The Neal Huntington Show was on 93.7 The Fan this afternoon and the Bucs GM had plenty to talk about including saying, without saying, that Mark Melancon has been added to the All-Star Game roster replacing Jeff Locke.
Huntington said that if today were a one-game playoff and Locke’s turn was up in the rotation, he would take the mound. The Bucs GM mentioned that the team went the safe route and don’t want something minor to turn into a two-week DL stint.
Greg Brown asked Huntington what his favorite reliever stat was. It took a while for the GM to respond, but in terms of advanced metrics, Huntington said xFIP is the stat on FanGraphs that he would pay most attention to (if he didn’t have access to the internal metrics the Bucs use.)
Huntington mentioned that A.J. Burnett, Charlie Morton and Francisco Liriano all should be fresh down the stretch. He said that the team will monitor Jeff Locke and Gerrit Cole, who will likely pitch more innings than they ever have before, like they would monitor any other pitcher. The Bucs GM also mentioned that Wandy could return fresh…(Hurdle threw in the month of September during his radio show today.)
Jose Tabata has been very productive since returning to the Pirates lineup. Huntington talked about Tabata being healthy and using the DL stint to regain his timing in AAA. (The at-bats weren’t very productive, but heh, whatever it takes. It makes me wonder if Travis Snider would be up for a phantom DL stint after the break?)
Ivan Dejesus is a player that we like a lot at RumBunter. Today was the first time we have heard mention of him on the show. Dejesus was given consideration for the recent call-up that saw the return of Josh Harrison. Huntington also mentioned that the middle infielder depth is a bit thinner than what we would like, but he said he feels solid with what the team has.
Huntington mentioned his satisfaction in seeing Clint Barmes hit the ball well lately and gave credit to Jordy Mercer‘s offensive and defensive abilities. The play of Barmes and Mercer has kept Harrison on the bench (Josh has been the most productive hitter in AAA.)
Huntington was obviously pleased with the young players the Pirates have in the system which was evident with this quote:
The lower level box scores are a lot of fun to watch.
The Bucs GM confirmed that the Pirates did pay the tax for signing 11th rounder Eric Weiss over the MLB mandated slot. We felt he was a fifth-round talent, Huntington said.