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Friday, December 9, 2022

Pirates Discussion: Beneficial Experience

At this point in the season, the Pittsburgh Pirates aren’t really playing for much.

There might be some personal goals for someone like Mitch Keller who wants to finish off strong. Or for Miguel Andujar who finds himself in a new organization after spending the entirety of his professional career with the New York Yankees.

When it comes to the younger players, it’s going to mostly be about gaining experience, where their personal goals are to simply remain in the MLB. I started thinking about this and thought it’d make an interesting Discussion Topic as I’m sure there are many opinions.

With that in mind I’m sure it would be nice for a prospect like Luis Ortiz to notch his first big league victory. But would another batter or even 10 pitches in his last start have accomplished that? We could play the “What If” game although we can’t be sure the Pirates bullpen would’ve pulled it out. Would collecting his first victory provide a moral boost that sees future benefits into next season?

The same could be said for Johan Oviedo. Or it could be said for reasons why Oneil Cruz shouldn’t be sat another game.

In the grand scheme of things, the morale boost comes from being in the majors. Any additional pitch thrown or seen has it’s value. The real work will come after the final out is made to end the season and the players head home for the winter (figuratively speaking as many will play Winter/Fall ball).

The front office, the coaches, and all the players have a tall task ahead of them after a second consecutive 100+ loss season. Third consecutive if you want to extrapolate the 2020 season that saw the Pirates with what would be the fifth worst win percentage in team history.

One could say another win or a couple of home runs could affect future arbitration salaries, but it still feels it’s a little too early and minimal as opposed to someone like Roasny Contreras or Oneil Cruz whom lost a couple potential productive months due to Super Two.

While I think fans have every reason to question Derek Shelton and Ben Cherington, the player’s drive to succeed is going to largely be internally driven by their desire to remain in the MLB. Winning matters. I’m just not entirely sure how much at this point in the season when the have Top 3 lottery odds all but locked up, as opposed to during the summer when they were getting some unexpected production from some players.

******

Pirates fans aren’t allowed to have nice things, therefore it rained on Ro Day, ending his evening after 54 pitches through four innings. Roansy Contreras gave up two earned runs in his short outing, collecting two strike outs to go with two hits allowed. The game would go into delay after Contreras finished the fourth inning down 2-0.

The Pirates offense benefitted from the Cincinnati Reds defense letting them down. With one out and two runners on in the fifth, Cruz hit a bloop that fell between the SS and LF. TJ Friedl — the left fielder — grabbed the ball and threw to 3B as Kevin Newman was caught up waiting to see if it’d drop. Friedl threw wide of 3B allowing Newman to score. Bryan Reynolds then hit what should’ve been an inning-ending double play but SS Jose Barrero threw the relay throw to 1B in the dirt letting Zack Collins score to tie the game.

In the bottom of the seventh inning the Pirates had runners on 1st and 2nd — one being Andujar who hit a single for his first Pirates hit — and one out when Jack  Suwinski roped a ball off the right center wall plating two runs and a 4-2 lead. They would then load the bases with a hit by pitch and walk before a Newman single and Collins sacrifice fly made it 6-2.

Unsure if a four run lead would hold, the offense added two more runs in the bottom of the 8th on an Andujar sacrifice fly and Ke’Bryan Hayes single for an 8-2 lead.

Robert Stephenson pitched the ninth and gave up just a solo HR for an 8-3 victory.

Reds @ Pirates

Time: 6:35 PM EST

Pirates Starter: Mitch Keller (5-12, 3.99)

Reds Starter: Hunter Greene (4-13, 4.91)

Keller Notes: Mitch Keller will look to maintain his newly minted sub-4.00 ERA. In his previous start, he held the Chicago Cubs to two earned runs in six innings. That was his fifth consecutive start of at least six innings. This will actually be the first time New Mitch faces the Reds as he hasn’t pitched against them since seeing them in back-to-back starts on May 7th and May 13th. In those two starts he gave up 10 earned runs in 9.0 combined innings.

