One of the more remarkable things about this year’s draft is the fact somebody has been working very hard to make sure videos of certain players are not freely available on the web.
Take Beau Mills, for example. One day there were 5 or 6 videos at a well known scouting website and the next day they were all gone. Even more curious is the fact all his videos all over the web seem to have been removed, from TV stations, to CSTV, even the NAIA site. Not even the Minor League Baseball draft page has a video of Mills.
That’s very strange.
I did manage to find one video that makes Mills seem like he is the best thing since Kevin McClatchy and I’ve included it so you at least get a look at him. But I wanted to show you the error-prone third baseman who strikes out all the time in between the gap shots and home runs he hits in the weak league he’s in. Obviously somebody else doesn’t want the world to see those types of things.
So far I have Porcello, Main, and Vitters you can watch, as well as the heavily slanted Mills film. I didn’t interest myself in Brackman, Weiters, or Price because it’s becoming pretty obvious we aren’t going to have a chance at Price, Brackman is falling off the charts, and we won’t take Weiters because of slot money.
I’m assuming if Vitters is available the Pirates are going to take him because it solves their potential PR nightmare. I don’t personally think he will be the best player at the time, but that’s neither here nor there.
Instead, I focused on the two pitchers I think the Pirates are probably going to be hard pressed to pass up on if available – Main and Porcello.
Porcello will probably be gone but if he isn’t, he has a clean delivery and throws over the top. He has three plus pitches, including a 93 – 95 mph fastball, but they really aren’t polished. What makes Porcello attractive is that he has easy mechanics like, say, Lincoln did and Duke does.
Main is another lanky right hander I’ve seen in action with a few scouts around me. The one thing everyone wonders about with Main is if he can stay healthy. He’s missed parts of two seasons with tendinitis issues but he has a very strict pitch count that might have led to part of his problems as a two-way player.
Main has hit 99 mph in tourney games and has good late tail on his fastball. He throws with a long arm and some scouts worry about that because history has showed long arm pitchers don’t necessarily get good action on their offspeed stuff. But if your throwing 95 – 97 mph consistently, that may not matter.
The other thing scouts seem to worry about Main is that his delivery motion is less than smooth and has so many different pieces to it that it will require an advanced pitching coach to work with him on it.
But one thing is for sure, every scout I talked to liked Main’s stuff better than Porcello’s and everyone agreed if Main stays healthy he has a chance to be a legitimate #1. I heard the term tandem slot over and over with scouts watching him thinking he would be a great candidate for the next few years for such a slot (pitch four/five innings starting them next outing pitch the last 4 or so).
All of these are in Windows Media format:
If you are aware of any other videos out there, send me an email and I’ll include them here. If there’s someone you want to see, let me know and I’ll see about adding them.
Shawn Chacon threw one of the best games of the year for the Pirates with a three-hit shutout while striking out 10 over 7 innings. It was a performance he deserved to win as he left the game to his bullpen with a 2-0 lead.
Matt Capps pitched a perfect 8th and then Salomon Torres took the mound who walked the leadoff batter Giles and then got slow man Sledge to hit a routine double play groundball to Sanchez who refused to pivot. Instead, took his leisurely time to throw out the batter at first. That runner left at second became one of two runs the Padres needed to tie the game in the 9th.
All from a sure out.
Here’s the play when Sanchez as he gloved the ball:
As we know, Sanchez has had pivoting problems at second base all year and the last soul-draining loss we had was because Sanchez refused to pivot as well.
These aren’t the only two games we have lost now because Sanchez can’t make routine plays — it started just three days after he came off his rehab play in Indy on April 11th and it has continued all year.
Now I’m here to tell you that this play probably won’t even be mentioned in the media tomorrow because Sanchez is protected in Pittsburgh like he is God. Instead, I bet we hear how Torres blew the game. But all things being equal, and even with the Torres back-to-back doubles he allowed in the 9th, the Pirates should have won this game 2-1.
Poor decision making – either allowing Sanchez to continue to play a position he isn’t healthy enough to play, or Sanchez just making a bonehead decision.
