Monday, December 31, 2012

Concerns Regarding Jerry Sands

Many fans (and Pirates bloggers) have seen Jerry Sands as a platoon option with Travis Snider for next season, however Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe passes on an account from a General Manager in the America League that would cast doubt on the potential success of this, despite Sands having the ability to hit breaking balls: “He’s one of those guys who could all of a sudden put up a big year if he gets the chance to play every day... Don’t think he’ll be that effective off someone’s bench. He’s got to get into a rhythm at the plate and when he does, he can hit.” This assessment of Sands is concerning, as it reminds me a lot of Steve Pearce

Sunday, December 30, 2012

South African Glove Wizard

During Neal Huntington's tenure, the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed international players from exotic and under-the-radar locations.  They signed two kids from India who literally won what was the equivalent of a reality show contest. Only one remains in the Pirates farm system - Rinku Singh - and he's basically a non-prospect at this point.  An argument can be made that those particular signings were publicity stunts, but the same is not true of other strange signings.  The Pirates signed Dovydas Neverauskas out of Lithuania and followed that up a few years later by signing Alex Lukashevich out of Belarus (both profiled here). Neverauskas is ahead of Lukashevich right now in both development and prospect status, but both are legitimate guys to watch.

#19 Pirates Prospect - Justin Wilson

Buried Treasure Top 30 Prospects
#19 - Justin Wilson

Measurables: 6'2, 233
Bats: L, Throws: L

Position: P
Acquired: 5th Round (144th), 2008
Bonus: $195,000
DOB: 08/18/1987
Buried Treasure 2012 Top 20: Not Ranked

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Revisiting The Charlie Morton Decision

One of the Pirates’ more contentious moves this winter has been giving Charlie Morton a one year, $2M contract extension despite the fact that he will miss half the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in June. It was a questionable choice at the time, however recent moves by the club is making the decision look a little worse now. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Pirates Should Carry Two Left-Handers In The 2013 Bullpen

One of the reasons why the Pirates could move Joel Hanrahan is due to the depth in the bullpen; Jason Grilli was signed earlier this winter with a view to close games while the newly acquired Mark Melancon will be the primary setup man. While this will be a popular topic amongst Pirates bloggers since the trade and Tim Williams has comprehensively covered the subject for Pirates Prospects; my argument is why the Pirates need to be carrying two left-handed pitchers in the bullpen this season.

Internal Transactions

Baseball is fairly unique.  Twenty-five players comprise a major league squad, but an organization has contractual control over significantly more than that amount.  They are prospects - players in the minor leagues.  Take a glance at a major league team today and a good portion of their players were in that teams farm system in the past.  That's one of the focuses of Buried Treasure - examining and evaluating the minor league system of the Pittsburgh Pirates because it's the lifeblood and foundation of the major league team.

External Transactions

Baseball is fairly unique.  Twenty-five players comprise a major league squad, but an organization has contractual control over significantly more than that amount.  They are prospects - players in the minor leagues.  Take a glance at a major league team today and a good portion of their players were in that teams farm system in the past.  That's one of the focuses of Buried Treasure - examining and evaluating the minor league system of the Pittsburgh Pirates because it's the lifeblood and foundation of the major league team.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2013 MLB Draft - Personal Favorites

The draft is still half a year away, but that doesn't mean it's too far away to preview.  Thus far, there have been 4 articles full of profiles of some of the top names to know for the draft.  There was also an additional article profiling some of the top players eligible for the 2013 draft previously selected by the Pirates.  Those can all be viewed here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thing 3

Here, I profiled Thing 1 - Jerry Sands - who came to Pittsburgh via the Joel Hanrahan trade.  Sands was one of four players - three that have largely played their careers in at the minor league level thus far.  Thing 2 is Stolmy Pimentel, profiled here.  Thing 3 is Ivan DeJesus.  This article profiles him.

