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– Bradenton County closer to $15m grant to upgrade Pirates facilities
– John Russell takes a new position
– Maxim Magazine’s annual Littlefield rant
– God is back coaching in Bradenton next year
– Verducci tracks young pitcher abuse
Trivia time — what type of offensive event – single, double, triple, home run, walk, strike out, or stolen base, contributed the most to Pirate wins in 2006?
By the sexy home run, you say? Nope. For example, we did hit one or more HR in 57 of the first 90 games, but we only won 21 of those 57 — 36.8%. That certainly doesn’t correlate with winning.
No, we won a majority of the first-half games the same way we won a majority of all the 67 games we won – with singles, and forcing opposing pitchers to throw more than 16 pitches per inning on average.
It’s pretty easy to understand that as pitch counts rise, the probability of winning also rises in baseball. No surprise there.
But singles? Yep – for the power starved Pirates, anyway. Same with the 2006 Minnesota Twins.
Look at the 2006 Pirates offensive production table:
|Event||# Gms||W||L||Win %|
|1 1B per inning or more||90||53||37||58.9%|
|Less 1B per inning||72||14||58||19.4%|
|1 or more 2B in game||130||62||68||47.7%|
|2 or more 2B in game||86||44||42||51.2%|
|3 or more 2B in game||40||23||17||57.5%|
|1 or more 3B in game||15||8||7||53.3%|
|0 HR in game||73||26||47||35.6%|
|1 or more HR in game||89||41||48||46.1%|
|2 or more HR in game||39||23||16||59.0%|
|1 or more IBB in game||38||28||10||73.7%|
|2 or more BB in game||118||57||61||48.3%|
|3 or more BB in game||80||44||36||55.0%|
|1 or more K per IP||53||25||28||47.2%|
|Less 1 K per IP||109||42||67||38.5%|
|more 10 K in game||33||13||20||39.4%|
|16 or less pitches per IP||82||20||62||24.4%|
|16.1 or more P per IP||80||47||33||58.8%|
56% of all Pirate games had an average of one hit or more per inning. That doesn’t mean they actually had one hit per inning – just that they ended up with an average of one per inning. They won 59% of those games. Only the Twins, Angels, and White Sox accomplished that last year. That’s not bad company to be in, huh?
Now look at pitches per inning our batters saw.. if they averaged 16.1 or more in an inning per game, they won 59% of those games too. In games Pirate batters went up hacking, or were dominated, they only won one game in four.
Atlanta, Cleveland, Colorado, Houston, Minnesota, and San Diego pitching dominated Pirate batters last year in a total of 30 games (by dominated I mean a majority of games pitched against us averaged 16 pitches per inning or less on average).
Notice there is only one NLCD team there – Houston. That’s a key point to remember this off season because if the Astros have to rebuild their staff, their dominance over us could very well come to an end. It is too early to tell how any of the NLCD teams will match up with us just yet, but I have to tell you, I’m rather optimistic in that regard.
I also found interesting the walks and strikeout stats in the table. We played nearly two-thirds of our games where we had two or more walks but only won 48% of those. Unless we get that third walk, obviously we’re better off with batters putting the ball in play, even if it goes for an out.
And how ironic is it that the more we struck out per game, the higher our winning percentage was? LoL – actually, there was no reasonable correlation between strikeouts and wins for the Pirates last year that I could determine. To give you an example of what I mean, the Pirates played 8 games where we had 12 K’s, and still won 4 of them.. and played 14 games where we only had 4 K’s in the game, but only won 6 of those.
Dave Littlefield needs to acquire contact hitters. He had the right idea with Sean Casey, unfortunately Casey’s inability to run, his injuries, and his poor defense hurt us pretty bad.
We need players who will sit at the plate and wait for their pitch, then put the ball in play – just singles will do it. We don’t need hired guns to hit 30 home runs. That isn’t going to help nearly as much. We don’t need players who walk a ton – that won’t help either. We need the ball put in play.
Now, as you hear a Pirate rumor about a player we might go after, go to the stats area at MLB.com and pull up that players statistics and divide the number of pitches he has seen the last 2 or 3 years by the number of plate appearances. We don’t want 3.1 – 3.6 guys.. we need 3.8 – 4.2 guys. We also want guys who have at least a .330 career batting average on balls in play and hopefully, much higher.
For instance, Brad Hawpe has averaged 3.9 P/PA the last two and one-half years and has had a .336 BABIP. That’s very good. If we had acquired him, he would have played 1B for us and, I assume, Nady would sit on the pine with his 3.6 P/PA and .305 career BABIP.
That is called upgrading a position, of course. But do Hawpe’s some what inflated Coor’s numbers justify Littlefield spending a starting pitcher for him? I don’t think so, mainly because he offers poor defense.
