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Thread: Pretty Good Ron Cook Article RE:Pitching

      
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    Default Pretty Good Ron Cook Article RE:Pitching

    This is pretty much what I have been thinking other than the end where he states that Taillon & Allie should be developed and shipped to the big leagues as fast as possible. Anyway, not sure where the pitching is going to come from for this wave of young players. Seems to me if we just stick with what we got we have about 5 years before we would be any sort of real challenger for a division title.

    Pitching threatens to disarm Pirates' hopes
    Sunday, June 20, 2010
    By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Let's assume the very best here this morning. Third baseman Pedro Alvarez grows up and becomes the Pirates' best slugger since Willie Stargell. Center fielder Andrew McCutchen makes 10 National League All-Star teams. Second baseman Neil Walker spends 12 solid years in the big leagues. Left fielder Jose Tabata develops into a wonderful blend of speed and power. Right fielder Garrett Jones proves he is the real thing and has his best years in his 30s.

    It will be some lineup.

    There's just one problem:

    It won't matter if the Pirates don't find more and better starting pitchers.

    A lot more.

    A lot better.

    There are any number of mind-numbing statistics you can throw out about the 2010 Pirates, who lugged a 12-game losing streak and a National League-worst 23-44 record into Saturday night. None is more troubling than this: Their starting pitchers were a combined 1-17 with a 5.55 ERA in 28 games since May 18.

    That is worth repeating.

    The Pirates' rotation went a month and won just one game.

    It's really hard to be that bad.

    No, it is not all on the pitchers. Of course, it's not. The Pirates' lineup might be the franchise's worst in more than 55 years and will continue to be in that conversation at least until Alvarez, Walker and Tabata establish themselves as big league players. During that 27-game period, the team's alleged offense scored three or fewer runs 19 times. That put incredible pressure on pitchers who aren't nearly good enough to handle it.

    But it is those starters who are the biggest threat to this Pirates' latest rebuilding effort. The worry is that there is no immediate help on the way from the minors unless you count Charlie Morton. That might be a reach considering Morton opened the season in the Pirates' rotation and was mostly blasted in 10 starts, going 1-9 with a 9.35 ERA. He finally was put on the disabled list in late May with what the team called a tired shoulder, but, in reality, it was his psyche -- battered and bruised almost beyond recognition by opposing hitters -- that had to be repaired. General manager Neal Huntington did him no favors by keeping him with the big club so long and even might have done permanent damage to his career.

    The Pirates really liked left-hander Donnie Veal as a prospect at Class AAA Indianapolis, but he had Tommy John elbow surgery earlier this month. You might have heard that sort of thing can be a real setback for a pitcher. The team also likes right-hander Bryan Morris and left-hander Rudy Owens at Class AA Altoona, but it figures to be at least a year before they are ready to be here and, even then, there are no guarantees.

    That leaves a rotation of Zach Duke, Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens and Brad Lincoln.

    Good luck with that.

    It is hard to imagine the Pirates sticking with Duke much longer. Since making the All-Star team last season, he is 6-16 with a 5.32 ERA. During the 27-game period this season, he was 0-4 with a 6.21 ERA. He is making $4.3 million in salary and, thanks to the player-friendly arbitration system, due to make more next season. How do you keep him?

    Maholm has been the Pirates' most consistent starter and picked up that only win since May 18 when he beat the San Francisco Giants June 5. He might be back next season when he's due to make $5.75 million, but it is almost impossible to imagine the team signing off on his option for $9.75 million in 2012.

    Ohlendorf ranks with Morton as the Pirates' biggest pitching disappointment. He was their best starter in the second half of last season, but is 0-5 with a 5.22 ERA this season. Back problems put him on the disabled list in mid-April, but he says he is fine now. His pitching surely hasn't been. It's hard to believe he and Morton are a combined 1-14 with a 7.14 ERA this season, even harder to imagine the Pirates being truly competitive at any point down the road without both figuring it out and being effective.

    Karstens looks to be a serviceable back-of-the-rotation pitcher.

    It's way too soon to judge former No. 1 draft pick Lincoln, who gave up five earned runs in each of his first two starts after being promoted from Indianapolis June 9. It's not too soon to say the Pirates will be in trouble if he turns out to be anything less than the real deal.

    Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

    That the Pirates had better figure out a way to get the top two arms in the 2010 amateur draft -- Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie -- signed to contracts, developed and to the big leagues in a hurry?

    It would be a real shame to waste what has the potential to be a pretty good lineup moving forward because the lousy starting pitching can't keep up.

    Ron Cook: rcook@post-gazette.com. Ron Cook can be heard on the "Vinnie and Cook" show weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 93.7 The Fan. More articles by this author
    First published on June 20, 2010 at 12:00 am


    Read more: http://www.postgazette.com/pg/10171/...#ixzz0rOnBEmuA

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    Default Re: Pretty Good Ron Cook Article RE:Pitching

    I would put Justin Wilson in the next wave of pitchers with Morris and Owens. I wouldn't be surprised if all of these guys get some AAA time this year.....next year for sure and be ready later in 2011.

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    Default Re: Pretty Good Ron Cook Article RE:Pitching

    Quote Originally Posted by PittFaninVa View Post
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    I would put Justin Wilson in the next wave of pitchers with Morris and Owens. I wouldn't be surprised if all of these guys get some AAA time this year.....next year for sure and be ready later in 2011.
    I agree...I like Wilson's upside as a LHP. I think right now the pitching future of the Pirates organization is with those three.
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    Default Re: Pretty Good Ron Cook Article RE:Pitching

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112 View Post
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    I agree...I like Wilson's upside as a LHP. I think right now the pitching future of the Pirates organization is with those three.
    Alderson has been pitching much better lately. I haven't heard any reports on his velocity though. When I saw him in ST he was a mess.

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