Prospect Watching: Jeff Karstens and Jeremy Powell

Karstens got back to the Pirates for the rest of the season, and made three less-than-satisfying relief appearances (8 runs on 8 hits over 2.2 innings). �He finished the season with two spot starts, going 3 innings (one run on 3 hits) on Sept 25th, then 5 innings for the win (2 runs on 5 hits) on Sept 30th. �That gave him a 5.42 ERA and a 4-6 record for the Pirates. �In 108 total innings, he allowed 115 hits and 65 earned runs, with 45 walks and 52 strikeouts.

When the season ended, Karstens was DFA’ed. �He cleared waivers, then was assigned to AAA Indianapolis. �He was invited to spring training with the major league club, where he competed for the 5th spot in the starting rotation. �He appeared in 8 Grapefruit League games, and most went ok. �He pitched 7 innings (over 6 games) in which he did not allow an earned run and gave up just 2 hits and no walks. �But on March 11th, Karstens pitched 0.2 innings in relief, and allowed 3 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks. �In his last appearance, on March 27th, he allowed a run on 2 hits in one inning. �Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, and Karstens was reassigned to minor league camp yesterday. �He will pitch mostly in relief in Indianapolis, though would probably be available for a spot start.

img_2061Jeremy Powell is another pitcher who can work in relief or be plugged in for a spot start. �The right-hander was drafted in the 4th round of the 1994 draft by the Montreal Expos, and played in Montreal for parts of three seasons (1998-2000). �He posted a 5-`6 record and a 5.84 ERA in a total of 35 major league games, 27 of which were starts. �After a season in the San Diego organization at AAA, Powell played in Japan for eight seasons, where he had a lot of success, particularly in the first several seasons.

Powell returned to the US and signed a minor league contract with the Pirates in 2009. �Assigned to AAA Indianapolis, he mostly worked out of the bullpen, but also made 10 spot starts over the season. �He began the season with a shaky relief appearance, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks over 2.2 innings, then settled down for the rest of the month of April, earning 3 wins and a 3.65 ERA. �He made 3 starts in May, one very good (6 scoreless innings), one medium (2 runs on 7 hits in 4.2 innings), and one tough (5 runs on 9 hits in 4 innings). �Powell also had 4 relief appearances in May, and finished the month with a 4.57 ERA. �He made 3 more starts in June, with about the same results, earning a 4.13 ERA for the month, with 2 losses. �In July, Powell began the month with two tough starts, allowing 10 runs and 19 hits in 8.2 innings. �He went back to the bullpen, and after the All-Star break, �Powell pitched very well. �He�made four scoreless relief appearances in July, before allowing one run on two hits in his last relief spot of the month. �In August/September, Powell made 2 starts and 7 relief appearances, and in 27.1 innings, allowed only 3 earned runs, despite 28 hits, for a 0.99 ERA over those 6 weeks. � He finished the season with a 3.74 ERA and a 4-7 record, with 41 earned runs, 114 hits, 26 walks, and 61 strikeouts in 98.2 innings.

The 34-year-old Powell signed another minor league contract with the Pirates for the 2010 season. �He was invited to major league spring training, and generally did well in 8 Grapefruit League games. �He pitched a total of 9 innings and allowed 3 runs (1 run on 2 hits in 2 innings on March 15th, and 2 runs on 2 hits in 0.2 innings on March 26th) on a total of 6 hits, with no walks and 4 strikeouts. �Powell was reassigned to the minor league camp yesterday. �He is expected to work mostly out of the bullpen, where he will provide a veteran presence, and he may also fill in for some spot starts.

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