Day Two in Bradenton

There was no game in big league camp today, so I spent the entire day at Pirate City, from the opening workouts around 8:30, to the end of the A-ball game against a baseball academy from Canada.  There wasn’t much going on during the opening workouts.  The pitchers worked on fielding practice, some of the hitters worked on their bunting, and then there was batting practice on three of the four fields.  The bunting drills are held Willie “Mays” Hayes style, where hitters have to do push-ups if they don’t put the ball on the ground.  During those drills, I snapped this picture of Calvin Anderson (who is 6′ 7″) and Adenson Chourio (who is 5′ 9″):

Anderson and Chourio

After awhile, a few pitchers started doing bullpen sessions.  The pitchers included Jameson Taillon, Kyle McPherson, Rudy Owens, Daniel Moskos, and Duke Welker.  I posted pictures from those side sessions earlier today.  Jim Benedict, the pitching coordinator, was overseeing Taillon pitch.

The opponents for the day arrived and warmed up for about two hours, then games started around 1:00.  There were three games going on.  The AAA game included guys who are expected to be in Indianapolis, Altoona, and a few big league hitters, such as Chris Snyder, Josh Fields, and Garrett Jones.  Jeff Karstens pitched four innings in that game, allowing no runs, two hits, no walks, and striking out four against the Philadelphia Phillies’ AAA team.  Chris Snyder caught for Karstens, and didn’t seem to have any problems.  Tony Watson came on after Karstens, and had a good outing, allowing one hit in two innings.  He was mostly sitting in the upper 80s, which is the normal range for him.

Karstens got the start today and pitched four innings in the AAA game.
Snyder started the AAA game and worked behind the plate for four innings.

Ramon Aguero came on for an inning of work after Watson.  He was mostly throwing around 92-94, and touched 95.  He did have a problem holding runners on the bag, allowing a few steals.  That might not necessarily be on him, since he might not have been focused as much on keeping runners on the bag.  Cesar Valdez came on after Aguero, and was throwing in the mid-to-upper 80s.

The second game had guys who are expected to be in Altoona and Bradenton, playing the Phillies’ AA team.  Sean Gallagher started the game, and the major leaguers stepped in to take some at-bats when they weren’t hitting in the AAA game.  Daniel McCutchen pitched later in the game, followed by Jeff Locke and Ryan Beckman.  I didn’t watch much of this game, as I was mostly floating between the AAA game and the third game.

The third game was between the lower level players and an academy in Canada.  The game featured Kevin Kleis starting for the first two innings.  Kleis was throwing around 90 MPH, but was wild with his control.  Here is a picture of him:

Kleis

Oscar Verdugo came on next…

Verdugo

Verdugo threw around 88-90.  He was followed by Yhonathan Herrand, who pitched an inning.  Herrand was throwing 87-92 MPH today, but didn’t hit the upper 90s this time around.  Jackson Lodge came on, and was mostly throwing around the mid-80s, hitting 84 MPH a lot.  Lodge was signed in November by the Pirates out of the Australian Baseball League.

Lodge

Jimmy Hernandez pitched an inning later, throwing in the 89-92 MPH range.  He looked impressive with his location, and especially with his velocity.  Hernandez was part of the 2009 international class, and should make the jump to the US this year after two years in the DSL.  Last year he pitched 42.2 innings in the DSL, with a 4.43 ERA, a 7.4 K/9, and a 4.2 BB/9 ratio.  He put up 23 strikeouts in 26.1 innings after moving to the rotation in July.

Hernandez

Porfirio Lopez came on next.  He’s a left hander who was signed in 2008 and has spent the last three seasons in the Dominican League.  He had a 1.23 ERA in 44 innings in 2009, with a 12.5 K/9 ratio.  In 2010 he had a 1.53 ERA in 59 innings, working exclusively as a starter, and putting up a 6.7 K/9 ratio.  He was throwing in the high 80s to low 90s, touching 92.

Lopez

For the most part I didn’t pay attention to individual performances.  The players on the Canadian team were so raw that individual performances in this game would be meaningless.  Jared Lakind played in the game at first base, and had a hit early on, although I didn’t catch what he did throughout the rest of the game.  Here is Lakind laying off a high pitch:

Lakind

Some brief notes from the day:

-Chase D’Arnaud was making good contact at the plate.  In one at-bat he hit a shot over the second baseman, and turned it in to a stand up double with his speed.  It was the kind of hit that would either be a single, or a play at second for other players.  In a later at-bat, he flew out to left field on a well hit ball.  Two things I’ve always liked about D’Arnaud: his speed/smart base running combo, and his ability to hit to all fields.  He’s coming off a down year, but that combination has the makings of a productive middle infielder.

-There’s so much going on at Pirate City, yet you can miss so much.  I’m not just talking about three games going on at once, making it impossible to watch all three.  I’m talking about tonight, when I was going over the roster, and realized that I didn’t even see half of the players on the roster.  Some of that was because one of the teams was on the road today.

-I’ll be back out there tomorrow around 8-9 AM.  The 2010 Altoona Curve team will be getting their championship rings tomorrow, so I will be heading out to McKechnie early for that.

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Tim: You and I are on the same wavelength with Chase d’Arnaud. Although his average was down last year, he posted 33 doubles, 9 triples, 6 HR’s, 56 Walks, 12 HBP, and 33 SB’s. Instant offense. I hope they give him the opportunity as the starting SS at AAA. IMO, he will be our SS in 2012, and probably mid to late 2011.

Tim: You and I are on the same wavelength with Chase d’Arnaud. Although his average was down last year, he posted 33 doubles, 9 triples, 6 HR’s, 56 Walks, 12 HBP, and 33 SB’s. Instant offense. I hope they give him the opportunity as the starting SS at AAA. IMO, he will be our SS in 2012, and probably mid to late 2011.

Ken Baldonieri

Any insight as to D’Arnaud’s feilding? Where has he gotten most of his work?

Andy Close

Great stuff as usual

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