First Pitch: Thoughts on Curry, the Draft, Pimentel Hitting 98, and Liriano
Thursday has become podcast day on the site. For the last three weeks I’ve gotten together with Tom Bragg and James Santelli to record the Pirates section of the podcast, and for the last two weeks I’ve also recorded sections of the show with John Eshleman and John Dreker. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun and a nice change of pace from the usual writing articles and writing more articles. If you haven’t listened to the show yet, please do. It’s totally free, comes out each Friday, and each episode is an hour-long packed with information about the minor league system, the draft, the Pirates, and a player interview this week. Our guest this week is Altoona Curve pitching prospect Casey Sadler.
The end result of podcast day is that I spend the whole day editing, recording, writing stuff for the site, taking a break to watch the Person of Interest season finale, and at the end of the day I don’t have it in me to write a full article. But a lot of stuff happened today, and I do have it in me to provide some brief thoughts. So here’s what might be the first of a weekly notes article on podcast day.
**Matt Curry had hamate surgery, which seems like it’s a rite of passage for Pirates hitting prospects. Off the top of my head I can think of Starling Marte, Robbie Grossman, and Andrew Lambo who have had the procedure. I’m sure there’s 5-6 more that I’m forgetting at this hour.
**We’re starting to get some early draft projections. Baseball America released their first mock draft today and had the Pirates taking Colin Moran and Sean Manaea. That would be a good haul for the Pirates. One player who is very intriguing, and who BA had the Pirates passing on, is Austin Meadows, a top prep hitter. I like Moran if he’s there at number nine, but it would be difficult to pass on Meadows. John Dreker and I talk about Meadows in this week’s podcast.
**Stolmy Pimentel had his worst start tonight, although I found it very interesting that he was hitting 98 MPH with his fastball, and hit 97 a few times. I’d take his previous numbers while topping out at 96, but that velocity is intriguing. 98? How many systems have this many guys who have hit 98? Pimentel joins a list that includes starters Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, and Tyler Glasnow; and relievers Vic Black, Duke Welker, Yhonathan Herrand, and Jeff Inman. I’m probably forgetting 1-2 others, but even without anyone else, that’s a lot.
**Speaking of Gerrit Cole, he had his best start tonight, and now has two straight starts where he’s cut down on control issues. That’s a great sign.
**Am I the only one impressed with Jeff Locke so far? The signs are there for a regression, and he’ll probably eventually settle into that strong number four starter, but then there’s this bit of information:
How bout this: Jeff Locke has allowed 3 hits or fewer in 4 straight starts. How many other #Pirates in live-ball era have done that? None!
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) May 10, 2013
**Also, Francisco Liriano’s debut on Saturday is pretty much appointment television. A lot of projections have the Pirates finishing the season with 82-84 wins. I can’t think of anyone who could play a bigger impact on adding to those projected win totals than Liriano. He had great stuff and great numbers in his rehab starts. If he pitches anywhere close to that in the majors, he’ll provide a huge boost for the Pirates.
**Let’s hope the home run from Pedro Alvarez tonight starts one of his famous runs where he starts destroying everything. The Pirates can’t afford to be wasting good pitching like the last two games.
**Check out the podcast tomorrow morning/afternoon, and remember to subscribe. Also, look for an article from James Santelli on the Pirates pitching staff, I’ll have a Prospect Notebook on Bradenton (Gregory Polanco and Nick Kingham notes), and we’ll have all of the other news and updates throughout the day.
Links and Notes
**The 2013 Prospect Guide and the 2013 Annual are both available on the products page of the site. If you order them together, you’ll save $5.
**The new podcast comes out tomorrow, with Casey Sadler as the guest this week. Here is last week’s episode: P3 Episode 2: The Returning Pitchers, The Hot Start, and a Robby Rowland Interview.