Results tagged ‘ Stetson Allie ’

Game 35: Dodgers (16-19) @ Pirates (17-17)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

.500

I’ll admit that I still have a hard time understanding the joy over this number being that it is May 9. Yes, I understand that a little more than 20 percent of the season is in the books. But I also am very much aware that there is close to 80 percent left. That said, is the hoopla really justified?

I am in my fifth season covering this team, and during my time on the beat I have come to understand why .500 is a benchmark. I get it. However, other than .500 being a step to a bigger, better goal, I have a hard time believing this is the biggest news to come out of the first 34 games. Feel free to disagree (and I know some of you will), but I feel the excitement shouldn’t necessarily be over the record, but over the way this team is playing.

The pitching has been much better than most expected, and that is significant. This franchise won’t have winning baseball without major steps forward on the pitching side, and we’re seeing some of those steps forward already. The offense, on the other hand, has not played up to its expectations or capabilities. The fact that the team is 17-17 without an offense that has clicked from top to bottom at the same times means that this can actually get better. That should be encouraging to those of you who are wondering whether .500 or better baseball can be sustained.

So feel free to get excited about .500 if you want. But more than any record, pay attention to what you’re seeing on the field. Appreciate those improvements.

Some other news and notes…

  • Third baseman Pedro Alvarez is back in the lineup on Monday. He ended up missing four full games because of that right quad tightness.
  • Pirates starters allowed two earned runs in 21 innings in the recently-completed series against the Astros. The rotation has posted a 2.79 ERA in its last seven games.
  • Had a really candid conversation with Chris Resop a little while ago, the contents of which you can find on pirates.com tonight.
  • With his homer on Sunday, Ryan Doumit now stands alone in third place for home runs among Pirates catchers. He has hit 50. Jason Kendall (66) and Tony Pena (63) are the only two still ahead of him.
  • Right-hander Jameson Taillon made his third start — and longest one yet — for low-A West Virginia on Sunday. Taillon, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 Draft, allowed one run on three hits in five innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out five.
  • On the subject of the ’10 Draft, second-rounder Stetson Allie remains in extended Spring Training. GM Neal Huntington said on Sunday that the club has not finalized whether Allie will begin his professional career in short-season State College (season opens in June) or with West Virginia. The organization wanted to keep Allie down in Florida just for development purposes. Unlike Taillon, Allie was not as advanced a pitcher when he was drafted.
  • The Pirates were out working specifically on bunt defenses earlier this afternoon. As was evidenced on Sunday, there is still some need for work in this area. The Pirates have had a few slip-ups with their bunt defenses this season — including two in the past week.
  • Righty Evan Meek threw from 150 feet on Monday. He continues to feel good.
  • Brad Lincoln had a nice performance with Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday. That’s two solid starts in a row for Lincoln, who could put himself in position to be considered for a call-up if he continues to pitch well. Lincoln picked up a win on Sunday by scattering six hits and two walks and allowing one run. He struck out seven in the six-inning outing.
  • Also down in Triple-A, Alex Presley only continues to hit. He had three more hits on Sunday, scored twice and drove in one.
  • Jose Ascanio is scheduled to make his final rehab appearance with Indianapolis tonight. Ascanio, who has been working his way back from right shoulder surgery, is slated to throw two innings in the outing. The last day Ascanio can pitch is May 10 (rehab assignments can only last 30 days for pitchers), so the Pirates will have to take him off the DL this week. Because Ascanio is out of options, he would have to clear waivers to be assigned to Triple-A. I anticipate that Ascanio will be joining the big league bullpen.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), G. Jones (RF), N. Walker (2B), L. Overbay (1B), R. Doumit (C), P. Alvarez (3B), R. Cedeno (SS), J. Karstens (RHP)

DODGERS: J. Carroll (SS), A. Miles (2B), A. Ethier (RF), M. Kemp (CF), J. Uribe (3B), J. Loney (1B), J. Sands (LF), R. Barajas (C), C. Billingsley (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

MLB.com’s Top 10 Pirates Prospects

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

All month, MLB.com 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…

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Day 5: Daily Squeeze

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Prospects.jpgOfficially, the first full-squad workout isn’t scheduled until Saturday. As it turned out, though, all 62 players were here this morning and all that were healthy took the fields for workouts on Friday. The one noticeable absentee on the field was lefty Scott Olsen, who has a mild left hamstring strain. He’ll be re-evaluated daily, the Pirates said, and we expect to have an update on his status in a week.

By all indications, Olsen won’t be able to do anything until then. He had already told me that he was building his arm up a little slower-than-usual this spring given his past shoulder issues. With this setback, you now have to wonder if Olsen is going to be able to log enough innings to be ready as a starter by Opening Day.

