Archive for Pirates

Sunday Notes: Brewers Broadcaster Jeff Levering Looks at Bullpens, Sees Value

Jeff Levering has had a bird’s-eye view of bull-penning at its best. Perched alongside Bob Uecker in the Milwaukee Brewers radio booth, he’s gotten to watch Craig Counsell adroitly shuttle relievers in and out of games, most notably since the calendar turned to October. One thing he hasn’t seen — at least not often — is starters going deep into games. Brewers starters threw just 847 innings in the regular season, the fewest among teams that advanced beyond the Wild Card round.

A few months ago I asked Levering if he could share any observations, and/or opinions, on the current state of the game. He brought up pitcher usage.

“Baseball is trending to specialization, especially with how bullpens are being constructed,” said Levering. “You’re asking starting pitchers to give you five or six innings. You don’t have many guys like Max Scherzer where you can say, ‘All right, he’s going to give us seven or eight innings today, no matter what.’”

Levering proceeded to mention last winter’s free-agent environment. Rather than being priorities, as they had been in the past, starting pitchers were almost an afterthought. Lucrative offers were neither plentiful nor quickly-coming. Read the rest of this entry »


Orlando Arcia Bunted for a Double

During their Friday night game in Milwaukee, the Pirates wouldn’t have expected Orlando Arcia to be such a nuisance. Out of every batter this season with at least 250 plate appearances, Arcia ranks third from the bottom in wRC+. Taking a deeper look at expected wOBA, based on Statcast-tracked batted balls, Arcia ranks dead last. Furthermore, and more importantly, Arcia wasn’t even in the starting lineup. The Brewers had Jonathan Schoop at shortstop. Arcia only entered during a top-of-the-fifth double-switch.

But by the time the evening was over, Arcia had finished 3-for-3 at the plate. The first time he came up, facing Chris Archer, he tried his damnedest to injure Archer and knock him out of the game.

And then, the second time he came up, facing Steven Brault, he drove in a couple of runners. It’s not uncommon for two runs to score on a double. It is uncommon for said double to come on a bunt.

Read the rest of this entry »


Daily Prospect Notes Finale: Arizona Fall League Roster Edition

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Note from Eric: Hey you, this is the last one of these for the year, as the minor-league regular season comes to a close. Thanks for reading. I’ll be taking some time off next week, charging the batteries for the offseason duties that lie ahead for Kiley and me.

D.J. Peters, CF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Level: Double-A   Age: 22   Org Rank: 7   FV: 45+
Line: 4-for-7, 2 HR, 2B (double header)

Notes
A comparison of DJ Peters’ 2017 season in the Cal League and his 2018 season at Double-A gives us a good idea of what happens to on-paper production when a hitter is facing better pitching and defenses in a more stable offensive environment.

D.J. Peters’ Production
Year AVG OBP SLG K% BB% BABIP wRC+
2017 .276 .372 .514 32.2% 10.9% .385 137
2018 .228 .314 .451 34.0% 8.1% .305 107

Reports of Peters’ physical abilities haven’t changed, nor is his batted-ball profile different in such a way that one would expect a downtick in production. The 2018 line is, I think, a more accurate distillation of Peters’ abilities. He belongs in a talent bucket with swing-and-miss outfielders like Franchy Cordero, Randal Grichuk, Michael A. Taylor, Bradley Zimmer, etc. These are slugging center fielders whose contact skills aren’t particularly great. Players like this are historically volatile from one season to the next but dominant if/when things click. They’re often ~1.5 WAR players who have some years in the three-win range. Sometimes they also turn into George Springer.

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Tyler Glasnow (and Pitching Coach Kyle Snyder) on Making Strides

As noted by FanGraphs author Jeff Sullivan earlier this month, Tyler Glasnow has become a different and better pitcher. Being traded from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Tampa Bay Rays is playing a part in that, but there’s more to his step forward than a simple change of scenery. The 25-year-old right-hander had already begun evolving.

Glasnow added a slider to his repertoire this year, giving him a third pitch to go with his high-octane heater and a curveball that has always flashed plus. He’s also started to elevate more fastballs, allowing him to take advantage of his velocity and above-average spin rate. Perhaps most importantly, he’s been getting his mechanics in order. Inconsistency has long been a bugaboo, with Glasnow’s 6-foot-8 frame getting much of the blame whenever he’s gotten out of whack with his delivery.

