For Bay the thought is improving on his .242 average with runners in scoring position.
For Paulino the talk was improving his power numbers.
For Sanchez talk was of "extended excellence".
This puzzled me. Over Sanchez's last 191 games, he has batted .343, only .001 lower than his 2006 NL Batting Championship season. Last season Sanchez played in 157 games, which leaves another 34 games from 2005 that he has maintained a .340+ average. I think a .300+ average will be very likely.
So where else could Sanchez improve?
The one place people seem to fail to mention, getting on base. Sanchez could improve his pitch selection, more accurately, take a few more walks and improve his OBP. Freddy only drew 25 non-intentional walks in 582 at bats in 2006. Compare that to 26 non-intentional passes in 453 at bats in 2005, 129 fewer at bats. With the only power hitter in the order batting behind him, Bay could have more opportunities to drive in runs. It would also force pitchers to make better hitting pitches to Bay with first base occupied.
Overall Freddy being more selective and working the count would help the entire lineup. It forces the pitcher to throw more pitches in an inning. It also frustrates that pitcher with Bay coming to bat. Freddy is not the only culprit, the entire lineup could stand to take a few more pitches.
Buried Treasures in the Hot Stove article cover the following topics:
- Pirates making a second offer to Brian Lawrence.
- Pirates are being "kept informed" of Tomo Ohka's status.
- Could Sean Burnett enter the season as the fifth starter?
- Brian Rogers talks about AFL success and his splitter.
- Josh Sharpless is working out.
- Rogers, Sharpless, Jonah Bayliss, Jesse Chavez and Franquelis Osoria are candidates for two the right handed relief openings.
- Winter Caravan notes.
- 33 days until Pitchers and Catchers report.