The Pittsburgh Pirates have released the following six players, per a team press release.
Alex Lukashevich, RHP – Had an 0.47 ERA in 19 innings last year, but his advanced numbers didn’t look as good. He throws in the low-to-mid 80s. The Pirates signed Lukashevich out of Belarus in 2010.
Porfirio Lopez, LHP – Lopez was unlike a lot of the international lefties in the system in that he could throw 88-92 MPH. He also had a good breaking ball. However, he didn’t really look like a guy who could make it to Double-A or beyond.
Mike Colla, RHP – Colla might be the player on this list who has the best shot at the majors. He was throwing 89-91 MPH with his sinker in camp, but has been 90-92 in the past. He had a good year starting in Altoona in 2011, and was good in relief at the level in 2012. The Pirates have a lot of similar players in Triple-A and the majors, so even if Colla makes it as a sleeper middle reliever, the Pirates won’t feel the loss.
Philippe Valiquette, LHP – Only a few years ago there were reports that Valiquette was hitting triple digits with his fastball. In multiple outings in camp he was only topping out at 91 MPH.
Martires Cadet, LHP – Cadet was another soft tossing international left-hander, throwing 86-88 MPH with good movement on his fastball. He also had control problems in the lower levels.
Wilson Lee, LHP – Lee was signed out of Australia in 2010. He posted good numbers in relief last year in the GCL, but only has a mid-80s fastball.
The Pirates also converted Jared Lakind from a first baseman to a pitcher. Lakind was drafted in 2010 in the 23rd round out of high school, and was given a $400,000 bonus to sign. In the 2013 Prospect Guide I wrote the following about him:
Lakind was a big over-slot signing out of high school, signed for his power potential as a hitting prospect. So far he hasn’t shown much of that potential, with some poor results in State College in 2012. He did make some strides cutting down on strikeouts, but his strikeout rate was still too high. Lakind also struggled defensively at first base. He’s a big project at this point, and if his hitting doesn’t work out, he could always try out being a pitcher, as he threw 90 MPH in high school.
It looks like the Pirates are going that route. It’s not a bad move, since Lakind didn’t have a strong chance of making it as a hitter.
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.
Lukashevich is surprising in that he is still only 18 years old. Colla had some major league potential as Tim pointed out, but it certainly looked like that would be as a middle reliever at best. They seem to have a lot of AAA pitching right now though, so Colla may have been back in Altoona.
I guess the other thing to notice is the fact they got rid of four lefties all at once, though the LaKind conversion cuts that to three.
Allie to 3b and Lakind to pitcher….kinda like a trade?
Altho it is doubtful either will ever make an impact.
I bet, if they hadn’t given Lakind 400k, he woulda been cut, too.