LINEUPS:

Pirates

Reds

1. TJ Friedl (L) LF
2. Jonathan India (R) 2B
3. Kyle Farmer (R) 3B
4. Jake Fraley (L) DH
5. Spencer Steer (R) 1B
6. Aristides Aquino (R) RF
7. Mike Siani (L) CF
8. Jose Barrero (R) SS
9. Austin Romine (R) C

+ posts

Raised in Cranberry Twp, PA, Jeff attended Kent State University and worked in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, before moving to New Orleans in September of 2012. His background is as an Engineering Designer, but he has always had a near unhealthy passion for Pittsburgh sports. Hockey and Baseball are his 1A and 1B, combined with his mathematical background, it's led to Jeff's desire in diving into analytics. Jeff is known as Bucs'N'Pucks in the comments, and began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2022 after contributing so many useful bits of information in the comment section.

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Wilbur Miller

Well, Keller’s ERA is 3.92. At the end of May it was 5.77. Back then, I didn’t think he’d see 3.92 with the Hubble telescope. I think the guy has really learned something about battling.

Cruz is 8-for-14 in his last three games. Seven singles and a double. Watching him wreck Statcast is fun, but that makes it more fun when he’s getting bleeders. When he reached on the swinging bunt yesterday, he was laughing all the way to first. I bet he was thinking about the EV.

Andujar clearly thought he had a granny today. PNC is not for faint-hearted RH hitters. The guy has power, though.

TNBucs

I wonder what Andujar was thinking on his attempt to steal 3B with two outs? Maybe just a mental mistake (but Yankees aren’t supposed to do that!) or maybe that he realized that with Collins at bat and Delay on deck, their best opportunity for scoring was for the catcher to throw the ball away on the attempted steal.

ArkyWags

That’s why he’s not a Yankee anymore, wink. Honestly I like this pickup more than any other waiver wire claim. He had a good rookie year there, got hurt, and then went to the back of the line and forgotten about. That’s often how things happen for some young guys the Yankees have. Maybe we can get something with him.

TNBucs

Yes, having an injury and then 2020 back-to-back is rough for a player trying to get established with an organization that is always in win-now mode. If he had put up the numbers in Indy that he put up in SWB, we’d have been begging Ben to bring him up–I agree that it’s the best of the claims we’ve had, and that he’s more interesting than some of the former prospects that Ben has traded actual players for.

robertkasperski

Oneil always has a smile. He is having the time of his life ever day that he gets to play ball. Damned refreshing! 😁

Wilbur Miller

Just 17?

Wilbur Miller

Nice to have a closer again.

forkball

Keep playing the Reds

Wilbur Miller

1-for-25.
.040.

emjayinTN

Pitiful. Sub-Mendoza OPS of I think .178. In the “cannot hurt” category, how about getting Ro Castro a few starts at 1B? Could we look any dumber if we promoted Mason Martin?

jon6er

They should have signed up Phil Collins instead and Nickels could have got some free concerts too.

Wilbur Miller

Wow, if the Reds let Dumbo get away with using both Crowe and DUJ in a close game, they should be relegated.

CTBucco

Did Andujar lose track of the count? Stealing 3rd with 2 outs? He doesn’t look like he should be trying to steal at all.

forkball

Just wanting to get that home run

robertkasperski

Whoop whoop!

b mcferren

Andujar!

forkball

I hope the real Crowe stays away one more inning

bucsws2014

I hope the real Crowe stays away one more inning

ftfy

Last edited 2 months ago by bucsws2014
forkball

Thank you

robertkasperski

Belated cause I was driving home from work. As soon as they said he was on the mound said to myself watch he has a good outing when I can’t post this when he comes in…..and he did….
Happy belated Crowe Day Y’all!!!

![]comment image)_

PiratePrimate

So Collins is just insurance against any chance of not clinching a lottery spot?

