Results tagged ‘ draft ’
The Pirates cut 10 players from camp on Monday Morning: Andrew Lambo, Brian Friday, Chase D’Arnaud, Aaron Thompson, Ramon Aguero, Jeff Locke, Tony Watson, Gorkys Hernandez, Alex Presley and Daniel Moskos.
Lambo was reassigned to minor league camp. Expect him to play a corner infield (with first base as a fall back option) with the Triple-A Indians this year. Lambo was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 4th round of the 2007 draft (He was acquired in the Octavio Dotel trade last July). In 26 games with the Altoona Curve, Lambo batted .275 with two homeruns and10 RBI.
Friday was reassigned to minor league camp. He should spent the most of his playing time at second base. Friday was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2007 draft by the Pirates. In 93 games with the Triple-A Indians, the 25-year-old batted .257 with two home runs and 28 RBI.
D’Arnaud was reassigned to minor league camp. He will spend the season playing short, but General Manager Neal Huntington said he will also play some time at third base. D’Arnaud was drafted in the 4th round of the 2008 draft by the Pirates. In 132 games with the Altoona Curve, the 24-year-old batted .247 with 33 doubles, nine triples, six home runs and 48 RBI.
Thompson was optioned to Double-A Altoona. Although he was optioned to the Curve, he could start the season at Triple-A, depending on how the pitching shakes out. Thompson was drafted in the 1st round (22nd overall) by the Florida Marlins in the 2005 draft. The Pirates claimed the lefty off waivers from the Washington Nationals. Last year, combined with Double-A and Triple-A for the Nats, the 24-year-old went 5-13 with a 5.64 ERA in 141.2 innings.
Aguero was optioned to Double-A Altoona. Aguero had an injury plagued 2010 season (elbow soreness and back stiffness) and only pitched in 25 games. He had a 6.14 ERA combined with the High-A Bradenton and Double-A Altoona.
Locke was optioned to Double-A Altoona, but like Thompson could start the season with Triple-A. Locke was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 2nd round of the 2006 draft (He was acquired in the Nate McLouth trade). The 23-year-old went 12-5 with a 3.56 ERA combined with High-A Bradenton and Double-A Altoona last year. He also struck out 139 batters in 144 innings.
Watson was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. The organization is still undecided on if he will be used as a starter or a reliever. Watson was drafted by the Pirates in the 9th round of the 2007 draft. The 25-year-old went 6-4 with a 2.67 ERA in 34 games (nine starts) with Double-A Altoona in 2010.
Hernandez was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis and will be the Indians primary center fielder. Hernandez batted .266 with 11 doubles, two homers, 26 RBI and 10 stolen bases with Double-A Altoona.
Alex Presley was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Presley will bounce around in the outfield with Hernandez being the teams primary center fielder. Presley was drafted in the 8th round of the 2006 draft. In 136 games (combined with Double-A and Triple-A) last season, the 25-year-old batted .320 with 28 doubles, 13 triples, 12 home runs 85 RBI and 13 stolen bases. Presley also made his major league debut with the Bucs where he batted .261 in 19 games.
Daniel Moskos was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Although he and Watson were two lefty candidates for the Bucs bullpen, the organization believes they could use more seasoning in the minors before making their debuts. Moskos was drafted in the 1st round (4th overall) of the 2007 draft. He had a 4.14 ERA in 56 games (1.52 ERA with Double-A Altoona) with 61 strikeouts over 58.2 innings. Moskos also picked up 22 saves.
44 players remain at big league camp.
Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington chatted with Jim Duquette and Jody McDonald of MLB Network radio’s Baseball Today on Sunday. He discussed: Clint Hurdle’s energy, the impact by the new Veterans, the closers role, young prospects who could make their debuts, and a possible long term extension with Andrew McCutchen.
On Clint Hurdle’s energy: “It’s great to know that we got Clint leading this group and the excitement, the enthusiasm, knowledge, the passion, and the intensity he brings, it’s going to be different for our players. We felt like we needed a new voice, new direction and not only with Clint but with our staff. We got a great staff in place. Our guys are excited. They are looking forward to this year. Looking forward to surprising some people.”
