Yeah, there is still baseball going on. The postseason begins on Wednesday. But this is the time of year for the twenty four teams that did not make it to start talking about the off season. Total Bases will recap every team’s season, from best to worst, in an attempt to predict what each team should do to improve. So… that means we will have to look at the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Pirates finished with the worst record in baseball this season, clinching the first overall pick in next year’s draft. The Pirates did have some bright spots this season, including all-star Evan Meek and rookie Jose Tabata. Tabata hit .299 in his MLB action, blasting four home runs and posting a .346 on base percentage. Tabata, a top prospect in the Pirates’ system, was recalled on June 9th along with Brad Lincoln. Tabata spent most of his games in left field, and projects to start there next season.
Evan Meek was in his second year in the majors, both with Pittsburgh. The year before he posted a respectable 3.45 ERA in 41 games. He took off this season, with a 2.14 ERA and a whip of 1.05. Meek was the only Pirates’ Representative in the all-star game this season, though he did not play in the game. The Pirates’ all-star the season before was Zack Duke.
Duke did not find much sauces this season, with an ERA north of five. His WHIP was an astounding 1.65. He also allowed 25 home runs,
This leaves question marks in the Pirates 2011 rotation. They have Duke, Paul Maholm (5.10), Brad Lincoln (6.66), Charlie Morton ( 7.57) and James McDonald (4.02). It is obvious they need to acquire a starting pitcher. They could have Chan Ho Park start, potentially. He was mildly success full in the Pittsburgh bullpen. Daniel McCutchin could be an option, though he ERA over five is not pretty. A few players that could be non tendered that the Pirates would consider are Kyle Daives, Brain Tallet, and John Lannan. And they still have Jeff Karstens and Russ Ohlendorf. Their pitching woes may come to an end withen a few years, with Jameson Taillon and Jeff Locke in their minor league system.
The Pirstes are not exactly stacked at position players either. They have Pedro Alverez at third base, though they may decide to move him to first and start Andy LaRouche. They have Ronny Cedeno and Niel Walker to play the middle infield, and the outfield of Andrew McCutchen, Tabata, and Lastings Milledge. That outfield supports a lot of potential, especially in McCutchen and Tabata. They have more upside in their system as well, with Dewlyn Young and Brandon Moss.
Their catching situation is interesting, with Chris Snyder as the likely starter with Jason Jaramillo and Ryan Doumit behind him. Jaramillo posted only a .169 BAA in 87 at bats this season, so he may be the odd man out playing in Indianapolis.
Their first base options are also worth watching. Right now they have Garret Jones, but he hit only .241 this season. he provided limited pop with 21 home runs, but the Pirates would love to add a right handed bat to comp lament him. There are many options on the free agent market, and they have been connected to Mike Napoli a few times, so that may be a good fit. Ryan Doumit can also play a limited role at first base.
The final notes here are that the Pirates will not contend at all for years to come. But they have drafted relatively well, so they may turn the corner soon enough.
I made my before-Spring Training predictions, here are my Opening Day Season predictions. Plus, check out the player to watch feature which gives you a player to watch on each team during the reaguler season.
AL East Player to watch:
Boston Red Sox (Jacoby Ellsbury)
New York Yankees (Marcus Thames)
Tampa Bay Rays (Ben Zobrist)
Baltimore Orioles (Nolan Reimold)
Toronto Blue Jays (Adam Lind)
Minnesota Twins (Orlando Hudson)
Chicago White Sox (Jake Peavy)
Kansas City Royals (Rick Ankeil)
Detroit Tigers (Austin Jackson)
Cleveland Indians (Micheal Brantly)
Seattle Mariners (Chone Figgins)
Anaheim Angels (Kendry Morales)
Texas Rangers (Neftali Feliz)
Oakland Athletics (Brett Anderson)
Philadelphia Phillies (Jayson Werth)
Atlanta Braves (Jason Heyward)
Florida Marlins (Mike Stanton)
Washington Nationals (Nyjer Morgan)
New York Mets (Kiko Calero)
St.Louis Cardinals (Colby Rasmus)
Chicago Cubs (Randy Wells)
Cincinatti Reds (Aroldis Chapman)
Milwakee Brewers (Alcades Escobar)
Houston Astros (Hunter Pence)
Pittsburgh Pirates (Garrett Jones)
Colorado Rockies (Jason Hammel)
Los Angeles Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw)
San Fransisco Giants (Madison Bumgarner)
Arizona D-backs (Justin Upton)
San Diego Padres (Clayton Richard)
1. Evan Longoria
2. Joe Mauer
3. Kendry Morales
1. Albert Pujols
2. Chase Utley
3. Ryan Braun
AL Cy Young
1. Jon Lester
2. Cliff Lee
3. Zack Greinke
NL Cy Young
1. Roy Halladay
2. Chris Carpenter
3. Tim Lincecum
1. Brain Matusz
2. Austin Jackson
3. Desmond Jennings
1. Jason Heyward
2. Mike Stanton
3. Madison Bumgarner
1. Don Wakamtsu
2. Ron Gardenhire
3. Joe Maddon
1. Bobby Cox
2. Tony LaRusa
3. Freddi Gonzalez
AL Comeback Player
NL Comeback Player
Those are my predicitions. My Internationl League predictions will be sometime next week.
