2011 Pirates Prospects Annual Now Available For Purchase

The 2011 Pirates Prospects Annual is here. The Annual is a PDF e-book, and it consists of 151 full-color pages filled with in-depth Pittsburgh Pirates content. It can be yours for the one-time cost of $5, and you can purchase the file via PayPal by simply clicking the link at the end of this post. Once your payment is received, you will receive an email containing a link to download the Annual.  If you do not receive this email after...

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2011 Prospect Watching: Noris and Irvine

Continuing to look at Pirates’ minor league outfielders:

Rogelios Noris —  R/R,  6′ 2″,  192 lbs
Noris is a 21-year-old Mexican native, who made his US debut with the GCL Pirates in 2009.  He was promoted to A level West Virginia for 2010, where he hit .236, a little lower than the .250 he’d achieved in the GCL.  Noris blasted 15 homers and had 57 RBI for West Virginia, and he has the potential to be a power hitter.  His big drawback, though, is his high strikeout rate — he struck out 144 times in 111 games (35%).  Combined with very few walks (15), Noris needs to work on his approach at the plate this season.  He did show some improvement in that regard in his second winter season with his hometown Venados de Mazatlan.  Noris appeared in 49 games in the winter league, hitting .246 with 2 homers and 10 RBI.  He walked 12 times, and struck out 34 times, which was a drop to 27%.  He could go back to West Virginia for 2011, but there are going to be a lot of outfielders at that level, so Noris could be pushed on up to A+ Bradenton.

Pat Irvine  —  Bats L / Throws R,  6′ 0″,  197 lbs
Though Irvine is listed as an outfielder, he has also played some third base and has also done some catching.  Irvine was the Pirates’ 33rd round pick in the 2009 draft.  He played third base and left field at State College in 2009, then began the 2010 season in West Virginia as a catcher.  Unfortunately, the opponents’ base runners took Irvine’s presence behind the plate as their free ticket to the next base.  In 10 games, 19 batters stole on him (he threw out one), and he had 3 passed balls.  He also struggled at the plate, hitting .212.  Irvine was sent back to State College, where he proved again that catching was not his future.  He returned to the outfield, where he was ok but not spectacular.  Irvine hit .271 in July, with 7 RBI, but sagged to .227 in August, with 6 more RBI.  He did draw 25 walks in 39 games, but that alone is not going to be enough to get the 25-year-old back to West Virginia for 2011, and he is getting “old” for those lower levels.

Other notes:
Remember infielder Tony Mansolino?  He was the Pirates’ 26th round pick in the 2005 draft, but was released in June 2008.  He played in the Northern League in 2009 and in the American Association in both 2009 and 2010.  Last week he was signed to a minor league contract by the Cleveland Indians.  
C Miguel Perez, who played for the Curve and the Indy Indians in 2008 -09, signed a minor league deal with the Nationals.  

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25-Man Roster Notes: Veras, Beimel, Olsen, Ascanio, Hart

A few notes on the 25-man roster… -We heard on Wednesday that Joe Beimel will make the roster, which is a move that was expected.  Rob Biertempfel has an update on another bullpen move, noting that manager Clint Hurdle has said Jose Veras will also make the team.  The Pirates signed Veras to a minor league deal, with a $1 M salary in the majors.  Veras is coming off a 2010 season where he put up a 3.75 ERA in 48 innings, with a...

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2011 Prospect Watching: Freeman and White

All of the Pirates’ position players have arrived at camp in Bradenton, even Jose Ascanio, who had been held up in Venezuela due to visa issues. Pitcher Scott Olsen is going to be out for a few days due to a hamstring injury.  The only other “injured” player at this time is pitcher Donnie Veal, who is working his way back after elbow surgery (“Tommy John”).  

Continuing to look at the Pirates’ minor league outfielders… today we have two outfielders who have a lot to overcome:

Wes Freeman  —  R/R,  6′ 4″,  215 lb.
Freeman was the Pirates’ pick in the 16th round of the 2008 draft.  The 21-year-old Florida native spent the remainder of the 2008 season and all of 2009 with the GCL Pirates, where he struggled at the plate.  He struck out in more than a third of his at-bats in 2009, and unfortunately that did not get any better in 2010.  Freeman began last season in West Virginia.  He did fine in right field, and his arm is strong, but at the plate, he was getting into more and more trouble.  In 24 games for the Power, he hit .187 with 44 strikeouts — almost 2 strikeouts per game.  Freeman injured his ankle, and when he was ready to come back, he was returned to the GCL.  He finished the season with 21 games for the GCL Pirates, hitting .187 there.  His strikeout rate was 52% in those 21 games, for a total of 35 K’s.  With all the other outfielders who are vying to start the season in West Virginia, Freeman is going to have to look very good in spring training if he’s going to join the Power.  Then he’s going to have to figure out how to stop striking out if he’s going to stay in the organization.

Cole White  —  R/R,  6′ 4″,  205 lb.
White has a completely different situation to work around.  He was the Pirates’ 42nd round pick in the 2008 draft, and along with fellow West Point graduate Chris Simmons, White signed and reported to State College, where he hit .338 with 6 doubles, one homer, and 9 RBI in 21 games.  But he ran into a snag — the US Army changed its policy regarding athletes and their required military service.  So, White was off to military duties, and his baseball career was on hold.  Then the Army changed policy again, and White was able to ask to return to baseball.  He rejoined the State College Spikes at the end of June, and showed his excitement to return by hitting .306 in July.  He slid into a slump in August, but finished the season with a .250 average, 8 doubles, 2 triples, 3 homers, and 19 RBI.  White should be able to start 2011 in West Virginia, but he’s going to have some catching up to do.  He’ll be 26 in early April, and relatively speaking, that’s 3 – 5 years older than most of his teammates will be.   (White still owes the Army 3 years of service.)

 

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A Tale of Projectability

We often hear about “projectability” with young pitchers.  The idea is that a tall, skinny kid will add velocity to his frame as he fills out and matures.  Often it seems that every tall, skinny kid has projectability.  However, not every player with projectability will end up throwing in the upper 90s.  It’s for that reason that top high school draft picks like Tim Alderson never see a velocity increase, while an...

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