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For The Pittsburgh Pirates – There Is No Next Year

Following a quiet offseason, the Pittsburgh Pirates enter 2016 hoping a large group of top prospects are prepared to make significant contributions to the big league club down the stretch.

Following a quiet offseason, the Pittsburgh Pirates enter 2016 hoping a large group of top prospects are prepared to make significant contributions to the big league club down the stretch.

Jason Rollison  (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – pbcbreakdown.com) 

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In 2006, the Pittsburgh Pirates started their “We Will” campaign.  Of course, that year is well remembered as the year the Pirates decided to commit to the rebuilding effort.

The next year, Neal Huntington would be brought in as the new general manager, and the completion of the rebuild process was brought to fruition in just six years after a rotating door of front office staff and players failed to reverse the losing streak that nearly forced the team to move.

The “We Will” campaign was meant to embody the work ethic and integrity expected of every member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

Instead, it became the target of ridicule from many fans.  The banners hanging from the façade of PNC Park did not help matter as disgruntled fans poured out following loss after loss.

Even in success, Pirates fans couldn’t dodge the pangs of defeat.

Following the success of the team in 2013 making a laughingstock of Johnny Cueto in the wild card game and taking the Cardinals to the brink of elimination before melting down in game five of the NLDS, the fans and players expected more, but who could have possibly anticipated the wonders that were Madison Bumgarner and Jake Arrieta?

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Pittsburgh Pirates State Of The Union For 2016: All Hands On Deck To At Least Start 2016!

Pittsburgh had the 2nd best record in the Majors with 98 wins, yet were samarily dismissed in the Wild Card Game by the Cubs - and a lightning hot Jake Arrieta at the time It may actually get worse for the Bucs in coming years with the emergence of the young NL Chicago squad and the continued dominance of the St. Louis franchise. My idea is to spend some money this offseason, but if you are 5 or 6 games behind the playoff bar near the Trade Deadline, to deal all guys on the remainder year of their contracts and to retool for 2017.

Pittsburgh had the 2nd best record in the Majors with 98 wins, yet were samarily dismissed in the Wild Card Game by the Cubs – and a lightning hot Jake Arrieta at the time It may actually get worse for the Bucs in coming years with the emergence of the young NL Chicago squad and the continued dominance of the St. Louis franchise. My idea is to spend some money this offseason, but if you are 5 or 6 games behind the playoff bar near the Trade Deadline, to deal all guys on the remainder year of their contracts and to retool for 2017.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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I start this blog by praising Neil Huntington and his management for how they assembled this team over the last 6 – 7 years.

It follows the Royals and Twins before them as smaller market clubs that finally used the draft to their advantage after struggling for years.

Here is the thing though..You have a team that needs the final pieces now to compete for a championship!

Heading into 2016 the teams core nucleus comes back, and the club will attempt for a 4th straight playoff appearance.

There are 8 players on the last year of their deals, and you have several other players that will become increasingly more difficult to keep as their Arbitration Dollars exponentially grow over the coming years. Read the rest of this entry

MLB ALL – Star Break Report Cards – National League

The best letter grade we gave out was to the Milwaukee Brewers,  The team pole vaulted out to a fast start, and despite other clubs having a lot more talent than this bunch, young players have emerged for the Brew Crew.  Even with recent play, the other teams have had injury trouble while Milwaukee is relatively healthy.

The best letter grade we gave out was to the Milwaukee Brewers, The team pole vaulted out to a fast start, and despite other clubs having a lot more talent than this bunch, young players have emerged for the Brew Crew. Even with recent play, the other teams have had injury trouble while Milwaukee is relatively healthy.  Still with 4 clubs within 3.5 games or better in the NL Central, this should be a dogfight to the bitter end.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Division             GBL Letter Grade

NL EAST

T1.  WSH 51 – 42: – (C+)

Have dealt with a plethora of injuries to Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Wilson Ramos, Adam LaRoche and Doug Fister.

