pedro
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 3:04 pm 
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rks wrote:
Maybe, but I'm not ready to give up just yet on Pedro as a 3B. Didn't Steve Sax cure his yips?



Yep, it took six years to do it between 1983 and 1989. Care to wait that long? I view Pedro as more akin to Dale Murphy and Bonilla. Both have to move positions, and I don't see RF in his future.

At this point I wonder if an AL team with a serviceable 3b or minor league almost-ready 3b would take a waiver wire deal for him as DH.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Good for Pedro
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 4:19 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
Yep, it took six years to do it between 1983 and 1989. Care to wait that long?

The point is, is that it's curable. Maybe they'll figure it out much sooner than six years. I'm just not ready to declare Pedro unfit for 3B for the rest of his career.

That does not mean you trot out Pedro every day until he figures it out. They need to do something in the short term, and not move him back until/unless he fixes things.


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 Post subject: Re: Good for Pedro
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 5:59 pm 
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Can't really argue with you, I've seen enough. You can't start him unless he get the throwing thing straightened out. Don't know how you can tell that it is straightened out, though, since I keep hearing that it doesn't happen in practice, only in games.

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 Post subject: Re: Good for Pedro
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:07 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
That being written, I am not in the same camp as Sisyphus and others who think learning first base is a weekend task.

Sure, there's a learning process to go through before you are at your best at first, but it is an easy transition to become a serviceable enough first baseman that you're not a liability out there. Can you think of anybody who was ever moved to first and failed because of his defense? Off the top of my head, I can't, and the easiest move of all is from third to first. Shoot, for all the crying we listened to about the Pirates giving Clement the first base job, it turned out that he was just fine defensively. He failed because his bat failed.

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 Post subject: Re: Good for Pedro
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:09 pm 
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PirateParrot wrote:
Yep. If you've ever had the shanks in golf, that's what is happening with Pedro. It gets in your head and you just can't seem to stop the wrong process.

You are tempting the gods of golf by even mentioning the shanks.

Worst thing about the shanks is that you have to worry that you might kill a member of your own foursome.

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 Post subject: Re: Good for Pedro
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:57 pm 
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sisyphus wrote:
PirateParrot wrote:
Yep. If you've ever had the shanks in golf, that's what is happening with Pedro. It gets in your head and you just can't seem to stop the wrong process.

You are tempting the gods of golf by even mentioning the shanks.

Worst thing about the shanks is that you have to worry that you might kill a member of your own foursome.

Ha...yea I'm aware. I've been there once and never want to go back!


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