Bill Brink's Pirates chat: 5.17.17
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Bill Brink
12:00
Good afternoon and welcome to this week's Pirates chat. We'll get going right now. Thanks for the questions already submitted, and keep them coming.
Bill
12:01
Hi Bill, outside of Rivero, Nicasio, Leblanc, and Watson the bullpen has struggled. With 2 guys in AAA pitching lights out (Neverauskas and Santana) is there any reason they dont get a callup? Lindblom can eat innings but gets hammered when he does. Why not try the young arms and see what they can do?
Bill Brink
12:03
This isn't all that uncommon, for the middle relief portion of the bullpen to struggle -- especially when it gets overexposed. Right now I would imagine Hurdle is prioritizing length (like Lindblom) because three of the five starters are not guaranteed to pitch deep into the games. I would expect, however, to see both Neverauskas and Santana at some point this season.
Chuck S
12:03
Why do some pitchers (Tyler Glasnow this year) often get a lot of run support, whereas other pitchers (Gerrit Cole) usually get little run support?
Bill Brink
12:04
It has less to do with the pitcher in question than with the individual variances of each game: Who they're facing, how fresh the opposing bullpen is, lucky/unlucky bounces. One thought, though this is tempered by the abundance of off days early in the season: As the opening-day starter, Cole might get matched up against more 1s and 2s than Glasnow.
HB
12:05
i know polanco has been a disappointment so far this season but is it a mental thing because he was lighting it up in the world baseball classic and i thought it would transfer.
Bill Brink
12:09
The biggest thing I see with Polanco is the lack of power. His strikeout rate is down from last year, his walk percentage up, and his batting average on balls in play is about the same. But he's slugging nearly 100 points lower than last year, and his hard-contact rate has dropped from 36 percent to 23. There could be several reasons for this: the way opposing pitchers are attacking him, more length in his swing, lingering aches and pains, or a combination of several factors. When that turns around, we should see the player we're used to seeing.
PhillyJake
12:09
What is the teams fascination with holding on to Hanson? The manger, Hurdle, doesn't seem to have any use for him, based on how little he plays. Moroff or Bostick are at least hitting in Indy, which Hanson didn't do last year.
Bill Brink
12:09
The fact that he's out of options, provides speed off the bench and some defensive versatility. Speaking of defensive versatility ...
Bob
12:09
Hey Bill why don't we try Hanson in the outfield anything and anyone has to be better than Jaso!!
Bill Brink
12:11
Jaso in right might not be ideal, but I think the Pirates feel more comfortable with him there than Hanson, whose experience in the outfield is mostly in left.
Brian
12:12
Hey Bill, What are your thoughts on the "bad vibe" reports coming from the clubhouse after the Cutch benching last night... Do you think Hurdle is being "loyal enough" by playing him in the 3-spot every day? Also -- my take: Wasn't it just a good baseball move down 2 w/ 2 inn. to play w/ a short bench?
Bill Brink
12:14
I did not cover last night's game, so I wasn't in the postgame clubhouse and can't speak to what took place there. I do think that if you remove the name from the player it makes a little more sense. Two years ago double-switching McCutchen out of the game would have been unthinkable, but to this point in the season he has not been the player he once was. The Pirates are 16-23, six games back, and in last place. Hurdle is trying to win games, and he is OK with the possible ramifications of his actions.
PhillyJake
12:15
Do you get a sense the team thinks Kang will ever play for them again?
Bill Brink
12:15
We're in a bit of a holding pattern with Kang until his May 25 appeal hearing. If he wins, that might change the consular officer's decision and allow him to get a visa. If not, there's no telling what happens next.
John
12:17
Did Kuhl's command become worse than last season?
Bill Brink
12:17
His percentage of balls thrown is roughly the same this year (36 percent) as it was last year, but his walk rate has increased, which would lead us to believe that his misses of the strike zone don't have the same effect this year as last year.
12:18
The four games in Atlanta and three against the Mets at home (against whom they have played well in the past) would stand out. That series begins next week.
Oops.
That was in response to this question...
John H
12:18
Is there a series (or back-to-back series) that you see coming up that could spark a 6 game win streak and give hope for a turnaround for this organization before the all-star break? If so, which stands out to you?
Matt
12:19
Time to move cutch out of the 3rd spot?
Bill Brink
12:20
Could be getting there, but then who do you put there? Freese or Bell would be the guys to consider.
Just a fan...
12:20
Who do you blame more for Bryce Harper's HR last night? Pirates pitching or Stephen Nesbitt? Not sure if you guys saw that he let it be known in a tweet that Harper was the only Nat without a hit through 5.
Bill Brink
12:21
Nesbitt. Always blame Nesbitt.
Charles
12:21
I'd like your thoughts on what a potential return for Cole would look like. I don't really want to see him traded but if it nets some good prospects then maybe, especially if they don't turn the season around. I recently saw the Astros and Yankees as possible partners for a trade.
Bill Brink
12:23
If the Pirates traded Cole, they would be giving up an impact player with two-plus years of team control, who appears to have returned to his 2015 form. To do so, they would require a package containing young, controllable major leaguers, talented prospects close to reaching the majors or some combination of the two.
Just a fan...
12:24
Who is Hai-Cheng?
Bill Brink
12:25
Hai-Cheng Gong is an 18-year-old righty who pitched in the Chinese Development Academy and for Team China in the 2017 WBC. He'll begin his Pirates career with the rookie-level GCL PIrates.
ROD
12:25
Look no further than the Giants to find a team performing below expectations greater than the Pirates. Would a Taillon return or unexpected resurgence from a Frazier-Cutch-Polanco regular OF be what you can see breaking this talented team out of its prolonged slump?
Bill Brink
12:26
It would take a couple things. McCutchen hitting would help. Polanco hitting for power, too.
Dan
12:26
Do you think we could get anything valuable by trading Cutch? Seems like we won't get anything now.
Diehardfan
12:26
With the struggling of McCutchen as of now, do you think he will be gone at the trade deadline and who would we get for him? What do you think about teams starting to go after Cole now (Astros, Yankees)
Bill Brink
12:27
Tough to say what the Pirates could get in return for McCutchen the way he's currently hitting. His performance to date has not helped the notion that last year was just a down year. I think they'll still consider offers because the longer they wait, the less value he has to the acquiring team.
Alex
12:28
Can you see the pirates signing anyone to a long-term extension soon?
Bill Brink
12:28
Nobody immediately jumps out as an obvious candidate.
Diehardfan
12:29
I heard a possible suitor is the Dodgers. Do you think there's a chance that we could get maybe Puig for Cutch and throw in a low pitching prospect
Bill Brink
12:30
Puig is only under contract through next season so I don't see that particular deal happening. The Dodgers could use a right-handed bat like McCutchen's, if McCutchen's shows signs of what he used to be.
Dan
12:30
Is Jamo on chemo? When would we know how well he is? Not about baseball, just worried about the person
Bill Brink
12:31
We don't know yet exactly what type of further treatment, if any, he will undergo. We do know that the prognosis for this type of cancer is very good, so even if additional treatment is required he should recover fully.
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