Morning Report: Former First Baseman Turns His Season Around on the Mound

When Jared Lakind was taken in the 23rd round in 2010, the Pittsburgh Pirates gave him a $400,000 bonus to sign. He had thrown 90 MPH from the left side in high school, but the Pirates put him at first base. They gave him three years to try to develop at the plate with no success. In 2013, Lakind came back as a reliever and pitched for Jamestown, where he threw 23.2 innings over 17 appearances. The stats were okay when you factor in that he started pitching in the NYPL over the easier task of going to the GCL at first. Lakind showed decent control, issuing nine walks. He also pitched well against left-handed batters, so there were some good points to his first try at pitching.

Lakind is 22 years old now and finishing up his second season on the mound. He began his year in West Virginia in mid-May and looked pretty bad to say the least. He stayed there for a month until the NYPL season started, when he was then demoted to Jamestown. In seven appearances with the Power, he had a 7.11 ERA and a .393 BAA. Things did not look good at that point for Lakind.

Since returning to Jamestown, Lakind has totally turned his season around. In eight appearances with the Jammers, he gave up one run on five hits and two walks in 11 innings. Lakind also picked up 13 strikeouts and started collecting ground balls at a high rate, posting a 2.23 GO/AO ratio. His ratio during that first season was just 0.67 and he wasn’t getting many ground balls while with West Virginia prior to the demotion.

In late July, Lakind moved back to West Virginia and has given up one run over 9.2 innings, with 11 strikeouts. He also has a 1.50 GO/AO ratio since returning. The fact that he current hot streak is lasting 2 1/2 months and 16 appearances, might indicate that he is finally starting to become a pitcher and not just a thrower. He is still far from a prospect at this point, but the turnaround he has had this year means that the Pirates still might get something out of him.

The Pirates haven’t had success with transforming hitters to the mound prior to this season, but Yhonathan Barrios has looked good with a fastball that touches high 90’s and former outfielder Luis Urena hasn’t failed with Jamestown this year. He has given up just three walks in 22.1 innings, showing amazing control for a new pitcher. With his 1.29 GO/AO ratio, he could have potential as well. Barrios has been used in the closing role for Bradenton this year and has really had just one bad outing in 13 appearances. All three players got six-figure bonuses and failed as hitters, but the Pirates now have three shots to get a return on their investments.

Pirates Game Graph

Source: FanGraphs

Playoff Push

Pittsburgh: The Pirates are 3.5 games behind St. Louis for the first Wild Card spot. They are 1.5 games behind San Francisco for the second spot. They are currently five games back from the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.

Indianapolis: The Indians were eliminated from the playoffs last night.

Bradenton: The Marauders are tied for second place  in the Florida State League South with Fort Myers and they trail Palm Beach by one game. They need to win the second half division to make the playoffs, unless Fort Myers wins the second half title. Fort Myers won the first half title, so if they also win the second half, then the team with the second best overall record would make the playoffs. In the overall standings, Bradenton is two games behind Palm Beach for the second best overall record. The Marauders have five games left in their season, one against Fort Myers.

Today’s Schedule

Minor League Starter of the Day:  In Altoona tonight, Joely Rodriguez makes his second start since returning to the rotation. His first game back was an unsuccessful return. Rodriguez went 3.1 innings, allowing two runs on four hits and four walks. In nine appearances as a reliever, he threw 18.1 innings, posting a 5.40 ERA and a .350 BAA. Rodriguez has a 1.78 GO/AO ratio this year. Rafael Perez has pitched great since joining the Pirates organization in mid-June. In six starts and two relief appearances, he has a 1.37 ERA over 46 innings. In his last start, he threw 6.1 shutout innings, with seven strikeouts. The DSL season ended Saturday. You can read the final weekly recap here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (68-64) vs Cardinals (71-60) 12:35 PM
Probable starter: Jeff Locke (3.69 ERA, 63:25 K/BB, 97.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (69-69) vs Louisville (66-72) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Rafael Perez (1.37 ERA, 28:11 K/BB, 46 IP)

