P2Daily: Pirates Recent Bullpen Usage is a Reminder Of The Process

It has certainly been a far more entertaining week. The Pittsburgh Pirates took three out of four against the Chicago Cubs earlier this week after avoiding a sweep over the weekend in dramatic fashion.

Crazy what calling up your uber-talented top prospect with nearly limitless upside can do for a struggling offense, right?

Calling Oneil Cruz up is one of the more significant checkpoints in the organizations rebuild, but it is important to remember what stage they are in.

At the current moment, 12 players have made their major league debut this season, with potentially more coming by the end of the year.

Although things have absolutely gotten more interesting since the first wave of prospects began to move up to Pittsburgh, there are always going to be a certain number of growing pains that comes with playing that many rookies.

Not even Cruz is a finished product at this point, as scary as that may seem with the start he has gotten.

That brings me to the Thursday game against the Cubs — more so about a late decision that seemed like it destroyed the chances the Pirates had to collect the series win.

Derek Shelton hasn’t been shy about using David Bednar, in almost any situation, even if that meant him getting well past three outs.

It’s led to a certain comfort factor and has gone an extra step in hiding some of the problems the bullpen has had.

It’s also not a scenario that you want to repeat repeatedly throughout an entire season. You want to establish another arm you can rely on in the eighth inning to hand things off to Bednar to close things out.

So, the Pirates turned to Yerry De Los Santos to get the final out of the eighth inning to get them out a jam created by Wil Crowe. All of this with Bednar sitting in the bullpen.

Things didn’t work out as planned, and it took Michael Chavis tying it in the eighth before walking-it off in extra innings to close out the win and series victory.

Bednar ended up pitching the ninth inning, and the Pirates still won. All good in paradise, right?

There was a certain amount of uprising about not bringing in Bednar to try and get the last out of the inning, and it’s a fair point — we’ve seen it plenty of times before this season.

The thing to remember is that this year is still the ‘figuring it all out’ year. It’s a chance for the players who made their debut this season an opportunity to carve out a role for them in the future. Remember, for as good as some of these rookies have played, within the next few seasons there are going to be very talented prospects looking to take their place.

The Pirates gave De Los Santos an opportunity to show he can handle a high-leverage situation, and while it didn’t work out, it won’t be the last shot he gets. It’s a learning opportunity to see how he responds, and to see if he can build upon that.

So, for how great it feels to be carving out some extra wins not originally predicted, this is still the point in the rebuild to let the young players find themselves. Sometimes that means putting them in a position that they could fail.

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Yerry has hit some bumps the last few appearances, but I would argue that those arent really his fault. We need some huge bullpen help for next year, and giving yerry, the cams, etc. all a chance to gain experience and grow would be a very nice way to start that


Is this the Ramirez the former pirate that they gave away?


Yes, the same one that has a .7 career WAR. .6 of it coming this year.


I like that DS went to Yerry again last night in a tight game. What I don’t understand is why he didn’t walk Ramirez to set up a double play after getting the pop up? Yerry is a ground ball pitcher and one pitch after walking Ramirez could conceivably extend the game.

Even after the TB free runner stole 3rd, Ramirez should’ve been walked. Instead he moves the IF in, causing Ramirez to become a better hitter. A better choice would’ve been to bring one of the OF in to cover the hole between 3B and SS.

Not sure why DS doesn’t play to Pitchers strengths.


I agree. Also, the next hitter would have been Arozarena. He hits the ball on the ground a lot, and not only that. If you don’t get a double play, good chance he might strike out, since he strikes out a lot. Ramirez does not strike out much, so little chance of getting the SO from Ramirez. After the steal especially, it made even more since to walk Ramirez. A lot better chance you get the DP or SO, than playing the infield in and hoping they do not hit it thru the hole. Ramirez is hitting .305 and strikes out at a 12% clip. Arozarena is hitting .249 and strikes out at a 25% clip. Who would you rather face in that situation?


I’d rather face Ramirez than Arozarena all day every day no matter what the situation is at the moment. Ramirez doesn’t hit dingers, Arozarena does.

Rob Baran

What does it matter in extra innings with a runner at 2nd?


I’d like to see them give additional prospects a chance in the bullpen this year for the reasons you describe above.

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