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 Nunez, Liover 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.
Lolo Sanchez – Pittsburgh Pirates (1)* pic.twitter.com/hueQg56o7e
— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) March 7, 2023
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||9°|
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
Road game today against the Baltimore Orioles. No TV. 1:05 PM start
The squad in Sarasota.
📻 https://t.co/gff1SXHPSA#LetsGoBucs pic.twitter.com/505tqDqWZB
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) March 8, 2023
After Connor Hoe, that lineup goes downhill quickly.
I dig that one, Lee.
Since we’re playing the Orioles today, it reminds me of Trey Mancini. Someone at P2 should do an analysis of Mancini vs. Reynolds. I think there are alot of similarities, a team core player and fan centerpiece……..and the O’s cut him loose last year for 2 prospects. Mancini was at $7.5M salary. He was much closer to FA than Reynolds…..but he only got a 2 yr/$14M deal that could pay him $21M based on plate appearances and performance. He was a FA for his age 31 season. Maybe the cancer devalued him, IDK.
Not so much that the cancer devalued him as his play did. He only had one season over 2 WAR in his career. It was a great season but up to that point he was nothing like Reynolds as an all around player.
Still, when Reynolds is 31 will he be worth 20 million a year? It’s a tough game and contracts like the one he wants are rare. If he was 3 years younger even the Pirates might do it.
tank did a good job
of staying healthy.
There you go, finished the sentence for you.
And he got hit by two pitches, so it wasn’t for a lack of trying either. Somehow he still came out healthy. Breakout season confirmed
What is he breaking this time? Ulna, radius?
Comment of the Year nominee!