The Pittsburgh Pirates have released eight players from minor league camp. The players are as follows:
Cliff Archibald – He made 19 appearances with State College last year, with a 4.11 ERA, although he struggled with his control, putting up a 5.0 BB/9 ratio. Archibald pitched out of the bullpen, and the right-hander was sitting 87-91 MPH most of the year. He was a 36th round draft pick in 2010.
Brad Chalk – Chalk was taken in the Triple-A phase of the 2010 Rule 5 draft. He spent the 2011 season in Altoona, getting 266 at-bats with a .244 average. He’s a speedy player with good defense at the corner outfield spots, although he lacks power and a good hitting ability.
Tyler Cox – Cox is a left-hander, taken in the 35th round of the 2008 draft. He spent most of the last two years in Bradenton, putting up a 2.60 ERA in 27.2 innings in relief last year. He has a fastball that has touched the low-90s in the past, and a slider that he was developing the last two years, using it as a strikeout pitch. He turns 26 next month, so the fact that he hadn’t advanced beyond high-A didn’t fare well.
Jason Erickson – Erickson was drafted in the 24th round of the 2009 draft. He moved a level per year, pitching out of the Bradenton bullpen last year, and making a few starts. He had a 4.33 ERA in 70.2 innings, and turned 25 in February.
Brian Leach – Leach was a 25th round pick in the 2008 draft, and looked like a legit prospect heading in to the 2011 season. He was coming off a year where he posted a 3.85 ERA in 138 innings in the Bradenton rotation. The Pirates sent him to the AFL in 2010, and moved him to the Altoona bullpen in 2011, due to his fastball, which could get up to 96 MPH in relief. His control suddenly went south, with 15 walks in 15 innings in Altoona, and a 4.3 BB/9 ratio in 52 innings after a demotion to Bradenton. His control issues were still present this Spring.
Kevin Mort – Mort was an undrafted free agent, signed in June 2010. He spent time on the West Virginia bench last year, with a .234 average in 321 at-bats. He also pitched on several occasions, with a 4.32 ERA in 8.1 innings, along with a 6:3 K/BB ratio. He was only throwing mid-80s, and only pitched in blowouts, so he wasn’t really a candidate to convert to pitching.
Josh Rodriguez – The Pirates took Rodriguez with the first pick in the 2010 Rule 5 draft. He started the 2011 season in Pittsburgh, but after a few games was returned to Cleveland. The Pirates added him back in a trade for cash after he struggled with Cleveland. He spent most of his time in Altoona, with a .267 average and five homers in 225 at-bats. He never showed the power that made him an appealing Rule 5 choice, and led to a .486 slugging percentage in Triple-A in 2010.
Matt Skirving – A 30th round draft pick in 2010, Skirving spent the last two years in State College. He hit for a .277 average last year, and showed some decent defensive skills, although he was caught in the log jam of catchers in the lower levels. He was dealing with a hamstring injury this Spring.