Wyatt Mathisen Has a Sore Shoulder, Luis Heredia Moving to the Bullpen

BRADENTON, Fla. – Wyatt Mathisen, one of the top third base prospects in the Pirates’ system, is currently resting a sore shoulder in minor league camp. The 2012 second round pick has dealt with shoulder issues before, missing a lot of time in 2013 after going down in April. Because of that, the Pirates are being cautious here.

“That’s why we’re being so cautious with it,” Mathisen said. “We know it happened in the past, so we’re taking it easy, not letting it get back to where it was a couple years ago.”

Pirates Director of Minor League Operations Larry Broadway confirmed that Mathisen would miss the start of the year, and that there isn’t a set date for his return.

“It’s a period of shutdown, and then we’ll have to reevaluate and see,” Broadway said.

Mathisen was drafted as a catcher, but the previous shoulder issues forced a move to third base to limit the wear and tear on the arm. He should remain at third when he returns, going to Altoona.

**Luis Heredia threw a live batting practice yesterday, and is behind a lot of other pitchers due to back tightness at the start of camp. Heredia was feeling the tightness during winter ball, and it flared up the first week of camp. He is currently slated to be a reliever in Bradenton, after struggling the last few years in the rotation. Broadway said he’d build up to multiple innings in Spring Training, so it sounds like he could be a long reliever, with a shot at moving back to the rotation if he does well. Heredia is expected to be ready for the start of the season.

**Frank Duncan also missed the start of camp with an oblique injury, and threw live batting practice for the first time yesterday. He is competing for a bullpen spot in Altoona, after spending the last two years as a starter in Bradenton and West Virginia. Duncan will be built up to three innings, so expect him to be a long reliever in Altoona, assuming he does get a spot there. He’s a sinkerball guy with great control, and might have a shot at being a middle reliever in the majors one day. Duncan will be ready at the start of the season.

**Kevin Krause had Tommy John surgery last June, which is a rare procedure for position players, and caused him to miss the entire 2015 season. He was expected to have a ten month recovery time, and is just now getting back to game action. Tomorrow will be his first game, and he will be hitting only.

“Tomorrow I get a DH opportunity,” Krause said. “I’m ready to mash.”

Krause showed a lot of power in the second half of 2014 after he was drafted. That power is appealing behind the plate, and the Pirates will give him most of his time there, while also getting him some time in the outfield when he’s not catching. He won’t be ready for the start of the season, and doesn’t know where he will go, although I’m guessing it would be West Virginia, since that gives him his best shot of getting plenty of work behind the plate.

  • Given recurring shoulder issues, is Mathisen destined for first base?

  • Tim/John: Off-topic, but we are experimenting with Jaso at leadoff and ‘Cutch at No. 2, and Gregory Polanco is having a terrible ST carrying around a .485 OPS with 1 walk and 8 K’s in 34 AB’s. The Pirates are obviously concerned enough to be trying to make changes at the top of the lineup mid-way through ST – is there more to this?

    • I heard they are trading Polanco any day now.

    • I don’t think they are worried about Spring Training performance from him. He’s getting ready for the season, not trying to earn a job. They wouldn’t worry about performance unless it carried more than a month into the season. The move of Jaso/McCutchen is just trying to maximize the potential, get McCutchen more at-bats with runners on base. They wanted someone to get on base ahead of him, but it didn’t have to be someone with speed because they don’t want him getting pitched around

      • John: Hard to believe there are that many AB’s difference between batting #2 and batting #3. And when you have an annual MVP candidate because of his prowess as a hitter batting #3, is there a major benefit to moving him up in the order? Does a #2 batter usually have more RBI’s than a #3 batter?

        If they want to have ‘Cutch bat with men on base or in scoring position, then you keep Jaso and Polanco batting ahead of him – it doubles the chances that someone or two someones may be on base when he comes to the plate. Polanco had a good rookie season in 2015 and batted 500+ times at leadoff or #2 and he has footspeed. Why move him down in the order?

        ‘Cutch gets pitched around because he is that good of a hitter. Moving him in the order is not the answer to that issue unless we put him in a spot where the batter following him can provide protection.

        • Over the course of the season, each spot in the order you go down loses 18 plate appearances on average. Meaning if the lead-off batter went to the plate 600 times, the second place hitter would get 582, third would get 564 and so on. I didn’t explain it well in that comment. McCutchen batted more than anyone else last year with two outs and nobody on base. They wanted to get him more at-bats and at the same time, less at-bats in that particular situation

        • I was only a kid, but I think the Pirates batted Kiner 1st a lot of games. I can remember my Grandfather getting mad at the Cincinnatti Redlegs for walking him to lead off a game.

    • Check out guys like Neil Walker and Mark Teixiera’s BA’s. Fister’s arm problems, Samardzija and Cueto’s ERAs……

      • Yep, I listened to MLB radio yesterday also, and I liked the response on Neil Walker – sort of don’t worry about Neil Walker hitting the baseball. Then he ticked off a lot of numbers for predictions of his performance this year – such as .270, 30 doubles, 15-20 HR’s and around 70 RBI’s. And then he stated that under Kevin Long (Mets Batting Coach), Neil will do very well

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    March 22, 2016 6:06 pm

    The end is near for Mr. Heredia. I hope he invested his signing bonus well.

    • His chances at making it to the majors are dwindling, but he will have a job pitching in Mexico as long as his arm holds up, both summer and winter. He’s a popular figure down there still, will have no trouble getting baseball work.

  • This is why I love Pirates Prospects and why I am a subscriber. You will not find info like this anywhere else. I love it!

    • And there is a lot more from today, which will be posted tonight and in the future. I had to break down the velocities on ten pitchers today, so I know there will be a lot of info coming up

      • Can’t wait for that. By the way just saw fangraphs has dan farnsworths rankings for bucs prospects. Interesting list.

        • I really wish the Pirates would get moved up in the order one of these years.

          Kiley was incredible and Farnsworth is very good himself, but both Pirate lists coming at the end of the line showed noticeably less detail than the 5000-word scribes at the beginning of their roll out.

        • Man he is high on Mcguire over there. Interesting read though.

          Another spotlight on figueroa though!

    • domdidominic
      March 22, 2016 6:09 pm

      Totally agree. This is great stuff and can’t wait to read each night. Sure beats the days of waiting for a spring box score.

  • Conditioning has been a problem for Heredia in the past – how does he look?

    • Judging by the pictures I saw, he’s about where he was during last season. He has missed time with the back, so that probably set his conditioning back a little

  • Last season for Heredia, correct? Doesn’t he become a MiL FA if not added to the 40-man at season’s end?

  • Heredia to the bullpen, where dreams go to die. Ouch.