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.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Offseason: Potential Trade Targets

Catcher of the future?
Last offseason, two trades stood out - at least they stood out to me - as major trades that reaped major dividends for the buyers.  The Cincinnati Reds traded away a package of prospects that included Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal to acquire at least 4 years of service of stud pitcher Mat Latos.  The Washington Nationals sent A.J Cole, Derek Norris, Brad Peacock, and Tom Milone for Gio Gonzalez, who could win the National League Cy Young this year.

With the Pirates struggles with pitching during their second half collapse this year, it's natural to look to the trade market this offseason for pitching.  That said, their aren't too many great candidates like Latos and Gonzalez for the Pirates to go after.  Plus, the Pirates will have Burnett, Wandy, and James McDonald back next year.  McPherson, Locke, top prospect Gerrit Cole, along with veterans Jeff Karstens, Rick VandenHurk, and Chris Leroux give the Pirates plenty of options for the rotation.  Arguably shortstop and catcher are much more glaring holes.

However, if the Pirates do decide to go after pitchers in the offseason, here are a few candidates.