Knowhere – I was in Altoona this week. I was in St. Pete last week. I’ll be in Bradenton and Greensboro this month. With each stop, I had/will have a single thought on my mind:
How do Major League Players maintain consistency on the road?
It’s easy having a routine at home. You can go to the store and buy a healthy breakfast option and make it every Sunday night to store in your fridge to give you dopamine each morning as your body slowly burns the cold oats and yogurt and berries until you eat that leftover Pho for lunch — the entire day dulling your mind just a bit.
You know the way to work while you are at home.
If you don’t want oats, you know where the smoothies and acai bowls are sold and when they open, while you’re at home.
From there, you go about your life routines, all of which are left behind while you’re working on the road.
When you’re on the road, your animals miss you. Your people need you to carry out routines and responsibilities. You forgot your neck pillow.
And you’re just expected to be your best self, the exact same way you are at home.
And it just leaves so much room for error, that I really think we need to fully respect the lifestyle of who maintains that major league composure on the road.
This is where experience kicks in. Knowing how to prepare to be your best self, even when you’re not in the most optimal conditions.
Heading into today’s game in Baltimore, Mitch Keller had a 3.57 ERA in 22.2 innings on the road. He added seven shutout innings, striking out thirteen Orioles today, while slamming the door on a potential sweep in the Pirates 4-0 win.
This follows his first complete game shutout of his career in his previous start at home. The Pirates have been struggling, but Keller has been consistent, even through a team slump. He’s emerging as one of the best pitchers in the majors.
Veterans Andrew McCutchen and Carlos Santana got the Pirates on the board, with Santana beating out a single in the first inning with a lunge. What I love about Santana is that even in a season where he’s currently slumped to a .689 OPS, he finds those moments to produce.
Jack Suwinski has been doing much better on the road this year. He had a .922 OPS on the road heading into today’s gam, and went 1-for-2 with two walks and a run, scoring on a two RBI single by Ji-Hwan Bae in the third. Ke’Bryan Hayes previously singled to score Bryan Reynolds in the same inning.
The 4-0 lead was enough for Keller. The combo of Colin Holderman and David Bednar has been lights out all season. They shut down the final two innings of the game, pushing the Pirates to 22-19 on the year.
The Pirates are off on Monday, before going to Detroit for two games.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
Please correct me if im wrong.
These kids when signed immediatly walk into a structured life style built around baseball. Florida is their eat, sleep, baseball home.
Organization provides this while they are adjusting to first stage of development and for some, life away from for first time
They follow programs direction daily until explained otherwise.
Below is otherwise
I’m using Endy as an example:
Signed for $10,000 ( didn’t forget 0’s) by Mets in July 2018, then TRADED (thanks Hunt, Cole, Musky, big apple and broker SD)
Checks in Bradenton after pandemic with just 217 rookie AB’s
Wins batting title, MVP and World series of claas A
OK, thanks Endy good luck in the real world your on your own
Someone please take it from here
It’s not rocket science. You’ve GOT to have the pitching to have a chance. IF you have the pitching you can get by with less hitting, and hitting will come and go. As much as I hate it, you have to go with the pitcher.
Great article, Tim!
yogurt? berries? oats? what the? Where’s the bacon and eggs and hashbrowns on that menu? pho vs giant double quarter pounder with cheese? Acai bowl….I don’t even know what that is. You lost me Tim 🙂
Before the season I didn’t think I would be saying this, but any clue if the team will be getting Vince Velasquez back any time soon? Him and Keller were shutting people down…
BC mentioned yesterday that VV will make a couple rehab starts in Indy and if all goes well, he’ll slot back into the rotation.
The expectation has been that he would return by the end of his 15 day IL stint.
Im just soooo happy we won and I dont think I saw a bad play at SS, which allows us one day from hearing comments abt moving Hayes to SS… If we want to move Hayes to SS, lets go all in trying to mess with him, maybe SS against groundball pitchers and shift him to CF for fly ball pitchers then work him back to 3rd base, after therapy, once Cruz and Swags are back to play🤦♂️🤷♂️….guess you folks know im kidding 🤣🤣and leave Hayes be at 3rd base🤔🤷♂️
Marcano can play SS pretty well. If they could improve production from the catcher, he could bat 9th and hold the fort until Cruz returns.
I certainly never called for Hayes to play SS. I just said it’s obvious he could play it better than what they’ve been throwing out there every night. No reason to move him off third, for the moment, but also no reason to not point out that he’s not hitting enough to stay at third permanently. Hell, I know he’s still young but he’s not as good a hitter as his father was.
Why can’t he be a switchhitter also? Last I looked, Hayes was leading MLB third basemen in Defensive Runs Saved – we should be content!
The Pirates continue to do well and the reason I see, due to the improvement over last year, is the Rotation. Keller is now 5-1, 2.38 ERA, and the 6th best MLB SP in fWAR (1.7). In 2022 at this time he was 1-5, 6.37 ERA. Over the last half of 2022 and so far in 2023 he has turned his career around.
