2013 Home Run Derby Preview

For the second consecutive year, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be represented in the Home Run Derby.

Pedro Alvarez is the fifth Pirate to ever compete, joining Bobby Bonilla (1990), Barry Bonds (1992), Jason Bay (2005), and Andrew McCutchen (2012). However, none of those players have hit more than four home runs in the competition. How many will El Toro hit?

Here’s what you need to know about tonight’s Derby…

2013 Home Run Derby

Citi Field – New York, NY
Monday, July 15th – 8:00 pm
TV: ESPN

The National League participants…

Pedro Alvarez

2013 Home Runs: 24
Derby Odds (Bovada): 11/2

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Bryce Harper

2013 Home Runs: 13
Derby Odds (Bovada): 11/2

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Michael Cuddyer

2013 Home Runs: 16
Derby Odds (Bovada): 12/1

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David Wright – Captain

2013 Home Runs: 13
Derby Odds (Bovada): 9/1

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The American League participants…

Chris Davis

2013 Home Runs: 37
Derby Odds (Bovada): 11/4

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Yoenis Cespedes

2013 Home Runs: 15
Derby Odds (Bovada): 11/2

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Prince Fielder

2013 Home Runs: 16
Derby Odds (Bovada): 15/4

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Robinson Cano – Captain

2013 Home Runs: 21
Derby Odds (Bovada): 6/1

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Here are the five longest home runs this season among Derby contestants (via ESPN & Hit Tracker):

1. David Wright, 464 feet
2. Prince Fielder, 460 feet
3. Pedro Alvarez, 456 feet
4. Pedro Alvarez, 454 feet
5. Robinson Cano, 442 feet

Here’s how many feet the eight participants have averaged on their homers this year (via ESPN & Hit Tracker):

1. Yoenis Cespedes, 407.9 feet
2. Pedro Alvarez, 407.1 feet
3. Michael Cuddyer, 406.8 feet
4. Bryce Harper, 406.5 feet
5. Chris Davis, 403.9 feet
6. David Wright, 404.7 feet
7. Robinson Cano, 401.5 feet
8. Prince Fielder, 396.2 feet

If you want to make a safe bet, Prince Fielder or Chris Davis may be the way to go for tonight’s Home Run Derby. Fielder has experience, participating in the competition four times and winning it twice. Davis has mashed a ridiculous 37 home runs so far this season.

However, don’t sleep on Pedro Alvarez. We’ve all seen him crush balls in the games, and we can only imagine how far he can crank them in batting practice. Bob Walk and some of the other Bucco broadcasters have drooled over Pedro’s BP performances. One pitcher told ESPN, “I can’t believe how hard (Alvarez) swings the bat. When he swings, it’s like he’s trying to shatter the bat, just by hitting the ball so hard. Just a violent, explosive swing. And when he connects, it’s just majestic to watch.”

He’s averaged 407.1 feet on his homers this year. He’s hit 16 of his 24 long balls more than 400 feet. All but one would have landed over the fence at Citi Field. Hopefully The Big Bull puts on a show tonight in the Big Apple.

#FreeTheBull

Go Pedro

Dissecting the Schedule: July

We’ll spend time this week breaking down the Pirates’ 2013 schedule, month by month. 

schedule July
(Click to enlarge)

Notes:

– The Bucs will open July with a three-game set against the cross-state rival Philadelphia Phillies. The two clubs will celebrate America’s independence with a 1:35 pm start on the 4th.

– Billy Beane’s Oakland Athletics will travel to PNC Park for the first time since 2002. One of the best stories in baseball last season, Yoenis Cespedes and the A’s are a team you don’t want to miss.

– The only weekend series of the month will be July 12th – 14th when the New York Mets come to town.

– Only three promotions at PNC in July, all during the Mets series – Free Shirt Friday, Zambelli fireworks on Saturday, Kids Day/Kids Tumbler Cup on Sunday.

– The 84th MLB All-Star Game will be hosted at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16th.

– The Pirates start the second half on the road in Cincinnati for the beginning of a 10-game roadtrip. That trip will take the team to Washington and Miami.

– After the All-Star break, the Bucs will play 17 straight games into August.

Tickets to any 2013 Pirates game can be purchased HERE.

Previous Editions:
April
May

June

Awards Week: Rookie of the Year

The Baseball Writer’s Association of America announced the winners of the 2012 American League and National League Rookie of the Year Awards on Monday night.

The American League winner is Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels.

Trout, 21, won the award by unanimous vote. The New Jersey native was an absolute beast for LA this season; he was spectacular both offensively and defensively. He is up for the AL Most Valuable Player Award as well. Trout beat out Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes and Texas’ Yu Darvish for Rookie of the Year. While Cespedes and Darvish put together nice rookie seasons, Trout had one of the best ever.

The National League winner is Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals.

Harper, 20, led the Nationals to their first postseason appearance. He hit .330 down the stretch, crushed 22 bombs, stole 18 bases, and made the All-Star team. The other finalists were Arizona’s Wade Miley and Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier. A strong case could be made for any of the three players, though Harper is definitely deserving.

Bucs Bits: Pirates News and Notes

- The Buccos have brought in left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes, signing him to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Although he had success in the minors, Reyes has never posted an ERA under 5.57 in the big leagues. Despite his poor numbers, he still has some upside since he is just 27 years of age and can hit 90 MPH on the gun. He could intrigue the Pirates as a reliever since Tony Watson and Daniel Moskos are the only current southpaws in the bullpen.

 

– According to Dejan Kovacevic, the Pirates have had discussions with Paul Maholm, but it is still highly unlikely that he returns to Pittsburgh. I would not mind bringing in another starting pitcher in case someone goes down in spring training, or if Charlie Morton is not ready to start the season. At one point, the Pirates were prioritizing a starter, but it is unclear if they are still pursuing pitching depth.

– Neal Huntington also said that the Bucs have been tracking Cuban prospect Yoenis Cespedes for years, although they aren’t considered to be frontrunners to sign him. I can’t see a small market team acquiring a prized prospect like Cespedes, since I think a big team like the Yankees will offer him a substantial amount of cash that is out of the Pirates price range.

– In addition to Reyes, the Pirates have also signed RHP Logan Kensing to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. Kensing will most likely start the year at Indianapolis and provide organizational depth, although he could appear in Pittsburgh if a few relievers get injured.

– Ken Rosenthal reported that the Pirates have expressed interest in A.J. Burnett. However, he is guaranteed a huge contract for the next two seasons which could be a problem.

– We are now exactly 3 months from Opening Day 2012, which is just 90 days away.

The View from Section 134

Thanks to Joe Klimchak, one of the best in-game hosts in the MLB, for tweeting us this great picture of the view from section 134. Check out @BucsJoe on Twitter, and be sure to give him a follow!

Go Bucs