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We here at Pittsburgh Sports Forum are always looking to add new content to our site to give everyone more to enjoy and discuss and to hopefully expand our perspective on what's happening with our favorite Pittsburgh Sports teams. We are excited to announce that coming very soon, we will be working with Rudy "Rude Dog" Reyes, to bring you his weekly podcast. Rudy is also the West Coast reporter for Steelernationlive Radio and will be joining them on their radio show and there webcasts. Rudy's stated goal has been to unite the East and west coast of SteelerNation and to introduce all of us to the West Coast flavor of SteelerNation which the passion for the Steelers is both as passionate and dedicated as it is in the 'Burgh itself. You'll find when you listen to Rudy, that he is both passionate, full of energy and all about Steelernation and everything Black'n'Gold. He will deliver his insights and knowledge of Steeler Football in a unique and fresh way. We are really excited to be able to work with Rudy in this capacity and also to be able to help connect you to the people he will be working with at www.steelernationlive.net
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The Steelers are gearing up for their first preseason action this Saturday as the New York Giants will stroll into Heinz Field for the first exhibition of the 2013-2014 season. I will be providing a "What to Watch For" later in the week for Steelers fans to get SOMETHING out of a meaningless football game. Nonetheless, there is something about this training camp that is very noteworthy that a lot of Steelers fans might have overlooked. Did they overlook it because of the Pirates? Probably. Did they overlook it because its just "practice"? Possibly. Did they overlook it because they didn't make it to Latrobe this year? There is a good chance. Regardless of why they overlooked the clear difference in this camp than in past camps is a multi-faceted, but boils down to ONE thing - conditioning. Now, I know there are people out there that are saying "You are nuts. There have been numerous players who are in great shape, but just can't hack it!" This is true, but that is not what I'm referring to in regards to conditioning. There is a difference between a well conditioned athlete that can't cut it, and a player who CAN cut it, but is in horrible condition.
I don't typically like to divulge a lot of personal information (which is why my name isn't really attached to anything that I do on the internet), but in this case I felt it was appropriate to share something about myself. Most of you know, if you've followed my writing for a while, that I am a Physical Education teacher, but I am also a certified personal trainer. I have trained numerous athletes in the past. Football players, baseball players, swimmers, golfers, basketball players, lacrosse player...you essentially name the sport and I have trained the athlete. Everything from rehab assignments to strengthening. The one thing that no one came in and requested in regards to their training, but got for free without questioning was one thing: INJURY PREVENTION. An athlete that doesn't train hard, and doesn't have themselves in peak physical condition is leaving themselves susceptible to injury.
The title of this article was chosen for a reason. You have read several articles this season about how some key players for the Steelers (Woodley, Dwyer, Redman, Roethlisberger, and others) have shown up to camp in the best shape of their careers. The fact that NONE of these players are rookies who didn't understand the level of competition that accompanies the... [Read More]
| Aug 05, 2013 - 12:18 PM
Ivan De Jesus. He was part of the package Pittsburgh received in the Joel Hanrahan trade. He was previously traded to Boston from the Dodgers in the Adrian Gonzalez/Josh Beckett blockbuster deal..
The 26 year old former 2nd round pick of the Dodgers has raked at the plate his entire minor league career. He was named the Dodgers 2008 Minor League Player of the Year and owns a career .301 minor league batting average. Last year in LA, De Jesus was manager Don Mattingly's top bench option for a brief period of time. He was used as a pinch hitter on 16 occasions between May and June while batting .273.
For the most part, De Jesus hasn't experienced more than a few cups of coffee at the major league level. He was among the Pirates final cuts in Spring Training this year and Neal Huntington described him as "a versatile and reliable defender who can handle the bat."
So I ask...should Pittsburgh find a spot on the 25 man for him now? He's destroying AAA pitching this season with a whopping .332 BA supported by a respectable .865 OPS. He can play 2B or 3B and could be a decent PH option. For a Pirates team ranking 11th in the NL in hitting, De Jesus could be a nice addition to the bench.
