Pirates Prospects » First Pitch http://www.piratesprospects.com Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Mon, 08 Sep 2014 04:00:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 First Pitch: Are the Pirates Limited to the Second Wild Card Spot? http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/first-pitch-are-the-pirates-limited-to-the-second-wild-card-spot.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/first-pitch-are-the-pirates-limited-to-the-second-wild-card-spot.html#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 04:00:09 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=87799 The Pittsburgh Pirates won today, putting them half a game up for the second Wild Card spot. Earlier this week I wrote about how the Pirates aren’t out of the playoffs, although they’re probably confined to the second Wild Card spot, and not in a good position to make a long run. In the playoff odds series, I looked at how they were still in this, thanks to a weak second Wild Card race. They are now leading that race.

So now the question has to be asked: can the Pirates do more? Is it possible for them to win home field in the Wild Card game, or even win the division?

The benefit they have is an easy schedule over the next few weeks. This week they take on Philadelphia and the Cubs once again. Then they’ve got three games against the Red Sox at home, wrapping up the easy part of their schedule. That is followed by three games at home against the Brewers and four games on the road against the Braves — the two teams who are competing with the Pirates for the final Wild Card spot. They finish their season with a three game series against the struggling Reds.

The Pirates definitely have the schedule needed to make the post-season. They have three last place teams, a struggling team, and the two teams they need to beat to get in the post-season. There is no better “ball in your court” scenario than that.

The problem is that the Cardinals have a 4.5 game lead in the NL Central, and the Giants have a 3.5 game lead for the top Wild Card spot. Both of those would be hard to come back against in less than a month.

St. Louis just helped the Pirates out by taking three of four against the Brewers, but maintained their lead in the division in the process. It doesn’t get any more difficult for the Cardinals down the stretch. They have seven games against the Reds, three each against the Rockies, Cubs, and Diamondbacks, and three at home against the Brewers. If you’re going to expect the Pirates to pile up some wins against their easy schedule, then you’d have to expect the same for St. Louis.

It’s slightly more difficult for the Giants. They have six games against the Diamondbacks, and seven games against a Padres team that they’ve been .500 against. They also have six games against the Dodgers. Because of that schedule, I’d say it would be easier for the Pirates to take the top Wild Card spot than the division.

Last year the Pirates looked like one of the best all around teams in the league. This year they’re not in that category, but they’re definitely a good team that can be considered a contender. A team like that should make the playoffs at least with the schedule they have coming up. The most likely scenario would be the second Wild Card spot if they do capitalize on this schedule, but with some help from the Dodgers and Padres, I could see the Pirates having an outside shot at home field in the Wild Card game once again.

Links and Notes

**Michael Martinez and Chris McGuiness Clear Waivers

**Allie and Heredia Headline Mexican Winter League Roster Loaded With Pirates

**Josh Harrison Out of the Lineup Today After Being a Gametime Decision

**Morning Report: Checking the Progress of the 2012 Draft Class

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First Pitch: How Much Did the Pirates’ Payroll Increase in 2014? http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/first-pitch-how-much-did-the-pirates-payroll-increase-in-2014.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/first-pitch-how-much-did-the-pirates-payroll-increase-in-2014.html#comments Sun, 07 Sep 2014 07:59:14 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=87763 Today I updated the 2014 40-man roster and payroll page, adding all of the moves from the September call-ups. Typically, these are the final moves that need to be added to get a payroll estimate for the year. There’s a chance that the Pirates could call up more players, or acquire help for the stretch in September via a waiver claim, but that wouldn’t lead to a massive increase. When it comes to a payroll range for the season, we now have our estimate.

The current estimate is $79,380,740. That number isn’t official, and can sometimes be off by anywhere from $1-5 M. Last year’s estimate was the closest we’ve gotten, with the estimate at $74.46 M, and the actual payroll at $75 M.

This year the Opening Day payroll started at just under $75 M. That means they added a little over $4 M during the season. Most of these expenses were on waiver claims and roster moves, such as promotions and demotions for depth purposes. The biggest individual expense was John Axford, who will cost the Pirates a little over $1.1 M. (UPDATE: I forgot about Ike Davis, who was added a few weeks into the season. Davis added just over $3 M, although the overall hit was a little less than that when you consider that he replaced someone making the league minimum.) Ernesto Frieri would count, although that trade actually saved the Pirates a small amount of money, since it sent Jason Grilli’s salary away.

Overall, the projections show an increase over the 2013 end-of-year totals. It’s not a massive difference, and definitely not the difference that a lot of Pirates’ fans wanted to see. With the new revenue coming into MLB, the expectation was that payroll would see a massive boost, combined with an increase in ticket sales and a trip to the playoffs last year. The new revenue didn’t actually see a massive increase in spending around the league, as the average Opening Day payroll saw an $8.5 M increase.

The Pirates definitely had extra money to spend this year. They offered A.J. Burnett $12 M, made a run at James Loney, and tried to deal for guys like David Price, Jon Lester, and others at the deadline. That money would still be there to spend next season, which means they should be able to go after Russell Martin if the price isn’t ridiculous (aka, if a team like the Dodgers doesn’t step in and try to sign Martin at any price).

Links and Notes

**Morning Report: Best OPS Doesn’t Always Equal Best Prospect

**2014 40-Man Payroll Projection

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First Pitch: Why You Never Really Give Up On Prospects http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/first-pitch-why-you-never-really-give-up-on-prospects.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/first-pitch-why-you-never-really-give-up-on-prospects.html#comments Sat, 06 Sep 2014 05:14:50 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=87736 There are a lot of stories in the minor leagues that are pretty standard. You’ll have guys like Gerrit Cole who are drafted as top prospects, perform well in their minor league careers, and go on to become big leaguers, as expected. There will be some surprise breakout prospects like Gregory Polanco and Tyler Glasnow, where the individual performances are a bit of a surprise, but the overall strategy of “find enough talented players and 1-2 of them will break out” is expected.

My favorite story when it comes to covering prospects is when a player goes from being a non-prospect to someone who makes the majors. It’s a rare story that doesn’t come along every year, but when it does come along, it’s a great thing to follow. We’re seeing the latest version with John Holdzkom.

