Bucs Take a lot into Consideration in Spring Training Evaluations

CLEARWATER, Fla. — With less than a month away from Opening Day, the Pirates roster will start becoming more clear over the next several weeks. Yesterday, right-hander Gerrit Cole was reassigned to minor league camp. And it might not be too much longer before you start seeing more Buccos leaving the clubhouse as well.

The reason Cole was cut from big league camp? Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington said it was because they ran out of innings for him. Competitions for certain positions will start to get closer as we inch closer to the end of spring training, and they only have nine-innings in each game to get everyone work in.

When evaluating spring training, Huntington said they don’t just look at the players batting average, or the pitchers ERA. They dig a little deeper.

“I’m not sure there’s a part of it that we don’t look at,” Huntington said. “I’ve been a part of the decision making process in which [a player hit] just about .400 in spring training, but he did it against lower level pitchers. Everything was a fastball, everything was to the pull side, and that’s where we’ve reinforced every component of the success, and every component of the struggles. It’s not just a batting average in spring training. It’s everything that goes into that batting average.”

“We don’t want to dismiss performance in spring training one way or another, but as we’ve seen here, a wind blown fly ball can turn into a three-run home run pretty quickly in spring training. It can skew a pitchers numbers. We want to see the approach. We want to see the process. And that’s what we evaluate in spring training over just the performance.”