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Thread: Minicamp: Pirates, Jones seek 'Legend' sequel

      
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    Default Minicamp: Pirates, Jones seek 'Legend' sequel

    Minicamp: Pirates, Jones seek 'Legend' sequel
    Doumit likes players' 'chemistry' compared to dismal 2009 scene
    Saturday, January 16, 2010
    By Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Dejan Kovacevic/Post-GazetteGarrett Jones prepares for a full batting practice by hitting flips from hitting coordinator Gregg Ritchie into a net at Pirate City.BRADENTON, Fla. -- Will the Legend live on?

    Ask Garrett Jones, now that the calendar has turned, if he ever awoke from that year-long dream in 2009, and he will respond with a characteristically playful smile.

    "I don't know, but I hope not."

    It surely will take more than hope, but the Pirates and their stunningly prodigious right fielder, who slugged 21 home runs in half a season as a 28-year-old rookie, profess no-hesitation confidence that 2010 will represent a sequel rather than the snap back to reality that some -- including evaluators in the industry -- see as inevitable.

    Manager John Russell evidently is not among them.

    "You heard that last year, too, that he can't maintain it, that he can't do it," Russell said yesterday, after the third day of minicamp. "The thing with Garrett is that he's got a very simple swing for a big guy. There's not a lot of movement or things going on with his lower half or a hitch. It's pretty direct to the ball. And, with that kind of strength, he's going to be able to put together good games even when he doesn't feel well."

    So, 40 home runs?

    "He'll be fine."

    Another facet that leads to the optimistic view: Opposing pitchers became merciless with Jones down the stretch, pounding fastballs under his fists and, because of Jones' lack of lineup support, rarely giving him something to hit. Despite that, he batted .309 in September with five home runs.

    There are areas in which he lacked, notably a .208 average against left-handers and just 42 RBIs for all those home runs, but still ...

    "He made great adjustments, and that's what you look for the most," Russell said.

    "It was tough at times, but it's a game of adjustments," Jones said. "I just needed to be more patient, wait for a pitch to drive."

    To be sure, the predictions for Jones can be extreme, largely because his debut in Pittsburgh had little in common with his first 10 professional seasons, in which he batted .258 while only once achieving 30 home runs.

    With the Pirates, he batted .293while averaging a home run every 15 at-bats, a pace that projects to 37 over a full 550-at-bat season. From July 1 to season's end, he had more home runs than anyone in Major League Baseball except Prince Fielder (26), Ryan Howard (25), Derrek Lee (24) and Mark Reynolds (23).

    So, 40 home runs?

    "That would be a good goal," Jones said with a laugh. "I'm just going to take the same approach, stay consistent, drive in runs and help the team win. This is a new year, and 2009 is in the past, and that's how I'm taking it. I'm pumped and ready to go."

    Hanrahan's elbow tight
    Reliever Joel Hanrahan missed his scheduled pitching session yesterday because of "elbow tightness," Russell said, adding that it was minor and that Hanrahan might be well enough to try again on the final day of camp today.

    Hanrahan pitched three bullpen sessions here, one more than most, because he arrived early.

    The other nine pitchers scheduled to pitch did so, including all of the Pirates' projected starters. Brad Lincoln and Daniel McCutchen, who had been with this group, left minicamp to attend Major League Baseball's development camp this weekend. They will be joined there by Pedro Alvarez.

    That mystery reliever
    The other free-agent right-handed reliever with whom the Pirates are close to an agreement -- not Octavio Dotel -- remains unidentified, but it likely is one of the following six: Jamey Wright, Seth McClung, Kiko Calero, Brendan Donnelly, Russ Springer and Chan Ho Park.

    Doumit: Familiarity growing
    Catcher Ryan Doumit, always a weather vane for the team's chemistry issues, said he likes what he has seen here, especially compared to the dismal atmosphere last season that began with the late-July trades and never abated.

    "One of the best signs of chemistry is when guys start joking with each other. You see a lot of guys here talking, laughing ... and you didn't really see that late last season. It's like everybody was in a trance. But now, everybody's having fun. And it's time to get down to business, too. It's that time of year, where you get a little antsy and can't wait for spring training to come around."

    As for the far more important facet ...

    "Obviously, the talent is here. These players wouldn't be here if that wasn't the case. We've got some arms. We've got some guys who can do some special things offensively. We just need to get it together."