He’s back to a starting role now. The Pirates put him in the bullpen this spring, and he remained there until Tampa Bay finally pulled the trigger on an anticipated Chris Archer deal, acquiring Glasnow along with Austin Meadows and Shane Baz. The Rays promptly placed the high-ceiling hurler in their rotation, where they hope he remains for years to come.

Glasnow talked about the strides he’s made, particularly in terms of his repertoire and delivery, prior to a recent game. Also weighing in on the right-hander’s continued development is Tampa Bay pitching coach Kyle Snyder.

———

Glasnow on his two breaking balls: “They’re different grips, and the intent is different. Early in the count, I’m more of a curveball guy, while the slider is more of a put-away pitch. I would say my slider is the better of the two, but it’s easier for me to throw my curveball for strikes. I grip my slider like a traditional slider. My curveball is a pitch I release with the seams a little more parallel to my fingers.

Tyler Glasnow’s slider grip.

“The break is similar, they’re both 12-6, so I think it’s maybe hard for PITCHf/x, or whichever technology is being used, to [classify them]. In terms of usage, I’ve been throwing them pretty evenly. The curveball is a little slower and kind of just drops in the zone. The slider bites a little sharper. It comes in off a straighter plane, then breaks down.

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Sunday Notes: Calling Games For The Rays is Rarely Boring

It’s safe to say that the Tampa Bay Rays aren’t following a paint-by-numbers script. Casting convention to the wind, they employ “an opener,” they station their relievers on corners, they… do just about anything to gain a potential edge. As a small-market team in the A.L. East, they need to be creative in order to compete. It makes sense.

But not to everybody, and that includes a fair share of their fanbase. And even if it does make sense to the fanbase — sorta, kinda, at least — that wasn’t always the case. They had to be brought up to speed on the methods behind the madness, and that job fell squarely on the shoulders of the people who report on, and broadcast, the games.

Andy Freed and Dave Wills — the radio voices of Rays baseball — were front and center. According to the latter, they at least had a head start.

“We were trained a little bit by Joe Maddon,” said Wills, who along with Freed has called games in Tampa since 2005. “Joe was kind of the leader with doing different things, such as shifts and putting four men in the outfield. He’d set lineups differently than other people. So when it comes to what they’re doing now, we’re already in grad school. We’ve seen it, we’ve been there, we’ve done that.”

Which doesn’t mean advance warning from Kevin Cash wasn’t appreciated when the team introduced the “opener” concept. Wills may have an advanced degree in understanding-out-of-the-box, but what the Rays manager told him and his broadcast partner was straight out of left field. Read the rest of this entry »


Daily Prospect Notes: 8/22/2018

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Bubba Thompson, CF, Texas Rangers
Level: Low-A   Age: 20   Org Rank: 5   FV: 45
Line: 4-for-6, HR

Notes
Were Bubba Thompson wrapping up his season with poor numbers, I’d be excusing it based on context. A multi-sport high-school athlete who had focused solely on baseball for just one year, Thompson also had his reps limited, after he signed last summer, due to nagging lower-body issues. I expected him to hang back in extended spring training and then head to Spokane in June. Instead, after a month in extended, Thompson was pushed by Texas to a full-season affiliate as a 19-year-old. He’s hitting .295/.350/.460 with 28 extra-base hits in 323 PAz and 28 steals in 35 attempts. He’s projects as a center fielder with power.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Next Prospects Who Could Pull a Glasnow

Among the biggest changes in on-field strategy this year is the Rays’ use of an “opener,” or a starting pitcher who isn’t a traditional starter in style and is expected to throw only an inning or two. While certainly notable, the role itself isn’t my interest here. Rather, I’d like to consider how Tampa Bay has cobbled together a staff from Blake Snell and a cast of misfit toys.

From talking to sources in and around the Rays, the use of an “opener” wasn’t a purposeful strategic shift on the organization’s part, but rather an attempt by the club to deploy the talent present on the roster in the most effective way possible. Snell is the only pitcher who won’t get an opener in front of him, while the rest varies game-to-game based on matchups and other factors. Much like the best coach in the NFL, the Rays are using a player’s strengths and building a scheme around it rather than building a roster around a scheme.

