Results tagged ‘ Colton Cain ’’s Top 10 Pirates Prospects

Jenifer Langosch/

All month, is slowly rolling out its Top 10 prospects list for each club. On Tuesday, Pittsburgh’s list was revealed. The full story is here for you to read more about each prospect. If you’re just looking for the list, it is as follows:

  1. RHP Jameson Taillon
  2. RHP Stetson Allie
  3. C Tony Sanchez
  4. LHP Rudy Owens
  5. RHP Bryan Morris
  6. RHP Luis Heredia
  7. LHP Jeff Locke
  8. OF Starling Marte
  9. RHP Zack Von Rosenberg
  10. LHP Colton Cain

You agree or disagree with any of the placements? Feel free to discuss…

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Minor League news and notes

Jenifer Langosch/

Alvarez 2 02-20 _068.jpgWe’ll get back to big league stuff in a minute, but for those of you with one eye on the organization’s Minor League system heading into 2010, here are some notes you might be interested in. Information is courtesy of farm director Kyle Stark (I’ll thank him for you)…

  • Pedro Alvarez: The plan is to keep him at third base, though that could eventually change for one of two reasons. One, how Jeff Clement and Andy LaRoche fare at the big league level could play a role in whether the Pirates think about using Alvarez at first. Two, he has to continue to shore up his defense and conditioning to stick at the hot corner.
  • Neil Walker: For all the talk about where Walker might be able to play, the key is this: If Walker is going to get a strong look from Pittsburgh, he’s going to have to hit. As Stark put it, “If Neil’s bat progresses, we’ll find a spot for Neil.” The plan is to try him out in a few spots this spring to improve his versatility. He’ll keep playing third, but will also likely get continued work at second and learn the corner outfield spots.
  • Jose Tabata: Though Tabata’s most likely spot in Pittsburgh is right field, he’ll keep getting a lot of work in center as long as he’s in the Minors. The Pirates have not ruled out using Tabata in left field eventually because of how spacious it is at PNC Park.
  • Chase d’Arnaud: After splitting the ’09 season between the two Single-A levels, d’Arnaud is projected to begin the year with Double-A Altoona. It’s an agressive move, but the organization wants to get him hitting against Double-A pitching. D’Arnaud will likely have to split time between short and second there because of the number of middle infield prospects expected to be with Altoona. But long-term, the Pirates see him as a shortstop.
  • Brian Friday: He spent all of 2009 at Altoona, but is expected to open the season as Indianapolis’ everyday shortstop.
  • Daniel Moskos: I asked the usual Spring Training question… is Moskos going to start or relieve? The answer: TBD. Stark: “That is a discussion every day. I think that Danny has put himself in position where he’s trying to make 1 of 12 spots as opposed to 1 of 5 (starting spots) or 1 of 7 (relief spots). There are some things that say the starter role will be the best value and have the best upside. Then there are some things that make you think this guy needs to go pitch in the bullpen. I think that regardless of what we do, we’re going to try and get at the bullpen mentality of competing. Last year going through starting, there was some sense of trying to pace himself to get through six or seven innings, and so I think that regardless of whether it’s in that role or in the bullpen, that the attack mentality is the thing that we’re going to focus on with him.”
  • Rudy Owens: The left-hander is in the mix to start at Double-A this year, though it’s not a certainty. Even if he does start at high-A Bradenton, the expectation is that Owens will be in Altoona before the end of the season.
  • Stark noted three Minor Leaguers who are going to be sidelined to start the season. Colton Cain (8th round, 2009) has dealt with a back injury this winter which will keep him from being ready on Opening Day. However, Cain has been cleared to begin workouts, so the injury is not expected to linger. Brett Lorin (acquired in the Seattle trade) will miss the start of the season because of a hip injury. Zac Fuesser (34th round, 2009) is also out with an injury.

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August 22: Reds (51-70) @ Pirates (50-70); Cedeno out with slight pinky fracture

Jenifer Langosch/

Not that it is headline-worthy news or anything, but I’ll throw it out there anyway — with a win on Saturday, the Pirates can (at least a night) climb out of the National League Central basement. The Pirates have held the division’s bottom spot since June 20 when the team was 31-37. That does include sharing last plce with Cincinnati for four days earlier this month.

