Sunday, February 22, 2015

And the Rest of the Gang Comes To Camp...

Well, the pitchers and catchers are hard at it; now it's time for the infielders and outfielders to join them in camp (most already have). They're due to check in tomorrow with workouts on Tuesday. The guys rolling into camp are:

Infielders: 1B Pedro Alvarez, 3B Josh Harrison IF Jung Ho Kang, IF Steve Lombardozzi, SS Jordy Mercer, IF Sean Rodriguez and 2B Neil Walker.
The infield is set. Pedro/Corey Hart at first, Josh-Jordy-The Kid cover around the horn and Rodriguez/Kang on the pine. We'll see if Harrison and Mercer can continue to be productive at the plate and if Pedro can rediscover his stick with the third base burden removed from his workload. We think there may be a battle between Rodriguez and Lombardozzi for the last spot on the bench; we'll see if that develops.

Jung Ho Kang comes to camp.
Depth: IF Pedro Florimon, IF Brent Morel, SS Gustavo Nunez and IF Justin Sellers.
They all have MLB experience and all fit into the good glove mold. Nunez may have the most upside, but all are depth guys and should start at Indy, although Floriman, the most MLB ready of the crew, is on the 40-man roster and out of options. Morel is also out of options. 

Just Visiting: 1B Stetson Allie, IF Alen Hanson & IF Gift Ngoepe.
Hansen looks like the heir apparent at second and is on schedule to challenge for a spot next season. Allie is the converted pitcher with some big time pop in his stick, while Ngoepe is a bench infielder with speed and a mitt but challenged at the dish.

Alen Hansen takes a turn at Pirate City.
Outfielders:  1B/OF Corey Hart, Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen and Gregory Polanco.
The Bucs insist on carrying Hart with the OF'ers; he will primarily be Pedro's caddy at first and a pinch hitter, tho he could get some time in RF. The other three guys are the starting trio, as athletic and speedy a crew as Pittsburgh may have ever put on the field. Polanco got a taste last year; we'll see how quickly he can adjust to pitching in his first full season.

Looking For Love:  Jaff Decker, Gorkys Hernandez, 1B/OF Andrew Lambo and Jose Tabata.

Assuming that they go with a bona-fide fourth outfielder, Lambo looks like the man; with Hart (and Rodriguez), that gives the team a lefty-righty bench set and a set of potential first sackers for the upcoming post-Pedro era. Decker may be the best of the rest; JT appears to have worn out his welcome and Gorkys can shag with the best of them but can't get his bat going.

Andrew Lambo is hoping to turn a big bat and versatility into a full time Pirate gig.
Gettin' A Look: Keon Broxton, Willy Garcia, and Mel Rojas Jr. 
They're all getting a look, and all have some potential, at least as future bench options. Could be that the Bucs may showcase them in the early going to see if any draw any interest from other clubs. The Pirates best minor league outfielders - Josh Bell (who may move to first), Harold Ramirez and Austin Meadows - aren't in camp this year.

(Photo credit: all shots are by David Arrigo/Pittsburgh Pirates)

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