Bill James 2013 Projections: Pirates Hitters

Bill James’ first batch of projections for the 2013 season were recently released and can be found on the player pages at FanGraphs. Here’s a look at some of the Pirates hitters are projected to perform next year:

Alex Presley
326 8 43 32 11 .288 .343 .447
Andrew McCutchen
675 24 101 81 22 .286 .372 .483
Clint Barmes
441 9 42 43 2 .233 .286 .353
Gaby Sanchez
394 11 44 49 3 .263 .343 .418
Garrett Jones
484 20 57 69 4 .254 .315 .454
Jose Tabata
353 3 47 26 12 .278 .345 .377
Michael McKenry
363 11 35 41 1 .239 .316 .404
Neil Walker
647 17 77 88 9 .275 .337 .435
Pedro Alvarez
597 29 70 91 2 .257 .336 .481
Starling Marte
551 15 82 64 31 .297 .336 .479
Travis Snider
312 11 43 45 5 .278 .345 .468

A few quick notes:

– James has Alex Presley bouncing back with a .288 average after a sophomore slump campaign in which he hit just .237 and traveled to Triple-A Indianapolis a couple of times.

Andrew McCutchen is projected to regress a bit after his MVP-caliber year. A .286 average with 24 homers would be nice, but not as stellar as his .327 avg/31 homers in 2012.

Clint Barmes is expected to do pretty much the same thing at the plate as he did last season.

Gaby Sanchez is pretty “meh” at .263 batting average with 11 home runs and 44 runs batted in. Another player the Bucs picked up at July’s deadline, Travis Snider, is in the same boat – .278 average with 11 HR and 43 RBI.

– James still projects Garrett Jones to put up decent power, but expects a 20 point drop off in batting average (.274 to .254).

Jose Tabata will look to continue his disappointing career. Another 3 homer year with just 12 stolen bases; at least his average is projected to jump up to .278.

Michael McKenry is expected to have a pretty similar season. It’ll be interesting to see how he adjusts to a larger role in 2013.

Neil Walker is projected to have a nice season. We’ll take a .275 average and 17 homers any day from a starting second baseman.

– James projects Pedro Alvarez to keep improving upon his solid season in 2012. Another season with about 30 homers and somewhere around 90 RBI would be great from Pedro.

– Last but not least, Starling Marte is expected to have a big time season. A .297 average with 15 home runs and 31 stolen bases would be tremendous for Starling. It’s hard to predict his performance since he’s unproven and appeared in just 47 games, but it still gets us excited to think about the potential he has.

Sometime within the next week or so, we’ll take a look Bill James’ predictions for the Pirates pitchers.

Go Bucs

Happy Birthday, Andrew McCutchen

Pirates superstar Andrew McCutchen turns 26 today.

You can vote for McCutchen HERE for the Hank Aaron Award, which is given to the top offensive player in each league.

Cutch is pretty good at baseball:

Other players born on this day include Troy Tulowitzki, Pat Burrell, and Placido Polanco.

Other Bucs born in October:
Joel Hanrahan, Oct. 6th
Starling Marte, Oct. 9th
James McDonald, Oct. 19th
Yamaico Navarro, Oct. 31st

Go Bucs

Bucs Bits: Pirates News and Notes 10/9/12

Some Bucco links from around the web:

Around the MLB:

Postseason games on Tuesday:
San Francisco Giants at Cincinnati Reds, 5:30 pm
Ryan Vogelsong vs. Homer Bailey
Detroit Tigers at Oakland A’s, 9:00 pm
Anibal Sanchez vs. Brett Anderson

Six prospects ranked in Top 100 has re-ranked their Top 100 prospects, as well as the Top 20 for each team. Top 100 can be viewed HERE, and Pirates Top 20 HERE.

Here are the Pirates prospects that made the top 100 list, along with their 2012 stats:
8. Gerrit Cole, RHP
5-1, 2.55 ERA at Bradenton
3-6, 2.90 ERA at Altoona
1-0, 4.50 ERA at Indianapolis

16. Jameson Taillon, RHP
6-8, 3.82 ERA at Bradenton
3-0, 1.59 ERA at Altoona

34. Starling Marte, OF
.286 avg, .847 OPS at Indianapolis
.253 avg, .708 OPS at Pittsburgh

54. Alen Hanson, INF
.309 avg, .909 OPS at West Virginia

73. Luis Heredia, RHP
4-2, 2.71 ERA at State College

95. Gregory Polanco, OF
.325 avg, .910 OPS at West Virginia

Josh Bell, who was included in’s preseason rankings, dropped from the list since he’s been injured since April. New to the list are Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco, who had breakout seasons for West Virginia, as well as young stud Luis Heredia.

Updated top 20 Pirates prospects:
1. Cole
2. Taillon
3. Marte
4. Hanson
5. Heredia
6. Polanco
7. Josh Bell, OF
8. Jeff Locke, LHP
9. Justin Wilson, LHP
10. Kyle McPherson, RHP
11. Barrett Barnes, OF
12. Alex Dickerson, 1B
13. Bryan Morris, RHP
14. Nick Kingham, RHP
15. Wyatt Mathisen, C
16. Tony Sanchez, C
17. Victor Black, RHP
18. Willy Garcia, OF
19. Brock Holt, INF
20. Zack Von Rosenberg, RHP

A few of these players are currently on the big league roster (Marte (injured), Locke, Wilson, McPherson, Holt), while others still have a long way to go. Exactly half of the top 20 list consists of pitchers. Catching and middle infield is still a big hole in the system. Mathisen was just drafted this season, and Sanchez hasn’t done much in the minors. It’s great to see Hanson come out of nowhere and have an awesome season, but he’s still down in A-ball. Hopefully these players, especially the top prospects, can keep moving up through the system.

