Pirates Notebook: Lynchburg Hillcats Pics

My wife and I recently got a new bedroom set. So today at 7 AM I woke up to get ready and go pick it up with my dad. We got there at 9:30 AM, and for the next seven and a half hours we were moving furniture: new bedroom set to my house, old bedroom set to my parent’s house, other old bed room set to another bed room, then final old bedroom set to my garage, which is kind of like the “Designated for Assignment” area. I’m guessing we’re going to ship it off to Craigslist for cash considerations.

So when I got to the Hillcats game tonight, I was happy to see Jeff Locke pitching. However, I was moving furniture for 7.5 hours today, and all I wanted to do was have a few beers and relax. Luckily it was $1 beer night, and Yuengling was on tap. The Hillcats also were horrible on offense, so I had myself a Harry Doyle moment.

I didn’t get much of a scouting report on Locke. From what I saw, he allowed a lot of hits, but he didn’t really get hit that hard, and only got in to a few jams. He only struck out one, but didn’t allow any walks in seven innings. Considering he was playing his former team, they probably knew how to hit him. He also didn’t get any run support from the now weakened Hillcats offense, with Lynchburg only getting two hits.

The Hillcats actually were being no hit until the fifth inning when the Myrtle Beach pitcher, Cole Rohrbough, got jobbed out of a no-hit bid. There was a shallow line drive to center field. It looked like the center fielder was going to take it on a bounce. Suddenly he lays out and barely makes a catch, snagging the ball before it hit the ground.

The only problem? The field umpire turned around right at the dive, assuming the ball would drop in, and never saw the catch. I guess that’s what you get in A+ ball, with only one field umpire, but considering the no-hit bid, I’m surprised they didn’t overturn the play.

You would think the home plate umpire could back him up, but this is a high A ball field. I can’t even see the right fielder’s feet from first base, so I doubt the home plate ump can see a catch just off the ground in center field.

I did take a few pictures, although the sun was durectly in front of us for six innings, with only a few cloud breaks, so the pictures are limited:

This was my view for most of the game…it was fine with sunglasses, but hard for pictures…

Jason Heyward, the top hitting prospect for the Braves. I would have taken him straight up for McLouth…

Heyward on first after hitting a line drive single…

Jeff Locke delivering the pitch…

Heyward crushed this ball off the reliever. OK, this has turned to a Jason Heyward love-fest, but in all fairness, the Hillcats got 2 hits tonight…

Locke on the mound…

More of Locke…

Chase D’Arnaud at the plate (FYI, it’s pronounced “Dar-NO”)…

Southpaw. He accidentally kicked over a pitcher of beer last time (cost: $14). The same guys were there this time, and they made up, although no one trusted their pitchers on the ground while Southpaw was walking by…

I had some of Cole Rohrbaugh and some other Hillcats players, but they ended up sucking due to the glare on the camera. I’ll be back Tuesday, which should be another start for Locke.

The MVP Tracker

The MVP Tracker is updated with yesterday’s win. Here are the top performers from tonight’s victory:

1. Andrew McCutchen: .298 WPA
2. Eric Hinske: .222
3. Brandon Moss: .161
4. Jack Wilson: .147
5. Matt Capps: .143

By my estimates, this would put Cutch in the #2 spot, right behind Freddy Sanchez.

Prospect Watch

The Prospect Tracker is updated with tonight’s performances:

-Pedro Alvarez hit his second AA homer of the season, and second in as many nights.

-Jose Tabata went 2 for 5, raising his average eight points.

-Gorkys Hernandez had a solid night, going 3 for 4 with two runs, an RBI, a walk, and a stolen base.

-Chase D’Arnaud went 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout.

-Jeff Locke went 7 innings, allowing ten hits, three runs, with a strikeout and no walks. Locke has allowed four walks in 21 innings with Lynchburg so far.

-Robbie Grossman went 1 for 3 with a run, RBI, and two walks. He’s one of my favorite prospects right now.

-Quinton Miller made his second start, allowing one earned run (two unearned) on five hits, with three walks and two strikeouts. Miller will be moving to West Virginia (I believe he was promoted tonight). I like that move. I don’t put much stock in State College stats for pitchers. I’m waiting for a good time to go in to detail on that one.

Other Stuff

Since I was out all day, I missed a pretty big news day for the Pirates. So here goes:

-On Ian Snell’s Demotion: I can’t say I’m disappointed. Snell hasn’t really deserved to pitch in the majors. Maybe he can get his stuff worked out, but I don’t see him in the organization next season. It doesn’t look like they can trade him this season, so it looks like they’re just going to pay him to stay out of the majors for now. I will say that I’m totally confused by his comments in the Post-Gazette. It sounded like one of those “You can’t fire me! I quit!” situations when he was saying he asked to be sent to AAA. Then again, maybe he’s just trying to get out of the organization.

-On Virgil Vasquez: It will be interesting to see Vasquez in the majors. Personally I like Daniel McCutchen, but at this point I do

n’t see him up until next year, as he’s not on the 40-man roster. Vasquez had 53 strikeouts and 10 walks in 79.2 innings pitched at AAA this year. He had a 4.18 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. His weakness was the long ball, with a 1.2 HR/9 ratio. However, the 1.1 BB/9 ratio is fantastic stuff, especially with the respectable 6.0 K/9 ratio. He has a 47.5% ground ball ratio this year in AAA. The 25-Man Roster page is updated with the move.

-On Alvarez and Lincoln and the Futures Game: Pedro Alvarez and Brad Lincoln have both been selected for the Futures Game at the All-Star Game in St. Louis. I’m actually more excited by Lincoln, as Alvarez is to be expected, but Lincoln’s selection shows that he’s getting respect as a top pitching prospect again. I plan on doing some research this weekend to see some other past Futures Game participants, to show what company our prospects are with.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Anonymous

    Nice looking pictures from the game. Any chance that you were able to get a look at Locke's pitches? Mainly if his fastball had movement and velocity, if his breaking stuff was kept low and breaking? If his changeup was worth a crap? :)

    Also, if you get a chance, shoot me an e-mail at – kipper@thebuccosforum.com . I want to trade links with ya but don't want to spam your comments section…too much to get a hold of you.


  • Tim Williams

    I didn't get a chance to do much scouting on Locke. I'll see him again on Tuesday, so I plan on doing more scouting for that game.

    I might try to sit behind home plate on Tuesday to see if I can get close to the radar gun and get a better view of his pitch location.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, from what I've read about the guy, he seems to have good control and location, but I was curious more to see what is "stuff" was like from someone that actually sees him.

    I get decent reports from Altoona, State College and West Virginia but don't know anyone that hits the Lynchburg games.


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