The GCL Pirates played their first home game today, winning 3-2 against the GCL Yankees. I didn’t focus on the game as much today, since most of my focus was on getting pictures. I’d rather get that out of the way early in the season, and focus more on the games after this first week. That’s not to say I didn’t follow what was happening in the game. It just means when the game was over I only knew the Pirates won because they were shaking hands on the mound. Here are some updates on some of the players who are with the team, followed by some observations from the game. I’ll also include some photos so you can get an idea of what some of these guys look like.
**Matt Curry is rehabbing with the team after undergoing hamate surgery at the start of May. Curry played first base today and hit fourth, playing only half the game.
**Wyatt Mathisen has been rehabbing here in Bradenton from a partially torn labrum. Mathisen felt the injury during the first homestand in West Virginia. They tried to rehab through it, but it wasn’t improving in his time there. He won’t need surgery, but has been taking time off, and will probably take another two weeks off until he’s ready to start resuming baseball activities.
**Reese McGuire is down here with the team, but hasn’t played yet due to strep throat. He’s hoping to get into his first game on Monday.
**Trae Arbet has been the designated hitter for the last two games. The Pirates drafted him as a prep shortstop in the 5th round this year, and gave him $425 K, which was over-slot. He’s been taking fielding drills, and should take the field sometimes during next week’s games.
**8th round pick Neil Kozikowski, who I reported earlier in the week had signed an over-slot deal, is with the team. He last threw a day after the draft, but hasn’t pitched since then. It has also been a while since his high school season ended. The Pirates will slowly get him built back up to the point where he can pitch in games. If Jon Sandfort is any indication, Kozikowski will get around 15 innings this year in the GCL. He could get more than that, but he already pitched a full high school season, and one start in summer ball, so they’re probably not going to load him up on innings.
**Miguel Rosario started the game. He got off to a rough start, giving up two runs on two hits in four innings. The two runs came on solo homers — one in the first and one in the second. After that he settled down. He was throwing his fastball in the 89-92 MPH range, and touched 93 once. He’s got good movement on the pitch, but has trouble commanding it at times. He throws a mid-80s changeup and a 78-81 MPH slider. Rosario had six strikeouts on the day.
**Angel Sanchez was 85-88 MPH with his fastball. He’s a tall lefty at 6′ 7″, but has never generated much velocity. Due to his size, and the way he falls to the plate, he adds deception by making the ball look like it’s coming in faster than 86-87 MPH.
**Andy Otamendi was sitting around 89-90 with good breaking stuff. He seems like a lot of the lefties the Pirates have had in the lower levels of the system, with the ability to get results in the lower levels due to his control and off-speed stuff. He used that to strike out five in two perfect innings.
**Roberto Espinosa came on for the save. He was 88-89 MPH with his fastball, which is the highest I’ve seen from him. As with almost all relievers at this level, he’s an organizational guy and not expected to become a prospect.
**I’ve always been impressed with Luis Urena’s power. However, he has had some serious strikeout problems. Today he struck out three times in four at-bats, showing some poor pitch recognition skills.
**Trae Arbet is fast. That’s all I’ve got on him today since I only saw four at-bats and he singled in one of them.
**The GCL is very raw, which means you’re going to see some ugly baseball. Today there were two balks, and two throwing errors to first base. In one of the errors, Candon Myles bunted down the line, no one covered first, but that didn’t stop the pitcher from picking the ball up and firing to first base, sending the ball to the outfielder. Myles couldn’t advance, but that allowed Danny Arribas to advance to third.