Bucco Nation Mailbag

By Jason Shetler

Thanks to everyone who sent me their Pirates questions either on Facebook or Twitter for this month’s edition of the “Bucco Nation Mailbag”. 

How many times does Tyler Glasnow have to go out there and get killed before he gets sent down? – Joey from South Hills, PA

Tyler Glasnow has definitely been struggling in his first full Major League season. The potential is certainly there, but he has looked lost out there for the most part. If the Pirates were in rebuilding mode, it would be understandable to keep Glasnow the entire season, but since they’re currently in contention, sending him down to AAA is something they really have to consider.

Who would you pull out of the rotation when Jameson Taillon is ready? And should they call up Steven Brault to take someone else’s place? – Rich from Coraopolis, PA

Trevor Williams replaced Jameson Taillon in the rotation, and based on the way Williams has pitched as a starter, he should remain there. Tyler Glasnow could be the odd man out once Taillon returns. In regards to Steven Brault, he is deserving of being recalled to Pittsburgh. Chad Kuhl would then be taken out of the rotation. The question becomes if Kuhl would be sent to Indianapolis as a starter or stay with the Pirates as a reliever.

When will the Pirates bring up Austin Meadows? – Mike from Glendale, AZ

Austin Meadows is viewed as the heir apparent to Andrew McCutchen. With the Pirates contending, it’s hard to say when exactly. Should they struggle and become sellers, then McCutchen is likely dealt  at the trade deadline and Meadows receives the call up.

Is Starling Marte still valuable to the Pirates or another MLB team? – Craig from Coraopolis, PA

Fans obviously are going to have a different opinion of Starling Marte after he got suspended 80 games for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. While it may seem bittersweet given the circumstance, having Marte back will make the team better. His hitting, basestealing and defense are valuable, regardless of how people view him personally now.

Why do Pirates fans want to dump on the management? – Rick from Pittsburgh, PA

I think when you go from a team that won 98 games in 2015 to a club that had just 78 wins last year, there is going to be obvious frustration. The debate still rages on in regards to the type of owner Bob Nutting is, but general manager Neal Huntington, in my opinion, has done a very good of turning around the Pirates. Huntington has continued to infuse talent into the farm system, which most baseball publications have ranked in the Top 10 for the last four years. The Pirates are in a better position moving forward, as compared to when Huntington first arrived a decade ago.

What do you think Andrew McCutchen’s biggest problem has been the last two years? Why has he struggled so bad? – Steve from Lakeland, FL

Looking at the data, Andrew McCutchen’s ability to drive the fastball with his great bat speed has been starting to decline. The decrease in bat speed has also led to much softer contact compared to his MVP level years. McCutchen is in his age 30 season, which is still his prime, so it makes the struggles a real head scratcher. He has been performing very well as of late, ever since being moved down to the sixth spot in the lineup. Hopefully Cutch continues to be productive, not just for his sake of course, but also, if the Pirates decide to sell high on him come the trade deadline.

Do you see the Pirates being buyers or sellers at the deadline? – Garrett from Weston, WV

I could see the Pirates in buyer mode come the trade deadline. The real question is how far will they go to buy. If they keep themselves within striking distance of the NL Central division, then they’ll just add to the team like they did two years ago. Should they be in a position where they begin to fall off and Wild Card spots are more realistic, then they could both buy and sell, just like last season.






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