Wilbur Miller

1-for-24. .042.

docdon385

There was an article on the Pirate sight today about Collins being the choice at first for the rest of the year. Luckily the year’s nearly over and the way they’ve set it up there’s no one else at the moment. From what they quoted Collins as saying, he plans to be here a while.

For the umpteenth and last time this year I promise, why not bring up Martin instead of continuing with this foolishness? Is there any way he could be any worse than Collins? If they do and he is, I’ll buy a round of drinks for everyone. A pretty low bar I know so guess my money’s safe either way but enough of this shite.

Wilbur Miller

Idiocy can’t be explained, which is why it’s idiocy. Cheringtoon’s pulled this BS over and over and over again, and keeps on doing it. Looking for reasons behind the idiocy is as futile as the idiocy itself.

1979andCounting

There’s some deal with the MLBPA that if team keeps recycling waiver claims, paying the $700k minimum, getting washed up players a little more service time…….that they will drop the lawsuit on the revenue sharing lack of spending. That’s all I got.

Wilbur Miller

And to add to the idiocy, Andujar looks nothing like Collins and might actually help the team going forward, which Collins has zero chance of doing. Andujar’s chances of helping the team would increase if he could get some time at first. So of course Collins has to play first and Andujar DH.

The stoopid can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. And it absolutely will not stop.

ArkyWags

Collins bat speed is glacial. Is he Jeff Clement 2.0?

1979andCounting

HTH does Hunter Greene have a 4.91 era?
With that arm? With that fastball?

bucsws2014

Start of May it was 8.72. He’s had 8 games allowing 4 or more ERs. Has really only been consistently good since end of July.

bucsws2014

What’s up with Walker? Brownie is in a regular shirt and sportcoat, Neil is bundled up for a December game at Acrisure. Gloves even.

CTBucco

Bases loaded, no outs, 3-4-5 coming up. Zero runs. Happens too often. I know they are young and Greene is a good strikeout pitcher. Still.

bucsws2014

Great play at 3b helped. Thought Andujar had a hit there.

jon6er

Castro or Suwinski have to put the ball in play. Doesn’t matter if it’s a dp or not.

Wilbur Miller

Collins now 1-for-23 as a Pirate. If you’re keeping track, that’s .043. How does Cheringtoon do it?

jon6er

More malpractice by BC and dfa’ing Chavis allows Shelton to pencil him in everyday.

rotenjon1

if your choice is all chavis all the time you probably missed the all slim whitman channel

jon6er

Yeah outside of batting from different sides how do you tell them apart and you’re reading what you want to into my statement since I was referring to roster moves not which replacement level player is better than the other.

forkball

So far challenging for the worst pickup yet.

robertkasperski

RUN BAE RUN!!!!!!

robertkasperski

His speed took the attention away from India and help force the error. He was looking at him already cruising into 2nd instead of worrying about the ball

PiratePrimate

Just a thought going into the last week. If they play Cruz at SS 150+ games next year is the over/under on the number of errors at SS 50? 60?

robertkasperski

I say under He has 16 in 74 games at SS (72 where he started, 71 CG, 2 where he entered the game after starting on on exiting esrtly) this year in the bigs.

Last edited 2 months ago by robertkasperski
PiratePrimate

He’s had 30 in 100+ games combined between Pittsburgh and Indy. Under 50 over 40 is still a nightmare.

forkball

He just better hit!

joesolo6181

They extended Hayes and he can not put the batted ball in the air. Was this a mistake in judgement ?

ArkyWags

No it wasn’t. Even if he stays this way as a hitter, his defense makes his contract a bargain. Believe it or not, he’s above league average in getting on base.

But yeah, I think they really need to try to get more out of him offensively somehow.

b mcferren

some first basemen that I hope we hear rumors about this winter

ARZ Ivan Melendez
BOS Niko Kavadas
LAA Sonny DiChiara
TB Kyle Manzardo
TB Xavier Isaac
TOR Damiano Palmegiani

bucsws2014

Colin Moran was released and is available!

robertkasperski

That would be a “Hell no!” along with Yoshi  😂 

robertkasperski

Some interesting names but all except for maybe Manzardo are several years away. The Bucs need one in the majors now.

b mcferren

could see Niko and Ivan breaking into the major after next year’s all star break

robertkasperski

Just got the lineup alert. Will be interesting for when the lineup flips to the 2nd time through and Cruz will be following Bae. Ton of speed back to back.