Ok.. now go scour the rosters and find the best player you can find who sits under the radar, because that is probably who Littlefield will be after – a seeing eye dog.
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– Kudos to Kip
– A-Rod to the Cubs?
– Tomo Ohka?
– Three Q&A questions answered
Kip Wells signed with the Cardinals today. Good for the Kipper. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to do much hunting in St. Louis so I wonder what he’ll do in his off time? Kip’s a great person and I wish him luck.
Wells had offers from the Astros and Rangers too but settled on the Cardinals because he has some unfinished business with one team in the NLCD – the Pirates.
Cardinal fans who have emailed about a scouting report on Kip, here is what I have to say: had nice late movement on his 2-seamer that has flattened out the last few years, fringy off speed stuff and had relied way too much on a cutter that didn’t cut, pitches down in the zone, and not afraid to attack inside. He walks way too many.. gives up the bomb at the strangest times.. and isn’t very good at getting out of his jams.
His velocity is significantly down since he first became a Pirate. He was in the 96 mph range now he is lucky to touch 94. Kip’s biggest road block is his mental approach to the game – teams know they have to get to him early because once he feels defeated and relaxes on the mound, he’ll roll off a no-hitter over the next 7 innings.
Here is a quick scouting report from former White Sox manager Jerry Manuel on Kip during a game last year that I archived.
At $4m you can’t go wrong with Kip as a Duncan reclamation project. I tend to believe he is better suited in the pen and that is where I believe the Cardinals will use him the most unless they end up a starter short in 2007.
Kip is a wild dresser so if you want to get in good with him, wear a tie-died paisley silk shirt to the game to get his autograph.
Rumor has it that Ogden Nutting made David Littlefield’s reservation at Disney’s Dolphin Hotel for the GM meetings. It turns out he actually got Dave the largest suite they had, then asked for 8 roll-a-ways for his entourage to sleep on.
The Pirates are reportedly after another pitcher – this time it is Tomo Ohka. Pleeassee.. stop with the PR stuff already.
Industry sources report that Kevin McClatchy may bid on the naming rights for the Nats new stadium. The stadium name Kev has allegedly picked out is: "The Hustle".
Trivia time.. which starting pitcher currently on the Pirates 40-man roster has won the highest percentage of starts at PNC Park, at age 25 or younger, since David Littlefield became GM?
You’re going to be surprised.
In February 2006, I posted an article titled "Evaluating Rookie Pitchers Second Year Potential" where I guesstimated Maholm and Duke’s ERA for the 2006 season. Unfortunately, I didn’t make any adjustments to their estimates based on the putrid defense or offense Dave Littlefield put behind them.
This year I am going to evaluate the starters a bit differently – I’m going to compare them to their Pirate peers under David Littlefield by age.
The Pirates 2007 rotation will feature at least four pitchers 25-years old or younger.. Snell, Maholm, Duke, and Gorzelanny. Sean Burnett could be a fifth. The question becomes, as a small market team that is attempting to build its foundation on young pitching, how have they fared under David Littlefield, including the 2001 season when he was named GM at the halfway mark?
The Pirates have won 415 games and lost 555 games out of 970 total played since the start of 2001.
Of the 970 games played, 414 were started by 25-year old or younger starters.. 211 at PNC Park and 203 away. Here is the breakdown of decisions earned — wins and losses — by home and away games:
|% of||% of|
|Venue/Results||Number||# starts||venue starts||414 starts|
The starter received a decision in 299 (72%) of the 414 games. Of those 299 decisions, 42.1% were for a win and 57.9% were for a loss.
Interestingly, the Pirates overall team winning percentage from 2001 – 2006 is just 42.8%. There certainly seems to be some correlation there, considering only 42.7% of all 970 games were started by 25-year old or younger pitchers. Some what random, perhaps, but still.. if young Pirate pitchers were winning at the same pace the team won overall, then the older pitchers have obviously not done much better.
That sort of blows the rational for picking up a veteran starter in Pittsburgh, doesn’t it?
Don’t get me wrong, if the Pirates put Pedro on the mound, his winning percentage is bound to be significantly higher than 42%. However, second-tier type veteran starters haven’t seemed to help much, looking at the big picture.
So why bother to sign a Suppan at $9 per over 3?
We shouldn’t. That’s nuts.. Littlefield and Suppan both know that, and that is why Suppan will never sign here unless Littlefield significantly over pays him, which he shouldn’t do.
Here is the complete list of decisions obtained for starts made by 25-year old and younger Pirate pitchers from 2001- 2006:
|Home Wins||Home Losses|
|#||Win %||#||Losing %|
|Away Wins||Away Losses|