Found July 13, 2012 on Pirates Prospects:

I often get accused of apologizing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Sometimes that’s because I prefer to take a patient approach, rather than rushing to make a judgement. Sometimes that’s because I put out a lofty projection for a player. Usually it’s ignored that I’ve got a pretty good track record, and that I also can be lower on some players than others.

What I find funny about this year is the evolution of the “apologist”. The team is 11 games over .500 right now. The farm system is looking pretty strong, with some major league ready talent in Triple-A, and a lot of guys on hot streaks. In the past, when the Pirates were losing, and didn’t have big breakout performances from unexpected prospects like Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco, I felt the “apologist” line made sense. I felt it was usually code for “I’m right, and the only way you can think otherwise is if you’re just trying to defend someone”. But I understood how people could see it that way, considering the team was horrible the last few years, giving little reason for anything other than doom and gloom.

So what is there to apologize for now that the team is winning, and being talked about nationally as a legit contender? Well, here are my mid-season apologies for this team as we head in to the second half.

**I apologize for saying Gregg Ritchie should have been fired. That came in mid-May, right before the Pirates’ offense turned in to one of the best in the league. I don’t know if that offense will stay the best in the league, but it’s not looking like the hitting coach should be fired any time soon.

**I apologize for saying two years ago that James McDonald was more likely to be a number two starter, rather than a top of the rotation guy. I should have just said top of the rotation guy.

**I apologize to Kevin Correia for saying on a weekly basis that he should be removed from the rotation. Do I believe that a regression is coming? Yes. Am I a slave to the advanced metrics that say Correia isn’t this good? Absolutely. But the truth is that Correia isn’t a bad number five starter, even with his xFIP numbers. Look around the league. The Pirates could do worse. Although I believe they could do better, which brings me to…

**I apologize to the Indianapolis left-handers. We called you the Altoona Four for way too long. Bryan Morris moving to the bullpen really helped with this new nickname. Plus it avoids the dilemma I have of always wondering what order to list you guys in. The truth is, you all have the same potential, unless Justin Wilson’s new found control is legit.

**I apologize to my Twitter followers for having to read the weekly Starling Marte discussions with the other Twitter followers who think my opinion on his promotion impacts the decision of the Pirates.

**I apologize to those same Twitter followers for all discussions about how I wouldn’t trade prospects.

**I apologize to Charlie Morton for putting the jinx on your arm. One day after talking about how the Pirates have done well avoiding major arm injuries, you went down with Tommy John surgery. In my defense, your elbow was shredded long before I made that post.

**I apologize to anyone who missed my pre-season article about the emerging international hitters in the lower levels. It would have probably saved you a lot of “where did these guys come from?” questions. I also apologize for ranking Jose Osuna ahead of the other international hitters. I usually don’t rate first basemen that high. I got too caught up in his power, which hasn’t been as good this year.

**I apologize to anyone who caught my pre-season article about Stetson Allie, talking about his improved command and how he had a shot at being a starter. His command was improved in Spring Training, as you can see in the videos in that article. However, I didn’t focus enough on the bolded part below, which ended up being the bigger problem.

So does this mean that Allie is destined to be a closer? Not quite. All it takes is for him to find a way to harness his aggression, and avoid losing his composure when things start to spin out of control. We’ve already seen some improvements in that area.

**I apologize for wanting Clint Barmes over the off-season. His defense has been good this year, but the bat has been weak, making him an expensive version of Cesar Izturis.

**I apologize for saying this team was a 72-75 win team. Looking at their easy schedule to start the second half, they could reach that by the end of August.

Links and Notes

**Only one day left to join the Draft Street free roll. It’s a one day fantasy baseball contest with $350 in cash prizes. Best of all, it’s FREE to join! Click here to join.

**Prospect Watch: Grossman Has Been on Fire Since Suspension.

**Indians Earn Double Header Split On Navarro’s Clutch Hit.

**Spikes Rally Behind Yhonathan Barrios, Bullpen for 5-3 Win.

**Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Draft Pick Signing Deadline Preview.

**Prospect Notebook: Baker Enjoying Move To Pen; McPherson Trying to Get Back on Track.

**Can the Pirates Sustain First Half Success?

**Keith Law Has Three Pirates in His Mid-Season Top 50.

**Pirates Have Had Very Few Conversations About Upton.

**Kevin Goldstein predicted the 2013 Future’s rosters at ESPN. For the Pirates, he had Luis Heredia and Alen Hanson making the game.


