In the first Marauders game that I attended in April 2010 against the Fort Myers Miracle, a tall, right-handed pitcher acquired in the Jack Wilson/Ian Snell deal with the Mariners threw a bunch of flat, 89-91 MPH fastballs and got hit around pretty good.
In the first Marauders game that I attended in April 2011 against the Fort Myers Miracle, a tall, right-handed pitcher acquired in the Jack Wilson/Ian Snell deal with the Mariners threw a bunch of flat, 89-91 MPH fastballs and got hit around pretty good.
Last night, Brett Lorin looked like a clone of last year’s Aaron Pribanic at the beginning of the season. When Lorin left his pitches up at the waist, they got hit very hard. When he took advantage of his 6’7″ frame and drove the ball low in the strike zone, he got great results. Unfortunately, there were too many of the former pitches early in the game and not enough of the latter.
Lorin also had a tough time throwing right at his target even though he has a very smooth, easy delivery and doesn’t overthrow. He sat very consistently at 90-91 with his fastball (occasionally hitting 92), but got himself into hitters’ counts by missing off the plate. He was working almost exclusively fastballs unless he was in a good pitcher’s count, and he was working inside a lot. I would say it was about a 50/50 split between the catcher setting up inside vs. outside, which surprised me. I think this says a lot about the Pirates’ pitching philosophy in general — “fastball command” and pitching inside more is a huge priority for Pirates’ minor league pitchers.
In the first inning, Lorin was down 3-0 before he threw his first offspeed pitch. Three of the four hits were a line drive up the middle, double to deep centerfield (which resulted in an out as the batter attempted to stretch it to a triple), and a long home run into the right-center gap. He also gave up a towering HR to the #9 batter in the 2nd and another deep double in the 3rd.
Around all that, he got five strikeouts with a mix of fastballs and curves for strike 3, several routine groundouts to shortstop and a couple of popups. All in four innings.
Bottom line: If he can more consistently hit the bottom of the zone, he can be as effective as Pribanic was last year. At age 24, he doesn’t have all that much time to prove that he can do this.
There wasn’t a whole lot of good on the hitting side last night and it wasn’t like the Marauders were going up against a top prospect. Some quick thoughts on the hitters:
Robbie Grossman looks like the same small, “light” hitting OF he was last year. I just don’t see where he fits in as he isn’t fast enough to be a CF and isn’t strong enough to be a corner OF. Note I’m not concerned about HR power in the corners, but hitting the ball hard and into gaps is a must if you can’t put it over the fence (see: Jose Tabata). Robbie doesn’t look like he’ll get there.
Jarek Cunningham had a few bad at bats last night as well, hitting weak popups to infielders three times. Obviously not his best game, but this was the first time I saw him.
Evan Chambers did exactly what others have mentioned many times. The first three times up, he didn’t take his bat off his shoulders until he had two strikes. The result was a weak groundout, a strikeout, and an RBI single up the middle. He has to be more aggressive early in the count to pick his pitch and drive it instead of always having to hit in a pitcher’s count. He also looks shorter than the 5’11″ listing, although he is very stocky. Defensively, he looked “okay” but not like a stellar CF. I believe Starling Marte might have been able to catch up to one of the doubles that was hit to CF, whereas Chambers didn’t get close.
Aaron Baker had a couple good at bats, swinging at some good pitches early in the count, laying off some borderline pitches and curves. He hit the ball hard once, but right at the first baseman. I look forward to watching him more in future games.
Of the remaining batters, Elevys Gonzalez had a nice hustling double and David Rubinstein smoked a double to left center. Not much else exciting in the lineup last night.
Hopefully future games will have more good news to report. The best thing from last night’s game was that it was a beautiful 80 degrees with a nice breeze, so a perfect night for taking in a game!