OT: Raise the Jolly Roger: Tanking underway

Discussion in 'Pittsburgh Penguins' started by Scandale du Jour, Aug 9, 2020.

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  1. DJ Spinoza Registered User

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    I agree on all counts, especially in terms of timing. Longenhagen's comments about Leiter have again piqued my interest, but if Rocker comes out and consistently dominates, that will remain my preference. The way I look at it, you obviously can't draft by need, but even going on an assumpton that it's a tight field where nobody decisively separates themselves, pitcher is the pick. We have plenty of middle infielders, and while I think you can make an exception if someone was eminently projectable, clear step ahead type, such as Correa and Machado were, nobody is really at that level.

    If there was a Torkelson corner bat type, maybe I think twice, but I'm back to Rocker and Leiter. Even if you aren't going to count on them as like top 5 or 10 guys in the league or whatever, drafting one gives you a pretty secure feeling about the near future rotation in 2023/24 and beyond.

    In other news, I don't think Longenhagen's Pirates list will come out this week due to it being prospect week, but hopefully soon after, so we can have a good breakdown of top prospects, and maybe collectively add the other information that someone was asking about last week. I was talking to a friend who mentioned that Longenhagen said Swaggerty will be a 50 FV this year, whis both independently good news and also means that have a good chance to end up with 7 guys on the FG list (which will go beyond 100 exactly because all 50 FV guys are ranked, usually about 120).
     
  2. Jaded-Fan Registered User

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  3. DJ Spinoza Registered User

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    Interesting, I'm now curious to see if Longenhagen will write about the draft in any detail soon. It seems like both him and Kiley are in agreement that there's no consensus #1, but Longenhagen seems to have his bet on Leiter. His blurb on Lawler has him as a well-rounded player but doesn't mention any tools in particular. IIRC, others have mocked Lawler at 1.1. McDaniel's comments make it sound like a kind of consensus, but I think the x-factor is still the college season.

    Lawler sounds like he could be the kind of pick that you take continue bolstering talent in the system at all costs. The analogue isn't perfect because they acquired him via trade, but thinking about the Padres and CJ Abrams when they already have both Tatis and Machado. My "principled" take on things is that if you truly think a player will be the star, impact talent, then you have to take them, and worry about the exact makeup of the MLB team several years later. The bust rate and even just, worked out alright rate, is so high in MLB, including among those top picks.

    Still, the thing Leiter may have going for him is that he already possesses the kinds of abilities that front offices are looking for with his offspeed pitches and spin/control. If he comes out in games and shows a fastball that's ticked up, then the whole package is probably there. Similarly, I think there's been a lot of reading into Rocker having one pretty bad game last year, control-wise. Needing to develop a changeup is not some novel thing, and if he comes out and dominates, leading that team/rotation, then he could still be a no brainer pick. It is certainly interesting that Kiley makes Lawler 1.1 sound like something of a consensus, though.


    Not exactly related but this conversation is why one of my irrational hopes last year was that we ended up with pick 1.2 and the team going 1.1 took Leiter or someone else before us, allowing us to get Rocker heading into his pro career with a small chip on his shoulder for not going 1.1.
     
  4. DocEmrickSkitters Registered User

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    If nothing else I prefer Rocker to Leiter due to his height. Lost in discussion of raw stuff sometimes is that all things being equal you'd prefer more downward plane. Height generally makes stuff 'play up,' at least to me. Also in just watching him a little bit, Leiter has short arms. Cue the Adam Frazier jokes. So I don't really see any physical capacity to get a heater in the 97-99 range.

    But if you think that Leiter can still be an ace in the 'Sonny Gray but better' mold I wouldn't mind it.
     
  5. DJ Spinoza Registered User

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    I think you could probably put a Walker Buehler comp on him, though I guess Buehler is 6'2" while Leiter is listed at 6'0" or I think I've seen 6'1" in some places.

