Rum Bunter Rumblings – cautious Pittsburgh Pirates optimism


It was another great week for us here at Rum Bunter.  We saw quite a bit of optimism around these parts.  Let’s get right to the best of this week:

FanSided MLB Editorial Director and Rum Bunter co-editor David Hill got us started off by letting us know that David Schoenfield of’s SweetSpot blog has the Pirates ranked THIRD overall in MLB.  From David’s piece:

"The days of finishing third in the Central may have passed. The Pirates have a perennial MVP candidate in Andrew McCutchen. They have a stellar back end of the bullpen, which includes the vastly underrated Mark Melancon, who may be the third best closer int he National League. Neil Walker may be one of the more underrated second basemen in baseball. These are definitely not the Pittsburgh Pirates of a generation ago."

Staff writer Matt Bower is also bullish on the Pirates this year and he let us know all about it in a long-form piece called ‘The Black And Golden Age.’   Please take a look:  Part 1 | Part 2.  A small taste below:

"Come October, after the final pitch of the regular season, the Midwest will be strewn with the debris and carnage left behind by the battle for the NL Central title. But in the end — no bobble heads, no batter walk-up music, and no Great Pierogi Race. Just the Jolly Roger raised high above the rumble heaps."


Continuing the good vibes was Assistant Editor Jason Rollison with his breakdown of Gerrit Cole‘s secondary pitches.  He made a great case on Cole may not rely on the fastball as much in 2015.  Take a look at what he had to say about Cole’s slider:

"Perhaps the most developed of Cole’s secondary pitches, the slider was thrown approximately 13.02% (286 times) in 2014.  The immediate stat that jumps out with this pitch is that it accounted for a whopping 26.1% of his total strikeouts.  Topping out at about 91 mph but sitting at an 86 mph average, the pitch at times just didn’t seem fair to batters.    And all of this was before I mentioned that hitters only hit .181 against it all year."

With all of this great talk about what’s right about the Pirates, returning staff writer Jon Anderson cautions us that these competitive contracts may end up hurting the Pittsburgh Pirates.  His reasoning includes:

"It might sound harsh to imply that players would not be as dedicated or try as hard for the Pirates if they aren’t concerned about their next contract, but it’s a proven fact of sport. Burnett and Liriano are very talented pitchers, and they should greatly help the team in their quest for a third straight playoff appearance, but if you’re expecting the dominating Liriano-Burnett combination that you saw in 2013, you might be a bit disappointed come summertime."

Most excitng for us is the launch of our upcoming Rum Bunter Radio podcast.  This will be a weekly show recapping stories seen on Rum Bunter from the writers and editors themselves, as well as all the discussion you can handle about everyone’s favorite band of buccaneering Buccos.  Look for it soon.  Our first guest on the show will be none other than Greg Brown.  Below is a short teaser preview of our conversation:

Last but not least, but check out the following:

Dave Hill continued his excellent series on highlighting top five Pirates at each position by looking at the right fielders.  Bet you’ll never guess who is number one.

Co-Editor Jacob Misener highlighted two prospects who have tough roads to the majors in Alen Hanson and Josh Bell.

We hope you’ll join us for another exciting week as the Pittsburgh Pirates begin Spring Training in earnest.  We’ll be with you every step of the way.