2011 Prospect Watching: Miller, Lorin, McPherson, And Welker

Moving on up the chain, looking at the Pirates’ pitching prospects.  There are a big pile of pitchers who seem to “belong” at A level West Virginia this season, and there is just not going to be enough room for everyone.  Some will have to go to State College, some might spend some time in extended spring training, some might get a bump up to A+ Bradenton, and some might even be released.  Today we’ll look at some pitchers who could begin the season in Bradenton.

Quinton Miller  –  R/R,  6′ 1″,  185 lb
Miller was chosen by the Pirates in the 20th round of the 2008 draft.  He made two solid starts at State College, then 12 more starts for West Virginia in 2009.  He finished the season with a combined 2-4 record and a 4.41 ERA.  He had 28 walks in 63.1 innings, and 44 strikeouts.  Miller was promoted to West Virginia to begin 2010.  His threw 5 scoreless innings in his first start, but his second start was halted after one inning, due to what turned out to be biceps tendonitis.  After more than 2 months on the DL, he made one appearance (2 scoreless innings) for the GCL Pirates and started 4 games for State College.  He returned to West Virginia at the end of July and made 8 more starts, but struggled.  In his first start back, Miller didn’t get through the first inning, allowing 7 runs on 6 hits.  His next outing was better, with 5 scoreless innings and 4 hits.  Then another tough outing, when he gave up 4 runs in 5.2 innings. Then back to another good outing — 2 unearned runs on 4 hits in 7 innings.  Miller continued on alternating tougher and better outings.   He finished the season with a 3-6 record and a 5.13 ERA in West Virginia.  In 47.1 innings, he gave up 59 hits and 15 walks and 30 strikeouts.  The 21-year-old Miller has been healthy in spring training and needs to stay healthy for 2011.  He should be ready for Bradenton, where he should keep working on his changeup and slider, and keep the walks down.

Brett Lorin –   R/R, 6′ 7″,  245 lb
Lorin came to the Pirates in July 2009, in the Jack Wilson/Ian Snell trade.  He had been pitching at the A level for Seattle, and stepped into the starting rotation at A West Virginia, where he earned a 1.57 ERA and 3-1 record in 7 starts (34.1 innings) for the Power.  He was ready for a promotion to Bradenton to begin 2010, but a hip injury kept him from starting the season on time.  Lorin was ready for 3 rehab starts for the GCL Pirates by early July (1 run on 2 hits in 7 innings).  He returned to West Virginia at the end of July, and first made three relief appearances for the Power.  In 5 innings of relief, he allowed 3 hits and 1 run, while striking out 7.  The rest of Lorin’s outings were starts, and he had a little more trouble.  He had two starts (August 5th and Sept 6th) when he did not allow any runs, in a combined 9 innings, but in all the rest of his starts, he gave up at least 2 earned runs.  For those 9 starts, Lorin earned a 1-3 record and a5.70 ERA, with 47 hits and 23 earned runs in 36.1 innings.  He walked 9 and struck out 25 batters.  Lorin will turn 24 this week.  He could begin the 2010 season in West Virginia, or move up to Bradenton.  

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Two More Rounds Of Reassignments, Plus Game Notes

Catching up after being away for a few days…

On Saturday, the Pirates sent four pitchers to minor league camp:
RHP Bryan Morris and RHP Kyle McPherson, both on the 40-man roster, were optioned down, with Morris going to AAA Indianapolis and McPherson going to A+ Bradenton.   
Two lefties, Rudy Owens and Justin Wilson, were also sent to the minor league camp, and though their exact level is still not official, both should begin the season with the Indy Indians.  

More moves were made today:
From the 40-man roster–
LHP Jeff Locke, LHP Aaron Thompson, and RHP Ramon Aguero were optioned to AA Altoona 
LHP Daniel Moskos and LHP Tony Watson were optioned to Indianapolis
Outfielders Gorkys Hernandez and Alex Presley were optioned to Indianapolis
Moskos and Presley both spent part of 2010 with Indianapolis, while Watson and Hernandez will make their debut at the AAA level.  Locke, Aguero, and Thompson all spent part of 2010 with Altoona.

Not on the 40-man yet –
Infielders Chase d’Arnaud and Brian Friday and outfielder Andrew Lambo were reassigned to minor league camp.  Friday played in Indianapolis for most of 2010 and should return there.  D’Arnaud and Lambo were in Altoona for 2010;  Lambo is ready for AAA, though d’Arnaud may be asked to go back to Altoona for part of 2011.  