Consider this characterization of Bill Belichick’s coaching philosophy by Greg Bedard of SI in the context of Tampa Bay and their pitching strategy:

On both sides of the ball, the scheme is multiple and adaptable both to personnel and to specific opponents. The Patriots are never a team that just ‘does what it does’ on either side of the ball. There must be a level of unpredictability.

Recently acquired former top prospect Tyler Glasnow has been notably better in his 12 innings with the Rays, but the role the right-hander typically fills (the longest outing on his pitching day, usually after the opener) is a one that could create a competitive advantage for the Rays in player procurement.

Read the rest of this entry »


Sunday Notes: A New Red Dabbles in Data, and a New Ray Likes the Simple Life

What kind of pitcher did the Reds get when they acquired Lucas Sims in the deadline deal that sent Adam Duvall to the Braves? By and large, they got a former first-rounder who has had spotty results in his smattering of big-league outings, yet little left to prove at the minor-league level. Blessed with plus stuff, he remains a tantalizing young talent.

The 24-year-old is getting smarter about his craft. Aware that he should “always be looking for that next step to stay ahead of the curve,” Sims has begun dabbling in analytics. He’s not diving in head first, but his toes are definitely in the water.

“I’ve recently gotten into it, but not to the point where I’m getting overwhelmed with it,” Sims explained earlier this summer. “I’m taking a couple of things here and there, basically whatever resonates with me. I’ve started getting into the spin-rate stuff, and which types of pitches are most effective in certain situations.”

The young right-hander had a colorful answer when asked if his four-seam spin rate is above-average.

“Yeah, but I don’t know exactly what it is,” Sims admitted. “I saw that it was green, and he said green is good.”

The ‘he’ in question was Alex Tamin — “one of our analytics guys” — whose official title with the Braves is director of major league operations. Color-coded assessments weren’t all that Tamin passed along. Sims has also begun “looking into effective spin, and trying to make sure I get true spin.”

Just how much further he dives in with his new team remains a question.

“You don’t want to end up getting paralysis by analysis,” Sims told me. “I don’t want it all in front of my face at the same time — I’m not trying to learn a million things at once — but I’m definitely looking forward to getting into it a little more. If something is going to make me better, I’m all for it.”

Sims made his first appearance as a member of the Reds organization last night. Pitching for Triple-A Louisville, he allowed one run over five innings, walking none and punching out six.

———

What style of hitter did the Rays get when they acquired Austin Meadows in the deadline deal that sent Chris Archer to the Pirates? By and large, they got a potential middle-of-the-order bat, albeit not one with a power hitter’s profile. And he’s certainly not a three-true-outcomes guy. The 23-year-old outfielder believes in putting the ball in play, ideally on a line.

“My approach is to be aggressive in the zone,” said Meadows, who was hitting a solid .292/.327/.468 at the time of the trade. “In the first at bat of a game you need to get an idea of how your timing is, and how your swing feels — there’s a lot that goes into it — but for me it’s about moving my bat through the zone on pitches that I can hit. I need an aggressive mindset. I can’t be passive up there.”

His aggressive mindset doesn’t include trying to drive balls out of the ballpark. He said as much when I talked to him in spring training of last year, and not much has changed.

“I’ll always believe in swinging down on the baseball and creating backspin,” said Meadows. “If I do that and hit the ball well, it can go out. I’m not trying to hit the ball out. I know that other guys are — other guys are believers in it — but personally, I try to swing through the ball and hit hard line drives. If it goes out, it goes out.”

Meadows does possess some pop. His gap-to-gap approach has produced five long balls in 165 big-league plate appearances, so it’s not as though he’s Frank Taveras or Jason Tyner. Launch angle is simply not his cup of tea. Nor is compromising what comes naturally.

“I’ve always been the hitter that has good hands and keeps things simple,’ stated the 2013 first-round pick. “I think simplicity keeps you in this game for a long time. Simplicity in anything will last you a long time in life.”

——

Joe Musgrove doesn’t feel that pitching in Pittsburgh is much different than pitching in Houston. Not when it comes to what he’s doing on the mound. The Pirates are “big on fastball usage and throwing the fastball inside,” and that’s always been part of his attack plan. And while new team is less bullish on high heat, they haven’t asked him to move downstairs.

