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Pittsburgh Pirates State Of The Union: 2014 Preview

The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates went from zeros to heroes, after 20 seasons of cellar dwelling.  Finally, the people of Pittsburgh PA, finally had something to cheer about besides the NHL's Penguins, and NFL's Steelers.   They were the last NL team to make the playoffs (Post 1994 Player Strike)

The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates went from zeros to heroes, after 20 seasons of cellar dwelling. Finally, the people of Pittsburgh PA, finally had something to cheer about besides the NHL’s Penguins, and NFL’s Steelers. They were the last NL team to make the playoffs (Post 1994 Player Strike).

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Pirates not only kicked the playoff curse in 2013,  but they also embarked on a journey that saw them improve on their win total for a 4th consecutive season.

In a row, it went 59, 72, 79 and 94 wins respectively from 2010 – 2014.

Neil Huntington could finally show the fruits of his labor in assembling his team.

In the last few years particularly, stalwart Draft pick Andrew McCutchen has asserted himself as one of the premiere players to suit up in the MLB right now. Read the rest of this entry

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Odds To Win Each Division In Major League Baseball 2014

The Rays have one of the 2 best Starting Pitcher staffs in the American league, and have averaged over 90 wins for the last 6 years.  Bringing back Price, and having Myers and Archer for a full year should make the team even better in 2013.  Keep in mind they have also added Heath Bell and Grant Balfour to anchor the Bullpen, an obvious upgrade over the inconsistent Fernando Rodney.  They have been more consistent than the Red Sox and Yankees the last 2 years.  As such should not be the 3rd favorite in the Division,

The Rays have one of the 2 best Starting Pitcher staffs in the American league, and have averaged over 90 wins for the last 6 years. Bringing back Price, and having Myers and Archer for a full year should make the team even better in 2013. Keep in mind they have also added Heath Bell and Grant Balfour to anchor the Bullpen, an obvious upgrade over the inconsistent Fernando Rodney. They have been more consistent than the Red Sox and Yankees the last 2 years. As such should not be the 3rd favorite in the Division.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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We have gone through several weeks and months in the off year for gambling odds, and now with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks Opening MLB Series less than 3 weeks away, it is the Division Winners.

Much like my predictions are for the National League and the American League Winners, along with the World Series Winners, I love the Rays, Rangers and Giants for the value.

The worst dollars won for teams being favorites are the Tigers at -270, and Dodgers at -275.  I am picking both of these teams to crush it this season, but I will not be wagering on the high favorites prices.

Like I have said before, the LA Dodgers are a couple of injuries away from opening up the NL West.  Even the Arizona Diamondbacks at +650 are worth a stab. Read the rest of this entry

Odds To Win The MLB 2014 World Series: Tigers Best Value Of The Week

The Tigers are my pick of the week for value.  They were the AL favorite just two weeks ago outright, before being tied with Boston last week.  This odd is favorable for sure.  The AL Central provides the Tigers with an easier path to the World Series because of 76 games within the Division.  The AL East had 4 teams over 85 wins last year.  Baltimore and New York are better than they were, and Boston plus Tampa should maintain.  The AL East has 5 of the top 13 odds for the World Series (5 of the top 8 clips for the AL.)  The AL West is also going to beat up each other a little.  Take the team that has appeared in 3 straight League Championships, and has the best Pitching Staff in the American League.

The Tigers are my pick of the week for value. They were the AL favorite just two weeks ago outright, before being tied with Boston last week. This odd is favorable for sure. The AL Central provides the Tigers with an easier path to the World Series because of 76 games within the Division. The AL East had 4 teams over 85 wins last year. Baltimore and New York are better than they were in 2013, and Boston plus Tampa should maintain. The AL East has 5 of the top 13 odds for the World Series (5 of the top 8 clips for the AL.) The AL West is also going to beat up each other a little. Take this AL Central team that has appeared in 3 straight League Championships, and has the best Pitching Staff in the American League.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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Well, it is nice to be vindicated on the market again.  Just like I said when the Mariners roamed up from +4000 to +2800 after the Cano signing.  I told people to pounce on that odd.

Last week, I posted in this column, that your bet of the week for value as the Orioles.

I have also been calling for the Rays to be higher on the oddsmakers list, and while they have passed the Jays finally, how come they are so far behind the Yankees and Red Sox?  Market correction is needed there.

For the record, I called the Yankees a great value at +1500 in December, before they signed Masahiro Tanaka.  If you have listened at home, this has worked out for you.  Don’t bet the, at +1200, tied for the 6th best odd in the AL, there is no value there.  Tampa at +1800 is still a better option. Read the rest of this entry

Odds To Win The MLB 2014 World Series As Of Right Now

If you have read any of these odds listed prior, I had mentioned the M's were great value at +4000 (even after Cano, in which I said pounce, they have since jumped to +3300 in January, and now are at +2800).  However this team is suffering from early injury trouble, can't seem to land an additional bat to the roster, and are banking on too many variables at the new odd.  Stay clear.

