A Closer Look at the First 18 Games

Hitters

The Pirates have 9 hitters who have gotten regular at bats this season, currently they rank in the following order by OPS.

1. Jones .910

2. McCutchen .773

3. McGehee .713

4. Presley .677

5. Alvarez .618

6. Barmes .560

7. Walker .498

8. Tabata .460

9. Barajas .334

As you can see Jones has been the real standout while McCutchen has been solid and McGehee and Presley have held their own. Amazingly enough our 5th best hitter so far this season has been the much maligned Pedro Alvarez, now this isn’t to say he has been hitting well, he hasn’t been, but in truth a .618 OPS over the first 18 games is nothing to be alarmed about. I do however have some concerns regarding our 3 below 500 players, Walker, Tabata and Barajas. Barajas was never expected to do much on the offensive side but his current level is unacceptable, still its early enough where he can;t be written off. Most concerning so far this season, IMO at least, are Walker and Tabata. Both players were being counted on to be key contributors and as of now both are failing miserably. It is essential to the Pirates going forward to keep these players on track.

Pitchers

The Pirates have had 6 players start a game thus far, currently they rank in the following order by xFIP

1. Burnett 2.15

2. Correia 3.16

3. Morton 3.25

4. Bedard 4.21

5. McDonald 4.49

6. Karstens 4.64

Granted its only been one start for Burnett but that one start looks encouraging. Correia and Morton have both been pitching very well to start this season. Bedard has also been good but he has been outperforming his advanced numbers by a good margin. Karstens struggled to begin the season and with his last start being the exception so has McDonald. I imagine everyone will settle down and with Burnett and Bedard heading the rotation and the other pitching fairly well the Pirates are starting to look like thy have a good staff.

The 8 relievers rank in the following order by xFIP

1. Grilli 0.68

2. Cruz 3.06

3. Meek 3.07

4. Lincoln 3.12

5. Watson 3.80

6. Hughes 4.30

7. Hanrahan 4.82

8. Resop 4.95

As the number indicates Grilli has been pitching spectacular. Cruz has also been performing well and I guess going by this Meek has too, although his overall performance looks a little weak. Lincoln in his two relief appearances has performed well but I think I would rather see him starting in AAA. Watson has been performing better than his numbers indicate and has been a huge asset to the Pirates. The last three is a mixed bage. We knew Hughes and Resop would probably be the weak relievers in the bullpen so their numbers come as no surprise but as obviously having Hanrahan this low is surprising. We can tell  by watching that Hanrahan hasn’t been on the top of his game yet but I’m not worries at least yet. The bullpen has been fantastic but I think a few things need to be done to adjust it. One Lincoln should be getting starts in AAA meaning a long relief pitcher like Hughes or McCutchen should be up here. I see Meek and Resop occupying the same role and I see a need for a 2nd lefty. Since Meek has an option left and hasn’t quite seen himself (not to mention Cruz and Grilli have taken the set up job) I think he should be sent down and Moskos recalled.

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