Now of course, the Pirates would have to win both Saturday and Sunday’s contest to stay out of the basement when the Reds leave town… but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

As bad as it may seem the Pirates have been this month, the Reds have been as dismal offensively. Let’s do some August comparisons since I have the time and hopefully you have the interest:

  • Records: Pirates: 6-12; Reds: 6-13
  • Team batting average: Pirates: .234 (29th in Majors); Reds: .217 (30th)
  • Runs scored: Pirates: 70 (29th); Reds: 66 (30th)
  • Team OBP: Pirates: .302 (29th); Reds: .282 (30th)

As for today’s news, notes and randomness:

  • Shortstop Ronny Cedeno fractured the tip of his pinky finger on Friday night and is out of the lineup on Saturday and likely Sunday as well. The incident happened in the fourth when Cedeno fielded Micah Owings’ grounder up the middle. There is nothing that can be done to speed up the healing process, though Cedeno will be able to play once the swelling goes down. Even though it’s on his right hand, it shouldn’t affect his throwing too much since it’s just the pinky. However, there is concern that it could have a longer negative affect on his swing.
  • In his first 19 starts at shortstop for the Pirates, Cedeno hit .261 wih four homers and 12 RBIs.
  • Luis Cruz earned the start in place of Cedeno on Saturday despite manager John Russell also having Brian Bixler and Ramon Vazquez as options. When asked why he went with Cruz, Russell lauded Cruz’s hard work since being called up on July 10 and his play during a start last Saturday in Chicago.
  • Bixler has yet to make an appearance in a game since being called up from Triple-A a week ago. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for a player that Pirates management continues to insist has the chance to be a part of the organization’s future.
  • As noted on here yesterday, Evan Meek’s season has come to an end with his placement on the 60-day DL on Friday. Russell had this to say about Meek’s year: “He developed in a lot of different areas – maturity, confidence, a guy we started to rely on later in games. I think he progressed very nicely. I think he put himself in a very good position to have a very good opportunity to make our club next year. It was a chance for him to really grow as a pitcher, and I think he accomplished some really good things this year.”
  • Meek finished 1-1 with a 3.45 ERA in 41 relief apperances.
  • Catcher Ryan Doumit has just four hits in his last 34 at-bats, though he should have had two hits last night. Rather, he finished 0-for-3 after being robbed of an extra-base hit by a leaping grab at the wall and had another hit taken away by a diving catch in right. That’s kind of the story of the week for Doumit, who has looked better at the plate but with nothing to show for it. Russell continues to hit Doumit fifth, behind Andy LaRoche.
  • Triple-A Indianapolis got trounced 15-6 on Friday while calling on not one, but two position players to pitch in the game. Outfielder Larry Broadway allowed two hits and struck out one in 2/3 innings. Infielder/outfielder Chris Barnwell allowed one hit, one run and walked one in his one inning of relief.
  • Director of Player Development Kyle Stark said that he expects Draft picks Zackry Dodson (4th round), Zachary Von Rosenberg (6th round) and Colton Cain (8th round) to see limited game action in the Gulf Coast League before the season ends. The main objective, though, is to get the three high school pitchers focused for the upcoming fall instructional league. Each has been working out in Bradenton, Fla., since signing earlier this month.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Delwyn Young (2B)
  3. Garrett Jones (RF)
  4. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  5. Ryan Doumit (C)
  6. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  7. Steve Pearce (1B)
  8. Luis Cruz (SS)
  9. Zach Duke (LHP)

Reds lineup:

  1. Drew Stubbs (CF)
  2. Adam Rosales (3B)
  3. Joey Votto (1B)
  4. Brandon Phillips (2B)
  5. Jonny Gomes (RF)
  6. Wladimir Balentien (LF)
  7. Ryan Hanigan (C)
  8. Paul Janish (SS)
  9. Justin Lehr (RHP)

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Bucs sign fourth- and eighth-round Draft picks

The Pirates announced late Friday afternoon that they had come to terms on agreements with two such targets of this strategy, left-handers Zackry Dodson (fourth round) and Colton Cain (eighth round). Dodson had already committed to Baylor University, while Cain was set to pitch for the University of Texas this next year.

According to a source close to negotiations, Cain signed for a $1.15 million bonus. Dodson’s bonus figure was not initially known, but it is expected to be right around that of Cain’s.

To put that in perspective, a $1.15 million bonus matches Major League Baseball’s recommended slot figure for the 26th overall pick of the Draft. Dodson was picked 115th overall and Cain, 235th. Typically, players selected after the fifth round are not given more than a maximum $150,000 signing bonus.

