First Pitch: Thoughts on Wandy, Volquez, Sanchez, and Depth

I don’t really have a central theme for the night, but have a few thoughts to expand upon today’s articles, along with some thoughts on tonight’s game.

**Wandy Rodriguez going four innings tonight was big. The rotation looks much better with Rodriguez looking healthy this year. If he can return and look like he did with the Pirates before his injury, that will be a big boost to the rotation. Brandon Cumpton going 4.2 innings was also a positive sign for the depth. There would be a lot of teams that would have Cumpton in their rotation right now, especially with starters dropping like flies around the league.

**The Edinson Volquez Experiment Isn’t Looking Good Right Now. I’ve said all off-season that the Pirates have earned the chance to trust their scouts and pitching coaches to come up with another value pitcher. Volquez has been struggling with his adjustments so far, with flashes of potential. He’s open to making a change, which is always a positive step. Overall, it’s difficult to make these changes. Volquez is in a good situation, getting help from a lot of good pitching coaches the last year. There’s no guarantee this will work, but the Pirates deserve some leeway to give it a shot. All along I wanted to wait and see how the Volquez situation worked out before giving it my final judgement. I wasn’t high on the move, and didn’t think he could bounce back, but the Pirates have earned some trust here after their success the last few years.

**Chris Stewart Has Minor Knee Surgery. Because he’s only expected to miss 4-6 weeks, the Pirates shouldn’t need to trade for someone. Tony Sanchez would be fine as the backup catcher for the month of April, with Stewart taking over when he returns.

**Pirates Release Seth McClung. I saw him pitch this week, and in his final pitch he went all out, throwing as hard as he could, and letting out a grunt, but only hitting 91 MPH.

**Polanco and Taillon Make Top 20 Rookie List. Those two will be a big boost to the team once mid-June rolls around.

**The 2014 Prospect Guide is in stock on the products page of the site. The book features profiles, scouting reports, and grades on every player in the minor league system, including our top 50 prospects. The Prospect Guide has been mentioned as a resource several times on the Pirates’ broadcast, and has been purchased as a source of reference by opposing MLB front office members, opposing scouts, and media members. If it’s a good resource for them, it’s a good resource for you. You can order your Prospect Guide on the products page of the site.

Tim Williams

Author: 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

    Excellent news that Chris Stewart will not require a trade for a backup, and the work last night by Wandy and Brandon Cumpton both going 4 against the Red Sox in a 4-2 win speaks volumes about the depth of the Rotation. The game last night also saw some guys come through who are fighting to make the final 25 leaving Spring Training. Travis Ishikawa homered off of Jake Peavy to tie the game at 1-1, Josh Harrison singled to tie the game at 2-2, and then in the 8th Tony Sanchez singled to Center to drive in the winning run, and Andrew Lambo ground out to first to drive in an insurance run. On D, Jaff Decker had an OF assist throwing out a runner trying to stretch a single to a double.

  • dcpinpgh

    Watching the game last night, and thought it was funny that Manny and Lambo are hitting about the same. I started thinking if Boston is going crazy over spring stats or not

    • emjayinTN

      You may be referencing David Ortiz? If so, maybe the fact that he’s a 17 year veteran with a .287 average, over 400 HR’s, and a .930 OPS for his career might have something to do with any lack of concern. The Pirates could benefit from some solid input by a LH bat at 1B, but that may or may not have very much to do with the overall success of this team. An honest appraisal at this point, for the betterment of the team, would be in favor of Ishikawa. He has the MLB quality glove at 1B, is hitting .375 in ST, and hitting one out off of Jake Peavy is big time stuff! And please, a vote for the betterment of the team should not be considered a vote against Andrew Lambo. I favor him going back to AAA and getting it all together.

      • piraddict

        I agree Emjay. First it is good to reward performance, even if it is a small sample in Spring training. Second, giving Lambo time at 1B in AAA will be good for him, and give him a chance to get his stroke back. He wandered off the reservation with regards to his bat when he went to Venezuela and hasn’t found his way back yet.

  • piraddict

    It sounds like a minor injury would be most convenient for the Pirates and Volquez to give him time to work out his needed adjustments in extended Spring training and the rehab trail.