Instead, we end up with another gut-wrenching loss of the variety that typically sends a team spiraling downhill over an extended period of time.
Sure, Sharpless came on and gave up back-to-back home runs, albeit one of them was called back. But the fact the ball was hit some 400′ doesn’t really matter to me if they called it back or not. And sure, Bayliss allowed yet another inherited runner to score.. ho-hum. Both of these guys proved once again why they shouldn’t be in Pittsburgh.
As I’ve been saying all along.
Fans should be questioning Jim Tracy’s lineup for this game. I mean, why have Jack Wilson and his 12 for 35 vs Maddux bat sitting in the 8 hole, especially since he’s been hitting better lately?
Very poor managing.
Another reason this game was lost was because Cox is again holding runners at third like they are gold bricks. Bottom of the second with one out, Doumit at 3rd and Wilson at 2cd, and Bautista hit a fly ball to McAnulty in medium RF.
Now this was only McAnulty’s second game playing right in his career, he doesn’t have one assist playing anywhere in his bigs career, and his scouting report grades his arm at a 4, but Cox held Doumit.
McAnulty made his throw home and he not only missed the cut off man, but missed the plate up the first base line by 10 feet or more. Doumit should have scored easily and Wilson should have been at third.
Very poor coaching, especially for a team struggling to score runs that should be putting runners in motion.
And yet another reason this game was lost was because McLouth hit a bullet to right field leading off the 7th that was misplayed and bobbled by – that’s right, McAnulty – and McLouth didn’t even bother to pick up Cox while making his turn at 2B. Instead, he was standing on the bag as McAnulty finally picked the ball up.
Had he been at third, which he could have made standing up if he used his noodle, Bautista wouldn’t have had to lay down a sac bunt wasting an out to get McLouth to third and we would have had the top three batters to try and score that one runner from third.
Why do we always seem to lose when Doumit catches? That’s quite a coincidence, to be sure.
The Dodgers come in Friday with Randy Wolf and his 2.00 ERA last three taking the mound against Zach Duke and his .421 batting average allowed and 5.40 ERA last three. As I mentioned the other day, unless the Dodgers do a "it’s nice to see you again Jim Tracy" fall down like last September, this will not be a pretty series.
It’s time to let John Van Benschoten come up and start getting innings in the pen. He might get rocked, but at least I would feel like the organization is trying to develop a guy who has a ceiling instead of Sharpless who is years away. By putting him in the pen he could start getting a handle on traveling with the team, he can extend his season, and he’ll start learning the league’s batters.
There’s just no reason to keep him in Indy starting even though it would take him a bit to get on track relieving. If he handles it well, send him to Puerto Rico in January and let him get a few innings in after his arm rests.
As for Bayliss, I think he needs time in Indy to get his confidence back. He’s shown some positive stuff but he needs a breather. I truly wonder if his shoulder isn’t giving him fits. The problem is, who to replace him with? I see Kolb is back throwing, so maybe now’s the time to let him take a beating while Bayliss rests some.
Depending on what happens with the storm heading Florida’s way, which I expect to be mostly a rain event, I may not be around Friday night because I’m on alert with the hurricane relief team.
I have some scouting videos of the players we might have in our first round pool and I hope to get them up in the next few hours so you can play with those as well.
Ok, so Chris Young came back home and blanked the Pirates again and Dave Littlefield is getting hammered on every discussion forum, media outlet, and blog for giving away Young for a can of corn.
And maybe Maddux will one-hit us tomorrow and everyone will wonder why we didn’t sign him as a free agent too?
We had our chances against Young but we just couldn’t get the ‘clutch’ hit we needed. And while Jack Wilson turned a couple of flashy plays, he also let a ground ball go right under his glove for a hit, Bautista made his 6th error of the season showing us he’s probably starting to fatigue some, and Bay showed why he doesn’t take good routes on two hits his way that both fell in.
Same old Bucs.. looks like the rollercoaster is back on the tracks again.
Maddux takes the mound Thursday and his team has lost 4 of his last 5 starts against the Pirates, so I’m not so sure he’ll throw a one-hitter. But in the 10 games he has faced us since 2004, his team has yet to lose at PNC Park when he starts and he has never allowed more than 3 earned runs.