Earlier today I linked to a story by J.J. Cooper about the path Holdzkom took to the big leagues. We’re at a point right now where we don’t really know what Holdzkom could be. Maybe he will be an elite reliever and one of the best scouting stories you’ve ever heard of. Maybe he will be good enough to help the Pirates’ bullpen this year, but only your average middle reliever going forward. Maybe the three strikeout inning performance in his debut will be the pinnacle of his career, and he will fail to match that going forward. No matter what happens, the fact that he reached the majors is incredible.

The thing I liked the most from Cooper’s article is that Holdzkom fixed his control issues with a simple change in his grip. Rather than putting both fingers on the seams of the ball, he moved them closer together, and it immediately led to improved control. I’d say that this is a reminder that every player is just a simple adjustment away from being a legitimate prospect, but that would over-simplify the issue. It’s never easy to find that adjustment. Some players can never make it. Some scouts and coaches can never find it.

Just look at Holdzkom. He spent five years with the Mets, a season with the Reds, and was with three indy ball teams in the last two years. That doesn’t count high school and his time at Salt Lake Community College. You think about all of the coaches he had watching him, and no one made that simple switch until this year. The fact that this adjustment came in indy ball made the story that much better.

This is why teams give prospects extended chances. It’s why you see countless waiver claims, minor league free agent signings, and other moves that will amount to nothing the majority of the time. Those moves always generate two types of responses. Either they are ignored completely, or they result in misplaced outrage in the form of “the Pirates have a need in the majors and instead they’re signing this guy.” In Holdzkom’s case, the reaction was that he was ignored. Between the article that announced he was signed, the article about his promotion to Indianapolis, and all of the Tweets from my account and the site account, there were no responses to the Holdzkom signing.

These moves are usually meaningless, but you make those types of moves hoping that you’ll eventually land a guy like Holdzkom. In an example that isn’t so extreme, this is also why you continue giving starting time to guys like Alex Presley, Elias Diaz, Andrew Lambo, Mel Rojas, Keon Broxton, and many other players who have struggled a few seasons, looked to be career minor leaguers, then revived themselves as prospects. Even if there’s a small chance that they turn things around, you take that chance when there’s no risk involved and no downside if the player doesn’t work out.

Links and Notes

**Links: The Amazing John Holdzkom Story, and a Guide to Scouting

**Carlos Munoz Named to the GCL All-Star Team

**Pirates Still in Playoff Picture, Thanks to Horrible Second NL Wild Card Race

**Austin Meadows Was Impressive in His Short Time With West Virginia

**Morning Report: Minor League Depth at Second Base

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First Pitch: The Lack of Moves Isn’t the Big Problem It’s Made Out to Be http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/first-pitch-the-lack-of-moves-isnt-the-big-problem-its-made-out-to-be.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/first-pitch-the-lack-of-moves-isnt-the-big-problem-its-made-out-to-be.html#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 05:42:21 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=87696 The Pittsburgh Pirates did nothing to upgrade their team this year. That’s the reason they’re not currently in line for the playoffs, and why they might not make the playoffs. Or at least that’s what I’ve been hearing.

I heard it during the off-season, when it was said that they weren’t going to be contenders this year because they didn’t make any additions to the team. It was repeated constantly the first two months of the season when they didn’t bring up Gregory Polanco right away. Then it came back up over the trade deadline, and once again at the new deadline in August.

The argument is extremely lazy, assuming that everything wrong with the Pirates is because they didn’t add Player X. It over-estimates the value of one player, and assumes that a team’s fortunes can be determined by one player. It’s also an evolving argument that forgets how things actually played out, and forgets that the Pirates’ problems weren’t due to a lack of moves. Let’s take a look at each time frame, and see if adding a player would have fixed the issues for the Pirates.

The Off-Season

The Needs: The Pirates were coming off a season where they had great pitching and a league average offense at best, leading to 94 wins and a playoff spot. The bullpen was expected to be strong again. The perceived needs were in the rotation and the offense. The specific moves were an addition at first base, and bringing back A.J. Burnett. The Pirates ended up signing Edinson Volquez, making a minor trade for Vance Worley, a few other minor moves that didn’t help as much, and traded for Ike Davis a few weeks into the season.

The Rotation Results: Volquez and Worley have been the best starters in the rotation this year from a results standpoint, with a 3.31 and 3.01 ERA, respectively. Meanwhile, A.J. Burnett has been pitching through an injury, and has a 4.40 ERA on the season. The advanced metrics say that all three pitchers should be in the league average range going forward. But so far, the Pirates would have been worse off if they would have gone for Burnett over Volquez. You can go the hindsight route and say they should have added both, but that ignores the real problem. The guys who were expected to do well — Francisco Liriano and Gerrit Cole — haven’t done well. Liriano has turned things around lately, but for most of the year these two haven’t lived up to expectations. The Pirates made some good moves in the off-season, and dodged a bullet with the aging Burnett. But those moves are hidden by the fact that the guys already in place have struggled.

The Bullpen Results: The bullpen has been the biggest issue this year, a year after they were automatic. The Pirates have seen Jason Grilli and Bryan Morris struggle, only to go elsewhere and be lights out. Other players who performed last year, such as Jeanmar Gomez and Justin Wilson, have also struggled this year. Mark Melancon and Tony Watson have been two of the best relievers in the game this year. Jared Hughes has posted good numbers for a middle reliever. Once again, the guys who did well last year, and who were expected to do well this year, haven’t done well. Making matters worse, two of those players immediately had success elsewhere, while the Pirates haven’t been able to get one of their signature bullpen reclamation projects going (although I am looking forward to seeing what John Holdzkom can do after following his progress with Indianapolis this year).

The Offense Results: The Pirates ended up adding Ike Davis a few weeks into the season. Davis hasn’t been the best addition, but it might not matter. They have one of the top offenses in the NL this year, with a .321 wOBA that ranks second behind Colorado, and a 105 wRC+ that ranks first, tied with the Dodgers. A big reason for this is due to the guys already on the roster, like Russell Martin, Josh Harrison, and the MVP, Andrew McCutchen. Not everyone has played up to expectations (Pedro Alvarez, for example), but this is a case where a lot of things were going right.

