Mitchell Fienemann — R/R, 6′ 4″, 185 lb
Fienemann was one of the first players the Pirates signed from Australia. He made his US debut in 2009 with the GCL Pirates, where he made 12 appearances, half starts. He moved up to State College for 2010, and there pitched entirely out of the bullpen, making 17 appearances. Fienemann threw 37.1 innings and allowed 15 earned runs and 39 hits. He walked only 7 batters, and struck out 25. He got out to a shaky start, with 8 of those earned runs and 19 hits coming in his first 3 appearances in June, when he earned a 9.00 ERA. That dropped down to a 0.64 ERA over 6 games in July, when he allowed only one earned run and 6 hits, with 9 strikeouts in 14 innings. He had a difficult outing on August 3rd, when he gave up 3 runs on 4 hits, including 2 homers, in 2 innings. After that one, Fienemann did well in his remaining 8 games. He allowed 3 runs over 12.1 innings (2.19 ERA), and walked only 1 batter, while striking out 8. Fienemann will be 21 in May. He should be ready for West Virginia for 2011.
Vincent Payne — R/R, 6′ 4″, 175 lb
The Pirates picked Payne in the 12th round of the 2010 draft, after a shaky junior college season. He reported to the GCL Pirates, where he was a very effective starter. In 10 starts and one relief appearance, he earned a 2-2 record and a 2.43 ERA. Payne threw a total of 37 innings and allowed 10 runs and 30 hits. He walked 9 batters (2.2 walks / 9 innings) and struck out 21 (5.1 K / 9 innings). He was promoted to State College for the last week of the Spikes’ season and also did well in two relief appearances there: he allowed one run on one hit and one walk in 2 innings, then threw 3 hitless and scoreless innings with one walk. Payne is likely to begin 2011 back with State College, though if he is looking very good in spring training, there is a chance he’d get a try at West Virginia. The 20-year-old will need to boost his strikeout rate.
Tyler Waldron — R/R 6′ 2″, 185 lb
Waldron came to the Pirates as their 5th round pick in 2010. At age 21, he made his debut at State College, where he made 14 starts. He earned a 4-7 record and a 3.90 ERA while pitching 64.2 innings. He allowed 66 hits and 28 earned runs, with 11 walks, and 39 strikeouts. He got off to a solid start with 2 starts for 7 innings in June, giving up 3 runs for a 3.86 ERA, along with 4 walks and 4 strikeouts. June was better, with a 3.00 ERA and 10 runs in 30 innings, but with 34 hits. He dropped down to 1 walk and popped up to 20 strikeouts. He was tiring by his last 6 starts, though, and allowed 15 runs over his last 27.2 innings (6 games), for a 4.88 ERA. That included giving up 7 runs on 9 hits in 3.2 innings in his second-to-last start. Waldron should begin 2011 at West Virginia also.
Ryan Beckman — R/R, 6′ 4″, 185 lb
Beckman is another 21 year old, who was chosen in the 18th round of the 2009 draft. He made 3 starts for the GCL Pirates, plus 8 relief appearances, in 2009, then pitched entirely out of the bullpen in 2010. Beckman was a work-horse, making 21 relief appearances, for 42.1 innings. He started off with a strong June, allowing 3 runs and 8 hits in 11 innings (2.45 ERA). July was tougher, as he gave up 12 runs on 21 hits in 16.1 innings, boosting his ERA to 6.61 for the month. August and September were in the middle, with 7 runs in 15 innings (4.20 ERA) with 11 hits. That gave him a 4l68 ERA for the season. Beckmans’ strikeout rate was low in the first half of the season, but he did a little better in August, with 11 strikeouts. Overall, he struck out 21 (4.5 K / 9 innings), which is something that he could improve. The Pirates would also like to see Beckman increase his velocity, which is usually in the upper 80’s, since he’s a bigger guy. Beckman is also ready for West Virginia, which is going to be getting crowded.