But we do have Chacon on the mound who generally throws well against the Padres and he has pitched well at PNC this year. Should be a good game that we can go after the series with until you consider..
After giving up the grand slam Wednesday, Jonah Bayliss has a 15.18 ERA over his last 9 games (14 ER, 8.3 IP), has walked 9, struckout only 5, and allowed 1 in 4 inherited runners to score. For the month of May he sits with a 10.59 ERA (18 ER, 15.3 IP).
I said on May 19th he looked like he was pitching with a shoulder problem which I believe can be attributed to the workload handed to him over the week of April 28th – May 4th where he threw 106 pitches in 7 days.
But Bayliss was the runner up for Bucco Blog’s "Most Balls" award last year and couldn’t find the plate then either, so it just might be that he’s just getting creamed from a lack of confidence and needs to go take a few bus rides in Indy for awhile. However..
As you saw in the link above, last year’s Most Balls winner was Josh Sharpless who came out in relief Wednesday and showed us all why he earned the award. He faced six batters, one walked, one singled, and one solidly doubled home the other two who reached.
Sharpless threw 30 pitches and 18 were called strikes, but don’t let that fool you because two Padres batters swung at pitches in the dirt fouling them off just trying to put the ball in play with the score 9-0 to get the game over with.
However, we could bring up Sean Burnett but Buffalo ripped him a new.. umm.. well, they hit him hard and he left after three innings Wednesday having given up 5 earned runs on 7 hits and 3 walks. That’s 8 earned runs in his last 10 innings including 6 walks, so I guess that’s out of the question.
Maybe it’s time to put LaRoche in the pen?
Are the fans being set up for a huge letdown in two annual events that will take place over the next two weeks?
First will be the draft.
I’ve already made my recommendation this year. But like all the other fans, I have a sneaky feeling we are going to overdraft a player that doesn’t fit into our plan because we can sign him cheap for the slot.
I mean, that has been the current owner’s modus operandi and I don’t expect it will change this year. Since I discussed this in detail in the link above, let’s move on.
One week after the draft (I’m guessing June 11th) will be Dave Littlefield’s annual "We are Sellers" announcement to the rest of the organizations.
Let’s face it, while Dejan is doing his best to stir the "why not now" pot, and as badly as the fans want to see us compete in what they perceive to be a weak league this year, nobody is really thinking straight.
Three of our starting eight position players (Duffy, Bautista, and Nady) have never seen a 500 at bat season, and only Bautista has seen more than 440 in one year. So when they tail off fatigued in August, who takes their place?
Our sophomore starting catcher is hitting below the Mendoza line against right-hand pitching and his assumed replacement, Ryan Doumit, has already caught more games this year than last. And while Doumit has been hitting well, we’ve lost almost every game he has caught.
We have Tom Gorzelanny pitching this year +26 innings over 2005 to 2006 which is a huge red flag, and he’s already thrown 48% of his perceived innings allowed in just 12 games.
Then we have our #5 starter, Shawn Chacon, who only threw 109 innings last year but has already tossed 37, now in the rotation and good for only 12 more starts or so, if he’s even around past July, which is highly doubtful.
I suppose you’ll probably want to bring up JvB or Bullington or Burnett, but as we saw with Burnett last year who ran out of gas in late July, we know JvB and Bullington will be toast down the stretch as well. Plus, their workload will have to be shut down as they start approaching high inning counts.
And how about our pen with ‘can’t find the plate’ Sharpless, Armas, who I’m sure is only being hung onto so Littlefield can thrust him in the rotation later in the year when he starts shutting down his young arms, Marte certain to be dealt, and near rookies Rogers, Bayliss, Perez, et al..
Not to mention no bench depth, albeit we do have Jose Hernandez and Michael Ryan hanging around Indy, even if they can’t even hit AAA pitching. But then there is Morgan, Bixler, and DeCaster with no MLB experience.
