According to Baseball America, the Pittsburgh Pirates have released four minor league pitchers. Lefty pitcher Marcus Beltrez and right-handers Christian Santiago, Arquimedes Lorenzo and Ramon Rodriguez have all been released recently. All four were in Extended Spring Training.
Lorenzo was said to be raw, but with huge potential when he signed back in 2009, but a PED suspension side-tracked his career and he never fully recovered. He pitched the maximum four years in the Dominican Summer League and was transferred to the States for this Spring.
Christian Santiago got a late start to his career, making his debut when he was twenty-two. He has great size at 6’4″, 232 pounds, but in the GCL last year, the results were just average in relief. He was the only player among this group that pitched in the States.
Ramon Rodriguez is a bit of a surprise in this group, although none were really considered prospects. At 6’4″, 200 pounds, he had nice size and he just turned twenty-one during Spring Training. In 2013, he showed some real improvements, putting up a 2.86 ERA in 14 starts, well below the 5.10 mark he posted during the 2012 season. His strikeout total was low, but the pitchers down in the DSL are taught to pitch to contact to get quick outs.
Beltrez pitched well in the DSL in 2013, but he did it as a 20-year-old reliever, which usually isn’t a good sign. As a lefty, that tends to skew their stats too. Southpaws can usually put up good numbers in the low minors without great stuff, as long as they have command and Beltrez walked very few batters.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.