The Pittsburgh Pirates have released the following six players, per a team press release.
Alex Lukashevich, RHP – Had an 0.47 ERA in 19 innings last year, but his advanced numbers didn’t look as good. He throws in the low-to-mid 80s. The Pirates signed Lukashevich out of Belarus in 2010.
Porfirio Lopez, LHP – Lopez was unlike a lot of the international lefties in the system in that he could throw 88-92 MPH. He also had a good breaking ball. However, he didn’t really look like a guy who could make it to Double-A or beyond.
Mike Colla, RHP – Colla might be the player on this list who has the best shot at the majors. He was throwing 89-91 MPH with his sinker in camp, but has been 90-92 in the past. He had a good year starting in Altoona in 2011, and was good in relief at the level in 2012. The Pirates have a lot of similar players in Triple-A and the majors, so even if Colla makes it as a sleeper middle reliever, the Pirates won’t feel the loss.
Philippe Valiquette, LHP – Only a few years ago there were reports that Valiquette was hitting triple digits with his fastball. In multiple outings in camp he was only topping out at 91 MPH.
Martires Cadet, LHP – Cadet was another soft tossing international left-hander, throwing 86-88 MPH with good movement on his fastball. He also had control problems in the lower levels.
Wilson Lee, LHP – Lee was signed out of Australia in 2010. He posted good numbers in relief last year in the GCL, but only has a mid-80s fastball.
The Pirates also converted Jared Lakind from a first baseman to a pitcher. Lakind was drafted in 2010 in the 23rd round out of high school, and was given a $400,000 bonus to sign. In the 2013 Prospect Guide I wrote the following about him:
Lakind was a big over-slot signing out of high school, signed for his power potential as a hitting prospect. So far he hasn’t shown much of that potential, with some poor results in State College in 2012. He did make some strides cutting down on strikeouts, but his strikeout rate was still too high. Lakind also struggled defensively at first base. He’s a big project at this point, and if his hitting doesn’t work out, he could always try out being a pitcher, as he threw 90 MPH in high school.
It looks like the Pirates are going that route. It’s not a bad move, since Lakind didn’t have a strong chance of making it as a hitter.