Thing 2

Here, I profiled Thing 1 - Jerry Sands - who came to Pittsburgh via the Joel Hanrahan trade.  Sands was one of four players - three that have largely played their careers in at the minor league level thus far.  Thing 2 is Stolmy Pimentel.  Thing 3 is Ivan DeJesus.  This article profiles Thing 2, pitcher Stolmy Pimentel.

Joel Hanrahan Traded To The Red Sox

The Joel Hanrahan deal is finally complete, with the closer and Brock Holt heading to the Red Sox in exchange for Jerry Sands, Stolmy Pimentel, Ivan De Jesus Jr and Mark Melancon. Chad Beck has  been designated for assignment in a corresponding roster move to make room on the 40-man roster for Sands, Pimentel and Melancon. 

The Pirates and Taking the Platoon Advantage

Andrew McCutchen is the Pirates' best hitter by a wide margin and performs at a high level when facing both left and right handed pitching – highlighted by weighted on-base averages of .471 against lefties and .385 against righties in 2012. The problem is that he’s also the only Pirate to provide above average production at the plate against both sets of pitchers. One of the focuses I have had over this winter over at Pirates Musings, as well as my brief time here, is on the benefits of using platoons or at least taking advantage of platoon situations, something the Pirates should be looking to do on an everyday basis.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Thing 1

On December 21st, the Pirates signed former Twins and White Sox starting pitcher Francisco Liriano.  This article is not a reaction to that signing - that's already been done here by my colleague Jimmy - but the signing now seems to be one of the dominoes that led to the shipping of closer Joel Hanrahan to the Red Sox. It must be noted that the Liriano signing was not the only reason for trading Hanrahan, but it did reduce the Pirates need to trade the closer for a starting pitcher.  Ultimately, Hanrahan was shipped due to his high cost as a closer who had a mediocre year last year when viewed under the surface.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Pirates' Future At Shortstop

With Clint Barmes is entering the final year of his contract, the Pirates were reportedly looking for a shortstop in the Joel Hanrahan trade. Now that it appears that the club will not be receiving shortstop Jose Iglesias in return for the closer, what does the short term future look like at the position? 

#20 Pirates Prospect - Matt Curry

Buried Treasure Top 30 Prospects
#20 - Matt Curry

Measurables: 6'1, 215
Bats: L, Throws: R
Position: 1B
Acquired: 16th Round (477th), 2010
Bonus: N/A
DOB: 07/27/1988
Buried Treasure 2012 Top 20: #15

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Names to Know for the Draft v. 4.0

Several months ago, I took a look at a few names to know for the 2013 draft. There was a second version, there was also a third edition of exclusively high school draft prospects.  Now, there is an edition with exclusively college players. Check it out after the jump.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Pirates, Red Sox Agree Hanrahan on Deal

Joel Hanrahan’s tenure with the Pittsburgh Pirates has almost come to an end. The Hammer has been sent to the Red Sox along with another Pirate as part of a six player deal, with Boston sending first baseman/corner outfielder Jerry Sands, right handed pitcher Stolmy Pimentel and two others to the Bucs. The full extent of the deal is unknown at this point as well as currently pending physicals. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Pirates And Francisco Liriano Agree To Two-Year Deal

The Pirates have agreed to a two-year deal with free agent left-handed starting pitcher Francisco Liriano, which will guarantee him $12.75M according to Jon Heyman, plus some incentives. The move is subject to a physical, so the deal will not be completed until after Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Interest In Joel Hanrahan Finally Developing


Interest in Joel Hanrahan seemed to be limited at the Winter Meetings, with the rumor mill remaining quiet throughout, however the market for the current Pirates closer finally appears to be developing.  Check out details after the jump.

Buried Treasure: A Little Introduction


My name is Jimmy Coverdale and I’m a Pirates fan from the United Kingdom, currently living in Nottingham.

