Much like every other team, the Pirates are striving to adjust to a pitcher friendly era, writes Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Pitchers have benefited greatly from the inflow of data. They’ve learned about specific hitters tendencies, strengths, and weakness in ways that weren’t available in the past. Now hitters are beginning to get more of that same information about pitchers. Per Pirates GM Neal Huntington, “So much of the advance work gave an advantage to pitchers in identifying hitters’ weaknesses…We…have worked hard to try to capitalize on how to give our hitters some advantage back.”
Here’s more from the Pirates as they gear up for free agency:
- Pittsburgh hopes to improve their offense over the offseason, writes Sawchik in a separate article. Sawchik suggests that power could be a priority. Interestingly, the club has tough decisions to make on Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker. Both players are non-tender candidates – Alvarez is projected to earn $8.1MM via arbitration while Walker is pegged for a $10.7MM payday. However, they’ve also accounted for 84 of the club’s 296 home runs in the last two seasons (28%). If power is truly a priority, then it will be hard to replace their production for less money. It’s trendy to look to the Royals as an example, but they’re probably a great model for the Pirates. Pittsburgh has focused on pure hitters in the draft rather than power, and their cavernous ball park plays similarly to Kauffman Stadium. Perhaps aggression and athleticism are better traits to target.
- Byung-ho Park of the Nexen Heroes will be posted tomorrow, but he’s unlikely to join the Pirates, writes John Perrotto of Today’s Knuckleball. Obviously, the Pirates have already received great value from fellow KBO import Jung-ho Kang. That’s part of the reason Pittsburgh won’t win the bidding for his services. Kang provided a successful use case for transition from the KBO to the majors. Teams should be willing to bet more upon Park’s success. With Michael Morse under contract for 2016 and top prospect Josh Bell lurking at Triple-A, the club also has some solid in-house first basemen.