Saturday’s action in the Pirates’ lower minor league organization… being thrown out at the plate seemed to be a recurring theme….
Harrisburg Senators 3, Altoona Curve 1
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The Curve out-hit the Senators 8-4, but could only force one run across the plate, though that was one more run than they had scored in their last three games. Aaron Pribanic suffered his 5th loss of the season (for a 5-5 record), allowing 2 runs on just 2 hits and a walk, while strikeout out 7 batters in 6 innings. The walk gave the Senators their only baserunner over the first three innings. The Senators began the 4th inning with a single, and a balk put the runner on second base. Pribanic struck out the next two batters, but the next batter smacked a 2-run homer. He retired the next 7 batters in order to finish his night.
The Curve put at least one batter on base in 5 of the first 6 innings. They came closest to scoring in the 4th, when SS Jordy Mercer led off with a single, and advanced to second on a balk. He reached third when 3B Jeremy Farrell singled to first, but got hung up between third and home, and was tagged out in a run-down. Altoona got onto the scoreboard in the 7th inning. Farrell lined a single into right field, and after two outs, pinch-hitter Anthony Norman grounded to second, where the Harrisburg second baseman missed the play. Farrell scored on the error. CF Starling Marte doubled into left field, moving Norman to third, but a strikeout ended the inning with both of the runners in scoring position.
Matt McSwain replaced Pribanic in the 7th. He walked two batters, and loaded the bases with a single. An RBI ground out brought in the runner from third, for the Senators’ third run. Tim Alderson gave up a lead-off triple in the 8th, and hit the next batter with a pitch, but got out of the jam with a strikeout and a double play — a line out to center field and an on-target throw by Marte to the plate let C Tony Sanchez tag him out at home.
Former Pirate farmhand Jimmy Barthmaier walked Mercer to begin the 8th, but he was erased on a double play, and a strikeout ended the inning, the Curve went down in order in the 9th.
As we continue to look at the minor leaguers in the Pirates’ organization, we’ll move on to the catchers:
Joey Schoenfeld — R/R, 6′ 2″, 187 lb
Schoenfeld was chosen by the Pirates in the 10th round of the 2009 draft. He got in just 5 games with the GCL Pirates in that year, and went 0-for-14 at the plate. In 2010, Schoenfeld was back with the GCL Pirates, sharing playing time with Elias Diaz and Dylan Child. Schoenfeld still needs a lot of work on his defense, though the Pirates believe the potential is there. He threw out 2 of 21 base stealers — definitely a work in progress. With the bat, Schoenfeld hit .273 in July and improved to .296 in August, to average out at a solid .281, with 3 RBI. He did strike out a lot: 21 strikeouts in 23 games (32.8%), but also took a lot of walks (10, or 13.3 %). He’ll turn 20 years old in June, so he still has some time to work on everything. He should begin 2011 in State College.
Elias Diaz – R/R, 6′ 1″, 175 lb
Diaz is a 20-year-old Venezuelan, who made his US debut after just one season in the VSL. Of the three catchers, he got the bulk of the playing time behind the plate for the GCL Pirates in 2010 (38 games). Diaz was the best of the three defensively, including throwing out 21 of 51 base stealers. His hitting needs some work, as he hit just .218, with 2 homers and 20 RBI. Diaz started out stronger, with a .261 average in 6 games in June, then dropping to .227 in July and .182 in August. The Pirates are hoping that he will develop more power over the next few years. He’ll probably begin 2011 in State College, sharing duties with Schoenfeld. He’s got an outside chance of being assigned to West Virginia, where he’d share with Matt Skirving.
Dylan Child — R/R, 6′ 1″, 181 lb
Child is an Australian and a product of MLB’s Australian Academy. He made his US debut with the GCL Pirates in 2010, though of these three catchers, he got the least amount of time behind the plate — just 8 games. He also played 14 games at first base, and 2 at third. Partly because he is relatively new to catching (he was a shortstop initially), he needs the most work on his defense. He threw out only one of 12 base stealers last season. Child needs to work on his hitting as well — he hit .179 in 12 games in July and .217 in 9 games in August. Overall, he had a .180 average with a double and 2 RBI. His strikeout rate was not high — 11 strikeouts in a total of 24 games (18%). Child was listed as a “reserve” on the Adelaide Bite in the Australian Baseball League over the winter, but was never placed on the active roster. With so little playing time behind the plate last year, the 20-year-old will probably return to the GCL in 2011.
Adelaide Bite� 8,� Melbourne Aces� 1
Pirates’ farmhand LF Quincy Latimore singled twice, doubled twice, and scored twice as Adelaide chomped on Melbourne in their Australian Baseball League season opener.� Former Altoona Curve pitcher Paul Mildren made the start for the Bite, pitching 7 shut-out innings to earn his team’s first win.� Mildren worked around 6 hits and a walk, and a couple of errors (each team committed 4 errors), and he also picked a runner off base.� In the last three innings he pitched, only one batter reached base, on a single.� Melbourne’s only run came in the 8th, off reliever Chris Lawson, and that one was unearned, coming on a throwing error, a single, and a double play.