Though Brad Lincoln, Daniel McCutchen, Jeff Karstens and Brian Burres would contend otherwise, the Pirates have been hinting for a while now that the fifth spot in the rotation would likely come down to Olsen and Charlie Morton. Now, Morton might have the leg up. This would be the time, too, where one of those other guys sneaks up and becomes a serious part of the discussion.

We should have a better grasp on Olsen’s timetable by the end of next week.

As for the rest of your daily notes:

  • Many of the pitchers were called in for early work this morning, and they broke up into groups to focus on a number of specific things — delivery, side steps, pick off moves and bunt plays. This all happened before the 10 am workout.
  • Ronny Cedeno and Brian Friday arrived at Pirate City and participated in workouts for the first time. They were the only two position players that hadn’t yet reported.
  • Cedeno talked at length with reporters about his desire to prove he is an everyday shortstop at the Major League level. Clint Hurdle and Nick Leyva (infield instructor) also spoke about what they hope to see from Cedeno this spring. You can find all this in today’s feature on the main site.
  • Speaking of Cedeno, he’ll be wearing No. 5 this year. He gave Hurdle No. 13 and goes back to a number that he wore with the Cubs.
  • Leyva has done his homework on Cedeno and the rest of the infield group he has inherited. He has spoken extensively with Carlos Garcia, who was the Pirates’ infield instructor last year. He has also spoken to Perry Hill, who was with the Pirates in 2009. Leyva said he will be incorporating many of the same defensive drills that Hill introduced here during his one-year stay.
  • Jose Ascanio (28 pitches) appeared in camp, as those visa issues have now been fixed. He began his work to catch up to the rest of the pitchers by throwing his first side session.
  • Lefty Donnie Veal (34 pitches) also took the mound to throw on Friday. Remember, he’s on a more limited throwing program this spring as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
  • The rest of the pitchers had the day off from throwing and worked mostly on defensive drills. The first group of pitchers will throw live batting practice to the hitters on Saturday, with the second group then scheduled to go on Sunday.
  • Steve Pearce spent the day working with the outfielders. Before today, I had only seen Pearce doing defensive drills at first base. He is going to get extensive work at both spots all spring.
  • Three spectators stood out on the Pirate City grounds. Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie and Luis Heredia – your big three pitching prospects — wandered around watching the morning workouts. You can see the three in the photo above, which was taken by team photographer Dave Arrigo. All three pitchers are participating in the Pirates’ early Minor League camp.
  • Position players ended workouts by working on situational bunting and hitting. A coach would give them a play (squeeze, slap bunt, drag bunt, hit-and-run, etc.) and each hitter had to execute. Not that it’s fair to make firm evaluations this early in spring, but Pedro Alvarez was definitely off with his timing during the drill. A lot of swings and misses. I didn’t see everyone hit, but of those who did, Neil Walker and Ryan Doumit looked pretty sharp.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Instructional League info

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Mon.

Sept.

27

Blue Jays @ PIRATES

Tues.

Sept.

28

CAMP DAY

Wed.

Sept.

29

PIRATES @ Phillies

Thurs.

Sept.

30

CAMP DAY

Fri.

Oct.

1

Yankees @ PIRATES

Sat.

Oct.

2

CAMP DAY

Sun.

Oct.

3

OFF-DAY

Mon.

Oct.

4

PIRATES @ Blue Jays

Tues.

Oct.

5

CAMP DAY

Wed.

Oct.

6

Phillies @ PIRATES

Thurs.

Oct.

7

CAMP DAY

Fri.

Oct.

8

PIRATES @ Yankees*

Sat.

Oct.

9

CAMP DAY

Sun.

Oct.

10

OFF-DAY

Mon.

Oct.

11

Blue Jays @ PIRATES

Tues.

Oct.

12

CAMP DAY

Wed.

Oct.

13

PIRATES @ Phillies

Thurs.

Oct.

14

CAMP DAY

Fri.

Oct.

15

Braves @ PIRATES*

Sat.

Oct.

16

CAMP DAY

Sun.

Oct.

17

OFF-DAY

Mon.

Oct.

18

PIRATES @ Braves

Tues.

Oct.

19

CAMP DAY

Wed.

Oct.

20

Braves @ PIRATES

Thurs.

Oct.

21

CAMP DAY

Fri.

Oct.

22

PIRATES @ Blue Jays*

I was asked if I could produce a schedule of the Pirates’ Instructional League, and so I have posted that here to the right.
 
Workouts began this past Monday, though, as you can see, games don’t begin until next week. For those of you in Bradenton, there are six home dates. Those contests will be played at Pirate City.
 
