The Pittsburgh Pirates have released three minor league players, including a 2013 draft pick and two out of independent ball.
Matt Nevarez is the most interesting name to be cut. He has a fastball that sits mid-90’s, but control has always been an issue. The Pirates signed him last year out of independent ball and he pitched briefly at Altoona, then spent the off-season pitching winter ball in Venezuela. Despite turning 28 just over a month ago, he already had ten seasons in at the minor league level. Nevarez hasn’t been able to put it all together, striking out 11 batters per nine innings over his career, while holding them to a .205 BAA, but he has also issued 156 walks in 211.2 innings.
The Pirates also cut two catchers, Andrew Dennis and Dwight Childs. Dennis was a 37th round pick in 2013, who had trouble staying on the field due to injuries. He was on the injured squad during Spring Training this year as well. In two seasons, he played just 21 games and had a .512 OPS. Childs had his contract purchased in February from an independent league team and he last played affiliated ball in 2012 for the Cleveland Indians.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
Just goes to show you how unusual and how much of a long shot Holdzkom’s success was, as the attempts to repeat that with Peacock and Nevarez have not achieved the same results. It also goes to show you that even a successful AA and AAA minor league pitcher needs more than velocity.
Does this mean that both of the pitchers signed out of the independent league who were featured in an article on this site a month or so ago (with references to Holdzkom) are now out of the organization?
Yes. Peacock wasn’t showing the velocity numbers he had in the past, while it looks like Nevarez got squeezed out due to a numbers game because he looked real good early in spring. There will likely be more cuts soon because at the start of training camp the Pirates had just over 150 guys for 100 roster spots. With about ten injuries and about 20 cuts already, that still leaves approx 20 extra. Some stay in Extended Spring Training as fillers or to work on things, but it’s still too many now.
Is this just cutting deadwood or is this clearing space for someone else? Hmm and again hmm, what’s going on here? It’s probably just clearing out some low level hangers ya just never know till ya know though.
There are always plenty of Spring Training cuts. The Pirates brought in just over 150 players by our count for 100 roster spaces(25 at each level of full season ball). You have to compensate ahead of time for numerous injuries and you need competition in camp. Every team brings in extra players and most minor league teams have 1-2 guys that travel with the team in case of injury so you have someone right there. Other guys go to Extended Spring Training to stay in shape and the rest get cut. Happens every year.
I agree john, I was just having a little fun.
Generally, teams need more catchers during spring training, so guys like Dennis and Childs will be added with the understanding that their primary purpose is to give the pitchers someone to throw to during ST, and they’ll probably be gone as soon as the season starts.