Gregory Polanco played center field on Friday night

Week In Review: Gregory Polanco is On Fire; More Minor League Injuries

The second week of the MLB season saw the Pittsburgh Pirates go 2-4, putting them at 6-6 overall at the end of the week. The loss to the Milwaukee Brewers today marks the first time the Pirates have been at .500 since April 19th of last season. They started last year 6-6 as well. The offense struggled this week, leading to a lot of calls for Gregory Polanco to come up. Meanwhile, in the minor leagues, the injuries continued. Here are the highlights from the past week.


This week the Pirates had some poor offense, leading to a three game sweep over the weekend against the Milwaukee Brewers. Meanwhile, Gregory Polanco had a huge week with Indianapolis (more on that below). The calls have already started for Polanco to make the jump to the majors to save the offense.

Coincidentally, the estimate for the Super Two cutoff came out this week. I talked about the impact that has on Gerrit Cole and Gregory Polanco. In Polanco’s case, Super Two status is a big reason why he will remain down, even though he’s hitting well early in the season. I wrote about what Polanco would need to do to justify the extra money from Super Two status. In short? He’d need to play like an MVP for two months in his rookie season. That’s highly unrealistic.

The Pirates shouldn’t be under any real pressure to call up Polanco right now. The spot he’d replace has been one of the few productive spots, with Travis Snider hitting well so far. Andrew McCutchen has been struggling, but you’re not going to replace him. It’s early, so both of those performances come with the “Small Sample Size” disclaimer. But then again, so does Polanco’s performance.

**What Should You Expect From Each Rotation Spot? I looked at what each rotation spot produces, on average. Then, I applied those numbers to see what the Pirates have in their rotation.

**An Early Look at the 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates Rotation. Right now it looks like they’re going to be in need of some outside help next off-season.

**The First Look at the Pirates Playoff Odds in 2014. We’ll have another update on Monday, and each Monday for the rest of the season.

**How the Cardinals View the Pirates as Competitors. A link to an article from St. Louis, where the view on the Pirates is much more favorable than it seems to be in Pittsburgh.


**Jeff Locke made his final rehab start this week, dominating with his fastball. After the start, he was activated from the DL, and optioned to Triple-A. I talked with Locke after his rehab start in Bradenton, and we discussed how the current 25-man roster doesn’t have a spot for him. If Wandy Rodriguez continues to struggle, combined with low velocity, that could create the opportunity Locke needs.

**Chris Stewart is nearing the end of his rehab, having it recently moved to Indianapolis. Stewart caught a full game today for the first time, which will put him on pace to return soon. Earlier in the week I wrote about Tony Sanchez, Chris Stewart, and the Depth vs Best 25 debate. I’m guessing there will be more people in support of Stewart returning after the costly throwing error from Sanchez against the Brewers.

**Vin Mazzaro was outrighted to Indianapolis this week. Because he has three years of service time in the majors, and because he had previously been outrighted to Triple-A, he had the option of becoming a free agent. However, he decided to accept the assignment to Indianapolis.


Injuries have been a big theme in the minor league system this year, and that continued this week. Early in the week, Harold Ramirez and Barrett Barnes were placed on the DL in West Virginia with leg injuries. Jameson Taillon underwent successful Tommy John surgery later in the week, which was expected, and which should keep him out for about one year.

On Friday, Luis Heredia was pulled from his start with shoulder discomfort. Today we learned that Heredia’s injury isn’t considered major, although the big test will be whether he can make his next start. If you count Heredia in the injury list, then five of the top ten prospects coming into the year have dealt with injuries this season. That’s 6 of 12 if you expand it to include Clay Holmes, who was our number 12 prospect, and had Tommy John surgery.

At this rate, the cover of the 2015 Prospect Guide will have a picture of Dr. James Andrews.

**Here are the minor league recaps from this week, highlighting all of the notable prospect performances each day.

**Our new Indianapolis writer, Ryan Palencer, takes a look at what Andrew Lambo has been working on since being optioned to Triple-A.

**Top Performers: Homers For Polanco, Bell, Jhang, and Osuna in Week One

**Top Performers: Even Without Taillon and Glasnow, Pirates Get Strong Pitching

**We’ve been running a Prospect Highlights series recently, posting a quick video of the top plays that are available online. Most of them this week were of Gregory Polanco.

2014 Draft

The draft is less than eight weeks away now, which basically means that the college season has passed the halfway mark and most high school players are well into their season. That last part isn’t true for one top pitcher though, Scott Blewett from Baldwinsville, NY. The 6’6″ righty is highly projectable and already looks like a top pitcher. His season opened up this week and while he was only hitting 91 MPH with his fastball, scouts expect more as the New York weather becomes more favorable. Blewett has been mentioned often in the Pirates range, but now is when we will see if he can exceed expectations and work his way up the draft, or will the Pirates get the chance to select him and see what they can get out of him once he gets in the system.

**Draft Prospect Watch: Jake Stinnett Makes Huge Jump From Last Year Catching up on former Pirates picks, as well as plenty of high school news and notes.

**Draft Prospect Watch: Monte Harrison Moves Into Pirates Range Recap of the top college bats this weekend and a new player to keep an eye on.

**Draft Prospect Watch:Kyle Freeland Strikes Out 15 Again Friday night starters in college, Kyle Freeland has moved well up the charts.

**Draft Prospect Watch: Baseball America Updates Rankings  New rankings from Baseball America gives us some new names to follow

**Draft Prospect Watch: Justus Sheffield Throws No-Hitter Some early week news, including a couple prep pitchers performing well

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!

Share This Article

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, 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.

Update on Luis Heredia’s Shoulder

Next Story »

First Pitch: Meet the New Season, Same As the Old Season

  • Ian Rothermund

    In all fairness, I think I saw McCutchen nail 3 balls in the last two games to the third baseman or shortstop, and I know there have been several others over the last week. They’ll start falling soon enough.

Latest Analysis

  • Keller Supak Hinsz

    Even With the New Draft Rules, the Pirates Are Still Loading Up on Projectable Pitchers

    11 hours ago

    From 2008-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of resources on projectable pitchers out of high school. So far, this approach has led to breakout performances from ...

    Read More
  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    2 days ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    3 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    4 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    6 days ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    7 days ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    1 week ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    1 week ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    2 weeks ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

    The Mental Adjustment that Led to Cody Dickson’s Dominant 2014 Second Half

    2 weeks ago

    Trusting his stuff and not trying to do too much — that has been the key for left-handed pitcher Cody Dickson so far in his professional baseball ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles