Burnett suffers loss in spring debut

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AJ Burnett made his spring training debut with the Phillies today while suffering the loss. Burnett pitched two innings giving up one earned run on one hit while striking out one batter. The lone hit Burnett gave up was to Gregory Polanco in the 1st inning. Polanco was then driven in later on a fielders choice hit by Chris Dickerson to Philly shortstop Freddy Galvis. Dickerson played well today as he later doubled in the 3rd inning giving him two RBI on the day.

Other notables for the Bucs were Josh Harrison who launched a solo shot off Antonio Bastardo in the 6th. Stolmy Pimentel looked sharp today tossing two scoreless innings allowing just one hit and striking out one. Former 1st round pick of the Pirates Brad Lincoln also pitched a scoreless inning for Philadelphia.

The Bucs moved to 3-1-1 on the spring with the 4-1 victory. Tomorrow the Pirates send Francisco Liriano to the bump to face the Red Sox in a 1:05 matchup at McKechnie Field.

Ranking The Top Five Bullpens In Baseball

Originally posted on OutsidePitchMLB LLC:

1. Atlanta Braves

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When you have the best bullpen arm in the game, it’s hard not to be #1. Craig Kimbrel is just head and shoulders above everyone else.

Consider this: Kimbrel has only pitched in three full seasons. In all three years from 2011-2013, he’s led the National League in saves, made the all-star team and every year, and has an ERA around 1.50.

And he’s just 25-years-old.

The rest of the Braves bullpen isn’t too shabby, either. Left-hander Luis Avilan is more of a finesse guy than a strikeout king, but he has a 1.69 career ERA and allowed just one home run in 65 innings last season.

Hard-throwing right-hander Jordan Walden had a 10.3 K/9 in close to 50 innings in 2013, and David Carpenter–although most likely known for the huge home run he gave up in the playoffs–was a revelation in his age-27 season…

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Video: MLBAM unveils revolutionary new player tracking system

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

Welcome to the future. At the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston today, MLB Advanced Media CEO Bob Bowman unveiled a new analytics system that will change the way we look at baseball and player evaluation. While PITCHf/x has provided a treasure trove of information in recent years, this new system aims to track every play on the field and accurately measure things like defense, the path of the ball, and baserunning.

“This is going to be pretty exciting,” Bowman said. “We think it’s going to change the way we argue about the game, but we don’t think it’s going to settle any debates. We hope it starts more.”

For a look at the new system, check out this game-ending catch from Braves outfielder Jason Heyward last year:

Get used to hearing the phrase “route efficiency” a lot.

Miller Park in Milwaukee, Target Field in Minnesota and Citi Field…

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Marlins name Jose Fernandez opening day starter

Originally posted on OutsidePitchMLB LLC:

In a move that absolutely shocks no one, Miami Marlins manager Mike Redmond announced that Jose Fernandez is the opening day starter.

Fernandez won Rookie of the Year in the Nationals League in his first big league season in 2013. He posted a stellar 2.19 ERA in 172 2/3 innings. The 21-year-old also finished third in the NL Cy Young voting.

The Marlins open up their season March 31 against the Colorado Rockies.

Follow OPSN Co-Founder/President Andrew Vigliotti on Twitter for more MLB updates @Andrew_Vig

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d’Arnaud to Indy

Chase d’Arnaud has cleared waivers and will be out righted to AAA Indianapolis. d’Arnaud was DFA’d last week when the Pirates claimed Brent Morel and was then waived. d’Arnaud was drafted in 2008 by the Bucs and should still be an option for middle infield depth in 2014 despite no long being on the 40-man roster. He will also be eligible for minor league free agency at the end of this season if he is still not on the 40-man.

Burnett slated to make spring debut against Pirates today

The Pirates will take on the Phillies today at Bright House Field in a spring training game that may have a little more intensity than a normal game in the first week of March. AJ Burnett is the scheduled starter for the Phillies.

We all know the story. Burnett said at the end of the season that he would either play for the Pirates or retire in 2014. The Pirates did not make Burnett a qualifying offer and then for months we heard nothing other than both sides were working on a deal. Then about a week before spring games started Burnett signed with the Phillies on a one-year $16 million contract. Burnett revived his career after being traded to the Pirates before the 2012 season from the Yankees. AJ struggled in New York posting a 5.20 ERA in two seasons with the Bronx Bombers before the Yanks picked up most of the remainder of his mega-contract and shipped him to Pittsburgh. Burnett enjoyed two successful seasons in Pittsburgh winning 26 games and pitching  393.1 innings while in the black and gold.

While it was tough to see the leader of our staff leave I still feel that it was the best move for the organization in the long run. A small market team like the Pirates doesn’t need to throw $16 million at a 37-year old pitcher. They are better off saving that money and using it in other areas especially due to the abundance of young pitching in the system.

AJ will square off against Stolmy Pimentel who was acquired in the Joel Hanrahan trade with the Red Sox. Pimentel is a solid prospect who has the chance to be a very effective starter in the majors. Pimentel is out of options though so he will have to make the Bucs opening day roster or the Pirates will risk losing him.

The abundance of young pitching in the system

Tyler Glasnow pitching for the West Virginia Power (Low-A)

Tyler Glasnow pitching for the West Virginia Power (Low-A). http://www.milb.com/assets/images/2/0/0/46923200/cuts/Glasnow_2_1tfnete1_ojxcybm0.jpg

The Pirates have an abundance of young pitchers in their minor league system led by the three-headed monster of Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, and Tyler Glasnow. Everyone in Pittsburgh got a taste of what Gerrit Cole can do when he was brought up midseason and went on to win 10 games and post a 3.22 ERA in 117.1 innings. Cole was clutch for the Buccos down the stretch as well as in the playoffs. Taillon is a very similar pitcher. Both are tall, right-handed, hard throwers with plus fastballs and breaking pitches. Taillon spent most of last season in AA Altoona but got a few innings in AAA at the very end of the season. While Taillon hasn’t put up ace-like numbers, most of this is attributed to the Pirates making their young pitchers focus on fastball command from a young age. I look for Taillon to break out this year at the top level of the minors and be up by midseason to help the Pirates in their next playoff push, very similar to what Cole did in 2013 for the Pirates.

Someone you may not be as familiar with though in Tyler Galsnow. Glasnow is another tall right-hander who hits the upper 90s with his fastball. Drafted out of Hart high school (CA) in the 5th round of the 2011 MLB Draft, Glasnow broke out in West Virginia (Low-A) going 9-3 while posting a 2.18 ERA and an astounding 13.3 strikeouts/per nine innings ratio. Glasnow was just another tall hard throwing projectable pitcher when he was drafted in 2011 but has quickly turned into one of the better pitching prospects in the game, being ranked on most major top 100 prospects lists. Glasnow gives the Pirates three true potential aces in the organization. Look for Glasnow to head the rotation for Bradenton (High-A) this season with a potential promotion to Altoona (AA) for the last month of the season. There is no need to rush Glasnow as he will play almost the entire minor league season at the age of 20. If he continues to pitch like he has Glasnow has a good shot to start the 2015 season in AAA with a call up to Pittsburgh by midseason.

With the abundance of top pitching prospects in the system is looks like almost every year there will be a solid pitcher who looks to get called up midseason. This isn’t even mentioning guys like Nick Kingham who aren’t ace type prospects but look to be above average major league starters. This is the advantage of loading your system with young projectable pitchers like the Pirates have under Neal Huntington. So who do you think will have the best career of the three potential aces in the system?