The last roster I viewed showed 92 pitchers and position players participating, though that number is somewhat fluid. For example, Lastings Milledge told me the other day that he plans on participating in instructional league after the season, once he is recovered from his oblique injury.
 
If you’re looking for notable participants, Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie (the Pirates’ first two picks in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft) headline the group. This is the first taste of professional action for either right-hander.
 
Instructional league has two ending dates. Some players will be departing on October 9. The last wave of players will be finished on October 23.
 
Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB
 
 

Some additional Draft thoughts

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Allie, Stetson 3.jpgSpent much of the afternoon meeting Stetson Allie – the Pirates’ second-round Draft pick — and his father, Danny, during Stetson’s introductory press conference. I was also able to catch up with scouting director Greg Smith, and I wanted to share some stuff he said that wasn’t able to make it into the Allie story, which you can find here.

On overall Draft: “It’s hard to say [if it's the best of the three in Pittsburgh], but it was definitely youth driven. We were also able to get some nice position players up top like Mel Rojas (third round) and Matt Curry (16th round). We think it was a nice balance. It was obviously driven by the youth and the pitching, but there are also some position players we feel really good about.

“As we continue to grow as a scouting staff, I challenge our guys that no matter how good we think Pedro [Alvarez] and that ’08 class is, or the ’09 class, or this class, we want to continue to raise the bar so that [director of player development] Kyle [Stark] and his staff keep getting more and more confidence that we’re bringing in better players each year.”

On bringing so much young talent into the organization: “One thing that I expressed to Stetson and his family at lunch is that without our confidence in Kyle and his [development] group, we can’t Draft like this. We can’t give him a slew of high school pitchers without the trust in the program that they’re going to maximize the return.

“It’s fun for both sides. Obviously, our instructors like working with good players and our scouts like signing good players. It’s a happy relationship.”

On the financial resources (approx. $12 million was spent on this Draft class) made available by owner Bob Nutting: “The amount of support and resources for our scouting department has been tremendous. Understandably, what happens at the Major League level means a great deal to everyone, as it should. But we reap the initial benefits from where Bob and [president] Frank [Coonelly] are coming from. For three years now, we’ve been able to Draft and sign the players who we feel like are going to make us better. Now that doesn’t make everybody here feel the same way because that takes time.”

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Source: Bucs sign Taillon

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

It appears to be a big day for the Pirates’ franchise, as a source has confirmed that the organization has signed first-rounder Jameson Taillon before Monday’s midnight deadline. That means that both Taillon and second-rounder Stetson Allie are about to join the system.

The Pirates have already announced their agreement with Allie. The deal with Taillon should be announced soon.

It is it not yet known what it cost for the Pirates to ink both right-handed pitchers. Both were expected to receive bonuses well above the recommended slot.

On Monday, the Pirates also announced that agreements had been reached with two later-round picks – Drew Maggi (15th round) and Jared Lakind (23rd round). Multiple sources confirmed that Maggi will receive a $468,000 signing bonus. A source confirmed that Lakind’s bonus was also well above slot.

It was the negotiations with Taillon and Allie, though, that were most anticipated as the signing deadline approached. Both players are represented by the Hendricks Brothers, who recently met with Pirates general manager Neal Huntington and scouting director Greg Smith to expedite the negotiation process.

Taillon, who was selected only behind Bryce Harper, recently graduated from The Woodlands (Texas) High School and is forgoing a scholarship to Rice University to join the Pirates’ organization.

Already having drawn comparisons to other Houston-area pitching products like Josh Beckett and Roger Clemens, Taillon went 8-1 with a 1.78 ERA and 114 strikeouts and 62 2/3 innings as a senior.

The Pirates envision the 18-year-old as a potential top-of-the-rotation starter given his makeup and talent at such an early age.

Though he dropped to the second round – likely because of perceived bonus demands – Allie is another young, right-handed power arm that the Pirates are excited to add to the system. The 19-year-old recent high school graduate had been under scholarship to attend the University of North Carolina.

In his senior season at St. Edward High School in Lakeland, Ohio, Allie went 9-1 with a 1.29 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 60 innings. His fastball has been clocked at 100 mph, and Baseball America rated Allie as the eighth-best prospect in the country before the Draft.

“We are very pleased to be able to come to terms with Stetson Allie,” Smith said. “He is a physical right-handed pitcher with a solid combination of intelligence and competitiveness to go along with a power fastball, breaking ball mix and a complimentary changeup. Stetson was one of the best high school pitchers available in the Draft, and he has the potential to be a quality Major League starting pitcher. We appreciate the faith that Stetson and his family have placed in our development team, and we look forward to helping Stetson reach all of his professional goals.”

