Bucco GIFs of the Year: June 2014

GIFs of the year — June edition.

– Welcome to the show, Gregory Polanco:

polanco first hit0001

– El Coffee swings on his first big league homer:

gregory polanco first mlb home run

– Hey Brandon Phillips — you can’t do that:

marte phillips

Travis Snider strikes out Joey Votto!

travis snider strikes out joey votto

Jason Grilli waves goodbye to his bullpen mates after being traded to the Angels:

grilligoodbye0001

Josh Harrison‘s (first) epic rundown:

josh harrison rundown

– MVP:

cutch catch0001

Previous editions:

April 2014

May 2014

Go Bucs

Monday Morning Links 6/30/14

Some notes on this last day of June…

– With 82 games in the books, the Bucs are more than 50% of the way through the 2014 regular season. Wrote a little bit yesterday about where the Pirates stand right now.

Edinson Volquez shut down the Mets on Sunday, allowing no runs over six innings. That’s two really solid outings in a row since the Reds annihilated him on June 18th. It’s been a different story every time out for Volquez, whether it be more or less runs, hits, strikeouts, walks, etc. He hasn’t been very consistent this year, though outings like his last two are obviously preferred.

– After hurling four strong innings of long relief on Saturday, Tom Singer writes how Stolmy Pimentel has the makeup of a starting pitcher.

Russell Martin was given two days off in a row, and Monday makes it three. He’s dealing with some soreness, hopefully nothing too serious.

Tim Williams writes about some of the pitching depth options the Pirates have in store for the second half. An intriguing name to watch: Nick Kingham, who has cruised through his first four Triple-A starts. He dominated again on Sunday evening, throwing six scoreless innings on four hits, five strikeouts, and two walks. In 26.2 innings with Indy, he’s boasted a 0.34 ERA and a 20:5 strikeout to walk ratio. And his curve ball is filthy:

Nick  Kingham Curveball

– 2013 first round selection Austin Meadows will finally return to game action today. Hamstring issues have kept him from playing at all this season.

– The Pirates drew four sellouts and a total of 150,819 fans this weekend, setting the PNC Park four-day attendance record.

– In case you missed it yesterday, Travis Sawchik had a really good article in the Trib about the recent rash of Tommy John surgeries across baseball.

– After a 1-2-3 inning in his Angels debut on Saturday, Jason Grilli was handed the loss on Sunday afternoon. He entered the ninth in a tie ballgame; after drilling Alex Gordon with a pitch, Howie Kendrick committed an error at the second base bag to put runners on the corners. The next batter, Omar Infante, laced a single to left field to give the Royals a 5-4 victory.

– Dejan Kovacevic brings the heat on the real Jason Grilli.

[quote_simple]”As a person, and again I’m speaking for no one other than myself, I’ve never seen someone act 180 degrees one way around some people, then 180 degrees the other around others, quite like (Grilli). As soon as the cameras or microphones were on, he was Mr. Smile and all emotional and passionate and weepy or whatever. As soon as they were off, he was something else altogether. And again, I’m talking 180 degrees.”[/quote_simple]

I advise you read everything he had to say about him. DK elaborates on the “powerhouse” tweet that Grilli sent out, noting that “…the players in that clubhouse will read it, and not one of them will be surprised.” What I watched him do in Bradenton this past March — show up late to a pitchers meeting in the McKechnie Field bullpen because he was talking on the phone, wearing a t-shirt while everyone else was in uniform, acting like he owned the place — began to change my opinion on him, as did the time I met him when he clearly wasn’t as personable to us as he was made out to be.  But I guess that’s none of my business. Enough about Grilli.


NL Central Standings:

nl central standings


Wild Card Standings:

nl wild card


On Tap This Week:

Monday — off
Tuesday — vs. D-backs, 7:05 pm
Wednesday — vs. D-backs, 7:05 pm
Thursday — vs. D-backs, 7:05 pm
Friday — vs. Phillies, 5:05 pm
Saturday — vs. Phillies, 4:05 pm
Sunday — vs. Phillies, 1:35 pm


Go Bucs

Breaking Down the Grilli – Frieri Trade

It came out of nowhere, but the Pirates officially parted ways with Jason Grilli on Friday:

Two guys who notched over 30 saves in 2013 but found themselves demoted from the closer role less than a year later. Now, they trade places. Jason Grilli is an Angel and Ernesto Frieri is a Pirate. Let’s take a look at both sides of the deal…


Jason Grilli

The numbers from Grilli’s Pirate career:

Year Age Tm W L ERA G SV IP H ER HR BB SO ERA+ FIP WHIP BB9 SO9
2011 34 PIT 2 1 2.48 28 1 32.2 24 9 2 15 37 151 3.30 1.194 4.1 10.2
2012 35 PIT 1 6 2.91 64 2 58.2 45 19 7 22 90 130 2.81 1.142 3.4 13.8
2013 ★ 36 PIT 0 2 2.70 54 33 50.0 40 15 4 13 74 133 1.97 1.060 2.3 13.3
2014 37 PIT 0 2 4.87 22 11 20.1 22 11 4 11 21 74 5.36 1.623 4.9 9.3
PIT (4 yrs) 3 11 3.01 168 47 161.2 131 54 17 61 222 123 2.97 1.188 3.4 12.4
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/27/2014.

