The Pittsburgh Pirates sent four of their prospects to the Rookie Career Development Program in Washington DC over the weekend. It’s a four-day program for prospects which help prepares them for the next level, with everything from finances, to health, to handling the media. Now in it’s 26th year, the program is run by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association. A total of 109 players attended this year, and most teams send between 2-4 players each January.
The players who attended the program this year were infielder Max Moroff, and right-handed pitchers Dovydas Neverauskas, Edgar Santana and Clay Holmes. The timing of players attending is usually based on the year they will make their Major League debut, with occasional players like Moroff, who already got a small taste of the majors. Last year the Pirates sent Elias Diaz, Tyler Glasnow and Josh Bell.
Moroff should be a top depth option for this season, as one of the first players called up if an infielder should go down with an injury. He has the ability to play second base, shortstop and third base, plus he spent some time working out in the outfield last year, so there are multiple positions he could fill.
Santana and Neverauskas are the top two relievers in the farm system and both should see the majors at some point this upcoming season. Santana got some Triple-A experience at the end of 2016, then dominated the Arizona Fall League this off-season. Neverauskas saw a dip in his stats when he reached Triple-A in mid-June, but he has some of the best stuff in the system, with a fastball that touched 99 MPH, and two versions of a slider he can use as out pitches. Holmes probably won’t see the majors before September, since he has not pitched in Triple-A yet.
The Pirates plan their winter mini-camp around the program, so players can attend the four-day program, then report to Bradenton for four days of mini-camp. We will have live coverage of all four days of the mini-camp starting Monday morning, with a discussion thread article posted each day, plus special articles (usually bigger news, videos and interviews) posted later in the day. While the camp is voluntary for 40-man roster players, most of them will show up for at least one day, with another 15-30 minor league players also in attendance.