The big news this week was the revelation that the Pirates offered Gregory Polanco a seven year contract. Polanco turned the deal down, obviously, although it didn’t seem like a bad offer. I broke down the deal, comparing it to the deals that Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen received. The summary was that the deal was fair, although Polanco can get more guaranteed money, and more money in his option years with just 1-2 years of service time in the majors. That’s probably why there aren’t many players who sign deals that early.
Meanwhile, the Pirates look like they might be turning their season around, going 6-3 during this home stand.
The Pirates made a lot of roster moves this week. They brought Jeff Locke up for a spot start, optioning Casey Sadler. After Locke’s start, they recalled Phil Irwin to provide long relief for a depleted bullpen. Irwin wasn’t needed, as Charlie Morton and Gerrit Cole went eight innings in back to back games. From there, the Pirates made a questionable move to bring up Brent Morel as an extra hitter. Andrew Lambo would have been the choice, but he was placed on the Indianapolis Disabled List this week.
Following the announcement of Morel’s promotion, the suspensions for Travis Snider and Russell Martin were upheld. That, plus minor injuries to Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte led to a need for an outfielder. The Pirates wrapped up the week by calling up Jaff Decker and sending Morel back down.
Next week, expect more moves, as the Pirates will be activating Wandy Rodriguez from the DL, and giving him the start on Thursday.
**Ryan Palencer writes about how Jeff Locke looks to rebound his career. Locke fell apart in his final inning during his spot start. In his return to the Indianapolis rotation on Sunday, he looked great.
**Nate Barnes writes about the two versions of Edinson Volquez that we’ve seen this year.
**I wrote about the starting rotation woes.
**Scott Sypien breaks down Nick Kingham’s stuff against Akron.
**Ryan Palencer writes that Vance Worley feels like he is back on track as a starter, after working with Jim Benedict.
**To no surprise, the Pirates have been one of the most successful teams in the International Market.
**Here are the minor league recaps from this week, highlighting all of the notable prospect performances each day.
- Four Hits For Gregory Polanco; Tyler Glasnow Shows Better Control
- Andrew Lambo Misses Second Game With Bruised Thumb
- Cumpton With a Strong Return; Rojas and Mathisen Homer
- Big Game For Josh Bell, Harold Ramirez Returns to Lineup
- Sadler Has Rough Return to Indianapolis; Mathisen Stays Hot
- Control Issues Continue For Tyler Glasnow
- Locke Has a Great Start; Hanson, Jones, and Rojas Homer
**And here are the Prospect Highlights from this last week, looking at clips of some of the best plays from the top prospects over the last week.
- Your Daily Alen Hanson Highlight
- Gregory Polanco Drives a Double to the Gap
- Speed From Gregory Polanco, Home Run From Mel Rojas Jr.
- Gregory Polanco Strikes Again, Mel Rojas Jr. With Walk-Off Hit
- Clutch Hitting From Alen Hanson, Jaff Decker on Recent Hot Streak
- Great Video of Nick Kingham, Terrific Catch From Chris Dickerson
It was a busy week for draft news and not all of it was good. The strength of the class took a hit when two pitchers found out they needed Tommy John surgery and another backed out of the draft in order to attend college. East Carolina’s Jeff Hoffman and UNLV’s Erick Fedde both will be out for the next year or so while they recover from Tommy John surgery. Both of them were projected as likely top ten picks, so that will cause both of them to drop in the rankings.
There was also news that prep arm Jacob Bukauskas asked not to be drafted so he can go to North Carolina. He was a potential back of the first round pick. Then the last hit to the class was when Scott Blewett missed a start with shoulder soreness, casting some doubt around his chances of going in the first round. The prep righty from New York has been mentioned often in the Pirates range. We always say a lot can change with the draft in a short time and this week was a not-so-great example of that.
**2014 Pirates Draft Prospects: Michael Conforto, Luke Weaver, Michael Chavis, Kodi Medeiros Scouting reports and videos on four players that could be draft options for the Pirates.
**Draft Prospect Watch: Kyle Schwarber and Sam Travis Homer in Indiana Win Recap of the Friday/Saturday results from the best college hitters.
**Draft Prospect Watch: Brandon Finnegan Returns, Luke Weaver Throws Seven Shutout Innings Brandon Finnegan missed his last start due to shoulder soreness. His shoulder was bothering him in his previous start and caused him to leave that game early. He made his return Friday on a limited pitch count.
**Keith Law Releases New Top 100 Draft Prospect List Law has Kyle Freeland matched up with Pirates, while most people think the Evansville starter will be long gone before the Pirates made their selection.
**Baseball America’s First Mock Draft Has Kyle Schwarber Going to Pirates The Indiana catcher is profiled here, complete with video.
**Draft Prospect Watch: Jeff Hoffman to Have Tommy John Surgery, Prep Arm Pulls Out of Draft News on Hoffman, Bukauskas and mid-week stats from around college
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.