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 Post subject: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 3:41 am 
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Walker is a switch hitter. He is off to a somewhat slow start (.215 average, OPS below .700), but that is almost exclusively related to his woeful hitting against L-handers.

He is just 2-23 against lefties (.087 average and slugging). Bucfan is concerned that Walker is going to be a de facto platoon guy if he cannot hit left handers.

What the heck good is it if he cannot hit from the R side?


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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 4:17 am 
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I always had a problem with "switch hitters". They always seem to have a better side that they hit from whether it's the left side or right side. I've always said let Doumit hit from the left side all the time and screw the switch hitting.

Sounds like Mr. Walker is better off hitting from the left side also. Dump this switch hitting garbage and have him hit from the left side all the time.

Can you tell I don't like switch hitters? :)

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 9:56 am 
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Personally, I think Walker should be at AA. I'm afraid that he's being rushed somewhat. He only graduated HS in 2004, changed postions in 2007, but somehow has managed to place at AAA. He wasn't exactly tearing up Altoona last year and I think he may be a bit overmatched at Indy.

I tried to find career minor league splits for him but failed. Can you point me in the right direction?


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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:30 am 
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Really, he is doing no better or worse than McCutch or Pearce.

Jewett has raved about his defense so far, and it may be that he is focusing on that aspect. It may also be that he will have to choose to bat one way or the other.

This year seems the reverse of past years where he has started ripping out the gate and then fallen off at the end of the season. NH seems to have attributed this to his lack of conditioning in the past.

So, we'll see.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:54 am 
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ZM, you might want to check the stats again. McCutcheon is pretty much tearing it up. His BA is not that high, but he''s hitting homers and drawing walks. Pearce and Walker are off to mediocre starts.


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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:01 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
Walker is a switch hitter. He is off to a somewhat slow start (.215 average, OPS below .700), but that is almost exclusively related to his woeful hitting against L-handers.

He is just 2-23 against lefties (.087 average and slugging). Bucfan is concerned that Walker is going to be a de facto platoon guy if he cannot hit left handers.

What the heck good is it if he cannot hit from the R side?


Do you know the R/L splits for his career, or is your verdict that he can't hit lefties based entirely on 23 at bats in his first full season of AAA ball? Personally, I'd be satisfied if Walker ends up being the lefty killing half of a third base platoon.

There is nothing wrong with having a platoon guy, especially if it's righties that he can hit. You just go out and find an Olmedo Saenz to pair him with. The '71 Pirates platooned Richie Hebner and Jose Pagan at third, and had a strange sort of semi-platoon between first base and center field involving Bob Robertson, Al Oliver, Gene Clines and Vic Davalillo. That worked out all right. The '79 Pirates platooned at catcher and left field, and that worked out okay. The early '90s Pirates platooned at catcher, first and right field.

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:08 pm 
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My concern is that he is not off to a "slow start." He is hitting pretty well left-handed, but is just not hitting - at all - from the right side.

This is a recurrent theme, as Walker also had huge differences in his splits left and right last year. Doumit hit better as a left-hander in the minors, but his splits were not nearly as substantial.

Walker's hitting seems below average this year, but actually his OPS as a left-handed hitter is .869.


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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:51 pm 
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bassoondirector wrote:
I always had a problem with "switch hitters". They always seem to have a better side that they hit from whether it's the left side or right side. I've always said let Doumit hit from the left side all the time and screw the switch hitting.

Sounds like Mr. Walker is better off hitting from the left side also. Dump this switch hitting garbage and have him hit from the left side all the time.

Can you tell I don't like switch hitters? :)



I agree Basoon ... Orlando Merced seemed to become a much better player when he gave up the switch hitting and became a full-time lefty bat.


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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:54 pm 
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Hey, a platoon is fine with me. Doesn't Bautista crush lefties as a rule?

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:23 pm 
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A platoon is great however....It is a known fact that the Pirates are hanging their hats on 3 prospects(McCutcheon, Walker, Pearce). The rest of the minor league "prospects" are more like "suspects". So if it turns out that one of the 3 prospects you were banking on turns out to be no more than a platoon player then to me it's another step backwards for your organization.

I agree that on a good team a platoon is perfectly fine. However when you are a team like the Pirates that have been in this kind of drought you can't really afford for one of your only 3 real prospects to turn into a platoon guy.