“There isn’t as much analytics stuff on this end as there was with the Astros,” Musgrove shared with me in late June. “But they’re starting to trend that way, and we’ve talked more and more about using fastballs up in the zone. That’s something I learned in Houston, and it’s something I’ll continue to do.”

As you might expect, the 25-year-old right-hander enjoyed his conversations with Astros pitching guru Brent Strom.

“We talked analytics stuff a lot,” said Musgrove, who came to Pittsburgh in last winter’s Gerrit Cole deal. “We talked tunneling, and how the fastball up in the zone provides you that much more protection for the stuff you’re spinning down over the plate. If you emulate those two off that same high-fastball line, one is going to continue riding out and the other is going to break off it. It’s about disguising your pitches.”

Opposing hitters are seeing something new from the former first-round pick (The Blue Jays drafted Musgrove in 2011, and shipped him to Houston a year later). A pitch he threw sparingly in recent seasons is now a primary weapon. Read the rest of this entry »


The Pirates Made the Deadline’s Biggest Move

I think of the Pirates and Rays as being similar to one another. The A’s belong to the same small group. There are differences, obviously, and the organizations each have their own specific approaches, but these are smaller-budget operations that adhere to similar roster-building philosophies. They try not to ever completely tear down, accumulating years of team control while aiming for something close to .500. Constant churn is an unavoidable reality. It’s almost a feature instead of a bug. In a case like this year’s A’s, a club can get hot, but I’m used to seeing these teams in similar positions. So I wouldn’t expect them to swing major trades with one another.

Less than a month ago, the Rays were 11 games back of the second wild-card slot. In the other league, the Pirates were 10 games back of the second wild-card slot. Both of the teams were expected to sell, because competing down the stretch was unrealistic. Since then, the Rays have won nine times and lost nine times. The Pirates, however, have gone 15-4. The Rays are still very much out of the hunt, but the Pirates are within 3.5 games of the playoffs. That imbalance in the short-term outlooks has led us to a blockbuster. This is the time of year when a very small sample can dramatically change a team’s course. Because they caught fire at just the right time, the Pirates have decided to go for it.

Pirates get:

Rays get:

Both the Rays and Pirates already thought they could be close in the future. The Pirates’ last 19 games have made all the difference. They’ve opened up a shot in 2018, which was enough to tip all the necessary scales.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Pirates Add Rangers’ Reliever for Stretch Run and Beyond

A few weeks ago, the notion of the Pirates operating as buyers at the deadline would have sounded pretty ridiculous. After a good run of play, though — including some great offensive performances — the club is just 3.5 games out of a Wild Card spot despite having traded away Gerrit Cole and franchise icon Andrew McCutchen over the winter. While the Pirates bullpen has been pretty good of late behind the always good Felipe Vazquez, as well Kyle Crick, Richard Rodriguez, and Edgar Santana, another arm for the back of the pen is always a benefit. To that end, the team traded for one of the best relievers available in Rangers’ closer Keone Kela, a deal that was first reported by Jeff Passan.

Pirates receive:

Rangers receive:

Jerry Crasnick is reporting that the player to be named is a lesser prospect. When I wrote about the Pirates’ surprising run a week ago, I mentioned the dilemma the team faces given their unexpected contention:

Now that the Pirates find themselves in playoff contention, carving out a path forward isn’t as easy. A few weeks ago, they might have been taking calls on some of their bullpen arms as well as Mercer or Harrison. Now they have the option of adding an arm for a low-level prospect. Still, that isn’t going to move the team forward much. They have somewhat established starters at basically every position and Austin Meadows back in the minors awaiting playing time in the majors after a decent run earlier in the year. They have five MLB-caliber starters where most of the pitchers available won’t net a significant improvement over the last two months.

The Pirates are in weird spot. Nobody expected the team to do anything. Now that the team is somewhat close to a playoff spot, however, it feels like they should do something. Unfortunately, there’s not much the team can do right now to make themselves better.