    Two coaches in Venezuela
    The Pirates' two coaches promoted this offseason to the major league staff, infield instructor Carlos Garcia and pitching assistant Ray Searage, are not attending minicamp because they are with Magallanes of the Venezuelan Winter League. Garcia is the manager, Searage the pitching coach.

    That is why Russell and new minor league infield coordinator Steve Lombardozzi have been handling the daily lessons for first baseman Jeff Clement, who was out on the half-field for an hour again yesterday.



    Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10016...#ixzz0cmQH2qLu
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    Default Re: Minicamp: Pirates, Jones seek 'Legend' sequel

    I was watching hot stove last night and they asked the guys on there if Garrett Jones would be over or under 25 homers. They both replied under, saying they felt now the book is out and pitchers would adjust. This could very well be true, but Jones made adjustments last year and had a very good season overall. The knocks on him are his hitting off lefties, common for a young hitter and the fact he only drove in 42 runs on those 21 homers. Obviously he can improve in both areas, but a better team around him would go a long way. I'm getting stoked. I can't wait to check out the Indy Indians schedule. I'm thinking I need to buy a package this year.

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    Default Re: Minicamp: Pirates, Jones seek 'Legend' sequel

    For what it's worth ,Joe Magraine and Mitch Williams on MLB Network's "Hot Stove" both predicted that Jones would hit less than 25 HR over a full season, and said that most pitchers had already figured him out.

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    Default Re: Minicamp: Pirates, Jones seek 'Legend' sequel

    Quote Originally Posted by buccoman View Post
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    For what it's worth ,Joe Magraine and Mitch Williams on MLB Network's "Hot Stove" both predicted that Jones would hit less than 25 HR over a full season, and said that most pitchers had already figured him out.
    Yeah but what Williams and Magraine failed to mention was the fact that pitchers made adjustments last year and Jones adjusted to them. Baseball is a game of adjustments. I think he'll be fine this year whether it's in rightfield or at 1st base.

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    Default Re: Minicamp: Pirates, Jones seek 'Legend' sequel

    I was thinking that garrett is gonna hit around 27 HR's , a good amount of doubles with around 82 RBI's. His average will be around .280 With a simple swing like he has, consistancy is alot more easy to achieve than a guy with a swing like Aramis ramirez.
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    Default Re: Minicamp: Pirates, Jones seek 'Legend' sequel

    I actually wouldn't have that big of a problem if he hit around 23-25 HRs...sometimes you have to regress before you can go forward. I do think, though, that he'll probably be OK. We'll have to wait and see though.
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    Default Re: Minicamp: Pirates, Jones seek 'Legend' sequel

    Another thing that was completely omitted from this that I personally think is important is Garrett Jones' age. He's in that "prime of his career" age, where players just seem to "get it" sometimes regardless of what their past says.

    We've got a few players hitting that "prime" age range right now

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    Default Re: Minicamp: Pirates, Jones seek 'Legend' sequel

    25 seems like a fair number to set the Over/Under. I understand the argument both ways, although I don't see any evidence that pitchers already have adjusted to him this year. He cooled off after a ridiculous July, but his August/September was pretty consistent and solid.

    Over his MLB time last year Jones hit at a pace that would give him 32 HR assuming a 550 AB season. If you drop his July numbers he hit at a pace for 24 HR. If you use 2008-2009 AAA numbers he only hit at a 22 HR pace at that level. Adding in more minor league seasons and the pace gets even lower.

    For him to hit over 25 you have to assume he maintains his pace at least from the last two months of last year rather than a dropoff in his second year, or a drop all the way back to where he was in the minors even as recently as this season. You also have to assume he stays healthy, and that he gets the playing time. An early slump might take away a ton of ABs given some of the players fighting to get into the lineup.
    Last edited by jnn123; Jan-16-2010 at 07:12 PM.

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    Default Re: Minicamp: Pirates, Jones seek 'Legend' sequel

    Quote Originally Posted by jnn123 View Post
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    25 seems like a fair number to set the Over/Under. I understand the argument both ways, although I don't see any evidence that pitchers already have adjusted to him this year. He cooled off after a ridiculous July, but his August/September was pretty consistent and solid.

    Over his MLB time last year Jones hit at a pace that would give him 32 HR assuming a 550 AB season. If you drop his July numbers he hit at a pace for 24 HR. If you use 2008-2009 AAA numbers he only hit at a 22 HR pace at that level. Adding in more minor league seasons and the pace gets even lower.