Simply put, Grilli is done — or almost there. Ever since his injury suffered in Washington last year — on the same day his Sports Illustrated cover hit news stands — he hasn’t been the same pitcher. The velocity has declined, the command has been out of control at times. His strikeout percentage has fallen to 22.6% of batters after resting above 36% each of the past two years, while his walk rate has gone in the other direction.

The free-agent-to-be just hasn’t been effective all year long. The blown saves, especially the ones against the Brewers, killed the team early on and justified his demotion out of the closer role. He’s been getting pounded recently, allowing opponents to hit a ridiculous .351/.442/.568 against him in June.

It was weird to see him fall from grace over the last year. Fans (like myself) quickly turned on him for his poor performances and overkill book promotions. Let’s not forget what he did for the Pirates, though. He was instrumental to the team’s success for a few years, whether it was setting up for Joel Hanrahan or closing things out himself. It’s hard to imagine the 2013 Bucs without their shutdown bullpen, especially the closer and leader, Jason Grilli.

Still, it was time to move on. He was hurting them a lot more than helping them in 2014, and it’s impressive that they were even able to get something for him.


Ernesto Frieri

Career numbers for Frieri:

Year Age Tm W L ERA G SV IP H ER HR BB SO ERA+ FIP WHIP BB9 SO9
2009 23 SDP 0 0 0.00 2 0 2.0 0 0 0 1 2 2.60 0.500 4.5 9.0
2010 24 SDP 1 1 1.71 33 0 31.2 18 6 2 17 41 218 2.92 1.105 4.8 11.7
2011 25 SDP 1 2 2.71 59 0 63.0 51 19 3 34 76 132 3.28 1.349 4.9 10.9
2012 26 SDP 1 0 2.31 11 0 11.2 9 3 2 4 18 161 3.78 1.114 3.1 13.9
2012 26 LAA 4 2 2.32 56 23 54.1 26 14 7 26 80 165 3.54 0.957 4.3 13.3
2013 27 LAA 2 4 3.80 67 37 68.2 55 29 11 30 98 99 3.72 1.238 3.9 12.8
2014 28 LAA 0 3 6.39 34 11 31.0 33 22 8 9 38 60 4.97 1.355 2.6 11.0
6 Yrs 9 12 3.19 262 71 262.1 192 93 33 121 353 117 3.62 1.193 4.2 12.1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/27/2014.

ernesto frieri0001

Like Grilli, Frieri quickly fell from favor in 2014. His 6.39 ERA certainly isn’t anything to write home about; however, there a few reasons to be intrigued by him.

1. Age. Frieri’s 28 right now — will turn 29 on July 29th — still relatively young, considering his years of experience.

2. Years of control. While Grilli will be a free agent after this season, Frieri could stick around for a while — he still has two years of arbitration eligibility, meaning he won’t be a FA until after the 2016 season. He’s earning $3.8 million this year; he could be plenty affordable the next couple of seasons.

3. He strikes people out. He’s seen excellent strikeout rates in each of his MLB seasons, averaging nearly 11 or more K per nine innings each year.

4. He’s shown better control. Even in this down year, he’s improved his walk rate compared to previous seasons. Walking just 6.8% of batters in 2014 is the best he’s ever done.

Season BB/9 BB%
2009 4.50 14.3%
2010 4.83 13.3%
2011 4.86 12.3%
2012 4.09 11.2%
2013 3.93 10.3%
2014 2.61 6.8%

5. Higher ground ball rates. Good ground ball rates are something the Pirates look for. Of course, grounders can’t go over the fence. And Frieri’s — while not stellar — has improved.

Season GB%
2010 24.6%
2011 24.0%
2012 26.3%
2013 23.6%
2014 35.3%

6. The luck factor. His ground ball rate is up, meaning his fly ball rate is down — however, a higher percentage of those are finding their way over the fence. His HR/FB ratio is an absurd 21.1%, third highest among qualified relievers. Further, his strand rate is down and opponents batting average on balls in play is way up. You can only hope that these three “luck” stats will regress (for the better) to the mean.