Jayson Werth had a nice hot streak right before the end of the 1st half.

The team with limited flaws has just not taken off like it should.

Gio Gonzalez hasn’t found his form yet.

T1.  ATL 52 – 43: – (B-)

This team has a nice 14 – 6 stretch to end the 1st half.

When you consider the club has withstood year ending injuries to Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy and Gavin Floyd.

Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton are making 25% of the team payroll and are posting anemic numbers.  The older Upton has done better in the last 10 games.

Evan Gattis and Freddie Freeman have kept the team afloat, and whenever Justin Upton hits, this team wins.

A great patchwork job done by the Starting Pitchers replacements.  Aaron Harang and Alex Wood have done spade work.

Still one of the best Bullpens in the game. Read the rest of this entry

How All Of The Pirates Hitters Were Acquired: 2014 Roster Tree

The Pittsburgh Pirates organization is looking a lot better over the last few years.  They have had 20 Losing seasons in a row - and are one of the 3 teams to not make the playoffs since the 1994 Player Strike (KC and Toronto) and are the the only National League team to hold this distinction.  The club were one of the best franchises around the game of the MLB in the 1970's.  Their recent struggles have been because of drafting prior to the Huntington reign as GM.

The Pittsburgh Pirates organization havebeen looking a lot better over the last few years. They had 20 Losing seasons in a row finally end in 2013, – and at the time were one of the 3 teams to not make the playoffs since the 1994 Player Strike (KC and Toronto) and were the only National League team to hold this distinction until they clinched a wildcard berth in last year’s postseason. The squad even won a game at PNC Park for the 1st time ever in playoffs against the Reds in the NL Wildcard game.  They were ousted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 5 games during the NLDS round.   The club was one of the best franchises around the game of the MLB in the 1970’s. Their recent struggles (prior to 2013) have been because of drafting prior to the Huntington reign as GM.  This Roster Tree will show you they have done well via the trade route for several years.

How All Of The Pirates Hitters Were Acquired:

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

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Neil Huntington has done a great job assembling this Pirates team – and has spun some great trades in order to see his club actually be competitive over the last few years.

He may have taken some flak over not spending any money over the 2013 off season, but let’s see if he is active towards the Trade Deadline.

If the club has money to spend, they could really do some damage with picking up some help to bolster the squad.

Making the playoffs is just not good enough anymore.

You have been given a gift with the longterm deals that Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte have inked, and with the service clock just starting on Gregory Polanco.

It is an OF that hasn’t seen this much talent in Steeltown since the days of Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla and Andy Van Slyke. Read the rest of this entry

30 MLB Team Power Rankings: Week 5 – Apr. 2014

The Astros have helped pad the stats for teams like the A's, Rangers and Angels offenses and Run Differentials so far,  Having this cupcake team will definitely help your playoff chances with the weighted divisional play.

The Astros have helped pad the stats for teams like the A’s, Rangers and Angels offenses and Run Differentials so far in 2014, Having this cupcake team will definitely help your playoff chances with the weighted divisional play.  I will be amazed if they finish out of last in the American League this year, and maybe only the Chicago Cubs will challenge them for the 1st overall pick again for the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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We are now at the 13 – 14% pole of the MLB year.  Parity is reigning supreme on the standings.

For the record, while I love the Milwaukee start, they are just too many variables for them to keep up this pace.

Don’t get me wrong, i think this team is capable of making the playoffs, winning 90 games, but it could be eliminated as fast as they have compiled this record.

Ryan Braun’s thumb could require surgery. Ramirez’s knee’s could fail him.

Considering last night’s situation with Braun and Gomez, that could alter the playing field for the NL.

