Getting to know Jerry Sands

Full Name: Gerald Robert Sands
Age: 25
Born:
September 28th, 1987
Positions
: OF/1B
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Height: 6′ 4″
Weight: 225 lb.

Jerry Sands was drafted in the 25th round of the 2008 Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He made his major league debut on April 18, 2011 against the Atlanta Braves. Sands went 1 for 3 with an RBI that night, with his first big league hit coming as a double against three-time All-Star Tim Hudson. He was dealt to Boston along with Rubby De La Rosa, James Loney, new Bucco Ivan De Jesus, and Allen Webster as part of the mega-deal that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto to LA. Now he joins the Pirates as a main piece of the trade that shipped All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan up to Boston. Sands is under team control through the 2018 season.

Scouting report via Sox Prospects:

Versatile bench player capable of playing corner outfield positions and first base. Can play center field in a pinch. Fringe-average hit tool. Swing is on the long side and can trigger on slowly. Tends to swing and miss too much. Creates leverage with hips. Solid-average power potential. Struggles with advanced off-speed stuff. Leads to being prone to striking out. Below-average speed. Average defender at first base and in left field. Doesn’t have the range to play center field or right field in more than an emergency. Average arm. Projects as bench player at the major league level, capable of filling in during stretches.

Scouting video via Project Prospect:

Sands extending his hitting streak to 21 games in August of 2012:

This streak, coming as a member of the Class AAA Albuquerque Isotopes, ended at 21 games. He hit .296 with 26 home runs for the Isotopes last season.

YouTube legend Dodgerfilms catching one of Sands’ batting practice homers:

According to the depth chart on pirates.com, Sands fits into the club as the third-string right fielder. His addition further clogged the logjam of corner outfielders and first basemen the Pirates have, which could signal another trade in the works. He still has one option remaining according to Pirates Prospects, so he could see some time at Triple-A Indianapolis. Travis Snider and Jose Tabata, the two players Sands will likely be competing with, do not have any options left, which potentially gives them an edge in terms of making the big league club. A Sands-Snider platoon is definitely a possibility.

Go Bucs

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#FTFTrivia Answer 12/27/12

Tonight we asked…

…and the answers to tonight’s #FTFTrivia are…

Roy Face – 188 saves
Kent Tekulve – 158 saves
Mike Williams – 140 saves
Dave Giusti – 133 saves

Elroy Face racked up all of those saves while pitching a ton of innings.  He wasn’t a conventional one-inning pitcher like we see today, so he pitched multiple innings in most of his appearances.  He even won 18 games out of the pen in 1958 – still a record to this day.    Face also saved three of the four Pirate wins in the 1960 World Series, but we all know why he didn’t get the save in that fourth one.

Kent Tekulve was the closer for the Bucs from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, and put up similar numbers to Face.  He matched Face’s three saves in a World Series, and got the save in the series-clinching Game 7.  Teke threw 1434.2 innings in his career.  They all came out of the bullpen, so he owns the record for most innings pitched without ever making a start.

What’s most impressive about Mike Williams’ save number is that he racked them all up while playing on some really bad 90+ loss teams.  He even saved 46 of the Pirates’ 72 wins in 2002.

Dave Giusti was converted to a reliever when he came to Pittsburgh, and was a key part of the team’s success in the early 1970s.  Using the palmball, Giusti led the NL with 30 saves in 1971 and saved Game 4 in the World Series.  From 1970-73, Giusti saved at least 20 games in each season, which helped bring his total up above 100.

Joel Hanrahan easily would have reached the century mark some time in 2013, but was traded this week and ended his Bucco career with 82 saves.  Stan Belinda, Matt Capps, and Jose Mesa are the only other pitchers with more than 60 saves as a Pirate, with 61, 67, and 70 respectively.

Pirates saves leaders

Congrats to tonight’s winners: @_DrewBrown, @Zach_Morrison1, @ZacharyMWeiss, @fdawg30, and @johnlucas18.

Thanks to all who participated, and tune in next time for another edition of #FTFTrivia.

Go Bucs, 94 days until Opening Day

Top Five: Longest Bucco Blasts of 2012

The Pirates clubbed 170 home runs as a team last season, which was the fourth-highest total in the National League. Their 170 bombs was a big increase from a total of 107 in 2011, when they finished 27th out of 30 MLB teams in the HR department. Here’s a look at the five longest Bucco homers of the 2012 season, via ESPN Home Run Tracker:

5. Andrew McCutchen - July 17th, 2012
Opposing Pitcher: Christian Friedrich
Stadium: Coors Field
Video
True Distance: 448 feet

4. Pedro Alvarez – September 16th, 2012
Opposing Pitcher: Jeff Beliveau
Stadium: Wrigley Field
Video
True Distance: 449 feet

3. Garrett Jones – June 2nd, 2012
Opposing Pitcher: Shaun Marcum
Stadium: Miller Park
Video
True Distance: 451 feet

2. Garrett Jones – July 29th, 2012
Opposing Pitcher: Lucas Harrell
Stadium: Minute Maid Park
Video
True Distance: 455 feet

1. Pedro Alvarez – August 28th, 2012
Opposing Pitcher: Brandon Dickson
Stadium: PNC Park
Video
True Distance: 456 feet

Go Bucs

Poll: Have the Pirates improved this offseason?

Additions:
– Ali Solis (claimed off waivers)
– Felix Pie (signed as free agent)
– Zach Stewart (acquired via trade from BOS)
– Clint Robinson (acquired via trade from KC)
– Vin Mazzaro (acquired via trade from KC)
– Russell Martin (signed as free agent)
– Jason Grilli (re-signed)
– Mike Zagurski (signed as free agent)
– Andrew Oliver (acquired via trade from DET)
– Ivan De Jesus (acquired via trade from BOS)
– Stolmy Pimentel (acquired via trade from BOS)
– Mark Melancon (acquired via trade from BOS)
– Jerry Sands (acquired via trade from BOS)
– Francisco Liriano (signed as free agent)

Subtractions:
– Jeff Clement (DFA; signed by Twins)
– Eric Fryer (DFA; signed by Twins)
– Daniel McCutchen (signed by Orioles)
– Hisanori Takahashi (released)
– Kevin Correia (signed by Twins)
– Chad Qualls (elected free agency)
– Rod Barajas (elected free agency)
– Chris Resop (traded to OAK)
– Yamaico Navarro (traded to BAL)
– Brock Holt (traded to BOS)
– Joel Hanrahan (traded to BOS)

*Moves that could potentially impact MLB roster. All transactions can be viewed HERE.

In your opinion, have the Pirates improved this offseason? Please cast your vote, and feel free to let us know your thoughts either in the comments section or on Twitter.

Pirates ship Hanrahan, Holt up to Boston

Over the past few weeks, numerous rumors floated around Major League Baseball regarding a possible Joel Hanrahan trade.

Those rumors slowly became a reality on Saturday afternoon, as the Boston Red Sox closed in on a deal that would bring the two-time All-Star closer to Beantown. Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston was the first to report the rumblings.

Although a Hanrahan trade was inevitable heading into this offseason, this is still a tough pill to swallow for select Bucco fans. While the closer position is overrated, Hammer was a fan-favorite that saved 76 games over the last two seasons.

Neither of us are too upset that Hanrahan is gone. It was nearly guaranteed that he’d be traded this offseason. But we weren’t immediately pleased about what the Pirates got in return. We were pretty bummed to see the deal centered around former Dodgers prospect Jerry Sands. Boston beat writer Pete Abraham summed it up this way:

Apparently the Pirates are receiving “spare parts” after demanding a signficant return earlier.

From the opposite side of the debate, Jeff Moore of The Hardball Times claims that the Pirates have made a good baseball move.

Anyway, one name that frequently popped up as a possible return was shortstop Jose Iglesias. Despite a weak bat, Iglesias provides value defensively, as he’s great with the glove. Clint Barmes’ contract expires after 2013, and Iglesias is under team control until 2018. We would’ve liked this addition, as he could’ve stepped into the starting shortstop role after splitting time season. However, he was the first name to be eliminated from discussions:

The first member of the BoSox that was confirmed to be part of the package was 1B/OF Jerry Sands. Sands, 25, was sent to Boston from the Dodgers in the deal that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Carl Crawford, among others, to LA. According to Jim Bowden of ESPN, he has a long, loopy swing. He is a career .289/.376/.562 hitter in the minors, but hasn’t found much success in 70 MLB games.

Sands just adds to the logjam of first basemen and corner outfielders the Pirates have. Garrett Jones and Gaby Sanchez are penciled in at first, while a bunch of underachievers, including Alex Presley, Jose Tabata, and Travis Snider, hold down the corners. Starling Marte is unproven as well, but will most likely be the starting left fielder. With the addition of Sands, there may be another trade involving one of the players sooner than later.

The second Red Sox prospect named was pitcher Stolmy Pimentel. The 22 year old righty hasn’t had an ERA under 4.00 since 2009 when he was in A-ball. He was 6-7 with a 4.59 ERA in 2012 with the Class AA Portland Sea Dogs.

The third trade chip is 27 year old reliever Mark Melancon. He was dealt to the Red Sox from Houston last offseason for shortstop Jed Lowrie and pitcher Kyle Weiland. Melancon was solid in the closer role for the Astros in 2011, posting a 2.78 ERA and 20 saves. He struggled last season in Boston in 41 appearances. Despite a rocky 2012, he is the most intriguing player in this deal that is coming to Pittsburgh. Switching back to the NL Central should help Melancon, and he’ll likely be a key piece of the bullpen. Some insight from Peter Gammons:

The fourth and final player coming from Boston is 25 year old infielder Ivan De Jesus. He went to the Sox with Sands last year in the mega-deal. De Jesus is a career .298 hitter in the minors; he’s hit just .205 in 48 big league games. He will not be included on the Pirates 40-man roster.

The other player leaving the Pirates in the deal is Brock Holt. Holt, 24, soared through the minors last season and earned a call-up after hitting .432 in 24 games for Triple-A Indianapolis. In 24 MLB games, he hit .292 (19 for 65) and potentially earned the right to battle for a backup infield job in 2013. Catching prospect Tony Sanchez is sad to see Holt go:

With the departure of Hanrahan, the Bucco bullpen is up in the air. As of now, Jason Grilli seems to be the only true veteran in the ‘pen. Mark Melancon has experience in the bigs. Jared Hughes and Tony Watson will be in there as well. After that? Who knows, but we expect a combination of young players, and maybe Vin Mazzaro (who is out of minor league options). The bullpen could either be solid or a total mess next year; it’s really too early to tell.

The Pirates haven’t stood pat this offseason, whether the fans like it or not. First, they gave $17 million to a decent catcher that could be a total flop. Then they gave a 36 year old reliever, who struggled down the stretch, nearly $7 million. They are taking a huge gamble of almost $13 million on inconsistent Francisco Liriano. Now they’ve dealt their closer for salary relief and a few unproven players. As we mentioned earlier, another outfielder or first baseman (maybe Jones?) could be on the way out. All of these moves are pretty risky, and could definitely put some jobs on the line in the front office. If/when Neal Huntington is fired, there could potentially be some moves to point to.

Andrew McCutchen was slightly confused when word got out on Saturday:

… then tweeted a cover-up:

… but ultimately wished Hammer well:

Tony Sanchez:

Neil Walker:

Best of luck to Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt in Boston.