7. He’s a hard thrower with a decent arsenal. Here’s what he’s worked with in 2014:

Pitch Type Count Freq Velo (mph)
Fourseam 456 77.16% 94.97
Change 27 4.57% 87.51
Slider 103 17.43% 82.98
Curve 1 0.17% 79.93

via Brooks Baseball

There’s a good chance he can bounce back from what looks to be a bad year. We saw the Pirates do this same thing with relievers Joel Hanrahan and Mark Melancon, to name a few. Put him in a pitchers park in the National League, let him perform in some moderate-to-high leverage situations, give Ray Searage some time to work his magic, and go from there.

Worst case, he’ll be terrible and they’ll dump him and move on, just like they were going to do with Grilli anyway. But it’s worth giving this guy a shot.


Final Thoughts

Neither one of these guys has been good this season. But if I had to choose between 1) a 37-year-old with declining abilities who will be a free agent after the season and 2) a 28-year-old with a couple years of control and a greater probability of bouncing back, I think I’d take option #2 every time.

If Frieri works out, great — they’d be getting a solid return for a piece they were soon going to part with anyway. If not, not much harm done.

Best of luck to Grilli in Los Angeles and with the rest of his career.

UPDATE:

ROOT Sports caught Grilli waving goodbye to his bullpen mates before exiting PNC Park:

grilligoodbye0001

On the other hand, Ernesto “Ernasty” Frieri is ready to join the fold:

Go Bucs

Saturday Stat Sheet 6/21/14

Jordy Mercer knocked his fifth home run of 2014 on Friday afternoon — fourth of June. He’s hitting .306 with an .852 OPS since breaking out of a huge slump on May 31st.

– On-base machine Russell Martin has reached safely in all 22 of his games since returning from the disabled list, boasting a .500 OBP in that span.

Andrew McCutchen has finally looked human over the last few days (1 hit in his last 13 at-bats) … though he’s still slashing .351/.422/.770 in June.

– Everyone’s been on Pedro Alvarez‘s case recently … The power is absent and throwing errors are annoying, but has anyone realized that he’s hitting .297 with a .384 on-base percentage this month?

Gregory Polanco‘s hitting streak is at 10.

Jason Grilli, demoted from the closer role, pitched a scoreless eighth inning on Friday. His numbers compared to last year are not pretty:

Year ERA IP HR BB SO ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2013 ★ 2.70 50.0 4 13 74 133 1.97 1.060 7.2 0.7 2.3 13.3 5.69
2014 4.12 19.2 4 11 19 89 5.63 1.475 8.2 1.8 5.0 8.7 1.73
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/21/2014.

Charlie Morton … hard to figure out. After stringing together five or so good starts in a row, he imploded for six runs in six innings yesterday. The crooked number & one big inning again — five runs in the third inning did him in.

Vance Worley gets the ball for the Bucs in game #2. Seven scoreless at Marlins Park last Sunday; let’s see if he can do it again tonight at Wrigley.


Batting through 73 contests:

Pos Name G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
C Russell Martin 38 127 18 35 6 0 3 21 3 26 29 .276 .429 .394 .823 135
1B Ike Davis* 54 163 22 41 8 0 4 18 0 27 37 .252 .356 .374 .730 107
2B Neil Walker# (15-day dl) 62 239 29 67 8 0 11 35 1 16 36 .280 .353 .452 .805 125
SS Jordy Mercer 65 214 25 49 10 0 5 19 1 8 42 .229 .264 .346 .610 70
3B Pedro Alvarez* 72 263 33 62 8 1 11 35 5 32 69 .236 .321 .399 .720 102
LF Starling Marte 70 267 34 69 13 3 5 26 17 19 80 .258 .324 .386 .710 99
CF Andrew McCutchen 72 272 38 85 22 2 11 42 9 51 58 .313 .422 .529 .951 166
RF Travis Snider* 66 129 10 29 2 1 3 12 0 16 29 .225 .315 .326 .641 81
Pos Name G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
RF Josh Harrison 57 172 24 52 10 3 4 18 4 11 26 .302 .346 .465 .811 126
OF Jose Tabata 60 138 12 41 4 1 0 14 1 6 21 .297 .331 .341 .672 90
1B Gaby Sanchez 52 119 15 30 10 1 5 15 2 8 30 .252 .305 .479 .784 117
SS Clint Barmes 37 80 13 21 4 0 0 4 1 6 15 .263 .341 .313 .653 86
C Chris Stewart 22 67 5 18 1 0 0 3 0 7 13 .269 .351 .284 .634 82
RF Gregory Polanco* 10 49 9 18 1 0 1 6 0 4 6 .367 .415 .449 .864 144
Pos Name G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
Team Totals 73 2539 297 660 109 13 66 285 44 249 584 .260 .335 .391 .726 104
Rank in 15 NL teams 4 7 5 13 11 8 6 3 7 2 1 7 4
Non-Pitcher Totals 73 2412 292 644 109 13 66 283 44 244 531 .267 .344 .405 .749 110
Pitcher Totals 73 127 5 16 0 0 0 2 0 5 53 .126 .159 .126 .285 -18
Pos Name G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/21/2014.

