We all saw this coming: Mercer gives way to Kang at shortstop

by WVUTimmy | May 18, 2015 - 4:10 PM

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle gave Jordy Mercer the weekend off by design, he said Sunday, so Mercer could try to work his way out of his slow offensive start to the season.
Mercer is hitting .176 with a .231 on-base percentage and .204 slugging percentage. Jung Ho Kang started for the fourth consecutive game, and the third time in a row at shortstop.
“We’re going to continue to revisit the best lineup that we can put out there daily,” Hurdle said. “We also know the dynamic of working with Jung Ho, playing time. We'll just see where it takes us.”
Mercer also hit poorly early in 2014. Through 31 games, his current total, in 2014, he was hitting .161/.204/.195. From the beginning of June 2014 on, he hit .278/.333/.433 with 11 home runs.
Kang is hitting .300 with a .367 OBP and .457 slugging percentage. Hurdle felt comfortable enough with Kang’s defense to start him behind A.J. Burnett, whose 56.3 percent groundball rate ranks eighth in Major League Baseball.
“I believe when you look at Jung Ho, the shortstop I'd probably compare him to would be a Jhonny Peralta-type,” Hurdle said. “Jordy has probably more lateral range. They're both very accurate with their arms. Jordy's got more experience within this league for positioning. The only way Jung Ho's going to get it is to continue to get out there and get those reps.”
Not only is Kang up to speed on the hand signals used to initiate defensive shifts, Hurdle said, but first-base coach Nick Leyva, who coordinates the infielders, has Kang’s defensive positioning notes translated into Korean.
Worley will skip start
The Pirates will skip Vance Worley in the rotation in the two-game series against the Minnesota Twins, which is sandwiched between two off days.
... [Read More]
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Down On The Farm: The Middle Infield

by battlingbucs | May 11, 2015 - 11:04 AM
The Pirates have been continuously teasing us with spurts of good play only to follow them up with some heart aching losses. It’s impossible to know if the latest positive glimmer is the start of a turnaround or just another agonizing tease that will leave us disappointed. Much like the start of the Pirates season the minor leagues are a place that can give us a tease of something just to pull it back or can give us something truly game changing. Following the minor leagues isn't for everyone as mostly it consists of players who will never sniff the majors but with very few exceptions nearly all players that have blossomed into stars or even merely average major league contributors cut their teeth somewhere in a much more hidden environment. It is for this reason I and so many like me are pulled towards the minor leagues.

I provide these updates for those who care to dream and are ok with their hopes being dashed more often than not. So before I continue remember to take everything from here on out with a few grains of salt and realize any hope I may give you very well may just be fleeting.

A full proper minor league update would make for too long a piece so I have opted to begin this year's breakdown by looking at various positions. First up I have chosen the middle infield. For the most part this will consist of 3-4 players per level and with 4 levels playing that means 15 ish players.

A: West Virginia Power

Pablo Reyes: Reyes is one of the early season break out guys. Receiving an aggressive push from Bristol last year Reyes wasn't just an afterthought but he was by no means in the spot light either. In short he was a marginal prospect the Pirates were giving a push to see how he responded. Early results have been fantastic as the small Reyes (5' 10" 150 lbs) has been showing the most power on the team with a .235 ISO and 4 home runs. Reyes has also been a threat on the bases this year stealing 6 bases without having been caught once. Originally signed as a shortstop Reyes moved off the position last year as his defense just wasn't up to par but he has been fine at 2B thus far and with his surprising power could quickly develop into a solid 2B prospect. One concern is his early season OBP of just barely above .300 but it’s been solid in the past so it very well may just be an adjustment thing. Still the power and the fact he is properly aged for his current level makes him a... [Read More]
    0 Replies | 454 Views

Pens Fans Can Rejoice

by WVUTimmy | May 01, 2015 - 11:01 AM

During all the Pens games I spent watching and participating in the Penguins Gameday Lounge this season, one theme seemed to prevail among the bloggers. Craig Adams needs to go. Well, our prayers have been answered kids. Adams is gone. Rejoice.