Spring Training has come and gone for me. I went to my last game yesterday when I saw the Phillies and Pirates square off. But I decided to make this list for anyone who wants to go to Spring Training in the future.
Best Stadium: The best stadium was a tossup between Port Charlote and Clearwater. I like the Port Charlote Stadium beacuse of the boardwalk in the outfield. They have the “Baseball Boardwalk” in the outfield, with an outdoor bar and Philly Cheesestake stand along the Berm. The best atmosphere for sure. The best part was being able to stand above the bullpen and watch the pitchers warm up.
Best Food: Kissimee, where the Astros play. They had this chikin on a stick that was awesome, the best food I had at Spring Training. Close seconds are the Itailian Sausages at city of Palms and the Cheesestakes and Port Charlote.
Closest Seats: The closest seats to the field was the ones in Dunedin. The game was rained out that I went to, but the seats where so close that there was protective netting around the dugout area.
Best Seats: The best seats I sat in where in Port Charlote. Right next to the dugout. So close I could hear Dave Magaden give Kevin Frandsen a scouting report on Andy Sonnenstine. The dugout was very big, and you could see in it from seven rows back.
Best game: The best game I went to was actully a Red Sox loss. They where down 11-1 and came back to cut it to 11-9.
Most Fun: The most fun I had at any game was in Port Charlote.
I also got a few balls at games. victor Martinez flipped me a ball after an inning in Sarasota, and in Bradenton Jorge Jimmenez gave me a foul ball.
I got autographs from Terry Francona, Chuck Tanner, Ron Johnson, Mike Cameron, and Dave Trembley.
Sorry I have not wrote in a while, it’s been a busy week. I’ll catch you up with everything.
Red Sox: I was at Red Sox games on Monday, Wednesday, and Today. Monday they played the Tampa Bay Rays. Boof Bonser pitched, and got pretty roughed up. The minor leaguers came back, and Ray Chang hit a three run homer. I got an autograph from Terry Francona. Wednesday the Red Sox played the Pirates, and the Red Sox won. I got a ball from Jorge Jimmenez, my second of the spring, the other being from Victor Martinez. Today I saw John Lackey pitch vs the Orioles. He looked pretty sharp. I got an autograph from Dave Trembly.
Mike Lowell fowled a ball off his knee and left the game Friday. I expect this gives the Red Sox an excuse to put him on the DL. If that’s the case, expect Josh Reddick to make the roster.
Bruins: The Bruins won Tuesday night in Atlanta, a huge win. They laid an egg Thursday vs Tampa Bay, and won 5-0 vs Calgary today. Bergeron, Chara, Seidenberg, krejci and Recchi scored today. The Bruins hold a 4 point cushion for the playoffs and move to seventh place with the Flyers losing. The Thrashers play Carolina tonight.
Marc Savard spoke with the media today for the first time since being injured from a hit by Matt Cooke. He said that Cooke has tried to talk to him, but he does not want to talk to Cooke. I am hearing that Savard could return with a deep playoff run by the Bruins.
Vladimir Sobotka returned to game action today while Andrew Ference, just signed to a three year contract (for whatever reason) sat out with yet another injury.
Celtics: The Celtics lost to the Utah Jazz on Monday, while beating the Nuggets Wednesday and the Knigs last night to clinch the Atlantic divison. The Hawks lost to the 76ers, so the Celtics rank ahead of them by one game.
Kendrick Perkins missed last night’s game with a knee injury, and is expected to miss tomorrows vs San Antonio.
Blazers: The Boston Blazers play the last place Philadelphia Wings tonight. If Toronto loses to the Titans tonight, the Blazers with a win could move into second place all alone.
