Pittsburgh Pirates Wake Up Call – Show Me the Otani

In our daily Wake-Up Call, we get you ready for the day with a complete look at all things Pittsburgh Pirates.

International superstar coming?

It was announced yesterday that Japanese superstar Shohei Otani would be made available to MLB teams this offseason. The pitcher/outfielder has been a force on the mound and at the plate for the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Otani has a record 42-15 with a 2.52ERA and hit .286 with 48 home runs and 166 RBIs over the last five seasons. Otani is a rare gem, indeed as he is both an excellent pitcher and hitter in his native Japan. Currently, the Pirates have the fourth most money to spend on an international free agent but let’s be honest, he isn’t going to be a Pirate.

The Texas Rangers seem like the early favorite to obtain Otani but a lot can change from now until Spring Training. Otani could help a team fairly quickly as a pitcher but his bat is super intriguing. Will he be able to hit MLB pitching well enough to be a full-time hitter? That is the $1 million question on every GM’s mind right now. The most likely and fastest path to the Big Leagues for Otani is as a regular starting pitcher.

The power hitters finally get some credit

Yesterday the Silver Slugger Awards were given out. There weren’t too many surprises as Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton were the two most notable winners. Stanton and Judge were easily the two best power hitters in a season where we saw home runs flying out of the ballpark. Stanton flirted with hitting 60 home runs in a season as he finished with 59. Judge, of course, set a new rookie record with 52 home runs last season. Both players are more than deserving of this honor as they both put up power numbers not seen since the steroid era.

The other notable winners were Jose Altuve and Buster Posey both winning their fourth Silver Sluggers. Altuve has completed one of the dream seasons in MLB history. His team won the World Series and he is likely going to win his first AL MVP Award very soon. I hope Altuve has room on his mantle because he will have plenty of new hardware very, very soon.

My favorite Silver Slugger winner was a man very well known to Pirates fans as Adam Wainwright won his first. Wainwright has always been a fairly solid hitting pitcher but he had to deal with Madison Bumgarner. However, this year, the Cardinals pitcher hit .262 /279/.452/.731 with two home runs. Wainwright didn’t have a strong season on the mound, but this is a nice consolation prize. The 36-year-old pitcher doesn’t have many years left, so it’s good to see him finally win this coveted award.

Baseball talk on the web

Who will be this offseason’s ‘mystery team?’

MLB Rumors: J.D. Martinez, Jay Bruce Seeking Big Deals

How MLB Network Set Records For Postseason Viewership In 2017

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Steve Kubitz

Steve Kubitz was born and raised in the Stanton Heights neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA. He is a long time and annoyingly positive baseball fan. He bought into the Pirates' 5-year-plan before it was cool. He is best known for staying calm about losing streaks on twitter and trying his best to make sure other fans don’t overreact to when the Pirates lose a tough ballgame to a division rival. The only thing he isn’t positive about is the wave during close ballgames.