I have been writing for my own blog (Pirates Musings) for the last 15 months, mainly focusing on the Major League team, and have been invited to write here to help provide a comprehensive view of the Pirates. I tend to include a lot of advanced statistics in my work, partly because of my interest in advanced stats but also because I believe that an argument should be backed up by more than opinion. As I am based in England, it does mean that I miss out of weekday night games as well as some breaking news; however I attempt to counter this by providing additional analysis – especially when it comes to player acquisitions.

I’m also on Twitter (@JimmyCoverdale) if you’d like to follow me - I’ll be posting links to everything that I publish on there. I will be writing as much as can for this blog and would appreciate any feedback. 

Buried Treasure: New Addition

Here at Buried Treasure, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to get better.  That's important to us so we can fulfill our mission; to provide to you, the customer, the best service possible.  Sounds like an infomercial.

Back to reality.  I personally enjoy writing for this blog and I do try and post content that I enjoy writing about and that I think is helpful and informative to the people who read said content.  In that vein, I've always been open to opportunities that allow Buried Treasure to have even more helpful/informative content.  Luckily, an opportunity presented itself.

Introducing Jimmy.  Currently, Jimmy has his own blog - Pirates Musings. It's a site (which you should check out to see the quality of his work) that has allowed Jimmy to put pen to paper and materialize his thoughts and opinions about baseball and the Pirates, similar to Buried Treasure.  That similarity has led to what is essentially a merger.  On the technical side, Jimmy will be joining the Buried Treasure "staff" and writing on this website, but effectively we will both now co-author (with the help of KentuckyPirate) Buried Treasure.  The merger is especially exciting considering Jimmy does a fantastic job covering the major league squad while I focus more on things happening down on the farm.  Together, we should be able to provide comprehensive coverage of all things Pittsburgh Pirates.

So without further ado, welcome Buried Treasure's newest author, Jimmy!

Southpaw Special

Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, and Luis Heredia have several notable commonalities.  They are the top three pitching prospects in the Pirates farm system.  All three have ace upside.  In addition, all three are right handed.  Earlier this off season, the Pirates added a lefty with upside to compliment the Cole-Taillon-Heredia trio.  They shipped minor-league catcher Ramon Cabrera to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for former top prospect and southpaw pitcher Andy Oliver.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

#21 Pirates Prospect - Victor Black

Buried Treasure Top 30 Prospects
#21 - Victor Black

Measurables: 6'4, 205
Bats: R, Throws: R
Position: P
Acquired: 1st Supplemental Round (49th), 2009
Bonus: $717,000
DOB: 05/23/1988
Buried Treasure 2012 Top 20: Not Ranked




Offeason: Potential Trade Targets v. 4.0

Black and Gold soon?
Here, I outlined a few players the Pirates could target in trades this offseason to help the team in 2013 and beyond.  Version 2.0 can be read here.  Version 3.0, here. This is a fourth installment, looking at another trio of players the Pirates could attempt to bring to Pittsburgh via trade this winter.

Monday, December 10, 2012

2013 MLB Draft: Notable Former Pirates Draftees

Even though the MLB amateur draft is essentially six months away and player's stocks can rise and fall, that doesn't change the fact that come draft day, Pirates fans will hear plenty of familiar sounding names being announced.  That's because several players previously selected by the Pirates are expected to hear their names called during the first few rounds of the upcoming June draft.  Check it out after the jump.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Overlooked Rotation Option

Phil Irwin
Coming into the 2013 season, Jeff Locke and Kyle McPherson are the young up and coming candidates to earn a rotation spot.  Both pitchers started the 2012 season in the minor leagues before seeing action at the big league level in the latter part of the year.  Both are solid prospects and project to have a chance to be usable rotation parts for years to come.  Because of McPherson and Locke, along with top prospects Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, and Luis Heredia, another solid pitching prospect who could find his way into the rotation in the near future often gets overlooked.

Offseason: Potential Trade Targets v. 3.0.

