First Pitch: Some Sunday Morning Viewing Material

If you missed it last week, Trevor Bauer and friends organized a Sandlot style baseball game. It wasn’t just for fun, they were also performing to raise money for a few different organizations/programs. The video from the event was just posted on YouTube. To help fill some of your baseball down time, why not take 22 minutes to watch some Major League players doing their thing in a relaxed setting. Former Pirates prospect Casey Sadler was one of 14 participants, and there’s even a Lonnie Chisenhall reference in the early part of the video. Enjoy!

** Here’s a little bit of Pirates prospects content to fill your day. Jase Bowen (pictured above) talks to his local media about the down time and getting ready for the season while he’s away from the team. I talked to Bowen briefly during Spring Training and the Pirates had him taking grounders at both shortstop and second base, while also taking fly balls in the outfield. We posted an interview with him shortly before the GCL season ended last year.

** Santiago Florez was interviewed yesterday by his local news source in Colombia. This link is in Spanish, so I’ll point out the interesting note, besides the fact that he’s one of a handful of minor league players at Pirate City still. Florez mentioned that he had to prepare for 30 starts over a 140-game schedule. Minor league pitchers usually get 26-27 starts in full season ball, so 30 would be extreme for a young pitcher, but the takeaway is that he appears to be headed to Greensboro once they start playing.




By John Dreker

Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date and one minor transaction

On March 22, 1987 the Pirates purchased catcher Dann Bilardello from the Montreal Expos. Prior to the transaction, he had spent four seasons in the majors with the Reds and Expos, hitting .211 in 298 games with 16 homers and 74 RBIs. He went to Triple-A for the Pirates in 1987 and would be sold to the Royals that June. After spending all of 1987-88 in the minors, he signed again with the Pirates as a free agent prior to the 1989 season. He would hit .171 in 52 games with the Pirates between the 1989-90 seasons before leaving via free agency.

Ike Davis, first baseman for the 2014 Pirates. He was acquired early in the 2014 season from the New York Mets in exchange for two minor league players. Davis debuted in the majors in 2010 and had a solid rookie season. The following year he hit for high average and no power, then in 2012, he hit for a lot of power and a low average. In 2013, Davis hit .205 with nine homers in 103 games. For the Pirates, he batted .235 with ten homers in 131 games. He also added 18 doubles and 57 walks. He was sold to the Oakland A’s after the season and played just 80 big league games after leaving the Pirates. Davis is the son of Ron Davis, an All-Star reliever who spent 11 seasons in the majors.

Mike Morse, first baseman for the 2015-16 Pirates. He had a 13-year career in the majors, beginning in 2005 as a 6’5″ shortstop for the Seattle Mariners. His best season came in 2011 with the Washington Nationals, when he hit .303 with 31 homers and 95 RBIs. The Pirates acquired Morse at the trade deadline in 2015 in an even up deal for Jose Tabata. He batted .275 in 45 games, mostly seeing time off of the bench. Morse was with the Pirates on Opening Day in 2016 and he went 0-for-8 in six games before being released in late April. He saw some brief time with the 2017 San Francisco Giants before retiring. He batted .274 in 832 big league games, with 105 homers and 355 RBIs.

Jason Phillips, pitcher for the 1999 Pirates. Phillips was drafted out of high school by the Pirates in the 14th round of the 1992 amateur draft. It took seven seasons for the 6’6″ righty to work his way to the majors. He was a starter in the minors, at one point striking out 162 batters in a season. He made the big league Opening Day roster in 1999 as a reliever and got hit hard in his six appearances, allowing nine runs on 11 hits and six walks in seven innings. After being sent down at the beginning of May, he made just one Triple-A appearance before missing the rest of the season and most of 2000. Phillips made it back to the majors in 2002-03 with the Indians, posting a 5.40 ERA in six starts and five relief appearances. He pitched until 2005 in the minors and spent parts of two seasons in Japan.

Ramon Martinez, pitcher for the 2001 Pirates. He was originally signed by the Dodgers 17 years before he came to the Pirates. He is the brother of the great Pedro Martinez and the cousin of former Pirates pitcher Denny Bautista. Eight times in his career prior to joining the Pirates, Ramon won at least ten games in a season, with a high of 20 wins in 1990 for the Dodgers. In 2000, he posted a 10-8 record for the Red Sox in 27 starts but his ERA was 6.13 and he averaged less than five innings per start. The Pirates signed him as a free agent on April 11, 2001, two weeks after the Dodgers released him from the free agent contract they signed him to in January. For the Pirates he stepped into the rotation just three days after signing and made four starts. He never got past the fifth inning in any start and Pittsburgh lost all four games. After his start on May 1st, Ramon decided to retire, finishing his career with a 135-88, 3.67 record in 301 games, 297 as a starter.

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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