    For him to hit over 25 you have to assume he maintains his pace at least from the last two months of last year rather than a dropoff in his second year, or a drop all the way back to where he was in the minors even as recently as this season. You also have to assume he stays healthy, and that he gets the playing time. An early slump might take away a ton of ABs given some of the players fighting to get into the lineup.
    That's a pretty good breakdown. That 24 per/game average over Aug/Sept is a much better course. That's not to say that he couldn't have a month in a season where he hits Homers at a higher rate... but he could also have a month that offsets that too.

    Jones is really nearly imposssible to project/predict. He could be a bust, or he could hit anywhere from 20-40 homers... I know that i'm personally curious to see what he'll do. I do like that he's at that prime age, but I also think 20-25 is more of a realistic guess.

    I was curious and looked at home and road games in July, Aug and Sept, since Jones has 5 more homers at PNC in just 8 more AB's... I was curious if maybe we played more road game in Aug-Sept than July... but that's not the case at all.

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    Default Re: Minicamp: Pirates, Jones seek 'Legend' sequel

    Quote Originally Posted by jnn123 View Post
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    25 seems like a fair number to set the Over/Under. I understand the argument both ways, although I don't see any evidence that pitchers already have adjusted to him this year. He cooled off after a ridiculous July, but his August/September was pretty consistent and solid.

    Over his MLB time last year Jones hit at a pace that would give him 32 HR assuming a 550 AB season. If you drop his July numbers he hit at a pace for 24 HR. If you use 2008-2009 AAA numbers he only hit at a 22 HR pace at that level. Adding in more minor league seasons and the pace gets even lower.

    For him to hit over 25 you have to assume he maintains his pace at least from the last two months of last year rather than a dropoff in his second year, or a drop all the way back to where he was in the minors even as recently as this season. You also have to assume he stays healthy, and that he gets the playing time. An early slump might take away a ton of ABs given some of the players fighting to get into the lineup.
    Actually I heard it somewhere, when he cooled off, part of that was the pitchers adjusting to him and they started busting him in on his hands and the end of the season was him adjusting. It's neverending, so there will be plenty more adjustments to come.

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    Default Re: Minicamp: Pirates, Jones seek 'Legend' sequel

    What I like aout Jones: He is an excellent base runner, and can even steal some.

    What I hate about Jones: So many of those HR came with no one on. Does anybody know his RISP %. I can't seem to find that stat

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    Default Re: Minicamp: Pirates, Jones seek 'Legend' sequel

    Quote Originally Posted by buccoman View Post
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    What I hate about Jones: So many of those HR came with no one on. Does anybody know his RISP %. I can't seem to find that stat
    Dealing with a pretty small sample size and his RISP numbers were dramatically impacted by an extremely low .196 BABIP compared to .323 overall, but the numbers are:

    RISP: 85 PA .152/.306/.242 1 HR 19 RBI
    Men on Base: 145 PA .231/.359/.419 5 HR 28 RBI
    Bases Empty: 213 PA .330/.380/.655 16 HR 16 RBI

    You can do other things with situational stats, too, though. For example he was an unbelievably good hitter in tie games:

    100 PA .372/.450/.686

    You really need to look at these kinds of numbers over much longer periods of time to get an idea of whether or not there's some kind of trend.

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    Default Re: Minicamp: Pirates, Jones seek 'Legend' sequel

    Quote Originally Posted by indybucfan View Post
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    Actually I heard it somewhere, when he cooled off, part of that was the pitchers adjusting to him and they started busting him in on his hands and the end of the season was him adjusting. It's neverending, so there will be plenty more adjustments to come.
    Think of this also, in regards to what you said... if pitchers were busting in on his hands, he wasn't getting much to hit in regards to power anyway. That his BA didn't really take a big hit during that period. He slipped from a .310 to a .274 BA from July to August but rebounded in September to a .309 BA. Even so, a .274 isn't exactly terrible, still probably around average for a RF...

    to go along with that... his BB's and K's increased in august and September when the pitchers were adjusting to him. If they were throwing him more junk, then these numbers increasing make sense along with his power numbers dipping a little bit. That his BB's increased almost inline with his K's is a really good sign, showed that his plate presence was still strong.

    On another side, the difference between hitting .310 in July and .274 in August was 2 less hits in 6 more ab's.

    -------------

    I came across an interesting stat...

    Garett Jones LOVES himself some finesse pitchers. He doesn't hit power guys very well


    http://www.baseball-reference.com/pl...ear=&t=b#power

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