Tri-State at the Plate #68: The Indians and Pirates Ups and Downs

On this week’s Tri-State at the Plate, Andy and Jason talk about Edinboro Elementary student Jacob Haugh, who has raised nearly $3,000 for the Pirates charity Wins for Kids.  You can donate to the charity here and make sure to add ‘Jacob Haugh’ to your donation.

The show starts with Andy and Jason talking about the least controversial controversial topic that they can think of: the National League adopting the DH.  Andy then talks about the ups and downs of a 12-10: Starling Marte hitting for power, but not taking any walks.  The hitting not doing much of anything, but the pitching’s stellar start.  Mark Melancon‘s velocity is down and… well, there’s no real upside to that.  Jason then makes some tater tots before he chimes in to discuss Cleveland’s slow start and how the fans shouldn’t be panicking.  Yet.  The duo finish up with a SeaWolves shout out that is Dean Green heavy this week.

The Josh Harrison Contract Extension

By Andy Burdick

The Pittsburgh Pirates extended infielder Josh Harrison April 8, 2015 with a new four year deal, buying out his two remaining arbitration years as well as potentially three free agent years.  Harrison will earn $2.8 million this season, which will be considered the first year of the deal, and then $5 million in 2016, $7.5 million in 2017, and $10 million in 2018.  2019 is a club option worth $10.5 million with a $1 million buyout, and 2020 is a club option worth $11.5 million with a $500,000 buyout. Continue reading

Pittsburgh Pirates 2015 Opening Day Lineup Steamer Projections

By Andy Burdick

The Opening Day lineup for the 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates features a lot of familiar faces.

Player Position
Harrison, Josh 5
Polanco, Gregory 9
McCutchen, Andrew 8
Walker, Neil 4
Marte, Starling 7
Alvarez, Pedro 3
Cervelli, Francisco 2
Mercer, Jordy 6
Liriano, Francisco 1

In 2014, the Pirates opened the season against the Chicago Cubs with Travis Snider in right field, Russell Martin behind home plate, and playoff hero Travis Ishikawa at first base.  In 2015, Pedro Alvarez has switched corners, Josh Harrison now mans third base, and Gregory Polanco is opening the season in right field.  For a Major League Baseball team, there wasn’t a whole lot of turnover from last season, considering Harrison was already on the roster and Polanco was an internal replacement. Continue reading

TSM Baseball 2015 Preseason Award Predictions: Staff Edition

By TSM Staff

Tri-State of Mind Crystal Ball

Take a look at our staff predictions!

While we may not be professional scouts or analysts here at Tri-State of Mind Baseball, the staff does watch quite a bit of Major League Baseball’s product. This is most evident during our annual preseason predictions, where our staff’s inevitable biases are exposed, but so is our knowledge of baseball as a whole.

While everyone’s predictions have whiffs, there were also some very fortuitous picks in last year’s article as well. Andy Burdick had Jose Abreu pegged as his AL Rookie of the Year, Jason Ruggiero was off by two wins for both Pittsburgh and Cleveland, and Chris Bradley nailed Cleveland’s record on the nose.

This year, we look forward to letting our Bias Flags fly high as we take a look at the season-to-come in 2015 at Tri-State of Mind Baseball! Continue reading

Tri-State at the Plate Episode #67: Rob Manfred Makes the Tough Decisions

Opening Day is almost here and we have a jam-packed episode for everyone today! While everyone eagerly awaits for Sunday night, Rob Manfred is fretting in his office about just how fans will be able to watch baseball this year, which is right where Andy and Jason start off their discussion: ending blackouts for in-market teams.  After that, Andy hits the talking points for the Pirates with recent injury news, the trading for Hunter Morris, Pedro Alvarez‘s success at first base and Jung-ho Kang’s struggles at the plate.  He also talks about the fifth starter battle ending, with Jeff Locke victorious, keys to the Pirates success in 2015, and finishes up with a Minor League rundown of the Pirates organization.  Jason then talks about the injury news for the Tribe, Danny Salazar‘s assignment to the minors, Zach McAllister‘s assignment in the rotation, and Roberto’s Perez’s contributions to the 2015 Tribe.  Andy and then Jason talk about the awesome fan experiences you should be having at Progressive Field (which we still refer to as ‘The Jake’). The duo finishes up the podcast with a SeaWolves Shout Out, highlighting some Wovles news and former Erie SeaWolf, now Detroit catcher, James McCann.

