Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tuesday Pirates Rant™

A quick one today.


* Ryan Doumit is still hitting the ball. Recently called up from AAA, he's gotten 15 hits in 34 at-bats, good for a .441 batting average, .500 on-base %, and .765 slugging %. Good stuff.

* Adam LaRoche is hitting over .300 so far in May! Granted, they're basically all singles, but hey...gotta start somewhere.

* Ian Snell (2-2, 2.31 ERA) and Tom Gorzelanny (4-1, 2.97) are still looking good, though Snell imploded in his last start against the Cubs.

* That's it.


* The offense is beyond wretched. The Pirates haven't had a winning record in almost 15 years, but never in that time had they made it to the second week of May without scoring more than 7 runs in a game. Not one offensive explosion in 30 games.

* Such a long period of ineptitude is wearing down the pitching staff. The bullpen, a strength over the first few weeks, is imploding. A couple weeks ago, I mentioned how great Matt Capps and Jonah Bayliss were doing. Well, Capps has gone from a 0.87 ERA to a 2.25. Bayliss? From 2.24 to 7.36. But guys under this much stress this early, and they'll start to falter.

* Have I mentioned that the Pirates are 1-5 so far in May, having been outscored 39-18 in that time. They have fallen to 13-17 overall (7-17 against teams not named the Astros), and the scary part is that they've overachieved--they're 5-2 in 1-run games. They're second-worst in the terrible NL Central in both runs scored and runs allowed. The only good news is, the Cardinals are actually worse in both categories.

* The Brewers, who have been down almost as long as Pittsburgh, has actually built a real organization with real prospects and real executives and real owners, and they're 22-10 right now, best record in the majors. Just to rub it in a bit.


Pat from Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke talks about AAA prospect Bryan Bullington, who is undefeated with a miniscule ERA in Indianapolis. Sounds like a great pitcher? Not so much.

Yes, his 5-0 record is impressive, but record is virtually meaningless when trying to figure out how good a pitcher is (remember Roger Clemens in 2005... he probably had one of the best seasons in modern history and only finished 13-8). His ERA is 0.96 and his WHIP is 1.14. Again, both are impressive, but again we've got a small sample size and those numbers don't tell the hole story. In 37 and 2/3 innings, Bullington only has 19 strikeouts and 15 walks. That isn't going to fly in the bigs, plain and simple. Zach Duke's biggest problem has always been not enough strikeouts. This is at least partially because our defense sucks. He pitches the worst when he walks a ton of batters. Bullington isn't striking anyone out and is walking a lot of people, in AAA. He's getting lucky. THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES! THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES!
If you can't strike people out, you can only do as well as your defense will allow. Pirates' defense? Not so hot.

Also, Charlie at Bucs Dugout looks at the myth that college pitchers are the safest bet in the MLB draft.