Saturday’s action in the Pirates’ minor league organization began with a double header sweep in the Gulf Coast League, making up for yesterday’s rain out:
GCL Pirates 3, GCL Blue Jays 2 (Game 1)
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Luis Heredia pitched 3 scoreless innings to begin this game, facing only one batter over the minimum. After retiring the side in order in the 1st, Heredia hit a batter in the 2nd inning but promptly erased that runner with a double play. He walked a batter with two outs in the 3rd, but C Ryan Hornback threw that runner out trying to steal second base.
The Pirates scored their first run in the 1st inning. CF Junior Sosa singled and stole second base, then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. 1B Jose Osuna’s RBI single plated Sosa. LF Ping-Hung Chi led off the 3rd inning with a walk, and Sosa bunted him to second. A ground out moved Chi to third, and he scored on DH Gregory Polanco’s line drive single into right field.
David Jagoditsh relieved Heredia to begin the 4th. He pitched a scoreless 4th, then gave up the Jay’s first run in the 5th, on a single, two stolen bases, and an RBI single. The Pirates got the run right back in the bottom of the inning. 3B Francisco Aponte walked, and both Polanco and Osuna singled, to load the bases. Aponte scored on Hornback’s ground out to third. RF Gavi Nivar also grounded to third, but the fielder’s choice had Polanco out at the plate. The Pirates were up 3-1.
Jagoditsh began the top of the 6th with two outs, and then was relieved by Miguel Mendez. The first batter Mendez faced smacked a home run, to make the score 3-2. Mendez walked the lead-off batter in the 7th, but Hornback threw him out trying to steal second, and Mendez struck out the next two batters to end the game. Jagoditsh earned his first win of the season, and Mendez earned his first Save.
GCL Pirates 1, GCL Blue Jays 0 (Game 2)
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Orlando Castro earned his first win for the Pirates with 6 scoreless innings of work. He allowed 6 hits, no walks, and struck out 2 batters. In both the 2nd and 3rd innings, the first two Jays’ batters hit back-to-back singles, but both times, Castro got an out (strikeout, and tag out at third), then induced an inning-ending double play. Castro also gave up singles in the 4th and 6th inning, but left both those runners on base.
The Pirates were also scoreless over their first 6 innings, held to just 3 hits, and falling victim to 7 strikeouts. 2B Jodaneli Carvajal singled in the 1st inning, but was out in a double play. DH Jose Osuna led off the 3rd inning with a single up the middle, and was left on base. Osuna singled again in the 5th, and was again left stranded. The top of the 7th began with 3B Yhonathan Barrios working a walk. He moved to second on a wild pitch, and to third on a sacrifice bunt by C Jon Schwind. RF Gregory Polanco drove Barrios in with a line drive into right field, and that was the only run of the game.
Joseph Parsons replaced Castro on the mound for the 9th inning and pitched a perfect inning to earn his second Save.
The Pirates have optioned SS Pedro Ciriaco to AAA Indianapolis. This opens a roster spot for OF Alex Presley, who will be officially called up on Tuesday (the Pirates have a day off on Monday). UPDATE: Presley has officially been called up, and will join the Pirates in Toronto.
Also promoted: pitcher Rinku Singh has been promoted from the GCL Pirates to State College. Singh has pitched a total of 15 innings so far this season. Eleven of those came on 3 appaearances with the DSL team. He gave up 3 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks, with 7 strikeouts in the Dominican. In one appearance last week with the GCL Pirates, Singh pitched 4 scoreless innings and allowed only one hit, while striking out 5 batters. Singh pitched in one game for the Spikes at the end of the 2010 season. He went 2 innings in that game, and gave up only one hit, with one strikeout.
Monday’s game action:
GCL Pirates 1, GCL Phillies 0…. for 1.5 innings
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3B Pedro Alvarez made his first official rehab start this afternoon. It didn’t last long, though that had nothing to do with him: the game was suspended due to rain after just 1.5 innings. Alvarez was the Pirates’ lead-off batter. He got one trip to the plate, in which he grounded out to second base. CF Willy Garcia was the only batter on either team to reach base, when he blasted a solo homer in the top of the 2nd. Pirates’ starter Luis Heredia pitched to just 3 batters in the bottom of the first — two strikeouts and a pop out to C Joey Schoenfeld.
Wednesday’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor leaguers:
The West Virginia Power have a day off today, wrapping up their All-Star break. The Altoona Curve and the New Hampshire Fisher Cats had their game postponed tonight, due to rain. They will try for a double header tomorrow, beginning at 6:05 pm.
Jordy Mercer was named the Eastern League’s Player of the Week for last week. Mercer had an RBI in each of six games he played in last week, with a total of 9 RBI. He hit 3 doubles and 2 homers last week, and earned a .381 average for the week. Mercer is hitting .267 overall for the season, with 17 doubles, 13 homers, and 48 RBI.
The Pirates have signed two more draft picks: LHP Josh Poytress (18th round) and RHP David Jagoditsch (32nd round). Both were college pitchers, and could be assigned to State College. The list of all of the Pirates’ draft picks, including who has signed, is here.
Bradenton Marauders 5, Jupiter Hammerheads 4
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The Marauders wrapped up the first half of the Florida State League season with an early afternoon win over Jupiter. Brett Sinkbeil pitched 6 innings for Bradenton and allowed one run on two hits, with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. The only run he allowed came on a solo homer to lead off the top of the 3rd. He allowed a single to begin the 2nd inning but erased the runner with a double play. The walks came in the 5th and 6th inning; one of those runners was left on base and the other was thrown out by C Carlos Paulino as he tried to steal second base.