The suspension laid down for the brawl with the Pirates could also sway some momentum.  Good on Milwaukee for starting 18 – 6.  I just think the Cards will track them down in the next 138 games. Read the rest of this entry

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

MLB 30 Team Power Rankings: Week 19

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Sunday Aug.04/2013

The Braves have charged out of the ALL - Star Break at a pace like they did to start the year. an 11.5 Games Lead, most of their offense is starting to click have helped the team hold down the fort now that the pitching has had vast injuries

The Braves have charged out of the ALL – Star Break at a pace like they did to start the year. They have an 11.5 Games Lead in the NL East over Washington, and most of their offense is starting to click –  which have helped contributed to the team hold down the fort now that the pitching has had vast injuries.

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

It is time for the MLB Power Rankings.  These are based on my thoughts on whether who has the best chance to win the World Series.

A lot of these positions are based on who has the toughest Strength of Schedule left, who their competition is for the Division, and possibly even the League they are in.

How unfortunate it is for the Indians and the Royals to have the Tigers winning 9 of their last ten – to fend off their those absurdly hot AL Central counterparts?

The good news for the KC and CLE teams is that the AL East are beating up on each other in the last month, while Texas will see a Nelson Cruz suspension dampen their odds of making the Post Season.

Check out the Show we did on AL and NL Rankings Here on the 2 And A Hook Podcast

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MLB 30 Team Power Rankings: Week 17

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Sunday July.21/2013

The Cardinals are the big benefactor of an early July swoon by the Pirates.  Will this team make some moves at the deadline - to aid the young Starting Rotation Innings?  Will Chris Carpenter be able to make an impact for the club at some point this campaign?  They sit perched back up upon the MLBR Power Rankings for now.

The Cardinals are the big benefactor of an early July swoon by the Pirates. Will this team make some moves at the deadline – to aid the young Starting Rotation Innings? Will Chris Carpenter be able to make an impact for the club at some point this campaign? They sit perched back up upon the MLBR Power Rankings for now.  The Cards have made 7 out of the last 12 NLCS showdowns – holding a 3 – 4 record in those years – and a 2 – 1 mark in the World Series.

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

The Tampa Bay Rays are making a huge statement.  Even as I write this post, they have a commanding 4 – 1 lead on the Toronto Blue Jays, which would make the 58 – 41, and no worse than 1.5 Games Behind the Boston Red Sox heading into play tomorrow.

The Rays will head to Fenway Park right after this for a four game series – before concluding a 10 game Road Swing at Yankee Stadium.  They could end up in 1st place in the AL East by next week.

With their pitching strength – and new underrated offense, would anyone pick against them for the rest of the season?  I have slotted them 7 positions higher than the previous week.

Chris Carpenter 5 months ago, He is now rehabbing in the Minor Leagues with a chance to come back in 2013 – Amazing!

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2 And A Hook Podcast Ep #9: LAA, SD, MIA And SEA Chat With Great Guests

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Friday, June.28, 2013,

MLB reports and The Benchwarmers Show present 2 and A Hook Podcast

MLB reports and The Benchwarmers Show present 2 and A Hook Podcast.

‘2 And A Hook’ is an expression from Baseball:  ‘Throw the guy 2 Fast balls and then a Hook’ (AKA Curve Ball, Wiggly one, Chair etc..)

By James Acevedo – Host (Podcast Veteran )

Guests On The Show

On today’s podcast, brought to you by MLB Reports ( www.mlbreports.com ) & yours truly The Bench Warmers Show, I talk to the boss man Chuck Booth as he returns to do his segment!  8 Minutes and a 18 Segment

Chuck makes a HUGE announcement about MLB Reports & then we talked about contract stuff like arbitration, Super 2, & service time…

Also we talk about these guys Wil Myers, Yasiel Puig & Chris Archer on why they should have been up in the major leagues since the beginning of the season!

Then I talk to LAA correspondent Joshua Jones (34 Minute Mark and a 18 Minute Segment) about the Angels season & what might or might not happen…

Next up was Bernie Olshansky (53 Minute Mark and a 13 Minutes Segment)  about the padres & what moves they might make for the future…after that i talked to Mariners/Marlins correspondent.

