Welcome to the baseball season! Baseball in a lot of ways is like a religion and for those of us devoted enough to it that it becomes a way of life fox six months today is the most holiest of days. Despite all the changes in my life today is still a day I look forward to every year and when it gets here I put on my Pirates jersey and cap and bring along my little parrot friend just as I have for the past nearly 20 years. Today is a day like no other and words can not describe just how much it means to me and all of you like me. There is nothing left to say except Play Ball! and Lets Go Bucs!
Adam Frazier, LF
Starling Marte, CF
Andrew McCutchen, RF
Gregory Polanco, DH
David Freese, 3B
Francisco Cervelli, C
Josh Bell, 1B
Josh Harrison, 2B
Jordy Mercer, SS
Hurdles says he expects to use Rivero-Hudson-Watson as his 7th, 8th and 9th inning guys. Not surprising but I'd wish teams and the Pirates specifically would go away from such rigid roles. I'm not against roles per se but they have to be a bit more flexible. Say like the following:
Late Game 1 Inning Arms: Tony Watson, Daniel Hudson
- These two will likely pitch the 8th and 9th on most days but the order will depend on what part of the lineup is up. A lefty heavy part in the 8th brings Tony Watson into the game.
Late-ish Game Multi Inning Arms: Felipe Rivero, Juan Nicasio
- These two won't pitch until at least the sixth and will with some regularity be takes with going two innings. Whether they go 2 or not and which two they go would depend on a variety of factors.
As for the rest Antonio Bastardo would be the early game left handed specialist tasked with getting a few big outs while also being able to stay in and pitch a full inning. Trevor Williams would take a hybrid role serving as a long man and the Jared Hughes fireman job. Wade LeBlanc would be the more traditional mop up/length man who you'd count on to give you 2-3 innings when starters get knocked out in the 3rd inning.
Jose Osuna has been called up to replace Marte. With Willy Garcia having been called up by the White Sox all 4 players in that terrific 2012 core four West Virginia group have now made the majors. Considering that was when they were in A ball that is quite impressive. No lineup yet.
Time for one of burgh_fan's crazy off the wall predictions. The Pirates are going to trade for Matt den Dekker.
First question you probably have is Who? followed closely by Why?
Matt den Dekker is a 29 year OF with some major league experience and he is currently playing with the Marlins AAA affiliate. Dekker handled himself decently in his 386 PA posting a 93 wRC+ and is capable of playing CF while also having experience in the outfield corners. The Marlins have solid outfield depth and he really doesn't seem to be in their plans so chances are they would trade him if a major league opportunity came available. The topper of all this is Dekker was drafted by the Pirates in the 16th round of the 2009 draft but didn't sign so it is clear the Pirates (and Huntington specifically) liked him at one point. It is a bit out there but this seems like exactly the type of player the team will acquire and when you add in the Pirates connection it makes even more sense.
The sweep streak is finally over. If they can find a way to take at least one from the Cubs this upcoming series 9-12 isn't a bad place to be considering all that has went wrong so far and how difficult this part of the schedule has been.