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Monday, December 5, 2022

Pirates Discussion: Saturday Slip

Making his fourth and likely final start of the season for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Luis Ortiz failed to make it out of the first inning.

Ortiz’s control wasn’t sharp from the beginning, walking two of the first batters he faced for the St. Louis Cardinals. He gave up three hits and three walks in the inning, which was capped off by a former Bucco Corey Dickerson grand slam. Ortiz would only finish two thirds of an inning with six earned runs.

Zach Thompson took over from there and did most of the leg work. Thompson ended up pitching 5.1 innings with four earned runs against that all came in the second inning.

The game was out of hand by the second, with the Pirates managing only two runs in the top of the inning on a Jason Delay two run single.

Junior Fernandez made his Pirates debut in the seventh. He would get out of the inning without allowing a run, but it involved 29 pitches and three walks.

The Pirates scored their third run of the game in the eighth after Cal Mitchell lead off the inning with a double and was brought home by Ji-Hwan Bae on an error.

Manny Banuelos pitched the eighth inning and gave up three runs, two earned, putting the score at 13-3 Cardinals.

It was a rough evening all around with the positives being a 2-for-3 night for Mitchell — both hits were doubles — and the Pirates offense only striking out six times.

Pirates @ Cardinals

Time: 2:15 PM EST

Pirates Starter: Roansy Contreras (5-5, 3.72)

Cardinals Starter: Adam Wainwright (11-11, 3.51)




1. Brendan Donovan (L) 3B
2. Alec Burleson (L) RF
3. Albert Pujols (R) 1B
4. Nolan Arenado (R) DH
5. Yadier Molina (R) C
6. Corey Dickerson (L) LF
7. Dylan Carlson (S) CF
8. Paul DeJong (R) SS
9. Tommy Edman (S) 2B

UPDATE: Heineman is back. Collins is done.

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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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Bae continues to be very good, love prospect ratings but he has shown them that they are bit off on how good he is…🤷‍♂️


Contreras fastball is not what it was earlier in the season, without it and without a change he is middle of rotation guy at best.


I’m thinking the same thing. He looked average at best in his last 3 starts with the 92 mph fastball.

Hopefully that’s just a dead arm at the end of the year and he is back to throwing 98 next spring.

Wilbur Miller

Good of them to arrange for the home fans to be able to enjoy #100 in person.


So the MLB 2023 draft lottery is 12/6. Other than the be AFL that’s prolly all we have to look forward to right?


Unless you count frustrations of not participating in FA.

Wilbur Miller

But think of the excitement when Cheringtoon gets through the offseason without losing Stout, Beasley or Solomon!


All HAIL Gamel…

So whose next up Rudolph…?


As a lifelong Pirate fan, I appreciate what those three Cardinals have brought to baseball, but I will not miss having them playing against the Pirates.


I am hoping for an article that focuses on Bryan Reynolds and the year he has had. What have we seen this year? Short little hot streaks followed by what we are seeing now, 2 for his last 21, just now runners on 2nd and 3rd but he can’t put the ball in play? It has been a strange season for B-Rey.


I’ve always wondered if he just grips that bat a little tighter in big moments.


Glad we are finishing with 6 games against the Cards to be reminded of what the goal looks like.

Please retire Albert, please. Thank you for your decade with the Angels too. You are the King of Pirate Killers.


Time for Gamel to atone.

Edit: And he does!

Last edited 2 months ago by bucsws2014

And I’m back to football after the called third strike to Castro. I guess the ump wants to give a few parting gifts to Molina as well.


Okay, I lied—after seeing Mitchell’s bloop hit fall I hung around to see Gamel’s redemption. 🙂


In all of Block’s and Wehner’s blabbering about the Cardinals’ success, I wish they’d address the elephant in the room when talking about the Pirates getting there. Are we going to sign a Goldschmidt or trade fir an Arenado? Will we come to even within 70% of their payroll?


Routinely average 41k in attendance per game and maintain 30% ownership of your regional sports network, and it’s almost certain these things would happen.


In other news, the Kenny Pickett Era has begun.

With an INT.


What a defense! I’d say they look like Keystone Cops, but I don’t want to insult the Keystone Cops like that.


Why is game delayed? Let me guess, honoring Waino, Albert, and Molina.

Last edited 2 months ago by skliesen

Unfortunate timing, maybe, but I just saw this comment from Longenhagen on this Friday’s chat (which returned after many months):

MikeLuis Ortiz(Pirates) seemed to be ranked pretty low for what he has shown in a starting role? Is it just concerns over whether he ends up in the bullpen?

12:42Eric A Longenhagen: The arm action length put him in that bucket but he’s thrown enough strikes at this point (same as Brayan Bello) to override that. He’ll be on the 100 in the update


Not unfortunate timing! Everyone gonna get their butt kicked occasionally. He also noted Davis as a guy he’s high on that people are overlooking because of this year. And that Endy’s power is closer to average than the above average he showed this season. There was some good Bucs related stuff in that chat.


I do think Endy has average power, and I’m somewhat glad that he is changing his view. He had him below average and explain last year power to the windy conditions in Brandenton????


Also “average” power feels good for a catcher. And if he hits like that I don’t care if his power is average.


A .280 14 HR season with 25+ doubles is an all star.


I just wanted to pop in briefly. I have spent the year lurking but not commenting. I feel like Leslie Nielsen at the end of Airplane where he keeps opening the cockpit door and saying ‘good luck – we’re all counting on you’ as the plane skids down the runway at the end of the movie.

