Buc’n Battle Report Week 1
As I said in my rebirth post there will be no reoccurring features however I am going to attempt to do one post every week or so that highlights what I believe to be the significant news surrounding the Pirates and I’m going to throw my opinion/thoughts on the matters out there. It is going to feature a touch of whatever I feel like is important be it off the field antics, on the field play, promotions, minor league results, etc. The tentative name I gave it is Buc’n Battle Report report which has a few obvious meanings which I won’t go over but suffice to say it plays on the view of the baseball season being a long grind and needing of weekly updates on where things stand.
Barry Bonds Presents MVP trophy to Andrew McCutchen
I am too young to remember Bonds’ time with the Pirates and as such I hold no ill will to him for his departure or for his shortcomings in the 1992 NLCS. As for the steroid controversy I am less sure where I stand on that issue but I’m not willing to crucify the guy and exclude him from all baseball events. As for the Pirates decision to have him present the trophy I think it was a great decision to try to have all the former MVP back for the moment and it felt incomplete without Parker and would have felt more so with out Bonds. I’m happy with the mix response Pittsburgh gave him as that feels about right although had I been there myself I probably would have chosen to remain quiet.
The Pirates were involved in a lot of interesting replays early on but the noise about the process seems to be calming down. I am in favor of the use of replay but there are certainly quite a few bugs that need fixed in this current iteration of it and chief among them on my list is the whole challenge process. Managers are milking it with these slow walks out to the umpires only to stand around and faux argue until a signal is received. An eye in the sky would surely help speed up this process and improve its accuracy.
Jameson Taillon to have Tommy John Surgery
This is obviously not good news but the fact that it occurred before he was on the major league roster is the silver lining. The Pirates will not lose his service time to the surgery and recovery and will still control his rights through 7 major league seasons. Of course the more immediate news here is how this affects the Pirates pitching depth which is obviously significantly as the Pirates will not be able to get another pitcher inside or outside the organization this year who could have the mid season impact Taillon could have had. His loss will sting but I still feel the Pirates have the depth to carry them through this. The news is bad but it most certainly isn’t crushing and it is better now than later.
Edinson Volquez’s Strong Debut
7.2 innings on the week while allowing only a single run. Not exactly the kind of start most Pirates fans envisioned for Volquez. I think lost in all the negative talk about Volquez is the fact that Volquez really does have the stuff necessary to become a very good starting pitcher and all that eludes him is the ability to put his pitches where he wants them. Now that is a big thing eluding him and by no means is it now fixed Volquez will inevitably have a few games in which he looks awful but the start has been great and will hopefully build some early season confidence not only in Volquez but in the eyes of the fans.
I would prefer to see a stop to the senseless bunts (there are a select few which are fine) but at the very least if you are going to bunt have the players practice it more and become decent at it. The combination of poor bunting ability and senseless bunting is going to wind up costing this team a game sooner or later.
Not much to say here the extensions given to Hurdle and Huntington were well earned and I hope they continue improving as the next few years go by and if they do the Pirates very well may find themselves with one of the better GM/manager tandems in baseball.
Minor League Recap
Not much to say a week in the A OF which appears to be dripping with talent has a bunch of early hamstring issues which will hopefully get resolved. Aside from that it was nice to see Polanco get off to a good start, Allie join AA and Battling Bucs sleeper prospect Max Moroff have a solid first week. On the pitching side on things a few more starts like the one Kingham had this week should land him in AAA shortly and good to see Cumpton with a solid season debut in AAA.
Major League Action
The early results seem to show this team looking a lot like last year’s and that is a good thing. The bats should produce some more runs this year as they will surely get luckier when runners are one and the power this group has should translate to some more offense as well. The right field and first base situations are so far so good as the four players have all had solid starts to the year. Tony Sanchez looks like a man who shouldn’t be sent down but in the name of depth he will be and that isn’t all that bad of a decision. Grilli and Melancon don’t quite look as lights out as they were last year but asking for that would be too much as long as they remain a steady duo things will be fine. All and all things seem to be trending in the right direction.