  • piraddict

    As of today my 25 Man roster is:
    OF: Cutch, Marte, Snyder, Dickerson
    3B: Alvarez
    SS: Mercer
    2B: Walker:
    1B: Ishikawa / Sanchez
    C: Martin / Stewart (Sanchez)
    Utility: Barmes, Harrison
    SP: Liriano, Morton, Cole, Wandy, Cumpton
    RP: Grilli, Melancon, Watson, Wilk, Pimental, Wilson, Schlereth or Gomez
    Key Dispositions:
    Traded: Tabata, Morris
    IR: Volquez
    AAA: Locke, Lambo

    • Ron Loreski

      Good thing you’re not the GM.

      1. Volquez isn’t injured.
      2. 4 LHP in the bullpen? lol

      • piraddict

        Per my comment above, it would be convenient if Volquez had an injury. Minor injuries seem to pop up in sports when they are most needed. It wouldn’t be surprising if Volquez pulls some sort of muscle before the end of Spring Training.
        If five RHP starts are not a problem as many people say, then why are four LHP relievers? If they are your best pitchers why not keep them? Right now the Pirates are slated to start 2 LHP and could start 3 LHP if Locke is needed to replace Volquez or Cumpton. Why would that be okay and 4 of 7 relievers being left handed would not? You comment lacks sense.

        • Ron Loreski

          How do you figure Schlereth and Wilk are among our best pitchers?

          • piraddict

            They are among the best relief pitchers right now. Check the Spring stats on the Pirates website. Relief pitchers are notorious for being good one year, bad the next. Success last season doesn’t guarantee success this season. Melancon was terrible for the Bosox in 2012, great for us in 2013. My preference, regarding relief pitchers is to prefer the fellow who comes to Spring ready to pitch. The one exception I made was Wilson, who is having a terrible Spring, but I just like the guy.

        • Y2JGQ2

          Yeah, Schlereth may be good enough to make some teams and he has pitched well enough, so has wilk. Reality is, they aren’t first in line for the jobs. I doubt Morris will be traded, and you forgot Mazzaro. I think one of them will be traded, so whomever isn’t, makes the team instead of Wilk. Then, the other will not make the team because we aren’t going to carry 13 pitchers for any length of time and your roster has 26 people in it. (13 fielders, 13 pitchers)

          • piraddict

            My team is not what I think the Pirates will chose, it’s who I would pick. I have seen Morris pitch many times, I don’t like what I have seen. I didn’t forget Mazzaro on the team, I forgot to add him to the traded roster, though I wouldn’t be at all upset if the Pirates keep him. There are only 12 pitchers, it’s Schlereth or Gomez, only one of the two makes the team. I am being ambivalent, though perhaps I am short changing Gomez.

      • Y2JGQ2

        Ron- You might not understand how things work. Ian Snell did not have an injury- Neither did James McDonald last year- I can go back as far as 5 more years and find another 3-4 instances of this if you want. These types of strategic delays happen all the time, as long as they aren’t…..egregious, they are overlooked

      • Y2JGQ2

        That being said Ron, I agree with you. PIraddict’s roster leaves a lot to be desired

        • piraddict

          What’s your roster Y2?

  • TonyPenaforHOF

    Would Volquez consider continuing his work in the minors? If he is making progress but isn’t all the way there wouldn’t some time in the minors to continue to refine his adjustments be good for him and the club?

    • Y2JGQ2

      He’d have to clear waivers, he has no options remaining. That being said, he MAY clear waivers. we’d still have to pay him, so…..it might be worth it for him to work on his stuff, come out strong, and look good for a next contract year. That being said, who knows if he looks at it reasonably

  • impliedi

    I was kind of half-joking when I said this about Jason Jaramillo on another post, but now that we know Stewart will only be out for a month, I’m assuming the Pirates will still go out and grab a catcher to fill-in for depth at Indy to cover for Sanchez being with the big club and who could also be an adequate back-up to Sanchez on the Pirates in the event of a serious April injury to Martin. Jaramillo (or another currently unsigned catcher with some amount of major league experience) might be a good insurance pick-up for a month and the Pirates won’t feel like they had to waste a player in a trade for a one-month back-up. I know Jaramillo kinda stinks, but I wouldn’t think he’d have a problem being a depth guy and in an emergency situation, he wouldn’t be intimidated or completely embarrass you if you had to run him out for a 1 or 2 games at the major league level (and by that, I mean 1 or 2 TOTAL games, not 1 or 2 a week!!)

    • smurph

      Jaramillo has always had a pretty good bat. Why not?

      • Y2JGQ2

        I always liked him, why not?

  • piraddict

    lol, that’s pretty funny!