The Verdict: Pirates fans would have been happy in the off-season if the Pirates spent money on Burnett, rather than Volquez, and if they would have added a first baseman (which they eventually did). The pitching swap would have made them worse, while the offense turned out to be fine. The Pirates aren’t in this situation because of a lack of off-season moves, unless you want to look back in hindsight and say they should have done something to prevent their situation in the bullpen and with their top two starters.

Gregory Polanco and the First Two Months

The Need: Polanco was destroying Triple-A pitching during the month of April. Meanwhile, the Pirates offense was struggling. Andrew McCutchen started slow the first two weeks. Neil Walker, Jordy Mercer, Starling Marte, and Russell Martin were all struggling offensively. The Pirates were coming off a season where they had an average offense at best. You could have expected some of these players to rebound, but the expectation that the Pirates wouldn’t have a top offense was totally justified. Travis Snider and Jose Tabata were also struggling, which led to the hope that Polanco could come up early and help the Pirates, even if that meant the potential for a $10-15 M raise down the line.

The Results: Snider and Tabata continued their struggles in right field, which led to Josh Harrison getting regular playing time, and beginning his breakout season. It’s possible that Harrison could have broken out even if Polanco came up in May. But the fact is that the Pirates didn’t need Polanco in May because of Harrison. And now they’ve turned into the top offense in the NL. That doesn’t include production from Polanco, who has struggled since coming up.

The Verdict: I still think Polanco is going to be a star. He just hasn’t made a seamless jump to the majors, which is not uncommon. That’s what the Super Two argument was all about — not wanting to pay a massive amount for a guy who could be a star in the long-term, all to get an extra month of production when he’s going to be at his least productive state in the short-term. It’s easy to look back and realize this was the case now. But at the time — when clouded by expectations that the Pirates would struggle offensively, and while watching Polanco tearing up in Indianapolis — it was easy to believe that he was the answer.

The Trade Deadline(s)

The Need: At this point the Pirates knew about their bullpen issues. They knew that they could use a starting pitcher, since Liriano and Cole had been unreliable. They knew that the offense was fine and no longer an issue. So the task was simple: add pitching.

The Results: The Pirates added Ernesto Frieri in a swap for Jason Grilli, hoping that Frieri would bounce back with a change of scenery. It ended up that Grilli was the one who bounced back. They added John Axford in a waiver claim. Francisco Liriano returned and was much better than he was in the first part of the season. Gerrit Cole returned, but has been about the same. Jeff Locke has struggled in the second half, while Charlie Morton went down with an injury. Meanwhile, the Pirates tried to make a move at the deadline, offering up prospects, but the two teams trading top starters — the Rays and Red Sox — were looking for MLB talent. It was a rare case where a team willing to part with top prospects didn’t have the inside track to any player they wanted.

The Verdict: This is where we look at what trading for a player actually does for a team. Oakland and Detroit added the top starting pitchers. Oakland added Jeff Samardzija in early July, then traded for Jon Lester at the deadline. The moves made them a favorite in the American League. But the results haven’t worked in their favor. They had a .621 winning percentage before the first move. They have a .481 winning percentage since the Samardzija trade, and a 13-19 record since their busy deadline.

Detroit traded for David Price. They had a .552 winning percentage before that. Since the move, they have a .529 winning percentage. Meanwhile, Price has a 3.86 ERA in his time with Detroit, although his 2.94 xFIP suggests he’ll be better going forward. Those are two cases where a team made a big splash, and saw their results go south after the move. This doesn’t mean that adding a player will actually hurt your team. That would be ridiculous. For the meaning, let’s look at the next team.

The Cardinals added Justin Masterson and John Lackey at the deadline. They had a .533 winning percentage before the deadline. They have had a .594 winning percentage since the trades. Meanwhile, Masterson has performed poorly, and has been removed from the rotation. Lackey has performed the same as the guy they traded away to get him, Joe Kelly.

It’s almost like the results of 1-2 roster moves (or a lack of those moves) don’t determine the results of a team of 25 players.

You can analyze the moves that a team did, or didn’t make at the deadline or in the off-season. But that’s a small piece of the puzzle. The Pirates didn’t make the moves that people wanted in the off-season. The offense that they had improved, the pitchers they added have helped this year, and the pitching they had largely struggled. They tried to add pitching at the deadline, but the teams trading starting pitching wanted MLB help.

It’s easy to be frustrated over the lack of moves. And maybe that added to a percentage of the problem. But ignoring everything else that has happened ignores a much larger percentage. It’s much more difficult to be upset over the fact that the Pirates made two great moves to add starting pitching over the off-season, but then saw their best pitchers from the 2013 season struggle in 2014. Not only is it hard to fit that in a Tweet, but you also don’t get the clear satisfaction of assigning blame, because you’re not sure whether to blame the players, blame the management for not anticipating this, or just realize that sometimes things don’t go as planned, and not every situation needs someone to blame.

Overall, the lack of moves are a convenient thing to complain about. But that’s not the problem with the Pirates. The problem is much more complex, looking at all of the little things that have gone wrong this season, whether that’s from a transaction standpoint, a managerial standpoint, or just players playing below their expectations. Despite all of the things that have gone wrong, and despite the lack of major moves, the Pirates currently sit 1.5 games out of the Wild Card race, with an easy schedule coming up. They can still make the playoffs. I don’t think they’re in a good position to advance in the playoffs, but no single move would have changed that.

Links and Notes

**Josh Bell is the Pirates Prospects 2014 Minor League Player of the Year

**Tyler Glasnow is the Pirates Prospects 2014 Minor League Pitcher of the Year

**Morning Report: Jose Osuna Quietly Had a Strong Second Half

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First Pitch: Did the Pirates Just Lose the Playoffs? http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/first-pitch-did-the-pirates-just-lose-the-playoffs.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/first-pitch-did-the-pirates-just-lose-the-playoffs.html#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 04:26:56 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=87652 It was only two weeks ago that the Pittsburgh Pirates were sitting seven games out of first place in the NL Central, fresh off a seven game losing streak. The streak came against contenders like the Detroit Tigers, the Washington Nationals, and the Atlanta Braves. It looked like their chances of winning the division were gone. Then they bounced back by going 7-2 in their next nine games, pulling to within two games of first place.

And now, a few days later, we’re nearly back to where we started.

