Walker returns, Mercer sent back to AAA

“The Pittsburgh Kid” Neil Walker returns to the Pirates lineup after lacerating his right hand on April 26th. The 27-year-old second baseman hit .253/.352/.342 in 23 games before his injury.

In the corresponding move, Jordy Mercer has been sent back to Triple-A Indianapolis. He went 8-for-31 with two doubles and eight home runs in nine games since Friday, May 3rd. Bucco fans are disappointed by this move, to say the least.

Obviously it’s good to see Neil back, but sending Mercer out hurts the club. The Pirates could either send Jordy back to Indy (as they did), or keep him on the roster & cut someone from their surplus of old, light-hitting infielders, like John McDonald. McDonald, dubbed “The Prime Minister of Defense,” has two hits in 30 at-bats, posting a -0.5 WAR. There’s no doubt Mercer can help the club more than McDonald right now, but the main argument is that he will see regular at-bats in AAA rather than splitting time in Pittsburgh.

Either way you slice it, the Bucs likely don’t have the best 25 players on the roster right now (and it goes beyond this move). But at the end of the day, it’s a business, and we are all just fans with no say in the matter.

Updated Pirates Depth Chart

Photo: Keith Allison/Creative Commons

BASEBALL IS BACK | Opening Day 2013

[quote_box author=”Joe DiMaggio” profession=”Baseball Legend”]”You always get a special kick on Opening Day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.”[/quote_box]

One of the best days of the entire year is finally here…

Diehard Bucco fans have been counting down to this day since the final out of the 2012 regular season was recorded.

It was a long offseason – new coaches were hired, Andrew McCutchen won a bunch of awards, Russell Martin was brought in to be the new catcher, Jason Grilli was re-signed, Joel Hanrahan was dealt, the Francisco Liriano saga lasted for weeks, Clint Hurdle was extended, et al.

The roster is set and predictions have been made. It doesn’t matter if you think the Pirates will win 90 games or lose 90 games – all your questions will be answered soon enough.

Aside from the heartbreak of the last 20 years, there’s something special about the beginning of a new Bucco season. The past is the past, and none of it matters anymore. The Pirates and every other team in Major League Baseball all start in the same spot on Opening Day – 0 wins, 0 losses. The clean slate represents hope and optimism – maybe this is the year that the Bucs can finally break “the streak.”

Regardless of their win-loss totals, good times are on the way in the Steel City. The 2012 season showed fans how exciting Andrew McCutchen & Co. can be…

The “Zoltan” taking over Pittsburgh. A.J. Burnett telling Hanley Ramirez what to do. Cutch being Cutch. The Pittsburgh Kid producing five-hit games again and again. Waiting out a late night rain delay to see Pedro tie it up. El Toro winning it in the 19th. #FirstPlaceBucs trending worldwide after a Reds’ loss on Sunday Night Baseball. Relentlessly voting McCutchen onto the cover of a video game (#MLB13CUTCH!). The list goes on and on, and this city is being re-bonded with its baseball team.

What moments will make us proud to be Bucco fans in 2013? We can’t wait to find out.

It all starts today – April 1st, 2013. It’s Opening Day.

Let’s Go Bucs

In 18 Days…

Neil Walker (18) days until Opening Day.

“The Pittsburgh Kid” enters his third full season as the Pirates’ second baseman after an injury-shortened 2012 campaign.

Two questions about number 18…

1. Can he stay healthy? He was sidelined for a few days in August with a dislocated finger, and missed 27 of 35 games down the stretch due to a herniated disk in his back. There’s no question that Walker is a big part of this Bucco squad, especially offensively. If he is slowed by injuries again this season, the club will likely be forced to replace him with someone of a much lesser skill set. Another extended loss of Walker would hurt the Pirates chances in 2013.

2. Where will he hit in the lineup? Many believe Neil should hit second, but he’s only hit there once this spring. Clint Hurdle has mentioned hitting Russell Martin second, which we don’t entirely agree with. A likely place for Walker to settle into is the fifth spot. Regardless, Walker offers some flexibility in the lineup. He’s capable of getting on base which is suitable for the two-hole, setting the table for Andrew McCutchen and others behind him. He’s also suitable for the five-hole, as he’s been capable of producing with men in scoring position. Whether Walker hits before or after McCutchen, he’ll be a key piece of the Pirates’ offense in 2013.

Go Bucs

From Forbes to Federal Shop Discount

Spreadshirt, the company that our Shop is powered by, is offering a special discount from Monday, February 25th until Tuesday, March 5th.

When you place an order over $30, you will receive $5 off. All you need to do is enter the coupon code GREENWEEK when checking out.

Click HERE to access our online store.

We recently slashed a few prices for more affordable shopping. Here are a few of our top products:

FFTF Top Products

Our line of player nickname shirts is popular as well:

FFTF Player Shirseys

If you have any requests, suggestions, or ideas for products that you wish to see in our shop, please leave a comment below.

Thanks for the support and Go Bucs.

McCutchen, Walker rank in ‘Top 10 Right Now’

MLB Network ranked Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen in the “Top 10 Right Now” for their respective positions.

Walker was named the 7th best second baseman in Major League Baseball. It’s good to see “The Pittsburgh Kid” getting some recognition. MLB “expert” Harold Reynolds was all over Neil, saying that he wouldn’t even place him in the top ten. However, MLB Network’s “Shredder” felt otherwise, so Walker gets a spot. A look at his offensive career to date:

2009 23 PIT 17 36 5 7 1 0 0 0 1 0 4 11 .194 .275 .222 .497
2010 24 PIT 110 426 57 126 29 3 12 66 2 3 34 83 .296 .349 .462 .811
2011 25 PIT 159 596 76 163 36 4 12 83 9 6 54 112 .273 .334 .408 .742
2012 26 PIT 129 472 62 132 27 0 14 69 7 5 47 104 .280 .342 .426 .768
4 Yrs 415 1530 200 428 93 7 38 218 19 14 139 310 .280 .339 .424 .763
162 Game Avg. 162 597 78 167 36 3 15 85 7 5 54 121 .280 .339 .424 .763

The rest of the second base top 10 balanced out like this:

10. Daniel Murphy

9. Jason Kipnis

8. Howard Kendrick

7. Walker

6. Dan Uggla

5. Brandon Phillips

4. Ian Kinsler

3. Chase Utley

2. Dustin Pedroia

1. Robinson Cano

Andrew McCutchen continues to rack up honors, as MLBN ranked him as the 2nd best center fielder in baseball. Bill James actually rated him #1 on his own list. It was announced earlier Friday that Cutch will be the cover athlete for MLB 13 The Show. A look at his impressive offensive stats:

2009 22 PIT 108 433 74 124 26 9 12 54 22 5 54 83 .286 .365 .471 .836
2010 23 PIT 154 570 94 163 35 5 16 56 33 10 70 89 .286 .365 .449 .814
2011 24 PIT 158 572 87 148 34 5 23 89 23 10 89 126 .259 .364 .456 .820
2012 25 PIT 157 593 107 194 29 6 31 96 20 12 70 132 .327 .400 .553 .953
4 Yrs 577 2168 362 629 124 25 82 295 98 37 283 430 .290 .374 .484 .858
162 Game Avg. 162 609 102 177 35 7 23 83 28 10 79 121 .290 .374 .484 .858

The rest of the top ten for center fielders:

10. Michael Bourn

9. Adam Jones

8. Jon Jay

7. Curtis Granderson

6. Shin-Soo Choo

5. Jacoby Ellsbury

4. Austin Jackson

3. Matt Kemp

2. McCutchen

1. Mike Trout

Go Bucs