Read this for more info on the prospects, lists, etc.

Go Bucs

A much needed day off for the Bucs

The Pirates will be off on Thursday for the first time since August 2nd. The 20 games in 20 days stretch included an important series in Cincinnati, an 11 game homestand, and a discouraging roadtrip. Here’s a rundown of what went on over the past three weeks:

– A crazy weekend ensued in Cincy with a bit of beanball between the Reds and Bucs. However, the Redlegs were the only ones doing the drilling. Andrew McCutchen was nailed high and tight with an Aroldis Chapman heater that was clocked at 101 mph during the Reds’ 3-0 victory. There was much debate over whether or not the Pirates would retaliate, but they never received a chance. Both clubs were warned after Josh Harrison was plunked by Mike Leake, and Clint Hurdle was ejected when he came out to argue. Cincinnati went on to win that game, 5-4. The teams were apparently warned before Sunday’s game, so A.J. Burnett didn’t have a chance to hit any Cincy hitters. Instead, he allowed just three hits over 8.2 innings and the Bucs won 6-2. They weren’t at their best in this series; thankfully they avoided a sweep.

– The Pirates split a four game set with the Arizona Diamondbacks, which was a tough start to a disappointing homestand. Despite a 4-0 victory in game one, the bullpen fell apart in the second game of the series. A 4-4 tie turned into a 10-4 defeat when the D-backs scored seven unanswered runs in the final two innings. They held on by a sliver to win on Wednesday, but dropped the fourth game in Wandy Rodriguez‘s poor home debut.

– The San Diego Padres rolled into the ‘Burgh for what turned out to be an embarrassing series. The Buccos cruised to a 7-1 lead on Friday, but watched it fall to pieces as the Friars came back and won, 9-8. A.J. Burnett wasn’t sharp in game two and the Pirates were almost no-hit by Jason Marquis. They pulled off a win on Sunday afternoon, thanks to a grand slam for Clint Barmes. More on the Padres in a bit.

– The next series was a forgettable one vs. Los Angeles. The first three games were downright awful; the Pirates were outscored 25-7. The offense carried the Bucs to a 10-6 victory on Thursday. Don Mattingly, Matt Kemp, and Joe Blanton were all ejected, and A.J. Burnett told Hanley Ramirez what to do. The series loss was a bitter finish to a 4-7 homestand.

– Things were looking up after the Bucs took two of three from the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. James McDonald returned to his first half form in Friday’s win, but they lost a very winnable game on Saturday. The series finale was a 19 inning marathon that resulted in a 6-3 victory. Many believed that this could be a positive turning point; the exact opposite of last year’s 19 inning affair. However, this doesn’t appear to be the case…

– … as the Bucs were swept by the Padres at Petco Park. We won’t go into detail as it’s still fresh in everyone’s minds. Quite possibly the most frustrating series of the season.

Some fresh faces: Jeff Locke appeared in a few games, Yamaico Navarro came back, Jose Tabata returned to the big league club, Justin Wilson and Kyle McPherson made their MLB debuts, and Daniel McCutchen was recalled.

Some injuries: Starling Marte went on the 15 day DL with a strained oblique, Neil Walker dislocated a finger, Travis Snider was bothered by his hamstring, Jordy Mercer was hit in the hand with a pitch, etc.

Some departures: Alex Presley was optioned to Indianapolis, Juan Cruz was designated for assignment, etc.

Some leaves of absence: Jordy Mercer went on paternity leave and Chad Qualls went on the bereavement list.

One of the biggest storylines is the current slide of Andrew McCutchen. He was hitting .373 heading into this stretch, but is now down to .349. In these 20 games, McCutchen hit .238 with 2 homers, 10 runs batted in, and 21 strikeouts. The team goes as Cutch goes, and he certainly hasn’t been performing. As a result, the Pirates were just 7-13 in this span. He seems to be trying to pull the ball too much; he was successfully using all fields earlier in the year. He’s been striking out more frequently as well. McCutchen was essentially carrying this team earlier in the year, but his struggles in this stretch of games really showed. He’s still an MVP candidate, but he needs to snap out of it if the Bucs want to succeed for the rest of the season.

The Pirates needed this off day in the worst way. As we said, they went 7-13 in these 20 games – not the kind of baseball you want to see from a team that’s fighting for a postseason berth. They’re still a little beat up, and it can’t be easy playing 20 days in a row, especially with a six-hour, 19 inning game in the mix. The bad news is that they’ve officially fallen from a playoff spot. St. Louis has passed the Bucs for the second wild card, and they sit 8.5 games out of first in the Central. They come home for a six-game homestand against the Brewers and Cardinals. Hopefully PNC Park is rocking and the Pirates can rack up some wins.

“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to excellence.”

#PackPNC. Go Bucs.