Well it’s been one heck of a week in Pirates land with a ton of things going on with injuries, DFA, signings and the like.
In a bit of personal news, I’ve started a new podcast at DK Pittsburgh Sports Radio called Gary Morgan’s Fan Forum. This week’s is all baseball but we’ll probably talk all Pittsburgh sports. I really hope you can check it out. I’ll toss in the listen link at the bottom of the piece today. Your support has led to this opportunity, so for that I thank you all.
Now lets dig into todays 5 Thoughts!
1. Let’s Ban Banning the Shift
Oh, there’s no love lost for the shift with me. I really can’t stand what it’s become in the game, but legislating it out will be messy and in my opinion stupid. Think of the conversations we’ll have about this as MLB tries to make this a reality. We’ll have to define the difference between a shift and a shade. We’ll have to have new rules like the second baseman or short stop can never cross the middle of the diamond on pre pitch set up.
This is something I’d happily see stop in the game but it’s there for the same reason the New Jersey Devils instituted and perfected the trap back in the 90’s. It works.
It works because hitters have been coached to achieve metrics that are believed to lead to more tangible results, but once the game starts, it’s on hitters to beat and exploit what’s being done to them. It’s so unfathomable that you could completely vacate the left side of the infield against a hitter and he would still just drill it to the right side.
At some point, you make your own luck. Hockey eliminated the 2 line offside pass to break the trap and restore order to their game in the name of entertainment for the fans, perhaps baseball is trying to take this approach, but for me, there isn’t anything happening defensively that a hitter, with a proper approach, can’t exploit. Interesting to see how this plays out.
2. Real Prospect Talent is Coming, Some of You Just Met Him
Not everyone is deeply familiar with every prospect that wasn’t selected in the first round. That’s normal, I readily admit when it comes to this, I’m anything but. Some of you have just met Rodolfo Castro this spring, but you can tell watching him play, he’s much more advanced than almost any other name you kept hearing chatter about this off season. He is a nailed on perfect super utility player, one you manage to find a place to play 5 or 6 games a week. And no, this isn’t like sticking Tucker in CF, this is a guy who’s already played all over the field, and well.
He may not be a generational superstar, but he is very real help that is very close to actually benefiting this club in a meaningful way.
3. The Bullpen Could be Really Good
That’s the good part of the story, because if the rotation continues to look like it has there won’t be a more vital part of the club. There are plenty of pieces there to pull together a nice season and I don’t mean the few who will make the club on opening day, I mean the depth that stretches to AAA. With the Blake Cederlind news that broke late last week it’s pretty clear he wont be part of the mix this year as was expected. News like that last year would have been just as devastating as hearing Nick Burdi went down again. This year it just sucks because he could have helped, not because he was the only player who could.
Make sure you check out Craig’s piece on this from this morning.
4. Where’s Greg?
Many people have asked me over the past week where Polanco has been. Most assumed a mystery injury, but he was away from the team for the birth of his child and makes his return today. In many ways this was incredible timing because they really needed to get playing time to newly acquired Dustin Fowler and Brian Goodwin while not sacrificing experience for Anthony Alford who actually did get hurt, although it seems to be just a bruise. Cuts will happen later this week and since Greg absolutely won’t be one, he might have been on the bench anyhow.
Also, congratulations Gregory.
5. Wolters or Perez?
When the Pirates signed Tony Wolters I automatically assumed he’d be the backup catcher based on experience alone. What we’ve seen however is a genuine competition in camp and I honestly couldn’t tell you which one has taken the lead. Again I think Wolters has the edge based on his defensive reputation and experience level, but Perez has been just as impressive defensively and neither has really done anything offensively to separate themselves. There is also the catching spot on the taxi squad to think about but Joe Hudson could potentially fit better there. For a position where the starter is a lock, they sure have enough pieces to make it interesting.
Question of the Week
No question this week, just shameless self promotion. I really would love for you to check out the new podcast and let me know what you think, either on our site, in DK’s Asylum or social media. Have a great evening everyone and lets go Bucs!