On the reason Huntington sough out Veterans Matt Daiz and Lyle Overbay: “Obviously, coming off a tough season, we wanted to get better. We knew we needed to upgrade our rotation, try to upgrade our bullpen, wanted some offensive ability. We wanted to improve our defense. When you win 57 games you pretty much need to improve everywhere. We had a lot of great young players who we’re excited about. This group of 25 and under both at the major league level and through our system is going to be the foundation of our future success. We are hoping we can have some current success. Guys like [Kevin] Correia, [Scott] Olsen, can add some veteran presence to our rotation. We got some guys that are competing to make our bullpen whether, it’s [Joe] Beimel or [Jose] Veras, that can help out [Joel] Hanrahan and [Evan] Meek, who were so good for us last year. Overbay, we upgrade defensively at first base with Garrett Jones in a platoon situation in right field…We put Garret in a position to be successful. Then we added Matt Diaz and all of a sudden we have a very productive right field…You talk to the people that were around that Atlanta [Braves] club, whether it’s front office people, people in the dugout, people around that club, Matt was one of their leaders last year. Lyle is a constant professional. And we needed to help Neil Walker and Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen, take some of the pressure off them. Let them go play and provide some of that veteran leadership to help them mature both on the field and off.”
On what Huntington is looking for this spring, compared to last: “I think our guys believe that we’re ready to start taking a huge step forward. In the past we hoped. And we kind of looked around and wondered who the guy was, that was going to put the team on his back and carry it. Now, we got a handful of guys that are capable of doing that…Talking with our guys, reading their quotes in the papers, they believe we can take a huge step forward this year. Clint’s only going to foster that. Our staff is only going to help that. There’s no question; we need to take a big step forward this year.”
On if there is an open competition between Hanrahan and Meek for the closers role at spring training: “We are going to go with one guy. We have not announced it publicly first. We honestly spent more time trying to see if there was a veteran closer, as we have with Octavio Dotel last year. That would come in here and close out some games, and allow Clint to use meek and Hanrahan anywhere through the sixth through the eighth. That worked out really well for us…We weren’t able to do that. Our energy and our focus has been on preparing for spring training. It’s been on trying to recruit some guys to try to come in here and step forward. We will meet as a staff, Clint, and Ray Searage and I will sit down and we will identify who is going to be our closer. No it won’t be an open competition at spring training. It’s too tough…It’s not like we got a bad choice. Whichever guy we go with, we believe can close games at the major league level and believe will do a nice job for us…We will commit to somebody and over an extended period of time and they will get the opportunity to show us that they can hold the job. The other guy is going to be getting big outs for us in the seventh or the eighth inning.”
On what young prospects could make their debuts this year: “Any of that rotation that was in Double-A last year that led that club to the Eastern League Championship. Whether it’s Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson, or Bryan Morris, Jeff Locke, there may be some of the guys out of the bullpen that get here quicker. Danny Moskos has great stuff from the left side, we just got to build that confidence that allows him to feel like his stuff can compete. There may be a couple guys that kind of surprise some people. Position player wise, there are some guys moving up from that group. Gorkys Hernandez, Andrew Lambo that are probably a little ways away. There is a good wave of talent coming through…If those guys don’t show up instantaneously, it’s not Sidney Crosby or Lebron James, that show up at the highest level on the day that they sign. It takes years. For Pedro Alvarez to get here in essentially in two calendar years is quick decent. We are looking forward to that next group of guys from the ’08 draft and ’08 signing class getting here.”
On Chris Snyder’s key to getting back to past years: “We traded for Chris to help our pitching staff. To stabilize the game calling, to stabilize our young starters, to help them get through tough innings, to help them get through tough outings. Whether it was the pitching coach change or Chris Synder traded for in late July, it did that. Our starting pitchers really threw the ball much better in August and September…He’s excited to get a full offseason of workouts. He’s coming, from what we’ve been told, in very good shape….In last offseason, his offseason was impacted by the back surgery and this is his first real healthy offseason in a while. He’s fired up to come in and help us.”
On potentially doing a long term deal with Andrew McCutchen: “They key to any of those situations is; One: the club wants it to happen, and we do. Two: the player wanting it to happen and that doesn’t always happen. Contracts take a willingness to share a risk of these type of situations. In some cases the club isn’t willing to take on that risk and other cases the player isn’t willing to compromise his potential future earnings value. He’s not interested in the security, he’d rather go out and see how much he can make year in and year out. Or, he doesn’t feel it’s the right time…It is something we absolutely intend to do. But the only way these deals get done is if two sides are interested in it.”
