Sunday, June 30, 2013

Praising Neal, Pedro, Mark/Jason, and Austin

Cleaning out the Mental In-Box, Pirates Edition....

  • I have come to the conclusion that it is time to declare a moratorium on the Neal Huntington Bashing.  Here's why:  A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, Jeff Locke, Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, Justin Wilson, Bryan Morris, Mark Melancon, Jason Grilli, Jeanmar Gomez, Russell Martin, Garrett Jones, Gaby Sanchez, Jordy Mercer, Pedro Alvarez, Travis Snider, Mike McKenry.  Have I left anyone out? Oh, yeah, Clint Hurdle.   Each of those 18 players and one manager have played significant, if not huge, roles in putting the Pirates where they are today - the team with the best record in all of Major League Baseball at the halfway point of the season, and all of them are with the Pirates because of the maneuverings of GM Neal Huntington.  So maybe he knew what he was doing all along.
  • All this, and the Pirates minor league system seems to be just bristling with top-notch prospects.  (I say "seems to be" because, as we know, there is no such thing as a Sure Thing when it comes to minor league prospects.)  Still, a much brighter outlook down on the farm than there was five years ago.
  • Lots of grass still to be mown, but at this point, I'd say that NH is the leader at the half-way pole for Executive of the Year.
  • This is not to say that he won't STILL drive me nuts with the NHB, though.
  • So much energy and anger has been spent over something that has not yet happened - the Gerrit Cole return to Indianapolis - that I decided yesterday that I would no longer speak of it until it actually happened.  Plus, these things oft-times have a way of working themselves out organically, and the Wandy recovery setback seems to offer proof of that.
  • With the conclusion of this afternoon's game with the Brewers, the Pirates will, literally, be halfway through the season.  At worst, they will be 50-31 and tied for first in the NL Central.  With a win today, they will be 51-30 and still have at least a one game lead in the Division.  Is "unbelievable" too strong a word to describe this?
  • If on Memorial Day you said that Pedro Alvarez belonged on the All-Star team, you'd have been laughed out of town.  However, here is what he has done in 91 AB's in the month of June: .330 BA, 10 HR, 24 RBI, 15 R, and 1.127 OPS. Yeah, I'd say he should be on the All-Star team.  Of course, for the critics out there, he did strike out 33 times, and he still wears his hat funny.
  • Too bad you can't have a "tandem" All-Star, because if you did, Mark Melancon/Jason Grilli would be a sure fire pick.  The Pirates play seven inning games because of those guys.
  • As it is, I am sure that Grilli will be at Citi Field come July 17.
  • I went back in the Grandstander archives last night to check out my pre-season forecast for the Pirates.  I predicted 79 wins.  Lots of ball still to be played, but the Pirates are on pace to make me look really, really stupid, and I'm loving every minute of it!
  • Did you catch the in-game interview on Friday night with just signed first round pick Austin Meadows?  What a kick that was.  First of all, he's EIGHTEEN YEARS OLD.  I have neckties older than that.  But how refreshing he was (he appears to be the Anti-Bryce Harper).  Answered every question from Greg Brown and Bob Walk by saying "sir", and said his goal was to hit one in the river at PNC Park.  There is no way to know if this kid will deliver the goods someday for the Pirates, but after hearing him on Friday, I sure hope he turns out to be everything the Pirates hope he will be.
Let's all get ready for the second half of 2013.  It looks like it's going to be a fun ride down on the North Shore.

1 comment:

  1. Just realized that I left off the name of Vin Mazzaro, so make it 19 players that NH has brought to this team. Ironic in light of his performance yesterday. Sorry, Vinnie!