I had a long post about minor league stats and how their value differs with context and what I thought were some interesting examples from the Pirates and then right as I was putting the finishing touches on it, I accidentally opened up my RSS reader in the same browser window and lost something like the last 800 words of it. You would think that after doing this approximately 30 times in the nine months since moving from Blogger (with their autosave feature) to Joomla (no autosave), that I would’ve learned my lesson by now (while writing it I thought at least three times, “Whoa, this is getting long, I need to save this”), but I have not. So instead, you’re going to have to settle for me making sure that you all notice the tidbit from this story in the Post-Gazette about Troy Buckley resigning his post as minor league pitching czar in the Pirates’ system.
Buckley’s run was marked by his controling just about every facet of the minor league pitching staffs and it was pretty controversial, but it was getting decent results. Rudy Owens and Brad Lincoln had big breakouts this year, and Justin Wilson is in the process of turning things around at Lynchburg right now. That might not seem impressive, but given what passed for a pitching prospect during the Dave Littlefield administration, I don’t think it’s bad work.
It’s particularly interesting that he’s doing this right now, because the pitching depth of the Pirates has improved immeasurably in the past month with the additions of Tim Alderson, the signings of several draft picks, and several other trade acquisitions. After two years of trying to MacGuyver a pitching staff out of the minor league equivalent of some chewed bubblegum, a few rubber bands, and some paper clips, he’s stepping down just as he was given some tools to work with. Maybe I’m reading into this too much, but it seems to me that the timing here is awfully curious.