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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Instructs Day One: Allie, Holmes, Burnette, Gift

I arrived in Florida around 3:30 AM this morning, after about 15 hours of driving.  After a bit of sleep, I went over to Pirate City, where the Pirates were having a camp day, and an intersquad game.  There wasn’t much to report on.  Each pitcher threw an inning, and it was hard getting a read on the position players, since they didn’t have numbers, and kept switching spots during the game.  I can recognize most of them without numbers, but it’s hard to keep track of who is playing where when they’re not staying in the same spot from inning to inning.  For the most part, my goal today was to get a few pictures, along with an interview with Gerrit Cole for the 2012 Prospect Guide.  Here are the highlights from day one:

Allie pitched an inning today.

-Stetson Allie threw an inning, and was popping the glove, working against several AA-level hitters.  He had about the same results as he had in short season A-ball: some control issues, but good velocity, good movement, one walk, and didn’t give up any runs.  The walk came against Tony Sanchez.

-Gerrit Cole made his first start yesterday.  Here is a report on how the start went.


-Clay Holmes (left) and Jake Burnette (right) both pitched an inning.  I didn’t get any pitch readings as I was focused on getting pictures for the Prospect Guide.  Both players fit the “tall, projectable right hander” description that pretty much covers every Pirates pitching prospect.

-Diomedes Mateo pitched an inning, and displayed a lot of deception with his delivery.  It’s a strange motion he does in the windup, and should only help him when combined with his left handedness.

-Gift Ngoepe hit a drive to the wall (the gaps are 410 feet away) and used his speed for an inside the park home run, standing up.  We rated Gift as the fastest middle infielder in the system last year.  That will probably stand this year.

-Two interesting positional alignments: Matt Curry and Eric Fryer were both playing third base at one point today.  I’m not sure if that’s something which is common during instructs (testing players at different positions) or if it’s something specific with their development plans.  If one of them made the transition, my bet would be Fryer, since he’s more athletic than Curry.  However, I wouldn’t bet on this being significant, unless it continues all the way in to Spring Training.  Even then, the transition might not even happen, as we saw last year with Calvin Anderson, who worked in the outfield in Spring Training, was the designated hitter all year in Bradenton, and played first base today.

I’ll be heading over tomorrow around 8 AM.  Gerrit Cole is scheduled to throw a bullpen, and the Pirates will be playing a game.  I should have reports at some point during the afternoon, and maybe even something in the morning.  I might also have some video.

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Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.


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Curry looks so stiff to me – especially in the batter’s box, actually.  Hard to imagine him at third.


Good pro debut for Cole.  Very exciting.

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