So I don’t know why anyone is even trying to fool anyone.. there is about as much chance of this team making a run as there is you winning the lottery this Saturday. We might be staying with the pack right now, but who is going to keep us close later in the year? Or do we not concern ourselves with player’s health?
Maybe everyone thinks Bob Nutting should go spend his profits on a few rental players? Yeah.. right. We’ll see if he drafts a Boras client as the best available, or runs the other way because he needs a new ski lift at his resort.
It’s going to be a rough next couple of weeks for the fans, I’m afraid. And that’s not a pessimistic fan outlook, that’s simply reality.
I wasn’t going to post this but I’ve had teenage ballplayers asking me if Hopper cheated and, if he did, why isn’t he being removed from the game like Pete Rose was, or suspended like Brian Moehler when the sandpaper was found in his glove, or facing public ridicule like Sosa did with the corked bat incident?
Why is Hopper getting off scott free, everyone wants to know?
"There’s no room in baseball for cheaters. Not for Sammy Sosa, Joe Rookie or any other major leaguer. Commissioner Bud Selig must send this message — immediately and authoritatively."
Hopper is no different. He is clearly a cheater and Bud Selig needs to wake up and take immediate action because the game’s integrity is on the line.
The Pirates were Vegas favorites to win game 1 of this series and they provided the odds makers with the expected win.
The reason: David Wells came in with an 8.84 road ERA (.449 OBPA) this year and Brian Giles was sitting on the pine injured. Wells hadn’t allowed less than three earned runs per game this year on the road but held the Pirates to just 2 over 5 innings of work.
Tom Gorzelanny took the mound and was far from sharp as he couldn’t command his breaking pitch half the game and was pitching up in the zone too often. But the anemic Padres hitters (.211 BA last 10 games vs southpaws) couldn’t take advantage of it and Gorzy walked away with his 6th win despite walking three and giving up seven hits.
The lone Padres run came in the 6th when Kouzmanoff doubled off the right field wall, Bard hit a grounder to Wilson who attempted a new wave backhand catch instead of getting in front of the ball (thus no E called, as Wilson knew would happen), and the ball went off his glove into left field allowing Kouzmanoff to get to third. Sledge then hit a sac fly to score the run.
The Pirates continued to string together a few clutch hits when needed. In the first with men at 1st and 2cd and two outs, Nady hit a clutch single to score Bautista; in the third Bautista doubled and then Sanchez singled him home, albeit Sanchez was out trying to take the extra base; Bay homered in the 6th; and LaRoche hit a clutch two-out line drive single to center to score Bay after he doubled in the 8th.
It was a good win against a semi-solid team who put their weakest link on the mound to start the game. We’ll see if it continues.
I questioned the Padres game plan after they had Gorzy on the ropes throwing 34 pitches in the first inning. Over the next four innings he only had to throw 48 pitches which resulted in Tracy allowing him to eventually go out in the 7th with 99 in his belt which bypassed the Pirates weakest link – our middle relievers.
It’s amazing how teams continue to pitch to Bay as white hot as he is – four of his last five games have been multi-hit games where he’s gone 11-20, yet they continue to throw the ball around the plate with him in the box and he keeps beating them. Even with Nady and LaRoche swinging the bat better, neither of them are winning games for us like Bay is. The Pads advance scouting missed the boat on that call.
Sanchez was replaced by Castillo in the 9th on defense. I’m not sure what that was about so we’ll have to wait for the newspaper report. He did take an ugly swing in his last at bat so perhaps he pulled a rib cage muscle. But that’s just a guess.
(Update: The media is reporting Sanchez felt a pinch in one of his shoulders.)
Sanchez and Paulino both were removed from the base paths by poor base running decisions in this game.
Gorzy has thrown no less than 90 pitches every start this year and he has now tossed an average of 116 pitches in his last three starts. That is a huge, huge red flag after the young man was shut down with elbow problems just 8 months ago.
Don’t forget now, Gorzy threw 161 innings in 2006 which was +26 innings over 2005 and historically any pitcher who throws more than 20 over typically has a melt down the next year starting around mid-season as they run out of gas.
