Bookmark Page for Pirates Prospects Off-Season Player Features

This off-season we posted numerous player features, with the focus being on new players for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who weren’t ranked among our top 50 prospects. Those higher rated players received extended reports in our 2019 Prospect Guide.

The feature articles allow fans to get an up close look of players they might not be familiar with yet, but could be a name to remember for the future. They also give you an inside look at how the players got to pro ball. In this year’s group, we covered two players selected in the top ten round, four who weren’t drafted at all and three players who signed on the international side, hailing from three different countries.

To make it easier to find those articles and see any that you may have missed, we created this bookmark page.

  1. Jesus Valles is Making the Most of His Chance in Pro Ball – Venezuelan pitcher, who was considered to be the best pitcher in the DSL last year.
  2. Zach Spears Hopes Better Control and a New Pitch Will Equal Big Things in 2019 – A 6’7″ lefty, who was the Pirates eighth round draft pick in 2018.
  3. Conner Loeprich Hopes to be a Late Round Gem for the Pirates – Late round pick, who went from barely being used as a freshman in 2016, to putting up big stats in the pros, thanks in part to a devastating out pitch.
  4. Shendrik Apostel Gives the Pirates a Prospect with Huge Power Potential – Huge first base prospect from Curacao, with tremendous raw power.
  5. Randy Romero Hopes to Stand Out Among a Large Group of International Signings – Athletic outfielder from Mexico, who has above average speed and a strong arm.
  6. Robbie Glendinning is Getting Some Great Experience This Off-Season in Australia – We had one second-year player in here, but this was a good one, as Glendinning explains the competition level in Australia this winter, while playing infield alongside an MLB veteran.
  7. Steven Kraft Excels on the Field While Going Through the Adversities of Baseball and Life – A non-drafted free agent, who has gone through a lot to get his chance in pro ball and he’s making the most of it.
  8. John O’Reilly Helps Explain the Advantages and Disadvantages of Pitching in a Cold Weather State – A special feature looking at players from cold weather states, which we will no doubt link often in our draft coverage.
  9. Kyle Mottice Used a Tough College Season to Help Him Prepare Better for Pro Ball – A non-drafted free agent, who struggled under the pressures of being drafted, then nearly set a GCL record in his first taste of pro ball.
  10. Brad Case Hopes to Make a Big Impression in 2019 – Another 6’7″ pitcher, except this one has a background in hockey and drew plenty of scouts to a virtually unknown baseball school.
  11. From College Walk-On to 2018 Draft Pick, Joe Jacques Had a Tough Road to Pro Ball – A lefty sidearm pitcher, who went from a walk-on in college to a draft pick.
  12. The Third Time’s a Charm for Michael Gretler and the Pirates – Drafted three times before he signed, Gretler wanted to graduate from Oregon State, which ended up getting him a College World Series title.
  13. Will Gardner Has Made Some Huge Strides on the Mound in a Short Time – An injury cost him his college scholarship and he spent the next two seasons barely playing. Gardner tells how a transfer to a smaller school helped make him a better pitcher.
  14.  Strong Hitting and Added Versatility Make Pat Dorrian a Player to Watch in 2019 – Dorrian signed as a non-drafted free agent with a twist. He wasn’t eligible to sign due to signing with the Atlanta Braves out of high school back in 2014.


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.

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