Opening Day is upon us. After a long spring and off-season, we enter the marathon that is the regular season.
This will be the fourth regular season under Ben Cherington, and realistically, it’s the first one where things are really back to ‘normal’ after the pandemic and lockout out last year.
At this point in the current regime, taking a big step towards competitive play is crucial. A playoff spot isn’t expected, but it should be expected to see a noticeable difference in the on-field play.
The front office injected as much talent as they could to the system. They will get one more big addition with the first overall pick, in what is a very loaded top of the draft. We’ve seen some of that talent start to make their ways to Pittsburgh, with even more on the way. That includes perhaps their biggest breakout star under this front office.
The rotation has a chance to be good, with actual depth, as we are already being forced to see with JR Brubaker injured. They also have perhaps one of the biggest wildcards in baseball playing shortstop.
Throughout the system, there are several players knocking on the door, including a couple of their first round drafts over the past few seasons. There was enough competition that arguably one of their top performers in spring didn’t make the team out of camp.
In the lower levels, there is plenty evidence of the Pirates focus on bringing in as many high upside prospects as possible, and have a slew of prospects that could easily have one of those ‘breakout’ type years they’ve seen in each of the last two seasons.
That doesn’t mean it hasn’t come with bumps in the road, as the system doesn’t seem nearly as strong as it did just a year ago. Losing players like Oneil Cruz and Roansy Contreras will do that, but you can also feel some cooling on them in general among the national outlets.
Those lower level prospects, while they have an amazing amount of upside, still rely mostly on the ‘projection’ title, and inherently carry a good amount of a ‘bust factor’ in them.
They will need to focus on establishing a credible floor to their game, which some of the pitchers will do so in one of the harshest environments in the minors in Greensboro.
They brought in just enough veterans to help guide the younger players through another long season, but it will still be on them to take that next step on their own.
It will be a long season, filled with plenty of ups and downs, but when it’s all said and down it’s time for the organization to take one giant leap forward. If it’s not a winning record, it should leave you feeling an air of confidence heading into 2024.
Pirates Prospects Daily
By John Dreker
It’s Opening Day! This post will serve as the Game Discussion thread. The lineup will be posted below once it becomes available.
**Pirate City Notes: Henry Davis Gets Work in Right Field Tim Williams has notes from the minor league side
**Pirates Draft Prospect Watch: Dollander vs Skenes/Crews is Must See TV Don’t miss this article if the draft interest you even a little bit
**Pirates Prospects Daily: New Approach From Johan Oviedo Could Work
**Pirates DVR: Canaan Smith-Njigba Home Run, Javier Rivas Hit, Oneil Cruz Double
**Here’s Where the Pirates Roster Sits Now
Song of the Day
Opening Day is finally here!
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— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) March 30, 2023
Today's starting lineup for the 147th Opening Day in Cincinnati!
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— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) March 30, 2023
Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.
I’ve been hard on Hedges, but his bunt, and arm were key.
Well that’s it, they can’t go win less, lol.
Most of us just want entertaining games, this was that!
It was indeed very entertaining!
24 Ks and 15 walks. Quite the game.
I’m surprised that the call out pitch was not seen during ST, with this new rules I assumed that managers will use that tool more, then again, it has been mothballed for ages…..
cruz should have flipped the ball between his legs instead of turning around there
hut hut hike
I realize now why Bae is 8 and Hedges 9
Its for that stolen second bAes and then Hedges sacrifice bunt and then Cruz flyout deep enough to score Bae
Run without a hit. Hope this doesn’t encourage Shelton to play small ball.
Let’s hope that’s not his best option!
I just realized as the game goes into the seventh, our bench doesn’t suck this year! like there are some decent hitters that we may be able to call upon. Last year it was like “no, not him, oh wow no.”
Reds have a Kroger advertisement on their sleeve
Looks like Moreta coming in. Good addition to pen.
What was that?
Great pitch! K!
I’ll like to blame Shelton for not bringing in his lefty reliever, but I somewhat get it……
Mitch should not be throwing a center cut strike with 0-2 count vs cleanup hitter. But maybe he was out of gas.
End of the day for Mitch? 80 pitches on opening day is a lot. Also, the pace of play from the introduction of the pitch clock has been a real treat. Confirms my observations from the minor league games where the pitch clock was used.
Benson does not pass the eye test, swing is just too long
My god Cinci sucks.
As historically bad as they started last season, this team might just be worse. It’s impressive
Back to pre-pitch clock pace of play!
Booking my flight for World Series
Cutch fouling off 100 mph heat on opening day is very encouraging. My fear was his reflexes at 36 wouldn’t let him do that. He may have a good year at the plate.
he´s going to hit 50 this year
37 follows 36…..
hooooo did he get lucky!
Who, the fan trying to catch it?
That 2-2 slider call was dirrrty in front of the home crowd.
