The Pittsburgh Pirates are about to take on the Chicago Cubs this afternoon, opening a series where they hope to turn things around and capitalize on the recent slide by Milwaukee and the .500 play by Atlanta. While you wait for the opening game of the series, here are some interesting links to check out.
**J.J. Cooper wrote an amazing article at Baseball America about how John Holdzkom went from indy ball to the big leagues. Cooper talks about some of the changes that led to the tall right-hander fixing his control issues, while also detailing how the Pirates noticed him. It’s a great read if you want to learn more about one of the Pirates’ newest relievers.
**Kiley McDaniel has a great guide to scouting over at FanGraphs, along with some handy charts that show you the qualifications for the 20-80 scale. Wondering what constitutes a “plus-plus” fastball? What a runner has to get for 80 speed? Or what about overall player grades? All of this is in there, along with some good explanations on the process.