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 Post subject: Coaching or Talent?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:59 pm 
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Of course, if we start hitting in the next week or two, this thread will be moot, but I thought I would pose the question anyways.

Hurdle was said to be a good offensive minded coach, especially when it came to bringing young hitters along. This has not really happened. And I was hardly thrilled about Jay Bell as a hitting coach, since my fondest Jay Bell hitting memories were him hitting the water cooler with his bat after striking out. Not that you had to be a great hitter to be a great hitting coach, but it's not like Jay Bell has some kind of great coaching pedigree.

This team has had the same identity since Hurdle took over. Start REALLY slow offensively, maybe show a little power here and there, terrible at getting on base from top to bottom, terrible at bringing runners home when we have them on base, striking out a ton, it's a pattern.

On the other hand, is it simply the players and lack of talent? Outside of McCutchen, and to a lesser extent Walker, do you really have that much faith in this core to get better? Say Pedro Alvarez has pretty much the same season he had last year, maybe give or take two HR's. Same with Jones (though we already know what we have in Jones, so it's a little different). And Marte doesn't really start to produce like a possible Alfonso Soriano, as he was compared to. Do we start questioning whether these players actually were that good to begin with? Or did our system and coaching simply fail them?

I'm not expecting anybody to be Albert Pujols. But I was under the impression that Pedro's ceiling was a bit higher than a .700 OPS 30 HR guy, not that that's the worst thing in the world or anything. And Marte was getting a lot of good talk coming up, and I thought showed more than Jose Tabata did in the MLB. I'm not throwing in the towel on anybody, but under the Hurdle regime, none of these guys look like they are getting significantly better or approaching "star" status or anything. All of the same problems to start the year last year, are still there this year. Does that speak to the player's talent level or does that speak more to the coaching staff?


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 Post subject: Re: Coaching or Talent?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:04 pm 
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I think this start is on the players. The worst coach in the world couldn't singlehandedly turn a decent lineup into what we've seen. If the Bucs hire Tom McDontcare, and he leads the pitcher off and has the players practice hitting on ice, they should still be able to score 10+ runs in the first 6 games.

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 Post subject: Re: Coaching or Talent?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:24 pm 
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Coaching matters, but talent matters more.

We are lacking in both departments.


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 Post subject: Re: Coaching or Talent?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:47 pm 
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The people that are incharge of bringing in both the talent and coaches should be held responsible.

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 Post subject: Re: Coaching or Talent?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 5:46 pm 
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Say talent if you really believe the coaches are getting the most out of them, otherwise, it's coaching.


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 Post subject: Re: Coaching or Talent?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:16 pm 
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RTJR wrote:
Say talent if you really believe the coaches are getting the most out of them, otherwise, it's coaching.


Or its bad luck, its 6 games, 2 of which were played at 35 degrees, 2 of which were played against two of the best SP in MLB. Its a little early to throw Jay Bell under the bus.

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 Post subject: Re: Coaching or Talent?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:32 pm 
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Bad luck sounds like excuses.


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 Post subject: Re: Coaching or Talent?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:56 pm 
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I think the pirates org. Builds some of these players up to be better than they really are. Remember a few years back when all you heard about was Ron wright? He was the next bonds etc. I think he barely cracked a major league line up.


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 Post subject: Re: Coaching or Talent?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:11 pm 
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Leway512 wrote:
On the other hand, is it simply the players and lack of talent? Outside of McCutchen, and to a lesser extent Walker, do you really have that much faith in this core to get better?


I do. I expect to get at least league average 1B production out of the Jones/Gaby platoon (and possibly out of the Martin/McKenry catching duo but I've never been big on McKenry and question if last year was sustainable). There are holes at SS and RF but I'm optimistic about the line-up as a whole, yes.

Here's the thing about the "is coaching at fault?" argument. You mention Marte as a guy, for example, that we could begin questioning whether or not our coaching failed him and his talent if he doesn't produce. If you're going to look at a player's development that way (and it's completely reasonable to do, don't get me wrong), then you could just as easily say that Marte wouldn't be the player he currently is who stormed through the minors at a young age as an excellent prospect if it wasn't for this same staff, after all he has spent his entire pro career under the current administration's "regime" if you will. You could make the same argument with a player like Walker, as people tend to forget that he was basically considered a non-prospect afterthought after never having much of any success in the minors after being drafted before he heated up in AAA three years ago and was given a starting job because Iwamura completely flopped. So, since there are no objective answers here that we'll ever know, I don't think it would be inaccurate in some cases to look at it from the opposite way, either.

Now, maybe you were just strictly referencing the coaching at the ML-level i.e. Hurdle, Jay Bell (exempt because he he has 150+ games left for evaluation), Gregg Ritchie and the hitting coaches of the past. Well, again if we are looking at this through the player's careers to this point and not a mere six games this season, the only player I currently see that would be up for debate in this discussion would be Alvarez who to this point we still have no idea what we are going to get longterm because there have been drastic highs and lows (even if you think last year's OPS of .784 w/ 30 HRs that you referenced shouldn't cut it given his ceiling, that's still above average production that a lot of teams would want at third base). You have conceded that McCutchen, Walker and Jones have been considerably successful players at this level, and given that McCutchen was a a top five hitter in the league last year, Walker hitting for average and learning what was still a new position for him rather well and Jones consistently hitting 20-25+ HRs I think it's safe to say those have even exceeded expectations. The rest of the starters -- Gaby is a reclamation project still early in the works, Martin has had 14 ABs, Barmes is what he is, a veteran defensive SS, Marte has had a couple of months worth of big league experience, and in RF there is no definite starter.

So, in conclusion, while it's impossible to answer such a question, I don't view it as coaching failing any of these current players. As far as revisionist history and questioning their talent to begin with, you can make that call for yourself. But it's not like any of the players you mentioned were met with a lot of pessimism to begin with. I don't think you would have seen many other organizations with a POV of "that Marte/Alvarez/Tabata, I think we'll pass on them, the talent just isn't there." And sometimes good, even great prospects simply don't work out in MLB regardless of the coaching staff they're under as well. And if the latter was the problem, I'm not sure how we would ever see it as fans besides instructors being relieved of their duties. We knew, for example, that Joe Kerrigan had serious flaws when his pitching staff collectively posted a 5+ ERA under him, hence him being fired mid-season.


Last edited by TheShark on Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Coaching or Talent?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:19 pm 
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Clevelandsux wrote:
I think the pirates org. Builds some of these players up to be better than they really are. Remember a few years back when all you heard about was Ron wright? He was the next bonds etc. I think he barely cracked a major league line up.

Because he wrecked his back while still in the minors.

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 Post subject: Re: Coaching or Talent?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:43 pm 
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Too early to definitively tell, but probably a little of both.

As many others have noted, there is a lack of 'fundamentals' that is a demerit for both the coaching and individual player's talent.

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 Post subject: Re: Coaching or Talent?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:01 am 
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RTJR wrote:
Bad luck sounds like excuses.


Explanation of a common occurrence (a bad 6 game stretch) during a 162 game season is not an excuse. Everyone needs to calm down.

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 Post subject: Re: Coaching or Talent?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:02 pm 
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The losing of 6 straight isn't the problem, it's how they're losing. 7 runs scored in 6 games is attributed to more than just an unlucky streak when you consider how these players have hit over the last two seasons. You can sit there and say "small sample size" all you want, but everyone knows this is just a continuation of what we'd been seeing, for the most part, from the Pirates. 2011: Solid pitching, dismal hitting. 2012: Solid pitching, dismal hitting, though they had a since June. So far in 2013...you get the picture. Hell, you could probably predict the season record, somewhere in the 77 wins range, give or take 3.


Last edited by RTJR on Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Coaching or Talent?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:17 pm 
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You should not be evaluating this team based on the slow start. Other than Martin, who is clearly an upgrade, we had almost all these guys last year. They have a track record upon which to evaluate them. That means a lot more than 6 or 7 games. Especially when you factor in cold weather and opposing pitchers who won Cy Young awards.

This team looks to be decent, to me. They need their players to play up to their capabilities. And I'm talking over the long haul, not over a 6 game stretch. Other teams have more talent, but that doesn't mean we have none.

I still maintain, if they can get good starting pitching, which is a big if, they have a real good chance to crack .500.


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 Post subject: Re: Coaching or Talent?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:55 pm 
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RTJR wrote:
The losing of 6 straight isn't the problem, it's how they're losing. 7 runs scored in 6 games is attributed to more than just an unlucky streak when you consider how these players have hit over the last two seasons. You can sit there and say "small sample size" all you want, but everyone knows this is just a continuation of what we'd been seeing, for the most part, from the Pirates. 2011: Solid pitching, dismal hitting. 2012: Solid pitching, dismal hitting, though they had a since June. So far in 2013...you get the picture. Hell, you could probably predict the season record, somewhere in the 77 wins range, give or take 3.


Your characterization of 2011 and 2012 is off. In 2011 the hitting was indeed "dismal", 3rd fewest runs, worst WAR in the NL However the pitching was also dismal 11th in era, 2nd worst in WAR. Last year the pitching was not even average at the 9th best era, 4th fewest WAR. While the hitting was similar at 10th in runs, 11th in WAR.

Basing your evaluation of 2013 off of 6 games is idiotic. Now if you base it off of reputable projections you would predict that we will hit like an average MLB team and pitch poorly the opposite of your assertion. When I look at this lineup compared to other NL teams we should be an average hitting club. I tend to believe that we can be an average pitching team as well and play right around .500.

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 Post subject: Re: Coaching or Talent?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:33 pm 
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What I remember from 2011 are Charlie Morton, Kevin Correia, James McDonald, Jeff Kartsens, and Paul Maholm pitching well most games but getting no run support. Then, like last year's rotation, they fell apart late in the season.

The only difference between last season and 2011 was the June to early-July run of offense where they hit an inexplicable amount of homeruns.

It is perfectly safe to make predictions based on prior performances of the same or mostly the same group of players.


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