Notes: Minors, Walker, Ranaudo, 2010 Draft, Dynasty
A few notes from the last few days:
-Jennifer Langosch had some great notes on several minor league players yesterday. A brief summary:
- Pedro Alvarez will remain at third base, but that could be influenced by the play of Andy LaRoche or Jeff Clement.
- The key for Neil Walker is hitting. The article includes a quote from Kyle Stark saying the Pirates will find a place for Walker if he improves that area of his game.
- Jose Tabata will work in center field in the minors, and could end up in left field eventually in PNC Park.
- Chase d’Arnaud is projected to start the year at the AA level, and will likely split time between shortstop and second base, although Langosch mentions the organization sees him as a future shortstop.
- Brian Friday is expected to open the season at the AAA level.
- A long commentary from Stark on whether Daniel Moskos will be a starter or a reliever this year.
- Rudy Owens is in the mix to start at AA this year, although that’s not certain.
- Colton Cain (back), Brett Lorin (hip), and Zac Fuesser will all miss Opening Day. Not sure how much they’ll miss beyond that. Lorin is one of my picks for a breakout season this year in his jump to the higher levels. Hopefully none of the injuries will linger.
“The message [in the preseason talk] is that this is the group that’s going to turn this franchise around. For the first time since I’ve been with the organization, I really believe that. . . this is the first time each of the players on this team believes they are part of the team’s long-term future. . . . We are in no way shape ofr form willing to sacrifice 2010. In fact, that was one of the points that I made to the players today: ‘Don’t let people tell you that the Pirates have a great future, but it’s not today.’ Today is our future. 2010 is the beginning of the next dynasty of the Pirates for me.“
I don’t care about the dynasty comment though. It probably wasn’t the right word to use, but then again it was used in a pep talk to the team, which explains the hyperbole. I understand and agree with the general message. 2010 is the beginning. We’ll see guys like Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata, and Brad Lincoln make their debuts, guys like Andrew McCutchen, Ross Ohlendorf, and Garrett Jones to progress on their strong 2009 seasons, and the common trend is that all of these players are under control for several years. That said, the word dynasty might be too optimistic of a prediction, at least without seeing the progress of the 2010 team.
-Anthony Ranaudo, the top pitching prospect from the 2010 draft, has been pulled from his start on Friday against William & Mary due to elbow discomfort, according to Baseball America. Ranaudo’s injury is classified as a stress reaction which doesn’t involve ligament damage, and doesn’t appear to be a long term condition. LSU’s coach, Paul Mainieri, said that Ranaudo could miss one start, or could be out two or three weeks. This injury will be one to watch, and could eventually elevate the draft stock of pitchers like Deck McGuire and Drew Pomeranz.
-Jameson Taillon, the top high school prospect in the 2010 draft, is expected to make his debut tonight for The Woodlands High School. I’ll have a tracker for Taillon, IF (and this is a big if) his stats are available to track. Otherwise I’ll include any updates in the weekly draft prospects rundowns. Baseball America released their High School Best Tools list for the 2010 draft, and Taillon really stood out. He was classified with the best fastball (low-to-mid 90s, touches 96), the best secondary pitch (his curveball, which is 82-83 MPH and has a sharp, hard, two-plane break), the best command, and the closest to the majors.