Daily Archives: February 19, 2011
All of the Pirates' position players have arrived at camp in Bradenton, even Jose Ascanio, who had been held up in Venezuela due to visa issues. Pitcher Scott Olsen is going to be out for a few days due to a hamstring injury. The only other "injured" player at this time is pitcher Donnie Veal, who is working his way back after elbow surgery ("Tommy John").
Continuing to look at the Pirates' minor league outfielders... today we have two outfielders who have a lot to overcome:
Wes Freeman -- R/R, 6' 4", 215 lb.
Freeman was the Pirates' pick in the 16th round of the 2008 draft. The 21-year-old Florida native spent the remainder of the 2008 season and all of 2009 with the GCL Pirates, where he struggled at the plate. He struck out in more than a third of his at-bats in 2009, and unfortunately that did not get any better in 2010. Freeman began last season in West Virginia. He did fine in right field, and his arm is strong, but at the plate, he was getting into more and more trouble. In 24 games for the Power, he hit .187 with 44 strikeouts -- almost 2 strikeouts per game. Freeman injured his ankle, and when he was ready to come back, he was returned to the GCL. He finished the season with 21 games for the GCL Pirates, hitting .187 there. His strikeout rate was 52% in those 21 games, for a total of 35 K's. With all the other outfielders who are vying to start the season in West Virginia, Freeman is going to have to look very good in spring training if he's going to join the Power. Then he's going to have to figure out how to stop striking out if he's going to stay in the organization.
Cole White -- R/R, 6' 4", 205 lb.
White has a completely different situation to work around. He was the Pirates' 42nd round pick in the 2008 draft, and along with fellow West Point graduate Chris Simmons, White signed and reported to State College, where he hit .338 with 6 doubles, one homer, and 9 RBI in 21 games. But he ran into a snag -- the US Army changed its policy regarding athletes and their required military service. So, White was off to military duties, and his baseball career was on hold. Then the Army changed policy again, and White was able to ask to return to baseball. He rejoined the State College Spikes at the end of June, and showed his excitement to return by hitting .306 in July. He slid into a slump in August, but finished the season with a .250 average, 8 doubles, 2 triples, 3 homers, and 19 RBI. White should be able to start 2011 in West Virginia, but he's going to have some catching up to do. He'll be 26 in early April, and relatively speaking, that's 3 - 5 years older than most of his teammates will be. (White still owes the Army 3 years of service.)