If you have read any of these odds listed prior, I had mentioned the M’s were great value at +4000 (even after Cano, in which I said pounce, they have since jumped to +3300 in January, and now are at +2800). However this team is suffering from early injury trouble, can’t seem to land an additional bat to the roster, and are banking on too many variables at the new odd. Stay clear.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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It has been a tough week for the Seattle Mariners.  1st a freak injury to  Hisashi Iwakuma – has him out 4 – 6 with a bad finger that was caught into a batting cage net.

While Franklin Gutierrez being hurt is not a surprise, it still comes at a bad time.

To make matters worse, Nelson Cruz seems to balking at signing a deal with the PAC NW club.

At this point, the Mariners might want to just think about whether they really want that guy anyway.

Read the rest of this entry

Pirates Payroll In 2013 And Contracts Going Forward

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Friday, February.8, 2013

Pittsburgh GM Neil Huntington has found creative ways to help the Budget out - by taking risks on Wandy Rodriguez and A.J. Burnett.  They are both being paid portions of their contracts by their previous teams.

Pittsburgh GM Neil Huntington has found creative ways to help the Budget out – by taking risks on Wandy Rodriguez and A.J. Burnett. They are both being paid portions of their contracts by their previous teams.  Signing Andrew McCutchen to a long-term contract has also given the franchise the ability to add players in 2013 if need be.

By Brad Cuprik (Pirates Correspondent)

On August 8 of last season, the Pittsburgh Pirates were 63-47, 2.5 games back of the First-place Cincinnati Reds, securely into the second Wild-Card Spot – and had the fourth-best record in the National League. The wheels came off, the Bucs finished on a 16-36 slide, 18 games back of the Reds and with the 10th-best record in the NL. Reality could have caught up to a overperforming squad, or a youthful team took the next step in learning how to win. Either way, the Pirates enter 2013 with breaking a streak of 20 losing seasons on their minds.

General Manager Neal Huntington has been shrewd and active, signing MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen to a long-term deal in 2012 and getting other clubs to eat up significant chunks of their largest contracts when acquiring their top two starters. Starting pitching depth has been added and Huntington is even taking more high-priced risks, landing Catcher Russell Martin as a Free Agent.

Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Highlights:

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Pittsburgh Pirates Roster in 2013: State Of The Union

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Pirates have not made the playoffs since the 1992 Season. That year, Barry Bonds could not throw out Sid Bream from deep Short - and he subsequently left the team for the SF Giants.  20 Losing Season have since occurred.

The Pirates have not made the playoffs since the 1992 Season. That year, Barry Bonds could not throw out Sid Bream from deep Short in Game #7 of the NLCS versus the Braves – and they were eliminated for the 3rd straight year in the playoffs before reaching the World Series.  Bonds subsequently left the team for the SF Giants in 1993 – and 20 losing seasons have since occurred. Only the Kansas City Royals have a longer streak of not making the playoffs (1985). Will this change in 2013?

By Brad Cuprik (Pirates Correspondent)

Although the Pirates made significant strides in 2012, they still finished in fourth place in the National League Central – with a 79-83 mark – extending their professional sports record for consecutive losing seasons to 20. After being active at last season’s trading deadline, the Bucs added two key Free Agents in the offseason. One of those signings, LHP Francisco Liriano, agreed to 2 YR Deall for just under $13 Million – but broke his arm from an undisclosed injury in late December. The two sides agreed to a deal that lowers the first-season payout if Liriano misses any time due to the injury.

That has not dimmed the enthusiasm swelling around Pittsburgh and very few roster spots are up for grabs as the 2013 season nears. With the Houston Astros moving to the American League West, the division is down to five teams, but the Pirates still have numerous questions surrounding their ability to compete for a Post Season Berth.

Andrew McCutchen hitting mechanics: Mature Lyrics Content – Parental Guidance is Advised

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Russell Martin: How Will He Fare in Pittsburgh?

Thursday December 6th, 2012

Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

Russell Martin recently signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates for a two-year deal worth $17 million—a bit much for a just-above-decent aging catcher. Unfortunately for the Pirates, if they want to sign a free agent, they will most likely have to overpay. This was not the worst deal in the world, for Martin is better than any catcher the Pirates have had in the last few years, but is he really worth an average of $8.5 million a year? I don’t think so. The Pirates have been in contention up until the Trading Deadline the last two years, so maybe they think Martin will make the difference.