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for all the good content from the site and from the commenters as well over the course of the year – another pretty sorry one for the Pittsburgh Pirates. But, baseball can still be fun and interesting despite my team being consistently terrible. Thanks for the coverage and discussion.


The importance of pitching. A lesson learned for Luis Ortiz who was pitching in A Bradenton in 2021. Great season to make it all the way to MLB for a few starts.

Interesting article from Justice delos Santos on the Pirate page this morning regarding Newman and the MI crunch at the MLB level. Some writers would not even approach that topic, but he handled it very well.


Justice is one of the best, if not the best, beat writer they’ve had at pirates.com–he’s actually willing to take on uncomfortable topics even if he’s prevented from giving his opinions.

As for Newman, we should bring him back. There’s too much uncertainty about the MI and a team that cares about winning can spend ~3MM on a quality utility IF.


I agree with the ‘bring back a quality utility IF at 3MM’ thought with an asterisk. Is he a quality utility IF? The Newman who hit .220s the last 2 seasons with good defense IMO is a waiver wire type pickup that you don’t save a roster spot for, the .270 Newman you do save. The biggest reason to keep him IMO is his ability to play a solid SS and because of that you don’t just DFA him. My gut is he is a .240-.250 hitter since it seems he still does not hit the ball hard which leaves me in a wishy-washy middle ground on what to do with him.

But I am also not confident a combo of Cruz, Castro, Newman, and Bae is certain to create more wins than if you replace Newman with Castillo or other prospects who may appear.

There is legitimate veteran presence value and he seems very solid in that aspect. But assuming 2023 is another year of ‘getting closer to contention’, my final vote is to try to move him and give those 300 ABs to a hopefully blossoming Castro, Bae, Castillo, or pick your other player.


Yeah, I wouldn’t lose any sleep if we don’t bring him back. But I think he’s likely better than other utility IFs we could sign because the better ones will want to go to a place where they see an opportunity to start. The decision should be based on his role or lack thereof as a team leader, mentor to young players, etc. If the young players have their own culture and Newman is just a player, then let him go and use the savings on a decent reliever. If he’s providing some help to the young players as they get adjusted, then keep him.

So I’m fine either way with Newman but lean towards keeping him.

Wilbur Miller

It’s so easy to excuse spending no money on a UT guy. Fans easily buy into the notion that it’s no big deal to have a AA player in a backup role. I’ve seen that argument over and over with Pirate fans, from Michael Martinez and Brent Morel to VanMeter and Heineman.

But it does matter. We’ve seen that over and over with this sad sack team, where the wrong guy always pops up with the game on the line. We saw it again in the 2-1 loss, when basket case Godoy managed to whiff twice with a runner on third and one out.

A major league team tries to maximize every spot, which is why they should keep Newman. But Nickels isn’t going to spend the money. It’s too easy to sell the idea that it’s just a bench job so it doesn’t matter.


To advertise my point twice 😃, the .220 Newman of the previous 2 seasons would have been the guy you don’t want hitting(although he likely would have made contact – softly), while the .270 guy of this year you might. Which one is he to me is the question to determine whether he is a good bench option. As you see in my other post, I ultimately vote no.


WRT Godoy the other night, I just kept thinking this is the price we pay for Shelton getting cute batting Bae 9th. Yeah, it’s neat if he gets on for Cruz but you’re also reducing the chances that he comes up in leverage situations because you’re batting a .100 hitter in front of him. It was almost as if the baseball gods were laughing at Derek by Godoy coming up in perfect situations for a fast, contact guy like Bae. Though I guess Derek got his revenge when Bae had that beautiful bunt hit to score a run.


That’s a mouthful – “a team that cares about winning can spend ~3MM on a quality utility IF.” I hope he gets to one of those teams, but that is not the Pirates under Nuttting and BC! Use that $3 mil as a downpayment on a legit 1B.

Either way, the Pirates are at a crossroads. They are loaded at the MI positions with young, very talented MI’s already exposed to MLB, and more at the upper levels of the minors. IMO, if they want to build or rebuild, they put Bae at 2B, keep Cruz at SS, and utilize Castro as the UT IF, and switchhitting DH/bench strength with power.


I’d probably flip Bae and Castro in those roles because of Bae’s OF experience so that he can play everyday as a utility Zobrist-type player whereas Castro would see more limited playing time (though under Shelton, who knows?).

Speaking of Castro, though, he has about a .300 point split in OPS batting right-handed vs. left-handed. Last year his split was in the same direction but not as pronounced but in 2019 it was a .200 point split. It makes me wonder if he should try batting right-handed against RHP.


Bae def needs to play everyday. Regardless of his prospect grades, he is a TOUGH out, plain and simple. I would want more guys like him on MY team.

Castro’s splits are atrocious. There is def a place for him on this team; however, they need to pick and choose his spots better to keep him on his right side.


With that last point, if only we had a hitting coach that I had confidence in.


Given the Pirates MI depth you trade him if another team is willing to give up a decent low-level prospect in exchange for a glove first shortstop that may have a decent bat going forward.


Didn’t pick the right time to add Ortiz to my fantasy roster. His outing likely cost me the championship. Oh well, if given the opportunity to do it again, I wouldn’t change a thing. Ortiz is going to be instrumental to Pirates one day dethroning the Redbirds and their devil magic.

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