TNBucs

I’ve never liked managers getting cute with putting a leadoff-type guy in the 9-spot (possibly because I associate it with two of my least favorite managers, LaRussa and Maddon), but other than that it’s one of the best lineups we’ve had all season.

jon6er

Just can’t fill that black hole at first base.

robertkasperski

The only thing to me it makes sense with is the pair of the two fastest guys without technically moving the whole lineup down. In reality it makes no difference other than the very first time through the line up who ‘leads off” and the order after that. Sometimes to players it matters what hole they are in. I am with you and start sith Bae at the top and then the rest of the lineup as is just bumping the rest of the line up down a spot. Some guys need to be in a certain spot even though that spot number really will only occur the first time through. I just like the idea of Bae, Cruz Reynolds, and Castro in that order because of burning speed, followed by more speed following it all.

docdon385

If as you suggest, and BTW I agree with you, the way to motivate and start to develop some of the top younger players it to give them some major league experience, the same question comes up.

Why are guys who have no future here like some of those recently released as well as Collins, Gamel, etc. still taking up spots on the roster? Until that stops or can be adequately explained continuing to question BCs plan has to be done. Is he really trying to develop these guys or is he just delaying?

robertkasperski

I see Cruz, Castro, Ro for sure sticking to start. Others will depend on what players are obtained via trades or FA during the off season plus (Whispering). Injuries….
Some of the more recent guys could use a start in AAA like Oviedo, Ortiz, Bae. Guys like Mitchell and Suwinski will be determined depending if the can obtain better options.

Last edited 2 months ago by robertkasperski
robertkasperski

What could skew it would be anyone playing in a winter league and tearing up and continuing into spring training. If a couple of pieces are added as I suspect they will and a couple of there youngsters perform either in winter or ST or both and they feel those youngsters could mean the difference in competing for a WC or what I feel will be a somewhat weak Central, I feel they will add the youngsters to fling open the window to start trying to compete. Will take a couple good adds and a couple of the newer kids to seize the opportunity. It is getting close to being fun again 🙂

Anthony

I don’t get where this narrative comes from to develop non-MLB ready prospects in the majors. The default for open roster spots at the MLB level is not to immediately fill them with your NEXT prospect.

robertkasperski

You fill the spot with the best available player that you can get to fill it, if he prospect is better than the best available alternative from outside the organization, the prospect gets the spot. If you can trade for a sign a better option than what you have in a prospect you do that.

Anthony

I’d caveat that with if the prospect is ready w/r/t their development goals and objectives.

robertkasperski

I’ll go along with that 🙂

robertkasperski

They have been starting anywhere between 3-5 rookies in the field and have been starting 3 rookie pitchers. Even if they are replaced for next season, you still want some vets around to have around all of the young guys.

TNBucs

Though I’d hate spending money to support Nutting until he and Williams show some evidence that there is accountability for Cherington to put a better product on the field, if I lived in Pittsburgh I’d be pretty tempted to go to tonight’s game to see two good, young pitchers trying to find consistency.

leefieux

I would love to see Keller finish under 4.00. Unfortunately, my excitement over his turning his career around is that he is going to be arb eligible (aka EXPENSIVE) after 2023, so he will probably get dealt for a couple of minor league lotto tix. Rinse! Repeat! It sucks having Pirate blood in my veins sometimes (sometimes? , lol).

