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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Altoona Notes: Changes Could Be Coming to the Rotation Soon

Sean McCool got some injury updates from Altoona last night, shining some light on a few recent moves, along with the future of the Altoona rotation. Here are Sean’s updates, with my analysis below.

**Jason Creasy will throw from flat ground on Thursday in Richmond, first from 60 feet and working up to 90 feet. He experienced some discomfort when he last threw from 90 feet, so they are restarting the throwing program.

**David Whitehead will remain in the Curve starting rotation for at least one more start. Altoona Manager Joey Cora said that Whitehead “has to show some improvement” in the start, but he will at least have one more opportunity to prove himself.

**The plan is for Frank Duncan to go to Indianapolis for only one or two starts then return to Altoona. He will throw tomorrow in Altoona before traveling to meet the Indianapolis team. When he returns from his stint with the Indians, he will re-enter the starting rotation for the Curve. This plan for Duncan may reveal that either the injury to Steven Brault may not too serious or Trevor Williams will be ready to return to the Indy rotation soon.

Analysis: It seems that David Whitehead’s time in the rotation is coming to an end. That’s probably for the best, as he has a 14:29 K/BB ratio in 24.1 innings. Meanwhile, Duncan has excellent control, and is also a sinkerball guy like Whitehead. Both would profile as relievers in the long-term, but right now Duncan is looking like the better prospect.

As for the Indianapolis rotation, I’d have to think that Trevor Williams is close to returning, since he threw a sim game last week. We don’t have an update on the severity of Brault’s hamstring injury, but what we know about Williams and where he’s at suggests he would be closer to a return.

I’d be surprised if Creasy has a spot in the rotation when he returns. Right now you know that Tyler Eppler, Clay Holmes, and Brandon Waddell are guaranteed spots. The final two spots would be held by Cody Dickson and Duncan. Dickson is also struggling with his control, with a 16:22 K/BB ratio in 27.1 innings, so he’s not exactly safe in the rotation. Creasy doesn’t have the walks, but has been getting hit pretty hard. Ultimately, I think this entire group projects as relievers in the future, outside of the first three guys. So it might not matter who is occupying those final two rotation spots.

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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.

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Blaine Huff

Whitehead…“has to show some improvement”.

I guess, hypothetically, it could happen…but is there any way, realistically, that he could pitch any worse? 🙂

Y2JGQ2

exactly what i was thinking

BuccosFanStuckinMD

When I see the Curve play in Binghamton next week, I guess I will have to make sure I don’t go to a game that Whitehead is starting in…..that would ruin my evening! 🙁

Matt L

Will Santana get a shot at cracking the rotation this season?

John Dreker

Doubtful unless it’s a spot start here or there. He only threw 42 innings last year, plus limited time in Extended ST, so he’s only 18 innings short of that right now. That means he’s going well over his innings from last year without starting

freddylang

What is Altoona’s record when Whitehead doesn’t pitch? Seems like he has half their losses.

John Dreker

14-13

freddylang

Thanks John.

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