The Pittsburgh Pirates sent four of their prospects to the Rookie Career Development Program in Washington DC over the weekend. It’s a four-day program for prospects which help prepares them for the next level, with everything from finances, to health, to handling the media. Now in it’s 26th year, the program is run by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association. A total of 109 players attended this year, and most teams send between 2-4 players each January.
The players who attended the program this year were infielder Max Moroff, and right-handed pitchers Dovydas Neverauskas, Edgar Santana and Clay Holmes. The timing of players attending is usually based on the year they will make their Major League debut, with occasional players like Moroff, who already got a small taste of the majors. Last year the Pirates sent Elias Diaz, Tyler Glasnow and Josh Bell.
Moroff should be a top depth option for this season, as one of the first players called up if an infielder should go down with an injury. He has the ability to play second base, shortstop and third base, plus he spent some time working out in the outfield last year, so there are multiple positions he could fill.
Santana and Neverauskas are the top two relievers in the farm system and both should see the majors at some point this upcoming season. Santana got some Triple-A experience at the end of 2016, then dominated the Arizona Fall League this off-season. Neverauskas saw a dip in his stats when he reached Triple-A in mid-June, but he has some of the best stuff in the system, with a fastball that touched 99 MPH, and two versions of a slider he can use as out pitches. Holmes probably won’t see the majors before September, since he has not pitched in Triple-A yet.
The Pirates plan their winter mini-camp around the program, so players can attend the four-day program, then report to Bradenton for four days of mini-camp. We will have live coverage of all four days of the mini-camp starting Monday morning, with a discussion thread article posted each day, plus special articles (usually bigger news, videos and interviews) posted later in the day. While the camp is voluntary for 40-man roster players, most of them will show up for at least one day, with another 15-30 minor league players also in attendance.
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.
If this were based upon personality & life choices – Dovydas & Holmes wouldn’t be mentioned in the same breath. Personalities are polar opposites.
Have to admit, I started reading “Pirates send four prospects to…” and thought a major deal happened overnight…haha, this works too…
When I heard 4 went I thought for sure Meadows would’ve been the 1st name I seen. I just hope he has healthy season & just rakes
They didn’t send Jose Osuna?! This is all a conspiracy by Jason Rogers and John Dreker. BFSiMd will get to the bottom of this.
After the incident last last year in Toledo I am a little surprised the Pirates would select Neverauskas to represent the franchise. But, witness reports had Ngoepe and the player from Toledo as participants in an altercation with a 4th individual, but nothing about Neverauskas.
Maybe just being in the wrong place at the wrong time – I hope so, because since converting from a SP to a RP to start 2015, his numbers have gotten better and better as he has risen from Lo A to start 2015 to AAA to finish 2016. He excelled at AA in 2016 with a 2.57 ERA, a K/9 of 10.3 and an average against of only .129. Definitely a pitcher with a solid future, and will pitch all of 2017 as a 24 year old.
I think Clay Holmes is going to be better than expected in 2017. After missing all of 2014 and most of 2015 after TJ, he pitched very well in 2016 with 26 starts at AA. After starting shaky with a 1-3 record and 6.08 ERA in April he recorded ERA’s of 4.18, 3.95, 3.55, 3.86, and 3.18 in the next 5 months to finish the year at AA with a 10 – 9 record, 4.22 ERA, 2.94 GO/AO. He too will pitch all of 2017 as a 24 year old.
After the incident last year, i think this is exactly what you send a guy like Neverauskas to. If I understand it right, its less an honor and more of a “How to not wreck your career, go broke and embarass the league” training course.
I never thought of that angle – probably more than one reason why players get on this type of list.
Had Barault, Kingham, Williams previously attended?
Maybe they are being traded?
Kingham went, Brault hasn’t and I don’t believe Williams has either. That would have been a little soon on the Marlins part to send him in 2015.
John, were you surprised they were not sent this year?
This is a really good thing provided players by MLB.
Maybe, I am just being a fan, but I did like watching them pitch.
I’d imagine the players have to be willing to go, too. Maybe they don’t feel the need to go for whatever reason?
I’ve never seen them send more than four players and not every prospect goes, so there are no surprises. They sent just one player one year, so four is pretty good.
Brault and Williams had enough time on the team that it would likely be superfluous at this point