ArkyWags

Because he hasn’t really fully broken out and is more decent than anything, Mitch won’t be that expensive. They need to actual show something to keep some guys around. I think pitchers are more likely open to extensions (even smaller extensions that buy out a year or two of FA) due to the nature of their work. But even if Mitch doesn’t sign one, I wouldn’t look to trade him either.

leefieux

Since July 1, Mitch has an ERA of 2.96. If he truly has turned it around, he’ll be an All Star next year. The question then is, would he be willing to go with an extension and if so, how much? Look what Musgrove got. Do you really think Nutting will pay that? I sure don’t.

ArkyWags

Musgrove also had two plus seasons of pitching well, not a dozen starts like Mitch. And he also was never much a disaster like Keller was until this year. Musgrove has pitched like a three win pitcher since 2018. I don’t think the two are that comparable. So he ain’t getting Musgrove money, even if he has a good first half of 2023.

robertkasperski

Musgrove did not get his money till this season, his year 29 season. He starts getting that money till next year. Joe was heading for FA next year. That won’t happen till 2025 for Mitch. Mitch is behind Joe career wise by 3 years. If Mitch continues into 2023 like he is finishing 2022 then yes you must start talking extension before he gets to Musgrove money level in 2025, which will be prob 25 million a year in 2025 money as opposed to 20 million in 2022 money. Like any player, it will depend on what he desires if he will consider staying here or not. Cole always seem to desire the biggest contract and that is why he never considered extending here or Houston. Guys to like staying put and making extremely good money don’t care about outlandish money and can live a calmer life without the extra huge contract hanging over their head. Guys like Cutch and Marte their first extensions and Hayes on his. Time will tell for the youngsters on this team now starting with Reynolds. .

Last edited 2 months ago by robertkasperski
ArkyWags

My point was that Musgrove has pitched well for years. Keller has done it for three months. I know he’s behind Musgrove career wise, but Joe was fairly effective as a starter his whole career. Mitch hasn’t been. So unless he really breaks out I think his contract would be less to begin with.

I don’t think it’s also a given they have to trade a guy just because he won’t sign an extension. For example, if the Bucs progress and the prospects pan out and they’re neck and neck with St Louis in 2024 or 2025, trading Reynolds or Keller and hurting the MLB team in the process would be foolish.

robertkasperski

I don’t think that they will trade Reynolds or Keller or anyone of the younger members of the forming core if they are competing unless the deal makes good baseball sense and the trade would improve the current team by doing so I don’t think that they will just dump an important team if they are knee deep in a race for the post season. I would consider extending Keller and begin talks if he continues on in 2023. If he continues on, he will then be on par with 2022 Musgrove in 2025. That is when he would be looking at a Musgrove like contract. If he does continue on and they could extend him say after the 2023 season, you are right in that he would not be as expensive as he would be if they waited till mid 2025 to extend him. Hope he continues on and I hope that he signs.

Catch_22

Keller in his last 20 starts (since incorporating the sinker) has a 3.20 era.

I think next season, he takes that next step and will be missing more bats. I’d bet a beer that if he stays healthy, he’ll be a 3 fWAR pitcher. He’s at 2.2 before first pitch tonight, so it’s not exactly a bold statement that he’ll get to 3 fWAR next season.

robertkasperski

I hope that they start discussions with his agent this winter to get an idea where they are at.

robertkasperski

The guys that get moved are usually the ones that give the indication that they intend to file for FA when eligible. If the player and agent are willing to talk extension, the player will be around for a while. If the player is like Cole, who intends on hitting the market no matter what, there is no sense keeping that player and watching them walk for nothing. Hopefully there will be some dialogue with the agent this winter.

TNBucs

I generally agree but there are times when you should keep the player and hope that he puts up a huge walk year that might be enough to win a division, a playoff series, etc. Obviously teams like the Astros and Yankees operate differently than us, but look at what the Astros got out of Cole in his walk year (6.6 bWAR, his best season to this point in his career) and the Yankees are getting out of Judge this year (also his best season). We better be contending by the time Keller is in his walk year, and if he has trade value, then he may have even more value to us by keeping him.

