Notes: Spring Training, Cunningham, Top Prospects, Signings

This morning when I left the house, it was snowing a bit, a cold reminder that winter was still around.  It was not enough to accumulate on the roads, but enough to cover the grass which finally appeared in my yard over the last few days for the first time since December.  When I got home this afternoon to turn on the Pirates, it suddenly felt like Spring.  Well, maybe mentally.  I could still see my own breath, and while the snow from the morning had stopped, and my grass started to reappear, there was still snow to be seen.  However, the sight of baseball on TV was a welcome sign.

For those of you who stopped by the live blog today, thanks for joining us.  Word is we might have another one next Wednesday, and for those of you who are new to this, we usually do one for every game of the regular season.  Now, let’s close out the day with some notes:

-First, a few observations from the game, although I didn’t really pay attention much.  I was mostly caught up in getting home, talking about the upcoming season on the live blog, and making/eating my daily cajun turkey sandwich for lunch.

  • I did pay attention to Jean Machi, who looked good, and could be a darkhorse candidate for the bullpen out of Spring Training.
  • The defense didn’t look sharp at times, especially in the inning in which Steven Jackson took the mound, but I’m not making any lasting impressions based on one game.
  • I was impressed with Erik Kratz on two plays in particular.  The first was a throw to second, which just missed nailing the base runner.  The impressive part was that Kratz threw the ball from his knees, and in the process made an excellent hard and accurate throw.  The second play was a double to the gap in which Kratz advanced to third on a smart base running move when the ball rolled past both cutoff men.  Just like the poor defense, I’m not making any lasting opinions on one game, but Kratz might prove to be a major league caliber backup catcher if he continues this type of play, especially the defense.
  • The YES Network announcers are incredibly annoying.
-The Pirates signed all 28 of their 0-3 players yesterday.  These are the players with 0-3 years of service time, who pretty much take whatever the team gives them.  No word on the salaries yet, although those usually come out closer to Opening Day.
-In Frank Coonelly’s monthly chat on MLB.com, he mentioned that Jarek Cunningham will start the year at high-A, which is surprising since Cunningham was drafted out of high school, barely played in the Gulf Coast League in 2008 after signing, then missed the entire 2009 year with an injury.  He also mentioned in the chat that Tony Sanchez would begin the season at the high-A level.
-Baseball Prospectus released their top 101 prospects for the 2010 season.  Pedro Alvarez ranked #6, Tony Sanchez ranked #75, and Jose Tabata ranked #90.  About a month ago, several of the top prospect rankings had Tabata in the 50-65 range.  Now Baseball America comes out with Tabata not in the top 100, and Baseball Prospectus has him 90th.  I wonder if the age speculation has anything to do with the rankings.
-Jennifer Langosch has the pitching plans for the Pirates for their Spring Training games this week.  Looks like Charlie Morton will go two innings tomorrow, with Brian Burres also seeing two innings, and Brad Lincoln going an inning.

Author: 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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