Sunday, May 22, 2011

Game Notes, McCutch, Dewey

-- Paul Maholm and Rick Porcello take the hill today. The first pitch is at 1:35 PM, and the game will be shown on Root Sports.

-- Today's lineup: Andrew McCutchen CF, Jose Tabata LF, Garrett Jones RF, Neil Walker 2B, Lyle Overbay 1B, Steve Pearce 3B, Chris Snyder C, Ronny Cedeno SS, Paul Maholm P.

Pearce gets the start at third today; the Pirates have been working him there and at second. If he can hold his own at the hot corner, Brandon Wood could become redundant and the Pirates might actually look for a true middle infielder to solidify the bench.

-- Jose Veras had his first MLB at-bat last night; he told the beat gang that he was under orders to keep the lumber on his shoulders. Good thing too, as he walked on four pitches and eventually came around to score. He had to borrow a bat and helmet; we wonder if he kept Brandon Wood's mooched stick as a keepsake?

-- McCutch's fielding has been sometimes spectacular this year, as his UZR/150 verifies - it's now 9.4, compared to last year's -12.9. His arm has improved too, from -0.9 to +0.9, thanks to the elimination of his rainbows aimed at the cut-off man. He has five assists so far this year; he only had eight all of last season.

And we think that undervalues his play; just last night he ran down four bombs to the wall, and seems to make a nightly sliding grab. Our guess is that his UZR will always be a false indicator of his range because of the Pirate OF configuration; JT gets a lot of balls in left center that the UZR tracker probably consider to be in McCutch's outer patrol zone.

-- Dewey is thriving both at the plate and behind it as a platoon guy. His hitting metrics are are among his overall bests, and his fielding value has increased from 2010's -15.5 to this year's -1. There's something to be said for keeping a guy's body in one piece, and Ryan Doumit so far this year has avoided all the nagging injuries that he's played with throughout his career.

If he continues near his current pace, it'll be interesting to see what the Pirates do when the season ends. There's no chance they'll pick up his options ($7.25M in 2012, $8.25M in 2013), but the FO could be tempted to work out a new deal to keep him in his current status if he keeps on keepin' on, especially with an off-season to get him some outfield work to increase his value and find him some extra at-bats.

His current deal pays him $5.1M, and Fangraphs has his current value at $3.8M. There may be some wiggle room between those numbers to reach an agreement, if both sides are willing.

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