Deeper Bench Could Have Pirates Winning NL Central

by Steelreign | Feb 14, 2015 - 3:10 PM
After 20 straight years of losing seasons, the Pirates have had two straight winning seasons resulting in the opportunity to host the last two NL wildcard games. During these last two seasons, the Pirates have had solid starting pitching, one of the best bullpens in all baseball, the Sharktank, and an emerging offense led by Andrew McCuthchen. The one glaring weakness has been the depth on the bench, which hasn't inspired a whole lot of confidence, especially in key situations. Gone are Gaby Sanchez, Pedro Ciriaco, Brent Morel and Mike Rodriguez, replaced with Sean Rodriguez, Cory Hart, Jung Ho Kang and Steve Lombardozzi. In what might be the best offseason performance, on paper, by Neil Huntington, he has added players to the bench that have pop in their bats and who can help the Pirates win if they are needed to step in and play for extended periods of time. Not only is this beneficial to the major league roster, but it allows the organization to keep those who might be called up to wallow on the bench, to stay in the minors and get meaningful playing time to further their development.

In addition to the power that these players can provide, they all offer position flexibility that in itself can help lengthen the bench. Cory Hart can play right field and first base, Sean Rodriguez can play just about anywhere but pitcher and catcher and Steve Lombardozzi can play just about anywhere in the infield. The most intriguing of the new bench additions is easily, Jung Ho Kang. This 27 year old power hitting shortstop from the Nexen Heros of the KBO, batted .356 and hit 40 homeruns with an OPS of 1.198. While those numbers are impressive, he did it in an offensive oriented league that is the equivalent of playing AA ball, but it may be fair to say that his power numbers in the KBO may translate to 18-23 homeruns on the major league level if playing on a full time basis. With the return of AJ Burnett and resigning Francisco Liriano, the best bench in recent memory could be the missing piece to the Pirates capturing the NL Central and becoming a serious World Series contender. Starting next week we will find out as the road to Buctober begins with the opening of spring training.
    2 Replies | 946 Views

All-Time Steelers By The Jersey Numbers: 10-19

by Steelreign | Feb 09, 2015 - 4:25 PM
This is the second installment in this series, one that takes a look at some of the men who have played for the Steelers throughout the history of this great franchise, by the jersey numbers. Some of them are or were all-time greats, some were minor stars of their era, while some are obscure or were solid role players who were fan favorites. Regardless of the stature of these players, let's continue with the numerical look into the men who have donned the uniform of our Pittsburgh Steelers, this edition continues with jersey numbers 10 through 19.


Kordell Stewart was a quarterback who was a little bit ahead of his time, he could beat you with his legs as well as his arm, the problem was figuring out how he fit into the offense. He started out as "Slash", the wide receiver, running back, quarteback who did a little bit of everything, at any moment of the game, on the Steelers run to Super Bowl XXX, during the 1995 season. As good of a wide receiver as he could have been, his goal and choice was to be a quarterback in the NFL, which led fans to either love or hate Kordell, there was really no middle ground. In 1997, stewart's first year as a starting quarterback, he the Steelers to the AFC championship game where the Steelers fell short to the Broncos 24-21. After enduring his share of struggles for the next three seasons, kordell led the Steelers back to the AFC Championship game in 2001 and finished third in NFL MVP voting, leading the Steelers to a 13-3 record. For his career with Pittsburgh, Kordell completed 1,109 passes on 2,107 attempts for 13,328 yards, with 70 tds and 72 ints. His record as a starter was 46-29. As for what he did with his legs, he ran the ball 496 times for 2,561 yards and 35 tds, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Whether you loved or hated Kordell, he is easily one of the most exciting and versatile players in team history. Other players who have wore number 10 for the Steelers include Super Bowl XLIII MVP Santonio Holmes, QB Scott Campbell and current Steelers WR Martavis Bryant.


The history of this jersey number is full of forgettable and obscure players that include QB Kent Graham, WR Quincey Morgan, and K Gene Mingo. Perhaps the most productive player to wear the jersey was KR Stefan Logan. Logan was with the Steelers during the 2009 season as the primary kickoff returner. He had the ability to take one all the way every time he got his hands on the ball. While he never... [Read More]
    2 Replies | 1,926 Views

ATP Near and Far: Shortstop

by battlingbucs | Feb 09, 2015 - 3:13 PM
ATP Near and Far is a 10 part series dedicated to assembling two teams of All Time Pirates greats based upon their place of birth. The "near" team will consist of players born exclusively in the state of Pennsylvania and the "far" team will consist of players born outside of the 50 US states and the District of Columbia. Each roster will consist of 25 players the particulars of how the rosters will be assembled can be found in the introduction post here.

All Time Pirates Near and Far: Shortstops
Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania team features a deep crop of shortstops featuring 28 eligible players and another 13 who have played at least one game at the position. Only 2 of the 13 ineligible players to have played SS appeared in more than 10 games at the position and they are Bill McKechnie and Ed Abbaticchio. Of the eligible group the top two guys would easily start for the international squad and depending on how you view things another 2-6 players would be in the running.