The way I remember it, it was a good take!
It ain’t a crime unless ya get caught. 😉
Here’s one to think about…would you take this version of Hunter Greene with the top pick in this year’s draft?
Is he better than Paul Skenes?
Is this version of Greene close to Skenes? Maybe. I remember the prep version of Greene having this awesome velocity and not much in the way of breaking stuff. Has much changed for Greene? I didn’t get much chance to watch him today, but it seems like with his homer issues, it’s the gas that gets hit out. Does Paulie Skis have better breaking stuff?
Greene was getting chases and called strikes on his breaking stuff. He looked awesome.
I was reading BA article couple days ago that says Skenes grades out with 2 plus pitches (FB & SL) with potential third (CH).
Absolutely yes is the answers.
Set that one up for the spike!
Chicks dig the long ball. Personally I dig a power arm hitting 101-102. I could watch this all 162 games.
Hold on, Wil Myers?
Greene throwing 38 pitches through 2 innings work for me, bullpen in the 5th or 6th would be nice, assuming we are not too far behind by then
Greene = Gas
Bae has a shit arm.
1 for 1, but fast legs
“It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall all alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.”
Lets Go Bucs!
It’s starting to sink in…..Opening Day 2023! Tim W. make your appearance buddy! Great site…….we tip our cap to you!
Ha, I just see a new thread……Tim is alive and well.
Last years OD lineup was vogey, brey, hayes, yoshi, newman, cotuck, gamel, perez, and park. We are quite a bit ahead of that this year imo
four of those players are starting this year in AAA for other teams, and newman is on the bench for the Reds. surprising with that starting point the Pirates won 62 games.
CJ Abrams starting SS for Nats. Age 22, 2 errors already. Could be a close race with Cruz
Another uber-young top prospect rostered on Opening Day last year with resounding success.
Feels like its getting late for any reynolds movement
I’m telling you-all, the affected TV revenue stream may be affecting Bob’s appetite for this.
fyi Blake Sabol is starting in left for SFG today, batting 8th, in front of Roberto Perez – G Cole K’d both of them 1st time up
Sabol got 2 AB’s 0-2 then Pinch hit for. Perez got a hit, 1 – 2 then PH hit for. Perez now batting .500………but Ben went with Hedges 🙁
Hedges is gonna go 2-3 today…… that will be his peak!
I don’t have my glasses on…..did you say 2 – 30?
I’m counting the walk as a hit…..
There you have it, we made the right decision!
W-L record aside, a winning record would be great but we all know that’s not very likely, it would be nice to see some entertaining baseball. Watching sports, just like playing it in years gone by, is supposed to be enjoyable.
I’d settle for some improved play on the field with competitive games instead of blowouts and hustling efforts instead embarrassing gaffs. Letting the youngsters play and stopping the dumpster diving for other teams castoffs would be a good way to increase the entertainment level too. Here’s hoping.
he was the 40-man placeholder for the second catcher.
Noooooo . . . it’s like they’re not even trying to lose. In all seriousness, I have no idea why they picked him up but am perfectly happy having him back up Mitchell, Swaggerty, etc. at AAA.
Pirate predictions 2023
1) Greene hits a Pirate batter in the first inning of opening day, because….Reds
2) Swaggerty is deemed ready for the big leagues just after his service time manipulation date
3) Suwinski loses a ball in the wind and/or sun during a day game (probably happens multiple times)
4) Davis gets hit by a pitch that is also called a strike
5) Shelton brings in Hedges as a pinch hitter, who then hits a game winning home run, causing numerous piratesprospects poster to question if life is real.
6) Castro gets suspending for using his phone while running around the bases after hitting a home run
7) Santana and Choi start wearing shin guards to avoid injury on throws from Cruz
8) Hayes goes the whole year without an error, but misses out on the Golden Glove because of sunflower seeds and the Cardinals.
Is life real or just a simulation?
Best predictions I’ve read so far. Picturing the 1B with hockey goalie pads on. The Davis one made a co worker ask what is so funny? I just told her the Pirates suck. Got no response.
Anyone hearing anything on a Reynolds extension?
Bored at work and have probably refreshed mackeys feed 200 times today but still nothing of substance
Man that Reds lineup. On purpose.
It has a lot of “Look at how many former Top 100 guys we have!” energy
Seriously. And how do they have another 1B with a last name that starts with V? Unless that was a misprint and it really is Votto.
Would a team with the Reds pitching and the Bucs position players be over .500?
I might be sayin’ the same thing about the Pirates if I were a Reds fan…I’m just also pretty sure they’re no longer carrying the rebuilding excuse. They just stink.
Fair point. But I meant that more along the lines of the Bucs are further along in the field, the Reds on the mound (that’s a pretty nice front three they have). I think a team of Reds lineup, Bucs pitching probably loses 100, fairly easily.