However, I’m more concerned about the pitch count workload the Pirates are forcing Gorzy to endure because it is very easy for a pitcher to injure himself when he is fatigued. Tuesday night Gorzy had a hard time keeping his legs underneath and yet was still asked to take the mound in the 7th.
That’s pushing good talent way too hard – unnecessarily hard – and starting to border on incompetence, imo.
The Pirates outhit the Padres twelve to eight which rings up the 14th win against 1 loss this year when they do. I estimated this winter that 1 hit per inning average might get the Pirates 95 wins. We are 3-36 when we are outhit.
Pirates are now 8-6 when a southpaw starts against us and 17-12 when our starter goes 7+ innings.
Chris Young takes the ball for the Padres Wednesday and the Pirates problem against him in the past has been swinging in pitcher’s counts instead of hitter’s counts. We have to sit back in the box and let him throw more pitches, especially early. If we go up there hacking at the first or second pitch, it’s going to be a long night. We need to get him to throw about 14 pitches per inning or more.
Young hasn’t been pitching very well on the road this year but he comes in with a lot of confidence against the Pirates. On the other side of the coin, the Pirates have been wailing right-hand pitching and scoring a lot of runs as we are seeing the ball very well right now. I doubt this will be another no-hitter type game by Young unless we aren’t patient.
Again, the Padres don’t have the bats to hit southpaws well so this is a **** shoot with Maholm on the mound. The entire game could hinge on Joe West’s zone. If he calls it tight, Maholm should have the advantage. If it’s loose like he typically is, Young will see the advantage. Just pray Doumit doesn’t catch, although I’m fairly sure he will.
(Update: The media is reporting Doumit may not be ready to play Wednesday. Oh shucks.)
BTW, the Pads are the Vegas favorites Wednesday and Thursday.
A lot of folks are asking me about CB Bucknor’s strike zone Tuesday night and I didn’t see anything unusual about his game calling. If you have seen him before you know he is all over the place so this was nothing new.
Bill Gentry caught all the action after the final strike in Monday’s Indy/Buffalo game.
Less than two weeks ago I hammered the press and fans for lashing out at Zach Duke. He’s made two starts since and allowed 7 earned runs and 19 hits in 11.2 innings of work. Now all of a sudden everyone thinks he’s pitching hurt.
Or that it’s Colborn’s fault for tweaking his mechanics in spring training of 2006.
Duke is a command and control pitcher with little control. He didn’t have it in the farm and he’s never had it in the bigs, despite what anyone may think about him. Without control, he will always be vulnerable giving up big innings. And without even an average changeup to get right hand batters out, he’s even more vulnerable now that film is out on him.
That’s Duke, and that’s probably never going to change.
Duke lives and dies by pitch selection and location. His fastball ranges about 91-93 mph which is a tick above average for a southpaw and one reason he gets sometimes gets away with his control problems.
Jenifer Langosch, the new Pirates MLB.com beat reporter who just graduated from journalism school and who I officially welcome aboard, mentioned in her mailbag the other day that Duke was working on some delivery issues.
Today Paul Meyer said Duke saw a change in his delivery from 2005 to 2007 watching film and Meyer suggested that the difference was probably Colborn’s tweak.
Between these two media reports the fans now think Duke’s mechanics are all messed up no thanks to Colborn and that somehow a miracle change in his delivery is going to turn Duke’s game around.
Duke’s problems are two-fold – a defense behind him that doesn’t flag down balls in play (more often called bad luck pitching) and poor pitch selection with poor location. How many times have you seen the Pirates defense playing right hand batters to pull the ball on Duke but then Duke pitches away and gets a little grounder that floats past Sanchez into right for a single?
He’s still a 23-23 pitcher with the Pirates and more notably, a 15-9 pitcher at home and a poor road pitcher at 8-14. He can reinvent himself 100 times and he’s still going to be Zach Duke – the command and control pitcher who has little control. Only experience will change that.
But everyone keeps forgetting he’s only 24, he’s really still in his sophomore year (till July this year), and he’s still learning how to pitch with the pitches he does have.
