Aggressive defensive plan has led to Pirates’ turnaround

From Travis Sawchik at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on September 16, 2013:

A week after last season ended, after the Pirates completed their second consecutive collapse, general manager Neal Huntington met manager Clint Hurdle at his Hampton home.

With little money to spend on free agents, few impact prospects ready for 2013 and many outside the organization calling for a regime change, Huntington and Hurdle discussed how to get more production from their returning roster.

The meeting led to the success behind the Pirates’ first winning season since 1992: an agreement to adopt perhaps the most aggressive, systematic approach to run prevention — from alignment to pitching strategy — in baseball history.

“It’s the conversation where we decided to push all the chips in,” Hurdle said. “It’s the most aggressive presentation and defensive program I’ve ever been around.”

The Pirates experimented with a comprehensive defensive philosophy the past several seasons, but this was different.

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Related link: Watch the 2013 SABR Analytics Player Development Panel with the Pirates’ Tyrone Brooks

Originally published: September 16, 2013. Last Updated: September 16, 2013.