This team looks a lot like last year. The additions provide very little improvement. Mostly they take positions from historically bad to below average. The front office is still not trying to win.
This team will lose 95 games.
1) Shelton mismanages the bullpen for the 100th time on the last day of the season and gets a contract extension.
2) Hayes has a solid first half but listens to the hitting coach during the All Star break and immediately slumps back to 2022 levels.
3) The team flirts with .500 for a month or two sometime during the season and Nutting panics that he might have to pay an entire’s year worth of the one-year free agent signings.
4) Castro, Suwinski, Hernandez, De Jong, Crowe, Delay, Santana, and Choi are no longer with the MLB team by August due to cuts or retirement (Santana).
5) McCutchen slumps in April but has a decent June.
6) Cruz takes a big step forward but Reynolds takes a step back.
7) Bae struggles offensively but still manages to lead the team in SB during the time he is with the team.
8) At least one if not two starting pitchers join Brubaker on the IL by the middle of April and Priester gets a shot after super two but has trouble adjusting.
9) Either Nick Gonzales or Malcolm Nunez take off at AAA and surprises with solid two months with the big club.
10) Folks like me enjoy watching most of the games but have to tune out when not in the mood to watch blowouts. 75 wins!
7yrs 119 million for Reynolds, starting this yr. Could this be enough to get this done?
This team is soft. Until you change that you will always lose over 100 games. I’m not going to call anyone out. But, if you have a girls softball team playing the
Pirates and a brawl breaks out. My money is on the women.
So you think it’s a matter of softness that they lose 100 games? More than a lack of talent?
If Bryan Reynolds’ big package were hard this club would be way better.
(super homoerotic opening day convo, did not see that coming)
quit trolling, go find a team to root for, life it too short.
best comment of the season so far
very accurate assessment of our manager
In their defense, I’d always put my $$ on women in a fight.
Especially if that softball team is allowed to grow long finger nails. Connor Joe is a goner due to his long hair. And I have worked in PT with some softball players. Most aren’t anything to get to tusslin with.
This is such an unusual comment
Why is it unusual? You don’t think this team is soft? A couple of examples…A player gets hit in the hand and has to be removed from a game. Oh ya, he had an evo shield on his hand. Nothing was wrong with him. A player slips on the grass and has to be carried off the field and nothing i mean nothing was wrong with him. Should i go on?
It was ST, every team is ultra cautious and risk averse at that time
Setting aside the W-L, I’ll be looking to see how we compete this season. One must will be to eliminate the 12 – 1 blowouts that we saw far too often the prior three seasons.
Well, Jose Hernandez is probably hoping for some, since probably the only way he gets to pitch is in the late innings of a blow out with 2 outs and a left handed batter at the plate.
He’ll have 9 appearances and 3 IP at the end of the season.
Nah, this isn’t going to be a Luis Oviedo repeat of Shelton locking him in the broom closet. Hernandez is only LH in pen (or one of two LHers). And he’s actually got a power arm to survive up here.
great point! much easier to tolerate close losses than getting our doors blown off at least once a week
Breakout from Yordany De Los Santos.
I can dig it
For the third consecutive year I’m going with 70-92…….I mean gotta be right one of these years! My enthusiasm for the 2023 club has waned a bit during ST. I was initially prepared to go a bit higher on wins.
Fubo tv has a 7 day free trial and they carry AT&T Sportsnet so you can watch the game if like me you’ve cut the cable. After the 7 days they want 74.99 for a 158 channels which includes Sportsnet but still not worth it. Can’t do mlbtv because the Pirates are blacked out even though I’m 213 miles from PNC Park.
I use a VPN router and watch MLB.tv in Pittsburgh city limits. Look it up. It isn’t too difficult.
Jeopardy? Alex: $1,000 on “What was Pirates record in 2015″…..
Hopium to the max!
He’s smoking the whole Hopium crop!!!
Going with 78-84. The improvement coming with the additions of Endy, Burrows, Priester an Swaggs over the course of the year.
I am predicting they can stay within 6-7 games of .500 thru the All-star break, and get hot after Endy, Priester, Burrow, and Ortiz joins the team. Wind up 82-80. CSN hits 21 HRs for the season.
I won’t say o agree with the record prediction, but the pirates seem to agree with the CSN sentiment. Batting 5th!
Lineup released: cruz, reynolds (LF), cutch, santana, CSN, hayes, suwnsKi, bae, hedges
It looks good……until #9 . Eight position players plus a pitcher 🙁
Interesting no Choi, no Castro.
Bae is 1 for 2 against Greene, Castro is 0 for 4 with three strike outs and 2 walks. I guess that would be the reason, if there needs to be one.
Agreed on both, also CSN 5 and hayes 6 were not where i would have expected either of them
Have seen several guys high on Ro, not sure if they are just using names they know or if they actually see something though