Sunday, January 13, 2013

Pitching Q&A

Some questions about the Pirate pitching as it now stands:

Will the Bucs keep trawling the market for another starter? We suspect not actively; they were looking for a mid-pack lefty who is a sinker/power pitcher. Chris Capuano has been mentioned and fits, but without Hanny to use as a lure, it's unlikely LA will dump him at a price the Bucs are willing to pay. Joe Saunders has also been mentioned, but he doesn't really fit the profile the Pirates are looking for. There's a slim chance Frankie Liriano ends up a Pirate, depending on the yet undisclosed severity of his injury, but it will be at a reduced rate and based on an incentive-based deal. Wonder what Shawn Marcum is looking for nowadays...?

Will James McDonald bounce back? 2012 was an outlier finish for J-Mic. But the Bucs might be wise to keep a little closer watch on his pitch count, and James could help his own cause by being more aggressive and trusting his fielders rather than looking for the punchout. Control and count seem to be his keys.

Are there too many back end pitchers in the rotation? Could be - Kyle McPherson, Jeff Locke and Andy Oliver, the main suspects for the Bucco back end, have given no indication that they're ready to step into a mid-level spot yet. They're all young, and as a group like to nibble. As the old adage goes, work quick and throw strikes, and if they follow that saw, they could become dependable. That's a big if.

Is help on the horizon? For once, the answer seems to be yes. Gerrit Cole could optimistically be ready this year, and Charlie Morton, who the FO has enough confidence in to nurse through another injury, should be back by July. Jameson Taillon has a 2014 ETA, and we still believe that Justin Wilson has the stuff to be a mid-rotation arm if he can quit fighting the strike zone. Phil Irwin fits into the back-ender-in-the-making mold. A couple more guys, notably Clay Holmes, Nick Kingham and Luis Heredia, will help keep the pipeline flowing.

Are Jason Grilli and Mark Melancon enough at the back end of the pen? It would seem, by their peripherals, that they should hold up. If not, Bryan Morris is a good late inning candidate to step into their spot, with Victor Black not too very far away.

The rest of the bullpen? It should be fine; the Bucs have made a slight change of direction by going after young fringe guys via minor deals than reeling in undervalued pitchers on the market. That's a more cost friendly direction, and if there's one thing the management has shown a good eye for evaluating during their tenure, it's relievers. Chris Leroux and Zach Stewart are swing men, along with Tony Watson, Jared Hughes, and Vin Mazzaro as bridge pitchers looking for 2013 spots.


Anonymous said...

Hey Ron! I really dig this blog. You keep us up to date with the Buccos with a nice flair. I check here regularly.

But if I may, the nickname "J-Mic"... Holy cow dude... Every time I read that I cringe!! I understand his name is MICK-Donald, but it's J-MACK, if you insist on doing the J-Lo treatment, NOT... and please hear me... NOT J-MIC!!!!!

Its no biggie, but it urked me everytime I read it last season and just now in this post.

On that same wave length... FRANKIE Liriano??? Are you kidding? Is he one of the Sopranos or a Latin ball player? How about "the Cisco kid"? IDK... not Frankie.

Anyhow... hate to be so critical, but overall, keep up the good work. Just please don't use "J-Mic" anymore. :)

Ron Ieraci said...

Anon - Frankie was from an article that I saw while researching him, but I do kinda like Cisco Kid better. At any rate, I suspect we're not gonna be mentioning him in a Bucco context much longer.

I starting using J-Mic because McDonald himself beefed about J-Mac, tho I admit it's against the flow. I'll check with my with my editorial board (my kids and a couple of guys at work, lol) and if it's a little confusing, I'll go to the common usage.

Thx for the note; I appreciate hearing from you.

WilliamJPellas said...

Hey, Anon, no doubt Ron will try to be accomodating when it comes to his nicknames. But I'm guessing he won't be using "Urkel" as code for any Bucs, since when you are "urked", you are really "irked".

Ron Ieraci said...

Hey - Anon and Will, you guys just gave me my next malapropism - I'm gonna charge Neal Huntington with an Urkel everytime he screws up and urks me, lol!

Anonymous said...

Apologies for the spelling error, we can't all be perfect.

Ron Ieraci said...

Anon - if the only error on this blog is a minor misspelling, we had a good day at the ol' Green Weenie. Glad to get your input.