Bucs aiming to get back to ground-ball basics

As the Pirates evaluate what went wrong this year and identify where they can improve next season, they will start from the ground up. That's true in a symbolic sense, as Pittsburgh's front office is poring over everything that led to a disappointing 78-83 campaign. But it's also literal, a product of the Pirates pitching staff's dip in ground-ball rate.
Via Pirates.com
1 day ago

Monday Mop-up Duty: the coaching staff void (and opportunity)

SOUTH HILLS – That Rick Sofield was fired last week shouldn’t be all that surprising. Charged with overseeing base-running, and as the key traffic cop on the field as the third base coach, the Pirates have taken a step back on the bases the last two seasons (see charts below). Some mishaps were glaring, including this inexplicable decision (with video) from September. But the...
Via Bucco Blog
1 day ago

Pirates dismiss Sofield, reassign Leyva

The Pirates made two changes to their Major League coaching staff on Saturday, dismissing third-base coach Rick Sofield and reassigning first-base coach Nick Leyva to a position in the front office.
Via Pirates.com
3 days ago

Pirates Make Changes To Coaching Staff

The Pirates have fired third base coach Rick Sofield and reassigned first base coach Nick Leyva, per a team announcement. Leyva will take over as a senior advisor for baseball operations. “It was a difficult decision, but we felt it was the right time to make this change on our Major League staff,” said general manager Neal Huntington (Twitter link via Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh...
Via MLB Trade Rumors
3 days ago

Pirates dismiss third base coach Rick Sofield

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Saturday the dismissal of third base coach Rick Sofield, as well as Nick Leyva, who was re-assigned to senior advisor of baseball operations within the organization. The Pirates finished the season 78-83, which put them in third-place in the National League Central division. Sofield had been the third base coach for the Pirates since 2013. A former...
Via Today's Knuckleball
3 days ago

Second-Half Fantasy Baseball Surgers: Ivan Nova

In this series on second-half surgers, I have featured some pitchers who made subtle but notable improvements that could get overlooked on draft day. While Ivan Nova improved after his Aug. 1 trade from the Yankees to the Pirates, he doesn’t exactly fit in with the likes of James Paxton and Blake Snell. The changes to Nova’s stat line were hardly subtle, and they didn’t go...
Via Today's Knuckleball
3 days ago

Pirates' 2016 power surge part of MLB-wide trend

Pittsburgh's home run output increased from 140 to 153 this year, but the Bucs dropped from 10th to 12th-most in the NL. The Royals (147), Giants (130), Marlins (128) and Braves (122) were the only Major League clubs to hit fewer homers than the Bucs.
Via Pirates.com
4 days ago

Payroll size is one thing, allocating it is another

SOUTH HILLS – You might not like the budget the Pirates front office has to work with, but the Pirates front office has to work with it. Until/if MLB has mechanisms in place to create a spending floor, it likely is what it is. The Pirates’ front office will again likely work with a relatively modest payroll  this offseason complicating efforts to improve coming off a 78-win...
Via Bucco Blog
5 days ago

Pirates Focusing On Run Prevention

Fresh off their first non-playoff season since 2012, the Pirates will prioritize improving their run prevention over the winter, reports Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. In 2015, when the Pirates won 98 games, they finished third in the majors in runs surrendered (596). That figure skyrocketed during a 78-win 2016 campaign for the Bucs, who allowed opposing teams...
Via MLB Trade Rumors
10 days ago

The Wind Up: Pirates Don’t Need to Retool Yet

The three-year stretch from 2013 through 2015 for the Pittsburgh Pirates was successful, to say the least. Following a 20-year span without a postseason appearance—or even so much as a winning season—Pittsburgh won plenty. They also reached the postseason three times. With 94 wins in 2013, 88 in 2014, and 98 in 2015, the Pirates were once again a competent baseball team. You’d...
Via The Sports Post
13 days ago  |  Discuss

Pirates head into offseason with plenty to work on

PITTSBURGH (AP) Clint Hurdle has gained an appreciation for advanced metrics during his six seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The manager, though, doesn't need to dive too deeply into the numbers to figure out where his team went wrong in 2016. ''The game will always start with pitching,'' Hurdle said. ''Always has, always will. If you look at it any other way, I think you're...
Via Associated Press
22 days ago  |  Discuss

Report: Pirates may shop Andrew McCutchen

This very successful era of Pittsburgh Pirates baseball may be coming to a close. According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, some within the game believe the Pirates may trade the player who has become the face of the franchise, Andrew McCutchen, when winter rolls around. Industry insiders reportedly believe that the team will at least quietly shop McCutchen...
Via Larry Brown Sports
23 days ago  |  Discuss

End of season post-mortem: 2016 Pittsburgh Pirates

On the bright side for the Pirates and their fans, they won’t have to deal with another painful Wild Card loss this season. However, on the other side of the coin, there’s this: Pittsburgh will completely miss the playoffs, and will perhaps finish under .500, for the first time since the 2012 season. The main cause of the Pirates struggles this season? Injuries. Well, injuries...
Via The Comeback
27 days ago  |  Discuss

Nats, Pirates get into it after fake tag leads to Harper injury

The Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates found themselves at odds on Sunday after a fake tag potentially led to a hand injury for Bryce Harper. It started when Harper tripled down the right field line and hurt his left wrist on the slide. The slide wasn’t necessary as the throw badly missed the cutoff men and the baseball wasn’t anywhere near third, but Pirates third...
Via Larry Brown Sports
September 25, 2016  |  Discuss

Pittsburgh Pirates: Final nine games; postseason?

The Pittsburgh Pirates need a miracle, but it’s possible to still achieve a playoff berth. Pittsburgh is on the outside looking in and has nine games to prove that they still belong in the NL Wild Card race. Two games today and tomorrow against Washington will be vital. Pittsburgh needs to finish off the series with a sweep and remain alive in the race. Pittsburgh needs help from...
Via isportsweb.com
September 24, 2016  |  Discuss

Stallings' pinch single in 11th lifts Pirates over Nats 6-5

PITTSBURGH (AP) Rookie Jacob Stallings' pinch-hit single in the 11th inning lifted the Pittsburgh Pirates over Washington 6-5 on Friday night, preventing the Nationals from clinching a postseason berth. Pittsburgh loaded the bases with one out against Yusmiero Petit (3-5) when Francisco Cervelli doubled, Andrew McCutchen was intentionally walked and Pedro Florimon walked. Sean...
Via Associated Press
September 24, 2016  |  Discuss

Pirates' Polanco leaves game after crashing into fence

PITTSBURGH (AP) Pirates left fielder Gregory Polanco left Friday night's game after he crashed into the left-field fence while chasing a first-inning double by Washington's Bryce Harper. Polanco stayed down on the ground for a few minutes then was removed after being examined by team trainers. Adam Frazier moved from second base to replace Polanco, and Alen Hanson took over at...
Via Associated Press
September 23, 2016  |  Discuss

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