Found March 14, 2013 on Pirates Prospects:
Today I got to see two pitchers for the first time. For the last year I’ve seen Wei-Chung Wang walking around in a red shirt as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. I also saw Hayden Hurst last year in the GCL after the 2012 draft pick signed. However, he didn’t pitch in the GCL, so I didn’t get to see him throw. Today, both pitchers were on the mound in the low-A game against the Toronto farm system. Here are my thoughts on each player. Wei-Chung Wang, flashing a red glove with a Pirates logo on the web. Wei-Chung Wang The Pirates originally signed Wang for $350,000 out of Taiwan in 2011, which was a record at the time. Wang signed at the same time as Jin-De Jhang. However, the left-handed pitcher had a torn ligament in his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery. That put him out for the last year. He pitched in his first game at the end of instructs, making today his second game since signing. Wang threw two shutout innings, giving up two hits, no walks, and striking out one. His fastball was 84-90 MPH. It was closer to the mid-80s in his first inning of work, but was more consistently 88-90 MPH in the second inning of work. “The movement was good, but the speed has not come up,” Wang said after the outing, through a translator. Prior to the surgery, Wang was throwing 92 MPH. He was also throwing a nice curveball today. It came in slow, around the mid-70s, and had big breaking action from the side, kind of like a slurve. Wang also throws a changeup. The lefty used to throw a fork ball, but the Pirates took the pitch away from him. That’s pretty common for pitchers in the lower levels. It avoids injuries, since that type of pitch puts more stress on the forearm. It also forces the pitcher to focus on commanding the four-seam fastball. Wang said he was hoping he would get the pitch back down the line. Wang changed up his delivery throughout his outing, adding an occasional pause in his windup to throw off hitters. He worked two innings today, and doesn’t know if he’ll start this year, but said that he wanted to be a starter. Hayden Hurst Hayden Hurst When the Pirates didn’t sign Mark Appel, they had some extra money left in their draft budget. They turned to a few middle round picks, including 17th round pick Hayden Hurst, giving the right-hander $400,000. He didn’t play at all during the GCL season, and missed most of instructs. It wasn’t injury related, but was because Hurst had taken time off, expecting to go to college. “I thought I was going to go to school, but then the Pirates ended up coming up with money and they signed me,” Hurst said. “So I hadn’t thrown for like a month. And I came down here and they just took everything really slow with me, since there’s no sense in really rushing anything.” The right-hander threw an intra-squad game during instructs, then threw one inning against the Blue Jays. Today was his second outing against another team, again coming versus the Blue Jays. “Today I felt really good. Some fastballs got away from me, but I wasn’t really worried about the result as much as getting the work done today,” Hurst said. The right-hander dealt with some control problems early. In one at-bat he let a fastball get away from him, throwing behind the right-handed batter at 93 MPH. The batter was obviously shaken up, and ended up striking out a few pitches later. He later threw a pitch in the dirt which got past Samuel Gonzalez, allowing a runner to score from third. Hurst mostly stuck to his fastball, throwing three curveballs. His fastball was 88-93 MPH, touching 94 once. It was mostly sitting 91-92 MPH. After the outing he mentioned that he’s probably going to stick with his slider more than his curveball, since the 12-to-6 curve messes up his release point. That could have been the issue with his fastball control today. Hurst has been working on a changeup, which is something the Pirates have been stressing for the last year in the lower levels of the minors. “It’s definitely something they’re stressing,” Hurst said. “It’s a feel pitch, and I’ve been moving it around, trying to find a grip that works for me. It’s a work in progress.” Hurst mentioned that he’s already been told he will go to Jamestown this year.   Colten Brewer Hitting 95 MPH Colten Brewer had the best velocity on the day. The right-hander, taken in the fourth round of the 2011 draft, was 89-95 MPH. I had seen him hitting 93 MPH in the past, but he saw some improvements today. He threw two shutout innings, allowing one hit, walking two, and striking out one. “This off-season I took a lot of time working out. Way more than I did last year,” Brewer said in relation to his velocity today. “It started to click in my head that this is my career. I need to start working really hard.” Brewer mentioned after the outing that he hit 95 once last year in the GCL. He did leg work and arm care over the off-season, and the work outs could be the reason he’s throwing harder early in camp. The right-hander was mostly throwing fastballs today. He mentioned that he’s been having trouble with his changeup. “I’m trying to figure out when to throw it more, and figure out what counts to use it in,” Brewer said. “Once I get that release point down, it could be a really good pitch for me.” The Pirates currently have Brewer preparing for extended Spring Training and starting the 2013 season in Jamestown. They did leave open the chance that he could break camp with West Virginia, noting that there are still opportunities there.   Pitcher Notes **Zack Von Rosenberg had a good outing today, but the velocity wasn’t nearly as good. He only needed 26 pitches to get through two innings, giving up one run. He was only throwing 80-83 MPH. That could be because it was the first outing of the year, but this will be something to keep an eye on. He threw two curveballs and eight changeups, both in the low-to-mid 70s. **Jon Sandfort, the third round pick out of high school last year, reached his pitch limit with two outs in the second inning of work. Sandfort gave up six runs on five hits, with no walks and one strikeout. **Jake Burnette also threw two shutout innings, giving up a walk and a hit, with one strikeout. Burnette was 85-90 MPH with his fastball, and threw a few nice curveballs. Last year he missed most of the season in State College with elbow inflammation. He didn’t need surgery, and pitched during instructs. Today he was mostly working on his fastball, and not throwing the curve or changeup as much. **Ryan Hafner threw two shutout innings with no walks, no hits, and two strikeouts. Hafner was 85-90 MPH with his fastball. The walks are encouraging, since Hafner struggled with his control a lot in 2012. **Bryton Trepagnier threw an inning, sitting 88-90 MPH with his sinker. Last year the right-hander was hitting 92-93 at the end of the year, although his pitch is effective at the slower speed. He also flashes a nice slider which sits in the 70s. He only threw two today. One was 77 MPH. The other one came in at 70 MPH for an off-balanced swing and a miss. He got two ground outs and a strikeout in his inning of work. Position Player Notes **Josh Bell still has it. Batting right-handed against a left-hander today, he had a hard hit line drive to right-center, past the center fielder and to the wall. Bell turned it into a triple. **Alen Hanson led off the high-A game by bunting his way on for a single. Two batters later, Gregory Polanco had a hard hit fly ball to right for a fly out. The ball was going straight into the wind. **Today was also the first time I got to see Maximo Rivera. I talked about him in this morning’s notes. He showed impressive speed on one play, legging out a stand up triple on a shot to the gap in right. **Samuel Gonzalez looked like a sleeper prospect behind the plate after the 2011 season. He had a torn labrum, which required shoulder surgery prior to the 2012 season. The Pirates moved him to first base while he was recovering. He’s now back behind the plate, but went 0-for-2 in caught stealing attempts today, with two throws that were off the mark. Prior to the injury he had a really good arm. He also had a double today in the second half of the low-A game. **Dilson Herrera made two nice plays at second base. One was a diving stop to his left on a hard hit ground ball. The other play came when a runner was picked off between first and second. The runner paused after Herrera faked a throw, and Herrera sprinted after him to chase him down for the out. **I didn’t see much of Stetson Allie, who was a DH, but I did see him strike out swinging in the one at-bat I watched.

