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Thread: Bucs' Hart is a frontrunner for rotation spot

      
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    Default Bucs' Hart is a frontrunner for rotation spot

    Bucs' Hart is a frontrunner for rotation spot
    By Rob Biertempfel, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
    Saturday, February 20, 2010

    BRADENTON, Fla. John Russell's animated eyebrows might have given it away.

    The Pirates manager broke out of his normally unaffected demeanor Friday when asked about right-hander Kevin Hart.

    "He's throwing the ball really, really well," Russell said, arching his eyebrows and raising his voice. "So we're very excited."

    Excited enough to award Hart the final open spot in the starting rotation? Perhaps.

    The storyline coming into spring training camp was that Hart and Daniel McCutchen would compete for the No. 5 spot in the rotation. Rising prospect Brad Lincoln would press them from Triple-A Indianapolis.

    But yesterday, while talking in general about the pitching staff, Russell listed Hart as one of the starters and McCutchen among the bullpen crew. When asked if the job is Hart's to lose, Russell hedged.

    "There's competition, and (Hart) knows it," Russell said. "He's going to show he's ready for it.

    "We've got other very good candidates, but he's working awfully hard. Time will tell, but he's in a good position right now."

    This is Hart's third time in a major-league camp he was invited to the Cubs' camps the past two years but his first opportunity as a full-time starting pitcher.

    "It's a good experience for me," Hart said. "At the same time, all you can control is what you do and how hard you work. The rest of that stuff will take care of itself."

    In June, the Cubs called up Hart from Triple-A as a reliever. Then, he was moved into the rotation and made four starts in July before being traded to the Pirates.

    Hart made 10 mostly disastrous outings for the Pirates. He went 1-8 with a 6.92 ERA and ended the year riding a seven-game losing streak.

    "I know it's hard for people to believe there were some positives in there," Hart said. "I learned a lot about myself and what I can and can't do on the mound.

    "I'm not going to run from any challenge. Things went about as poorly as they could have gone last year in Pittsburgh. But I'm here, ready to go, and I'm anxious to get back out there."

    This offseason, Hart tweaked his mechanics. He worked to slow down his delivery and "stay behind the ball" through his release point. When he does that, his pitches have more sink.

    "He feels a lot more comfortable with (his mechanics)," Russell said. "He's really focusing."

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_668127.html
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    Default Re: Bucs' Hart is a frontrunner for rotation spot

    Hard to believe he has the edge over McCutcheon!!! Hell, 1-8 record with that ERA....?
    I figure even Karstens has the edge over Hart.....he pitched rather well in most of his appearances, starting and relieving I thought......
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    Default Re: Bucs' Hart is a frontrunner for rotation spot

    Looks like Russell let the cat out of the bag.

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    Default Re: Bucs' Hart is a frontrunner for rotation spot

    Quote Originally Posted by ranrod7 View Post
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    Hard to believe he has the edge over McCutcheon!!! Hell, 1-8 record with that ERA....?
    I figure even Karstens has the edge over Hart.....he pitched rather well in most of his appearances, starting and relieving I thought......
    I don't have the stats in front of me but he was doing pretty well for the cubs before he came to us. We'll see how it plays out. I'm just glad we have options for once instead of being locked in on 5 pitchers and no back ups.

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    Default Re: Bucs' Hart is a frontrunner for rotation spot

    Quote Originally Posted by indybucfan View Post
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    I don't have the stats in front of me but he was doing pretty well for the cubs before he came to us. We'll see how it plays out. I'm just glad we have options for once instead of being locked in on 5 pitchers and no back ups.
    I think his time with the Cubs was just a lot of good luck over a small sample.

    ERA: Cubs - 2.60
    Pirates - 6.92

    BB/9: Cubs - 5.9
    Pirates - 4.4

    K/9: Cubs - 4.2
    Pirates - 6.6

    FIP: Cubs - 5.74
    Pirates - 5.16

    xFIP: Cubs - 6.20
    Pirates - 4.77

    tRA: Cubs - 5.72
    Pirates - 5.76

    All the other numbers say he was actually worse, or at best about the same, with the Cubs as with the Pirates.

