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Pirates Discussion: Build Up For The Season

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Spring Training games kick off on Saturday, and one of the biggest things to remember is that it’s just Spring Training. Hitters and pitchers alike are using this time to get prepared and ramp up.

People will be quick to develop narratives based around very small sample sizes. Some players will look further along than others, but the importance will be on getting in reps and remaining healthy.

Termarr Johnson has already given scare to fans, but Alex Stumpf spoke to Termarr Thursday morning and he said it’s “doing a lot better”. There isn’t much to worry about, since he obviously wasn’t making the big club out of camp. The concern should remain solely on him gearing up for full-season baseball in the minors. Hamstring injuries scare me, and are just about up there with elbows and obliques for me. But, it’s very early, and I’d imagine they were exercising extreme caution more than anything.

Last spring saw some big standouts in Diego Castillo (1.281 OPS) and Bligh Madris (1.376 OPS), and now neither player remains with the club. Everyone rememebers Kevin Newman’s 2021 spring training, when he smacked around the baseball for a .606 batting average, to then put up a 53 wRC+ season.

Zach Thompson tossed 13 innings with a 2.77 ERA, 12 strikeouts to only four walks. He is no longer with the club. Jose Quintana has an 11.00 ERA in nine innings, before being one of the (if not THE) best starters on the club, prior to being traded at the deadline (although not due to poor performance like the others).

I remember visiting Bradenton in 2016, and watching Juan Nicasio dominate in Sarasota. He was brought in with a chance to grab a rotation spot, much like Vince Velasquez this year. Nicasio threw 15 shutout innings, while striking out 24 and only walking five. Nicasio would go on to only make 12 starts that season, before being relegated to the bullpen. In 2021, Tyler Anderson had a 5.00 ERA through 18 spring innings, but that came with 18 strikeouts to 2 walks. He went on to have a solid season, before being dealt at the deadline.

I could probably go on for days with examples from either end of the spectrum.

What developments are you particularly looking forward to seeing this spring? Are there any specific examples of past Spring Training results that beget either optimistic or pessimistic views you remember, only for polar opposite regular season results?

Song of the Day

Sorry. With me, you get metal or hardcore music. Today’s pick is a hardcore band out of Idaho who thrown in elements of Jazz, and the occasional banjo (though not in this song).

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Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)
Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)
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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