The Pirates lost the final game against Cincinnati on Sunday, followed by a sweep against the Cardinals to start the week. St. Louis now finds themselves in first place, thanks in part to Milwaukee going on a free fall in the standings. Meanwhile, the Pirates are five games back in the NL Central, and two games behind Milwaukee for the second Wild Card spot.

I’d say their chances of winning the Central or even making the playoffs are pretty much shot. But it was only two weeks ago that they were worse off than they are right now. And their schedule over the next two weeks is a lot easier than the schedule that saw them go 7-2.

Coming up, the Pirates have six games against the Cubs, four games against the Phillies, and three against the Red Sox. That’s 13 games against non-contenders. Of course the Cardinals have a fairly easy schedule, with a lot of games against the Reds, Cubs, and Rockies. Unless the Cardinals just start to fade down the stretch, it’s going to be difficult for the Pirates to make up the ground they just lost.

The silver lining here is that while the Pirates were struggling this week, so were the other teams in the Wild Card race. The Brewers have lost eight in a row. The Braves are 1.5 games ahead of the Pirates in the Wild Card race. The Giants are sitting 2.5 games ahead of the Brewers, putting the Pirates 4.5 games back from the first Wild Card spot. The Giants do have a somewhat difficult schedule coming up, with games against the Tigers, Dodgers, and several games against a Padres team that they’ve only managed to go .500 against.

It’s definitely possible for the Pirates to still make the Wild Card game. In fact, they could still get home field in the Wild Card game if they capitalize on the upcoming schedule. Maybe they win the Wild Card game, no matter who they play, or where they play it. But beyond that, it’s hard to see this team advancing any further in the playoffs after what we’ve seen the last few days.

Links and Notes

**Marauders Eliminated From the FSL Playoffs

**Tyler Glasnow Named to Baseball America’s 2014 Minor League All-Star Team

**A Good Sign in Jameson Taillon’s Tommy John Rehab

**Josh Harrison Named NL Player of the Month for August

**Morning Report: A New Focus For the 2014 Draft Picks

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First Pitch: Beyond the Numbers – A Key Focus For Tyler Glasnow’s Development http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/first-pitch-beyond-the-numbers-a-key-focus-for-tyler-glasnows-development.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/first-pitch-beyond-the-numbers-a-key-focus-for-tyler-glasnows-development.html#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 05:47:08 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=87600 Tyler Glasnow has put up some amazing numbers this season. He had a 1.74 ERA in 124.1 innings for the Bradenton Marauders, with a 157:57 K/BB ratio. Since the start of June, he’s put up a 1.47 ERA in 91.2 innings, with a 120:35 K/BB ratio. From a statistical standpoint, there was no reason to keep him in Bradenton during the month of August. Yet the opportunity to make a playoff start in Bradenton, as opposed to playing meaningless games in Altoona, kept him in A-ball.

Looking beyond the stats, and looking beyond the opportunity in the playoffs, there’s another concern with Glasnow. That concern was obvious in tonight’s playoff outing. He’s still capable of a disaster inning or two, fueled by a total lapse in control.

Tyler Glasnow struggled with his control tonight in Bradenton.

Tyler Glasnow struggled with his control tonight in Bradenton.

Tonight, Glasnow looked dominant in the first inning. He struck out the side, and it looked like he could be on pace for another strong outing like he’s seen throughout the month of August. But things fell apart in the second inning. Glasnow walked two and gave up two hits, resulting in three runs scored. He got help from the offense in the bottom half of the inning, with the Marauders scoring seven runs. But a four run lead didn’t result in improved control. Glasnow issued another walk in the third inning. He then walked the first three batters he saw in the fourth inning, including one right after a visit to the mound from pitching coach Justin Meccage.

This isn’t limited to this playoff outing. It was just more obvious tonight. I’ve seen Glasnow a lot down the stretch when he’s had great stat lines. Even in those outings, he’s seen a lapse in control for an inning or two. In some games he will quickly get back on track. There are a few games like tonight that turn into total disasters. Glasnow lets things snowball on him, and sometimes can’t calm himself down on the mound.

“I think an outing like tonight, you talk about that seven run inning, I think it just creates a little more pressure for him,” Marauders pitching coach Justin Meccage said after tonight’s game. “‘I’ve really got to perform here’ type deal. When it goes ball one, then ‘I can’t go ball two’ and then the negative thoughts start creeping back in. It’s just a matter of separating each pitch and each hitter in each inning. And understanding that every pitch is new every inning, every hitter is new, and every inning is new. And that will eliminate that stuff.”

The good news is that he has shown improvements. He had a 3.4 BB/9 from June to the end of the season, showing massive improvements in his control over his season totals last year, and his totals pre-June this year. The improvement continued in July (2.7 BB/9) and August (3.0 BB/9). As for calming down on the mound, and avoiding starts like tonight, Meccage thinks it will just take more experience pitching in more meaningful games like this.

“I think the more you pitch in these games, the more you learn from them,” Meccage said. “He didn’t get challenged a whole lot over the course of the season. They were ready to swing the bat tonight.”

It’s safe to confirm, based on the stats, that Glasnow didn’t get challenged much this year. You could also say the same thing about last year. And maybe it’s not a big coincidence that two years in a row, Glasnow has posted dominant numbers over the course of a season, only to struggle with his control and exit early in the playoffs.

This isn’t something Glasnow can’t fix. It’s the main thing he needs to fix. Top of the rotation starters don’t let a bad pitch become a bad inning, and don’t let a bad inning become more than just one bad inning. Glasnow has been capable of getting back on track quickly this year, but obviously that doesn’t happen all the time. His control, another thing that needs to show continued improvements, has shown improvements this year as a result of him limiting the damage in most outings. But that will be harder as he moves up in the minors, and will be something where he will have to learn from experience.

He’ll get more opportunities in the Arizona Fall League this off-season. He’ll get plenty of opportunities next year with Altoona. He might get a shot in Indianapolis by the end of the year, and should get a chance to test his skills at the Triple-A level in 2016. That will give him plenty of opportunities to play in more games like tonight, with more challenges than he has seen in A-ball. Hopefully the added experience will help eliminate problems like he’s seen tonight. If that is the case, then the sky is the limit for Glasnow’s future in the majors.

