Monday, February 4, 2013

Pitchers, Catchers Camp Roster

It's a week away. The equipment trucks have left PNC Park for Florida, and the pitchers and catchers report to camp on February 11th. Here's the guys that will crank it up next week and a brief breakdown:

Active Roster (Pitchers - 22): Vic Black, AJ Burnett, Jeanmar Gomez, Jason Grilli, Jared Hughes, Phil Irwin, Jeff Karstens, Chris Leroux, Jeff Locke*, Vin Mazzaro, James McDonald, Kyle McPherson, Mark Melancon, Bryan Morris, Charlie Morton, Andy Oliver*, Stolmy Pimentel, Wandy Rodriguez*, Hunter Strickland, Tony Watson*, Duke Welker, Justin Wilson.* (* LHP)
  • Morton will start the year on the DL. Burnett, Karstens, McDonald and Rodriguez will start; Locke and McPherson will likely battle for the fifth spot. Gomez is out of options and will have to pass through waivers to stay in the system; he was 14-16 /5.18 at Cleveland as a starter and may get a good look for the final rotation spot, too. Grilli, Melancon, Watson and Hughes are set in the bullpen, while Leroux, Mazzara and Morris are out of options, so have a foot up to fill out the relief corps. That would again leave the Bucs with one lefty out of the bullpen. The other guys are upper level prospects, with Black, Irwin and Wilson the closest to MLB-ready. Francisco Liriano may or may not join the list; only the Shadow knows - and he ain't telling!

Non-Roster Invitees (Pitchers - 8): Brooks Brown, Gerrit Cole, Erik Cordier, Kris Johnson*, Ryan Reid, Jameson Taillon, Kyle Waldrop, Mike Zagurski.* (* LHP)
  • Cole and Taillon are elite prospects getting a taste of camp; Cole should be in Pittsburgh sometime this season. Brown, Cordier, Reid and Waldrop are upper level depth. Cordier has been an injury prone minor league starter who may be shifted to the pen; while Waldrop spent part of last season with the Twins. The lefties are Johnson, a minor league starter coming off a very good season in winter ball, while Zagurski has been in the show with the Phils and D-Backs, with a 6.13 ERA and a lot of walks and Ks. None should break camp with the team.

Active Roster (Catchers - 3): Russell Martin, Mike McKenry, Tony Sanchez.
  • Martin and McKenry will be the 1-2 catchers for Pittsburgh, while Tony Sanchez will open the year at Indy.

Non-Roster Invitees (Catchers - 3): Lucas May, Carlos Paulino, Ali Soltis.
  • All three will open the year in the minors; they're in camp to handle the pitching load rather than as prospects for the big league roster. May had been KC's AAA catcher for three seasons with a cup of coffee with the Royals in 2010, and so is likely to start at Indy with Sanchez. The next wave of Pirate catching is at Class A, led by Wyatt Mathison and Jin-De Jhang, so the Bucs aren't very deep at the position at the top levels.


WilliamJPellas said...

I have always been a big fan of Jeff Karstens, who is a rare, soft-tossing righty that succeeds. The man can really "pitch" in the best sense of that term. Unfortunately, for whatever reason or reasons, his body just simply does not stand up to the pounding of a full major league season. So to say that he is the number four starter is, I think, premature. In terms of talent and ability that would be a good spot for him, but I don't see any way he will last the season in that spot---not with his run of injuries while with the Pirates.

More likely, I suspect, is that he takes a regular turn until June or, perhaps if he's doing really well, until the All Star break. After that, it's either Gerritt Cole or Charlie Morton or both who will be coming back to the rotation, and Karstens will return to his swingman-long relief role---in which he does very well.

Re: the 'pen, I'm a bit surprised that it looks like they'll go with just one lefthander. Haven't they learned their lesson yet? Not that you want someone there purely because they're lefthanded---obviously they have to be able to get SOMEBODY out---but you sure want to see a little more balance, seems to me.

Ron Ieraci said...

That could be, Will; JK's spot is obviously not written in stone. But by the time Cole and Morton (and maybe Liriano) are ready, I suspect performance will decide who gets the ax. I suspect the rotation in July will be a far different animal than the one in April.

As for lefties, Hurdle doesn't really seem to match up much, which I think is the reason there's no urgency to find a LOOGY. Of course, whether that's a matter of preference or necessity is another question. The cost of guys like Sean Burnett and Mike Gonzalez might be an issue, too.