Pirates Prospects Daily: Focus

You get to see a lot more of the game when you’re live, as opposed to watching on TV.

Last week, I was in Pittsburgh in more of a site owner capacity. I took in a game at PNC Park, and during that time, I took note of Jared Triolo’s defense. I’ve mentioned before that Triolo focuses on the pitcher before the pitch, and is locked in early on every pitch. Watching him at the big league level, he was consistently the first player set, often getting set a second or two ahead of other players around the field.

Let’s say that there are 200 pitches in a game to focus on as a defender. Let’s also assume that Triolo starts his focus about 2-3 seconds before an outfielder — typically a more relaxed focus position on defense. This small amount per pitch would equal 5-10 minutes of extra focus for Triolo on defense every game.

If you go back and watch the ninth inning last night, Endy Rodriguez will demonstrate how taxing the catching position can be on the brain. With David Bednar struggling, Rodriguez was not only catching pitches that were going wild, but was responding instantly with positive support.

Rodriguez was so locked in that he was able to focus on multiple things at the same time. That’s less of an earlier focus like Triolo, and more of a deeper focus. It’s also a deeper focus that he needs to hold for nine innings a night. While trying to maintain the same level of focus on the other side of the ball enough to get a hit.

In the case of Rodriguez, there are different levels of focus. His active focus in the ninth inning was on Bednar. His passive focus was on catching the ball. In just a short time in the majors, Rodriguez is looking more relaxed behind the plate, which is allowing him to help his pitchers stay relaxed when they start losing control.

The amount of focus it takes to be a good defender at a difficult position explains why it’s rare to see a two-way player at third base or behind the plate. Focusing on every single pitch to limit the opposing offense, while hunting through 15-30 pitches a game to try and get a hit — and hoping that hit is impactful — let’s just say good defense is a sacrifice we don’t fully appreciate in this game.


The Pirates beat the Padres 3-2.

The ninth inning was a wild one. Carlos Santana padded a one run lead with a homer in the top half of the inning. The proved crucial, as David Bednar struggled with his control, missing a lot to the glove side. With the bases loaded, the Padres brought in Juan Soto to pinch hit. Soto looked dialed in, and Bednar walked him on four pitches, bringing in a run. With one out, and the winning run on second, Bednar induced a pop up to third, followed by a strikeout to end the game.


The Pirates got a pair of home runs from their first basemen last night — with another homer from Bryan Reynolds. After his extension early this season, Reynolds will be around with the team for some time. Ji-Man Choi and Carlos Santana, on the other hand, might be candidates to be traded in the next week.

Here is the homer from Choi, who is a free agent this offseason.

Santana is also a free agent, and hit two homers at the start of the series with San Diego. This one gave the Pirates the eventual go-ahead run.

If the Pirates traded both players, the first base position would get interesting.


The Pirates saw the pro debut of their second round pick, along with continued power from Jase Bowen in Greensboro. Check out all of the results in the Prospect Watch.

Prospect Watch: Jase Bowen Hits 18th Homer, Mitch Jebb Makes Debut


Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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