In short the month of April for the Pirates can be summed up by saying great pitching, poor hitting but I’m going to look a little deeper than that. The Pirates faced a very difficult April schedule, toughest in the majors I believe and while their 10-12 record isn’t great it isn’t terrible considering the level of competition they faced and the complete lack of hitting the team had. The Pirates had a nice month of April and we can look forward to a better month of May.
We can take more from this past month than just the team’s performance though
– Alvarez and Tabata after starting out slowly heated up and hopefully showed us a sign of things to come
– McCutchen and Walker showed a complete lack of power and since that is uncharacteristic we should expect an improvement from them hopefully furthering improving the offense
– Presley is developing into a nice leadoff hitter and the next step in the development is to find some power
– McGehee and Jones have the look of a competent platoon and while an upgrade at 1B would still be welcome the position has a good placeholder
– The free agent signings of Barmes and Barajas are making the bottom of the order a big hole and the Pirates need to find a way to improve the 7 and 8 spots in the lineup
– The bench has a good mixture of players and while I would like another power bat on it over one of Harrison or Navarro it does show good versatility and has been somewhat productive when called upon
– The foursome of Burnett, Bedard, McDonald and Morton are looking like a strong rotation
– With Grilli and Cruz handling the set up duties and with Hanrahan as the closer the back of the bullpen looks strong
– The rest of the pitching staff is not strong but it is good enough for the support role they are in. Watson has been effective as the left handed reliever but I think he could use some help. Lincoln has been surprisingly good in his long relief role although I still want to see him starting. Resop and the now demoted Meek have been hit a little bit but as the 6th and 7th guys in the pen that is fine.
Overall this Pirate team is looking good, not great or playoff worthy but good. There is no reason even if the pitching regresses some that this team should not be able to hang close to 500. I think this is honestly the best Pirate team we have seen in a while and while that is not saying much it is a start and hopefully better years are ahead.