By acquiring Keone Kela, the team is trying to thread the needle a bit. Kela is a good bullpen add for this season, recording a 2.97 FIP and 3.44 ERA while pitching his home games in Texas’ hitter-friendly environment. Using an upper-90s fastball and low-80s curve, he’s struck out 29% of batters while walking under 10%. He definitely helps Pittsburgh’s bullpen this year; however, he could also help the team in the future. Kela is making $1.2 million in his first year of arbitration. His salary will rise some over the next few years, but he won’t be a free agent until after the 2020 season. In theory, the Pirates have brought on a player who should help them in multiple seasons.

Read the rest of this entry »


Let’s Make Some Trades

Harper to the Yankees? It’s not not possible.
(Photo: Lorie Shaull)

There are only 24-ish hours remaining until baseball’s trade deadline and, truth is, I’m a bit impatient. Until free agency opens up in about a hundred days or thereabouts, this is truly our last great opportunity to let our imaginations run wild. Sure, we can conjure up some fun trades in August, but our whimsical mind-meanderings just aren’t as exciting when all of the players we trade have to go through imaginary revocable waivers.

Against my worse judgment, to which I typically cater, I endeavored to make my last-minute deadline trades to retain at least a whiff of plausibility. So, no blockbuster Mike Trout deal, no winning Noah Syndergaard in a game of canasta, and no Rockies realizing that they have significant other needs other than the bullpen.

Bryce Harper to the Yankees

Washington’s playoff hopes have sunk to the extent that, even if you’re as optimistic as the FanGraphs depth charts are and believe the Phillies and Braves are truly sub-.500 teams as presently constructed, the Nats still only are a one-in-three shot to win the division. If you’re sunnier on Philadelphia or Atlanta, those Nats probabilities lose decimal places surprisingly quickly.

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Kyle Crick’s Return to Relevance

Growing up, the closest minor-league club to me was the Richmond Braves. This was the late 90s and many top prospects who would go on to major-league careers came through town for a season. My scorebook from those years is filled with games that included former major leaguers Andruw Jones and Bruce Chen, along with lesser luminaries such as Wes Helms and Odalis Perez. The Braves moved to Gwinnett after the 2008 season, and the Flying Squirrels — the Giants’ Double-A affiliate — would move to Richmond in 2010.

The parade of prospects slowed a bit after the Flying Squirrels arrived. Buster Posey skipped Double-A, Brandon Belt’s 2010 breakout helped propel him to a top-100 prospect. However, without question, the biggest prospect who stayed in Richmond for any length of time was Kyle Crick. He arrived in 2014 as the 32nd-best prospect in baseball according to MLB.com. He proceeded, however, to stay in town for three seasons without being promoted or demoted. Needless to say, his prospect light dimmed during that period.

When Crick was promoted to Fresno in 2017, it was more out of a need to see if he had any chance of reaching the majors that season, as he was eligible to become a minor-league free agent at the end of the year. He would eventually make it to the Giants’ bullpen and then, later, to Pittsburgh as part of the Andrew McCutchen deal.

In Pittsburgh, Crick has become a serviceable bullpen option, combining with Richard Rodriguez and Felipe Vazquez to helm a bullpen unit that ranks among the league’s top 10 in K/9, FIP, and xFIP. The success of all three has been unexpected — Crick included, despite his prospect pedigree. By leaning on his long-held strengths and gaining a modicum of control over his weaknesses, Crick has been able to end his long minor-league odyssey and has found success in the majors, albeit in a role which he had hoped to avoid.

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Tim Neverett on October 1, 2013, PNC’s Wildest Night

The Pirates have won 13 of their last 15 games, which, as Craig Edwards explained on Wednesday, places them on the periphery of playoff contention. With two months to go in what has been a fast-moving season, the suddenly overachieving Sons of Honus Wagner are seven back in the NL Central, and just four-and-half out in the Wild Card race.

Pittsburgh fans are familiar with the Wild Card. The Buccos’ 2013, 2014, and 2015 seasons — which followed 20 consecutive years of October-less baseball — all included the one-game nail-biter that qualifies a team for Division Series play. And while the latter two qualify as forgettable, the first was a never-forget Pittsburgh sports classic. The game, a 6-2 conquest of the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park, was played on October 1, 2013 against the backdrop of a black-clad cacophony.

Tim Neverett was there. A member of the Pirates’ broadcast team at the time — he’s now calling games in Boston — Neverett never tires of recounting that epic night. Nor should he. It was an experience like none other, as he explains here.

