The Fall Instructional Leagues (“instructs”) will start at the end of this month, starting on September 17th and ending October 19th. Instructs is a time for the minor league players to review their 2012 seasons, add new pitches, refine old pitches, or add new positions on the field. It’s also a chance to get extra playing time, with games taking place against other teams, similar to minor league Spring Training. The games are structured, with the ability to end innings early if a pitcher reaches his pitch count, which makes them unlike most fall and winter leagues. That can be beneficial for pitchers working on a certain aspect of their game, as they don’t have to worry about shortened outings, or long innings.
Below is the 2012 instructs roster, which Pirates Prospects received this morning. The roster has a lot of players missing. I noticed that on the schedule there is only one group of players. In previous years, every minor league player was brought to instructs. Half of camp would be there for the first two weeks, and the first week of games. The other half would remain for the duration of camp. Normally the schedule includes two groups of players. The smaller roster, and the fact that only one group is mentioned this year suggests that not every player will go to instructs. I’m waiting for confirmation on this. Some notes are below the roster.
Mervin del Rosario, LHP – Left hander who throws 88-93 MPH with an above average slider.
Adrian Grullon, RHP – Hard throwing right-hander who signed for $120,000.
Jovany Lopez, LHP – Fourth year in the DSL. Has to be moved up.
Cecilio Pimental, LHP – Had one unearned run in four innings with six strikeouts in a DSL Finals start.
Oderman Rocha, RHP – Strong numbers in back to back seasons. 1.81 ERA in 49.7 innings this year, with a 53:17 K/BB ratio.
Miguel Rosario, RHP – Only pitched three games in the DSL this year.
Angel Sanchez, LHP – 6′ 7″ left hander with command issues.
Cristian Santiago, RHP – 22-year-old pitcher who was making his DSL debut this year.
Luis Santos, RHP – Struck out 74 in 62.2 innings this year. Old for the DSL.
Danny Arribas, C – Signed for $110,000 last year. Threw out 40% of base stealers. Also played the corner infield spots.
Ulises Montilla, 3B – Hit for a .320 average and an .864 OPS after a .364 average and a .945 OPS in the VSL last year.
Carlos Ozuna, SS – Signed for $115,000 last year, and spent a lot of time at shortstop this year. Fields well, has a strong arm, hits well, doesn’t have a lot of power, and has speed.
Another thing to note is positional changes. The key change that sticks out here is Gavi Nivar, who is listed as a pitcher. Nivar was an outfielder with five tool upside and a projectable frame, at 6′ 4″, 185 pounds. The hope was that he would eventually develop power. He turns 23 years old on Sunday, so the hopes of him working out as a hitter are slim. He does have a plus arm in the outfield, so it will be interesting to see how he works out as a pitcher. The Pirates have converted a few position players to pitchers in recent years (Jesus Brito being the most notable one), although none of them have revived their careers, and all of them are now out of the organization. The chances of an organizational guy becoming a legit pitching prospect are slim, but it doesn’t hurt to give it a shot.