    The questions around Rocker seem to partially be about command and consistency, with his fastball occasionally not being overpowering. I don't think it's uncommon for even starters of his caliber to need a good bit of work on a third pitch, and that's where I think arsenal-wise, it's easy to see why some people are leaning towards Leiter already. If his fastball can be 94-96 regularly, then his two high spin rate offspeed pitches, and continued acumen for pitching might make him seem like the better pick to continue improving.

    At the end of the day, I don't think there's much analysis that can be advanced until the college games happen. I am definitely willing to accept that there's no definitive consensus right now, but that's not particularly unusual for an MLB draft. In fact, if you take away Rocker's relative fame, the tenor of the conversation seems a lot similar to how things developed with Emerson Hancock in some ways.

    I think the people slightly "down" on Rocker are staking out that position in order to insist on the point that he's not a generational talent, perhaps implying that his "memefication" with the Duke no hitter and Pitching Ninja GIFs are giving off that impression. The more measured "down" take, for lack of a better word, seems to me to bet on the field over him, since that is a decent dice roll if you fixate on his potential drawbacks. For my part, I'm yet to be convinced that Rocker definitely shouldn't be the pick, and I think I might even go so far as to question some of the narrative going around. It's hard not to hear/read certain things and wonder if maybe some of the traditional biases people have about family line pedigree, race, etc., aren't factoring into the mix somewhat – are we really to believe that Rocker's a totally finished product right now? The interviews I see from him don't suggest that at all. He has a lot of insight into the mental part of the game.

    All that said, my simple position is that I hope both Rocker and Leiter utterly dominate their starts and make it a difficult decision. I can really talk myself into Leiter at this point, since there's maybe less variance questions along with an arrow steadily tracking upwards. You could say that with him, you have the opportunity to get an elite prep talent arm who has not been taxed fully with three years of college ball but still shown and grown enough to not be as raw as prep pitchers are.

    I can hypothetically see the logic behind a prep bat, but I really think some position-favoritism and decision-making should enter the picture there. Lawler seems like such a default type of pick that doesn't do anything definitively for an organization with lots of middle infielders and ideally a cornerstone third baseman. Barring some shocker, the "worst" case is that the best pitcher is going to be right alongside Lawler on top MLB prospect lists.
     
  6. DocEmrickSkitters Registered User

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    When I watched those Leiter clips, I saw a Chad Kuhl or Ian Snell kind of action where he's very active in trying to generate great stuff with a smaller frame.

    For Rocker, I really remember my reservations about Cole. How could he be the consensus guy with an ERA of like 3.2 at UCLA? I also had wanted Rendon for a while but it was a shame there were such injury questions about him - plus his performance inexplicably tailed off in his junior year. I'd always rather go with the hitter. That included Machado over Taillon. Anyway, what people see is an overpowering fastball/curveball guy with real questions on the third pitch, some questions on command etc. Maybe race comes into play here too in people's subconscious.

    Part of me really hopes a college hitter comes around and knocks everyone's socks off this year and is the no-brainer pick. But I think 80%+ likelihood that we're taking a Vandy pitcher.
     
  7. ImporterExporter "You're a boring old man"

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    Cole vs Bauer all over again.

    The latter is good, might even be developing into great but the former is ELITE. You take the elite guy, every time.

    I could be wrong, as would many others, but from what I've seen (actual games, not 99% projectability), Rocker is an elite prospect.

    He generates fantastic spin rates across the board. His slider is as good as any I've seen coming out. It's an elite, wipe out pitch. Fastball velocity is only one aspect of quality. I don't care if you throw 102 MPH every pitch. If it's straight, people will hit. Rocker generates a lot of movement with his FB. You can see it tail, play up in top of the zone. Command of it needs to be improved some, but that should come with pro instruction/repetition. Those two pitches, peak, are 80/70. If he even manages to develop a very average change up/off speed pitch, it's game over for most hitters.

    He's got the frame you covet. Easy arm action and power. That doesn't guarantee he won't blow an elbow or shoulder but I feel a lot more confident with 6'5" 240/250 than a guy hanging around 6 foot.

