Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pirates Opening Day! GTOG's Official 2012 Major League Baseball Preview

By Finesse

We started hearing rumors last night that today was Opening Day in Major League Baseball and these rumors were confirmed this morning.  That means it's time for GTOG's Official 2012 Major League Baseball Preview.

The Pirates are looking to improve on their 72-90 finish last season and they showed that they're serious about turning this thing around with two big offseason acquisitions.  First, they brought in 36-year old catcher Rod Barajas.  You simply can't put a price tag on the impact an aging catcher who hit .230 last season can have on a franchise.  (Oh, it's $4 million?).

Rod Barajas, commanding his Men.
Then in December the Pirates brought back fan favorite Nate McLouth.  McLouth was a Pirate from 2006-2008, and he actually made the All-Star team and won a Gold Glove in 2008.  Naturally, the Pirates traded him to Atlanta for Jeff Locke, Charlie Morton and Gorkys Hern├índez. With the Pirates, Locke went 0-3 with a 6.48 ERA in 2011 and begins this season in AAA Indianapolis.  Charlie Morton begins the season on the Disabled List.  Gorkys Hernandez is starting the year in the minors and has never had a major league at bat.

The pride of Altoona, Gorkys Hernandez!
Meanwhile, in 250 games over three seasons with Atlanta, McLouth batted .229 with 21 total home runs.  He called his decision this offseason to sign a one-year deal with the Pirates for $1.75 million a "no brainer."

So YES, what I am telling you is that the Pirates now have McLouth AND all the guys he was traded for!

With these moves, Vegas is bullish on the Pirates, setting their over under for wins at 73.  This would just surpass the 1996 Chicago Bulls for best single-season record of all time.

Seven things you didn't know about the Pirates, and our predictions, after the jump...

- Here are 7 things you didn't know about the Pirates:
  1. There are no Laroches on the roster this season.
  2. Pedro Alvarez struck out just as you started reading this.
  3. I have a vague recollection of someone drafting Erik Bedard in a fantasy baseball league 4 years ago.
  4. Despite causing mass confusion, Clint Barmes will not be changing the spelling of his last name to Barnes.  "I play for the Pirates for God's sake," Barmes said.  "Who gives a shit?"
  5. The letter J is 3.86% of the alphabet, but 32% of the Pirates have names that start with J.
  6. The average weight of the Pirates' outfield is 191 pounds.  That seems low.
  7. Pedro Alvarez just struck out again.
And again :(
- What does Artistry think of the Buccos this year?
Everyone on Pittsburgh radio is predicting 70-80 wins for the Bucs this year. Ron Cook, daring to be different, predicts 90-95 losses. You can just feel the electricity in the air. At about noon today, I'll walk over the Clemente Bridge to PNC Park. I will think about how long it's been since I watched an entire Pirates game. I will think about how last year at this time, I was so certain Andrew McCutchen would never sign an extension here. I'll think about Erik Bedard and A.J. Burnett and how I considered drafting them in fantasy baseball like 6 years ago. And I'll think about Clint Hurdle, and how he seems like a nice fellow. Then I'll get to the stadium and meet up with some guys who are genuinely excited about all of these things. I'll listen to them, and I'll watch them cheer. I may clap. I'll have a beer. Then I'll hope, for everyone's sake, that Pedro Alvarez at least makes contact. 
Predictions: If Pedro makes contact: 78-84. If Pedro whiffs: 72-90.
- What does the Pirate Prediction Formula say?

Last year we debuted the GTOG Pirate Prediction Formula and it was only 12 games off the Pirates actual win-total of 72. (Hint: we took the under).  I've made some adjustments to the formula this season.  As usual, we start by plugging in the Pirates' goal of 81 wins.  Then, we let math take over.
- The Charlie Morton-effect: Subtract 6. 
- Possibility that McCutchen, Tabata, and Walker are decent this year: Add 5.  
- Legitimate possibility that Alvarez will strike out 300 times: Subtract 4. 
- Clint Hurdle being a nice guy: Add 4.  
- Charlie Morton-effect part 2: Subtract 4.  
- Nate McLouth 2.0: Subtract 5 
- Bob Walk explaining Barajas signing, saying "he calls a great game:" Subtract 1 
- Confidence gained from being .500 in July last year: Add 7 
- Confidence lost from finishing 18 games under .500: Subtract 7 
- Wait? Charlie Morton's ERA was under 4 last year?: Add 4 
- Opening the season with 3 games against the Phillies: Subtract 3
TOTAL: 71-91

Bucco Fever!

Don't worry, you can believe this year! #JerryMealsSaysItsSafe


  1. I was just discussing this last night: when I moved to Boston they had not won anything in something like 15 years. They subsequently won 7 championships across all sports. We believe I brought the city that good luck, and now that I'm back in Pittsburgh, the Pirates will win the World Series.

    I'll take grand marshal of the parade, or my face on the championship t-shirts.

    Thank you.

  2. this year will be the opposite of last year. awful start with a big finish. if you watch a lot of charlie morton games, the guy has legitimate potential. he's huge and he's got good stuff. the only pitching talent at the mlb level right now (but the pitching coach sucks. all the coaches suck). the really sad thing about barajas, barmes, burnett, and bedard is that they are legitimate upgrades to this team. burnett especially. he was winning games in the toughest division in baseball and now he's in the easiest. still not the season fans hope it will be. they might hit .500 next year but not this year. 67-95.

    go braves.