Links and Notes

**Marauders Drop Game One as Tyler Glasnow Struggles With His Control

**Pirates Call Up Six Players, Including Gregory Polanco, Jeff Locke, and John Holdzkom

**Tyler Glasnow is the Pirates Prospects Pitcher of the Month For August

**Keon Broxton is the Pirates Prospects Player of the Month For August

**The Ongoing Maturation of Luis Heredia

**Morning Report: Pirates Draft Picks Are in Control

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First Pitch: Evaluating the Pirates’ Farm System in 2014 http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/first-pitch-evaluating-the-pirates-farm-system-in-2014.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/first-pitch-evaluating-the-pirates-farm-system-in-2014.html#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 07:19:09 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=87541 The 2014 minor league regular season wrapped up today. The only thing left in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ system is in High-A, where the Bradenton Marauders will start their playoff series on Tuesday night. A minor league season is guaranteed to bring success stories, where players break out, or continue a positive development while moving up in the system. You’re also going to see players who take a step back, get injured, or do things to lower their potential upside, or even wash out. The big question is whether you had more of the good than the bad in a given year.

The Pirates were plagued with injuries this year. Almost all of their top prospects missed time with an injury. In fact, out of the top 10 prospects heading into the season, only two players didn’t spend time on the disabled list. Only five players from the top 20 didn’t spend time on the DL (excluding Blake Taylor, who was traded).

Injuries can hurt for the long-term. Fortunately for the Pirates, a lot of the injuries they had this year didn’t really impact the long-term upside for the players who were injured. And despite so many injuries, the Pirates had a good season in their minor league system. There were players who had bad seasons, and players who took a step back, but the majority of players in the system either took steps forward, or continued playing well. Very few players saw their future upsides impacted in a negative way. We’ll be doing season recaps over the next few weeks, but to get a feel for how the system did at the end of the season, here is a look back at the pre-season top 20, and how those players performed in 2014.

1. Gregory Polanco – He was fantastic in his time with Indianapolis, although he’s still working on making the jump to the majors. Despite those struggles, it’s hard to call Polanco’s season as a prospect anything but a success. He became one of the top prospects in the game, and looked even more like a future impact player. His progress as an MLB rookie is another issue, but I don’t think there should be concerns about his upside this early.

2. Jameson Taillon – He went down at the start of the year with Tommy John surgery. If all goes well with his recovery, he should be ready to return for the start of the 2015 season, and could be in the majors by mid-season. The injury pretty much delayed his timeline by a year.

3. Tyler Glasnow – Glasnow had an amazing season in West Virginia in 2013, and it looked hard to top those results as he moved up a level. He did just that, posting a 1.74 ERA in 124.1 innings, with a 157:57 K/BB ratio. His strikeout rate was still ridiculous, but his walks dropped a bit, and he showed improvements with his changeup, all at a higher level.

4. Austin Meadows – He missed the first three months of the season with hamstring problems, then returned to West Virginia for almost two months. In that time, he showed why he was a top prospect, hitting for a .322/.388/.486 line in 146 at-bats. It will be interesting to see if he moves up next year. Josh Bell didn’t move up in 2013 after missing half of the 2012 season. However, Bell didn’t hit nearly as well as Meadows did, and that’s counting both of his years in the SAL. Meadows could stay down, as there’s no reason to rush him, but I think he’s got a good chance of reaching Bradenton next season.

5. Alen Hanson – Hanson didn’t have a good year from a defense perspective. He continued to have problems with routine plays, and was eventually moved to second base. The move was partly made to speed his bat up to the majors, although I can’t see him moving to shortstop with Jordy Mercer playing so well in the majors. He’s still a top prospect at second base because of his bat. He had a .768 OPS, although if you take out a horrible April, he had an .804 OPS on the season, with an .831 OPS in his final two months. He was definitely trending the right direction with his offense.

6. Nick Kingham – Kingham had a great season in Altoona, eventually making the jump to Indianapolis. He started off dominating the level, but struggled down the stretch. He had issues with his control at times, which isn’t usually a concern for him. Kingham continued moving up the system without major concerns, and while maintaining his upside of a strong middle of the rotation starter. He should have a shot at the majors next season.

7. Reese McGuire – Defensively, McGuire lived up to the hype, showing that this part of his game was strong. Offensively, he needs some work. He had a .642 OPS on the season, and only one month out of the year was over .700. He’s got some good skills that didn’t show up in the stat lines this year, and he’s way too young to rule out future success. This is a case where the player didn’t have a great season, but also didn’t see his upside changed at all.

8. Josh Bell – Bell took a huge jump in the rankings, finally starting to show some of his potential at the plate by crushing in Bradenton. He struggled in his jump to Altoona, although that is to be expected, since that’s a difficult jump to make. A closer look shows that he was hitting for average (.287), got on base at a good rate (.343), but didn’t hit for power (.309). Bell has the power aspect in his game, and 94 at-bats without power at a new level doesn’t change his upside. Overall, this was a great year for him. The Pirates must think he’s close, since he will be making the move to first base this off-season.

9. Luis Heredia – Heredia missed about two months with shoulder discomfort, and didn’t have great results when he was healthy. He did improve in the second half, posting a 3.97 ERA in 70.1 innings, including a 3.06 ERA in 35.1 innings in August. He didn’t do a great job with the strikeouts, and had control issues, although those were two things that improved in August. I could see Heredia moving up to Bradenton next year. This year was a disappointment, and it lowers future expectations for several reasons, but Heredia is still young enough to rebound in future years.

10. Harold Ramirez – Ramirez missed a lot of time with multiple leg injuries, going down with a hamstring injury and shin splints. He hit well when he was healthy, with a .309/.364/.402 line. The power wasn’t there, but Ramirez was also in his age 19 season, and doesn’t turn 20 until Saturday. His injuries don’t impact his upside, although they could keep him in West Virginia next year for at least part of the season.

11. Tony Sanchez – Sanchez didn’t have the best season. Defensively he struggled, especially with his throwing. He carried those struggles over to the plate, with a .758 OPS with Indianapolis. The Pirates eventually moved him to first base at the end of the year, showing that he might have been passed by Elias Diaz on the depth charts.

12. Clay Holmes – Just like Taillon, Holmes missed the year with Tommy John surgery. He should go to Bradenton next year.

