As spring training gets firmly underway and the first exhibition game inches closer with each chilly February day, the Pirates find themselves progressing through the early stages of a regime change in the organization. With a new manager, general manager, team president, and countless changes to the coaching staff, the 2020 season will be a testing ground for new strategies both on and off the field. General manager Ben Cherington has all but secured the team’s opening day roster with the acquisition of center fielder Jarrod Dyson, but the prospect of adding more starting-pitching depth and the emergence of a position battle or two could leave much to be decided by manager Derek Shelton.
The players themselves have already been raving about Shelton’s impact on the team in the way of attitude, individualized attention, and team approach to getting his squad ready for April baseball. The cut down on team meetings has been a welcome change in pace by all players, and his more mellow, with-the-times attitude has been well-documented by reporters. Another welcome development born of the new coaching staff is the emergence of pitching coach Oscar Marin’s analytics-driven philosophy when it comes to his starters and bullpen. Joe Musgrove and Chris Archer have been complimented Marin’s adept understanding of Rapsodo, a pitch-tracking technology implemented by MLB teams across the league, and the way in which he is able to relay information to the pitchers in a comprehensible manner.
In this issue of Ask Bucs Dugout, I want your thoughts on the new regime in terms of spring training thus far; what developments and stories have you feeling good about the Pirates’ direction in 2020 and beyond? What haven’t you heard that’s bothering or confusing you? What does Shelton bring to the table that Clint Hurdle did not, and will his strategy prove useful? What else does Cherington need to do to solidify the roster before April, if anything? What would you hope Marin does with his pitchers in terms of strategy and coaching?
Leave your questions in the comments below and let’s talk!