The Mailbag will be Monday. I am in Ft.Myers tomorrow. I will be in Port Charlotte Tuesday, and Sarasota again Wednesday to end my Red Sox spring schedule. I will be in Clearwater Thursday to see the Phillies and the Pirates.
Q: Do you think the Red Sox will be as good as last year?
– Bree (via BBS.com)
A: Better. I love the Red Sox’s depth, more than any other team. If a guy like Ellsbury or Youkilis goes down the Sox are still a playoff contender. If Evan Longoria or Carl Crawford go out, forget about it. The pitching is by far thye best, and the offense is as good as anyone, (except New York) in my opinion.
Q: Could Mark Savard be having a more unlucky year ???
A: Probally not. It’s too bad the Bruins did not retailiate on Cooke Thursday night, they should have. This hurts the Bruins so much, who I think have been playing great. The Bergeron-Recchi-Sturm line is fantastic, and Blake Wheeler looks like he did at the begining of last season. If they had Savard, I could see a serious playoff run. But things look much more bleak now. The NHL is making a new head-shots rule, but it might be too little too late. The hit on Seabrook of Chicago was horrible, as well as Ovechikin’s on Campbell (ironic name).
The Celtics beat the Rockets, 94-87. Pierce had 26 points. The Celtics take on the Mavericks tonight in Dallas at 9pm.
The Red Sox lost to the Pirates, 9-7. I was at this game, right behind the on-deck circle. I got autographs from Chuck Tanner and Ron Johnson. David Ortiz hit a two run shot off Paul Maholm. I am in Dunedin tomorrow to see the Sox take on the Jays,
The Flames beat the Sharks, 4-3. The Sharks scored twice in the final two minutes, but the Flames held on to stay tied for the eight seed with Detroit.
The Oilers beat the Redwings, 3-2. Detroit remains in the playoffs by gaining the point in the SO, with the Flames still behind them. Deven Dubynk got his first career win in net for Edmonton.
News and Notes: Yesterday on WEEI’s Dale and Holley, the Bruins Shawn Thornton said he would have liked to knock out Cooke in their fight. I would have liked that too, Shawn.
Ryan Westmoreland has been moved from ICU to NRU in his recovery from brain surgery.
The Red Sox signed Alan Embree.
The Celtics beat the New York Knicks, 109-97. Paul Pierce led the way with 29 points while KG collected 22.
The Red Sox lost to the Mets, 4-2. John Lackey pitched four shutout innings, but Ramon Rameriz gave up a three run homer. Jonthan Papelbon pitched a scoreless inning.
The New Jersey Devils beat the Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-2. Paul Martin scored in his first game after missing 59.
News and Notes: Bruins-Pens tonight. Should be fun. Scroll down for my game preveiw on that one.
Patrice Bergeron will play tonight after taking a slap shot off the knee in Carolina.
Jed Lowrie has been diagnosed with Mono. He can still do physical activity, but will feel tired and fatigued.
JR Giddens was activated after being out six weeks by the Knicks last night vs his former team, the Celtics.
The Celtics return to action tomorrow vs the Rockets. The Red Sox have an off-day today, but return tomorrow in bradenton to play the Pirates. I’ll be there.
Over the last three days, I have been to
three different Spring Training games in three different
ballparks. I was in Ft. Myers to see Red Sox-Twins, than at
City of Palms Park, also in Ft. Myers for Red Sox-Orioles. I
capped it off today with Red Sox-Astros. The Red Sox won the
first game, with Ryne Miller getting the start over Josh
Beckett, who was ill. Miller got rocked pretty hard. But, he
is just a single-A player. Aaron Bates, my player to watch
this spring, (Last year it was Jeff Bailey) doubled and
scored in the game. I pick a player every spring to watch,
this year it’s Bates and Josh Reddick. Reddick homered in the
home game vs the Orioles. Tim Wakefield pitched that game,
and was pretty shaky. David Ortiz also homered. Mike Lowell
made his spring debut, to an aplauding crowd. Rumor says that
Marlins scouts where in the crowd to watch the newly
converted first baseman. Today in Kissimee, the Red Sox lost
3-0 to the Astors and Roy Oswalt. Jon Lester pitched for
Boston, and looked good. The only negitive of his outing was
a run scoring on a wild pitch. Bates came up as the tying rin
in the ninth vs Wesley Wright, but grounded out to shortstop.
My next game is in Bradenton on Friday to see the Red Sox
play the Pirates.