13. Stolmy Pimentel – He was out of options and made the jump to the majors, working out of the bullpen. The results haven’t been good, although Pimentel has been used like a Rule 5 pick most of the year. This is his first time working as a reliever, and he’s not getting regular appearances. You can be concerned with his performance, but that performance has to come with the disclaimer that he was in a bad situation.

14. Andrew Lambo – Lambo has shown a repeat of his 2013 minor league success, and he’s finally getting a shot in the majors. He had a .952 OPS this year for Indianapolis, but didn’t get an opportunity for various reasons, whether it was Spring Training struggles, a thumb injury, or certain players ahead of him playing well. He might get an extended look with the Pirates after his hot start in his first four games since being called up.

15. Joely Rodriguez – Rodriguez was disappointing this year, getting hit pretty hard, and even being removed from the rotation at one point. He will probably return to Altoona next year, and might eventually have to move to the bullpen full time if those struggles continue. I’ve liked Rodriguez for a long time, since I first saw him at the end of the 2010 season. I’m not writing him off after one bad season, but this bad season at the Double-A level does make me question whether he will make it as a starter in the majors.

16. Blake Taylor – Taylor was traded to the Mets for Ike Davis.

17. Cody Dickson – He quietly had a good season, with a dominant second half that featured a 2.45 ERA in 69.2 innings, along with a 57:29 K/BB ratio. Dickson finished strong in August, with a 2.28 ERA in 27.2 innings, along with a 29:11 K/BB ratio. He will almost certainly move up to Bradenton next year. He fell out of the top 20 after a slow start in the first half, but a strong second half, plus his arsenal, could put him back at the end of the list going into next year.

18. Barrett Barnes – Barnes has missed so much time in his three-year career due to injuries, and that was the case once again in 2014. He only had 50 at-bats this season, after missing time with a hamstring injury, followed by an oblique injury. From an athletic and tools standpoint, Barnes is a prospect. When you factor in the fact that he’s injury prone, he drops in the rankings. Right now those injuries are preventing him from developing his game, which you have to count against him.

19. JaCoby Jones – Jones had a huge season, although I don’t think he’ll make a massive jump in the rankings. We were high on him coming into the year, putting him in the top 20.  He moved up to 14th by the mid-season rankings, which isn’t a big jump when you consider that a few of the guys ahead of him either graduated from being a prospect, or dropped a bit in the rankings. The thing to be concerned about with Jones is the strikeout rate. That might not prevent him from reaching the majors, but it does mean you can’t take his .847 OPS in Low-A at the age of 22 and project big things in the majors one day.

20. Michael De La Cruz – He looked like the next big breakout from Latin America, but struggled with a minor injury, along with the reality of being a young kid playing in a foreign country away from home. There’s still a lot of upside here, but this was obviously a disappointing year for De La Cruz, who only managed a .485 OPS.

The Pirates didn’t have many bad seasons that led to future upsides dropping. And when they did see struggles, they also saw other players stepping up to fill the void. Tony Sanchez struggled, but Elias Diaz had a breakout season. Luis Heredia struggled, but Adrian Sampson and Buddy Borden emerged as top 20 pitching prospects, and future middle of the rotation starting candidates. Alen Hanson moved to second base, but that was always a risk, and Jordy Mercer’s improved defense just means we’ll still be in line for that future Hanson/Mercer middle infield, just with Mercer at short. Barrett Barnes is a risk due to his injuries. Austin Meadows and Harold Ramirez might have had their paths delayed due to injuries. Michael De La Cruz didn’t have a great jump to the US. But none of this is major because the Pirates certainly aren’t hurting for outfielders.

The most important thing is that the Pirates are still set up to graduate top prospects over the next few years. Nick Kingham will be up in 2015. Jameson Taillon will join him once he gets healthy and spends some time in Triple-A. Adrian Sampson could be a sleeper option to join them, along with Elias Diaz. Alen Hanson was moved to second base with the intention of getting his bat to the majors in 2015. It’s even possible that Josh Bell could be in the majors by mid-season next year if he takes the Gregory Polanco path through winter ball. If he doesn’t make it in 2015, then he’s definitely in line for 2016, along with Tyler Glasnow, and possibly guys like Cody Dickson, JaCoby Jones, and others who could take a step forward next year.

You want more good than bad in a minor league season, and you want the bad to be mostly limited to one season, rather than negatively impacting the future. The Pirates got that this year.

Links and Notes

**Prospect Watch: A Few 2014 Draft Picks Finish Strong on Final Day of the Season

**Pirates Add John Holdzkom to the 40-Man Roster, DFA Chris McGuiness

**Pirates Add Gerrit Cole, Tony Sanchez and Stolmy Pimentel to Active Roster

**Morning Report: Jhondaniel Medina Puts Together a Remarkable Run

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First Pitch: Who Will Be Eligible For the Pirates’ Playoff Roster? http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/first-pitch-who-will-be-eligible-for-the-pirates-playoff-roster.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/first-pitch-who-will-be-eligible-for-the-pirates-playoff-roster.html#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 05:44:09 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=87438 For the second straight year, the Pittsburgh Pirates find themselves in good position to make the playoffs heading into September, which means we need clarification on how playoff rosters are determined. Today was the final day to shape those rosters, whether that’s by adding outside help, or just adding players to a roster to make them eligible. To get a better understanding of how playoff rosters work, let’s review all of the rules, restrictions, and exemptions for the rosters.

Who is Eligible For the Playoff Rosters?

The players who can be added to the playoff rosters had to be on one of the following rosters by 11:59 PM EST on August 31st.

  • MLB 40-Man Roster
  • Major League Disabled List (7-day, 15-day, 60-day)
  • Bereavement List
  • Suspended List

In previous years, players had to be on the active roster to be eligible. This year, the rule has changed so that players are eligible for the playoff roster if they’re on the 40-man roster by August 31st. This is how the Pirates have been able to option Gerrit Cole, Jeff Locke, and Gregory Polanco to the minors in the last week, while still maintaining that they’ll be eligible for the post-season.

In previous years a team had to add a player to the active roster by midnight to be eligible. Now a team had to add a player to the 40-man roster by midnight for him to be eligible. The Pirates didn’t make any additions to the 40-man roster today. Thus, everyone on this list can be added to the playoff roster.

