One of the key focuses this offseason for the Pittsburgh Pirates was to add some veteran leadership in the clubhouse, and they brought in quite a few.
Obviously, Andrew McCutchen gets the most attention as he joins the organization for the second time, after spending the first part of his career here in Pittsburgh. We even saw Rich Hill doing a little mentoring on his own.
There aren’t many catchers who have been as good defensively as Austin Hedges over the past couple of years and he’s quickly showing his value when it comes to his work with the pitching staff.
Holderman in the 'pen & on the mic pic.twitter.com/1NknWpf1lr
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) February 18, 2023
This is a great look at the behind the scenes conversation between a catcher and pitcher in what appears to be their first bit of work between each other. Colin Holderman breaks down his pitch repertoire and what he’s trying to accomplish on the mound.
Hedges asks some questions to try and get to know what he’s going to catch even more, as well as even offers up some suggestions based on what Holderman throws.
For a the guy that was the primary catcher on a playoff team a year ago, Hedges has obviously also embraced what his obvious role is on the the Pirates for the 2023 season.
With two of the Pirates top prospects both upper level catchers, the veteran catcher had to know what he was walking into. Despite being someone who is capable of starting and managing a playoff level pitching staff, Hedges seems to be looking forward to passing his knowledge on to Henry Davis and Endy Rodriguez.
Austin Hedges on mentoring Henry Davis/Endy Rodriguez: "We have dudes who are going to be the future of the catching position for this organization. I wanna see them be the catchers here for the next 15 years. If that happens, I’ll be so proud of my year here this year."
— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) February 19, 2023
It’s a completely different mindset to take into a season, going from starting catcher, to more or less a place holder until the prospects get here, but Hedges seems excited for the opportunity to leave his mark on those coming up this year.
Jared Triolo Getting Reps At First
There a very few amount of teams where Jared Triolo wouldn’t immediately be the best third baseman on a 40-man roster.
It just so happens that the Pirates are one of them, and that player is locked up for the foreseeable future.
So, the Pirates worked Triolo around the field last year, getting him playing time in center field and shortstop. He’s expanding that to first base now in camp.
Jared Triolo getting work at first base. Have been saying for a year I could see him moving over there. Here we go … pic.twitter.com/fWfhHxHOoF
— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) February 19, 2023
If it translates to each of those stops, the Pirates have the makings of one of the best defense-first super utility bench players in baseball, which is fitting since they recently handed out a Gold Glove to Brenden Donovan for that exact role.
Pirates Prospects Daily
By Tim Williams
**In the latest Pirates DVR, the catching prospects are putting in work.
**Missed yesterday? Anthony wrote about Jack Suwinski’s new batting stance.
Song of the Day
Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.
Speaking of Catchers, I place the possibility of having Blake Sabol (Rule 5) returned to the Pirates at about 90%. Cincy picked him and sent him to SFG, who I think now have the responsibility of putting him on the active roster or returning him to the Pirates. He is in camp with Catchers Joey Bart, Roberto Perez ( minor league contract, $2.5 mil if MLB), and Austin Wynns.
Bart struggled, but the Giants have a large investment in him. We know Perez and he could help in Bart’s development. Wynns was the backup to Bart last year, and was a favored receiver for more than a few Giant pitchers. When removed from the 40 to make room for Michael Conforto just recently, Wynns was called by Manager Gabe Kapler and asked to come to ST.
They’ll keep Sabol as a super utility / PH role?
Off topic, but if Justice was the only source i had available for news on the Bucs, i’d find a different team. Was hoping he wouldnt be back this year.
You get what you deserve, I guess.
Over/under 8 uses of this Hedges picture this ST. I think this is 3.
Should be an interesting spring with the pitch clock, shift ban, bigger bases and pitching motion restrictions being implemented. The pitch clock and two pick off attempt change should make for some interesting moments.
I didn’t think the bigger bases would be noticeable, but up close at least, they are. In fact they look a bit weird.
A few ankle sprains and they will get used to them, lol.
Hard to quantify “veteranosity.” Unless you just look at the standings that is.
I suppose time will tell if Hedges, Choi, Santana, Joe, Hill, Velasquez, and Cutch are better than Perez, Chavis, JVM, Quintana, Marisnick, and Gamel were for the ‘22 Pirates.
Good Lord, how could it be worse.
Could do a whole lot worse than Q. Otherwise, even injury replacement would be better than the others.
The pic of Hedges at the top of the article made me instantly think of Michael ‘Squints’ Palledorous. That is the same smile Squints had as Wendy Peffercorn was giving him mouth to mouth 🙂
I’m going to throw caution into the wind and ask us to put the breaks a little on the Triolo runaway train. I am also a big fan but let’s see what he has in AAA before we pronounce him the best 3B on most 40 mans – that’s a lofty goal/statement . I hope that is the case, but while he is moving up prospect lists nationally he still is not cracking top 100s for whatever that is really worth. He has passed all the tests so far!
Welcome to P2, where even marginal prospects are viewed as game changers.
I like Triolo but he’s gonna need to hit if he wants a 1b mitt.
I fringe when I see Brendan Donovan comps.
If everything breaks right, he could be a bench option. I don’t know if there’s data on his minor league exit velo’s but I’m guessing they’re not great. His wRC+ is really inflated with a high bb%, but more than likely that won’t carry over to the majors with the best arms on the planet.
I am cautiously optimistic but as you noted, he still has a lot to prove. Let him keep conquering each level and then let’s see what we have. Outside of emergency situations, I am not a fan of a first base move when his biggest asset is still his glove/arm on the left side of the infield.
If he can maintain that 120-ish wRC+ on AAA, then we might have something.
ZiPS sees him as a high end bench player getting 1.4f WAR propped mainly with D and BR
He would provide a lot of value if he becomes an above average defensive SS that hits lefties.
A good Catcher knows when to take control and when to listen. He asked H Man what he wanted to throw and where, nodded and went behind the plate. H Man went through his pitches verbally and interacting with the pitching coach, and then Hedges started identifying his pitches with signs for each and then Hedges started calling the pitches he wanted him to throw.
The mental part of the game! Time for a Yogi-ism.
The video the Pirates provided is interesting, and the use of the mic is hopefully a sign that MLB is upping their game in improving the fan experience.
Love the article and video. Was a little I guess shocked how winded Holderman sounded. I hope he becomes a good arm, should be able to get Ks and grounders.
I am curious how winded some of these older hard throwing relievers are going to get when they won’t be getting all day to catch their breath between pitches.
That’s one thing I wondered about with the pitch clock. Will velocity for pitchers be down a bit across the board since they don’t have 60 seconds to hulk up between pitches. Maybe it’ll be nothing, but it will be fun to find out.
I hope so.