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Monday, December 5, 2022

P2Daily: 2022 Showed Opportunities Of Growth Heading Into Offseason

The Pittsburgh Pirates wrapped their 2022 season with a 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, leaving them with an even 100 losses on the year.

With the season over, attention can shift to what kind of changes need to be made with the roster in hopes on avoiding a third straight 100-loss record.

While their immediate needs are pretty straight forward to an extent, rotation help, an actual first baseman, as well as maybe some outfielders, the offseason will also be the time for the players returning to make adjustments to help them succeed at the major league level.

Johan Oviedo, Mitch Keller 2.0?

We all saw the success that Mitch Keller had this season, and it all came back to him adopting a sinker that offered some much needed movement to his arsenal. Johan Oviedo could probably use the same kind of treatment if he wants to stick around at the major league level.

Oviedo was moved to the bullpen by the Cardinals at the beginning of the season, before getting moved back to the rotation upon getting traded to the Pirates. He’s looked good, but the fastball can get a little flat at times. The first two batters of the game for the Cardinals on Wednesday really took advantage of that, back-to-back hits that put them on the board immediately.

Lars Nootbaar led off the game with a 109.5 mph double on a fastball low. According to Statcast, Oviedo has the eighth worst average vertical movement on his four-seam fastball among qualified pitchers (average movement is based off other fastballs comparable to velocity, extension and release).

Luis Ortiz Third Pitch Development

You can almost say that it was a good thing that Ortiz got beat around a bit in his last start, as it exposed a key aspect of his game, the lack of a changeup. Tim Williams wrote about Ortiz’s struggles against lefties, and that flashed a bit in the majors in his brief time, as he walked more than he struck out.

Further development on the changeup will really help that, and will really help Ortiz’s chances on being one of the first starters called up next season.

Find A Real First Baseman, But Prepare Like You Can’t Find One

I am truly surprised that someone on the Pirates, more on the fringe of staying on the roster, hasn’t voluntarily walked in Derek Shelton’s office and ask for reps at first, seeing the opportunity there. Maybe that’s what happened with Diego Castillo and Ben Gamel, but regardless there’s quite the glaring hole in the upper levels at the position.

Players who really might be on the fringe (Cal Mitchell and Castillo come to mind that are already on the 40-man) could really take advantage of that by coming into camp having worked not hat over the offseason.

Miguel Andújar is also a name thrown around, although he played the majority of the time in left field, or as the DH and doesn’t have much experience at first. He too could really benefit from a focus on learning first base in the offseason.

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Song of the Day

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Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

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endofline

I believe this team has less than 10 players that belong on a contending team. Look at the rosters of the Dodgers, Yanks, Braves, Astros , Mets etc.

This team has a long way to go.

ArkyWags

It does, but I think they need to be more aggressive and ruthless. Reynolds and Cruz don’t wanna move positions? Them have the tough decisions and discussions with them you need to as an organization.

Getting better defensively won’t cost much and will have an impact. Start there.

Anthony

In order for the Pirates to compete with the teams you mentioned above, they will likely need to outperform their expections or find the secret sauce to create runs-wins through roster synergies. Those teams are in a different economic stratosphere, comparing rostered players will always result in disappointment.

Last edited 1 month ago by Anthony
AdministrativeSky236

I would argue that coming into this year we had ro, hayes, reynolds, and bednar who fit that description. Even getting to 10 is significant growth, which i believe they have done

Danatural08

Went to Fangraph’s Team WAR rankings & found a couple things interesting:

Finished 23rd in Pitching WAR
” 25th in Offense WAR
” 26th in Fielding WAR

The worst a playoff team finished was 17th – STL Pitching WAR

These rankings were surprising to me, as i thought they’d be worse, as the team finished with the 3rd worse record. This means to me that they underperformed in the Win/Loss column, & is reason enough to fire Shelton

Anthony

So they were better than their win-loss record and managed to secure the best lottery odds, seems like a win-win to me.

AdministrativeSky236

Didnt finish last in the division but still have better lottery odds than the reds, ill take it

skliesen

Of all the things the Pirates need, I would definitely list a LHSP and either 1B/DH or corner OF/DH type player who has a pedigree of winning on his resume. Nothing against Gamel and Yoshi, but those guys have just about as much playoff experience as Bryan Reynolds.

If you don’t believe me, see Kirk Gibson circa 1988 Dodgers for proof.

The Cobra

Unfortunately, the Bucs won’t sign the ’88 version of Gibson, but the “92 version. History will repeat itself.

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