On what starter needs to step up this year: “…We need a multitude of guys to step forward. We need Paul Maholm to do what Paul Maholm did, whether it’s in ’08 or at least in ’09 and not what he did in ’10…Kevin Correia, we are looking forward for him to bounce back two what he was in ’09 given a very tough 2010 season both on and off the field. Charlie Morton has got tremendous stuff, yeah we need Charlie to take a step up. We need Ross Ohlendorf to stay healthy the whole year. We need to give him some run support. James McDonald. Can he do what he did for us the last two months of the season? Can he do that over the course of the season? Scott Olsen. Can we get that stuff to play on a consistent basis and get him back healthy. Can we get Brad Lincoln back to where he was? The nice part is, here comes that Owens, Wilson, Locke, Morris group that if we have some struggles, we’ve got some depth. Jeff Karstens did a nice job through five innings, as pretty much as anybody in baseball, just seemed to hit a wall in that sixth and seventh inning. The reality is, there isn’t just one person that needs to step forward for us to go where we believe we can go. We are going to need a couple guys to step up.”
Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle was a guest on MLB Network radio’s Power Alley with Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy on Thursday. He discussed priorities, expectations for the 2011 season, the “oh no’ coach, his time in Colorado and Michael Young’s impact with the Texas Rangers.
On Hurdle’s priorities as the Pirates manager: “Priority No. 1 for me was getting to know personnel. Getting to know the front office. More than just the interview process. Getting to know the people up top. Getting to know Bob Nutting and Frank Coonelly and Neal Huntington along with all the other employees. Also then reaching out to the player personnel group. Finding out who we have, who they are. One of the things I’ve really tried to do, probably the last 10 or 12 years of my coaching career and managerial career, get to know people and try to capture their heart. Not capture their skill set. I was a player a long, long time ago…The coaches that impacted me, actually reached out to me, got to know me and the skill set would follow…Getting to know our players. Getting to know the people I’m working with and for. Just trying to capture their hearts and get this thing focused on a winning mentality, a championship mentality and re-bond the city with the baseball team.”
“I think that there’s a whole bunch of things that come with it, as you start to prioritize. I try to keep things simple at the same time. No. 1 it’s to get to know people. I think that by getting to know people you establish trust. Without trust you got no shot at anything…It’s my job to establish trust. These people know who I am, what I am, want to be transparent. From there, you try to engage in the human part of it. Then you go to the professional part of it. What do our priorities need to be to improve our ball club, to set our sights on a championship organization. First and foremost, it’s off the mound. So much good work has been done here in Pittsburgh the last three seasons. Greg Smith, the scouting director, Kyle Stark, our farm director, and all our player development people and scouts. They’ve spent more money in baseball then anybody in baseball in the last three years in the draft. Those players are pluged into our development system. Now we have some people in the major league level that are making noise. We need to start focusing on our major league club winning ball games…We need to focus on a championship mentality winning ball games. How do we do that, first and foremost, off the mound.”
On getting to know the players and their feelings on the club and organization: “I think one of the things that when I walked away from every conversation, it was very refreshing…More often than not, when you ask about a season, more specifically a season with a 105 losses which everybody took ownership of. Not one person, not one man pointed the finger at another man, another coach, another manager, anybody in the front office…I’ve been in great situations, but I don’t know if I could ever say I’ve had those conversations across the board. Nobody threw somebody under the bus…These guys took ownership of it. They’re young men and a few guys with some leadership skills and been around, but they took ownership of it. We just got to get better, I need to do this. I need to do that. We need to do this. That was as refreshing as any coversation I could have had.”
On Hurdle’s realistic expectations for 2011: “…We’re going to develop a championship mentality. I talked with these players about winning the NL Central. Where that ends up, I don’t know but that needs to be our sight. That needs to be where we set the bar. We need to hold ourselves to major league championship level of execution across the board. What, are we going to get shirts printed up that say ‘hey, Let’s break the streak’ ‘let’s finish 3rd‘. I don’t got no time for that, they have no time for that. That is the kind of conversation that’s been had. People are going to believe, people aren’t going to believe. We understand the emotions here in the city with the fan base. It’s been tough sledding for a long time…I need to put the responsibility on my shoulders. This is what we are going to do, this is how we are going to this, this is why we are going to do it. And if that doesn’t happen, then look to me and look no further. I don’t want our men trying to…let’s play .500, let’s when 84 games. No, we don’t need men on our club that got that mentality going.”
On his experience playing with different managers in his career: “…A lot of managers I had did really well, basically a lot of managers did this really well, they did get to know you. They got to know what you liked to do. They maybe find out your wife’s name, or your kids name, or hobbies. We’ve all had that coach…When you saw him coming, you went, ‘oh no.’ We’ve all had ‘oh no’ coach. I’ve been encouraged, I’ve encouraged my coaches, and myself, I don’t want to be the ‘oh no’ guy. When I walk up to a player I want him to be, eye’s open…gosh, I wonder what he’s got today. He’s got something for me today.”
