I like what I have seen the last week from the Buccos. Getting ready to roll into July, the Bucs sit just five games out of both the division and the Wild Card races. Laugh all you want, but while being still four games under .500 still, the Bucs have caused some excitement. Tough loss on Sunday, but Grienke was dominant and they battled.
The pitching has been good enough to keep them in games and they have gotten just enough offense to win some games. Now as July comes, everyone will stop paying attention to the team as always, when Steelers camp begins, but Neil Huntington will have some difficult decisions to make. My advice to Neil is....... STICK TO THE PLAN. eighty percent of the young talent in the organization has been acquired within the last calender year, either by draft or trades.
I like to play GM from time to time and there is one move I would like to see the Bucs pursue. Although the Angels have been playing very well of late, here is a team that needs to make a few moves to seriously contend for the title. They're top four starters from last season have combined to make only 16 starts. They could use an arm, either a starter or bullpen arm and probably another bat.
I ship the Halos Matt Capps and Adam Laroche right now. In return, the Angeles have made known that shortstop Brandon Wood can be had. Two years ago, Wood was hands down the best prospect in the majors. The Angels just haven't found the room for Wood and Mike Scoscia just isn't gonna give a youngster major playing time on a team that's contending. Wood is a five tool talent that the Bucs should take a run at.
Include a young starter and maybe a first base prospect, the Angels have a wealth of both and this is a move the Bucs should try and pursue. The halos, might not want to take on a ton of salary, but it would make sense for both teams. Deal Capps while his value is high again and it's getting hot out, so that means so is Laroche. Adding Wood, gives the team more options to deal Jack Wilson as well.
- Speaking of trades, Nyjer Morgan's name has been out there in a deal with the Nats. Main components of the deal was Morgan for Lastings Milledge. The deal apparently fell apart when the Bucs also asked for pitching prospect Craig Stamen. As much fun as Morgan is to watch, he is a 29 year old outfielder with no power and also is not part of the Bucs future. I'm not a big Milledge fan, mostly due to his attitude, but if the opportunity is there to acquire a five tool guy like Milledge, it would be hard to pass up.
- Matt Wieters is hitting around .270 with a couple of bombs. Here is an interesting note on the should be Pirates catcher. Wieters reached the majors after only 150 games in the minors. That's 75 games quicker than any other catcher in major league history.
-Andrew McCutchen went 0-4 his last 2 games of the KC series. The scouting report is out now. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts. My feeling is he will be fine. Don't panic, he wasn't going to hit .370 for his whole career. He is young and will experience several 2-20 stretches. Now it is up to him to adjust.
-Speaking of scouting reports, Virgil Vasquez was very good in his Bucco debut. he threw strikes and got a win. Part of that was due to there not being a scouting report out on him as well. We will see how he is throwing after 5 starts. Guys who come up from the minors generally have success their first couple of starts. Even JVB went six strong innings his first call up start against the Braves a few years back.
-Ryan Doumit will be back soon. It will be interesting to see which catcher stays up, Jaramillo or Diaz. Both have their positives and negatives to look at. My guess is JJ stays.
-Brandon Moss has heated up again. hitting close to .600 the last 10 days. Boy is he streaky. JR is using him well though and putting him in situations to succeed. it looks like it has become a straight platoon, with Delwyn Young playing against lefties. Either way, Moss is up around .270 after a horrid start. Whoever plays, they are getting production out of right field.
- Speaking of Moss, we got to start seeing some power and run production out of both he and Andy Laroche.
-Charlie Morton's first home start went well. Key stat NO WALKS. he should have gotten a win, but not too many guys get wins against Grienke.
-Ian Snell walked the first batter in his first AAA start and proceeded to strike out the next 13 in a row. Seventeen overall. This guy makes we want to puke. All of the sudden he is "Having Fun". After checking it out further, I discovered that the team he faced, the Toledo MudHens lead all professional baseball in strikeouts by a large margin. Even Tom Gorzelanny struck out 12 Mudhens the night before. So I'm not quite impressed just yet. Or yet maybe it was all that negativity in Pittsburgh. Hey Ian, if you strike out 17 in a Pittsburgh uniform, there won't be any negativity left for you.
- Big series vs. the Cubs. That's the 2 games under .500 Cubs. Since they can't win on the road, it would be nice to take this series at home. Nice match up tonight in Duke vs. Harden.
-I'm doing my Bucco farm report now so that should be posted later in the week. Let's go Bucs.