Gordon would look
good in Black and Gold
Here, I outlined a few players the Pirates could target in trades this offseason to help the team in 2013 and beyond. offseason. Version 2.0 can be read here.  This is a third installment, looking at another trio of players the Pirates could attempt to bring to Pittsburgh via trade this winter.

Names to Know for the 2013 Draft v. 3.0

Several months ago, I took a look at a few names to know for the 2013 draft. There was a second version, and here is the third edition of exclusively high school draft prospects.  Check it out after the jump.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Payroll Options: 2014 and Beyond

The Neal Huntington era of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization is coming to a head.  There has been success - the Pirates have been in contention for a playoff spot well into the summer the past two years - mixed with failures - contention has turned into losing seasons thanks to back-to-back epic collapses.  Because of that mix, Huntington's job is in question.  Fortunately for him, the Pirates should still be competitive the next few years, thanks in large part to superstar Andrew McCutchen and a group of veteran players, notably A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, Clint Barmes, and brand-new Pirate Russell Martin.  All four of those players have something else in common in addition to donning the black and gold.  All four have their current contracts expire by the end of the 2014 season at the latest.

#23 Pirates Prospect - Zack Von Rosenberg

Buried Treasure Top 30 Prospects 
#23 - Zack Von Rosenberg

Measurables: 6'5, 205
Bats: R, Throws: R
Position: P
Acquired: 6th round (175th overall), 2009
Bonus: $1,200,000
DOB: 09/24/1990
Buried Treasure 2012 Top 20: #19

Pittsburgh Pirates: 5 Moves in an Alternate Universe

Time Vortex!
Everyone would love to re-write history at some point, whether it's involving a monumental event in history or a personal experience that had a giant life impact. Here at Buried Treasure, we'd like to re-write history as well. Here are five moves that the Pirates could have made that would have altered the recent path of the franchise significantly.  Do remember though, hindsight indeed is twenty-twenty.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Quietly Good

Flashy draws a crowd.  Big tools - power and speed for hitters or triple digit heat - create hype, hysteria, and often disappointment when expectations aren't met.  That doesn't prevent fans, scouts, and the media from dreaming and drooling over players who could and should turn into stars.  Little attention is given to those who simply get the job done, especially when it's done without massive power, elite speed, or a fireball for a fastball.  These players don't have a chance to be a superstar, but they are quietly good.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

31+ Mini Series

Currently, I'm working on my top 30 Pirates prospect list. As I write this, I'm one-sixth of the way through with prospects 26-30 finished.  What's most exciting is that a list of 30 actually includes 30 intriguing prospects.  In years past, finding 20 players in the Pirates system worth writing about was often difficult.  That's finally changed, and even 30 may not be enough. 

 In the past, I've written articles about several players that didn't make my top 30. Below is the current list.  They will start a new mini-series "31+" that will feature spotlights on other players in thefarm systems in a more narrative writing style.  Make sure to check back regularly as this will be updated regularly.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Offseason: Potential Trade Targets v. 2.0

Drew Pomeranz: Potential Trade Target?

Here, I outlined a few players the Pirates could target in trades this offseason to help the team in 2013 and beyond. Since then, the baseball landscape has changed drastically thanks to a blockbuster trade between the Toronto Blue Jays and Miami Marlins.  As a result, I've put together a new list detailing players the Pirates should look to add via trade this offseason. Without a further ado, Offseason: Potential Trade Targets v. 2.0.