“I don’t have an ‘oh no’ coach. All these guys got clean slates. That’s one of the refreshing things about putting a staff together and actually having another opportunity to do this. You hope you learn some lessons over time. You hope there are some things you can improve upon and encourage my coaches. This is all about coaching men up. This is all about helping them grow up help build their talents. I believe on and off the field. That’s truly something we are holding fast to here…There are two kind of coaches I don’t want; I don’t want the ‘oh no’ coach and I don’t want the ‘cool coach’. I’ve probably been both coaches. But it was brought to my attention very early and you realize the error of your ways…There are certain things a manager needs to know and there are certain things he doesn’t need to know. I think one of the real blessings I got last year was, I think I was in the best position to coach hitters last year than I ever have been in the five previous years, because I got to sit in that managers seat for seven years.”
On what he took from his experience in Colorado: “The one big nugget I’ve taken from Colorado was It was a very humbling opportunity to be a small part of something that had so much significance to so many people, that 2007 season. There was so much hard work done by so many people that goes unnoticed in an organization when your re-building. To try to re-identify a brand, a logo, a team. To have that level of success is very humbling. At the same time, I think I learned on the way out that it was a very good experience for me…When I was fired from Colorado I felt that it was the most important day of my managerial career. In the fact that, for eight years I preached continuity. I had preached team, unselfishness, organization first. I felt the way I walked out was a say on anything I did on the field for seven years before. If you walk out yelling, kicking and screaming, pointing fingers, that just pollutes the message that I tried to leave seven years before hand. You leave professionally. You hand the keys over to Jim Tracy, who is a good baseball man and a very good manager. And you let everybody go about their business and you find the next thing to do. That’s what I learned from there.”
On Michael Young’s impact to the Rangers: “One of the things you need on a very good ball club, on a championship caliber ball club and in the clubhouse is a guy that will stand up and take heat off all the other guys when its not good. When your not playing well, when your not hitting, whatever’s going on…Michael would always be up front. He was the first guy up. He accessed the situation, honestly. He’d self evaluate himself and the team. And just talk about just what we need to do to get better. Never lay blame. That for me, was as big as anything he did for that ball club throughout the season. He was always up front. Defending the criticism. Taking a stand for the team or owning up when we weren’t playing well. You need that guy.”
Incase you missed Hot Stove from Wednesday night, or perhaps you don’t get the channel, here is what the analysts from MLB Network had to say about the Pirates 2011 season (P.S. It’s not pretty).
Matt Yallof: “The Pirates. Every single year. It seems to get worse. 57 wins last year. That seems difficult to do.”
Bill Ripken: “You wonder what direction they’re heading in. Our friend Clint Hurdle is taking over this club. I think he’s going to bring an attitude and a positive mentality to this club. But for me, I look at the pitching staff. In all these years that they’ve finished down to the bottom of baseball, I’m wanting to know where that number one is. We mentioned [Steven] Strasburg when we talk about the Nationals. Now, he blew out his elbow and he got hurt. But when you draft, you draft a number one. You draft some cheddar. When I look at the Pittsburgh Pirates rotation, I’m kind of wondering, ‘where’s the heat’? I’m not saying heats everything because you can pitch to spots and you can locate. When everybody on your staff is throwing 91, 92, then you drop down below 90, throwing 86, 88. There’s not that one guy that actually wows me. [Charlie] Morton throws the hardest. When you’re looking at 93 topping out, I’m wanting to know, ‘where the heat is?’ If you didn’t draft it, and you go out and you pick out other guys that are kind of throwing the same, ‘where’s the heat?’ I want somebody in that rotation that’s going to make somebody swing and miss at a fastball and maybe get yourself out of a jam instead of giving up big innings.”
Pirates projected rotation (according to MLB Network)
James McDonald (4-6, 4.02 ERA in 2010)
Paul Maholm (9-15, 5.10 ERA in 2010)
Kevin Correia (10-10 5.40 ERA in 2010)
Scott Olsen (4-8, 5.56 ERA in 2010)
Ross Ohlendorf (1-11, 4.07 ERA in 2010)
Mitch Williams: “There has to be a guy on every staff that at some point in the game, can reach back and throw the ball 95, 96. If you’ve got two outs and the bases loaded, two strikes on a hitter, you have got to have that guy that can blow that hitter up. Pittsburgh does not have that guy. They have guys that throw hitting speed.”
Matt Yallof: “You know what, they’ve had their chances to draft guys of note and guys that do what you’re taking about but they’ve missed. They’ve had high draft picks over and over. That hurts. Look at the guys they’ve passed on. They’ve missed those type of guys.”
