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Thread: It's the pitching, stupid!

      
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    Default It's the pitching, stupid!

    Ugly history of Pirates pitching

    By Bob Smizik | Tuesday, 1 a.m.

    Try this trivia question:

    Name the last three pitchers drafted and developed by the Pirates to make the All-Star Game as a Pirate?

    Hint: You have to go back 30 years.

    Itís a well-known fact that the Pirates lack starting pitching this season. Whatís not so well known is that the organization has an amazing inability to develop its own pitchers.

    The best starting pitcher developed by the Pirates in the past 15 years?

    Bronson Arroyo.

    The best starting pitcher developed by the Pirates in the past 20 years?

    Esteban Loaiza.

    The best in the past 25 years?

    Tim Wakefield.

    The last pitcher drafted and developed by the Pirates to win 20 games for the Pirates?

    John Smiley in 1991.

    As bad as the Pirates pitching is this season, in terms of players drafted by the team itís almost a golden age. Included in that group would be: Paul Maholm, Zach Duke, Tom Gorzelanny, John Grabow, Matt Capps, Sean Burnett and Joe Beimel. Itís not much, but for the Pirates itís somewhat remarkable.

    The three division championship teams of the early 1990s had pitching staffs mostly composed of players groomed by other teams. The only Pirate developed pitchers of note on those teams were Smiley, Wakefield (only in 1992), Randy Tomlin and Stan Belinda.

    Itís been a vast wasteland, which partially explains the teams failure to have a winning season since 1992. The organization has been awful in drafting and developing players of all kinds, but particularly so with pitchers. Who can forget: Dave Williams, Matt Reubel, Kris Benson, Marc Wilkins, Chris Peters, Rich Loiselle, Jimmy Anderson, Randy Kramer, John Hope, Blas Minor, Paul Wagner, Francisco Cordova, Steve Cooke.

    Unfortunately, some of the best developed after they left the team.

    * The Pirates put Arroyo on waivers after the 2002 season, and why not? In three partial seasons with the team he was 9-14 with an ERA over 5.00. Heís had double digit wins every season but one since 2004 while pitching for Boston and Cincinnati.

    * Loaiza was 21-23 from 1995-97 before being traded to Texas for Warren Morris and Todd Van Poppel. He won 21 games for the White Sox in 2003 and finished with 126 career wins.

    * Wakefield was a spectacular 8-1 as a rookie in 1992 but fell to 6-11 the next season. After spending all of 1994 in the minors, the Pirates released him in April of 2005. Heís won 178 games for the Boston Red Sox.

    * Rick Reed was 4-7 between 1988-91. He later had five double-digit win seasons, four with the Mets and one with Minnesota.

    * Today Capps and Gorzelanny are pitching well after the Pirates gave up on them. Capps is fourth in the National League with 24 saves. Heís pitching extremely well this month with a 3-0 record, two saves in two opportunities and a 0.96 ERA. Gorzelanny is 6-5 with a 3.22 ERA. Among pitchers with 80 or more innings, his ERA ranks 17th in the NL.

    The trivia answer: The three pitchers in question are Zach Duke (2009), Smiley (1991) and Kent Tekulve (1980).
    I know Kipper is cringing right now, but Smizik makes a really obvious point. What is really frustrating is that this was Littlefield's area of concentration. Pitching, pitching and pitching. We got diddly squat out of it, which for an organization picking 1, 2 or 3 every year-for-seemingly-ever, is a disaster. Even now, we seem to be concentrating on pitching at the minor level. I sure hope we get better results.

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    Default Re: It's the pitching, stupid!

    It does have me criunging and even more so because I was thinking about this topic recently as I was thinking about those early 90's staffs, in particular the 92 staff. Everyone thinks of those teams as being built on pure offense. You think of those teams you think Barry Bonds, andy Van Slyke or Bobby Bonilla. By 1992 Bonilla was gone and that 1992 was really carried by it's pitching. Outside of Bonds and Van Slyke that team couldn't hit worth a ****. It's likely what doomed them in the end against the Braves and their excellent pitching depth especially when Bonds' disappeared as usual for the playoffs...

    but Im was thinking about that starting staff and the importance of having that quality type of pitching. Wakefield was sort of a pleasant fluke, same thing with Randy Tomlin. those guys came on when needed but Drabek, Walk, and Zane Smith were all just solid guys. Benny would've hated each one of them because they weren't high K/9 guys but they were good , very good situational pitchers that could force the outs that they needed.