The Bite were able to take advantage of the Aces’ errors.�� They scored one run in the 2nd inning on a walk, a fielding erorr, and a single.� In the 4-run 4th inning, two errors made the Bite’s job easier.� Two lead-off walks and a single brought in the first run.� A throwing error and an RBI single plated 2 more runs.� A fielding error and another RBI single added the fourth run of the inning.
Latimore singled in the 1st inning and walked in the 3rd inning for Adelaide, but did not score.� In the 4th, Latimore struck out — his only plate appearance when he did not reach base.� In the 6th, Latimore started the Bite’s rally with a single, then stole second base and scored on an RBI double by DH Ben Wigmore.� A single, a double, and an RBI ground out gave Adelaide their seventh run in the 7th inning.� Latimore led off the 8th with a walk, then scored on Wigmore’s 2-run homer.
The Bite’s roster page lists pitcher Mitch Fienemann as being “reassigned”, and C Dylan Child (and infielder Dayle Child) as being “reserve”.�� I can understand the “reserve” part, but I’m not sure what or where Fienemann might have been reassigned to.
The Australians are beginning their third iteration of the Australian Baseball League this weekend.� The Aussies have had two leagues before — both had to shut down due to financial issues.� This time, the ABL is going to be a partnership between MLB and the Australian Baseball Federation.� MLB has been sponsoring the Australian Academy Program since 2001, and several Pirates’ farmhands (Jarryd Sullivan, Mitch Fienemann) have participated.� This academy works with young Australian and Asian players, similar to the work done by the Dominican and other Caribbean academies.
The new ABL has six teams:� the Adelaide Bite (think: shark), the Brisbane Bandits, the Canberra Cavalry, the Melbourne Aces, the Perth Heat, and the Sydney Blue Sox.� The season will run into January, with each team playing 40 games.� Of course Australian players will be featured, but there are some other “imports” as well.� Here’s the official ABL site, and you can see the resemblance to many other US minor league sites.
The good news:� some Pirates’ farmhands are going to be playing
Adelaide Bite:� RHP Mitch Fienemann, LHP Paul Mildren (former Altoona Curve), C Dylan Child, OF Quincy Latimore;� the team manager is Pirate international scout Tony Harris.� Also on the team is a second baseman named Dayle Child…. I’m guessing he’s Dylan’s brother, but I’ve not confirmed it.� The Bite play their first game on Thursday.
Canberra Cavalry: LHP Rinku Singh
Sydney Blue Sox: RHP Jarryd Sullivan
The Calvalry and Blue Sox open on Saturday Nov 6th at 7:30 AEST in Sydney… which is 4:30 am EST in the US, as best as I can tell.� (I will not be up.)
And on to Friday evening’s winter league games:
Pirates’ lower minor leaguers on Saturday…
Altoona Curve� 10,� Binghamton Mets� 4 (box)
The Curve posted 14 hits, with two big innings, as all but one member of the starting line-up had at least one hit in the game, as starter Rudy Owens earned his 10th win of the season.� SS Jordy Mercer doubled three times and 1B Matt Hague doubled twice, with 4 RBI.� Even Owens doubled, walked, and scored twice.
Owens got off to a little bit of a shaky start on the mound.� He gave up a double, a single, and a sacrifice fly to begin the bottom of the 1st.� A single and a double gave the Mets a second run in the 3rd.� Owens settled in after that, and allowed just one hit in each of the 4th and 5th.
The Curve got one run back in the top of the 4th, after putting runners on base in each of the first three innings but failing to score.� In the 4th,� Mercer hit his first double, and he scored on RF Miles Durham’s RBI single.� Then they broke through in the 5th.� Owens led off the inning with a walk.� LF Jose De Los Santos singled, then 3B Josh Harrison bunted both runners into scoring position.� 2B Jim Negrych was intentionally walked to load the bases.� Hague cleared the bases with a double into left field, then Mercer hit his second double (this one was a ground-rule double), plating Hague.� The Curve had a 5-2 lead.
The next inning began with a solo home run by Miles Durham.� One out later, Owens doubled, and De Los Santos singled.� A fielding error on a ball hit to third by Harrison let Owens score.� Negrych brought in both Owens and De Los Santos with another double, and Hague made it three doubles in the inning with his 26th of the season, bringing in Negrych with the fifth run of the inning.� The Curve were up, 10-2.
Mike Colla relieved Owens to begin the 6th.� He gave up a solo homer in that inning, and another solo homer in the 8th, but retired the other 12 batters he faced in 4 innings.� Owens earned his 10th win of the season, and Colla earned his first save.