P2Daily: Sunday’s Role Could Fit Carmen Mlodzinski

With the sheer number of pitching prospects that began the year with Altoona, it became obvious that the Pirates were going to have to get creative with their staff.

While injuries have thinned out that group — Quinn Priester is currently among that group and has yet to play a game this season — they are still looking to get creative with how they deploy their pitching staff.

After Tahnaj Thomas moved to the bullpen this year, he got his first start of the season against Bowie on Sunday.

They utilized him as an opener for Carmen Mlodzinski, who came out of the bullpen for the second time in his professional career.

Mlodzinski pitched four innings, allowing three hits, one run, and struck out five batters in what was his best outing of the season.

Since being taken with 31st overall pick in 2020, Mlodzinski has struggled to find consistency at the pro level. The issues really came to the front after missing about a month worth of games last year with Greensboro. When he returned, he posted an ERA of 9.53 and 9.82 in the two months following the injury.

Beginning this year in Altoona, Mlodzinski gave up five runs in 3 2/3 innings in his first start. While he has shown flashes (4 IP, H, BB, 2 K on April 26), it’s been largely a disappointing season for the righty.

Sunday was by far a much better outing for Mlodzinski, and with the success it does raise the question on how best he can be utilized.

It will be interesting to see how Altoona continues to deploy Mlodzinski, who looked like he had been in desperate need of a spark of any sort.

If Mlodzinski ends up clicking coming out of the bullpen in longer stints, it will be another example what exactly the minor leagues can be used for: To work on things till they click.

The goal is to find the best fit for each player, and they may have come across the right one for Mlodzinski.

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Yesterday: Three-Run Homers Help Greensboro and Bradenton to Victory on Sunday

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PirateRican21

I read that Dewey was in Altoona last week, so this is his doing.

Born4rf

I’m actually very happy to see this trend in our organization. It worked well in the bigs with Thompson, not so well with Wilson and Keller… so far. But it’s better than sticking with a kid until the failure is ingrained. Crowe and Peters have both been tried back in the starting role and I expect may again. Regardless it’s better than just discarding a talented arm. The more frogs you kiss…

joesolo6181

Another high draft choice that is struggling. Where is the vaunted developmental staff?

PirateRican21

Finding ways for him to succeed is developing the player. Probably felt freer as a reliever, I noticed that his fastball was around a tick up and getting better results, baby steps.

dbsteel

This org seems to have a lot of position options now, but the pitching depth seems a little weak (not non existent, just not deep). Hope to see a few more high end guys come out of the lower levels.

Colin

The more stuff I see like this, makes me think we don’t have many quality pitcher’s. Leaning more and more towards Lesko in the draft even with TJS. I hope I’m dead wrong but pitching might end up being our down fall

Cobra

Worth noting: the Atlantic League (in partnership with MLB) is experimenting this season in a Rule change where teams lose their DH if a starter doesn’t reach at least 5 innings.

We are a franchise that has demonstrated zero juice when it comes to being at the Big Boys table during significant changes MLB (in fact, as the Josh Bell draft exercise and the entire financial structure of the sport demonstrate, we are often on the losing side of changes like this.)

My point is: it would be so Pittsburgh Pirates to invest in this “opener” strategy at MLB and every affiliate level this year — and have our pitchers conditioned this way and succeed this way — only to have MLB pull out the rug and adopt a similar 5 inning Penalty Rule next year.

It’s not a draconian penalty if you have a deep enough bench — but it seems like a Rule change that could disproportionately hurt the Pirates and Rays of the world

TNBucs

That’s interesting. I don’t like MLB intervening with analytics-based strategy (shifts, 3-batter minimum, openers, etc.) but there’s little in baseball that I enjoy more than watching one of our starters work deep into a game. And at least, unlike the rumored changes to shifting, this still allows for openers, just at a cost. One thing I’d tweak (if it’s not part of the experiment) is to say 5 innings or 3 runs–a team shouldn’t lose their DH because a true starter has been ineffective.

Colin

Just when you start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, that damn train comes out of nowhere and demolishes everything

mpg43952

I’m fascinated at the new roles explored in pitching these days. Openers, piggybacking, long relief guys – when the old mold isn’t working, move on.

tedwins

Same… but they can shift the prospect all they want on where and when he pitches in the game, still have to get batters out… i kinda read this as a bummer, maybe i misread, that now a reliever and they have less expectations on his upside but who knows, new game…

mpg43952

I look at it as different avenues of building confidence in players. When you’re struggling, finding a place to set your feet can lead to more success.

tedwins

Yuppers, give everything a shot for sure, guess i was more focussed on being bummed he was struggling in the first place🤷‍♂️

mpg43952

Nothing but good times ahead for Carm and Thomas, Ted! Stiff upper lip and all that!

agent00

i hope he’ll be at least a solid reliever for the pirates. develop into a wil crowe kinda player

AdministrativeSky236

Need to find a role for Mlod. Obviously as a starter would be the ideal scenario, but having him find a way to reach the potential we saw when we drafted him would be huge for the team moving forward. I am very skeptical of us having enough pitching in the system, so seeing guys like him take a step forward would be ideal

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