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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 2:03 pm 
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PirateParrot wrote:

I agree that on a good team a platoon is perfectly fine. However when you are a team like the Pirates that have been in this kind of drought you can't really afford for one of your only 3 real prospects to turn into a platoon guy.


Well, I suppose that is par for the course when you draft a "number 3 starter" with the first overall pick, a left handed reliever in the first round, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 2:09 pm 
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BBF wrote:
PirateParrot wrote:

I agree that on a good team a platoon is perfectly fine. However when you are a team like the Pirates that have been in this kind of drought you can't really afford for one of your only 3 real prospects to turn into a platoon guy.


Well, I suppose that is par for the course when you draft a "number 3 starter" with the first overall pick, a left handed reliever in the first round, etc.

Don't forget our top hitting prospect that's currently pitching in Indy at age 27.

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 2:12 pm 
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Willton wrote:
BBF wrote:
PirateParrot wrote:

I agree that on a good team a platoon is perfectly fine. However when you are a team like the Pirates that have been in this kind of drought you can't really afford for one of your only 3 real prospects to turn into a platoon guy.


Well, I suppose that is par for the course when you draft a "number 3 starter" with the first overall pick, a left handed reliever in the first round, etc.

Don't forget our top hitting prospect that's currently pitching in Indy at age 27.


Are you referring to the same guy I'm thinking of? If that's the case, that particular slugger was promoted to our bullpen this weekend.


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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 2:14 pm 
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BBF wrote:
Are you referring to the same guy I'm thinking of? If that's the case, that particular slugger was promoted to our bullpen this weekend.

My mistake; you are correct.

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 5:56 pm 
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Mayor Mystery wrote:
bassoondirector wrote:
I always had a problem with "switch hitters". They always seem to have a better side that they hit from whether it's the left side or right side. I've always said let Doumit hit from the left side all the time and screw the switch hitting.

Sounds like Mr. Walker is better off hitting from the left side also. Dump this switch hitting garbage and have him hit from the left side all the time.

Can you tell I don't like switch hitters? :)



I agree Basoon ... Orlando Merced seemed to become a much better player when he gave up the switch hitting and became a full-time lefty bat.


Merced's best season at the plate was 1993. He quit switch hitting during that season. His second best season was his rookie year, 1991. The only five full seasons that he failed to put up an OPS+ of 100 or better all came after he gave up switch hitting.

He did hit better against lefties after giving up switch hitting, but his lifetime OPS+ against lefties while batting left handed was only 89. It looks to me as if he was just a guy who couldn't hit lefties very well no matter which side of the plate he stood at.

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 6:05 pm 
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PirateParrot wrote:
A platoon is great however....It is a known fact that the Pirates are hanging their hats on 3 prospects(McCutcheon, Walker, Pearce). The rest of the minor league "prospects" are more like "suspects". So if it turns out that one of the 3 prospects you were banking on turns out to be no more than a platoon player then to me it's another step backwards for your organization.

I agree that on a good team a platoon is perfectly fine. However when you are a team like the Pirates that have been in this kind of drought you can't really afford for one of your only 3 real prospects to turn into a platoon guy.


The Pirates of the early nineties were built on exactly three hitting prospects. One was Bonds, one was Lind, who couldn't hit, and one was Merced, a platoon player. The Pirates are not banking on those three prospects. They're banking on those three prospects, plus whatever talent they may salvage from their system, plus future draftees, plus whatever they can trade for.

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 6:31 pm 
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sisyphus wrote:
PirateParrot wrote:
A platoon is great however....It is a known fact that the Pirates are hanging their hats on 3 prospects(McCutcheon, Walker, Pearce). The rest of the minor league "prospects" are more like "suspects". So if it turns out that one of the 3 prospects you were banking on turns out to be no more than a platoon player then to me it's another step backwards for your organization.

I agree that on a good team a platoon is perfectly fine. However when you are a team like the Pirates that have been in this kind of drought you can't really afford for one of your only 3 real prospects to turn into a platoon guy.


The Pirates of the early nineties were built on exactly three hitting prospects. One was Bonds, one was Lind, who couldn't hit, and one was Merced, a platoon player. The Pirates are not banking on those three prospects. They're banking on those three prospects, plus whatever talent they may salvage from their system, plus future draftees, plus whatever they can trade for.

