There is a huge storm north of Bradenton, with an 80 percent chance of rain today. Because of this, the Pirates cancelled their minor league games against the Phillies, and had two intrasquad games at Pirate City this afternoon, moving the games up to 9:00 AM instead of the usual 1:00 PM start time. There were a lot of good pitchers to watch, and a lot of good matchups throughout the day. At the end of the day, Gerrit Cole and Tony Watson came over to get some innings, with Cole going five. Here are the notes from the day.
**Luis Heredia threw three innings in a start today against players who are projected to play in West Virginia this season. Heredia gave up one hit, no runs, walked one, and struck out one. He was keeping the ball low, getting a 5:3 GB/FB ratio. His velocity was sitting 90-92 MPH, and he was also mixing in his slurve and changeup, but mostly focused on the fastball. I’ll have a video of his first inning of work up later today. Also, check out the picture to the right for the slimmer version of Heredia, talking with his catcher Jacob Stallings between innings.
**Nick Kingham went four innings today against the Triple-A hitters. Kingham’s velocity was low, sitting 89-91 MPH, and hitting 92 a few times. He was 90-92 MPH in the fourth inning of work. I noticed a few people had lower velocity today, so it might just be an early camp issue. Kingham was working on his fastball the first few innings, but started mixing in more curveballs and changeups in the third. He threw seven off-speed pitches out of 31 pitches the first two innings, then threw seven in 21 pitched in his third inning of work. He ended up throwing 62 pitches over four innings.
**Gregory Polanco had an opposite field single off Kingham, which can be seen below. Polanco immediately stole second base on the first pitch to the next batter.
**Gerrit Cole came over to Pirate City to get some work in. Cole threw 83 pitches over five innings of work, although two of the innings were ended before Cole got to three outs. His velocity was in the 93-95 MPH range the first few innings, then got up to sitting 95-96 in the third, and stayed up there for the final three innings of work. He didn’t have the best control today, issuing at least three walks from what I saw. He was mixing in his mid-80s curveball a lot.
**Mel Rojas hit a triple off Cole to deep center field in one at-bat. The ball might have been carried a bit by the wind, which was blowing pretty hard straight out. I thought it was impressive that Rojas did this on a 95 MPH fastball.
**Harold Ramirez displayed good speed and arm strength in right field on one play. He ran over to field a liner down the right field line, and in one motion he fielded the ball, spun around, and fired a one hop strike to second base to try and get the runner. He missed by a second, but his speed and arm strength turned what would have been an automatic double into a very close play.
**Stetson Allie, out with a minor oblique injury, was in uniform today, but didn’t get in a game.
**Pat Ludwig went three innings, giving up no hits, no runs, walking two and striking out three. He was mostly 89-91 MPH, and got a lot of ground balls. Ludwig moved to the rotation in Bradenton last year, and could remain in that role in Altoona to start the 2014 season. He credits a lot of his success to a move to the other side of the rubber, which I talked about last season.
**Jason Creasy went three innings, giving up one hit, no runs, one walk, and striking out one. He was also sitting 89-91 MPH and getting a lot of ground balls. Creasy had higher velocity last year in West Virginia, so this is another case of a guy who was slower today. He’s mostly a sinker ball pitcher, so he was playing into his game today. Creasy is competing for a rotation spot in Bradenton.