Bill Brink's Pirates chat
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Bill Brink
12:02
Hi everyone and thanks for stopping by this week's Pirates chat. Here we go ...
JB Batulis
12:03
Is there any reason Hudson and Gossellin are still on roster?
Bill Brink
12:06
Hudson isn't going anywhere. Making $11 million, enough service time to reject an assignment to the minors, though we might see him less frequently in leverage situations for a bit. Gosselin, not quite the same. He has options, and Chris Bostick has been off to a nice start in Indy.
BurghBall
12:06
Was Diaz the key to Glasnow locking in from the 2nd inning forward, and getting his first win?
Bill Brink
12:07
Possibly. Familiarity can help relax a pitcher, especially when Glasnow remembers the success he's had with Diaz in the past in triple-A. I won't attribute it entirely to that but I'm sure it helped.
PhillyJake
12:07
Where is Gregory Polonco, and who's this guy who looks like him who's wearing his uniform?
Chuck Sigmund
12:07
The Pirates player that I am most disappointed in this season is Gregory Polanco. How do you explain his poor hitting? Did the batting coach mess with his swing?
Bill Brink
12:12
There's no power. His batting average on balls in play is .288, slightly below average but not by much. The lack of power is the biggest issue. Nine percent less hard contact than last season, 7 percent more soft contact. Why? He's swinging at more pitches outside the zone than last year, and fewer pitches inside the zone. I'm no batting coach or sabermetrician but those are both going in the opposite direction of where you want them to. As a result, his contact rate is down, and the contact is not quality as often as it used to be.
Bob
12:12
Can you see Jaso and Gosslin DFA'd when Frazier and Freeze return?
Bill Brink
12:12
I don't think so. As long as Kang isn't here, the Pirates will want help on the infield corners. They still don't feel that Bell is accomplished enough defensively at first to play him there late in close games.
Jsg
12:15
Any update on kuhl's injury
Bill Brink
12:16
Our friend Stephen J. Nesbitt reported that Kuhl had some bruising and swelling in his knee but expected to make his start Friday.
BW
12:17
While it ended up working out last night, what was the thought process of putting Jaso in the cleanup spot?
Bill Brink
12:17
This was Hurdle's thoughts on the lineup in general pre-game:
“Seventeen straight games, looking for opportunities to get guys off their feet,” Hurdle said. “We'll use Polanco off the bench [Tuesday] night. If he needs to play today, he will, just not start. We're not hitting on the field tomorrow so that's more time off. It was an opportunity to take care of 48 hours. We're going to find time for everybody. This isn't a park he's hit really well in in his career, either, if you pull back some layers and look at numbers.”
12:18
Not ideal, but little about the Pirates' current position player construct is ideal at this point, with Freese and Frazier out, and Cervelli banged up.
Jsg
12:18
What do you make of Glasnow now? I'm so confused
Bill Brink
12:20
It'll be fascinated to watch his next start. He's always had the stuff, that's no question, but he gets on the mound and things get away from him. Now that he's felt success, true success, at the major league level (for the first time in a start since his debut, really), does he settle in and trust himself, or does he struggle again?
Jim K
12:20
We've never been known to be great defensively but isn't this ridiculous? Our yoing pitchers need all the support we can give. Is anything being done to improve in this vital area?
Bill Brink
12:21
It is baffling. You don't expect this team to be the 2016 Cubs defensively, but you expect better than this. They are taking infield practice earlier in the day to supplement the work they do during batting practice, and players have worked individually with the coaches.
Jsg
12:22
The rookies seem to be doing better than the vets, why not play them more?
Bill Brink
12:24
Last night they started Osuna, Hanson and Diaz. The one that stood out was Ngoepe's absence, especially when the team needs strong defense. I'm not saying he'll hit like this forever but he has had good at-bats and plays great middle-infield D.
Steve
12:24
Hi Bill, not seeing much diference in 2016 version of McCutchen vs 2017 version. Any hope he'll get back up to/close to .300 BA?
Bill Brink
12:26
His .254 batting average on balls in play suggests he'll hit better soon. The league average is .290 to .300 and his career average is .330, though some of that was driven by his once-excellent speed. His strikeout rate is in a better place, as is his walk rate.
Joe
12:26
Is Riviero a year away from being Pirates closer or does that happen at some point this year?
Bill Brink
12:26
It depends on whether or not they trade Watson. Barring a full-on epic meltdown from Watson, I don't see them putting Rivero ahead of him.
Joe
12:27
Does Harrison stick at the top of the order once Frazier comes back
Bill Brink
12:27
Probably not every day; it might be more of a matchup-based thing.
BW
12:27
Why are we so TERRIBLE at throwing out guys attempting to steal? I don't know the numbers but we have to be the worst in the league.
Bill Brink
12:28
13 percent caught-stealing rate, 28th in MLB. Some of it is on the pitchers, particularly Glasnow, not throwing over, not varying their holds and taking too long to deliver the pitch.
Salem Pirate
12:29
With Cervelli almost always day to day and refusing a trip to the DL, isn't this an opportune time for Diaz to get some full time experience?
Bill Brink
12:30
Yes, and I think that's what's going to happen. Cervelli doesn't want to go on the DL but is also dealing with the type of foot issue that doesn't go away with a night or two off. "It's always with me," he said, and it's been there since the second week of spring training. The DL might not be his call to make sometime soon, and in Cervelli's absence, whether it's a game or 10 days, Diaz can get some experience.
BurghBall
12:30
Let's theorize Kang wins appeal May 25, and is granted entrance into USA. What's a reasonable time frame until he's in the starting lineup in the big leagues?
Bill Brink
12:31
OK. Hypothetically he wins the appeal, the consular officer reviews an updated visa application quickly, he gets to the U.S. by June 1 (I don't think that happens but we're in hypothetical world). He'll need a spring training. He hasn't faced live pitching yet (that we've heard about) so he'll spend some time in Bradenton hitting in extended spring games and conditioning. Then he might need a minor league stint. The All-Star break is the earliest you might see him in this scenario.
Guest
12:33
Time table on Freese and Frazier coming back? Also why is Hurdle so intent on mixing in a new lineup almost nightly. I realize this teams limitations w/no Kang, Marte and currently Cervelli, Freese, and Frazier banged up. But Gosselen and Hanson once twice a week w this defense?? Play the new kid from Africa and stick w/ Frazier, Freese, JHay mix when all are healthy
Bill Brink
12:35
Frazier is eligible today but won't be activated. He could start a rehab assignment later this week or this weekend. Less clarity on Freese, but it will be a little bit. The current lineup flip-flopping has a lot to do with who's not available, as you mentioned, though Hurdle likes keeping his bench players involved with a start here and there so they are sharp when he needs them.
BW
12:35
Is Gift the real deal? Should I spend my hard earned money on a jersey? :)
Bill Brink
12:36
Defensively, he's the real deal, the best infield defender in the system. Offensively, too soon to tell. Giving up switch-hitting seemed to help and a better plan at the plate, instituted this spring, has further improved his hitting, but we need more of a sample size in the majors to know for sure.
12:38
Not really. Cole and Taillon, perhaps, but I highly doubt either one of them will be interested in that.
Oops. Forgot to post the question. Which was ...
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