Instructs Day Three: Lots of Pitching
The Pittsburgh Pirates played two games today against the New York Yankees at Pirate City. The games took place simultaneously, with Luis Heredia starting on one field, and Nick Kingham starting on the other. Fortunately, Pirate City allows you to watch both games at the same time, so I got to watch both players, all while getting some video of each starter, which I posted earlier today.
Heredia pitched one inning, working in the 90-93 MPH range, and needing 20 pitches to get through the outing. He was down to his last batter when he got the final out of the inning. All of his pitches were fastballs. It’s always too easy to forget that Heredia is only 17 years old. He’s younger than all of the high schoolers drafted by the Pirates in 2011, and he’s also younger than all of the players making the jump to the US for the instructional leagues. Heredia is the youngest player in camp, but you wouldn’t notice by the way he carries himself on the mound.
Kingham was averaging 92 MPH with his fastball, and threw a few off-speed pitches. He pitched two innings, and had a very efficient second inning, getting two outs on three pitches, and needing seven pitches total for the frame. A lot of his outs were groundouts, including the two quick outs to start the second inning.
Stetson Allie came on later in the afternoon for an inning of work. He was mostly sitting in the 93-95 MPH range, with good movement on his fastball. He had one strikeout, and needed 13 pitches to get through the inning. Gerrit Cole was watching the outing, and later in the day was talking with Allie about the fastball.
It’s great to have Cole in the organization for the obvious reason that he’s a talented pitcher with ace upside. However, his experience should also be a big boost to young guys like Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie, Luis Heredia, and any of the other high school guys. Having that group develop together, learn from each other, and push each other will increase the odds for each player to realize their potential. As for Cole, he threw a bullpen session today, which I had video of earlier.
Brooks Pounders and Zac Fuesser both pitched an inning today. Pounders was working in the 91-93 MPH range, while Fuesser was in the 87-88 MPH range. They both ended their outings with strikeouts on nice breaking pitches. Pounders ended his with an 82 MPH slider, while Fuesser threw a very slow, big breaking curveball that fooled the hitter. I didn’t catch the reading, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was in the upper 60s.
I’ve talked about Eric Fryer getting time at third base lately. The Pirates have also put two other players at new positions. Walker Gourley has been catching during instructs. He was catching during Spring Training, but never got in to the game at the position. A bigger surprise is that Elevys Gonzalez has been getting time at catcher, mostly in bullpens, to add to his versatility. Gonzalez had great offensive numbers, but took a step back defensively this past season. The addition of the catcher position would be interesting with his bat, as it could make him an interesting super utility player down the line if his hitting continues.
Tomorrow is a camp day, which will feature an intersquad game. A lot of players will be leaving after tomorrow, with the remaining guys mostly being the younger players in the lower levels of the organization. I’ll have a report tomorrow afternoon on the action.