Jung Ho Kang’s Bat is Heating Up

By Andy Burdick

At the beginning of the season, I had my doubts about Pirates’ infielder Jung Ho Kang and his ability to adjust to Major League pitching after watching some of his early season at bats. Kang’s swing is unconventional when compared with the average Major League hitter and I find it incredibly unsettling aesthetically: a high leg kick sometimes; a small leg kick others.  It’s a bias that I remember having as far back as the first times I saw Ichiro Suzuki and Craig Counsell swing their bats.

On the first hit of his career, you can see Kang abandoning the leg kick to shorten up his swing with a 1-2 count. Continue reading

Tri-State at the Plate #70: The 2015 Trade Deadline That Was

The 2015 trade deadline has come and gone so you get an hour and twenty minutes of podcast goodness today, but before Jason and Andy discuss things with the Tribe, they first discuss an appropriate age to bring your child to a baseball game. Once they finish with that discussion at the 12:45 mark, they then dive into the Cleveland Indians. Jason gives his thoughts on the Brandon Moss trade, the Carlos Carassco trade that never was, Jason Kipnis and leadership in the Indians’ clubhouse, and Andy waxes poetic about Francisco Lindor‘s recent production at the plate.  Then around the 44:00 minute mark, Andy and Chris Bradley dig into the Pirates’ trade deadline: they first hit on the Aramis Ramirez homecoming, Joe Blanton and the least sexy trade ever and the rest of the Pirates trades before finishing up talking about A.J. Burnett‘s elbow (or what’s left of it) and Jung Ho Kang’s hot streak the last month. Andy then finishes with a quick SeaWolves shout out and talks about going to meet former Pirates manager Jim Leyland this week!

Pittsburgh Pirates Trade Deadline Target: Tyson Ross 2.0

By Andy Burdick

Armchair General Manager

“Heavy is the head that wears the crown.”

The trade deadline is quickly approaching on Friday, July 31, and everyone’s favorite hobby of armchair GM-ing is in full swing.  We’re no different here at TSM Baseball. What Pirates’ fan wouldn’t want to spend a day nearing the trade deadline in Neal Huntington’s shiny, patent leather shoes? While those shoes are probably never comfortable and leave you feeling more paranoid about your professional standing than a ‘Game of Thrones’ character, when there are no stakes to be had as an internet writer, the exercise becomes a lot more fun!

In this article I will have a seat in the hypothetical general manager’s chair and target Tyson Ross, a player that I have become obsessed with over the last three years.  I will also look at some of the pieces that I might be willing to part with that will send the Yinzer fans in Pittsburgh into a blind rage as they line up and down Federal Street, throwing IC Light cans and yelling expletives in protest.

Full Disclosure: My sexy trade deadline move for the Pirates that would have surely melted the internet would have been a move in which the Pirates traded super-prospect Tyler Glasnow in a package deal to the Rockies for short stop Troy Tulowitzki. I had been working out the players in my head that might fit on both sides, but with the recent trade of Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays, this exercise is now over.

Rest easy, internet.

Full Disclosure 2: While I mostly agree with the general fan sentiment that Josh Bell and Tyler Glasnow are untouchable, no players are totally untouchable for the right price. While Ross isn’t that piece, there are players out there that would be worth dealing either of those two for. Continue reading

Tri-State at the Plate #69: Major League Baseball’s All-Star Conundrum

On this week’s podcast, Andy and Jason discuss the Major League Baseball’s All-Star problem with the Kansas City Royals as well as the new Home Run Derby rules.  Jason then talks the successes of Jason Kipnis and Corey Kluber as well as the struggles of Lonnie Chisenhall and Jose Ramirez.  Andy then discusses the slow start of the Pittsburgh Pirates and how it has affected their playoff hopes in 2015, as well as Jung-ho Kang’s adjustments and Gregory Polanco‘s lack of progress. They finish up talking about the Erie SeaWolves and their less than stellar season on the field, but incredibly fan-friendly ballpark.

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!