Pitching for Medina Valley (TX) high school this past year, Dodson went 10-0 with a 1.20 ERA, 129 strikeouts and 36 walks in 64 1/3 innings. He appeared in 16 games, 10 as a starter. When he wasn’t pitching, Dodson played in the outfield and hit .465 with 11 home runs. As a junior, Dodson went 13-0 with a 0.59 ERA and 149 strikeouts in 83 1/3 innings.

Cain also hails from Texas, where he went 6-2 with a 2.17 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 10 games as a senior for Waxahachie high school. In October 2008, Baseball America named Cain the No. 44 high school prospect. The publication then listed him as the 109th best overall prospect just prior to the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

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August 7: Cardinals (59-51) @ Pirates (45-63)

Before we get going on baseball-related news, I’d like to revisit some items from after last night’s long game. It was reported — and accurately so, based on the information members of the media were provided after Thursday’s game — on and by others who cover the team regularly that two Pirates players did not speak to the media Thursday night.

Kevin Hart, who made the start in his Pirates debut, left the clubhouse before we were allowed in. And we were told by a Pirates spokesperson that reliever Steven Jackson, who took the loss in the game and was sent down to Triple-A minutes after, would not speak either. That is why you did not see quotes from either of the two pitchers.

On Friday, we (the media that cover the team daily) were given some clarification on the circumstances behind last night’s events.

Hart was waiting for us when we entered the clubhouse this afternoon to apologize for not being around after the game. Because the Pirates made multiple roster moves after the game, the media was held out longer than normal and Hart, not knowing why the media wasn’t being allowed in, waited for about 15 minutes and then left thinking no one wanted to talk with him. He had not been told to wait around to speak, nor was he informed why the media was not in the clubhouse as expected.

He sincerely apologized to the media, fans and his teammates for how things happened last night and wanted everyone to know his intention was not to be disrespectful. I can tell you that in my other dealings with Hart so far, he has been nothing but extremely accomodating, respectful and pleasant to deal with. That said, chalk Thursday’s incident to pure miscommunication.

As for Jackson, Pirates media relations director Jim Trdinich took responsibility for telling Jackson that he did not have to speak with reporters after the game, hence Jackson’s decision not to. We were unaware on Thursday that Jackson had been given the option.

Wanted to get all of that out there, since I know there were some harsh words directed at both players afterward for what, at the time, appeared to be deliberate avoidance of the media.

Now on to baseball… with today’s news, notes and randomness… 

  • Right-handed relievers Chris Bootcheck and Jose Ascanio have arrived and will be two fresh arms for the Pirates’ bullpen. Bootcheck was called up when Donnie Veal went on the DL with a sprained left index finger. Ascanio takes the roster spot that belonged to Jackson. Bootcheck and Ascanio will both be used in middle relief.
  • Manager John Russell said that though Ascanio will be used as a reliever, that does not rule out returning him to a starting role later in the year. That could be by sending him down to Triple-A Indianapolis later this month, or by giving him spot starts with the Pirates in September. Basically, the Pirates were in dire need of a fresh arm and Ascanio gives them someone who can throw multiple innings.
  • The decision to put Veal back on the DL seems to be another “aggressive” one by the organization, which continues to be hesitant to use Veal in situations where the game is close. According to Russell, Veal was throwing earlier this week and said that that his finger did not feel right. He has been diagnosed with a sprained left index finger. If the Pirates want, they have the ability to keep Veal on the DL for the rest of the month and reinstate him in September when they can freely call up bullpen reinforcement.
  • Heading into Friday’s contest against the Cardinals, the Pirates have been outscored 24-4 in the seventh inning and later on this homestand. That helps to explain why the club has lost five straight.
  • As reported by Jonathan Mayo, the Pirates’ eighth-round Draft pick, Colton Cain, is close to signing with the Pirates for a seven-figure bonus. That announcement could be made official as early as later this afternoon.
  • Brian Bixler, who is being converted to a utility player at Triple-A Indianapolis, was named the Triple-A Player of the Month for July. Bixler hit .343 with 17 runs scored, six doubles, three triples and six home runs. He drove in 20 and stole six bases.
  • Right-hander Jean Machi was promoted from Double-A Altoona to Triple-A to take Bootcheck’s spot in the Indianapolis bullpen.
  • Third base coach Tony Beasley is expected to rejoin the team on Sunday. He has been gone for about two and a half weeks due to the death of his father and aunt.
  • Lost in last night’s loss was Matt Capps brilliant relief work. While the rest of the ‘pen struggled, Capps pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out four. That marked Capps’ first two-inning appearance since Sept. 13, 2008. He is 4-0 with a 0.26 ERA in games where he has pitched two or more innings. Try to explain that one…
  • The Pirates have been one-hit twice this year, with one of those coming against St. Louis’ Chris Carpenter, who makes the start for the Cardinals tonight. In 12 career games against the Pirates, Carpenter is 10-1 with a 2.06 ERA.
  • With 45 wins in the team’s first 108 games, the Pirates are on pace for a 68-win season. This club has won 67 or 68 games in each of the last four seasons.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  3. Garrett Jones (RF)
  4. Ryan Doumit (1B)
  5. Delwyn Young (2B)
  6. Steve Pearce (1B)
  7. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Paul Maholm (LHP)

