Week In Review: The Injury Bug Hits the Pirates’ Organization

The past week has seen the Pittsburgh Pirates organization get hit by the injury bug. Fortunately, most of the injuries aren’t major or long-term issues. Unfortunately, three of the top four prospects in the system will start the minor league season in extended Spring Training. Here is the rundown:

**Jameson Taillon Sidelined With “A Little Bit of Elbow Discomfort”. He will take two weeks off and then it should take him two weeks to get built up for the season. He could end up missing the first month in Indianapolis.

**Tyler Glasnow to Miss the Start of the Regular Season. He’s got a tight lower back, but he’s expected to throw a sim game on Monday. That could put him on track to only miss the first two weeks of the season in Bradenton.

**Austin Meadows Expected to Miss the Start of the West Virginia Season. He’s been recovering with a hamstring injury, and will probably spend the first few weeks in extended Spring Training before going to West Virginia.

**Clay Holmes Has Tommy John Surgery. This is the one major injury. Holmes will miss the 2014 season, but should be ready to go for Spring Training next year.

**Chris Stewart Has Minor Knee Surgery. He’s expected to miss 4-6 weeks, although he hopes he will be back sooner. Neal Huntington said the Pirates won’t trade for a backup catcher, and will go with Tony Sanchez to back up Russell Martin until Stewart returns.

**Francisco Liriano Leaves as a Precaution With Groin Tightness. He’s still day-to-day.

Transactions and Rumors

The Pirates cut eight players from Major League Camp this week. After the cuts, I wrote about how the Pirates’ roster is starting to take shape. One twist was the news that the Pirates are shopping Jose Tabata. We know they’re going to have to shop a relief pitcher since there are eight relievers for seven spots. It seems the most likely to go will be Vin Mazzaro.

The Pirates also released some players in the minor leagues this week.

**Pirates Release Four Minor League Pitchers

**Pirates Release Six Minor Leaguers, Including Two Big Bonus Cuban Players

**Pirates Release Seth McClung

There weren’t many big surprises from the players released, although the two Cuban players (Cesar Lopez and Carlos Mesa) combined for almost $1.1 M in bonuses. The Pirates haven’t had the success in Cuba that they’ve had in the Dominican Republic and other areas.

**Pirates Have Talked Extension With Starling Marte. A report that came out last night from Rob Biertempfel, noting that Marte has turned down two offers.

Prospects

The minor league season starts about a week after the major league season, although rosters are already taking shape. This week we learned that Wyatt Mathisen is moving to third base. That’s a move that will push Erich Weiss to second base in West Virginia. The current West Virginia roster looks loaded with prospects. Reese McGuire will be behind the plate. The infield will have Mathisen, Weiss, JaCoby Jones at shortstop, and Edwin Espinal at first base. The outfield will have Barrett Barnes, Harold Ramirez, and Austin Meadows when he’s healthy.

Luis Heredia will return to West Virginia to start the year. I saw him twice in the last week. Here is a video of him pitching against several top hitting prospects. Later in the week he hit 95 MPH, while throwing four shutout innings. Buddy Borden is another interesting pitching prospect who will start the year in West Virginia. We had a live report on Borden here.

Live Reports:

**Pirate City Notes: Cole Goes 5, Kingham vs Polanco, Heredia Starts

**Pirate City Notes: Altoona Plays Longball

Prospect Links:

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

**Three Pirates Among Top Young Talent in Baseball

**More Praise For Pirates Young Talent

**Michael De La Cruz Named Top 20 DSL/VSL Prospect

Pirates

**The Edinson Volquez Experiment Isn’t Looking Good Right Now. I wrote this before his start against the Yankees. The article points out how Volquez is making some mechanical adjustments with mixed results. He’ll look good one inning, and horrible the next. In his last two outings (including the Yankees outing) he has struggled early, then hit a groove and looked great in the later innings. Obviously the Pirates are going to want to eliminate the early struggles. The late success is an encouraging sign. The only question is whether Volquez can gain consistency with his mechanics. He only has time for one more start before the regular season begins.

**Pirates Preparing Relievers For the Possibility of Multiple Innings

2014 Draft

Keith Law released his list of the top 50 draft prospects and in reinforced what we already knew early on, this draft class is top-heavy with pitching. In the early going, there have been at least 30 pitchers mentioned that have first round talent.  While that doesn’t say much for the bats in this draft, there are a lot of hitters that fall in the second round range. Many of them are corner infielders, so there is no reason to just grab a bat in the first round or risk not getting a hitter with the ceiling of a major league regular at a position of need. There is no telling where the Pirates will go for their first round pick, you hope for best player available, but there is a great chance that a high ceiling high school pitcher, or a solid mid-rotation college starter will be available when they choose.

**Draft Prospect Watch: Matt Imhof Is Worth Watching The Friday night starter from Cal Poly has turned some heads early in the season and he gets added to the list of players to watch

**Draft Prospect Watch: Pair of Prep Lefties Making Waves Tons of draft news and notes, plus a report on LHP Mac Marshall

**Draft Prospect Watch: Rodon Gets Outpitched By Stinnett A former Pirates draft pick that didn’t sign, out-duels the top college pitcher in baseball, and it isn’t even close.

**Draft Prospect Watch: Max Pentecost Homers, Drives In Six Runs A recap of the weekend for the best college hitters and a match-up between two of the best high school players.

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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  • Kevin Anstrom

    Does this bump Nick Kingham to the #1 pitching prospect on the Pirates?

    • meatygettingsaucy

      No? Glasnow and Taillon both have ace upside. Kingham, while a tremendous pitcher, is at best a No. 3 starter

      • https://profiles.google.com/100212786463678215436 Nathan Swartz

        No way man, #1 is most definitely Andy Oliver now. Or are we back to ZVR now?!

    • Ian Rothermund

      You mean after missing two weeks for precautionary reasons?

  • emjayinTN

    Tim: I think this week also saw the final 25 man roster getting a lot clearer. LH hitting 1B Travis Ishikawa continued to stay hot and raised his number of HR’s to 3 after hitting a tieing HR in the 8th inning against Philly on Saturday night. LH hitters Travis Snider and Jaff Decker also had 2 hits in that same game, and LH hitting OF Chris Dickerson drove in the winning run. Mike Martinez continued to hit well also, but LH hitting 1B Andrew Lambo continued to struggle. Time is running out with only 4 days left and It looks as if the final 25 man roster will include Tony Sanchez, Clint Barmes, Travis Ishikawa and Travis Snider. That leaves room for only one more and, IMO, that will come down to Josh Harrison, Jaff Decker, Chris Dickerson or Michael Martinez. The only one in that group who probably does not have a life-line is Josh Harrison, and he is the incumbent so that would be the natural pick. There still may be a trade, but I think that NH is in a waiting mode; he has a lot of the most valuable asset – PITCHING, therefore he can afford to wait for someone to come to him.