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First Pitch: The Biggest Stories From This Week, With Lots of Indianapolis Coverage


I’ve covered every minor league affiliate so far this season, after covering Indianapolis a week ago. I have to say that the Indianapolis trip was easily the best trip for live coverage of the year. It resulted in a lot of great features, including looks at Tyler Glasnow, Jameson Taillon, and Chad Kuhl, along with a detailed look at Josh Bell’s defense, and special features on the Indianapolis pitching coach, and their defensive shifts. There was so much content that it carried into this week, with a lot of Indianapolis coverage in our top stories.

This coming week, I’ll be heading to Miami to cover the big league team for the second time this season. It won’t be the last time, as I’ll be returning again to cover the Pirates in New York and Chicago later in June. Hopefully by that point some of the top prospects will be in the majors, including a lot of the guys we wrote about recently (there’s a reason they all went up at once, rather than spacing them out a bit). We’ll have plenty of prospect coverage in the upcoming week, with an increase in the MLB coverage, which I hope to continue throughout the rest of the season.

For now, here are our top stories from the last week, which you might have missed, since we posted 40 stories this week, averaging almost six per day. That is certainly going to increase once we reach June and July, with tons of great content to go with the quality. If you haven’t subscribed, now is the best time to do so, in order to get our great daily coverage, and our upcoming 2016 draft coverage.

10. Jason Rogers isn’t a prospect, although the Pirates traded a few prospects for him this off-season to essentially deepen their depth. Rogers had a big year in Milwaukee last year, and looked like he might have been headed for a starting first base job with the Brewers. Now? He’s the DH in Indianapolis, blocked at every position. Brian Peloza talked to Rogers about that off-season trade, and his quest to get back to the majors this year.

9. The Pirates have practiced extreme defensive shifts at the MLB level for a few years. This year, they are carrying that down to the minors, starting the extreme shifts with Indianapolis. I looked at what led to the shifts being added in Triple-A this year, and why we don’t see them below that level.

8. Jacob Stallings has quietly moved up through the system, with the injury to Elias Diaz letting him get increased playing time this year. His defense and work with pitchers has helped the Indianapolis staff. Brian Peloza looks at what makes him such a good catcher, with Tyler Glasnow saying in the story that Stallings is the best catcher he’s thrown to.

7. The Indianapolis pitching staff has received a lot of attention this year. They’ve got a talented pitching coach working with them, who received MLB attention last year. I looked at what makes Stan Kyles such a good coach, getting the view of his pitching staff.

6. The MLB draft is less than two weeks away, and the mock drafts are starting to come out more frequently. John Dreker has been tracking the latest updates for the draft all year, along with the players who have been ranked near where the Pirates pick. You can check out the latest information on our 2016 Draft page, with breakdowns of this week’s mock drafts.

5. Justin Masterson made a start today for Bradenton, and I talked with him after the game about his stuff and his role in the organization. The Pirates talked to him recently about the possibility of moving to the bullpen, and it seems like that’s the route they’re going to take right now. Check out my article on his start, his stuff, and how he could help the team this year.

4. We covered Cole Tucker twice this week. Earlier in the week, Abigail Miskowiec looked at his progress in West Virginia, writing about how he has done well both offensively and defensively since his return. He was promoted to Bradenton by the end of the week, after an injury to Kevin Newman. He made his debut today, going 2-for-3 with a walk, and discussed the promotion after the game.

3. Reese McGuire has some of the best defense behind the plate in all of minor league baseball, but his bat has not matched the defense so far. Sean McCool breaks down some of the changes McGuire has been working on offensively, along with a dive into his numbers this year.

2. Josh Bell has been showing some encouraging signs in Indianapolis this year, with improvements to his defense, and better hitting against left-handed pitchers. I profiled the improvements in both areas, breaking down some of the work Bell has been doing recently in each area.

1. In a few weeks, teams will start calling up their top prospects, after having avoided Super Two. I’ve said several times that I don’t think Tyler Glasnow will be ready, even after Super Two passes. I broke down a big reason why this week, looking at the work he is doing with his changeup.

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Tim Williams
Tim Williams
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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