    People like to make out Leiter's blood lines, as if Rocker doesn't have a strong family tree when it comes to athletics. He understands the game, the process.

    And most of all, he dominated in playoff baseball, as a freshman. CWS MVP. He put up the performances when they mattered and looked like a Cy Young prospect doing it through much of it. He's got fire on the mound.

    He just exudes ace pitcher.
     
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  8. TNT87 PWR UP

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    Anyone but Rocker I would be ticked off.
     
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  9. DJ Spinoza Registered User

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    With all the variables, I'd definitely be relieved if there was a big college bat to just fall back on. Torkelson would have been perfect – I like Mason Martin as much as the next guy, but you'd have a fairly linear path to a thumping 1B right when Priester and others should hit.

    I remain Team Rocker but the general sense I get is that the very top of this draft (like last year) isn't as well regarded as other drafts have been. The Cole/Bauer comp is an interesting one worth considering... the sense I am getting is that the evaluators aren't quite that high on this year, but 1) covid last year and no season yet makes the comparison weaker, and 2) even then I'm not sure, as there were at least some question marks floated about those two as well. Honestly, if you look back at the last decade of drafting, you see a lot of busts towards the top of drafts. Just the nature of the beast.

    One thing that may also be worth putting on the table is the fact that this is reputed to be a deep draft and the Pirates are already in position to try and take some fallers for bigger bonuses. They could go the route of making sure to hit or come in below slot at 1.1 so that they can max out for pick 37 and beyond. I do not really like all the variables that could be in play.
     
  10. DocEmrickSkitters Registered User

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    I think Cole:Bauer::Rocker:Leiter is an obvious and good comp.

    Man the top of that 2011 first round was fascinating:
    2011 Major League Baseball draft - Wikipedia

    For me it wasn't about Cole vs. Bauer as much as it was about Cole vs. Rendon. Rendon was the no-brainer guy heading into the season but had a power outage for some reason which put it into question.

    Anthony Rendon Player Card - The Baseball Cube
    Then you had Cole and people all knew the Pirates liked big hard-throwing righties. That was made clear by taking Taillon ahead of Machado the year before - which I still think was the wrong move.

    I don't think the Pirates ever liked Bauer that much and I can only imagine how much he and Searage would have hated each other. I do remember flirtation with Dylan Bundy, Rendon and even Francisco Lindor late in the game.
     
  11. DJ Spinoza Registered User

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    This is maybe just repeating what was already said over the offseason. I'm hoping it means that he will be given the opportunity to snag an everyday job coming out of spring training. I'm somewhere between "make him earn it" and "let the kids play and just see what happens," but realistically there isn't a lot of upside to anyone else getting too many innings at SS this season. If that happens, I think it will be because there's no sustainable answer there, so it would be a bad sign.

    IMO, even if Tucker is leaving a lot to be desired with his offense, we should be seeing what the defense brings and then go from there. It's why I still don't understand why he was seemingly shuffled off to the OF no matter what last year. What I'd like to tell myself is that maybe they wanted a firm look at the other options, while simultaneously molding Tucker in a kind of super utility role, but I imagine the reality of it is more mundane.
     
  12. Empoleon8771 I apparently hit on people through PMs

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    I feel like that's a not so subtle way of saying "Frazier is being traded", no? Although I guess that also could mean that Tucker is going to be the backup SS this year, so that's possible too.
     
  13. DJ Spinoza Registered User

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    I'm a little less sold on the specific comps but I think 2011 in general might be a good analogue. There's not a similar player to Rendon, but the existence of multiple prep shortstops, with Lindor arguably being the best player in the draft, does have some potential similarities.

    I still don't know if anybody thinks as highly about Rocker as they did about Cole, for example, and obviously any comparisons need to be qualified heavily, as who knows what will happen etc.