Another example–it may be coincidence, but Musgrove had allowed a .609 OPS this year at the time his extension was announced. Since then, he’s allowed a .811 OPS. Years ago there was a study that showed that players tend to perform better in their walk years, but our strategy of never letting our best players get to their walk years means we never get to realize those outcomes.

mpg43952

Different sport, but Craig Patrick always liked guys in their walk year, said you got their best.

TNBucs

I feel this way about Reynolds–we don’t need to trade him before his walk year (’25) because his walk year should coincide with us being contenders and he could be the difference in making the playoffs or not, or in winning a playoff series or not. If we’re not lined up to be contenders by ’25, then trade him but the person doing the trading better be someone other than Cherington.

robertkasperski

Not sour on Cherington yet. He did make some really good moves. Endy and Roansy, just to name 2. I really like the Stallings deal too. I agree on Reynolds. I do believe he will hit the market for no other reason than his age. If I am him, I do not extend unless the Pirates offer market rate for $$ value and length of contract. This will be his best chance to make the biggest contract that he will ever see. The only way I would move him before the 2025 deadline is if some team would make the proverbial offer that I could not refuse and the deal makes the Bucs much better short and long term.

TNBucs

As for an extension, I hope that we extend him this offseason. He’ll be coming off a very good year but not the career year he had in ’21 which should make agreeing on a deal more realistic.

TNBucs

I’ve not given up on Cherington but his lack of success in finding relievers and players to fill in the major league roster while we wait for prospects to arrive (e.g., Gamel, Chavis, JVM, Allen, Alford, …) has tempered my enthusiasm. Worse, his recent glowing endorsement of Shelton coupled with his comment on it not being about wins and losses raises the question of whether he has any sense of urgency. I can understand giving him another couple of years, but if we’re not in position to contend by ’25, then we need to move on. In any case, I hope Reynolds is with us through ’24 and then we either contend with him in ’25 or a new GM is brought in and they have the opportunity to trade Reynolds the way Cherington had the opportunity to trade Marte.

robertkasperski

I get your point but can also see the point of seeing where the prospects were going to progress and help the major league roster. A lot clearer going into this off season than last off season. The pen will start off with Bednar, Holderman, Yerry holding down later innings with Thompson the middle inning guy/swing emergency spot starter. I have long thought that this would be the offseason where the build would shift to the major league roster as the several of the key prospects acquired either by NH later in his tenure or by BC at the beginning of his have started hitting the Bucs roster or are in AAA and AA now. There are lots of young guys in A and A+ now too. Concentration can now move to the big league roster and should be easier to sell to decent FA players who know what their role would be and not just potentially a filler role for a prospect that develops and forces them out quickly. Guys signed would know that they were signed to be part of the current/future because there is a new core forming. They can add to this core not only form the guys reaching AAA but also from outside. I know that I am being optimistic but it is just my gut feeling that there will be at least 1 starter, a couple of RP, a quality veteran catcher who will back Endy by mid season and mentor him(possibly Perez again) and another bat for the OF or 1B (or both) depending on who is available Hope my gut is right and it is not just the burritos that I ate.

bscat

DeJong has earned a spot in the ’23 bullpen (middle innings).

robertkasperski

Yes, my bad he would pair nicely with Thompson in the middle inning guy and he would be a spot guy in later innings if heeded because of use of the top relievers. Sorry that I forgot to add him in the mix.

TNBucs

I agree that this should be the offseason where focus shifts to the major league roster, and hope that Cherington’s comment at the deadline about having lots of conversations that laid the groundwork for possible offseason deals was reference to using some of our prospect depth to trade for major league help.

robertkasperski

There is now plenty of prospect depth that you can use some to make trades to fill other spots and not leave the cupboard bare. That is how the Cards operate and the Brewers operate. Maybe, just maybe we can start operating that way.🤞🤞🤞

Last edited 2 months ago by robertkasperski
PirateRican21

Last time we faced Green we couldn’t get a hit, hope to get him out after three innings!

1979andCounting

Well, there is a 20% chance of rain.

PirateRican21

So you’re saying there’s a chance!

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