I have struggled all season, well, all twenty some games of it anyway, to understand what questions were actually being answered. Everybody seems to have an explanation, problem is each and every one leads to a contradiction point. Today, lets talk about some things I believe have been answered.
10. How will the Pirates use Jose Osuna? – The obvious answer is, they won’t. Now, I firmly believe there is more in there for Osuna and more importantly I don’t think it will ever be in Pittsburgh when it gets a chance.
9. Can Colin Moran Improve on Defense? – Yes, and before this season I’d have never said that. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I felt that way because his range is just not going to head the other direction, no I’m talking about how he looks at 1st base. I still don’t buy him as part of this club when/if they are contenders, but he looks good over there and that can only help here or as a commodity.
8. Is Chad Kuhl Worthy of Excitement – To me, yes. I know it hasn’t been perfect and I know he’s still limited to inning restrictions, but I think he’s shown enough to expect him to be a counted on member of the rotation in 2021. The Velo is touching mid to upper 90s and his curveball is dropping in at 82-85. That’s no fun to cover. Improvement of the changeup he was just adding before the injury is the last ingredient. Good to see.
7. Should the Pirates Have Kept Jacob Cruz Too – Maybe. I liked that the Pirates retained half of their coaching success tandem that lead to offensive success last year. Now I’m wondering if maybe he was a bigger part of what they accomplished than perhaps I’ve given credit for. He has the same position he held last year in Pittsburgh now with the Brewers. Obviously the players have to play, but some of what I’m seeing from Bell has had a month to be corrected. Ok maybe I don’t have an answer here yet.
6. Do Fans Really Make a Difference at the Ballpark – Yes. Oh God yes. You notice it most in drama moments and they do a very good job with the simulated ambient sound, but its off. Oddly, I noticed it most when Phillip Evans was injured. The hushed conversations, the applause when he is stretchered off, all the moments like that are hard to take in. Worthy sacrifice to have baseball but I do wonder how we can’t find a way to allow a couple thousand fans into a huge outdoor space like PNC. Soccer is doing it. Just sayin’.
5. Was Kyle Crick a Victim of His 2019 Surroundings – Technically, too early and we haven’t seen enough due to injury. But, I’d lean heavily toward no. I think he is an incredibly talented pitcher, who simply can’t control his spin. If you watch his pitch by pitch you see the RPMs jump wildly. Hard to have pinpoint control if you have no clue how much spin you’re applying. Maybe Marin can get through to him, maybe he’s a head case. Still a bit of an open book on him, but if I’d rather see Sam Howard, Crick hasn’t been right.
4. Is Kevin Newman for Real? – Craig said it best really, but yes, Kevin might just be real. Check out what Craig had to say about him beating the numbers.
3. Has Joe Musgrove Taken a Step Forward? – No, not yet. There’s a lot to like about some of his outings and like so many others injury has derailed what little sample size we would get. The Curve is really something and when he has 3 of his 5 pitches working he is a nice pitcher. I haven’t seen him do it consistently enough to take that step.
2. Is Stallings Good Enough to Start – Defensively, he absolutely is. Until the day they bring on the robo umps, what he does is very valuable and he’s one of the best going at it. I wish the bat would come along a bit, lord knows he has the frame, but defensively, I’ve seen enough.
1. Bell’s Throwing Motion at First Should Improve His Defense, Right? – Who knows? We’ve not seen many, and he’s passed on opportunities. Says more to me than you’d think. I don’t think he trusts it. Now, I don’t think he ever really has, but everything I heard about this new mechanic change had me intrigued, sure would like to see it.