The Pirates Still Have To Play Out The Rest Of The Season

Every since Adam Frazier was removed in bottom of 8th inning from Pittsburgh’s series finale with the San Francisco Giants, and possibly before that due to all of the draft signings, the current season has been put on the proverbial back burner.

This is not an implied accusation that we should be paying more attention to the Big League Club, as I myself have fallen victim to the waves of trades, rumors and continued dominance demonstrated by General Manager Ben Cherington and Company in their ability to finagle the Pirates Draft Pool into five top prospects according to MLB Pipeline. Hell, I even forgot to write my scheduled game recap on Sunday night, which I just realized now, because I was knee deep in return evaluation mode; even though Gary was handling that story.

And, to be completely honest it probably just registered at this very moment considering the Clay Holmes trade forced me to stay on the prospect side of things; which has continued to happen as Tyler Anderson was first going to the Phillies if a prospect’s medical issues didn’t get in the way, but is now a Mariner, with two new prospects to evaluate. And to top it all off, Richard Rodriguez rumors have started to shift into overdrive.

However, before I fully go down that rabbit hole, at least some focus needs to be put on some players of note that are on the Major League Roster, what these acquisitions could mean for the future of quite a few players in the Minors and the goals for the remainder of the Pirates season and beyond; on top of numerous other topics I have seen mentioned.

In order to stay on topic(s), and allow it/them to be easily digested, a good old fashion News and Notes-found at the bottom of every game recap-seems pretty appropriate at this point in time.

News and Notes

  • Every Pirates Fan remembers the display that Ke’Bryan Hayes put on last September. Slashing .376/.442/.682 with 5 homers and 14 total extra base hits in just 95 plate appearances, across 24 games. Then came the Spring, where he continued to mash. Finally we were brought to Opening Day in Wrigley when he hit a no doubt 2-run homer through the Chicago wind in his first at-bat of the season. Unfortunately, for Hayes and the Pirates the next game would bring a wrist injury that kept him out of the lineup until June 3rd. But, not to worry, he came out of the gate with the same fury he did in 2020; with a .304 AVG, 2 bombs (or technically 3) and 7 extra base hits. At that point the league starting pushing back, causing Hayes to 1 for 22 over his six games; ultimately leading to a game off and a little bit of a reset over the 4th of July Holiday. Since, that time Hayes has begun his own push back, which has resulted in a .277 AVG over this time frame-July 5th to the Present. However, if you have actually been watching these games it doesn’t look nearly as promising, as Hayes has been striking out at a 30.6% clip-a full 10 to 15 points over his normal rate at any point in his professional career-and has been made to look just plain silly at times. Luckily, and predictably, the defense has remained, which is where his main value and in turn his high floor was alway going to come from. Now obviously, Ke’Bryan is young and still has time to adjust and push back again. Nevertheless, what if this is his baseline? A .260 to .275 hitter with power that brings 10 to 15 homers a season? A 2 to 4 WAR player, instead of the 5 to 7+ WAR player, that many had begun to tout him as? It’s just a thought, and clearly not a bad thing to have a player of that caliber on the team. Still, Ke’ needs to push back hard, and push back soon.
  • As it stands currently, Pittsburgh’s starting rotation consists of Chad Kuhl, JT Brubaker, probably Steven Brault as he is set to come of the 60-Day IL and some combination of Max Kranick, Cody Ponce and possibly Miguel Yajure if he comes back at the end of August/beginning of September. Of course there are also “arms” in Indianapolis, and hopefully a rejuvenated Mitch Kelller-which is not want i saw from my seats at the Vic on Saturday night-because the innings over the next 62 games are going to have to come from somewhere.
  • Speaking of innings. Derek Shelton has reported that JT Brubaker’s innings are going to be managed (aka limited) over the remainder of his season; hence the the 4 inning, 69 pitch outing on Sunday Afternoon in San Francisco. As some of you remember Brubaker’s 2019 season in the Minors was abruptly ended after only 27.2 innings due to a forearm strain, and his 2020 consisted of 47.1 innings across 11 appearances-9 of them starts. He is already up to 96.1 innings of this year and has struggled mightily as of late; especially when it comes to the long ball. On the season JT has surrendered 21 homers. This equates out to just below 2 homers per 9 innings (1.96), good for 6th worst in the league for pitchers with 90+ innings of work.
  • Pirates Fans, Bloggers and Journalists alike are finally getting on board with Gary’s 40-Man/Rule 5 Draft Roster Crunch.

Do the Pirates Actually Need to Chill on Bringing in Prospects?

  • Ethan has a spreadsheet as well for you to peruse.

  • Most importantly it has to be remembered that there are guys on this team that still matter to the future of the ball club, even some that may only be here for the present. The Pirates just can’t roll over for the remainder and #TankForElijah as some would have them do. There is no World Series Trophy for winning the MLB Draft or The Trade Deadline. Yes, the Pirates will more than likely continue to lose more than they win, but hopefully we see less 0 for 15 games from the Pirates top 4 like we did last night.

Around 60 games of below average ball are left to be play. We, as Pirates Fans, have been here before, most recently in the disastrous truncated 2020 season. It’s not going to be real fun, and at times you may turn of the TV in the middle of a game. BUT, the Pirates players can’t. They will have to make their way to 162. Hopefully, with some of them ending their seasons on a high note; while some maintain form. That’s truthfully the best we can hope for.

Published by Craig W. Toth

Former Contributing Author at InsidethePirates.com, Co-Host of the Bucs in the Basement Podcast and life-long/diehard Pittsburgh Pirates Fan!

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