Also contributing well are youngsters Johan Oviedo (0.6 fWAR), and Roansy Contreras (0.5 fWAR) also in the MLB Top 60 SP’s. And, Vince Velasquez (0.6 fWAR) would also be in that group if he had enough innings to qualify. Two guys from trades and an inexpensive FA – yes, credit BC and the Pitching coaches.
Hayes has never gotten an out at the MLB level from the left side of the plate yet…I think you’re onto something.
Nice post, young pitchers doing there job👍👍👏👏
After watching how Keller can put an entire team on his back and carry it to victory lane time and time again, I’m inclined to elevate Skenes’ value.
Skenes is doing to SEC competition what Keller is doing to MLB hitters. We all dreamed about Cole and Taillon being co-Aces leading the team to WS titles. Just because it didn’t work out then doesn’t mean it won’t happen with Keller and Skenes one day.
Skenes is already through the roof; if we pass on him, we have crap for brains. I have watched too many so-called “hitters” drafted by the Pirates and not show very much, except for Henry Davis.
2022 – TJ – slow start
2021 – Henry Davis +
2020 – Nick Gonzales – still carrying a 37.6% K Rate; very limited D
2019 – Sammy Siani (HS), Jared Triolo, Jase Bowen (HS) all +, but the HS Pitcher Quinn Priester has advanced quicker than the hitters.
2018 – Travis Swaggerty? Not much else.
2017 – Cal Mitchell? Not much else.
2016 – Go ahead – name somebody!
Barring injury, with the Pirates, Skenes will start at A+, and advance to AA before the 2024 season is 2 months old. Skenes is the best now value and the best trade value of anybody I have seen come through the draft in recent years. Build around him or let him build your team in trade, but no way the Pirates can pass on him.
Jack Leiter was not the same caliber as Skenes in the SEC, and he started in AA the year after being drafted 2nd after the Pirates passed to build the draft through Henry Davis. We have Davis, Rodriguez, and a raft load of other young position players already in MLB. Time to get the ACE! With Keller looking strong, and Oviedo, Contreras, Ortiz, and Priester coming on, the Pirates could get very strong, very quickly.
It’s apples and oranges in a good way. I’m leaning Skenes. I watched his last 2 games, he was great and Crews didn’t have his best games. (Morgan was the bat against Auburn.) Two games isn’t enough to get a good judgment of a hitter and I’ve seen great highlights of Crews. The pirates are lucky they get their choice.
Idk, that thought would make me less peeved if it was Skenes. But watching this team try to hit a baseball the past 2 weeks has already confirmed to me that Crews should be the pick.
Exactly……surprisingly, this team finds pitching easier than it finds high level hitting. They need impact bats. Crews all the way.
Same, the Pirates need hitting – especially someone who can hit with power and score some runs – is what I’m getting out of this depressing May losing streaks…
Great article. Can’t imagine being that age and having to adjust to that lifestyle.
Thank goodness for Keller. But the Pirates will have to find a way to win even if it’s not Keller on the mound.
I finished the full game just now and that was pure dominance. Even better than the CGSO. Filth!
nobody mentions they set a franchise record today? 17k´s in a game is the record, no?
I was waiting for you!
I heard on radio postgame Mitchy the Kid set a record all by himself. Pirate pitcher with the most Ks in a shutout and no walks allowed. 😁
Mitchy the Kid strikes again!!
Even when our teams are not very good, it is really enjoyable to watch stellar starting pitching . Reuschel ‘85; Rhoden in ‘86; Cordova ‘98; Oliver Perez ‘04
Keller in ‘23
I hope he keeps this up AND we sign him. It has been fun watching him pitch. The Orioles announcer (one of whom is Ben McDonald) were really impressed. They were glad that he was taken out of the game, lol.
Me thinks that the Bucs have has at least some preliminary discussions with Mitch and his agent. Will be very interesting on how it all plays out. Will Mitch want to go for the gusto and want to hit the market after 2026 and look for extremely big money when he would be heading into his age 31 season? Will he want to follow the lead of Hayes and Reynolds and stay in the Burgh and make really big money still but in a lower key setting?
Feel free to take this for what its worth.
He loves it here, in his interviews he practically is giving his hand away, same with his family.
Its not only that, its the next paragraph and believe me I know everyone is supposed to say the right things regardless of their demands or intentions
I’ve heard him say a couple times that he and his family feel blessed to call this city and its surroundings their home
Also, he’s greatful to the organization for how they stayed supportive and had the patience to stick with him through some terrible times
After his demotion he went on to say how lost he was in the pen at first almost serreal like and when he didn’t fair well he really thought they were going to release him.
There is more to this on his personel side, they air a little segment on the Keller family on pirates pregame during rain delays
Hope you get the opportunity its good watch
hope this helps
Per a comment on Bucsdugout: