The Pittsburgh Pirates released five lower level pitchers on Tuesday. The group includes Leandro Pina, Juan Henriquez, Luis Diaz, Jose Marcano and Angel Martinez.
The big name in this group is Leandro Pina (pictured above), a 20-year-old right-hander, who signed for a six-figure bonus in 2015. He put up big numbers in the DSL as a rookie in 2016, then had some discipline issues in 2017 and was injured for most of 2018. His DSL season included a 1.46 ERA and an 0.96 WHIP in 13 starts. Pina did that mostly with excellent control and an above average changeup, but his fastball has always been in the high-80s.
The Pirates signed lefty Luis Diaz after he showed a huge jump in velocity back in 2015. He ended up missing all of 2016 and almost all of 2017 with a shoulder injury, barely pitching over the last two seasons. He ended up throwing just 8.1 innings as a pro.
Jose Marcano was another lefty who missed time in 2018 with an injury. He had a solid debut in the DSL in 2017, posting a 3.69 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP and a .239 BAA in 63.1 innings.
Lefty Angel Martinez signed as a 19-year-old in 2015 and ended up pitching just 15.2 innings over three seasons. Just like the other three players, he missed almost all of 2018 due to injury. He also missed time in 2016 and 2017 with an arm/shoulder injury.
The final player was Juan Henriquez, who was signed in July of 2017 and made his pro debut in Morgantown last year. He was later demoted to the GCL, where he pitched well, but discipline issues likely led to his release after just one season.
None of these players ranked high, mostly due to injuries with the first four players. Pina was a player to watch back in 2016 due to his control, secondary pitches and a 6’3″ frame that had room to fill out, but he really took a step back last year, then an injury did him in this season. What is somewhat interesting is that the group included three lefties, which is a spot where the Pirates really lack top end talent and depth in the minors.
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.