    The Pirates need that again but like I was saying in the other thread... this organization isn't getting as much out of it's players as they should and that IMO is a coaching issue. Good coaches can milk the talent that they have, poor coaches are surrounded by players that most people can say are underachieving in more ways than expected. Outside of that 1997 team that Gene Lamont milked and maybe 2003, the Pirates aren't getting as much out of their players as they to be and it's been at it's worse with the pitching- starting pitching. That 1992 staff was getting milked

    Drabek - 2.77 era
    Tomlin - 3.41 era
    Smith - 3.06 era
    Wakefield - 2.15 era
    Walk - 3.20 era

    That's just crazy. I wouldn;t expect to see those types of numbers but I think you could add them all together and get about 2 current pitchers ERA's
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    Default Re: It's the pitching, stupid!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    It does have me criunging and even more so because I was thinking about this topic recently as I was thinking about those early 90's staffs, in particular the 92 staff. Everyone thinks of those teams as being built on pure offense. You think of those teams you think Barry Bonds, andy Van Slyke or Bobby Bonilla. By 1992 Bonilla was gone and that 1992 was really carried by it's pitching. Outside of Bonds and Van Slyke that team couldn't hit worth a ****. It's likely what doomed them in the end against the Braves and their excellent pitching depth especially when Bonds' disappeared as usual for the playoffs...

    but Im was thinking about that starting staff and the importance of having that quality type of pitching. Wakefield was sort of a pleasant fluke, same thing with Randy Tomlin. those guys came on when needed but Drabek, Walk, and Zane Smith were all just solid guys.[HIGH-LIGHT] Benny would've hated each one of them because they weren't high K/9 guys but they were good , very good situational pitchers that could force the outs that they needed.[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    The Pirates need that again but like I was saying in the other thread... [HIGH-LIGHT]this organization isn't getting as much out of it's players as they should and that IMO is a coaching issue. Good coaches can milk the talent that they have, poor coaches are surrounded by players that most people can say are underachieving in more ways than expected.[/HIGH-LIGHT] Outside of that 1997 team that Gene Lamont milked and maybe 2003, the Pirates aren't getting as much out of their players as they to be and it's been at it's worse with the pitching- starting pitching. That 1992 staff was getting milked

    Drabek - 2.77 era
    Tomlin - 3.41 era
    Smith - 3.06 era
    Wakefield - 2.15 era
    Walk - 3.20 era

    That's just crazy. I wouldn;t expect to see those types of numbers but I think you could add them all together and get about 2 current pitchers ERA's
    In general you are right that I dont like those types of pitchers. However, I do not think you need, or even should have, a whole staff of pitchers with high K9's...I think that there certainly are pitchers who are effective at doing what they do and can be good pitchers. I dont think the pIrates have those right now and I especially dont think they get enough out of their players (like you said).

    I actually like Paul Maholm. For a lefty soft-tosser he does strike out some guys and he can be effective....BUT like you said I dont think that they are getting enough out of their players.

    Just look at Paul Maholm. He's been the Pirates most consistent starter for the last couple years, but this year has been woefully inconsistent. His K9 have dropped...his BB9 have gone up...his usual 2:1 SO/BB ratio has dropped below 1.5.

    Paul Maholm can win games. I do not love his stuff, as Kipper pointed out, but I do think his mental makeup and his ability lends itself well to winning games and winning big games when they matter. HOWEVER, right now the Pirates cant even get him to go out there and give it his best every game. He may not be Doug Drabek, but he certainly could be a Zane Smith/Bob Walk for this team....we just need coaches who can get something out of him..................and a dominant K9 guy at the top of the rotation
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    Default Re: It's the pitching, stupid!

    Of all the failed players NH brought Charlie Morton was the biggest disappointment and the one guy who could have made a difference.

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    Default Re: It's the pitching, stupid!

    Quote Originally Posted by PittFaninVa View Post
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    Of all the failed players NH brought Charlie Morton was the biggest disappointment and the one guy who could have made a difference.
    I agree with that sentiment. I hope all is not said and done with Charlie...but I am afraid it is...especially if we do not change our coaching staff.
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