At best, Duke is a back of the order NLCD pitcher who will always give you a Mark Redman type of performance that can turn into a Tom Gorzelanny performance when he gets good defense, pitches in a bigger park, and makes good decisions on what to pitch and then throws the ball to the mitt. Oh, and a little bit of luck wouldn’t hurt either.
So everyone needs to just back off Zach Duke and let him play with all the video tape, tweaks, and other assorted goodies that makes him feel like he’s accomplishing something while he continues to rack up innings to get experience.
Because Duke will only get better and better as he continues to experience the pain from all the blowouts he tosses on the road and the joy from his home wins.
And don’t freak out if he gets hammered against the Dodgers. Understand they are coming in as the 7th best team hitting southpaw pitching in baseball, albeit they aren’t hitting quite as well on the road. Look for Duke to get a lot of groundball outs if — and read my lips – IF – his defense shows up to play.
I keep saying over and over Ian Snell needs to be in a tandem slot in the Pirates rotation because he simply can’t get past 80 pitches.
Today was a day game and Snell’s arm fatigued early and by the 70th pitch, he was all over the place. But it was the 71st pitch that did him in – a changeup that he left hanging in the zone to David Ross who crushed it over the left field wall for a two-run homer.
Snell would continue to battle through the fatigue and toss 109 pitches – 21 more than his last outing which you know signals a red flag in his next outing – giving up just 6 hits and 3 earned runs.
Marte came in and gave up a double to Gonzalez and Dunn hit a grounder to Sanchez to move Gonzalez to third. Tracy lifted Marte for Sharpless, I assume to see if he could shut down even a mild threat (2 outs, man at third), but his second pitch, a hanging curve, was crushed into left field allowing his inherited runner to score for the Reds fourth run.
Same old Josh Sharpless. But I guess it would have been worse had he walked three straight to score the run as Sharpless was Bucco Blog’s 2006 Most Balls Award Winner.
The Reds signed Brooks Robinson who played third under a black-face disguise and Brooks made a ton of Hall of Fame plays today. Kidding aside, Edwin Encarnacion put on a show handling hammered balls in play all day long and Kyle Lohse ended up the beneficiary by throwing his first complete game shutout since 2004.
The Pirates crushed Lohse but nothing fell in – it was luck of the Reds day at Great American except for a tragic play in the third when Cota ripped a line drive into the right center field gap and Hopper and Freel slithered together with Freel making the play.
Freel looked like he caught a Hopper shoulder or hand in the throat knocking him unconscious on the run and when he fell on the warning track, his head and shoulders hit first. He laid writhing in obvious pain for a long time before being taken off the field via an ambulance to the hospital. Later reports indicated all tests were negative. We pray he is doing ok.
Cota made a spectacular throw from his knees to nail Gonzalez stealing in the second inning – his first caught stealing of the year. But in the 6th, Cota failed to deaden a fatigued Snell hook in the dirt and it ricochet off his gear allowing Dunn, who had doubled, to take third. Encarnacion then singled him home.
Revisiting the Ruby resignation post from yesterday, I emailed three people close to the org and none of them wanted to discuss the issue on the record. All I can say is that the org was aware Ruby was leaving.
$4.29 per gallon of gas in Orlando, Florida. (When do we elect a new Pres?)
Un-believable. I’m going to have to fire up my ’57 K-model here pretty soon.
Happy Memorial Day! May all your family cookouts be hearty (just don’t drink soda pop!).
Since many of the front office gurus and players have property in Florida, I thought I should take a second to mention that there’s a chance a hurricane may develop next week:
That’s the current Canadian model (CMC) from the Florida State’s computer showing a 90-hour run. It’s suggesting the path with be more northerly into the Gulf of Mexico to the panhandle, whereas a few of the more established models have it cutting across Florida much lower and with much less intensity, and one or two models don’t even see it.
Whether it develops over the next few days or not, I have no clue – I’m not a Met. It seems everyone is waiting to see if more intensification occurs before getting too worried. If nothing else, the state has a chance to see significant rainfall.
But if it does, it could be a late developer like Alberto was last year so stay tuned to NOAA radio and the National Hurricane Center.