With Spring Training underway, we are starting to see some of those adjustments that the players may have made during the offseason.
I discussed Mike Burrows’ new slider in yesterday’s edition, and now we get a look at the new batting stance from Jack Suwinski.
Here's a comparison of Jack Suwinski's batting stance in '22 versus today pic.twitter.com/0D9l1TuVdp
— Justice delos Santos (@justdelossantos) February 18, 2023
A great shot here by Justice delos Santos from MLB.com breaking down the difference between his stance from 2022 and the changes he made.
Not only is he more upright, but his stance is also a little more open as well. This video was also featured in the DVR, but a look at him in action.
Mitch Keller vs. Jack Suwinski in a live bullpen. Not only is Suwinski more upright than last season, but he's more open, too. The difference is really apparent from the side angle. He made some loud contact on Keller's second offering. pic.twitter.com/iL8stJv2GU
— Justice delos Santos (@justdelossantos) February 18, 2023
Suwinski hit 19 home runs last year as a rookie, but he also struck out over 30% of the time. Finding some consistency will be key, and while he has to be a favorite to earn playing time early on, his struggles against lefties and while on the road won’t guarantee anything until he proves otherwise.
Lofty Expectations For Oneil Cruz
Oneil Cruz has yet to play an entire season in the majors so far. While 2023 will be his first shot to play over 100 games, Cruz himself already has set the bar high for himself, aiming for a potential 30/30 season this year.
It should really speak to just the immense potential that Cruz has where thinking that kind of season is a completely reasonable goal for him.
With a special toolset and an almost limitless upside, really the only thing preventing him from reaching it is himself. I talked about it previously about the best way for him to reach that potential is get better at making the smaller plays.
Pirates Prospects Daily
By Tim Williams
**The latest Pirates DVR features a battle between Mitch Keller and Jack Suwinski.
**Spring Training has started, but John Dreker has a full recap of the Pirates in winter league action this offseason.
**In the latest Pirates Discussion, Jeff Reed looks at the team with a Mardi Gras theme.
**Missed yesterday? Anthony wrote about the impact of a new pitch for Mike Burrows.
Song of the Day
I peg Suwinski as being a good part time player, if used in the right situations. Only Albert Pujols last year had more homers in fewer at bats than Suwinski.
Suwinski’s success last year gave me Garrett Jones vibes. But he’s obviously a better defender so, if he can keep the pop and cut back on the strikeouts, perhaps he has a shot to be in Pirates long term plans. It just feels really unlikely to me, but good luck to him.
That’s what I’m hoping for. A better fielding version of Jones that is a guy who mashes righties.
A better fielding version of GI is a hell of a player.
Yep! Even if he’s this version going forward and doesn’t get any better, that’s an ok platoon bat. Scouting community seemed to be wrong on his fielding too. I expected an oaf out there and he’s nothing like that.
Hey Tim what happened to the annual Spring Training blurb about things to do around Bradenton? It probably disappeared due to the Pandemic, but a lot of people starting to visit again. Bradenton has changed a lot since I started going down to ST.
Did get to visit the hole-in-the-wall Cuban place you recommended before it was closed!
Never did get to the Columbia Restaurant there, but have spent plenty at the Columbia’s in St. Augustine and Celebration
1st time I was at Pirates City today for an hour & a half & had a couple things to share:
– Andy Hanes & Suwinski were discussing his swing change. Hanes seemed happy with it, but it looked awful, his momentum & timing looked off. Suwinski was saying that it helped him with his hip action.
– Kyle Nicolas K’d Brey. Blew a high heater past & froze him with an inside heater
– Termarr & Swaggerty were the last ones on the field chatting for a while. I couldnt understand what about, almost seemed like they were talking about hitting the inside fastball.
– Triolo is a big dude! Holy crap. And was the most impressive hitter i saw. Gorski looked pretty good.
– Termarr & Triolo were the only ones i saw hit a HR.
– Andujar looks different in person. Didnt know who he was until i saw the batting stance. Looked like he hit Nicolas on the foot with a comebacker, but he didnt react, so maybe it hit the rubber.
– Mike Burrows came off the field at the end & it appeared as tho some close friends came to see him. They were trying to talk & some weirdo wanting an autograph wouldnt give them any personal space & just stood there over them hovering for minutes. It was so awkward to see.
– Not many fans, was easy to get up close to watch. Field setup is nice.
– i thought i heard that practice is 9-2, but by noon it was pretty much over on the fields.
Also, Jason Mackay is really tall.
why wasnt Suwinksi practicing this new stance in winter leagues? seems like a pending distaster to me
Good question. He definitely didnt look comfortable with it. Like he was thinking about 3 different things at once & it was affecting everything. He was way out on his front foot uncomfortably early & just knubbing the ball.
He looked a little stiff in 2022, but if he is trying to emphasize contact, he should be trying to simplify his swing, not add a lot of unnecessary movement.