Good point. The Pirates future does not begin and end with McCutchen, Pearce and Walker. The organization's farm system and future prospects will change as time goes on.

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:21 pm 
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Willton wrote:
sisyphus wrote:
PirateParrot wrote:
A platoon is great however....It is a known fact that the Pirates are hanging their hats on 3 prospects(McCutcheon, Walker, Pearce). The rest of the minor league "prospects" are more like "suspects". So if it turns out that one of the 3 prospects you were banking on turns out to be no more than a platoon player then to me it's another step backwards for your organization.

I agree that on a good team a platoon is perfectly fine. However when you are a team like the Pirates that have been in this kind of drought you can't really afford for one of your only 3 real prospects to turn into a platoon guy.


The Pirates of the early nineties were built on exactly three hitting prospects. One was Bonds, one was Lind, who couldn't hit, and one was Merced, a platoon player. The Pirates are not banking on those three prospects. They're banking on those three prospects, plus whatever talent they may salvage from their system, plus future draftees, plus whatever they can trade for.

Good point. The Pirates future does not begin and end with McCutchen, Pearce and Walker. The organization's farm system and future prospects will change as time goes on.


Yes, obviously they will continue to build and hopefully finally stock their system. That, however, doesn't mean they want one of their 3 prime prospects they CURRENTLY have to only be a platoon player. The plight of their farm system is well documented, but these three were supposed to be guys you could count on being every day guys. Actually it was Pearce, if any of them, that some thought might not be an every day player.

As for the teams of the early 90's...They were well managed, both on and off the field. In addition to what they had in their own system they were able to acquire excellent talent. Van Slyke, Bonilla, King, Bell, Drabek, Smiley, etc. weren't exactly chopped liver. None maybe were superstars(Drabek for a while was) but they were all well above average players. I'm not arguing the effectiveness of the platoons on those teams, just stating that the other guys were pretty darn good players too. So I agree that the Pirates of today can't just bank on those 3 guys but I still contend they aren't in any position right now to have them be platoon guys either.


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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 8:04 pm 
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PirateParrot wrote:
Yes, obviously they will continue to build and hopefully finally stock their system. That, however, doesn't mean they want one of their 3 prime prospects they CURRENTLY have to only be a platoon player. The plight of their farm system is well documented, but these three were supposed to be guys you could count on being every day guys. Actually it was Pearce, if any of them, that some thought might not be an every day player.

I don't think any team would want one of their three top prospects to be less than a full-time starter, but sometimes sh** happens and you just have to roll with it. Walker would not be the first highly-ranked prospect to not meet expectations (See, e.g. Marte, Andy). There are certainly worse situations than Walker ending up on the left-hand side of a platoon at 3B.

PirateParrot wrote:
As for the teams of the early 90's...They were well managed, both on and off the field. In addition to what they had in their own system they were able to acquire excellent talent. Van Slyke, Bonilla, King, Bell, Drabek, Smiley, etc. weren't exactly chopped liver. None maybe were superstars(Drabek for a while was) but they were all well above average players. I'm not arguing the effectiveness of the platoons on those teams, just stating that the other guys were pretty darn good players too. So I agree that the Pirates of today can't just bank on those 3 guys but I still contend they aren't in any position right now to have them be platoon guys either.

I'm sure the Pirates brass will allow Walker the opportunity to be a starter, but if he can't do it, forcing him to be full-time is probably a bad idea if the Bucs can avoid it.

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 9:21 pm 
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Willton wrote:
I don't think any team would want one of their three top prospects to be less than a full-time starter, but sometimes sh** happens and you just have to roll with it. Walker would not be the first highly-ranked prospect to not meet expectations (See, e.g. Marte, Andy). There are certainly worse situations than Walker ending up on the left-hand side of a platoon at 3B.


No arguement on that. I also give you the "Walk on Water" Chad Hermansen. I thought the original intent of this thread was the disappointment in Walker's hitting thus far. I'm only pointing out that it will be a blow to a team as porous as the Pirates if one of their current 3 top prospects only turns out to be a platoon guy.

Wilton wrote:
I'm sure the Pirates brass will allow Walker the opportunity to be a starter, but if he can't do it, forcing him to be full-time is probably a bad idea if the Bucs can avoid it.


Again no argument here. Can't make a guy what he ain't! But it still would be a huge disappointment for a team that desperately needs some good fortune.


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