After making six cuts Monday morning, the Pittsburgh Pirates made an additional five cuts after Monday’s loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. Will Craig and Oneil Cruz were optioned to Indianapolis, while Arden Pabst, Jason Delay and Blake Weiman were all reassigned to minor league camp.
Cruz made a lot of noise at big league camp for the people who were getting their first chance to see him. He had three extra-base hits during the spring, but he also struck out 11 times in 24 plate appearances. He had big strikeout issues during his brief time in the AFL and winter ball this past off-season, with 31 in 79 plate appearances (39.2% strikeout rate).
Will Craig had similar results with a nice .409 slugging percentage, but he batted just .185 and struck out ten times in 27 plate appearances.
Cruz was optioned to Indianapolis, but I wouldn’t take that as a definite that he will start the season there. He missed a lot of time last year and was a late call-up to Altoona, so it’s possible that he returns there to begin the season. There is still four full weeks until the minor league season begins.
Pabst and Delay each saw minimal time as extra catchers invited to camp. With six pitchers cut this morning and Weiman being a seventh this afternoon, there was less need for the extra catchers. The Pirates still have five catchers in camp. Weiman allowed two runs over 3.1 innings in his five spring appearances.
Our Spring Training tracker has been updated. The Pirates are down to 48 healthy players with 17 days until Opening Day.
UPDATE: Pirates issued an update saying Cruz was optioned to Altoona.
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.