Saturday, September 27, 2008

Saturday Yada

> Even with Damaso Marte's trade and Matt Capp's stint on the DL - or maybe because - five Pirates have set career highs for innings pitched out of the pen.

John Grabow leads the pack with 73 appearances and 75 innings worked, both career highs. Tyler Yates got the call 71 times (he was in 75 games for Atlanta last year), but threw 72-1/3 innings, the most of his MLB career.

Even the lesser lights worked the most of their young careers. Denny Bautista was brought in 50 times, pitching 59-1/3 frames. Sean Burnett was called on 56 times for 50 innings, and TJ Beam hit the hill 31 times and worked 45 innings.

And with Jimmy Barthmaier and Ross Ohlendorf finishing up the campaign, we suspect that there will be more innings added to the totals.

When five guys from the bullpen have their busiest years, it sure speaks volumes about the starting staff. And with young guys shouldering so heavy a load, it's no wonder the relief corp's work become so spotty as the season dragged on.

> Ian Snell closed the year out with his best two months of pitching, with a 4.67 ERA in August, followed by a 4.33 mark in September. But that's still quite a fall from 2007, when he posted a 3.67 ERA. He finished this year with a 5.42 ERA.

He's a lock for the 2009 staff, but has to cut down on his horrendous pitch counts and get over the implosions on the mound when things don't fall his way. Snell's the only arm the Pirates have with top of the rotation nastiness, and they need him to show it next season.

> BTW, the St. Paul Saints of the independent Northern League announced they have signed Tanner Scheppers, giving indy ball two of the top three college pitchers available in the 2008 draft, counting Fort Worth Cats RHP Aaron Crow.

This is a good career move? Well, JD Drew hid out in St. Paul during his 1997 holdout, and it worked out OK for him. So we'll just have to wait and see where Scheppers ends up in next year's lottery.

> While in Milwaukee, Adam LaRoche had a deer silhouette, the logo for Buck Commander, tattooed on his arm.

For those of you that don't know, LaRoche is a passionate outdoorsman and hunter, and has done a series of videos with other baseballers like Chipper Jones, Brad Hawpe and Russ Springer on tracking wily deer. Buck Commander is the Louisiana-based outfit that he's hooked up with that sells hunting guides and gear.


WilliamJPellas said...

Bautista....uggghhh. What a gas can. He just stinks.

Yates, I think, has mostly been the victim of overuse. Not that he's any talent for the ages, but he has a live arm and was very effective for us over the first half of the season.

Burnett did pretty well, all things considered. By that I mean, he did pretty well considering the fact that his arm is held together by rubber bands, paper clips, and chewing gum.

Look, you don't need a bullpen full of flamethrowing terminators in order to compete. The Pirates themselves proved that with their early 90s teams that featured such, ahem, bullpen stalwarts as Bob Kipper and Stan Belinda. But other than Grabow and Capps, there's nobody in the 'pen at present with the potential to be even better than average, let alone good, let alone a reliable closer.

We've got a long way to go, and PS Andy LaRoche stinks, too.

Ron Ieraci said...

Well, Will, my guess is Capps, Grabow and Yates are the locks for next year's pen, with Burnett and Beam probably on the second tier. They may even look for a vet arm - Marte will be on the market, hehe - but the relievers aren't the big problem.

There are a lotta holes, as you well know. There are even some rumblings that the Pirates could pick up some FA's - nothing top level, rest assured, but maybe a 3B to baby sit the bag for Pedro if baby LaRoche keeps on, a vet bottom of the rotation guy, an OF for the bench, that sort of thing.

I'm not ready to get worked up yet, or for that matter, even next season. But starting in 2010, I expect a real ballteam to take the field, or it's time to pull the plug on Nutting and his boys.