AA: Altoona (57-78) vs Richmond (75-61) 7:00 PM
Probable starter: Joely Rodriguez (4.61 ERA, 66:42 K/BB, 121 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (73-61, 38-27 2nd half) vs Ft Myers (79-55) 6:30 PM
Probable starter: TBD

Low-A: West Virginia (52-78, 32-30 2nd half) @ Lexington (55-79) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Dovydas Neverauskas (5.63 ERA, 82:50 K/BB, 116.2 IP)

Short-Season A: Jamestown (32-37) @ Mahoning Valley (30-39) 7:05 PM
Probable Starter: Alex McRae (4.80 ERA, 41:11 K/BB, 60 IP)

RK: Bristol (21-44) vs Danville (36-29) 7:00 PM
Probable Starter:  TBD

GCL: Pirates (20-38) vs Phillies (34-23) 12:00 PM
Probable Starter: Nick Hutchings ( 4.85 ERA, 22:12 K/BB, 42.2 IP)

DSL: Pirates (34-36)


Tony Sanchez hit his 11th homer with Indianapolis on Monday. He also homered twice with the Pirates. earlier this year. Sanchez had three hits on Monday, snapping an 0-for-15 streak over his previous four games.

Ramon Cabrera hit this RBI double on Monday night, his third double in eight games with Altoona. Since returning to the Curve, he has a .206/.250/.294 slash line in nine games.

Recent Transactions

8/26: Jake Brigham placed on temporary inactive list.

8/25: Jhonathan Ramos placed on disabled list.

8/25: Alen Hanson placed on disabled list. Drew Maggi activated from DL.

8/25: Clint Barmes activated from disabled list. Gregory Polanco sent to Indianapolis.

8/25: Jose Tabata added to 40-man roster and promoted to Pittsburgh. Jayson Nix designated for assignment.

8/25: Jonathan Schwind assigned to GCL on rehab.

8/24: Pirates claim Bobby LaFromboise. Designate Tommy Field for assignment.

8/21: Stolmy Pimentel assigned to Altoona on rehab.

8/21: Yunelky Adames released.

8/21: Oderman Rocha and Nathan Sopena promoted to Jamestown.

8/21: Julio Vivas promoted to Bristol.

8/21: Andrew Dennis placed on disabled list.

8/21: Indianapolis places Nevin Ashley and Blake Davis on disabled list.

8/21: Wirfin Obispo clears waivers. Outrighted to Indianapolis.

8/20: Gerrit Cole activated from disabled list. Brent Morel assigned to Indianapolis.

8/20: Jacoby Jones placed on disabled list. Francisco Diaz activated from DL.

8/20: Felipe Gonzalez promoted to Bradenton. Jake Burnette promoted to West Virginia.

8/20: Matt Curry assigned to Altoona. Drew Maggi placed on disabled list.

This Date in Pirates History

Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players were born on this date, including pitcher Dave Wright for the 1895 team. He was used twice in exhibition games that were played on regular season off-days, before he made his Major League debut. Wright got his MLB debut against the Baltimore Orioles, a team in the middle of their three-year championship run. In his only game with the Pirates, he gave up six runs in two innings of relief work. Three years later, Wright pitched his only other big league game and gave up 14 runs over seven innings. He still got the win that day, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates. You can read more on Wright, as well as four other bios and a game recap from the 1965 season here.

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.

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R Edwards

Encouraging progress from Lakind – lets see if he can replicate that at higher levels – starting in high A next year I assume?
I wonder if anyone has any examples of players, who started in the minors as a pitcher -and failed – and then became a successful MLB position player – or vise versa? Has anyone really done this in recent years and been successful at the highest level?? Just curous.

Joe Nastasi

Rick Ankeil

R Edwards

I did not consider him to be a successful example. did not do much as a hitter.

Lee Young

His 2008 season was pretty good, tho. 843 OPS

R Edwards

Thanks John – forgot about Wakefield – should have remembered him!

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