———

Tim Neverett: “Ron Darling had the best line on TBS that night. I went back and watched their broadcast later, and they panned around the stadium. It was a ‘blackout’ — everybody is wearing black — and PNC was going crazy. I think they gave the fire marshall the night off, because the place was overcapacity. Ron said, ‘This is what 20 years of frustration looks like.’ And he was exactly right.

“I got down to the ballpark in the afternoon, and I had never seen the North Shore buzzing with activity the way it was that day. It was incredible. People in costumes. People hanging out on the Clemente Bridge. People actually watched from the Clemente Bridge. That’s the first time I ever saw that. They were hanging on the bridge, just looking for a glimpse of the ballpark, to see the game.

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The Pirates Are in This Thing

Not to be too harsh to the Pirates, but the club hasn’t been all that relevant for much of the year. They started off the season pretty well and, at the end of April, their 17-12 record put them just half a game out of first place. With three other teams — teams considered more talented — all hovering around the same spot, it was safe to assume the Pirates would eventually get lost in the shuffle. On May 17, after winning eight of nine games, the Pirates were in first place with a 26-17 record and a 30% chance at making the playoffs. Then the expected fade occurred, and the team went 16-32 over the next 48 games. Their playoff hopes looked shot, as the graph below shows.

Now here is what the playoff odds look like after an 11-game winning streak, but before today’s loss.

Simply approaching a 20% chance of qualifying for the postseason might not seem particularly notable, but the National League is a jumbled mess right now. After the Dodgers and Cubs, there are nine teams with a reasonable shot at one of the three remaining playoff berths and none of the teams has odds greater than 60%, as the table below indicates.

Read the rest of this entry »


Daily Prospect Notes: 7/24/18

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Starling Joseph, OF, Texas Rangers (Profile)
Level: Short-Season   Age: 19   Org Rank: NR   FV: 35+
Line: 3-for-4, HR

Notes
Joseph is a physical 6-foot-3 outfielder with plus raw power. He’s raw from a bat-to-ball standpoint due to length and a lack of bat control, but the power/frame combination here is interesting for a 19-year-old. Joseph has a 67:10 strikeout-to-walk ratio in domestic pro ball and is as high-risk of a prospect as you’ll find, but he has the power to carry the profile if he ever becomes sentient in the batter’s box.

Read the rest of this entry »


Job Posting: Pirates Data Architect

Position: Data Architect

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Description:
The Data Architect is responsible for putting into place and maintaining the processes and systems to efficiently integrate and effectively make available baseball related data from both external and internal sources in order to provide the backbone of evidence based decision making.

Responsibilities

Primary:

  • Responsible for the daily operation, performance, and maintenance of the data assets used within Baseball Operations. Makes use of Pirates’ standards and industry best practices to implement efficient and high performance access to data.
  • Design, create, and extend processes for data extraction, transformation, cleansing, and load to and from internal and external data sources for both structured and unstructured data.
  • Evaluate potential data providers and design and implement data models for storage and access to new types of data that integrate with the existing data and application architectures.
  • Design, create and maintain reporting structures using SQL Reporting Services and Tableau and participate in one-off research projects to answer specific questions.
  • Design and implement data mining processes as a part of predictive modeling in conjunction with the Quantitative Analyst and other staff members.
  • Design and implement data mining processes as a part of predictive modeling in conjunction with other staff members.

Secondary:

  • Departmentally: Participate in gathering and documenting user requirements for existing and new systems. Understand business processes and required outcomes of the system and creates requirements definition document defining the business use cases.
  • Organizationally: Acts as a resource for database and SQL coding projects within the organization. Assist other staff developing SQL scripts, stored procedures, and other database objects where required.
  • Industry: Acts as the point of contact with MLB in understanding and planning for future infrastructure needs and changes as the structure and breadth of information changes over time.

Position Requirements

Required:

  • Bachelor’s Degree or higher in Computer Science, Information Systems, or equivalent.
  • Two years experience administering enterprise level data structures using SQL Server technologies including SQL Reporting Services and SQL Server Integration Services.
  • Expert knowledge of SQL and database administration tools. Knowledge of SQL Server replication topologies. Understanding of database documentation and design tools.
  • Experience with cloud based architectures and tools including Amazon S3, EC2, Databricks required.
  • Experience participating in multiple aspects of the software development life cycle including requirements definition, design, development, testing, and implementation.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with users to understand business processes, document system requirements, and develop data structures that meet business objectives.

