Friday, February 6, 2015

Here They Come: The Pitchers and Catchers

Yep, it's finally right around the corner. The Pirate pitchers and catchers report to camp on Thursday, February 19th to kick off the 2015 season, just 13 days from now. Here's a look at the 32 pitchers and six catchers that will check into Pirate City that day:

Starting Pitchers (9): RHP A.J. Burnett, RHP Gerrit Cole, RHP Brandon Cumpton, LHP Francisco Liriano, RHP Radhames Liz, LHP Jeff Locke, RHP Charlie Morton, LHP Clayton Richard & RHP Vance Worley.

Cole, Liriano, Burnett and Morton are locks, making the last spot a battle royale. Depending on his recovery from labrum surgery, Morton may miss a couple of April starts, buying the team some time. And the FO will face some decisions as Liz, Locke and Worley are out of options. Richard is another blue light special who will reboot at Indy.(Ditto RHP Chris Volstad, who the Bucs signed to a minor league deal, but without a camp invite to date.)

Gerrit Cole - this year's ace? (Photo: Jason Vinlove/USAToday Sports)

Just Stopping By (5): RHP Tyler Glasnow, RHP Nick Kingham, RHP Casey Sadler, RHP Adrian Sampson & RHP Jameson Taillon.

These are the young 'uns getting a taste of big league camp; Taillon may be a second half candidate for Pittsburgh depending on how his TJ rehab goes; Kingham is also a late season possibility, Sampson & Sadler potential swingmen while Glasnow is a year away.

Jameson Taillon on the mend (Photo: Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

Bullpen (9): LHP Antonio Bastardo, RHP Arquimedes Caminero, RHP John Holdzkom, RHP Jared Hughes, LHP Bobby LaFromboise, RHP Mark Melancon, RHP Stolmy Pimentel, RHP Rob Scahill & LHP Tony Watson.

This will be interesting. Mark the Shark, Watson, & Bastardo are in, while Pimentel, Hughes and Holdzkum are fairly certain to head north. But if the Bucs carry an out-of-options starter in the pen, things could domino. Hughes and Holdzkum do have options and can be safely stashed at Indy; Pimentel has none. Off-season pick ups Caminero and Scahill can bring the heat as the FO has stockpiled some power arms this year. The Bucs are making pen jobs competitive in 2015, and if the rotation shakedown spills into the pen, earning a roster spot could easily become the baseball version of "Survivor." 

Jared Hughes - will he stay or will he go? (Photo: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Non-Roster Pen (9): RHP Collin Balester, LHP Jeremy Bleich, RHP Wilfredo Boscan, RHP Deolis Guerra, LHP Charlie Leesman, RHP Brad Lincoln, RHP Angel Sanchez, RHP Josh Wall & RHP Blake Wood.

There's a reason these guys are non-roster. But there are a couple of arms to watch; Wall, Bleich & Wood will get good looks at camp.

Josh Wall - this season's NRI to take a roster spot? (Photo: Pittsburgh Pirates)

Catchers (6): Wilkin Castillo, Francisco Cervelli, Elias Diaz, Tony Sanchez, Chris Stewart & Sebastian Valle.

OK, step aside, nothing to see here. Cervelli & Stewart will break camp with the club, Diaz & Sanchez will head to Indy (Sanchez perhaps as a 1B) while Castillo & Valle probably will open at Altoona. A club needs a lot of catchers in camp during early spring.

Francisco Cervelli has some big spikes to fill (Photo: Max Cunningham/Getty Images)

No comments: