Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pirates Protect Five

Before we get into those players though a few words on who they DFA'd to make room on the 40 man roster.

All three were arbitration eligible and really none of them deserved any kind of raise. Duke certainly isn't a $5 million dollar pitcher with the Buccos. I wouldn't be surprised if he went somewhere and had a little success, but he will never achieve what he did in that one magical half season he has become so overrated for.

Andy LaRoche may have a chance to be a player, but you can't argue with his lack of results. His defense got really good after his first season, but just as quickly regressed back to it's normal state (lackluster). His bat never showed up for the Buccos (.226/.296/.341) and he played at exactly replacement level in his time here.

Delwyn Young is nothing special. He somehow manages to play worse defense than Lastings Milledge and has a very pedestrian .705 OPS over his years with the Buccos. Most of that has been spent pinch hitting so he's gotten quite a few of those hits against relievers, and not always the best ones. He is a man without a position, and he doesn't have the type of bat to justify that.

The Pirates added 5 players to the 40 man roster, all of them pitchers.

Everyone's favorite whipping boy Daniel Moskos is the first. Everyone knows the story of Moskos being drafted over Matt Weiters, and many seem to either blame Moskos or want him to fail because of that. He has had a very up and down minor league career to say the least, but he seemed to turn it around after being put back into a reliever role.

He really wasn't too bad as a starter though, posting a 3.74 ERA in his last season in the rotation. He stayed at AA the next season and pitched out of the pen where he was phenomenal (1.52 ERA with 21 saves), but he struggled mightily at the AAA level. I would expect him to start out at AAA again, but if he has enough success I don't think him moving up at the deadline (if we make some trades and need relievers) is out of the question at all.

Tony Watson is a bit interesting to me. He is a pretty soft thrower (mid-80's as a starter) who split time between the bullpen and the rotation. He was very good for Altoona, but did so in his second year while in his second year at that level at 25 years old. He gives up his fair share of hits, but he doesn't walk a lot of guys. Last year was definitely a career year for Watson, in fact it was tops in ERA, WHIP, H/9, SO, and SO/9. That said unless the rotation is in shambles (pretty likely actually) I don't see him getting much of a chance other than as a reliever. He will probably start out at AAA and, again, his promotion will depend a lot on what type of moves the Pirates make, although if Burres struggles early Watson would probably be a strong candidate to take over for him.

The Pirates protecting Jeff Locke should come as no surprise. Locke very well may be a top ten prospect in the system and there was no way they were going to let him go. He was very consistent this year even while making the jump from Bradenton to Altoona after 17 starts. He has posted pretty solid numbers since coming over in the Mclouth trade. He walks very few batters and last season struck out nearly a batter an inning. He does give up his share of hits, but that's a trend throughout, but he keeps the ball in the park. He still has plenty of work to do, but he could have been hidden in a bullpen, and it was a smart move to protect him.

Michael Crotta has been a starter his whole career in the minors, but he's not exactly dominating and really never has been. He doesn't throw all that hard and has never posted a sub-4 ERA in any full season. He is the typical groundball pitcher, who gives up a ton of hits. That allows him to keep the ball in the park, but he is a lot like a right-handed Zach Duke. Probably won't be a starter at the ML level, and really would be surprised if he was ever a really good reliever in the Majors as well. Still he has the talent that he probably could pitch respectably enough at the ML to warrant being protected.

Kyle McPherson is a bit of an odd choice. He hasn't had any success or even a chance above A ball, and only had 4 appearances above high A. It would be very tough to hide a guy like McPherson for a full season on the ML-roster, and at this stage in his development would probably be pretty damaging to the pitcher to try. McPherson strikes out a ton of guys, and had a great SO/BB ratio this season (4.23).

Any news is exciting, but I don't really see much of a big deal with any of these moves. Most of them are pretty logical. Although if I was going to keep Watson I would have DFA'd Burres as well. Burres isn't good, and I think Watson could do what Burres does. I also don't think Burres would have been picked up because there are much better options out there. That would have allowed us to protect Eric Fryer, who plays ML ready defense now and could be easily protected in the backup catcher role.

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