Adams Not Returning To Team
    3 Replies | 1,353 Views

Steelernation, This Bud's For You

by Steelreign | May 01, 2015 - 2:31 AM
With the 22nd pick in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Steelers selected Kentucky linebacker Alvin "Bud" Dupree. While a lot of people were looking for a cornerback with the first pick, and will criticize, going with another linebacker, the Steelers made the right choice after Dupree fell into their lap. While the Steelers do need to retool the secondary, it is even more important that the defense regains the ability to get consistent pressure on the quarterback. Dupree, a 6'4" 270lb physical freak, has the size, speed and power to be that disrupting presence off the edge to help take a lot of the pressure off the secondary.

Another benefit that Dupree brings to the Steelers, is that his physical presence should benefit Jarvis Jones's development as well. If Jones can stay healthy, both he and Dupree have the ability to be the type of bookend linebackers that can bring the heat like Lloyd-Greene and Harrison-Woodley did. Add in Ryan Shazier and Sean Spence/Vince Williams, and suddenly the Steelers have a group of big linebackers that can make plays all over the field.

Bud Dupree has the tools necessary to have an immediate impact on the defense. He'll get to learn from two of the best in Joey Porter and James Harrison, who can only add to the impressive arsenal of pass rushing moves he already deploys and help him to become more consistent day in and day out. Welcome to Pittsburgh Mr. Dupree, here's to you continuing the great legacy of Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers and terrorizing quarterbacks.
    13 Replies | 1,778 Views

2014-2015 a Year to Remember for Pitt Basketball

by sluggermatt15 | Apr 25, 2015 - 10:01 PM
What MATTers: 2014-2015 a Year to Remember for Pitt Basketball -

The 2014-2015 season will be a year to remember for Pitt basketball. Boy, will it ever. Shattering expectations, 20 victories, and a berth in March Madness are just a few accomplishments. Wait a minute. Pitt didn't play in the NCAA Tournament! What team am I speaking of? That's right, Pitt women's basketball. Your 2014-2015 Lady Panthers had quite a successful campaign. Did you know the Ladies were selected to finish dead last in the ACC preseason polls? Despite this, Pitt clawed its way to a 20-12 record, including 9-7 in conference play. Pitt subsequently earned an NCAA Tournament berth. I know, I know, a wild dream, right? The Lady Panthers will remember this season for some time because of these achievements. Head coach Susie McConnell-Serio deserves a tremendous amount of respect. Her ability to guide the team to the postseason, after the team went 20-41 in its past two seasons, is remarkable. That is why she was a Naismith semi-finalist for Women's Coach of the Year. Job well done, Susie. Be proud. Be loud. Because you earned it and your players earned it. Speaking of players, Pitt senior G Brianna Kiesel emerged as the team's go to player. I'm sure you are familiar with her because Kiesel averaged 18.4 points per game, to go with 5.0 rebounds per game, and 4.5 assists per. There is little doubt in her fantastic basketball ability. Kiesel was named the USWBA National Player of the Week, during her collegiate career, a first in program history. Brianna also netted herself in supreme company as a selection to First Team All-ACC and All-ACC Academic Team. The latter, for the second year in a row. Kiesel and McConnell-Serio were the key figures in Pitt's turnaround, but the underclassmen cannot be ignored for their contributions. Incoming freshman Alysia Bugg, Stasha Carey, and Yacine Diop all aided Kiesel in scoring. Diop (9.4), Carey (9.1), and Bugg (6.0) finished as the third, fourth, and fifth scorers, respectively. For the women, it was a total team effort, from the top down, which produced a year to remember.

Now unfortunately for the men's team, the outcome of 2014-2015 was the polar opposite. As us Panther fans know, there is not much to discuss, other than the season was rather uneventful. Jamie Dixon failed to lead his team to a spot in March Madness for only the second time. The Pitt men failed to win 20 games, too. As a... [Read More]
    0 Replies | 1,402 Views

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