Pitching:

Pos Name W L ERA G SV IP H ER HR ERA+ FIP WHIP BB9 SO9
SP Charlie Morton 4 8 3.47 15 0 93.1 84 36 6 103 3.90 1.264 3.3 7.0
SP Edinson Volquez 4 6 4.67 15 0 81.0 74 42 11 77 4.68 1.259 3.1 6.1
SP Gerrit Cole (15-day dl) 6 3 3.64 12 0 76.2 75 31 8 99 3.82 1.304 2.9 8.1
SP Francisco Liriano* (15-day dl) 1 6 4.60 14 0 72.1 69 37 8 78 3.97 1.452 4.5 9.6
SP Brandon Cumpton 2 2 5.82 7 0 38.2 50 25 1 62 3.27 1.526 2.1 5.6
Pos Name W L ERA G SV IP H ER HR ERA+ FIP WHIP BB9 SO9
CL Jason Grilli 0 2 4.12 21 11 19.2 18 9 4 89 5.63 1.475 5.0 8.7
RP Mark Melancon 1 2 1.89 35 10 33.1 20 7 1 192 2.46 0.780 1.6 7.8
RP Tony Watson* 5 0 0.82 33 0 33.0 25 3 1 443 2.09 1.061 2.7 11.2
RP Justin Wilson* 2 0 5.08 32 0 28.1 24 16 0 71 2.77 1.412 5.1 9.5
RP Jared Hughes 3 2 1.95 24 0 27.2 22 6 2 186 4.25 1.120 2.9 3.9
Jeanmar Gomez 1 2 3.49 23 0 38.2 40 15 6 104 4.62 1.319 2.6 6.8
Jeff Locke* 0 1 3.76 4 0 26.1 21 11 1 97 2.37 0.873 0.7 6.5
Stolmy Pimentel 2 1 4.67 8 0 17.1 20 9 3 78 4.65 1.558 3.6 9.3
Vance Worley 0 0 0.00 1 0 7.0 5 0 0 1.66 0.714 0.0 6.4
Travis Snider* 0 0 18.00 1 0 1.0 1 2 0 28 7.09 3.000 18.0 9.0
Team Totals 35 38 3.92 73 21 663.2 626 289 68 92 4.03 1.297 3.2 7.4
Rank in 15 NL teams 8 6 13 6 7 8 13 9
Pos Name W L ERA G SV IP H ER HR ERA+ FIP WHIP BB9 SO9
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/21/2014.

Go Bucs

Saturday Stat Sheet 5/31/14

- Ike Davis, 2-for-4 with a 450-foot bomb last night, has been on fire recently: .346/.430/.481 in his last 27 games. In the last calendar year, Ike ranks third among MLB first basemen in on-base percentage. Wrote more about him earlier.

Neil Walker‘s been a force recently as well – he’s riding an 11-game hitting streak, batting .356 with an .840 OPS in that span. He has boosted his batting average by 49 points since May 1st, and still leads National League second basemen in HR and RBI.

– Francisco Liriano was much more effective on Friday than in his previous few starts. He tossed 5.2 innings of shutout ball, striking out eight and walking two. Frankie showed some good offspeed stuff, getting 12 whiffs on his changeup and five on his slider. Having a healthy, effective Liriano would be huge for the Pirates and their rotation.

Jason Grilli since coming off the DL last week: 0 runs, 2 hits, 6 K, 1 BB … 3 saves in 3 opportunities. Velocity is definitely down a bit, hasn’t really looked the same since his injury last year.

– Weekly Andrew McCutchen update — hitless in the first two games of the Dodgers series, but still slashing .303/.427/.446 on the year. Hasn’t hit a homer since April 23rd.

– The Pirates are stacking the lineup with right-handed hitters against southpaw Hyun-jin Ryu on Saturday night:

Josh Harrison, 3B
Neil Walker, 2B
Andrew McCutchen, CF
Gaby Sanchez, 1B
Starling Marte, LF
Jose Tabata, RF
Jordy Mercer, SS
Chris Stewart, C
Brandon Cumpton, P

J-Hay gets the nod at third with Pedro Alvarez getting the night off. First base platoon in action with Gaby getting the reps tonight over Ike. Jose Tabata, Jordy Mercer, Chris Stewart in action tonight. Brandon Cumpton on the bump.

Straight Outta Cumpton


Batting numbers:

pirates hitting stats may 31


Pitching

pirates pitching stats may 31

Go Bucs