Desired:

  • Experience with Python, .NET..
  • Experience with statistical analysis software such as R, SAS, SSPS.
  • An understanding of sabermetric techniques for player evaluation strongly preferred.

The Pirates are an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law.

To Apply:
Please apply here.


Daily Prospect Notes: 7/11

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Andres Gimenez, SS, New York Mets (Profile)
Level: Hi-A   Age: 19   Org Rank: 3   FV: 50
Line: 3-for-5, 2B, 3B

Notes
Gimenez is a 19-year-old shortstop slashing .280/.350/.430 in the Florida State League. That’s good for a 107 wRC+ in the FSL. Big-league shortstops with similar wRC+ marks are Trea Turner (a more explosive player and rangier defender than Gimenez) and Jurickson Profar, who have both been two-win players or better this year ahead of the break. Also of note in the Mets system last night was Ronny Mauricio, who extended his career-opening hitting streak to 19 games.

Read the rest of this entry »


Daily Prospect Notes: 7/9

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Victor Robles, CF, Washington Nationals (Profile)
Level: Rehab   Age: 21   Org Rank: 1   FV: 65
Line: 0-for-1, BB

Notes
Robles has begun to make rehab appearances on his way back from a hyperextended left elbow that he suffered in early April. He’s gotten two plate appearances in the GCL each of the last two days. The Nationals’ big-league outfield situation should enable Robles to have a slow, careful rehab process that takes a few weeks. He is one of baseball’s best prospects.

Adam Haseley, CF, Philadelphia Phillies (Profile)
Level: Hi-A Age: 22   Org Rank: 7   FV: 45
Line: 2-for-5, HR

Notes
The homer was Haseley’s fifth of the year and his slash line now stands at .301/.344/.417. He’s undergone several swing tweaks this year, starting with a vanilla, up-and-down leg kick last year; a closed, Giancarlo Stanton-like stance early this season; and now an open stance with more pronounced leg kick that loads more toward his rear hip. All that would seem to be part of an effort to get Haseley hitting for more power, his skillset’s most glaring weakness. But Haseley’s swing plane is so flat that such a change may not, alone, be meaningful as far as home-run production is concerned, though perhaps there will be more extra-base hits.

The way Haseley’s peripherals have trended since college gives us a glimpse of how a relative lack of power alters those variables in pro ball. His strikeout and walk rates at UVA were 11% and 12% respectively, an incredible 7% and 16% as a junior. In pro ball, they’ve inverted, and have been 15% and 5% in about 600 pro PAs.

Akil Baddoo, OF, Minnesota Twins (Profile)
Level: Low-A Age: 19   Org Rank: 12   FV: 45
Line: 3-for-5, 2B, SB

Notes
Baddoo is scorching, on an 11-game hit streak during which he has amassed 20 hits, nine for extra-bases. He crushes fastballs and can identify balls and strikes, but Baddoo’s strikeout rate has doubled this year as he’s seen more decent breaking balls, with which he has struggled. Considering how raw Baddoo was coming out of high school, however, his performance, especially as far as the plate discipline is concerned, has been encouraging. He’s a potential everyday player with power and speed.

Jesus Tinoco, RHP, Colorado Rockies (Profile)
Level: Double-A Age: 23   Org Rank: NR   FV: 40
Line: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 1 R, 7 K

Notes
Tinoco didn’t make the Rockies’ offseason list, as I thought he had an outside shot to be a reliever but little more. His strikeout rate is way up. He still projects in the bullpen, sitting 93-95 with extreme fastball plane that also adds artificial depth to an otherwise fringe curveball. He’ll probably throw harder than that in the Futures Game.

Travis MacGregor, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Profile)
Level: Low-A Age: 20   Org Rank: 21   FV: 40
Line: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 2 R, 6 K

Notes
MacGregor is a projection arm who is performing thanks to his ability to throw his fastball for strikes, though not always where he wants. His delivery has a bit of a crossfire action but is otherwise on the default setting and well composed, with only the release point varying. It’s pretty good, considering many pitchers with MacGregor’s size are still reigning in control of their extremities. MacGregor’s secondaries don’t always have great movement but should be at least average at peak. He projects toward the back of a rotation.

