The Pittsburgh Pirates will begin the Fall Instructional League this week, commonly referred to as “instructs”. The first games will be played on Wednesday, and the first day with full rosters in action will be on Saturday.
Instructs is a league for minor league players, mostly guys in the lower levels, to get additional work at the end of the year. As the name of the league suggests, players will get additional instruction at the end of the season, working on new pitches, refining old pitches, learning new positions, or working on other aspects of their game. The Pirates play other teams, in a similar fashion to Spring Training. They have two teams that participate in the league, with the Pirates 1 team made up mostly of players who were in full season leagues, and the Pirates 2 team made up of players who were in short-season leagues.
The schedule for both teams, and the roster for the Pirates 1 team can be seen below. The roster for the Pirates 2 team will be released later this week.
As you can see from the roster, this list isn’t exclusively made up of upper level guys. Some of the more interesting names from the lower levels are included, such as Michael de la Cruz, Tito Polo, and Billy Roth. There are also some upper levels guys on the list, like Alen Hanson, Adrian Sampson, and Elias Diaz. The list includes all of the players who will be headed to the Arizona Fall League: Tyler Glasnow, Tom Harlan, Joely Rodriguez, Sampson, Diaz, Josh Bell, and Dan Gamache.
The Pirates 2 roster will be the more interesting roster. That roster will feature a lot of players who are coming up from the DSL. Usually that is the first indication of who will make the jump from the DSL to the US the following season. The Pirates 1 roster has one player from the DSL, Jhoan Herrera, who was on the Opening Day roster for Bristol, but hurt his ankle and was sent back to the DSL after it healed. We’ll have the Pirates 2 roster later this week.
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.