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Durham And Atkins Both Homer For Pirates

The Pirates played two split-squad spring training games this afternoon (Monday):

Orioles  6,  Pirates  4
The Pirates were held to 5 hits at McKechnie field this afternoon, but one of the big ones was a 2-run homer over the left field wall in the bottom of the 9th by RF Miles Durham, who was up from minor league camp.  1B Lyle Overbay also singled for the Pirates, scoring the first Pirates’ run of the game in the 5th.  3B Pedro Alvarez knocked in the remaining run for the Pirates, in the 6th inning.  LF Jose Tabata led off the inning with a single, stole second base, then scored on Alvarez’s single    Alvarez also doubled for the Pirates.

LF John Bowker, SS Brian Friday, CF Mel Rojas, 3B Andy Marte,  1B Steve Pearce, 2B Chase d’Arnaud, 2B Jim Negrych, and C Wyatt Toregas all got into the game for the Pirates.   

Paul Maholm took the loss for the Pirates.  He gave up a run in the 1st inning on a double and a single, then another on a solo homer in the 2nd.  Jeff Locke allowed a run on two hits in the 6th.  He allowed a single and a walk, then with two outs, an RBI single brought in a run.   Justin Wilson got the first out, then walked the next three batters to load the bases in the 8th.  A double and a sacrifice fly drove in all three of the base runners.  Jeff Karstens pitched 2 scoreless innings, then Tyler Yates, and Mike Crotta each pitched a scoreless frame.   Cesar Valdez finished up the 8th for Karstens, then pitched a scoreless 9th, facing only 4 batters.

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Pirates’ Prospects Club The Manatees

Pirates 21,  Manatee-Sarasota  1   (7 innings)
The Pirates’ top prospects and players fighting for a major league job got the chance to show off their stuff this afternoon in the Pirates’ annual charity game against the State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota.  The Pirates pounded out 20 hits, including home runs by 1B Garrett Atkins and 2B/3B Brian Friday.  Atkins and Josh Fields, who took turns as the DH, and at third and in left field, each had 3 hits.  2B Corey Wimberly, 1B Steve Pearce, CF Gorkys Hernandez, Friday, C Wayne Toregas, and C Tony Sanchez all had 2 hits.  Pearce’s two hits were both doubles, and along with a walk, he drove in 4 runs.  Atkins and Hernandez each had 3 RBI.  The Pirates jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the 1st, with 3 runs.  Pearce’s first double drove in two, then a sacrifice fly by RF Andrew Lambo brought in Pearce.  Wimberly began a rally in the bottom of the 2nd with a double, and the rest of the Pirates took off, adding 7 more runs in that inning.  The Pirates scored in each of their 6 at-bats (it was only scheduled for 7 innings).  

The Pirates’ pitchers were not to be outdone.  Aaron Thompson began the game by striking out the Manatees in order in the top of the 1st.  Tyler Yates pitched the 2nd, and gave up the lone Manatees’ run on a single, a wild pitch, a ground out, and a sacrifice fly.  Yates gave up another single before ending the inning.  Jeff Locke surrendered a single in his scoreless inning, as did Rudy Owens.  Mike Crotta struck out the side, and Justin Wilson and Kyle McPherson both struck out 2 batters without allowing a hit.   

 

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Roster Updates

Gone for a few days, and all kinds of changes going on….

006_06The Pirates have removed starting pitcher Zach Duke, infielder Andy LaRoche, and outfielder Delwyn Young from their 40-man roster.  

Duke (photo) was the starting pitcher for the Indianapolis Indians on Opening Day in 2005, the beginning of the Pirates’ affiliation with the Indians.  Duke faced the rehabbing Curt Schilling, and he and the Indians beat Schilling pretty easily.  

The open spots on the 40-man roster, plus two other already open spots, went to a group of minor league pitchers:  

Mike Crotta, a righty who made 4 starts for Altoona before he was promoted to Indianapolis.  He made 24 starts for the Indians and pitched 131.1 innings, with a 4.93 ERA.
Daniel Moskos,
who split the season between the Indy Indians and the Altoona Curve.  The lefty was outstanding for the Curve, with a 1.52 ERA and 21 saves, though he struggled for the Indians, where he earned a 10.38 ERA in 17.1 innings of relief.
Tony Watson, another lefty who spent the season with the Curve.  He made a few starts (9) but mostly worked in relief, earning a 2.67 ERA in 111.1 innings.  
Jeff Locke, split the season between Altoona and the Bradenton Marauders.  After earning a 3.54 ERA in 17 starts for Bradenton, Locke was promoted to AA, where the southpaw made an additional 10 starts and earned a consistent 3.59 ERA.   
Kyle McPherson, a right-hander who spent most of the season with A-level West Virginia.  McPherson made 21 starts and 5 relief appearances for the Power, with a 3.59 ERA in 117.2 innings, though he had some hot and cold swings.  McPherson also pitched 4 scoreless innings for Bradenton in September.  

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