The pitching has held up OK; they're mid-pack in the league rankings. The loss of Jamo hurts as does the ups and downs of Tyler Glasnow & Chad Kuhl, who are still in make-or-break mode. The bullpen has been mostly solid. They've been asked to eat a lot of innings because short starts (thank God for Ivan!), exposing their long guys more than is recommended. The back-enders work in a lot of high leverage spots as the offense hasn't given them much of a late-inning safety net.
|As on Opening Day - the three keys to the season|
The NL Central has been a mess this year; that and not the Pirates play (24-30, five games back) is why the Buccos are still hanging around. The next six weeks should tell the tale. They have a stretch in mid-June and again in early/mid-July that features the Cubs, Cards and Brewers. If they can muddle through this month, July should see the return of Jamo and Starling with the additions of Nick Kingham and Austin Meadows with maybe a dash of Edgar Santana and Steven Brault thrown in. The year has been a disappointment but not a surprise with the personnel churn, and it could easily turn into "wait til next year" again. But if the division remains a dumpster fire, the cavalry should arrive around the All-Star break and could make the dog days interesting.
- Gift Ngoepe was sent down to Indy and Alen Hanson was DFA'ed (he's out of options and has to clear waivers before he can be assigned to Indy). Gift's strikeout rate of 42%, fueled by the inability to handle good heat, did him in. Alen never panned out as a multi-position guy with either the bat or glove, though he was never given much of an extended opportunity. Max Moroff, who's been a slugger for the Tribe (13 in 42 games, .269 BA) and Phil Gosselin (.310 at Indy) got the calls up to the big team, both for the second time. They went on the taxi squad - they don't have to be officially added until game time tomorrow, and perhaps the Bucs hope to swing a deal involving Hanson or have some other card up their sleeve.
|Looks like Max is back (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
- Starling Marte isn't on extended vacation; he's in extended spring training at Pirate City. He was playing in scrimmages immediately after his suspension, but is now just taking part in baseball activities. He can begin a rehab stint (well named in his case) 15 days before his suspension ends in July.
- Anthony Saulding of MLB Daily Dish rates the #1 overall picks since 2000; Cole Train sits in the middle of the pack while Bryan Bullington actually has someone ranked lower,
- The draft is just around the corner; it will be held June 12-14th this year. The Bucs first-day picks (competitive and rounds 1-2) are at #12, #42, #50 and #72.
- Jeff Locke is officially a Marlin as he finished his rehab and was removed from the DL. He'll start tonight against Zack Greinke and the D-Backs.