Opening Day Roster Comparison: 2012 – 2014

This will be our third season writing about the Pirates on this blog. While much has changed… a lot has actually stayed the same. Look no further than the roster the last few years: many role players have come and gone, but the core is still in place. Just for fun, here’s a look at the Pirates’ Opening Day rosters from 2012, 2013, and 2014…

Opening Day Rotation
2012 2013 2014
Erik Bedard A.J. Burnett Francisco Liriano
Jeff Karstens Wandy Rodriguez Gerrit Cole
James McDonald James McDonald Charlie Morton
Kevin Correia Jonathan Sanchez Wandy Rodriguez
Jeff Locke Edinson Volquez
Disabled List
A.J. Burnett Francisco Liriano Jeff Locke
Charlie Morton Charlie Morton
Jeff Karstens

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Opening Day Bullpen
2012 2013 2014
Joel Hanrahan Jason Grilli Jason Grilli
Jason Grilli Mark Melancon Mark Melancon
Tony Watson Tony Watson Tony Watson
Chris Resop Justin Wilson Justin Wilson
Jared Hughes Jared Hughes Bryan Morris
Juan Cruz Jeanmar Gomez Jeanmar Gomez
Evan Meek Chris Leroux Stolmy Pimentel
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Opening Day Catchers
2012 2013 2014
Rod Barajas Russell Martin Russell Martin
Michael McKenry Michael McKenry Tony Sanchez
Disabled List
Chris Stewart
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Opening Day Infielders
2012 2013 2014
Pedro Alvarez Pedro Alvarez Pedro Alvarez
Clint Barmes Clint Barmes Clint Barmes
Josh Harrison Josh Harrison Josh Harrison
Neil Walker Neil Walker Neil Walker
Garrett Jones Garrett Jones Travis Ishikawa
Casey McGehee Gaby Sanchez Gaby Sanchez
Yamaico Navarro John McDonald Jordy Mercer
Matt Hague
DL: Brandon Inge
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Opening Day Outfielders
2012 2013 2014
Andrew McCutchen Andrew McCutchen Andrew McCutchen
Alex Presley Starling Marte Starling Marte
Jose Tabata Jose Tabata Jose Tabata
Nate McLouth Travis Snider Travis Snider

Like every year, there will be plenty of other players passing through Pittsburgh. Chris Stewart will come back from injury, Jeff Locke and other pitching depth options like Brandon Cumpton will be around, and top prospects Jameson Taillon and Gregory Polanco may get their call to the show.

Here’s what bench coach Jeff Banister tweeted after the Pirates were eliminated from the NLDS last October:


The Pirates flirted with success in 2012. They finally conquered a couple two-decade long droughts in 2013. Will they kick the door down in 2014? Can’t wait to find out.

Go Bucs

Season in Pictures: April 2013

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Pirates Cubs Opening Day 2013

The Pirates line up on April 1st, prior to beginning their unforgettable 2013 season.

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First win of 2013 Jason grilli russell martin

Jason Grilli and Russell Martin celebrate the Bucs’ first victory of the year on April 3rd.

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marte go ahead hr vs cin

Starling Marte celebrates with Jose Tabata after hitting a go-ahead home run on April 13th. The Pirates scored 10 runs in the seventh and eighth innings to beat the Reds, 10-7.

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aj burnett 2000 strikeouts

A.J. Burnett delivers a pitch on April 17th, a night he recorded his 2,000th career strikeout and flirted with a no-hitter.

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clint hurdle ejected

Clint Hurdle argues with umpire Tim Timmons after starter Jonathan Sanchez was ejecting for drilling Allen Craig in the first inning. It was Sanchez’s last outing as a Pirate.

Off-Day Roundup 4/2/13

PNC Park Honus Wagner Statue Home Plate Gate Pirates Opening Day 2013

Ah, the dreaded off-day after the opener. Less than half of the league will be in action on Tuesday; here’s the slate:

Orioles vs. Rays, 3:10 pm
Indians vs. Blue Jays, 7:07 pm
Rockies vs. Brewers, 8:10 pm
Rangers vs. Astros, 8:10 pm
Cardinals vs. Diamondbacks, 9:40 pm
Mariners vs. Athletics, 10:05 pm
Giants vs. Dodgers, 10:10 pm

Some leftover stuff from yesterday’s Bucco game…

– It’s pretty rare to see an alternate jersey worn on Opening Day, but the Pirates sported their black threads yesterday; A.J. Burnett probably had something to do with that. The Bucs previously wore these alternates on Tuesdays and Fridays, but they started to wear them on various days in 2012 – usually when A.J. pitched. We think this trend started after he allowed 12 runs in two innings against the Cardinals while wearing the standard gray road uniform. Assuming he’s superstitious, Burnett switched it up and pitched some of his best ballgames in the black alternate. Regardless of what happened, it was quite obvious that A.J. preferred that uniform, so we were anxious to see what he’d suit up in on Monday. Sure enough, the Pirates took the field in their black alternate jerseys.

– If you haven’t seen it or want to watch it again, here’s the rosin bag exploding on Burnett:

– From the stands, Neil Walker looked noticeably thinner. Not sure if that’s good or bad, but hopefully he’s at full strength. Walker, who was in “the best shape of his life” this offseason, went 1 for 4 on the afternoon – his single was the first Bucco hit of 2013.

– Justin Wilson, Jared Hughes, and Mark Melancon pitched 3.1 perfect innings of relief. Wilson was hitting mid-90’s on his fastball, and threw strikes on 15 of his 19 pitches overall. Hughes pitched a 1-2-3 inning against top Cubs’ hitters Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, and Alfonso Soriano. Eight of Melancon’s nine pitches went for strikes, and he notched two K’s. Hopefully this a sign of things to come for the Bucco bullpen.

– Travis Snider was projected to start in right field to start the season, but Clint Hurdle bumped Garrett Jones to right and put Gaby Sanchez at first. Snider got a chance in the eighth inning, pinch-hitting for the pitcher’s spot… and looked pretty bad. He wasn’t anywhere close to the ball, as he was blown away by a couple of Jeff Samardzija fastballs.

– John “Prime Minister of Defense” McDonald got to play shortstop in the ninth, and committed a throwing error on his first defensive chance as a Pirate.

According to Hurdle, McDonald will be the Bucs’ emergency catcher, even though he’s never played behind the plate in the minors or majors.

– Yesterday’s first pitch temperature: 41 degrees. It was the coldest home opener since 2007, when it was 37 degrees at PNC.

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Elsewhere in Major League Baseball…

– Bryce Harper became the youngest player to hit two home runs on Opening Day:

– Along with Harper, Stephen Strasburg’s seven shutout innings led the Nationals to a 2-0 win over Miami. If only the Pirates were just a little worse in the years right before those guys were drafted…

– Clayton Kershaw had one heck of a game for Los Angeles. In addition to tossing a complete game four-hit shutout, Kershaw gave the Dodgers the lead in the eighth inning with a bomb:

– Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano has ditched super-agent Scott Boras and signed a new deal with hip-hop star Jay-Z. Cano is set to hit the free agent market after this season, but it sounds like he wants to stay in New York.

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The Pirates are back at PNC on Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon, before hitting the west coast this weekend. Get your tickets HERE.

Go Bucs

Monday Morning Links 4/1/13


It’s Opening Day!

Here’s your starting lineup for Game 1 of 162:

1. Starling Marte, LF
2. Garrett Jones, RF
3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
4. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
5. Gaby Sanchez, 1B
6. Neil Walker, 2B
7. Russell Martin, C
8. Clint Barmes, SS
9. A.J. Burnett, P

– Brandon Inge, Jeff Karstens, Francisco Liriano, and Charlie Morton have been placed on the 15-day disabled list.

– Utility man John McDonald will wear number 17.

– Today’s starting pitcher, A.J. Burnett, might retire after this season.

– Pirates season ticket sales increased by 20 percent.

– A total of 93,433 fans passed through the gates of McKechnie Field this spring.

– Dave Brown of Yahoo picks Travis Snider as NL’s breakout hitter and Gerrit Cole as Rookie of the Year.

– There are plenty of new food and drink options on the menu at PNC Park this year.

– Information about the first homestand can be found HERE.

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Around the League:

– The Houston Astros cruised to a big win in their first game as an American League team. Former Pirate Erik Bedard pitched 3.1 innings of relief, picking up the save.

– Alex Rodriguez will earn more money than the entire Astros roster combined in 2013.

Justin Verlander and Buster Posey got big contract extensions this past weekend.

– Johan Santana’s career is in jeopardy.

– Zack Greinke will make his Dodgers debut on Friday against the Pirates.

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On tap this week:


vs. Cubs

1:35 pm


– off –


vs. Cubs

7:05 pm


vs. Cubs

12:35 pm


@ Dodgers

10:10 pm


@ Dodgers

9:10 pm


@ Dodgers

4:10 pm

Go Bucs

In 6 Days…

Starling Marte (6) days until Opening Day.

On July 26th, 2012, Marte hit a home run on the first pitch he saw in the major leagues. Now, he’s poised to start in left field and contribute in a big way.

Three questions about number 6…

1. Can he avoid the infamous “sophomore slump”? Despite appearing in just 50 games, Marte no longer holds rookie status. One must not exceed 130 at-bats the previous season to keep the rookie label, but Starling recorded 167. With that said, can he steer clear from the second-year jinx? Although spring training is a poor indicator, Marte has done well in Grapefruit League play. Hopefully he can carry that success into the regular season.

2. How will he adjust to the leadoff spot? Marte will likely be penciled into the top spot of the Pirates’ lineup, at least to start the season. As we discussed throughout the offseason, he isn’t a prototypical leadoff man, and he’d probably be better off in a spot where he can demonstrate his power and free-swinging. Regardless of where he hits, Marte has loads of potential that could really help the Bucs’ offense.

3. Will he effectively exhibit his five-tool potential at the MLB level? Marte possesses the five tools that scouts look for in a player. Hit for average? He won the Eastern League batting title in 2011. Hit for power? He can annihilate baseballs. Defense? One of the organization’s best defenders when he moved through the system. Arm? An absolute cannon. Speed? He has the legs to steal bases and leg-out triples. It’ll come down to whether or not Marte can piece everything together in order to become a successful major league outfielder.

Go Bucs