Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sunday: Calm Before the Storm - Roster (Osuna Optioned) & What to Expect, Notes, Bucs Drop Finale

A day of rest and then the 2017 campaign begins. Here's the squad:

Pitchers (12): Bastardo, Cole, Glasnow, Hudson, Kuhl, LeBlanc, Nicasio, Nova, Rivero, Tallion, Watson & Williams.

Position Players (13): Bell, Cervelli, Frazier, Freese, Gosselin, Hanson, Harrison, Jaso, Marte, McCutchen, Mercer, Polanco & Stewart. (Kang - somewhere, sometime, but not now).

What to Expect: The right side of the infield is still a bit confused with the Bell/Jaso thing at first and Fraze/J-Hay at second; Jordy and Freeser are set on the left side. Our guess is that eventually Harrison will become this year's S-Rod. The outfield is beaucoup talented, but there will be rough sailing defensively in the pasture as the three amigos learn to mesh. They had very little playing time as a unit while that fourth outfielder spot has yet to be claimed. Fran is the man behind the dish, but if he's banged up during the year, his caddy is still TBD with an equally fragile Stew backing him up and Elias Diaz in the wings. The bench is versatile but stocked with sticks rather than gloves.

Is this Starling's year to break out? (image Pittsburgh Pirates)

The rotation, like the outfield, is loaded but treacherously young. They'll be lessons to be learned, and how quickly they're absorbed will tell the tale not only of their performance but how the campaign will turn. The bullpen is deep and a strong suit, especially if Tony Watson finds his mojo. Remember, The Shark looked like a fish out of water after camp last year but got it together during the season; hopefully Tony can follow that model. They also have a couple of long guys who can eat some innings through the growing pains of a peach-fuzzy staff.

Whether or not the club has any long-ball muscle will depend largely on Starling and Gregory continuing to grow. Two bugaboos showed up in camp - continued base path woes and some shaky defense, especially as the Pirates lack a tried spare OF'er and true glove guy for the middle infield. Joey Cora and Kimera Bartee have their hands full putting those issues to bed.

Camp also gave us a glimpse of the pipeline depth with Nick Kingham, Clay Holmes, Angel Sanchez and Edgar Santana the pitching futures and Jose Osuna, Austin Meadows and yes, finally Gift Ngoebe up-and-comers on the field. Cole Tucker and Kevin Coleman also showed well. The WBC and nagging bruises took a lot of time away from the big league guys, but it did give the pups an extended evaluation period.

Nick Kingham looks like the next man up (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

  • And then there were 25: as expected, Jose Osuna was optioned to Indy as the Pirates final camp cut. Jacob Stallings, Jackson Williams and Danny Ortiz were assigned to minor league camp.
  • The Bucs have returned LH reliever/Rule 5 pick Tyler Webb to the Yankees after he cleared waivers and NY assigned him to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. We're guessing no acceptable deal to keep him could be struck between the clubs.
  • Nothing new on Gregory Polanco or Stew, so we expect them both to be in uniform tomorrow.
  • Pittsburgh finished the spring 19-12-2.
  • Staying in the division: Mike Feinsand, the Brewers beat guy, reports that Jared Hughes is set to sign with Milwaukee. He'll replace another ex-Buc, Rob Scahill, who was just cut by the Brew Crew.
  • Alex Craft of has a look at the Pirates prospects who look like breakout candidates.
  • The Marlins signed Vance Worley to a minor-league deal.
Austin Meadows leads the prospect parade (2016 Bowmans Best)
Yesterday's Game: Chad Kuhl and Tyler Glasnow weren't on their games yesterday and the Bucs didn't help them any in the field (no errors, but they missed a couple of routine plays on the diamond) during a 6-4 loss to the Jays that ended the exhibition season. Cool Chad gave up two runs in 2-2/3 IP on four hits with two walks and a whiff; Tyler surrender three tallies in thee innings on six hits and a walk, although he did fan five. Fraze had a RBI and scored; Eric Wood and Josh Bell also had ribbies while Cutch, Cole Tucker & Elias Diaz plated. Now it's off to Boston and the games that count.

No comments: