The Pirates’ AAA and AA teams hosted their Phillies’ counterparts today at Pirate City. These games hold less interest for me right now than the single-A teams (which of course were on the road), as they’re made up more heavily of non-prospects. The AAA team doesn’t even have very many interesting minor league veterans right now, because they’re mostly still in major league camp. Until some more cuts take place, the AAA lineup features lower level organizational players like Junior Sosa and Kelson Brown.
The AA lineup provided some fireworks, though, as Alen Hanson led off the bottom of the first by going deep. Later on, Jarek Cunningham and Willy Garcia went back-to-back with opposite field shots. Seeing Cunningham and Garcia do that was interesting because, as hitters, they have a lot of similarities. Both have considerable raw power, but significant issues with the strike zone. Garcia will be debuting in AA with the same question marks that faced Cunningham when he reached the level in 2012. Hopefully, Garcia won’t find himself there in 2016.
Casey Sadler started for the AAA team and Adrian Sampson for the AA team. Both got hit around at times, but not severely. Sadler sat at 91-92 with his fastball, Sampson at 92-93. Sadler was followed by minor league free agent Brandon Mann, a lefty who throws from roughly the same angle from which Kent Tekulve threw.
The Pirates’ horde of new players just up from the Latin American summer leagues is still mostly going through drills. This includes the most prominent prospect among them, Michael De La Cruz.