The title is “Prospect” Highlights, but occasionally we get some minor league footage of non-prospects in here. Sometimes it’s just players that make great plays like this outstanding catch from Chase d’Arnaud the other day. Other times it’s Major League players on rehab like Starling Marte today. He played his second game with Indianapolis yesterday as he comes back from the concussion he received a couple weeks ago. Marte is 1-for-8 with four strikeouts so far, but he did hit this stand-up double on Sunday.
Mel Rojas Jr was featured here yesterday, as we talked about his season so far and his short-term future with the club. On Sunday, he hit his eighth home run of the season, extending his single-season high in that category. It accounted for the only run by Indianapolis. For those that keep track, Indianapolis has been in a tailspin for the last month or so, dropping from a sure playoff spot, down to 2.5 games behind in second place. The playoffs in the minors are a great experience for young players and last year it gave Gregory Polanco a chance to get in some extra games(with meaning) at the level. Teams will usually call up prospects and put them on playoff teams, such as Reese McGuire and Austin Meadows with Jamestown last year. This season however, only Bradenton and Indianapolis have a chance at playoffs and neither is guaranteed.
Finally, we have a first look at Angel Sanchez, the pitcher acquired off waivers from the Chicago White Sox on July 31st. He made his debut yesterday with Altoona. The Pirates had an Angel Sanchez that pitches for Bristol, but oddly enough, he was released right after the other Angel Sanchez was acquired. The Altoona Angel went five innings in his debut on Sunday, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks, with three strikeouts. He was a highly rated prospect going into the 2013 season, ranked #8 in the Dodgers system. After being traded to the Marlins, he was ranked #16 in their system for the 2014 season. He’s bounced around a lot this year and really struggled, but he is still just 24 and has had plenty of success in the minors, so it’s a nice pick-up to see if the Pirates can get hit back on the prospect track.
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.
So lets hope Cutch returns really soon, but in the case that he needs a longer recovery is Rojas ready to make that step up or would the team reach again for Decker or Tabby?
They will bring Marte up and play him in center field, if somehow Pedro winds up rehabbing in the minors they might bring someone else up, with Harrison and Nix being so flexible it is tough to figure out who they would bring up.
The chances of Pedro Alvarez clearing waivers to Indy are slim and none. He is out of options.
I had Rojas as my breakout player this spring – I don’t think he’s dissapointed as he’s played great this year, but it probably wouldn’t be the right time to bring him up. Decker and Tabata have probably earned the right to be the fill in outfielders, with Lambo as an outside shot as well.
Lunch/Starling/Polanco with Lambo or Tabata on the bench… Tabata has the contract, but Lambo could spell 1b as well as LF or RF.
Not that it’s a huge obstacle, but Tabata isn’t on the 40-man roster(neither is Rojas), which is full right now. The bigger deal is why Tabata was sent down and the fact that he isn’t playing well in AAA. Decker isn’t hitting well either, so you would likely see Lambo up if they called up two people, but assuming McCutchen is missing time, Marte would slide into his place.
Facing all those lefties in the past 10 days has shown me that the Bucs have no RH bench bats other than Stewart (and now Nix). Perhaps the only reason Martinez is up here is because he’s a switch hitter, because it makes no sense otherwise.
How great would it be to see Lambo come up, unexpectedly as this would be and start to rake. Just sayin… after all he’s had a decent stretch lately and he is the kind of bat that COULD… could make an impact.