Pitchers drafted in first round by Pirates since 2002:
Drafted – Right hand pitcher Brad Lincoln
Missed on – Left hand pitcher Clayton Kershaw, right hand pitcher Tim Lincecum, Right hand pitcher Matt Scherzer
Drafted – Left hand pitcher Paul Maholm
Missed on – Left hand pitcher John Danks, Right hand pitcher Chad Billingsley
Drafted – right hand pitcher Brian Bullington
Missed on – Right hand pitcher Zach Greinke, left hand pitcher Cole Hamels
(*As a note: Kevin McClatchy and Dave Littlefield were the General Managers during this time. Since Neal Huntington took over as GM in September of 2007, the drafting and minor league system has done a complete 180. Huntington really hasn’t gotten enough credit for what he has done so far and how much better the organization is heading.)
Harold Reynolds: “That’s the easy stuff they’ve missed on. Those are the number one picks. It’s the guys in the fifth round, six round, that your scouting is suggesting and going after. They’ve done a nice job with some players that have come up as of late (Williams: “position players”). But they’ve really missed it on the pitching.”
Ripken: “That term that comes into baseball now: Sign ability. Some of that might be their hands are tied a little bit but boy when you see that list and some of those players they’ve passed up on, wow! They’d look a lot different.”
Reynolds: “If you look back at the ‘we are family pirates’ they were international. They were: Puerto Rico, Dominican, they may not have had the funds back then but they went in those countries and developed players. I still think they had the market cornered. That’s when everybody wanted to be a pirate.”
Williams: “They won the World Series with the ugliest hats in the history of baseball.”
Yallof: “Last winning season: 1992. It’s really hard to believe.”
Notable Transactions (by MLB Network)
First baseman – Lyle Overbay
Outfielder – Matt Diaz
Right hand pitcher – Kevin Correia
Left hand pitcher – Scott Olsen
Left hand pitcher – Zach Duke
Right hand pitcher – Chan Ho Park
Outfielder – Lastings Milledge
The Pirates acquired Corey Wimberly from the Oakland Athletics’ in exchange for right-handed pitcher Ryan Kelly. He will also receive a non-roster invite to Spring Training.
Wimberly, 27, can play five different positions: shortstop, third base, second base, left field and center field. He hit .284 with three home runs, 57 RBI in 135 games for the A’s Triple-A team. Wimberly stole 56 bases last season, 259 bags in 563 career games.
Kelly, 23, was drafted by the Pirates in the 26th round of the 2006 draft. He went 2-3 with a 4.20 ERA through 75 innings during the 2010 season with Class A-West Virginia.
The Pirates signed Andy Marte, Right-handed pitcher Fernando Nieve and catcher Dusty Brown to minor league deals on Wednesday.
Marte –who’s deal includes an invite to spring training– was ranked by Baseball America as one of the top 15 prospects from 2004-2006. He was traded to the Boston Red Sox in 2005 for Edgar Renteria, then sent to the Cleveland Indians not long after. (Marte was out righted by the Indians in November).
Marte, 27, has not played more than 80 games in the majors in the past six seasons. He has a career .218 average with 20 home runs and 96 RBI. During 2010, the third/first baseman hit .229 with five home runs and 19 RBI in 170 at-bats.
Nieve, 28, will be competing for a spots in the Pirates bullpen. He went 2-4 with a 6.00 ERA through 42.0 innings with the New York Mets in 2010. Nieve was signed by the Houston Astros as an amateur free agent in 1999.
Brown, 28, has spent the majority of the last three seasons catching in Triple-A. During 2010, he batted .218 with 19 doubles and seven homers. Brown threw out 27 percent of base stealers. He was drafted by the Red Sox in the 35th round of the 2000 draft.
Current Brewers hitting coach, Dale Sveum interviewed with the Pirates on Wednesday for the open managerial position.
Sveum, 46, was drafted in the first round (25th pick) of the 1982 draft and spent 12 seasons in the majors with seven different teams (Pirates 1996-97, 99). Unfortunately, his career was ended early due to an career-threatening collision in 1998 and never fully recovered. Sveum had a career .236 average with 69 home runs and 340 RBI.
From 2001-2003 Sveum managed the Pirates’ Double-A Altoona Curve and was named Top Managerial Prospect in the Eastern League by Baseball America. (213-211)
Sveum was the third base coach for the Boston Red Sox from 2004-05. He has spent the last five years as part of the Brewers coaching staff that included bench coach, third base coach, and hitting coach. Sveum was named the Brewers interim manager after Ned Yost was fired and during those 12 games they went 7-5, winning the National League Wild Card.