    Stepping back from the comparison, I am sympathetic with the idea of leaning towards hitters, but none of them do it for me this year. Besides the obvious of performance, I think the major question I have is where Leiter's ceiling is going to be located. If you think the arrow is continuing to go up and up, then he seems like a little bit wiser of an option compared to Rocker or Hill. And while part of me rolls my eyes at the bloodline obsession, I think the mental part of his game is appealing as well. For me, Rocker is right there too, with the mound presence of a leader. If the pick would be Hill – meaning he would come out and dominate – then I think it's probably the biggest swing for the fences, but after spilling a lot of digital ink on it today, I'm still on the Rocker bandwagon with a strong nod to Leiter. If the draft was tonight, I'd be very happy with either.
     
  14. DJ Spinoza Registered User

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    The beat writers seem to keep saying it, but at this point I am not confident. Similar types of guys are getting less money or minor league deals. I think you can make a strong argument Frazier is better than many, but right now I think that the interest may not be what it was reported to be at earlier times.

    I doubt BC is holding on for a hugely impactful package, either. The one thing I was/am kinda holding out insane hope for is that we'd flip him for Roark and get a better prospect headlining the deal as well as a veteran pitcher. But I think realistically, we are probably in a waiting game for serious underperformance or injury, or failing that, a deadline or thereabouts move.

    More generally, I hope there's something decisive with the rotation soon. Fans have seemingly kept the Porcello idea alive themselves, as I haven't seen any actual rumors about it. But I think we definitely need one stable veteran who will give us a quantity of innings, and there's really no one else out there like that. It would be better to have him in spring training from the start. Maybe an outside shot as to why is that we don't want to DFA anyone else, so we could be waiting for things to officially get going in order to move Soriano to the 60-day IL and open a spot. Obviously, a move of Frazier for prospects would also open up a spot for a veteran.
     
  15. DocEmrickSkitters Registered User

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    I think it's saying that Tucker is going to get the majority of ABs at short as a chance to prove himself because he has real upside. As he should. There's still a potential 3 WAR player in there even if the possibility is getting dimmer.

    The team may want to trade Frazier and force me into a Tristan Jarry avatar, but they aren't going to dump him for nothing. I get the sense that his market is nil and may be higher come deadline time as some contender's plans at 2B inevitably bomb or get injured. If they can't get at least...say, what they got for Bell, they shouldn't pull the trigger.

    Kevin Newman, meanwhile, doesn't have the kind of upside that it's worth handing him a scholarship for. Newman's 2019 was a flukey season with a juiced ball helping out. There have been questions about his bat at every single level and he now has proven that's he's not a SS making him way less attractive of a piece moving forward.
     
  16. DJ Spinoza Registered User

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  17. DocEmrickSkitters Registered User

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    Perfectly meh move, and also exactly the right move. He gets a spot.

    I wonder if this precedes a Brault trade or if BC is now leaning towards rolling the dice on Brault/Kuhl's markets improving before the deadline. I do think Brault and especially Kuhl could hurt the cause in terms of the 1OA in 2022.
     
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  18. DJ Spinoza Registered User

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    Not quite sure what I think of the move. I think you can squint as see some interesting sort of upside there, as he's a lefty with a weird delivery who excels in soft contact, so that might play up with the balls being de-juiced. He should be dependable enough for some innings, which is mostly what was needed out of a veteran.

    I suspect this may be the last domino to fall, but I wouldn't have minded bringing in Porcello as a veteran SP to anchor things somewhat. Adding him now would in theory make for a more crowded rotation than necessary, unless a deal happens with Brault or Kuhl, but I think the upshot with Porcello is very clear: he's extremely likely to give you a lot of innings and he's got a ton of postseason experience including a World Series ring.

    I want to see Brubaker get a look, so adding another SP would make that less likely, given that Anderson will be on a major league deal. Right now, the rotation looks like Keller, Brault, Kuhl, Anderson, Brubaker (in whatever order, let's be honest). The other thing to consider is how many total innings guys can go after the weirdness of last year. Maybe a scenario where the #5 spot rotates in and out of the bullpen depending on performance/innings management wouldn't be a bad idea. But I think short of a last minute trade, this is it.
     
  19. WheresRamziAbid Registered User

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    Nice, a guy to get shit hammered every 5th day.

    Tank for ________
     
  20. DocEmrickSkitters Registered User

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    We'll probably deal either Brault or Kuhl.

    As far as getting Brubaker and Crowe looks, let's be honest: injuries can and will happen.

    As high as I still am on Brubaker he does give me "impact 2-inning reliever" vibes and I'm down to see if he can fit in there.
     
  21. DJ Spinoza Registered User

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    Next year's draft features prep OF Elijah Green, a 5-tool guy who is already shaping up to be the consensus pick. A lot can still change but he seems to have that rare type of hype that guys like Strasburg and Harper had. I think his hype train will start to kick into gear pretty soon. I'm anti-tanking as a general rule, but he certainly seems like a prize. There's also an Ohtani-type guy at Vanderbilt, but I'd be lying if I said I knew anything more about 2022. My sense right now is that we won't quite be bad enough for back-t0-back #1s, but it'd be silly to say there's no chance.

    With the pitching, I sort of think we're done. It's hard to say, since you figure Porcello is someone that should get starting duty somewhere, so my sense is that the ultra-cheapness of the covid situation mitigated against him somewhat. His best chance may be a spring training situation somewhere. We may or may not have had interest, but my gut says Anderson came a lot cheaper than he would have.

    I think we'll go ahead with this roster and be ready to deal Kuhl or Brault at any point, banking that they may be more in demand at the deadline. Lots of questions in terms of injuris and performance, etc., but that would line up well with opening some spots for a Yajure and/or a Bolton to finish the season in MLB. My final .02 is that I really wouldn't mind gambling a little on Kuhl's upside for a modest contract extension that buys a year or two of his FA. I don't think there's any way that would happen this late in the game, though.
     
  22. Empoleon8771 I apparently hit on people through PMs

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    Yeah I'd be surprised for the Pirates to be as bad next year as they were last year.

    Last year had massive regressions from multiple of their top players plus a ton of injuries to their starting pitching staff (Taillon and Archer out all year, Musgrove and Keller also missing time due to injuries). I very much doubt that all but 2 of their regulars have an OPS+ of below 100 (Moran was at 115 and Hayes was at 202) and their pitching gets as beat up as it was last year.

    They'll suck but it will be surprising if they suck as badly as they did last year.
     
  23. DocEmrickSkitters Registered User

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    I think they will still be the worst team in the league, from losing Musgrove and some regression from the bullpen (+Brault or Kuhl going soon). Plus though they'll have Hayes all year he will regress somewhat from what he did last year.

    If they get good performances Reynolds and Keller that would still be a solid outcome. Plus you hope either Alford, Oliva or Tucker is a 2-WAR guy this year.
     
  24. DJ Spinoza Registered User

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    Not exactly going out on a limb here, but I think the pitching will determine where the floor is for this team. I think if we get some consistent performances out of 2-3 in the rotation, then the wheels won't totally come off. We're a bad team but the pitching situation was truly bad last year.

    The other thing that I think mitigates against being so bad is the division competition. I think other bad teams will take more of a beating because other divisions are much better. I think Colorado for example will be very hard to "top".

    The potential is definitely lurking for some things to go really sideways, but I also think there's that sort of upstart potential that you have with young, underdog type teams. It won't exactly take heroic efforts to win series vs. teams like the Reds and Cubs this summer, so it wouldn't shock me if there were stretches where we hovered right around .500 for a little while.
     
  25. WheresRamziAbid Registered User

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    Laws ranking makes a lot of sense after reading his write up of the top 20:

    Lower on:

    Gonzalez (4) - average regular, doesnt see the ceiling
    Malone (14) - FB lacks life
    Thomas (16) - long shot to be a starter
     
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