Yesterday I was on the David Todd show on 970 ESPN for the start of my weekly appearances on the show this season. We discussed a few topics from early in Spring Training, with the highlights below and the full podcast below that.
**David and I both liked the Jon Niese and John Jaso moves, but didn’t like the addition of Ryan Vogelsong, and felt that was an area where the team could have upgraded better. We also discussed how the Pirates were in a difficult spot with their prospects this off-season, with so many top guys ready to make the jump to the majors who you don’t want to block.
**I reviewed Jung-ho Kang’s progress from my article on Monday, and we discussed whether it looked like he would be ready for Opening Day.
**David asked me about the final bench spots, and I felt that Jason Rogers and Pedro Florimon would be a good combo, with Florimon’s defense helping to off-set the lack of defense from having two all-bat options like Rogers and Michael Morse.
**For the final bullpen spot, I feel the Pirates will go with a second lefty, and I think that Cory Luebke and Eric O’Flaherty have the inside track for that job. I wrote about Luebke yesterday.
**I talked about the expectations for Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow, both in terms of innings for the 2016 season, and when they could arrive in the majors. I think that Taillon is ahead of Glasnow as far as being ready from a stuff perspective, but I’m not sure how soon the Pirates would want to bring Taillon up.
**We talked about Keith Law’s recent rankings, including two guys who were rated pretty high on his list — Kevin Newman and Luis Escobar. I think Law is so high on Newman because he thinks he will be a starting shortstop, which if you believe that is a sure thing, means he’s one of the top prospects in the system. As for Escobar, we had him ranked 48th, but listed as a sleeper candidate. Law had him 12th overall in the system. Escobar has some tremendous stuff, but some serious control problems at times. While writing the Prospect Guide, I kept thinking that Escobar’s trends were very similar to what Tyler Glasnow did at the GCL. They’re two different pitchers, especially in size, but the stuff at that age and that level are similar. Escobar would need to fix his control issues to be one of the top pitching prospects in our rankings. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make a huge jump this year after success at a higher level.