Austin Cox, LHP, Kansas City Royals (Profile)
Level: Short Season Age: 21   Org Rank: HM   FV: 35
Line: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 1 R, 10 K

Notes
Cox, Kansas City’s fourth-rounder out of Mercer, has a 23:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 11.2 pro innings. He put up goofy strikeout numbers at Mercer, too, but struggles with fastball command. He’s a high-slot lefty who creates tough angle on a low-90s fastball, and his curveball has powerful, vertical shape. It’s likely Cox will be limited to relief work due to fastball command, but he could be very good there, especially if the fastball ticks up in shorter outings.

Notes from the Field
Just some pitcher notes from the weekend here. I saw Rangers RHP Kyle Cody rehabbing in Scottsdale. He was 94-96 for two innings and flashed a plus curveball. Joe Palumbo rehabbed again in the AZL and looked the same as he did last week.

Cleveland has another arm of note in the AZL, 6-foot-1, 18-year-old Dominican righty Ignacio Feliz. He’s one of the best on-mound athletes I’ve seen in the AZL and his arm works well. He sits only 88-92 but that should tick up as he matures physically. His fastball has natural cut, and at times, he throws what looks like a true cutter in the 84-87 range. He also has a 12-to-6 curveball that flashes plus.

Feliz could develop in a number of different ways. Cleveland could make a concerted effort to alter his release so Feliz is more behind the ball, which would probably play better with his curveballs. Alternatively, they might nurture his natural proclivity for cut and see what happens. Either way, this is an exciting athlete with workable stuff who doesn’t turn 19 until the end of October.

Between 15 and 18 scouts were on hand for Saturday night’s Dodgers and Diamondbacks AZL game. That’s much more than is typical for an AZL game, even at this time of year, and is hard to explain away by saying these scouts were on usual coverage. D-backs OF Kristian Robinson (whom we have ranked No. 2 in the system) was a late, precautionary scratch after being hit with a ball the day before, so he probably wasn’t their collective target. Instead, I suspect it was Dodgers 19-year-old Mexican righty Gerardo Carrillo, who was 91-96 with a plus curveball. I saw Carrillo pitch in relief of Yadier Alvarez on the AZL’s opening night, during which he was 94-97. He’s small, and my knee-jerk reaction was to bucket him as a reliever, but there’s enough athleticism to try things out in a rotation and see if it sticks.


Sunday Notes: Ian Kinsler Has Deserved More Gold Gloves

Ian Kinsler was awarded his only Gold Glove in 2016. He’s been deserving of several more. Presenting at SABR’s national convention last weekend, Chris Dial shared that Kinsler has topped SABR’s Defensive Index at second base in five separate seasons, and on three other occasions he ranked as the runner up. Another metric is equally bullish on his glove work. Since breaking into the big leagues in 2006, Kinsler has 115 Defensive Runs Saved, the most of anyone at his position.

I asked the 36-year-old Angel if he was aware of how well he stacks up by the numbers.

“I secretly knew that,” smiled Kinsler, who then proceeded to balance appreciation with a touch of old-school skepticism for defensive metrics.

“It’s always nice to be valued in one way or another,” acknowledged Kinsler, who spent eight seasons in Texas, and four more in Detroit, before coming to Anaheim. “I don’t know if analytics are always correct. They don’t take into account everything this game offers, and I don’t know if they ever will, but to be thought of in that regard is flattering.”

Kinsler credits hard work, as well as the tutelage of coaches and teammates, for his having developed into a plus defender. Read the rest of this entry »


Daily Prospect Notes: 6/26

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Taylor Hearn, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Profile)
Level: Double-A   Age: 23   Org Rank:FV: 45
Line: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 7 K, 0 R

Notes
Hearn’s peripherals (27.5% K, 9.3% BB) are exactly the same as they were last year when he was in High-A. He’s a little old for Double-A, but that matters less for pitchers and Hearn’s early-career injuries set back his development pretty significantly. He’ll flash a 55 slider and average changeup, and he throws enough strikes to start, though he’s not overly efficient. He was up to 97 last night and projects as a fourth starter or late-inning reliever. Here are his swinging strikes from yesterday…

Read the rest of this entry »