The Marauders also began their scoring with a solo home run — by 1B Aaron Baker to lead off the bottom of the 2nd. SS Kelson Brown began the bottom of the 3rd with a triple into center field. After a walk by RF Robbie Grossman, 2B Jarek Cunningham grounded a high chopper to third, which forced out Grossman at second but allowed Brown to score. Cunningham stole second base, then both DH David Rubinstein and Baker worked back-to-back walks to load the bases. 3B Elevys Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly brought in Cunningham and CF Evan Chambers’ line drive back through the box brought in Rubinstein, giving the Marauders a 4-1 lead.
The Marauders added an unearned run in the 5th. With two outs, Elevys Gonzalez walked and stole second base. Chambers grounded to short, but a throwing error by the Jupiter shortstop let Chambers reach safely and let Gonzalez score. Paulino also had two singles in the game, in the 2nd and 6th innings, but did not score.
Jason Erickson relieved Sinkbeil to begin the 7th inning. The lead-off batter smacked a ground-rule double, but the next three batters flied out, and the runner did not leave second base. Erickson began the 8th inning with a ground out and a solo homer, then had a batter reach base on a fielding error by SS Brown. Ryan Beckman came on in relief, but he gave up a single and another ground-rule double, driving in a run. The third run of the inning scored on an RBI ground out, to bring Jupiter within a run of the Marauders, 5-4. Beckman got a strikeout to end the inning, then retired the side in order in the 9th, to hold on to the win. Beckman earned his 5th Save, and Sinkbeil earned his first win of the season.
Friday’s action with the Pirate’s lower minor league teams — the brief version, as we’re on the road:
The Bradenton Marauders are off for the Florida State League’s All-Star weekend. The 50th FSL All-Star Game will be played on Saturday, in Clearwater, FL. Representing the Marauders: C Ramon Cabrera and INF Aaron Baker and Jarek Cunningham. Kyle McPherson and Brett Lorin were also named to the team but won’t be participating because McPherson was promoted to AA, and Lorin is injured.
The Pirates have signed Jon Schwind (41st round pick), and he will report to the GCL Pirates. Schwind was listed as a catcher when drafted, but he also plays some infield and out field.
Williamsport Crosscutters 7, State College Spikes 0
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Not the way the Spikes wanted to start the season. Starter Nick Kingham had two good innings, allowing only a single, but things fell apart in the 3rd. That inning began with a lead-off homer, then after one out, a single and a stolen base put a runner on second. After the second out, an RBI single drove in the second run of the inning. A walk and a 3-run homer made it 5-0. Joely Rodriguez took over for Kingman in the 4th, and gave up an unearned run on a double, a wild pitch, and a passed ball. Rodriguez also loaded the bases in the 5th, but got out of the jam with a fly out. Vince Payne pitched the next two innings, allowing only two singles. Joan Montero took the bottom of the 8th, and gave up the final Williamsport run on a hit batter, a walk, and an RBI double.
The Spikes collected 6 hits. C Samuel Gonzalez singled and doubled, and RF Carlos Mesa singled twice, while two newly signed draft picks, CF Taylor Lewis and DH Derek Trent, each singled. The Spikes threatened in the 3rd inning, when 3B Walker Gourley was hit by a pitch, then Trent reached base on a fielding error by the Williamsport left fielder. Gourley came around from first and tried to score on the play, but was tagged out at the plate. They had another chance in the 4th, when LF Exicardo Cayonez was hit by a pitch and Gonzalez doubled, moving Cayonez to third, but both were left on base.
Moving on to look at some of the pitchers in the Pirates’ minor league organization, going generally from the lower levels to the upper levels.
Luis Heredia — R/R, 6′ 6″, 185 lb
Heredia is the 16-year-old Mexican phenom prospect, who was signed last year. He received the highest bonus ever given by the Pirates to an international prospect, but remember that under the Mexican League rules, his Mexican team got 75% of that money. That still left enough money for Heredia to recently buy a house in Bradenton and have his mom come to live there with him. Heredia reportedly threw 6 different pitches in Mexico, but the Pirates are having him concentrate on the fastball, curve, and change-up, with emphasis on control and command. Heredia has been spending a lot of time observing the players in big league spring training camp, and the Pirates have been impressed with his level of maturity for his age. At 16, he has a lot of work to do, clearly, but the Pirates are very excited about an amazing amount of potential. There was some debate as to whether Heredia should start his pro career in either the Dominican or Venezuelan Summer Leagues (with other players his same age), or whether he should get right into the Gulf Coast League. He has been pitching against older players in Mexico, and the DSL/VSL would probably not offer him much competition, but the fact that the Pirates did not dissuade him from buying a house in Bradenton is telling.
Logan Pevny — R/R, 6′ 3″, 190 lb
Pevny was the Pirates’ 49th pick in the 2010 draft. This New Jersey student was a hot-hitting shortstop in high school, and began pitching only in his senior year, almost as an afterthought. After signing, Pevny began his pro career with the GCL Pirates. He made three appearances. The first one was one inning, and he struck out 2 batters. In the second, he gave up a run on a hit and 3 walks in 1.2 innings. In the third, he went 2 innings, and allowed 2 runs on 3 hits and a homer. After that, he went onto the DL. Pevny spent the off season doing a lot of working out, and also doing some teaching with little kids. At age 19, he’s back and ready to go this spring, though, probably heading back to get in more work in the GCL.