Not to mention, it doesn't hurt to have a player sporting "Jesus" on the back of his jersey...
So this is my first ever Pirates blogpost. I will admit upfront that my knowledge of the Pirates, and really all baseball in general, is quite limited. So please forgive me in advance if I come across as ignorant to some of the obvious and/or subtleties of baseball. As most of you know, I am a huge statistics guy. And yes, this post is mostly statistics based. But I will give the same disclaimer as I always do. Statistics aren't facts per se, they are data that support a particular position/point.
This year thus far, has been an amazing ride for both the Pirates and BUCN as a whole. The success the Pirates have garnered up to this point has been phenomenal. In fact, for the first time since well, 1992, the Pirates are breaking or tying records with each successive win; as a team and as individual players/sub groups. It really is quite amazing, and as a member of BUCN that is displaced from Pittsburgh proper, it is nice to finally be able to hold my head high as I root and cheer and brag about the Pirates. For the record, I have been laughed at vehemently over the past 7-8 years I have lived outside of Pittsburgh as I've rooted and cheered for the Pirates, in spite of their lack of success.
So where am I going with this? The overall premise of this blogpost is to put into perspective how successful this Pirates team is, compared to last year. The results are surprising, and quite sobering. Now, I am not here to "burst anyone's bubble" rather, I want to show how the 2013 Pirates in spite of their similar record to the 2012 Pirates are actually quite different.
So let's dive in to the data:
2012 Record @ the ASB (July 8): 48-37 (85 games)
2013 Record @ the ASB (July 14): 56-37 (93 games)
But that statistic is skewed due to the unevenness of the games played. So lets break that down to the 85 and 93 game records of both seasons.
2012 (85 Games, July 8): 48-37
2013 (85 Games, July 5): 53-32 (+5 Wins better)
2012 (93 Games, July 21): 53-40
2013 (93 Games, July 14): 56-37 (+3 Wins better)
Wow, amazing how similar these two records are. In 2012, at the 85 game mark, the Pirates were 11 games over .500. In 2013, the Pirates were 21 games over .500, but only +5 wins better. At the 93 game mark, the 2012 Pirates were 13 games over .500. The 2013, the Pirates were 19 games... [Read More]
When a major league team is rolling like the Pirates are right now the minor leagues become a little less important in the eyes of most fans. This is especially true of the lowest levels as these players are probably at least 3 years away from helping their parent club. I'm no exception to that rule but I care pretty deeply about the minors so even when my care level drops it is still pretty high. Anyway it’s been a while since I took a look down on the farm so I invite all of you to join me.
Outfielder Michael De La Cruz, who was one of the Pirates big international splashes in 2012, is having himself quote a season down in the Dominican Summer League. He isn't flashing much power but he is showing off good hitting skills and good plate discipline. Overall he has a .891 OPS which is mainly driven by his .473 OBP. De La Cruz is only 17 years old so this goes without saying he is having an excellent season and I would be surprised if he didn't get promoted to the states next year.
Tito Polo caught my eye last year with a very strong performance in the DSL. I had thought the Pirates might consider bringing him to the states but he is still very young so it is no surprise they left him in the DSL for another year. He isn't having quite as good a season as he did last year but he is still putting up a solid campaign showing both speed (20 SB) and plate discipline (.364 OBP). Like most players down in the DSL the power isn't there yet but he could develop it as he matures.
Third baseman Julio De La Cruz, the other big international signing in 2012, isn't having as good a season as Michael. Unlike most players down at this level he is showing some power with 4 HR and a .156 ISO but that is really all he has flashed. He has struck out more than 3 times as often as he has walked and is only hitting .208 on the season. The thought going into the year was he was a little bit farther along than Michael but right now that doesn't appear to be the case.
Catcher Yoel Gonzalez and shortstop Johan De Jesus were two other prominent signings from the 2012 class and both of them are really struggling this year. It bears repeating that for the most part the better prospects in this league (who are the ones I am focusing on) are usually between 16 and 18 years of age so these are very young ball players who are still learning the game.
On the pitching side of the ledger Richard Mitchell... [Read More]