Pirate City Notes: Pirates Have Strong Group of Middle Infielders in Upper Levels

BRADENTON, Fla. – Today was a camp day at Pirate City, with two games going on. The Indianapolis roster took on the Altoona roster, while the Bradenton and West Virginia rosters squared off. Those rosters aren’t exact at this point, although there were a few cases where today’s lineups gave a hint for the upcoming season.

The most interesting thing about the lineups was the middle infield formation for the upper level teams. Recently demoted infielders Kevin Newman (SS) and Kevin Kramer (2B) made up the middle infield for the Indianapolis team. Cole Tucker (SS) and Stephen Alemais (2B) made up the middle infield for Altoona.

Tucker and Alemais were actually both listed on the Indianapolis roster at the start of minor league camp. That’s not unusual, as most players early in camp are listed a level higher than where they will play, only to move down when the Indianapolis players start getting cut from big league camp. They both moved down today, after the additions of Newman and Kramer.

Newman is a lock for Indianapolis, and Tucker is a lock for Altoona at the start of the year. Kramer could play second base in Triple-A, although that would become complicated if Max Moroff gets sent down. If Kramer goes back to Altoona, that would complicate the second base position at that level, possibly pushing Alemais down to Bradenton for the start of the season.

We’ll have to see how it all plays out at the top level with Moroff, and whether the Pirates can figure something out in Triple-A to keep Kramer and Moroff on the same team.


Braeden Ogle threw three innings today. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him yet, as I had to rush over to LECOM for the Altoona Curve 2017 championship ring ceremony. The video I got came from the second inning of work, which was a rough one that saw him laboring. He bounced back well, needing only three pitches to get the first two outs of the third inning, and getting the final out shortly after.

Cody Bolton looked promising last year in the GCL, and threw three innings in a start today. There’s almost no chance he goes to West Virginia this year, instead likely destined for extended Spring Training and Bristol like every other prep pitcher. He looks more filled out, although didn’t have his usual stuff, sitting mostly 89-91 today. That continued the trend of pitchers seeing their velocity down early in camp, which isn’t a concern for me at this point.

I didn’t watch much of the Indianapolis vs Altoona game, but did catch Cole Tucker getting this single off left-hander Brandon Waddell.

Altoona Ring Ceremony

The 2017 Altoona Curve received their Eastern League Championship rings today. I posted an album on our Facebook page with photos from the ceremony.

Here’s a photo I took afterward of Cole Tucker and Mitch Keller, displaying their rings.

Here’s a photo I took of the two last year during the 2016 Bradenton Marauders ring ceremony, while they were posing for Sean McCool (I couldn’t find that photo in our files).

Let’s hope that I’ll get a chance one day to get a photo of both of them with their Pirates World Series rings on.