First Half Report Card for the 2017 Pirates

The first half of the Pirates’ season is in the books, so now is the perfect time to assess each player’s performance so far.

Keep in mind these grades are based on a curve of their expectations for the year. Chris Stewart wasn’t going to be an All-Star, so it won’t be fair to judge him the same as Andrew McCutchen.

A

Josh Harrison: His glove is as good as ever and his versatility has been a lifesaver. He’s also contributing a lot more offensively now that he’s healthy. His ,369 OBP has been aided by a league high 18 HBPs, but he is chasing out of the zone less and has 21 walks- one away from his career high in 2014.

READ MORE ...

Random Thoughts on the Pirates

Here are some news and notes plus some random thoughts on things currently going on with the Pirates.

**This morning while speaking to the media, Clint Hurdle announced that when he returns from his suspension, Starling Marte would be playing left field and Andrew McCutchen would remain in center field. I disagree with this decision and here’s why. At the start of the season, Pirates management determined that it would best for the team if Marte was the center fielder and McCutchen in right field. What’s changed? Seems to me that this decision is a reaction and a punishment to Marte for the 80-game suspension. By doing this, the organization is punishing the entire team not just Marte. Bad move.

READ MORE ...

Starling Marte Returns to the Field Tomorrow

Starling Marte

Although it won’t be with the Pirates, Starling Marte will make his return to the baseball field tomorrow.

This evening, the team announced that Marte will begin a rehab assignment with Class A Bradenton.

Marte received an 80-game suspension from Major League Baseball in April after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. Marte will have a 15 game rehab assignment before being eligible to return to the Pirates on July 18th.

READ MORE ...

Pirates Quietly Hanging Around and Getting Better

Despite having a ton of things go against them, we’re a day away from the start of July and the Pirates are still in contention for the NL Central Division.

Yes, Clint Hurdle’s team is still five games under .500 (37-42) but because of how mediocre the NL Central is this year, the Pirates are just four games behind the first-place Milwaukee Brewers. Despite their current position in the standings, the Cubs are the team to beat in the division and the Pirates are only 3 games behind them.

READ MORE ...

Will Andrew McCutchen be the Next Pittsburgh Icon to Go?

Is Andrew McCutchen next?

Local sports fans just gave Marc-Andre Fleury a long good-bye when he and about half a million of them exchanged waves during the Stanley Cup parade.

His good-bye piece in the Player’s Tribune put a nice finishing touch on it and showed why he was so popular. It’s hard to remember any star in any Pittsburgh sport getting a better send-off or having been more deserving.

READ MORE ...

McCutchen should stick in the six spot

Moving Andrew McCutchen to the six hole has been the best thing to happen to the Pirates’ offense this season.

In a way, he was due. I wrote for Fangraphs on May 15th that his batted ball in play average (BABIP) was far too low (.221 at the time). Fangraphs’ editor Dave Cameron wrote about his hot streak this past week, again citing a much higher BABIP average (.356). The league average is usually around .300. Entering play Friday, McCutchen was at .284, so he has almost caught up to even ground.

READ MORE ...