Pirate City Notes: Oliver to be a Starter; When will Heredia be in West Virginia?

The minor leaguers take on the Yankees farm system today. The lineups, pitchers, and notes are below. First, a few notes from camp.

**Andy Oliver was optioned to Triple-A today. The Pirates plan on stretching him out in minor league camp and using him as a starter.

Luis Heredia might not be in West Virginia until the end of April.

Luis Heredia might not be in West Virginia until the end of April.

**Luis Heredia may have a shot at West Virginia this year, but it might not be right away. He could be on a similar timeline as Jameson Taillon in 2011. Taillon started the year in extended Spring Training, then moved up to West Virginia at the end of April. That was meant to control his innings, keep him out of the cold weather in April, and make sure that he wouldn’t be shut down at the end of the season. I spoke with Larry Broadway this morning, and he mentioned that they would want to take a similar approach with Heredia, making sure he wouldn’t have to be shut down at the end of the year.

Triple-A (Home)

Lineup: Darren Ford (8), Drew Maggi (6), Clint Robinson (DH), Jerry Sands (7), Matt Hague (5), Brett Carroll (9), Jeremy Farrell (3), Oscar Tejeda (4), Charlie Cutler (2), Jeff Larish (DH)

Pitchers: Ethan Hollingsworth, Mike Colla, David Bromberg, Zach Foster, Zach Thornton, Vic Black

Notes: With Tony Sanchez being optioned to Triple-A today, I wouldn’t be surprised if he steps in as the starting catcher here. If not, then he’ll probably be starting for the Triple-A team by tomorrow, which means all of the other catchers will shift down a level.

Double-A (Home)

Lineup: Dan Grovatt (7), Benji Gonzalez (6), Jarek Cunningham (4), Stefan Welch (5), Justin Howard (9), Carlos Mesa (DH), Chris Lashmet (3), Elias Diaz (2), Andy Vasquez (8)

Pitchers: Nick Kingham, Zack Dodson, Emmanuel DeLeon, Porfirio Lopez, Jordan Cooper, Nathan Kilcrease, Mike Jefferson

Notes: Yesterday Robby Rowland pitched with the Double-A team. Today Nick Kingham is pitching for this squad. I don’t think either pitcher will skip over high-A. The Pirates usually do this in Spring Training with their top arms. Zack Dodson will also be throwing in this game, but I think he’ll also end up in high-A. Also, there’s only one DH in this game, so they’ll actually have a normal lineup.

High-A

Lineup: Alen Hanson (DH), Dan Gamache (4), Gregory Polanco (8), Willy Garcia (DH), Jordan Steranka (3), Eric Avila (5), Taylor Lewis (9), Wyatt Mathisen (2), Walker Gourley (7), Ashley Ponce (6)

Pitchers: John Kuchno, Kevin Kleis, Luis Campos, Logan Pevny, Axel Diaz, Alex Lukashevich, Robbie Kilcrease

Notes: John Kuchno was one of the three players the Pirates signed last year after Mark Appel turned them down. He’s a hard thrower, and it looks like he’s being prepared as a starter. His upside is more of a power reliever, but it’s not uncommon for the Pirates to have their best arms getting work as starters in the lower levels. Kevin Kleis is an interesting prospect. He was a 27th round pick in 2010, and is a tall pitcher at 6′ 8″, 225 pounds. Last year he saw his velocity increase to the 91-94 MPH range, up from 86-90 in previous outings.

Low-A

Lineup: Dilson Herrera (4), Max Moroff (6), Jin-De Jhang (2), Barrett Barnes (8), Stetson Allie (3), Raul Fortunato (9), Eric Wood (5), Luis Urena (7), Jesus Vasquez (DH), Samuel Gonzalez (DH)

Pitchers: Dovydas Neverauskas, Wilson Lee, Jackson Lodge, Andy Otamendi, Yhonathan Herrand, Jhondaniel Medina, Martires Cadet, Roberto Espinosa

Notes: Neverauskas was signed out of Lithuania in 2009. He’s a tall, skinny pitcher who has hit 95 several times over the last few years. In the last two seasons he pitched in the GCL, but made the jump to State College at the end of last year. Most of these pitchers have only thrown in the GCL. I’d be surprised if all of them pitched in full-season A-ball. Neverauskas might have the best shot. The rest of the group profile more as relievers.

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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.

Tony Sanchez and Andy Oliver Optioned to Triple-A

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Prospect Notebook: A Look at Nick Kingham’s Constantly Increasing Velocity

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