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Bucs, Allie agree to terms

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates have reached an agreement with second-round Draft pick Stetson Allie before Monday’s midnight signing deadline, a baseball source confirmed with MLB.com.

The deal is not 100 percent done — some details must still be nailed down — but the parameters are in place to add the right-handed pitcher to the organization by the end of the night.

Financial details are not known at this point, though Allie was expected to command an above-slot bonus despite falling to the second round in the June First-Year Player Draft.

Allie had previously committed to attend the University of North Carolina after graduation.

The Pirates continue negotiations with first-rounder Jameson Taillon, a right-handed pitcher out of the Houston area.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Sunday notes

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

As the Pirates try to avoid their first winless road trip of the season, I bring you some Sunday notes to chew on…

  • Speaking on his radio show on Sunday, GM Neal Huntington would neither confirm, nor deny, that top prospect Pedro Alvarez could make his Major League debut this week. There is a lot of speculation that Tuesday could be the big day for Alvarez, but it’s no surprise that the organization hasn’t made any announcement even that is the circled date. Given that Alvarez is the most hyped Pittsburgh prospect probably since Barry Bonds, you’d think the Pirates would at least announce Alvarez’s promotion a day before it happens. That would give Pittsburghers a chance to scoop up tickets, which would surely happen.
  • Why does this time seem ideal for Alvarez’s arrival. Well, from a schedule standpoint, if the Pirates would like to bring Alvarez up at home, they don’t have many options between now and the All-Star break. Outside of this upcoming six-game homestand, Pittsburgh has just one other series at home (July 1-4) before the break. Do I think this is a huge deal for management? No. The Pirates showed with Brad Lincoln and Jose Tabata that they have no issues bringing up notable prospects on the road.
  • If Alvarez comes up this week, it’d be because the Pirates are pleased with what he has done recently. Since the start of the month, Alvarez has hit .409 with five doubles, two triples and two homers. He drove in 30 runs in May and seven so far in June. Very critical, too, is that Alvarez has upped his season average against left-handers to .328 (he’s hitting .276 against righties). The Pirates needed to see Alvarez have success against southpaws before feeling comfortable with him making the move.
  • Regardless of whether Alvarez arrives or not, Lincoln and Tabata will be making their PNC Park debuts on Tuesday. Lincoln will actually make two starts during the homestand (Tuesday and Sunday), while Tabata is expected to be the everyday guy in left field.
  • I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately about the likelihood of the Pirates signing first-round pick Jameson Taillon and second-round choice Stetson Allie. First off, don’t expect either signing — if there are ones — to be soon. These negotiations are going to mirror the 2008 Alvarez ones much more than the Tony Sanchez ones from last year. Both Taillon and Allie (who fell to the second round because of his college committment) are going to ask for well over slot money. And the Pirates are willing to pay that… to an extent, of course. I’d guess that Taillon is a likely sign (probably for Alvarez-type dollars) considering he doesn’t really have the leverage to say he wants to go to college to increase his Draft standing. You can’t really do that much better when you’re already No. 2. Allie could be tougher, but if the Pirates offer first-round money, he’ll at least listen closely. Either way, these negotiations are expected to go up until the Aug. 16 midnight deadline.
  • Ryan Doumit was back behind the plate on Sunday for the first time since last Sunday, when he was hit in the head by a foul tip. This is good news for the defense. I don’t forsee the Pirates giving up the idea of using Doumit at first base sporadically even after his issues on Saturday. But it is clear that Doumit does not look comfortable over there yet. To Doumit’s defense, he had only a week’s worth of reps at first (since 2007) before he was thrown into play the position. But that’s not much of an excuse for missing a throw that never hit the dirt.
  • Why wasn’t Doumit the DH on Saturday instead of Garrett Jones, who could have played first? There were two primary reasons given. One, it’s always a risk to have your second catcher as the DH. If Doumit was DHing and Jason Jaramillo got hurt, the Pirates would lose the DH by moving Doumit behind the plate. By having him at first base last night, a switch like that could have been made, if necessary, withhout forfeiting the DH. Also, manager John Russell really wanted to give Jones a night off from playing defense.
  • If you haven’t already read last night’s game story, you’ll find that Doumit was especially hard on himself afterward. As a reporter, you always appreciate honesty. And I commend the fact that both Doumit and Brendan Donnelly were in the clubhouse waiting to talk to reporters as soon as we were allowed in.
  • The Pirates are having serious issues throwing out base stealers, though Russell insists that the issue is being strongly addressed on both the pitcher and catcher ends. More on that here. This story doesn’t take into account that the Pirates allowed another two last night.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 572 other followers