Adding Outside Help

Teams can make waiver trades all season-long, even in September. However, in order for a new addition to be eligible for the playoffs, he must be acquired by the organization by August 31st. If a team adds a player in September, that player can help the team down the stretch, and possibly in future years, but wouldn’t be eligible for the post-season. The Pirates added John Axford in August, so he would be eligible for the post-season. Any player they might add in September wouldn’t be eligible for the post-season.

Disabled List Exceptions

Any player who is eligible for the playoff roster, and who is on the 60-day disabled list or the 15-day disabled list when the playoffs begin, can be replaced with anyone who was in the organization on August 31st. The players must be on the disabled list for at least 60 or 15 days, respectively.

Currently the Pirates have no players who would be eligible for the 60-day disabled list. They have Charlie Morton on the 15-day DL, and if he remains on the DL the rest of the season, they could use his spot as a “flex” spot. The Pirates could get an additional flex spot if someone goes on the 15-day DL in September and is out for 15 days by the time the playoffs begin.

It’s possible to call up a minor leaguer and place him on the DL, creating a spot. As an example of what the Pirates could do, Alen Hanson (currently out with a hamstring injury, and also on the 40-man roster) could be called up and placed on the DL. The downside is he would accumulate service time while he is on the DL. The upside is that the Pirates would have an additional flex spot.

These “flex” spots can be used for anyone in the organization, including minor league players who aren’t on the 40-man roster. That includes a speedy player in the lower levels who would only be used as a pinch runner, a lefty specialist, or a fireball starter who you’d want to use in relief. Those players would have to be added to the 40-man roster to be called up.

Injuries During the Playoffs

If a player is injured during a playoff series, he can be replaced with permission from the commissioner’s office. However, that player would be ineligible for the remainder of that playoff series, as well as the following series. So if a player goes down in game one of the NLDS, the Pirates could replace him, but he wouldn’t be eligible to return until the World Series, missing the NLCS.

If a player is injured before the series starts, he can be replaced on the roster for that series, and would be eligible to return the following series.

Rosters Can be Set For Each Round, Even the Wild Card Game

Each round of the playoffs brings a new roster. That includes the Wild Card game, which is its own round. This means teams can get very creative with their rosters, including the Wild Card round. We saw this last year when the Pirates had 16 position players and 7 relievers in the Wild Card round.

Teams could also get creative in the division series or any other series. If their opponent has a lefty-heavy lineup, they might want to add more left-handed pitchers. A division series would only have a maximum of five games, which means you might be able to get by with 3-4 starting pitchers (depending on whether you’ve used a starter in the Wild Card round).

Links and Notes

**Prospect Watch: Stetson Allie Leads a Big Day of Homers; Bradenton Clinches Playoffs

**Neal Huntington on Who Could Join the Pirates When Rosters Expand Tomorrow

**No Moves Imminent For the Pirates as Waiver Trade Deadline Approaches

**Sampson Finishes Strong at Indianapolis, But Still Has Work to Do Before the Majors

**Fastball Command is Key for Francisco Liriano

**Morning Report: What Kind of Upside Does Erich Weiss Possess?

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First Pitch: Why the Pirates Optioned Gerrit Cole and Jeff Locke to the Minors http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/08/first-pitch-why-the-pirates-optioned-gerrit-cole-and-jeff-locke-to-the-minors.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/08/first-pitch-why-the-pirates-optioned-gerrit-cole-and-jeff-locke-to-the-minors.html#comments Sun, 31 Aug 2014 06:13:20 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=87426 Over the last two days, the Pittsburgh Pirates have made a few moves to add some short-term depth, sending down players who have and will continue to be a big part of the 2014 season, all to get a few days of extra depth on the bench.

The first move saw the Pirates option Gerrit Cole to Bristol, which allowed them to bring up Andrew Lambo. Then, they optioned Jeff Locke to Indianapolis, bringing up Brent Morel. Both moves probably raise a lot of questions to those who aren’t familiar with the MLB rules on roster construction, playoff rosters, and so on. I thought I’d put together a FAQ, looking at a few of the questions that you might have on the moves.

Why Bristol For Cole and Indianapolis For Locke?

Normally an optional assignment means a player must spend ten days in the minors before he can return to the majors. There are two exceptions. The first exception is that the player can replace someone who goes on the disabled list after he is optioned. The second exception comes at the end of the minor league season. A player can be recalled from his assignment if the minor league team he was assigned to finishes their season, even if that takes place before his ten-day period is up.

In Cole’s case, Bristol ended their season tonight. His next scheduled start was going to be on September 1st, which is after active rosters expand from 25 to 40. Cole can be brought back for that start, and the Pirates won’t have to send anyone down. Meanwhile, they get three extra games from Andrew Lambo off the bench.

Locke wasn’t going to make his next start until September 2nd. Indianapolis has been eliminated from the post-season, which means their season ends on September 1st. So Locke can return on the 2nd.

Aren’t They Burning an Option?

One concern I’ve seen about this involves option years being wasted. In Locke’s case, the option was already used. Options are measured in years, and no how many individual times a player goes back and forth between the minors. Once a player is optioned to the minors, he can be called up and sent down as many times as necessary that season. Since Locke had already used his option year this year, he could be sent down with no worries.

Cole hasn’t been sent down on optional assignment this year, but he also won’t use an option year. A player needs to be on optional assignment for 20 days in a season to use an option. Anything less than 20 days means the player keeps the option, and also gets MLB service time for the amount of time he was on optional assignment. Since Cole will be down for less than a week, he won’t use an option year.

Will They Be Eligible For the Playoffs?

This issue came up when Gregory Polanco was sent down, where it seemed that he might not be eligible for the post-season rosters. It was my previous belief that to be added to the playoff roster, you must be on the 25-man roster by August 31st. However, according to this document from the Seattle Times, MLB Rule 40(a)(1)(A) says that anyone on optional assignment is eligible. This means anyone on the 40-man roster on August 31st is eligible for the post-season. So it doesn’t matter if Cole, Locke, or Polanco are in the majors before rosters expand. As long as they’re on the 40-man roster (and they are), they will be eligible for the playoffs.