Martin, over his seven year career, is a .260 hitter. Just about the major league average. For a catcher, .260 is not terrible. .260 could be just what the Pirates need in their lineup. From 2008-2011, Ryan Doumit was the Pirates’ primary catcher. He was on and off, hitting .318 in 2008 and .303 in 2011, but also hitting .250 and .251 in 2009 and 2010. Last year’s catcher Rod Barajas did not exactly cut it. He hit .206 with only 11 home runs and 31 RBI. Last year, Pirates catchers spent most of their time in the 6-7 hole of the lineup. Martin will fit nicely here and will have occasional opportunities to drive in Andrew McCutchen. Martin’s primary job will to drive in the leftovers from the top/middle of the lineup and to get in scoring position for the bottom of the lineup. I can’t see Martin as a 4-5 hitter due to his relatively low career average (the Pirates will not be able to trust him with driving in McCutchen). Read the rest of this entry

MLB Reports Monthly Power Rankings: July 2012

Wednesday July.4, 2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-We are going to bring you monthly power rankings every month of the season.  There will be a few notes written for each team.  Please feel free to let us know your thoughts.  The Texas Rangers are the top ranked team yet once again, although teams are certainly gaining on the them in the last month. If this report was being done last week I might have put the New York Yankees in 1st and Texas in 2nd.  A 7 game winning streak help preserve another month for Texas on the leader-board.  There were superior months by Aaron Hill, Jose Bautista, Joey Votto , Jason Heyward and a new phenomenon was born with Jose Altuve.  It was a great month for the MLB.  With 20 teams within 5.5 games or less for the playoff races, we are sure to see some serious movements in the Power Rankings in the 2nd half of the season.

Standings taken before play Tuesday July.03/2012

July Power Rankings-Last Month Rank in Parenthesis

1. Texas-50-30 (1) The Rangers rode a 7 game winning streak to end up 18-8 for the last month. David Murphy, Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus all hit over .300 in the last 30 days.  The Rangers were able to weather a slow spurt from Josh Hamilton, in which he hit .222 with only 4 HRs for the month.  Matt Harrison has asserted himself as an ace on the staff with a 5-0 month with a 1.29 ERA, while leading the American League with 11 wins on the year.  The Rangers have 6 players going to the ALL-Star Game including 3 starters.  Yu Darvish can make a 7th if he is voted into the final roster spot with his rookie campaign of 10-5 so far.

2. NY Yankees 48-31(5)  The Yankees have ridden good pitching and a hot bat from Robinson Cano to a 19-7 record over the last month, with a 5 games lead over their competition in the AL East.  Cano hit .370 with 12 HRs and 24 RBI in the last month.  Derek Jeter is hitting .298 overall but saw his average go from .389 in April, to .283 in May to .232 in June.  He still tops a list of 4 Yankees heading to the ALL-Star Game including 23 HR homer man Curtis GrandersonPhil Hughes went 5-1 in the month with a 2.59 ERA and Ivan Nova won his 3 decisions with a miniscule 1.32 ERA.  Rafael Soriano has converted 18 out of 19 save opportunities since taking over as team closer.

3. San Francisco 45-30 (9)  The Giants went 16-11 in the month and saw a perfect game from Matt Cain, with a few other 1 hitters.  The team shutout the Dodgers 3 games in a row in a series last week.  The Giants have Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera starting in KC next week.  The Melkman continues to show that last year was no fluke with his .352 Average and he is leading the Major Leagues with 111 base hits.  The Giants pitching staff has coped with the loss of Brian Wilson and the ineffectiveness of starter Tim Lincecum, by the rest of the staff having career years.

4. LA Angels 45-35 (12) The Angels have been really steady since the end of May.  They just finished going 17-8 in the last 25 days on the backs of ALL-Stars Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo and resurgent Albert Pujols.  Trout might be the most exciting player on the planet these days and is a lock for AL Rookie of the Year if he keeps this up.  Trout hit .367 over the last month and has taken over the AL batting lead with a .342 AVG.  Trumbo hit 10 HRs and drove in 28 RBI for the month and Pujols hit .337. to raise his average 40 points.  C.J Wilson was good enough in June to be named as CC Sabathia‘s replacement at the ALL-Star game.

5.  Washington 45-32(9)  Mike Morse has returned to the lineup with a vengeance during the last week with a .484 average.   Super Sub Tyler Moore has also hit .415 in the last 14 games with 4 HRs and 12 RBI.  Ian Desmond had 16 Extra base hits for the month to go along with 20 RBI, while he made the ALL-Star game as a reserve.  Ryan Zimmerman awoke from a season long slump to plate 17 RBI.  Adam LaRoche still contributed 7 HRs and 15 RBI despite a paltry .191 average in June.  Stephen Strasburg is 9-3 on the year with a 2.81 ERA and a league leading 122 SO.  Gio Gonzalez is 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA.  Both Gonzalez and Strasburg made the ALL-Star squad. Read the rest of this entry

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