    This is all pretty small sample stuff, but Daniel McCutchen's FIP (5.19), xFIP (4.85), and tRA (5.50) numbers are about the same as what Hart did with the Pirates. Neither really seems to have an advantage based on AAA performance either. Hart gets more strikeouts, McCutchen fewer walks, but similar enough results in the end.

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    Default Re: Bucs' Hart is a frontrunner for rotation spot

    Quote Originally Posted by jnn123 View Post
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    I think his time with the Cubs was just a lot of good luck over a small sample.

    ERA: Cubs - 2.60
    Pirates - 6.92

    BB/9: Cubs - 5.9
    Pirates - 4.4

    K/9: Cubs - 4.2
    Pirates - 6.6

    FIP: Cubs - 5.74
    Pirates - 5.16

    xFIP: Cubs - 6.20
    Pirates - 4.77

    tRA: Cubs - 5.72
    Pirates - 5.76

    All the other numbers say he was actually worse, or at best about the same, with the Cubs as with the Pirates.

    This is all pretty small sample stuff, but Daniel McCutchen's FIP (5.19), xFIP (4.85), and tRA (5.50) numbers are about the same as what Hart did with the Pirates. Neither really seems to have an advantage based on AAA performance either. Hart gets more strikeouts, McCutchen fewer walks, but similar enough results in the end.
    Personally, I think they are both spot holders until better pitchers make their way to the front of the line.

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    Default Re: Bucs' Hart is a frontrunner for rotation spot

    Quote Originally Posted by jnn123 View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    I think his time with the Cubs was just a lot of good luck over a small sample.

    ERA: Cubs - 2.60
    Pirates - 6.92

    BB/9: Cubs - 5.9
    Pirates - 4.4

    K/9: Cubs - 4.2
    Pirates - 6.6

    FIP: Cubs - 5.74
    Pirates - 5.16

    xFIP: Cubs - 6.20
    Pirates - 4.77

    tRA: Cubs - 5.72
    Pirates - 5.76

    All the other numbers say he was actually worse, or at best about the same, with the Cubs as with the Pirates.

    This is all pretty small sample stuff, but Daniel McCutchen's FIP (5.19), xFIP (4.85), and tRA (5.50) numbers are about the same as what Hart did with the Pirates. Neither really seems to have an advantage based on AAA performance either. Hart gets more strikeouts, McCutchen fewer walks, but similar enough results in the end.
    And thus why its astonishing that Russell is already talking about Hart how he is. I am not really a fan of Russell as manager, never have been...but whatever.
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    Default Re: Bucs' Hart is a frontrunner for rotation spot

    It seems like Hart was working on changes to his delivery. Hopefully those changes worked, because he looked bad last year.

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    Default Re: Bucs' Hart is a frontrunner for rotation spot

    Here's an article on Hart's mechanics from a Bradenton paper: http://www.bradenton.com/2010/02/21/...r-pirates.html

    “Pitching is almost like golf in that sometimes, the harder you swing, the more mechanical things you do wrong,” Hart said. “I’ve always put a lot of energy and effort into my delivery, and I think that was actually counter-productive at times. It was one of those things where I was trying harder, but losing my command and losing my velocity.”

    The 27-year-old believes a lot of his problems were due to switching back and forth from being a reliever to a starter during his two-plus seasons with the Cubs.

    “My release out of the windup was completely different than out of the stretch, and we are trying to get the two to where they are exactly the same,” Hart said. “There were a lot of things that were going on in the windup. Being able to take that body of knowledge into the offseason and re-work my mechanics where you are repeating it 120 to 130 times a day really helps.”


    Interesting. A quick look at his numbers last year suggests that he was getting completely destroyed out of the windup (.373 BAA with bases empty), but was decent from the stretch (.239 BAA with runners on).

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