ICYMI – The Best of Pirates Breakdown – May 1, 2016

In case you missed some of the action this past week during the Pittsburgh Pirates winning streak, we got you covered with a recap of some of the best of Pirates Breakdown.


Thank you to you, our readers, whether this is your first time checking out the site or you’ve been with us from the start.  We can’t thank you enough for all of the support and interaction you bring on a daily basis, and we hope we return some of that in some way by providing quality coverage of the Pittsburgh Pirates in return.  In case you missed anything, here’s a rundown of some of the highlights from Pirates Breakdown this week.


  • Cincinnati Reds Sunday starter Raisel Iglesias has struggled against left-handed batters early in his young career. Combined with Gregory Polanco’s early season patience at the plate, the matchup between these young players will be one to watch today.  You can check out that and other matchups to watch from the Reds series in Jose Negron’s breakdown, here.
  • Jordy Mercer has been an early season surprise at the plate, breaking from a career tradition of slow April starts. He’s walking more and striking out less than traditionally, but that’s only part of the story.  Ethan Obstarczyk went in-depth to see what led to Mercer’s success and whether he can keep it up as the season continues.  Check out the analysis here.
  • It was a great week, all things considered, for the Pirates minor league system. Top pitching prospects Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow turned in stellar performances in their starts, only adding to the speculation of when they may be promoted to Pittsburgh.  Justin Frazee provided his weekly minor league report, and you can find a full recap here.
  • This offseason, the Pirates front office promised a higher payroll approaching $105 million, but on opening day, they had spent just $100 million. Fans and media alike questioned the manner in which some of those funds were allocated, so Tyler Thomas took the time to, hypothetically, build a roster the Pirates could have had with $105 million.  You can check it out here.
  • Jon Niese has put together some solid starts in his first year with the Pirates, and he has had good starts marred by one bad inning. For a pitcher to be successful, he has to have at least three reliable pitches, any less and he will struggle to get hitters out.  Early in a season, pitchers tend to rely on just one or two pitches to get them through the first few weeks.  Jason Rollison took a look at the tendencies of Niese early on, and you can check out the full recap here.
  • PNC Park is the place people go to watch the Pirates play, but it’s also home to the people who make the experience possible. Nearly five years ago, the city mourned the passing of Kenny Geidel, the “lemonade” guy, and after that, people started to notice the behind-the-scenes people more. In a new series called Pittsburgh Pirates: Hidden Heroes File, Joy Frank-Collins goes behind-the-scenes to tell you about some of those people who get overlooked.  Check out the first in the series on executive chef Adam Holt here.
  • Before the season, Arquimedes Caminero was expected to be one of the candidates to be a key factor in the late innings out of the bullpen. While talks of trading Mark Melancon swirled, Caminero was one of the ones pegged to be a candidate to step into the role Tony Watson has held as the setup man, but that has all changed this season. Caminero has struggled, and Justin Kosanko went in-depth to root out the cause of his trouble and see if 2015 was merely a mirage. View the full analysis here.
  • After yet another home run last night to bring him within one of tying Andrew McCutchen for the team lead, Sean Rodriguez has been a rally starter off the bench for the Pirates. In just 30 at bats, Rodriguez has tied his 2015 home run total, come within four of his 2015 RBI total, and surpassed his 2015 walk total. Jacob Oberdorf took a look at one of the most likeable Pirates, and you can find the full breakdown of what Rodriguez needs to do to continue his hot start here.
  • In a shortened series, the Pirates finished their west coast road trip on a high note with an abbreviated series sweep of the Colorado Rockies. One of the key factors was the offense coming through and delivering plenty of run support for the struggling pitching staff.  As always, Steve Kubitz provided you with his end of series recap.  You can check out the full breakdown of what went well and what the Pirates need to focus on to fix moving forward against the Reds and Cubs here.
  • With last night’s win, the Pirates sit comfortably between the Cubs in first and the Cardinals in third in the division. It may be too early to start scoreboard watching, but it’s definitely not too early to pass out some early season grades.  Aaron Benedict broke the Pirates performance into several simple categories and graded their performance after the 20 games mark.  Check out who passed the course here.

That’s a wrap for this week.  Be sure to come back frequently for more in-depth analysis and editorials and look for ICYMI next Sunday for anything you might miss this coming week.

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