Live From Pirate City: 2/28

Just arrived at Pirate City for the day. I’m planning on watching Gerrit Cole throw live batting practice, along with a few other pitchers that are on the schedule.

I’m hoping to talk to Cole and Robbie Grossman today in order to do features on each player.

Minor league camp starts a little after 1:00. I’ll have some updates from that, as well as other updates throughout the day.

UPDATE 2:00 PM: I got some video of Cole throwing live BP. Also got video of A.J. Burnett throwing to Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen. I’m working on editing both videos and should have them up shortly. I also spoke with Robbie Grossman, and will have a feature on him later this evening. Grossman is recovering from hamate surgery in the fall, but says his hand feels great, and actually feels better than it did before the injury.

UPDATE 3:37 PM: Here is A.J. Burnett throwing live batting practice to Alex Presley and Andrew McCutchen.

UPDATE 3:47 PM: I was out watching some of the minor league workouts. A lot of bullpen sessions were taking place. I caught the end of Jameson Taillon’s bullpen. I also watched Zac Fuesser, Bryce Weidman, Logan Pevny, Nick Kingham, and Vincent Payne. And when I say I watched those guys, I’m saying those were the only guys I recognized without a roster sheet, so I focused on them. Afterwards the pitchers went and participated in pitcher fielding practice, working on covering first base and fielding bunts.

I often get asked who has looked impressive so far. It’s not really that simple. It’s not like players come in and there’s a noticeable change. Plus, there’s really not a lot going on. It’s hard to be impressed by a 20-40 pitch bullpen session that is dominated by fastballs, or fielding practice. Mostly it’s just a reminder of who previously was impressive, and who continues to impress.

One player who did stand out was Gift Ngoepe. I was watching him fielding some tough grounders at second base, taking short hops and making the throw to second. His glove is very smooth, and he makes a quick throw to the bag. He also makes a good pivot to first when he’s on the bag. None of this is new. The defense from Gift, plus his speed, is what makes him an actual prospect, rather than just a P.R. story due to his background. It’s just something that stood out to me today while watching him practice.

UPDATE 4:03 PM: Here is a video of Gerrit Cole, shot from directly from behind home plate.