The last guest of the show is the 2nd longest active writer on the MLB Reports website Sam Evans (1 HR and 12 Min Mark and a 25 Min Segment) ( @RJA206 ) as we get into the mariners/marlins & whats been going on with both of these teams!

I then get into everyone’s favorite segment Stats & Facts (29, Minute Mark (5 minutes) 1 HR, 7 Min Mark ( 5 Minutes ) and, 1 HR 37 MIN (20 Minutes) –  so go check it out & SPREAD THE WORD!!! Thanks Read the rest of this entry

The Pittsburgh Pirates Roster Tree Part 2: The Hitters

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Monday, June.17/2013

McCutchen is signed for about an average of 8.5 Million Dollars a year until he hits FA in 2018.  If he can be amongst the running for NL MVP every year like 2012, this will bode well for the Pirates value in his salary.  He is the best player the franchise has drafted since Barry Bonds.

McCutchen is signed for about an average of 8.5 Million Dollars a year until he hits FA in 2018. If he can be among the running for NL MVP every year like 2012, this will bode well for the Pirates value in his salary. He is the best player the franchise has drafted since Barry Bonds.

Chuck Booth (MLB Reports Owner/Lead Analyst)

Neil Huntington has done a great job assembling this Pirates team – and has spun some great trades in order to see his club actually be competitive over the last few years.

At the MLB Reports, we intend to show you the Roster Tree for the Bucs – and how they assembled their current rosters.  It will work in a six degrees of separation like format.

Once we figure out the origin of how many trades going back in time it takes to see w here the tree started, it will be time to dissect how the team fared on the deals.

If a player has never left the organization at all, the tree will be easy – as it will just be the year they were drafted.

Listed Below is Part 1 of the Roster Tree

Pittsburgh Pirates Roster Tree Part 1: The Pitchers

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MLB Team Power Rankings

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Sunday June.02/2013

Miguel Cabrera is absolutely unconscious this season so far;.  He has a 3 Slash Line of .369 (Leads AL)/.445 (Leads AL/1.121 (2ndi n AL), with 17 HRs (2nd AL) and a mind - blowing 65 RBI through 54 Games Played.  He is on pace for 51 HRs. 195 RBI and about 250 Hits.  He keeps getting better every single year if possible. Despite his prominence - and a lineup full of ALL - Star hitters and Pitchers, the Tigers are limping along at just a few games over .500.  It certainly isn't this 30 Year Olds fault.

Miguel Cabrera is absolutely unconscious this season so far; He has a 3 Slash Line of .369 (Leads AL)/.445 (Leads AL/1.121 (2nd in AL), with 17 HRs (2nd AL) and a mind – blowing 65 RBI through 54 Games Played. He is on pace for 51 HRs, 195 RBI and about 250 Hits. He keeps getting better every single year if possible. Despite his prominence – and a lineup full of ALL – Star hitters and Pitchers, the Tigers are limping along at just a few games over .500. It certainly isn’t this 30 Year Old’s fault.

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

Featuring the Podcasters the Big ticket Show in the Audio Portion

I will be doing a stat fueled rankings list on this Thursday.  These rankings will have some stats and  random thoughts of what I will be talking about in today’s podcast with the Big Ticket Show (AKA, Triple Play Podcast.)

Games Prior to Sunday June.02/2013

Cardinals 2013 30/30 Preview

Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON to continue… or scroll past the Triple Play Podcast. Read the rest of this entry

Triple Play Podcast Ep #8 – Bucs And Nats Time In The Around The Horn Feature

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Monday, May  13th, 2013

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month.  Each show will be about 1 hour

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month. Each show will be about 1 hour.