Sunday, November 11, 2012

Crystal Ball: The Pirates Farm System

Right now, Buried Treasure's top 30 prospects are being unveiled (check those out here).  That list, along with various prospect lists put out by Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and Minor League Ball, outlines the state of the Pirates farm system right now.  However, throughout next season, that farm system will continue to change and evolve.  When the season completes, more lists will come out that take the temperature of the Pirates farm system.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Tale of Two "Halves"

Under Neal Huntington, the Pirates have spent significant amounts of money on projectable high school pitchers with the hopes of hitting it big on one or two.  The general demographic of those pitchers is as follows: drafted in the 4th through 10th round and given a bonus ranging from 400,000 to 1,200,000 dollars. Names include Quinton Miller, Zack Von Rosenberg, Zack Dodson, Trent Stevenson, Colton Cain, Nick Kingham, Ryan Hafner, Clay Holmes, Tyler Glasnow, Jake Burnette, Jason Creasy, Colton Brewer, and most recently, Jon Sandfort and Hayden Hurst.  

By now, most people know the rhetoric.  The first five names, drafted in 2008 and 2009, have been largely failures.  Miller has done nothing and Stevenson has already retired.  Dodson has been mildly successful, but also got suspended for 50 games. According to some reports, Cain saw his stuff decline from high school, but did at least make it to A+ ball and was part of the Pirates trade for Wandy Rodriguez, producing some value.  Von Rosenberg continues to tantalize with good results from time to time, but his projectable frame hasn't produced the expected and desired effect of increased velocity and that has held him back

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Human Beanball Magnet

Gaffney might need a football helmet.
Tyler Gaffney is used to violent contact.  Before being drafted and subsequently signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates, the outfielder played as the backup running back for the Stanford Cardinals, one of the better college football programs of the last half decade.  However, this past summer, Gaffney - who also played for the Stanford baseball team - traded in his pads for a glove and bat.  Despite leaving the game of football, Gaffney has been unable to leave behind a penchant for violent contact.

Friday, October 5, 2012

DSL Standouts

DSL Pirates
The DSL Pirates - both teams 1 and 2 - are about as far off the prospect map as possible.  There is very little information about the players in the Dominican League.  Most are extremely young and a good number will never make it stateside.  Predicting which ones will make the major leagues, much less to AA, is pretty much impossible.  That said, going just off numbers, specific players can be picked out that have a better chance than others due to age, stats, and fragments of scouting reports.  Below are six players that stood out this year in the DSL.

Top 30 Pirates Prospects

Last year it was 20 (link here); this year it'll be 30.  Below will be listed my top 30 prospects, unveiled from the bottom of the list to the top, with a detailed breakdown of each prospect in a separate and individual article.  Those articles will be published throughout the off season, so stay tuned. Click the link to go to each individual profile!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cutch 2012

Superstar
As every Pirates fan and virtually every baseball fan now knows, the Pirates collapsed at the end of the 2012 season for the second year in a row.  The collapse was spectacular, epic, and cruel.  As late as August, there was legitimate playoff hope.  A winning season was all but guaranteed.  Then it all fell apart.  The Pirates - once 16 games over .500 - finished the season at 79-83.

Lost in the shuffle somewhat was what it did to Andrew McCutchen.  It's hard to say McCutchen collapsed - his numbers in August weren't awful and his numbers in September were well above-average - but he did lose an MVP.  Had he done slightly better in August and had the Pirates made the playoff, "Cutch" would have almost assuredly won the MVP award.  Unfortunately, that did not happen.

Despite that, McCutchen had a phenomenal season by any standards.  In 2012, McCutchen went from budding superstar to one of the best players in the planet.  Such a great season deserves a breakdown.

The Forgotten Man

Avila at 3rd.
Yesterday, Baseball America published it's top 20 prospects for the South Atlantic League. The West Virginia Power, a prospect-laden team, landed two players on the list. Outfielder Gregory Polanco came in at #3 and shortstop Alen Hanson came in at #6.  Other West Virginia prospects of note that did not make the list include young hitters Jose Osuna and Willy Garcia, injured bonus baby Josh Bell, and top pitching prospect Nick Kingham.

In fact, those are the six names that are almost always talked about in conversations regarding the West Virginia Power.  Eric Avila rarely gets thrown in to that list.  He's become the forgotten man.