I’ve been piecing together the minor league starting rotations, as well as the starting lineups. I’ve confirmed the rotations and the lineups with people in the Pirates’ front office. There are still some things that could change, but for the most part things are set. Below are the rotations, and the lineups can be seen here.
Gerrit Cole, Kyle McPherson, Phil Irwin, Andy Oliver, Kris Johnson
Notes: The current plan is to stretch out Johnson and use him as the fifth starter. Johnson started today in a minor league game, although it was on the road in Tampa. Cole, McPherson, and Irwin could all make it to Pittsburgh this year. Oliver could as well, but he needs to focus on fixing his control problems for that to happen.
Jameson Taillon, Stolmy Pimentel, Casey Sadler, Brandon Cumpton, Tyler Waldron
Notes: I’ve been impressed with Pimentel this Spring. Luis Sanz will be a long reliever, and could get time in the rotation if someone goes down. Obviously Taillon is the guy to watch here, but I think Sadler is a sleeper prospect with a nice three pitch mix. I see Cumpton and Waldron as relievers in the long-term.
Nick Kingham, Robby Rowland, Adrian Sampson, Matt Benedict, Zack Von Rosenberg/Eliecer Navarro
Notes: Von Rosenberg and Navarro will be piggybacking starts. Rowland and Benedict are extreme ground ball pitchers, so they should have better results pitching half of their games in McKechnie. Kingham is the highlight of the rotation. Adrian Sampson was a fifth round pick last year, and is a sleeper pitching prospect to watch. Zack Dodson could return here when his suspension is up. He could also go back to West Virginia. That’s still up in the air.
Tyler Glasnow, Clay Holmes, Joely Rodriguez, John Kuchno, Orlando Castro
Notes: Ryan Hafner and Jason Creasy will both pitch in the swingman roles, getting multiple innings in relief once the starters come out. Glasnow and Holmes are the top prospects here. Kuchno profiles as a late inning reliever, but the Pirates tend to start their best arms in the lower levels, which is why he’s going here. Joely Rodriguez is a guy I’ve always liked as a sleeper. He’s a lefty who throws 87-91 MPH, but has thrown 91-94 in the past. His control is better in the 87-91 range. He also throws a changeup and a slider, and all three pitches have cutting movement. Castro has some good off-speed stuff, and I like him better than most of the international left-handers who have come through the lower levels. As I mentioned above, Dodson could return here when his suspension is complete. Luis Heredia will start the season in extended Spring Training, but should be with West Virginia by the end of the year. He’ll be on a “Jameson Taillon 2011″ path, skipping the first part of the season to avoid the cold weather, but more importantly to make sure he has enough innings to finish the year.