Back to Pirate City after taking a day off yesterday to recover from a brief illness. What do baseball players say this time of year? If it was during the season, I would have been fine, but because it’s Spring Training I wanted to be cautious. Well that probably wasn’t the case here. You ever have a fever so bad that it makes you feel like you’ve dropped acid? Like where you finally get to sleep at 1:30 in the morning, then wake up 30 minutes later and it’s 4:30 and you think that you’ve got to transcribe the Tony Watson interview, but you’re still burning up and don’t feel like moving, so you think if you lay flat on your bed with your covers pulled up to chest height you’ll remember every part of the interview and will be able to transport it to your laptop in the other room with your mind?
Yeah, I’m not saying that’s what happened to me. But it was somewhat similar in a way that everything I just said was completely accurate. So here are the lineups, pitchers, and notes for today, plus some things I wanted to write about yesterday. Also, James Santelli will have his first article on the site this afternoon, and I’ll have an interesting story on Vic Black before the afternoon games begin here against the Phillies’ farm system.
**Jin-De Jhang has been playing with the low-A team a lot. The other day he caught a road game, which isn’t very significant. What is significant is that his translator was left at Pirate City. Jhang can speak enough English to communicate, but he hasn’t exactly mastered the language. As one official told me, he doesn’t need to reach Rosetta Stone level four to move up a few levels. The fact that he can catch a game without a translator is a good sign for his chances in moving up to West Virginia this year.
Lineup: Darren Ford (8), Andrew Lambo (9), Matt Hague (5), Clint Robinson (3), Tony Sanchez (DH), Jeff Larish (7), Oscar Tejeda (4), Alex Valdez (6), Miguel Perez (2), Devin Ivany (DH)
Pitchers: Andy Oliver, Erik Cordier, Kyle Waldrop, Philippe Valiquette, Roman Colon, Jason Townsend
Notes: This will be Andy Oliver’s first start since being optioned down to Triple-A last week. As I mentioned at the time, the Pirates plan on stretching him out and using him as a starter.
Lineup: Gift Ngoepe (6), Jarek Cunningham (4), Alex Dickerson (3), Chris Lashmet (5), Stefan Welch (DH), Justin Howard (9), Mel Rojas Jr. (8), Andy Vasquez (7), Kawika Emsley-Pai (2), Kirk Singer (DH)
Pitchers: Luis Sanz, Eliecer Navarro, Josh Poytress, Kenn Kasparek, Joan Montero
Notes: Alex Dickerson hadn’t been playing much last week, although I saw him doing drills and taking batting practice, so he wasn’t injured. He’s back in the lineup today. Luis Sanz was signed by the Pirates as a minor league free agent over the off-season. He’s 25 years old and hasn’t put up earth shattering numbers. That doesn’t seem like the type of guy you’d expect to be starting for you in Double-A. I’ll be watching him today to see if there’s anything there. My initial reaction is that this is a result of the 2009 draft class. Some of those prep pitchers should be in Double-A to start the season, and right now it looks like none of them will. Last year Bradenton was the obvious weak spot in the system, outside of Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole. It looks like Altoona will be that team this year. There’s some interesting hitters, but they all have one strong attribute to put them on the radar, and don’t have everything else to make them a complete prospect.
Lineup: Alen Hanson (6), Taylor Lewis (7), Gregory Polanco (8), Jose Osuna (3), Dan Gamache (4), Willy Garcia (9), Wyatt Mathisen (2), Eric Avila (5), Elias Diaz (DH)
Pitchers: Robby Rowland, Bryton Trepagnier, Clario Perez, Josh Smith, David Jagoditsh
Notes: The Pirates will be going with two sinkerball pitchers in Rowland and Trepagnier. Still interesting that Mathisen is batting with the high-A team. I figured it was to get all of the top catchers regular playing time. However, that was when Elias Diaz was getting time in Double-A. He’s now back down with the high-A team, which is where I think he’ll start the year. I still see Mathisen starting in West Virginia. High-A would be an aggressive jump for a prep player.
Lineup: Max Moroff (6), Dilson Herrera (4), Josh Bell (9), Stetson Allie (DH), Jin-De Jhang (2), Eric Wood (5), Jesus Vasquez (3), Raul Fortunato (8), Luis Urena (7), Jodaneli Carvajal (DH)
Pitchers: Jake Burnette, Jackson Lodge, Isaac Sanchez, Andy Otamendi, Jhondaniel Medina, Roberto Espinosa
Notes: Looking at the lineups, a majority of the top hitting prospects seem to be with the A-ball teams. Jhang is starting on the road again, although I’m not sure if his translator is staying here, since the road teams haven’t left yet.