Tri-State at the Plate Episode #66: SeaWolves General Manager Greg Coleman Talks Erie Baseball

Andy traveled far and wide to find the brains behind the baseball operations for the Erie SeaWolves.  In the end, SeaWolves General Manager Greg Coleman ended up being in his office at the corner of 10th and Holland in downtown Erie, Pennsylvania for today’s interview.  Andy had a chance ask about what makes a Minor League team tick, ranging from wacky and fun promotions in the upcoming season, to ticket packages, as well as how the team interacts with the community.  Greg talks about Andy’s man-crush, Eastern League MVP Steven Moya, before diving into a much heavier topic, which is the economics of Minor League Baseball.

A huge thanks to Greg for taking time out of his busy spring schedule to fit in an interview today!

Tri-State at the Plate Episode #65: Spring Has Sprung and So Has Kang

Real baseball has returned in Florida and Arizona this spring!  Position battles and weird injuries are everywhere as Andy and Jason talk about Hunter Pence and his broken forearm.  Andy talks about both of those things in regards to Pirates as Corey Hart has a hot tub related injury and Jung-ho Kang hits an opposite field home run.  Andy also talks about the 5th starter spot in the Pirates’ rotation being up for grabs as well as catcher Francisco Cervelli bonding well with staff ace Gerrit Cole.  Jason then jumps into the conversation talking about his favorite players to watch in camp (Francisco Lindor) and his undying love for Bruce Chen, even though Dan in Buffalo does not approve.  Jason also talks about Trevor Bauer‘s clean mechanics and the 5th starter spot in the Tribe’s rotation as well.

Tri-State at the Plate Episode #64: Can Francisco Cervelli Effectively Effect the Effectiveness of Pitchers

Spring is in the air… if you’re in Arizona or Florida that is.

Andy and Jason are in the best shape of their lives and they reported for this week’s podcast!  It shows as they open up talking about meeting Jim Leyland and B.J. Upton‘s name change to Melvin Upton Jr.  Andy then talks about the Pittsburgh Pirates lineup in 2015 and how Francisco Cervelli could help all Pirates fans forget Russell Martin.  He also discusses the Pirates pitching and players who may need to make strides in 2015.  Jason then discusses Michael Bourn‘s hamstrings, Jason Kipnis‘s return to stardom, the two-spot in the Cleveland lineup, and Indians pitchers competing in sprint drills!
It’s good to be back!

2015 Pittsburgh Pirates Projected Pitching

By Andy Burdick

The Pittsburgh Pirates will need to address and improve their pitching, particularly of the starting variety, if they are going to compete for the National League Central title in 2015. While the pitching wasn’t awful, it was basically league average across the board in every major statistical category.  With his offseason moves, general manager Neal Huntington has taken care of addressing the pitching.  Now it will be up to the new (and old) acquisitions to live up to their end of the bargain by bolstering the Pirates staff. Continue reading

2015 Pittsburgh Pirates Projected Lineup

By Andy Burdick

The Pittsburgh Pirates and their fans have quite a bit to look forward to in 2015.  Coming off of two consecutive playoff appearances after twenty years of futility is something to celebrate in and of itself.  However, considering the Pirates have a core lineup consisting of a National League MVP in Andrew McCutchen, a runner-up for the batting title last season in Josh Harrison, and a rotation anchored by their former number one overall pick in Gerrit Cole, there is actually a strong foundation for the recent good vibes surrounding baseball in Pittsburgh.

ESPN senior writer Dave Schoenfield ranked the Pirates as the third best team in baseball in a recent 2015 preview article.  Pittsburgh constructed one of the most dynamic lineups in baseball last season, with only two players, Jordy Mercer and Gregory Polanco, registering an OPS+ under 100 and a good portion of their starting lineup is returning for the 2015 campaign as well.  Considering Polanco’s pedigree and that last season was his first exposure to the Major Leagues, it’s not hard to imagine his contribution to the 2015 squad improving.  While Mercer’s 12 home runs are solid for a Major League shortstop, his .255/.305/.387 triple slash leaves something to be desired, which is why Pittsburgh signed international free agent infielder Jung-ho Kang. Continue reading