Thanks for the info – I try to get down every ST and watch the kids taking reps, especially the IF, Bullpens, etc. The advice about the kids seeking autographs is priceless. Last year I watched the Pirates and Orioles A teams scrimmaging and a family from the Orioles was there with 4 or 5 kids. Before the game was 2 innings old, the players had come out and brought balls to sign or anything else the kids had with them.
Sounds like fun. Are you allowed to video anything?
Ya of course, alot of people were. I didnt take any pics, but i did video Nicolas blowing the high heater past BRey. It was fun. Not sure if i would schedule a vacation to come down to watch it, as im down here bc my wife had to travel to FL for work, but man was it nice to be in the sun enjoying baseball
Well I will be on vacation and visiting Pirates City with my daughter Thursday for the first time. So here are a few rookie questions. 1) Are we restricted on what we can bring in 2) Are they friendly signing autographs, 3) Do they wear numbers or how do they identify each other.
All good questions. Gps to pirate city will take you to the players parking lot, which isnt for general public, if u pass that entrance on your left, theres a golf course entrance on the left you should take for general parking.
At the gate, there was a sign that said no bags, except clutch purses. Do u have something in mind as to what you want to take? I mightve noticed it with others. There is yellow chained off areas that they dont want the fans to cross, but saw Brey & Will Crowe doing some auto’s. I think you just have to read the situation to know when to ask for an auto, but you’ll have better luck sending your daughter for the auto – players just prefer autographing for kids more than adults. They have a sheet at the entrance with everyone’s names & #’s & positions (Ji wan Bae is listed as an IF), but the guys were wearing unmarked black or gold tshirts today. They had groups of 4 or 5 just taking BP on 2 of the fields, with 1 field for live AB’s. You’ll be close enough to the guys to hear them talking & you’ll know the familiar faces.
I can’t thank you enough for all of the good information. I went to Pirates City today and it was one of the coolest experiences as a Pirates fan that I have had in my life. My daughter even enjoyed it.
Thats awesome! Glad you enjoyed it! Anything surprise you, any autographs?
I was impressed with how organized the practice and drills were. It is obvious the organization has a plan. The biggest surprise was how good Carmen Mlodizinski was. He looks like a future closer. My daughter got behind kids and got autographs from Connor Joe and JT Brubaker. We spent a half hour watching a certain group. When they were done, Marcano, Bae and Oviedo all signed and were friendly. I enjoyed talking to other fans like myself. Being a Pirate fan in central Illinois, there aren’t many knowledgeable fans I run into. 🙂
that’s awesome, glad you had a good experience! Pretty neat for sure. The players are much more relaxed & more of a normal person in the practice environment. There isn’t the stress of the game on their shoulders.
Great information. Can’t wait. Thanks a lot!
Once everyone has passed their report date, which I believe is today, they will all have their regular jerseys with names, except for non-40 man roster guys who aren’t supposed to be there yet.
Greatest song of the day ever…
Does anyone know where I can find a list of existing Pirates IFAs (2023 signees) and their signing bonuses? Thanks!
A dumb question. Venezuelans sign but their bonus is not reported. Duh
Good stuff. Do we know why he changed his stance? Will he see the ball better from lefties? Will it help him control the zone?
I don’t get the “seeing the ball better from lefties” logic. If it’s really about “seeing the ball better”, then most guys wouldn’t have traditional platoon splits. The logic would hold that LH batters would hit LH pitchers better bc the batter is already on the same side as the pitcher’s throwing hand allowing them to “see the ball better”. But, this is very rarely the case. This likely has more to do with hitting position.
Yes, I think the open stance would allow him to see the ball better from lefties. It would seem to be a good sign that he’s not satisfied with his performance last season despite being 3rd among position players in WAR. Of course, we could also be overreacting to him simply taking a position in the batter’s box to give Keller someone to pitch to while reducing the risk of a HBP.
As a lefty hitter I will tell you that the open stance doesn’t help you see the ball better, what it does is keep you from pulling off the ball. You can’t bail out if you basically start “bailed” out. This can make it very difficult to hit an outside pitch unless you are actively closing your stance (think andres Galarraga from the opposite side). Andres, despite doing this, had a AWFUL time hitting sliders down and away because once you close and lock in a pretty much neutral position, and you have a natural knack to want to get your hands in to be able to hit the inside fastball….you really don’t have the ability to adjust to anything breaking down and away. meanwhile If you start closed and bail out, you still have the notion to keep your hands back which can allow you to throw your hands at a ball low and away and make contact…..you cannot do that if you start open and then close because your weight transfer simply won’t allow it.
“Of course, we could also be overreacting to him simply taking a position in the batter’s box to give Keller someone to pitch to while reducing the risk of a HBP.”
In Pirate’s World that’s a distinct possibility, lol.
With no disrespect intended, I submit that Suwinski will have a clear view of LHP from the bench.
If your goal is to keep that kinda power on the bench versus trying to figure it out, we know why you aren’t a coach
I agree but it would be nice to see him figure it all out and become a second good bat in the lineup w/ Reynolds