By The Big Ticket Show ( AKA Triple Play Podcast on http://www.mlbreports.com)

Guests in this Podcast – MLB Reports Nationals Correspondent David Huzzard of Citizensofnatstown.com ( and MLB Reports Pirates Correspondent Brad Cuprik

On a Mother’s day edition of the triple play podcast we heed the advice of our mother’s and turn the lemon of our original guest being unable to join us into the lemonade of Bard Cuprik of mlbreports.com  (Check out his latest Roster Tree piece – where he goes through the 6 degrees of separation of a how each pitcher arrived in a Bucs uniform here ) – and David Huzzard of the Citizens of Natstown podcast (and Writer) dissects the pitching and the Nationals start to the 2013 Season. Read the rest of this entry

Pittsburgh Pirates Roster Tree Part 1: The Pitchers

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Sunday, May. 12/2013

What 3 current Pirates players can be traced back to Ricardo Rincon?  Read this article and you will find out how all of the players have arrived in a Bucs uniform - and we dissected the Pirates brass for each move.

What 3 current Pirates players can be traced back to Ricardo Rincon? Read this article and you will find out how all of the players have arrived in a Bucs uniform – and we dissected the Pirates brass for each move.

By Brad Cuprik (Pirates Correspondent) and Chuck Booth (MLB Reports Owner/Lead Analyst

Neil Huntington has done a great job assembling this Pirates team – and has spun some great trades in order to see his club actually be competitive over the last few years.

At the MLB Reports, we intend to show you the Roster Tree for the Bucs – and how they assembled their current rosters.  It will work in a six degrees of separation like format.

Once we figure out the origin of how many trades going back in time it takes to see where the tree started, it will be time to dissect how the team fared on the deals.

If a player has never left the organization at all, the tree will be easy – as it will just be the year they were drafted.

Read the rest of this entry

MLB Power Rankings – Apr.29/2013

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Monday Apr.29/2013

Papa Grande had led the AL in Games Finished during each of the last 2 seasons (70 in     2011 and 67 Last Year.  he also led the AL in Saves in 2011 with 49.  It was a Sept/Oct swoon   of a 5.02 ERA that started his troubles - before giving up 6 Earned Runs in 1 combined Inning Pitched between the ALCS and the World Series.  He remained unsigned by everyone until the Tigers gave him an incentive laden 1 Year Deal.  Valverde nailed down 2 Saves this week and the Tigers have won 4 out of 5 games - including sweeping the Atlanta Braves

Papa Grande had led the AL in Games Finished during each of the last 2 seasons (70 in 2011 and 67 Last Year.) he also led the AL in Saves in 2011 with 49. It was a Sept/Oct swoon of a 5.02 ERA that started his troubles – before giving up 6 Earned Runs in 1 combined Inning Pitched between the ALCS and the World Series. He remained unsigned by everyone until the Tigers gave him an incentive laden 1 Year Deal. Valverde nailed down 2 Saves this week and the Tigers have won 4 out of 5 games – including sweeping the Atlanta Braves in Detroit this past weekend.

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

With it coming up to the 4 week Report, the biggest mover this week where the Detroit Tigers.  Jose Valverde came back to the club, looked trimmed down – and more like his 2011 self compared to when we last saw him.  The Motown Boys pasting the Braves over the weekend speaks volumes about their talent.

The worst week went to the Giants – who plummeted from #1 to #11.  It has to be concerning for the fans that Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong do not look right. Decent start by Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito have been wasted.  The club may be lacking the hunger to repeat.  I see the whole team having up and down campaigns.

The Toronto Blue Jays may not have plunged down the rankings that much this week, however they have free fallen the most out of any franchise from the start of the year.  The projected AL favorite – have started 9 – 17 and are looking up at 4 good teams in the AL East now. 

I am predicting they will have a good second half, yet they will not make the playoffs now based on the Jose Reyes injury mostly.  John Gibbons also has to be on the hot seat. 

Papa Grande’s Contract is purchased

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