Low Level Pitchers – Interesting Non-Prospects
Yhonathan Herrand: Herrand is an interesting prospect. He has a great arm, reportedly even hitting 100 mph with his fastball. However he is erratic sometimes only throwing in the low 90s or even upper 80s and he has very little control of his pitches. His live arm is the only thing keeping his prospect status alive but with two years already spent at rookie ball his window is nearly closed.
Wei-Chung Wang: The Pirates signed Wang out of Taiwan for $350,000 in 2011 but a failed medical test (he had a torn ligament and required Tommy John surgery) caused the two sides to rework a deal at a much lower signing bonus. Wang has yet to pitch and I know virtually nothing about him but the fact the Pirates were giving him that kind of signing bonus means there has to be some potential there.
Jackson Lodge: Lodge is a left-handed international prospect who was signed out of Australia in late 2010. His pro debut was solid in 2011 and he showed significant improvement this past season improving everything but his K rate. He currently doesn’t have any great pitches and his velocity tops out in the mid 80s but Lodge just turned 19 early in October so there is still some potential with him.
Bryton Trepagnier: Trepagnier was drafted in the 41st round of the 2010 and had a modest debut in 2010 but struggled in 2011. Going into this season he looked like an organizational player but he showed vast improvement this season adding a few mph to his fastball (getting it to 92-93) and throwing a good slider. His strikeout rate improved and he showed better control. Trepagnier turned 21 late in the season so he is kind of old for the lower levels so he is going to have to have a good 2013 to stay a prospect but he looks to have some potential as a relief arm.
Andy Otamendi: Otamendi appears to be your typical finesse lefty but the Pirates brought him to the states after just one season in the VSL so they must see some potential in him. Otamendi had a solid year out of the bullpen in rookie ball this season and will only be 20 years old next season so he still has some potential.
Dovydas Neverauskas: The Pirates signed Neverauskas out of Lithuania in 2010. He has spent the last 3 seasons in rookie ball and hasn’t improved much so his prospect status is borderline at best right now. He did show some improvements in his command this season but it wasn’t a huge improvement. He has the benefit of being a hard thrower 95-96 and he is still young as he will only be 20 next season. The Pirates promoted to A- late this past season so they must see something in him.
Axel Diaz: I’m not really sure what to think of Diaz. The Pirates signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2011 for an unreported signing bonus (which means it was small if it existed at all) and he pitched 1 inning in the DSL in 2011 but despite this the Pirates still brought him to the states and actually put him in the rotation. He is a little older than you would expect as next season he will be 21 but the way the Pirates are handling him suggests they think he is a prospect and he actually pitched respectably this season considering his lack of experience.