Not much happening today. But I thought a general post to catch up on some recent news would be a good idea.
Brad Hawpe who has been receiving an inordinate amount of playing time has been released from camp. That means according to my projection there are 5 players left in camp for the last bench spot: Josh Harrison, Brandon Inge, Jordy Mercer, Alex Presley and Felix Pie. To me it comes down to Harrison and Inge and I think considering Inge’s health issues that Harrison has the upper hand.
Tony Watson pitched an uneventful 1-2-3 inning today so it appears more likely that he will be ready for Opening Day which would displace Mike Zagurski from my projected roster. Zagurski hasn’t looked good recently anyway and probably shouldn’t make the team.
Jeff Karstens is scheduled to pitch tomorrow and as long as things go right he has a chance of being ready to be part of the rotation to start the season. If Karstens joins the rotation he would displace Sanchez or Locke from the rotation. That displacement could result in the displacement of Ryan Reid/Jeanmar Gomez or even Justin Wilson from the bullpen. In addition to Karstens possibly being ready by Opening Day it sounds as if Francisco Liriano may be about a month behind that.
As Spring Training winds down the Pirates camp roster now sits at 36 meaning there are still 11 cuts to be made. I’m expecting that we will see some early next week and the roster will really begin to round into shape. The roster battles as I see them are down to Harrison/Inge for the last bench spot, Locke/McPherson/Sanchez/Karstens for the final two rotation spots and Wilson/Gomez/Reid along with the losers of the rotation battle fighting for the final two bullpen spots. All of this assumes Watson is healthy and the Pirates decide to carry Leroux and Tabata which all seem rather likely.
On the site this week I am planning to conclude my expectations series with a look at the non-player parts of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The final three parts of the series will be the coaches, the front office and the team as a whole. Keep an eye out for those. In addition to those I will have a few more season preview pieces. Finally I’ll be attending the Pirates last exhibition game of Spring when they play their AA affiliate on Saturday March 30th. It should be a fun experience and I’m looking forward to providing a recap of the game both from the major and minor league perspective.
In the meantime I have recently updated my Top 20 Hitting and Top 20 Pitching prospects. Check them out. For the record I update them about two or three times a month during the season and I am planning on providing some details on the top prospects in the near future.
I thought now would be a good time to pass on some news about the future of this site. First off I would like to thank my quickly expanding readership which has made February my busiest month ever by a land slide, over one third of all my page views in site history has come during this month. In the coming days I will be completing my 15 part expectation/preview series which I hope everyone has enjoyed, I was hoping to have that finished by the end of this month but the whole A.J. Burnett saga pushed me behind schedule so it will be completed early next month.
From there I plan on doing a minor upgrade to the site to try to make it a little more navigable. Some other posts I am planning include my top prospects and a little dialogue on each one. I don’t list a number because I give each prospect a grade (I will go over my grading system later) and then I rank every prospect that I rated a C+ or higher. Currently I have 42 players ranked C+ or higher but that number could still change some by the time it is finalized. Other pieces I am planning include a break down of the position battles in camp and a rundown of who could be removed from the 40 man roster to make space for an NRI.
When the season starts, like last season, I will not be posting recaps of each games (their are plenty of sites that do a much better job of that than I ever could) but I will be posting my thoughts about the games on a weekly basis. Other pieces I am planning is to once again do my monthly minor league splits and hopefully provide updates of them a little more frequently. I also have a few other things planned for the season but those two will be my regular coverage.
I apologize for the pure informative post but thought I’d send out a site update to my regular readers. Once again thank you to all my readers for making this my best month to date. I am looking forward to breaking this record next month.