In summary, the Pirates can send these pitchers down, rather than having them do nothing off the bench for a few days. The pitchers can then return for their next scheduled starts. In the mean time, the Pirates get extra bench help that could be useful for those few days. The pitchers who were sent down don’t see an option year used in the process, and they maintain eligibility.

It’s weird to see Gerrit Cole optioned to the low-levels of the minors, or Jeff Locke optioned right after a great start. But that’s just the Pirates getting creative with roster moves at the end of the season.

Links and Notes

**Prospect Watch: Homers From JaCoby Jones and Stetson Allie

**The Type of Win That Defines a Contender

**Clint Hurdle Looks for Quality At Bats from Andrew Lambo

**Locke optioned, Morel called up

**How is Alen Hanson Adjusting to Second Base?

**Morning Report: Edwin Espinal is Still a Sleeper, But For How Much Longer?

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First Pitch: Thoughts From Indy on Lambo’s Power, Top Pitchers, and Bullpen Help http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/08/first-pitch-thoughts-from-indy-on-lambos-power-top-pitchers-and-bullpen-help.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/08/first-pitch-thoughts-from-indy-on-lambos-power-top-pitchers-and-bullpen-help.html#comments Sat, 30 Aug 2014 04:28:18 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=87219 Andrew Lambo, who had a starting big league job in the spring to lose, managed to do just that. Along with this collapse, Lambo managed to avoid a call up, despite hitting .332 with a .962 OPS in 60 games with Indianapolis. That streak ended today when the Pirates called him up, likely for the remainder of the season. But why did it take this long?

After the trade for Ike Davis on April 18, I reported that Lambo was no longer playing first base every day at the Triple-A level and this marked that how far he had fallen to no longer get a look at the position within the organization.

The bad luck continued for Lambo in May, when he injured his thumb just about the time that the Pirates were looking for some outfield help before the Gregory Polanco call up. Prior to leaving with an injury on May 4, Lambo was hitting .344 and riding a nine game hit streak. This made him a prime candidate for the promotion. However, the injury bug bit and he remained away.

After taking ground balls and nearing a return, Lambo endured a setback from the thumb and was forced to have surgery.

Since returning to Indianapolis from the DL on July 17, Lambo has picked up right where he left off. However, he had still been overlooked for the call up, as the Pirates favored Jose Tabata when Polanco was sent back to get some confidence in his swing.

Prior to today’s promotion, it appeared that Lambo had fallen out of favor with the Pirates brass and his future in Pittsburgh was in doubt. The recent call up could not come at a better time for him. After hitting 32 home runs last season, Lambo appears to have found the power again. He hit six home runs in his last eight games in Triple-A before the promotion. If Lambo would like to resurrect the excitement that the Pirates had in him, the solution is simple – go up and do what he has the past two seasons in Triple-A in hammering the ball.

Pitching prospects getting to the upper levels

At the end of this season, Nick Kingham and Adrian Sampson will venture to the Arizona Fall League. With the age of the duo, combined with their quick climb through the organization, the Pirates have high hopes in their hurlers at the upper levels.

Though Sampson and Kingham have each seen their share of struggles in Triple-A, they have each shown what has them on the doorstep of the big leagues. Obviously Kingham had a much better start at the Triple-A level and many more starts that Sampson, showing that he is closer. He has seen some struggles towards the end of the year, which should keep him in Indianapolis for the start of the 2015 season. Next year the two will team with Jameson Taillon, who is returning from Tommy John surgery, in the Indianapolis rotation.

Outside of Tyler Glasnow, Indianapolis will see the organization’s top three pitching prospects in 2015. With the way that the Pirates bring along young starters, it is possible that even Glasnow could find himself at the Triple-A level toward the end of next season.

September call up help in the bullpen

With a noticeable bullpen void in Pittsburgh, Neal Huntington has been praising the internal options most of the second half of the campaign. There are several options at Indianapolis, but they may not all be household names.

There is no doubt that Casey Sadler will join the bullpen when the rosters expand. Sadler has struggled of late with Indianapolis after a strong start. However, he was strong in his final start with Indianapolis Thursday night, going six innings and allowing one run on two hits. He also has experience from earlier in the season with a pair of stints in the Pittsburgh bullpen.

I expect Ernesto Frieri to get another look in Pittsburgh. With the expanded rosters, they will not be forced to put him in close games as they were before he was outrighted to Indianapolis. Frieri is also among the strongest options as well. However, the issues are still there for Frieri, as he has allowed a home run in two of his last three outings coming into Friday.

While Vin Mazzaro has some experience and success in the Pirates bullpen, he has really struggled this season with inherited runners. However, I expect Mazzaro to be the final bullpen arm added due to this experience.

This leaves candidates Andy Oliver, John Holdzkom and Bobby LaFromboise likely on the outside looking in. LaFromboise is a possible pick to be added, due to being on the 40-man roster and he would add an extra lefty in the bullpen, but I think that they will go with experience for the stretch run. Oliver has put up strong numbers, but he still cannot be trusted in a pennant race. He struggled with command early, was pinpoint toward the middle of the season, but has since fallen back in some bad trends. Holdzkom is someone I have been high on all season. I love his stuff and his upper 90s fastball, but his inexperience also cannot be trusted in the race. This is Holdzkom’s first season above High-A. While he isn’t a guarantee to go up this season, I see big things for Holdzkom if he can keep his command issues under control.

Links and Notes

**The 2014 Prospect Guide is on sale in the Pirates Prospects store. The paperback version has dropped to $14.99 plus shipping. We currently only have one case of books remaining, and the offer is only valid while the books are in stock. There is also an eBook version available for $9.99. The 2013 Prospect Guide is on clearance for $1.


**Josh Harrison is More Than Just Heart and Hustle

**Clint Hurdle on Marte’s Improvement, Harrison’s Hustle, and Hitting Leake

**Injury Updates on Charlie Morton and Travis Snider

**Pirates Recall Andrew Lambo

**Pirates Outright Tommy Field to Indianapolis


**Prospect Watch: Nick Kingham Ends Season on Sour Note, Reese McGuire Homers

**DSL Pirates 2014: Ten Prospects to Watch

**Willy Garcia Establishing Himself as a Top Prospect

**Morning Report: Cole Tucker Holds His Own in His First Pro Season

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