Saturday, April 02, 2005

Ryan Howard: trade me

Phillies' slugger Ryan Howard wants a trade. It doesn't mean he'll get it.

This story does mean, however, that we'll be hearing more about the Pirates as a potential trading partner for the Phillies. They wanted to deal Howard for Benson last summer. He's a left-handed power hitter, something we need.

I have high hopes for Daryle Ward, but I wonder, even if he storms out of the gate, if he's someone we want to build around long-term. He'll get expensive fast and his track record is not, shall we say, consistent.

And another thing. He and Tike have some time to prove themselves at the start of the year. If they come out of the gate hitting like Randall Simon and Chris Stynes, however, then I'm not giving them half a season to turn it around. Both those guys have had their chances in the past.

Now batting third, Tike Redman!

Boldly unconventional Tike-o-mania move.

"Talking about legitimate No. 3 hitters, he's the best option we have right now," McClendon said. "If you're talking about championship-type clubs - Barry Bonds-type hitters or Albert Pujols-type hitters - Jason Bay is the ideal No. 5 hitter, for the matter even No. 2. We're not there yet, so we'll do the best we can."

I haven't finished translating this Mac cryptoquote yet, but think that this means Tike will bat third to start the season. This solves the Wiggy-hits-5th? problem I guess. But usually a team's best or second best hitter hits third, with the idea that they'll plate the 1+2 hitters (Matt and Jack). Tike makes contact and has had a great spring. He also sports a .286/.319/.394 line in 919 career ABs (with 42! BB).

What do projections project? PECOTA:Tike::Azibuck:Lynn Swann. Pure hatred. (BTW, when we were kids Swann was Rowdy's favorite Steeler, Stallworth mine. Maybe Rowdy's ashamed of that now but that's how it was). PECOTA hates Tike to the tune of a .274/.319/.372 projection with a 47% Collapse (worst on the team for everyone not named Javier Guzman), 15% Improve (worst on the team),and 4% Breakout (tied for lowest on team with Jack). I don't know how accurate PECOTA is. BP claims it's "deadly accurate", but does anyone know of an accessible web source that supports this claim? To me over the years it has seemed to be accurate more often than not, but I'd like to see the comparison of PECOTA projections vs. actual performance. It makes sense to me though that the odds are against a 28 year old who rarely walks, has limited power and hasn't established himself as a quality major leaguer. All the more reason to pull for Tike to stay hot and defy expectations. All hail Tike!

Friday, April 01, 2005

Twins at Pirates

Mark Redman starts today against his old team.

Rest up this weekend. Games start next week.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Picking winners

Hobby horse time. I'll put two Rowdy principles to test here.

Principle one: Sports are, fundamentally, levelling, democratic, egalitarian, all that good flag-waving All-American stuff. As Americans, we love sports. We even feel a certain national pride in the sporting soap operas we revere for diversion.

I maintain there's more parity in the Major Leagues than most baseball pundits want to believe. I suspect this has something to do with the way the whole country has been trending Aristocratical. When people write about money and baseball, I often think they are writing about This, Our Glorious New Gilded Age. When they bitch, I wonder if they are left out. When they gloat, I wonder if they like the view from their perch.

Levelling often characterizes the Story of Baseball. (Some people call this Regression to the Mean, but whatever.)

The great, they will be brought low. The meek, they will inherit first place.

I say all the teams are more or less looking at 78-84 wins on Opening Day. Some teams will deal talent for promises in July and August. Some teams will acquire talent. So there is a tendency for the good to get better and the bad to get worse.

As always, losing begets losing. Winning begets winning.

In the end, the teams will fan out and finish clustered in the 71 to 91 win range, with a team or two around 61 and a team or two around 101. If you think poor teams don't finish last, go look up the 2004 New York Mets, who won fewer games than our scrappy Pirates.

Principal two: gamblers mainly bet on winners, on "sure things." For this reason, longshots and perennial losers represent your best gambling bargains. Remember Smarty Jones.

Now open this link: 2005 MLB OVER/UNDER WIN TOTALS.

I'll bet a virtual Ben Franklin against the following teams making their over/unders: New York-A (101.5), Boston (97), St. Louis (92), Angels (91.5), Cubs (88 current). These teams are overhyped by the gloaters. The lowly and the cowardly fear them overmuch. The company men toe their line.

I'll bet more virtual Franklins on these teams beating their over/unders: KC (64), Colorado (67.5), Brew Crew (68.5), Nationals (69.5), Toronto (70), Arizona (70.5) our Pirates (73), Seattle (76). I'd love to bet on the Reds, but their pitching sucks and, with the new ownership, they'll probably tear down and trade a bunch of Wily Mos. New ownership is not always a good thing, people. The Devil Rays have too much losing inertia as a franchise for my support. Perhaps if I paid more attention to them I could believe.

If I'm counting straight, that's thirteen virtual gambles. Wish me luck. And play along, if you care, in the comments.

Mike Prisuta is a communist

I'll take the over for sure. We talked about this last fall, during the football season. Spreads, lines, over/unders, are not scientifically designed as accurate projections. They are designed to provoke gambling. That's it. No one wants to gamble on the Pirates, so their over is low low low.

Prisuta, card-carrying Communist that he is, needs more gambling experience. Then he can speak to the Workers of the World about the meaning of the Magic Numbers the Capitalist Bully-Boys chalk on the wall in Las Vegas.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Roster set

Assuming catcher Humberto Cota has recovered from a left hip bruise that has kept him out of the lineup since last Saturday, the Bucs will open the season with Cota and Benito Santiago behind the plate; Sanchez, Hill, Daryle Ward, Jose Castillo, Jack Wilson, Craig Wilson and Ty Wigginton in the infield; Tike Redman, Jason Bay, Matt Lawton and Rob Mackowiak in the outfield; Oliver Perez, Kip Wells, Mark Redman, Josh Fogg and Dave Williams in the starting rotation and White, Jose Mesa, Salomon Torres, Mike Gonzalez, Brian Meadows, John Grabow and Ryan Vogelsong in the bullpen.

Them's the words of Ed Eagle at

That's about what I expected going into March. So far so good or, about what we could expect.

Other thoughts: sign the Cuban guy, sure, I say.

Gorzelanny, goddamn.

Dave Williams vs. Zach Duke: I didn't see either one of those guys pitch with my own eyes. And if I did, I'd probably be all like Wow. So I only know what I read. Based on what I read, Duke sounds ready.

Spring stats don't project much. Williams was lousy in the box score. If Mac says he was pitching well, that's fine for me. Williams gets five starts before I'll start getting apoplectic about giving Duke a chance.

It's funny to think that if I was the GM, I would have traded Duke in February and promoted him in March. When you have something good, it can burn a hole in your pocket.

Remember too, that Duke is no sure thing. Lots of guys with good control dominate the minors and fail to make it in the bigs. Nelson Figueroa comes to mind. So too, I think, Joe Roa. I want to believe in Duke but he'll have to prove himself again and again and again before we can call him Zach Maddux. And, as I think it was Gene Collier who wrote it, it is only the fifth starter's job. So whatever.

Time to play ball. No stumbling out of the gate this year.

Pirates buy catcher David Ross

The book on David Ross: Good power, good patience, little ability to hit for contact, once considered a sleeper, now 28 years old, okay defensively. More depth?

It doesn't look like he fits on the 25-man roster, which the Bucs finalized today, reports Alan Robinson.

Dead arms

Mac on Mike Gonzalez:

"He's fine," McClendon said. "He has a dead arm like all the rest of the pitchers. It's just a little stiffness. He'll be back out there soon."

Hmmm. Do all the rest of the pitchers have dead arms or is Mac speaking figuratively? Get well Gonzo, we're gonna need you.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Note from the Commish

Clay to the Honest Wagner Yahoo! league, which is NL-only, about 16 players, and using something like a 10x11 roto scoring format: "Everyone in the Yahoo league set their draft status to ready by Wednesday at 11pm. I will set the draft to happen on Thursday so that there is time over the weekend for trades and waiver wire action."

I'm walkin'

Is Tike Redman developing the patience of a leadoff hitter? Maybe. Is he there yet? Not really. Last spring it was five walks in 70-odd at-bats. This spring it's five in 60. That's better but short of the one-for-every-ten lazy man's measure.

Who is singing the Fats Domino tune? Chris Duffy (7 in 48 AB), Mackawack (6 in 61), Craiggers (9 in 58).

How many HBP for Craig this spring?

The ghost of Kendall

He rattles his chains and moans in Joe Rutter's report on Humberto Cota.

He's a friendly ghost. Like Casper.

Training room of no return

"Once you get in the trainer's room, you have to beg to get out," Daryle Ward said.That from Joe Rutter's notebook.

Better the training room than the dining room.


Dejan Kovacevic reports on Tike's strong spring. Now his challenge is April in Pittsburgh:

"Playing in Pittsburgh in April, it freezes me up. I can't swing the bat, can't get the right breaks. Maybe it's mental. I watch Craig Wilson, and he's out there with short sleeves in April. I don't know how he does it. He tells me just to think it's warm outside. Maybe that's what I'll try. If I'm going to perform, I'll have to perform in cold weather."

Relax bro. It's just the weather, and everyone has to deal with it.

Pirates setting attendance records

Good weather in Bradenton.

Beaver County birds

I enjoyed this article by Henry David Thoreau Mike Barcaskey. The sportin' papers usually focus on other things.

Perrotto rumblings

John Perrotto has been determined to bring the rumors all spring. Now Atlanta wants John Grabow?

Fewer Stiffs

Knock on wood, Stats Geek. But for the grace of God ...

Seriously, he's right. It may not be the Pirate fan way to talk of a .500 season, but I'm not down with the Pirate way if that's the case. I'd give the current team a 50-50 chance of finishing at or above .500.

Fifty wins likely

Tom Talvage previews the Bucs for the Hardball Times.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Poor and sore

Joe Rutter's notebook has plenty of bad, but not terrible, news.

The Bench

Dejan Kovacevic breaks down the bench. The news on D. Ward is great. I want to see him produce.

Something of a phenomenom

John Perrotto on Ryan Doumit, who "moves around too much and does not present a good target to his pitchers." Settle down back there, Ryan.