Bobby Cargo, Gus Alberts, Hutch Campbell and John Gilbert all saw only 2 games of action with the Pirates receiving between 4 to 8 plate appearances. For Cargo (1892), Campbell (1907) and Gilbert (1890) that brief appearance with the Pirates was their entire major league career. Alberts began his major league career with the Alleghenies in 1884 but hung around the game getting occasional appearances through 1891 (1895 in the minors). Sam Gillen played in 3 games for the Pirates in 1893 and would later play for the Phillies in 1897. Jim Gray and Marr Phillips each appeared in 4 games for Pittsburgh. Gray’s games were spread out over 3 seasons (1884, 1890 and 1893) and he also played 2 games for the Pittsburgh Burghers in 1890 (Player’s League). Phillips played for the Alleghenies in 1885 he had a long career in baseball playing in a pro league from 1877 through 1899 (’84 and ’90 were his other years in the majors).

John McDonald and Joe Quest were covered in the 2B section. McDonald an all glove utility infielder picked up 35 PA for the Pirates in 2013 and is still hanging around the game. Quest is another early player having played for the team way back in 1884 where he picked up 44 PA mainly as a 2B but he spent some time at SS as well. Don Kelly and Bill Stuart... [Read More]
    1 Reply | 918 Views

ATP Near and Far: Third Base

by battlingbucs | Feb 06, 2015 - 11:37 AM
ATP Near and Far is a 10 part series dedicated to assembling two teams of All Time Pirates greats based upon their place of birth. The "near" team will consist of players born exclusively in the state of Pennsylvania and the "far" team will consist of players born outside of the 50 US states and the District of Columbia. Each roster will consist of 25 players the particulars of how the rosters will be assembled can be found in the introduction post here.

All Time Pirates Near and Far: Third Basemen

International: The pool of eligible 3B for the international squad is a small one consisting of just 14 players. There are another 25 to have played the position but unlike the last 3 posts Iím not going to take the time to mention them all as they all have been or will be discussed. One player I will mention outside of either two groups is Yurendell De Caster. De Caster is the lone player on either team to not have played the field at all. Third base was De Casterís primary position in the minors which is why he is being mentioned here. He played 3 games with the Pirates back in 2006 and is actually someone I remember. His first stint was short as he replaced a player who was placed on the bereavement list and saw action once as a pinch runner. Later in the year he was called up and used in two separate games as a pinch hitter. Fun fact De Casterís pinch running appearance was in an interleague game for the DH making him the only player in Pirates history to be listed as a DH on Fangraphs.

Two of the 14 eligible players, Henry Youngman and Enrique Wilson have previously been covered in the 2B section. Youngman played for the Pirates in 1890 and played 6 games at 2B and 7 at 3B. Wilson was with the Pirates in 2000-01 and was used as a utility infielder playing 2B, 3B and SS.

Cesar Izturis made a long career (2001-13) out of being an all glove utility infielder. Izturis, from Venezuela was acquired by the Pirates during the 2007 season and saw time in 45 games (primarily at SS) where he was his typical self playing great defense while posting a poor 68 wRC+. Another player from Venezuela, Luis Sojo played for the Pirates in 2000. The Pirates signed him in the offseason to share the 3B job with one of their younger players (who will be mentioned later). Sojo wasnít much... [Read More]
    1 Reply | 2,366 Views

Arcobello's Depth, Skills Valuable to Pittsburgh

by sluggermatt15 | Feb 04, 2015 - 11:59 AM
Arcobello's Depth, Skills Valuable to Pittsburgh:

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has been far from reluctant when it comes to acquiring players this season. Do David Perron and Maxim Lapierre ring a bell? There comes few questions these players add depth to the Pittsburgh Penguins' roster. Perron provides a scoring compliment for top C Sidney Crosby and winger Chris Kunitz; Lapierre adds an additional physical element. Steve Downie can finally relax, right? Each has made their presence felt: Perron has contributed 9 points in 12 games, while Lapierre brings his tough, gritty style of play to work every day. But it's been the acquisition of a former Nashville Predator and Edmonton Oiler that few fans are talking about. On January 14, Rutherford plucked winger Mark Arcobello off waivers from Nashville. Looking to add a two-way forward, Arcobello appears to fit the Penguins' mold. At just 5'8Ē, his versatility to play both center and wing is of utmost interest. The Penguins are loaded with talent at C, and can play Arcobello on either wing. This also allows the team to flex him in and out of the lineup as a healthy scratch. Players also notice Arcobello's hard work ethic and speed. He comes to work ready for whatever challenges the opponent has in mind.

Seems awfully comparable to other players the Penguins have brought in. Craig Adams. Zach Sill. No doubt these players are valuable. Chemically speaking, their play serves as the adhesive in binding the personalities of the team, from star players in Crosby, Kunitz, and Evgeni Malkin to the enforcers in Lapierre and Downie. Despite Arcobello's contribution a single point since joining the team, he has demonstrated the ability to score when called upon. In 41 games last season with the Oilers, Arcobello netted 18 points (4 G, 14 A), and 12 points (7 G, 5 A) this year prior to being placed on waivers. This is just what Pittsburgh needs, additional scoring depth on the lower lines. Arcobello further offers Pittsburgh a financial benefit. His salary cap price of less than $1 M is a bargain for his talent. He is an affordable option to utilize (also consider that Pittsburgh rubs up against the cap ceiling on an annual basis). I guess the lack of attention for Arcobello has not set off any alarms. He seems to have fit... [Read More]
    0 Replies | 1,057 Views

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