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.

Check out the first two episodes of the podcast here.

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.

As if I wasn't talking about him enough, Stolmy Pimentel hit 98 MPH tonight. Photo Credit: Mark Olson

As if I wasn’t talking about him enough, Stolmy Pimentel hit 98 MPH tonight. Photo Credit: Mark Olson

**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:

**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.

Prospects

**Prospect Watch: Cole Has His Best Start While Pimentel Has His Worst Start.

**Pimentel struggles but bats rescue Curve in 9-8 victory.

**Minor League Schedule: 5/10/13.

**Matt Curry Has Hamate Surgery.

**Draft Preview: More Mock Drafts, Key Match-Ups Highlight College Weekend.

**Baseball America Releases Their First Mock Draft.

**Minor Moves: Jason Townsend Activated From DL, Cesar Lopez to Bradenton.

Pirates

**Walker goes 1-for-4 in first rehab start; injured hand feels good.

**Projection Systems See Pirates Finishing Just Over .500.

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

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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.

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  • emjayinTN

    Tim: 98 without command or movement is useless – batters will just sit on the straight fastball unless there is another pitch that can be thrown for a strike, but this is a great pickup from the Hanrahan trade. Incidentally, the Mets play-by-play guys mentioned that Hanny was on the 60 Day DL and commented on what a good trade that was for the Pirates.

    Locke is one of those kids that sat in the minors until I thought we would just burn him out with mediocrity. He, Owens, and Justin Wilson were excellent the last 2 years they were in the minors, but never got a call until September. Owens is gone in the Wandy Rodriguez trade, and Locke and Wilson are doing very well at the MLB level. Locke will not dazzle with mph, but his change-up is as good as any, and he can paint the corners when he is on. .

  • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 Lee Young

    There’s been me and another guy on PG Plus (Hunter) who have been beating the drums for Locke for quite a while.

    He’s not just another soft tossing lefty, a la, Duke, Maholm, etc. He can really K people. I like Jeff a lot.

    .

    • https://profiles.google.com/116255365477483987850 jalcorn

      His K rate would argue differently. Locke will not be able to have continued success with a 4.99K/9 and 4.31BB/9, He needs to get those numbers to 6 and 3 respectively.

      • emjayinTN

        I think it is a learning process and he is doing very well in the Rotation regardless of the 1/1 K/W ratio. His AA and AAA numbers were 3/1 K/W, and 8.9/2.5 overall for his 7 years in the minors, so hopefully he will follow his past trend.

  • rburgh

    Locke brings to mind Tom Glavine. Everything is down, great changeup, paints the corners. Now if he can just get the umps to expand the outside corner by about 6″….

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