Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday Stroll Through the System

-- It's been a very good week for the Pirates' future. Chuck Finder of the Post Gazette reports that two-time Mr. Louisiana in baseball, RHP Zack Von Rosenberg, reached agreement Saturday night on a contract valued at $1.2 million or more.

He joins recent signees Colton Cain, Zack Dodson and Trent Stevenson as well-regarded high-school arms joining a pitching-poor Pirate system, all inked for well above slot. Looks like the money they saved on Tony Sanchez did go into the draft and not the team pocketbook.

-- John Perrotto of Pirates Report got JR to admit that trading away the bullpen lefties wasn't exactly a stroke of genius.

"At some point, we're going to have to look to find a left-hander to solidify things, either this season or in time for next season," Russell said. "We'll have to see what's available and see who could help us."

Don't look for an internal answer. Phil Dumatrait is the only left-hander on Indianapolis's roster and Kyle Bloom is the only lefty at Altoona, though an intriguing candidate to get a shot as a major-league lefty relief specialist before the season ends.

-- Dejan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette joins the rate-the-system rush, picking his Top Thirty Pirate prospects. Sure a heck of a lot different than last years, or even the pre-season's list.

-- Altoona's starter RHP Tim Alderson pitched six innings of no-hit ball on Saturday night, allowing one walk. He retired the last 16 hitters he faced, and was pulled after his pitch count hit the low nineties.

We know the Bucco suits are pretty anal about pitch counts in the minors, even suspending managers for allowing their hurlers to exceed the limit. Aside from protecting young arms, the theory is that they'll be more efficient working with a strict count. They're even more careful about setting a season inning limit on pitchers.

We wonder if that's not part of the problem at PNC. Could it be the Pirates are pushing a philosophy that is actually promoting short starts rather than emphasizing getting deep into games?

After all, MLB's golden rule now isn't complete games; it's the nefarious "quality start," which says six innings and three runs is the standard to meet. And we've all seen what equaling that benchmark means to a team: nada. The point isn't to keep your team hanging around; it's to shut down the opponent.

-- Since being promoted to Lynchburg, LHP Rudy Owens hasn't been scored on. He's 1-0 after two starts, lasting 9-1/3 innings.

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