The Pirates have most of their projected Triple-A infield at mini camp this week. Josh Bell will be a lock for first base, but the other three positions look to be up in the air. There will certainly be plenty of guys for the positions, which creates a difficult task of finding playing time for each player.
Yesterday, the infield alignment included Max Moroff at third base with Dan Gamache, Gift Ngoepe and Pedro Florimon at shortstop, and Alen Hanson and Adam Frazier at second base. Today’s alignment had Gamache staying at third, but Ngoepe and Moroff at second, Hanson and Frazier at short, and Florimon at third base with Juan Diaz.
Tomorrow might see a totally different alignment, since the Pirates don’t seem to be looking for traditional starters in their Triple-A infield this year.
“I guess you can’t control how many players there are,” Max Moroff said today about all of the options for three spots. “It looks like that’s the plan right now. Everyone is playing everywhere right now. I don’t know what their plan is, but I know I’ll be playing all three positions.”
Moroff has spent the off-season working on playing second, shortstop, and third base. He came into pro ball as a shortstop, but moved to second base in full season ball. Last year he added third base to the mix, and got some time at short.
Hanson also came in as a shortstop, played some second base initially, but remained at the shortstop position until the end of the 2014 season, when he moved to second base full-time. He’s also getting time at third, and still getting some reps at shortstop.
Frazier can play all over the place. He came into pro ball playing both middle infield spots, spent all of 2014 at shortstop, and then moved to a super utility role last year, playing short, third, left field, and center field. His ability to play the outfield might make it easier for the others to get time in the infield on a more regular basis.
Ngoepe and Florimon can play all over the infield, although their strength is their defense at shortstop. Gamache can play second and third, but is more of an offense-first option. Diaz has played shortstop and third base the last two days, and could be a bench option in Triple-A.
The alignment will be interesting to watch this year, as most of these guys have a shot to help the Pirates in some form over the next few years. And the big benefit here is that if the Pirates need depth at any position in 2016, they’ll certainly have plenty of options to call on.
Here is a video of the middle infielders taking ground balls today:
**Neal Huntington met with the media today, and I’ll have all of the highlights of that shortly. While we were talking with him behind the left field fence on the Roberto Clemente field at Pirate City. During our discussion, Josh Bell hit two home runs on the roof of the batting cages, hitting right-handed. It’s only batting practice, but that’s a great sign since his power has always come much easier from the left side than the right.
**I’ll have a Tyler Glasnow article up this afternoon after the Huntington article goes up. Some interesting comments from Glasnow about his workout routine and what wasn’t working for him with Indianapolis last year.
**Here are some photos from today’s workout: