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Off Day Conversation: Three Thoughts and an “AMA”

Milwaukee Brewers v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Good evening fellow Bucco fans... or followers... or prisoners.

I didn’t have a topic I felt passionate enough about to write up a whole featured article, so instead of forcing something, I figured I’d stir the pot a bit and open the floor to you all. If there’s one thing I’ve noticed in the short time I’ve been a part of the Bucs Dugout community, it’s that you, the readers here, have plenty of opinions to be heard, and they’re generally founded with pretty solid takes and/or evidence.

So, with that being said, here’s three topical thoughts I have about the current state of this Pittsburgh Pirates team and what I’m still interested in following for the next handful of weeks. If you have any thoughts or questions on these, I’d like to open the floor to an AMA (Ask Me Anything) type format in the comments. If you completely agree or disagree, I’d love to hear that too. If you want to start a thread on something completely different, go for it. I’ll be lurking around the comments with some responses tonight and tomorrow morning. Heck, what’s better than talking about the doom and gloom that is the Pirates organization while watching preseason football on a fine Thursday night?!

Let’s get to it...

Can Keller become a bright spot?

According to Jason Mackey’s tweet this afternoon, we should (finally) expect to see top prospect Mitch Keller promoted for this weekend’s series in St. Louis. He’s had a few up-and-down starts in his first two stints as a major leaguer, but this promotion is all-but-guaranteed to be the permanent one. If the Pirates are going to be legitimately competitive next season, they’re going to need much more stability from their starting rotation. It looks like Keller will have to be a top-of-the-rotation guy among Joe Musgrove and Trevor Williams until Jameson Taillon can (hopefully) return midseason. We know the upside is there for this kid; his stuff is fantastic. So, I’d love to see how that upside plays on the big stage in the next two months before we head into the offseason and start re-tooling for 2020. What would you like to see out of the young starter to make you feel better about Pirates pitching next year? Feel free to throw thoughts about our other starters in here too.

Can we build around these young hitters?

Starling Marte (.404 wOBA), Jose Osuna (.401 wOBA), and Bryan Reynolds (.373 wOBA) have really been the only bright spots on the offensive side since the All-Star Break, a span of time in which the Bucs rank 25th in runs scored. Josh Bell will be coming off a two-game benching in hopes of regaining at least a piece of the first half form we were so excited about a month ago. Kevin Newman and Adam Frazier have been a detriment to the team in batting average while providing almost no power in the second half, though Newman does have four stolen bases. We have to imagine Cole Tucker will have another shot soon to prove he’s ready to be a major leaguer. With less than 50 games to play, it would be nice to see something in between the first half and second half offensive outputs. Which young (2020 returning) hitters are you looking to most for a strong finish to give you a better outlook for the team next year?

Will Clint Hurdle still be around in two months?

This one’s pretty short and sweet: Is there anything Clint Hurdle can do to keep his position as Pirates manager for 2020? It’s certainly not a given that he gets fired before the end of the year or in the offseason, but if the pulse of this page has any say, it’s time for a change. I can’t say I disagree. However, with that being said, is there anything in your mind that Hurdle can do to get back into your good graces? Prolonged winning streak? Sticking up for his players down the line? Some key managerial decisions with young players? Or is he all but out the door in your eyes already? This should be a fun one.

Ok let’s hear it. Give me your thoughts on the three topics above, or something else if you’d like. And, while we’re at it, feel free to ask me any questions you have. Whether it’s about this team now or in the future, or if it’s just about me as a Pirates fan. Open to any and all conversation on this Thursday night. I wish the results would’ve been better thus far, but I’ve enjoyed my time contributing to Bucs Dugout to this point, and I’m confident better days are ahead for our Buccos.