BRADENTON, Fla. – The Pittsburgh Pirates have made nine more cuts today from MLB camp. Elias Diaz and Max Moroff have been optioned to Indianapolis. Eric Wood, Eury Perez, Brandon Cumpton, Dan Runzler, Jason Stoffel, Edgar Santana, and Joey Terdoslavich have been reassigned to minor league camp. Here is a quick rundown of each player. Alan Saunders will have an update later this morning from Neal Huntington.
Elias Diaz – The Pirates will have Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart as their catchers in Pittsburgh. Both of those guys have a history of injuries, which means it’s very likely we could see Diaz in Pittsburgh at some point this year. Diaz had been healthy throughout his pro career, up until last season when he had a few injuries. The good news is that he has been healthy this camp, and should make a great number three catcher.
Max Moroff – The Pirates have plenty of utility infielders and super utility players. Moroff is one of the utility infield options, but wasn’t really in the mix for a spot on the Opening Day roster, since he’s behind Adam Frazier, Alen Hanson, and even Phil Gosselin on the depth charts. He could be a depth option throughout the season. He struggled at the plate last year in Indianapolis, due to being too selective at the plate and not being aggressive earlier in the count. That’s the opposite of the approach that worked so well for him in Altoona during the 2015 season. He’ll increase his chances of reaching the majors if he gets back to the 2015 approach at the plate.
Eric Wood – Wood had a big year at the plate last year from a power standpoint. He really picked up his production in the second half, and carried that over to the Arizona Fall League. The power continued this spring, including during his time in the World Baseball Classic, when he hit a few exhibition home runs. He’s a strong defender at third base, but the Pirates have a lot of options there right now, even with Jung Ho Kang unlikely to start the year in Pittsburgh. He’s learning first base and the corner outfield spots, and could become an option for the Pirates after some time in Triple-A, especially if the power continues.
Edgar Santana – I don’t think we’re going to have to wait long to see Edgar Santana in Pittsburgh. He’s a hard thrower, sitting in the mid-to-upper 90s with good movement on his fastball, while also featuring a plus slider. The Pirates have other options for their MLB bullpen at the start of the year, deciding between guys like Tyler Webb, Wade LeBlanc, and giving Jared Hughes another shot, despite some struggles last year and this spring. Santana will need a bit of time in the upper levels, but if that goes over well, and if one of the guys at the end of the bullpen struggles, expect the Pirates to bring up their young fireballer earlier in the year.
Brandon Cumpton – I’m surprised that Cumpton didn’t get cut when Casey Sadler and Angel Sanchez went down. Neither of those players will be ready to start the season, but will join the Indianapolis bullpen shortly after the season begins. Cumpton is behind both of those players, missing not only a year with Tommy John, but another year with a shoulder injury. He will eventually go to the Indianapolis bullpen, where he will look to pitch in his first game since the 2014 season.
Eury Perez – Perez should see plenty of time in the outfield for Indianapolis, moving around to all three positions. He has above average defense and speed, plus some Major League experience over four seasons, so he could provide outfield depth at some point during the season if there is an injury, or be a possible September call-up for bench depth due to his speed/defense combo. His bat is too weak to make him anything more than a depth bench option.
Dan Runzler – Runzler showed strong velocity in Spring Training, while allowing two runs over 5.2 innings in six appearances. Just shy of his 32nd birthday, Runzler is a lefty specialist and that’s a tough spot to crack for the Pirates this year. It’s possible we see him later in the season, but he hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012, so it’s an outside chance at best. He should be bullpen depth for Indianapolis.
Jason Stoffel – Stoffel has been out with a shoulder injury since the beginning of Spring Training. Last week he began throwing off flat ground, so he will likely begin the season in Extended Spring Training. The 28-year-old right-hander has no Major League experience and split last year between Triple-A and Double-A, so he will end up at one of those levels this year, where he will provide bullpen depth.
Joey Terdoslavich – Terdoslavich could see time at first base and outfield for Indianapolis. The Pirates look to be crowded in each area, so he seems like a bench option at this point. He struggled in Triple-A last year, winter ball this off-season and didn’t do much in Spring Training, playing mostly late in games against lower level pitching. It’s tough to see a possible way he gets to the majors with the Pirates this season, unless he can regain his 2014 form.
Alan Saunders and John Dreker contributed to this report.