Cardinals lineup:

  1. Julio Lugo (SS) (2B)
  2. Rick Ankiel (CF)
  3. Albert Pujols (1B)
  4. Matt Holliday (LF)
  5. Ryan Ludwick (RF)
  6. Mark DeRosa (3B)
  7. Yadier Molina (C)
  8. Skip Schumaker (2B) Brendan Ryan (SS)
  9. Chris Carpenter (RHP)

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Bucs close to signing 8th-round Draft pick to seven-figure bonus

According to Draft guru, Jonathan Mayo, the Pirates are close to signing LHP Colton Cain, the team’s eighth-round Draft pick, to a $1.1-$1.2 million signing bonus. Cain was one of the high-profile high school pitchers that the Pirates drafted with the intention of luring him away from his college committment with a way-above-slot signing bonus. Cain had made a committment to the University of Texas.

The signing has not been made official yet, but both sides are hopeful that it will be finalized as soon as later on Friday..

Not including Cain, the Pirates have signed 18 of 51 Draft picks.  

This will be the second consecutive year that the Pirates have lured away a top commitment to the University of Texas with a $1 million signing bonus. Last year, the Pirates drafted outfielder Robbie Grossman in the sixth round of the Draft and swayed him away from his scholarship to UT with a $1 million signing bonus plus money equivalent to a college education.

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Draft Day 2 Wrap

I thought it might be worth mentioning that during last night’s game, Draft expert Jonathan Mayo got in touch with me to praise what the Pirates did on Day 2 of the three-day Draft. Mayo’s perspective was totally unsolicited and unbiased, even though Jonathan does happen to live in the Pittsburgh area.

Mayo’s point — which spoke exactly to the organization’s goal — was that the Pirates nabbed some talented high school players who other teams passed on only because of signability. These are players like LHP Zachary Von Rosenberg (sixth round; Zachary (La.) HS); LHP Colton Cain (eighth round; Waxahachie (Tx.) HS); C Joseph Schoenfield (10th round; Santiago (Calif.) HS); and RHP Jordan Cooper (17th round; Shelbyville Central (Ky.) HS). All of these players have already committed to play baseball at big-time college programs.

After Day 2 came to an end, GM Neal Huntington said that 21 of the 30 players that the Pirates drafted have asked for signing bonuses of at least $100,000. That would explain why other teams would be scared away. And it speaks exactly to the point that Huntington has made for weeks now — the organization plans to use it’s money to offer those six-figure bonuses and lure players away from college commitments.

Now, though, the key is getting these targeted players signed. If the Pirates can’t do that, then their Draft strategy can’t be labeled as a success, especially considering the Pirates, by almost every accounts, did not get the best player available with their No. 4 overall selection.

“We may have to stretch to sign and we’ll do that when appropriate,” Huntington said. “We’ve given ourselves a large option to sign. If player A doesn’t want to sign, we can go aggressively to player B.

“The resources given us will allow us to aggressively pursue every one of these players. We’ve given ourselves options. We haven’t locked in to one or two players. No team ever signs 50 players or goes in with the anticipation of signing 50 players.

“We have the opportunity to sign a higher number of players or sign fewer if we go for the more expensive guys.”

Here is the lowdown on all of the Day 2 selections

Here is a story, courtesy of the Shelbyville Times, on 17th-rounder Jordan Cooper and his prospect of signing with the Pirates.