Pittsburgh Pirates: Trade rumors, part 3

Check out Part 1 of the series here, and Part 2 here, where available hitters were covered. The third in a multi-part series laying out what pieces are available to the Pittsburgh Pirates, how well they’ll mesh with the team, and what the Pirates may have to move in return…      (Opening image Zack Greinke, Image credit uweblogsports) Part 3:  Available pitchers, and...

What will the Pittsburgh Pirates look like in one month?

For years, it has been the Pittsburgh Pirates trading their one and only productive player to someone else for a bucket full of prospects that were nothing but unproven. That worked so well that it was a key piece to the past 19 years of losing. Now the Pirates are talked about as buyers for [...]

Pirates sign 18th rounder John Kuchno

#Pirates sign 18th-rder John Kuchno for $125k ($25k counts vs pool). #OhioState RHP runs fastball to 95, also shows plus curve. #mlbdraft — Jim Callis (@jimcallisBA) July 13, 2012 As Jim Callis points out, since Kuchno’s bonus is over $100K, $25K of it will count against the Pirates’ draft pool, thus taking another $25K off the maximum amount the Pirates can offer Mark Appel...

Pirates fans on Twitter hate Mark Appel

Stanford pitcher Mark Appel was projected to be the top pick in June's MLB draft. Appel fell to the Pirates at eighth, and the maximum amount that the Pirates could offer him without having to pay taxes on bonuses was in the neighborhood of $3.3 million. Because Appel could get more higher in the draft, he opted not to sign and will return to Stanford for his senior year....

Pirates determined not to fade in 2012

MILWAUKEE At this time last year, a prevailing sense of optimism seemed to follow the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise. After taking the lead in the NL Central one game into the second half of the 2011 season, the Pirates seemed to be on the brink of turning around what had for so long been the league's most familiar losing franchise. Eighteen straight losing seasons had worn on...

The 21 Million Dollar Kick

Now that Mark Appel saga has passed, the Pirates can re-focus their energies on making a move or two at the trade deadline.  But not only will improving the product help on the field, but it can also have positive financial impacts for the Pirates in 2012 and 2013. Last year I looked at what each individual fan contributes to the Pirates per game.  The research showed that each...

Revisting the Strength of Opponents Starters

It has been about six weeks since I last looked at how solid (or not) the starting pitching that Pirates have faced has been overall. It is time for an update. The conclusion I came to after looking at this before was that the Pirates hadn’t faced a bunch of great starting pitching as much as the Pirates just hadn’t been hitting. The recent hot streak from the bats has turned...

Cody Ransom’s grand slam buries Bucs

Final: Brewers 10, Pirates 7 WP: Francisco Rodriguez (2-4, 3.86 ERA) LP: Tony Watson (4-1, 5.00 ERA) This was just one of those really strange games. First off, it took forever (3 hours, 50 mins). Second, a lot of really good things happened for the Pirates. And third, a lot of really bad things happened for the Pirates. Unfortunately, the bad things out-weighed the good things....

Brewers try to claw back in race vs. Pirates

By MATT BECKER, STATS Senior WriterThe Pittsburgh Pirates exit the All-Star break in first place for the first time in 15 years.It's been significantly longer since the last time a pitcher started three consecutive major league games, something Milwaukee's Zack Greinke will achieve in the Brewers' second-half opener.The Pirates look to continue their march toward a division...

GAMEDAY: Pirates at Brewers

Pirates (48-37) at Brewers (40-45) 8:10 PM EST–Miller Park, Milwaukee Here is the Gameday TV: ROOT Sports This has to be the most excited anyone around here has been for a series at Miller Park in a while. The first-place Pirates haven’t been in action since Sunday and everyone’s itching to see them. Plus, the Brewers are on the fringe of falling out of the division...

2012 MLB Draft Signing Deadline: The Dead Line

Mark Appel, a big right-handed pitcher out of Stanford and the Pittsburgh Pirates 1st round selection in 2012 failed to come to an agreement on a signing bonus making him the only player selected in... [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

Mark Appel: Deadline Day is upon us

We knew it would come down to today. It always does when you are dealing with Scott Boras clients. But this afternoon, at 5 PM ET, the Pirates’ 1st round pick Mark Appel will either be starting his professional career or he will be heading back to Stanford for his senior season. We know one thing. And that is that Appel is not going to be offered any more than $3,837,575. That...

Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Nationals Lead Slew of First Half Surprises

Well well well, who woulda thunk it. It's the All-Star break, the Pirates and Nationals are in first place, the Phillies in last, the Orioles are actually in contention, and "The Freak" is pitching like, well…a freak. These are among the leading surprises as we take stock of the first half, causing us to ask, "What's going on here?"...
All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.