It would make sense to further evaluate some pitching (Ross Ohlendorf, Jimmy Barthmaier - tho he's slated to go to Arizona, he needs some innings, - Craig Hansen, TJ Beam), middle infield (Brian Bixler, and possibly Luis Cruz too, according to Dejan, even though he's not on the 40-man), catchers Ronny Paulino and Robinzon Diaz, and Steve Pearce.
We'd pay to see Neil Walker go head-to-head with Andy LaRoche, although that scenario looks like it's a long shot. He's not on the 40-man, although a quick look at the protected pitchers shows that all the deadwood hasn't been cleared out yet.
If we read the rules right, Walker has to go on the 40-man before next year's Rule 5 draft anyway as a fourth year pro, while Andrew McCutchen still has a season to go, which is why they're in no hurry to call him up yet and burn a spot (plus, of course, prematurely starting that pesky service time clock).
The new suits say that no one has a position given to him. We'd like to see that put into action, especially as it's a Littlefield player vs Huntington player competition. Walker certainly deserves a look, comparing his play of the past few weeks against LaRoche's.
Remember the gnashing of teeth when Steve Pearce's shot was cut short? Well, Walker was the team MVP, not Pearce or Cutch. Walker had more HRs and 20 more RBI than Pearce, while his average was just nine points lower. It's time to see him play.
> George Von Benko of MLB.com says September is going to be an important month for the Bucs, according to GM Neal Huntington:
"Every game we play from here on out is an audition, for all of us," Huntington said.We'll see. Actions speak volumes.
Huntington indicated there are a core of players in place, but nothing is a given in the Pirates organization.
"I don't want to throw anybody under the bus, but the reality is the days of scholarships are over," Huntington explained. "We need to continue to work hard and we need to continue to play hard, and they need to show that they are the best option. We have to take the best 25 and we have to work hard to win ballgames. We're not here to be satisfied to win 81 games. We want to be the best we can. We want to win."
> Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus has a history of Scott Boras challenges against the MLB draft at Boras vs Baseball - A Primer. Don't underestimate Slick Scott.
> Dirt Dog Doug Mientkiewicz is listed as day-to-day after he injured his left hip flexor and groin on Saturday night. Ditto for Jack Splat, who opened a nasty gash on his finger yesterday.
> 1B Jonel Pacheco has been named Altoona's 2008 MVP. The 25-year old finished Sunday's contest with a .286 average, 17 doubles, 12 home runs and 52 RBI in 115 games.
The Curve also presented their annual “Pitcher of the Year” award to RHP Juan Mateo. In 32 appearances out of the bullpen, Mateo, who was signed as a minor league free agent in early May, is 7-1 with five saves and a 2.12 ERA.
C Milver Reyes was named the winner of the club's annual "Unsung Hero Award," and the "Big Money Player of the Year Award" went to OF Brad Corley.
> George Von Benko of MLB.com reports on the Bradenton prospects:
A couple of the young Pirates posted outstanding numbers -- third baseman Jarek Cunningham batted .318 with five home runs and 22 RBIs, and second baseman Adenson Chourio hit .335 with 30 stolen bases.OF Edward Garcia and 2B Chourio (who at the age of 22 is a GCL senior citizen) were sent to State College to get a brief taste of A ball. The Spikes season ends September 4th.
"[Cunningham] played some shortstop and some third base," (manager Tom) Prince reported. "He's just a solid person who went about his business very professionally and has a bright future ahead of him.
"Chourio is ... a very exciting young player and plays good defense at second base and stole a lot of bases. He just fit into the system real well." Prince also singled out a couple of members of his pitching staff.
"We had a couple of left-handers that did a real nice job for us," Prince offered. "Nelson Pereira out of Nicaragua, and Tyler Cox and Brent Klinger, a kid out of the Draft who did a great job. Klinger is a big kid who throws the ball hard. Basically we're trying to get these guys to throw strikes and they did an outstanding job."
> Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com has a nice piece on long-time Buc broadcaster Lanny Frattare at Frattare Joins Frick Hopefuls.
> So far, so good with instant replay. It started this weekend, and no calls were overturned. Only home run calls can be reviewed to determine whether or not a ball was over the fence, fair or foul, or subject to fan interference.