First Pitch: Minor League Camp Officially Begins

Last year I noticed something about Pirate City. When the major league camp is there, every writer is there. When the major league camp heads over to McKechnie Field, the writers follow, and people rarely come back to Pirate City. Usually it’s just me in an empty media room, with a cooler stocked full of soda, tempting me to break my ban on drinking soda.

The full roster of players reported for minor league camp today. The first workouts for the new players will take place tomorrow. In about a week they’ll be playing actual games at Pirate City. Until then, I’ve been focusing more on major league camp. Sure, I’m still talking to people at Pirate City. Last week I wrote about Josh Bell, Tyler Glasnow, and five breakout candidates for 2013. But there’s only so much you can write about when there’s nothing but live batting practice, unless you want to rehash the 2012 season.

For the next week I’ll be watching some live batting practice everyday. The thing to note about the live BPs is that it’s hard to determine who is performing well. If a pitcher dominates a batter, is it because the pitcher was doing well, or because a batter was really bad? If a batter crushes a pitcher, does it say more about the hitter or the pitcher? I find it’s easier to get a read on the hitters during live BP, mostly because they’re going up against several pitchers all week (whereas the pitchers are throwing to a small group of hitters, and maybe only twice a week). So for the next week, expect the coverage to be geared more toward the hitters at minor league camp. Once the games begin, it will be easier to get a read on how well the pitchers are performing.

Daily Photos

They’re finally throwing live BPs at Pirate City. That’s one step closer to actual games. For now it’s just a bunch of photos, and a few videos which I still have to upload. I was at Pirate City in the morning and McKechnie for the game, so the pictures will go in that order.

Brett Carroll, who was signed as a minor league free agent, was taking grounders at third. Carroll has spent the majority of his time in the outfield, but has played 33 minor league games at third.

Brett Carroll, who was signed as a minor league free agent, was taking grounders at third. Carroll has spent the majority of his time in the outfield, but has played 33 minor league games at third.

Willy Garcia getting ready to step in the batting cage.

Willy Garcia getting ready to step in the batting cage.

Josh Bell and Jarek Cunningham.

Josh Bell and Jarek Cunningham.

Bell talking to Orlando Merced during live BPs.

Bell talking to Orlando Merced during live BPs.

Taylor Lewis trying to keep his hands warm between time in the cages.

Taylor Lewis trying to keep his hands warm between time in the cages.

Andy Oliver was one of the big league players who came over today. Here he is throwing on a jacket immediately after his throwing program.

Andy Oliver was one of the big league players who came over today. Here he is throwing on a jacket immediately after his throwing program.

I started to take a picture of Gregory Polanco (left), then Alen Hanson (right) ran up and got Polanco to pose for this picture.

I started to take a picture of Gregory Polanco (left), then Alen Hanson (right) ran up and got Polanco to pose for this picture.

2012 16th round pick Max Moroff.

2012 16th round pick Max Moroff.

Ryan Hafner

Ryan Hafner

Nick Kingham

Nick Kingham

Tyler Glasnow, almost stepping on home plate with that huge stride.

Tyler Glasnow, almost stepping on home plate with that huge stride.

Jose Tabata about to catch a ball near the wall.

Jose Tabata about to catch a ball near the wall.

Kyle McPherson

Kyle McPherson

Clint Barmes

Clint Barmes

Bryan Morris

Bryan Morris

Links and Notes

**Pirates Notebook: A Comeback For Jose Tabata, Or A Small Sample Size?

**2013 Could Be the Season Where Jameson Taillon is Finally Unleashed.

**Draft Prospect Watch: Bryant Goes Deep Again.

**WBC Notes: Welch Homers In Opener.

**Pirates Agree to Terms With Their League Minimum Players.

**Prospect Notebook: Looking at a Few 2013 Breakout Candidates.

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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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