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Pirates Prospects Daily: Pirates Make First Rounds Of Spring Training Cuts

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A little over a week into Spring Training games, the Pittsburgh Pirates have started to make the first few cuts to their camp roster, sending a total of seven players back to the minor league side of things.

There wasn’t too much to go by, but there’s a very strong argument that Kyle Nicolas and Jared Jones — two of the players reassigned to minor league camp — were some of the best pitchers, performance wise, during the early Spring Training games.

Nicolas played in two games, pitching three innings total, and allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out two. Overall, he put up a 33% whiff rate, missing five bats on 15 swings total. The slider did the majority of the damage in the process, with a 66% (2-of-3) whiff rate.

Jones lit up the radar guns in his last outing with the Pirates, facing the Yankees on Monday night, hitting 99 MPH multiple times and picking up a pair of strikeouts. Overall he averaged 97.6 on his fastball in two outings, and put up some really strong spin rate numbers on all his pitches. He also put up a 46.6% whiff rate against hitters, getting four whiffs with the slider.

The hitting side of things were highlighted by former first overall pick Henry Davis, and also included Malcom NunezLiover Peguero, Matt Gorski, and Lolo Sanchez.

Of the hitters sent down, Peguero had nearly as many hits (four) as the rest of that group combined (five), also drove in four runs. After a rough stretch last year left an undesirable stat line, Peguero will be looking to rebound in 2023.

Davis didn’t really do much noticeable outside of driving in a pair of runs, picking up just a hit in six at-bats, although he did draw three walks (compared to two strikeouts). In true fashion, he was also hit by two pitches.

The biggest key for Davis will be to stay healthy this year, getting into as many games as possible.

Sanchez returned to the Pirates after becoming a minor league free agent, and was one of the best at making contact in the system last year, as well as one of the best on the base paths. He hit a home run in his last game in major league camp, one of two hits he had.

Gorski and Nunez both struggled, maybe more than any of the other hitters, combining to go 2-for-14 with six strikeouts. Gorski did drive in a run on his lone hit, but accounted for four of those strikeouts in only six at-bats. 

He had a breakout season that was cut short by injuries, but strikeouts and the ability to make contact is going to be in question going into the season after finishing with one of the highest Swinging Strike rate (SwStr%) in the system last year.

Nunez came in with a lot looking at him after coming over in the Jose Quintana trade. He was good down the stretch but didn’t really do much with any of his playing time, going 1-for-8. Even when he did make contact (six total batted ball events), there wasn’t much behind it as he produced an average exit velocity of 84 MPH.

Player Batted Ball Events Exit Velocity Launch Angle
Liover Peguero 10 90.27 mph 17.2°
Lolo Sanchez 8 85.4 mph 13.25°
Malcom Nunez 6 84.48 mph 18.1°
Henry Davis 5 90.82 mph 2.4°
Matt Gorski 1 108.1 mph

Pirates Prospects Daily

By Tim Williams

Spring Training Recap: Pirates 7, Blue Jays 2

Pirates DVR: Mitch Keller Cutter, Lolo Sanchez Home Run, Ji-Hwan Bae Defense

**The Pirates reassigned four prospects to minor league camp to start the day yesterday, including Liover Peguero. They followed with three more, including Henry Davis. I’ll have a column about the catching situation later today.

I don’t think there were any surprises with the players who were sent down. If any of those players hoped to return to the majors this season, they’ll need to focus on their minor league seasons, starting now.

Davis and Peguero are the standouts of the group. They have the talent to find a way onto a future contender. It’s not out of the question that either player could arrive in the majors this year. They would both need to focus on their development in the minors.

**I wrote recently for Baseball America about how Davis had been working this spring on learning how pitchers think.

THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS

**Early Observations on the Pirates After a Week of Spring Training Games

Anthony Murphy breaks down what he’s seen from the Pirates and their position battles after a week’s worth of Spring Training games.

**Carmen Mlodzinski Getting Praise For Stuff Early In Spring Training

The 2020 supplemental first rounder has been getting some recognition for his stuff early in camp. Anthony Murphy looks in detail at how his cutter and changeup stand out.

**World Baseball Classic Preview: A Dozen Pirates are Scheduled to Play

We will have daily World Baseball Classic updates for all of the Pirates involved. John Dreker previews who is playing, and for which country.

**Missed yesterday? Anthony wrote about Luis Ortiz and a familiar theme that is emerging.

Song of the Day

Today’s Lineup

Road game today against the Baltimore Orioles. No TV. 1:05 PM start

Anthony Murphy
Anthony Murphy
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.

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