News Roundup: Steven Jackson's Role

-P- The Pirates won't top Oakland's $4.25 million bonus for Michael Inoa as they pursue Miguel Angel Sano. I hope this means they have pretty strong indications that other teams won't, either. 

-P- From the same article, the Pirates will use Steven Jackson--who pitched a scoreless inning in his MLB debut last night--as a sort of groundball specialist. That'll work, but actually Evan Meek caused a lot more ground balls in his last couple years in the minors than Jackson did. With Meek inheriting more responsibility recently, the Pirates perhaps don't want to use him in any sort of specialist role, but perhaps they should reconsider:

Steven Jackson, the right-handed reliever promoted yesterday from Class AAA Indianapolis, is more ambitious than that of a fill-in: Jackson will pitch the middle innings, get summoned when a ground ball or double play is needed and, most important, will stick if he performs well.

Teams most need a grounder or a double play in important situations with runners on base. Perhaps I'm reading too much into a single sentence here, but it seems like it's saying that Jackson will immediately be inserted into a high-leverage role, which seems odd to me, even though I thought he was a pretty nice pickup.

-P- Andrew McCutchen went 3-for-3 with a walk yesterday, raising his average to .306 and his OPS to .864.

-P- And speaking of guys who could use a promotion, Brad Lincoln struck out seven Erie Seawolves in five innings.

-P- The third Pirate minor leaguer who could use a promotion (and there are, regrettably, only three right now) is Michael Dubee, who struck out six of the seven batters he faced yesterday. Dubee has to be wondering what he has to do to get out of the Carolina League; he pitched pretty well last year, and in 26.1 innings so far for Lynchburg he has 40 strikeouts, two walks, and a 1.03 ERA. Perhaps the Pirates don't think he's a prospect, and maybe he isn't, but he deserves the chance to prove it.

It's hard enough being a relief "prospect," mostly because that's hardly a prestigious title, but also because otherwise smart franchises sometimes see fit to ignore you even if you dominate. I think of Pat Neshek, who took about a thousand years to get through the minors despite bloggers crowing about him the whole way, then pitched very well when he finally joined the Twins' bullpen. Let's not let Dubee suffer the same fate, even if scouts don't think much of him. He's been in the Carolina League for almost a year and a half, and he's destroying it.

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