Injury Notes: D’Arnaud, Garrett Jones, Tony Watson

Here are a few injury updates from major league camp, along with a non-injury update. **Chase d’Arnaud, who is dealing with a sprained thumb, is going to have an appointment for an MRI soon. He has been looked at here in Bradenton, but the Pirates and d’Arnaud wanted to get a second opinion. **Garrett Jones (oblique) took some swings in the cage today and played catch. He will...

Pirate City Notes: Oliver to be a Starter; When will Heredia be in West Virginia?

The minor leaguers take on the Yankees farm system today. The lineups, pitchers, and notes are below. First, a few notes from camp. **Andy Oliver was optioned to Triple-A today. The Pirates plan on stretching him out in minor league camp and using him as a starter. Luis Heredia might not be in West Virginia until the end of April. **Luis Heredia may have a shot at West Virginia this...

Pirates Make First Cuts

The Pittsburgh Pirates have made their first cuts of Spring Training. So far they have cut four players today, with those players being Hunter Strickland, Vic Black, Matt Hague, and Clint Robinson. That could be all for now, but no word on that yet. I’ll update this when more information becomes available.   UPDATE 8:00 AM: Add Duke Welker and Stolmy Pimentel to the list of cuts...

Is there any upside left to Jose Tabata?

With Jerry Sands' demotion earlier this week, it became pretty clear that Jose Tabata will start 2013 out in Pittsburgh, most likely as Travis Snider's primary backup/platoon partner in right field. Tabata's only 24, but this is almost certainly his last chance to play regularly for for the Pirates. If he can't hack it in the early part of this season, Sands will...

Tony Sanchez and Andy Oliver Optioned to Triple-A

The Pittsburgh Pirates made their second round of cuts this morning, optioning catcher Tony Sanchez and left-handed pitcher Andy Oliver to Indianapolis. The Spring Training tracker has been updated. There are now 49 players remaining in camp.

First Pitch: Today’s Cuts Bring Up the Hanrahan Trade Again

Mark Melancon was one of the main pieces in the Joel Hanrahan trade. The Pittsburgh Pirates made their first round of cuts today at the major league level. Two of the players who were cut were Jerry Sands and Stolmy Pimentel, who made up half of the return for Joel Hanrahan over the winter. Almost immediately the complaints started on Twitter about the Hanrahan trade. Most of them...

Draft Preview: Top Prep Players Square Off

The fifth weekend of the college season is about to get under way. The Pirates have the #9 and #14 picks in the upcoming June amateur draft. Throughout the college/HS season, leading up to the draft, we will cover the interesting players that are being discussed in the Pirates draft range. There will also be daily notes on past picks by the Pirates who went unsigned. For a recap...

Keith Law Releases His Top 50 Draft Prospects

Keith Law has released his top 50 draft prospects for ESPN Insider subscribers. Some of the notable rankings: **Mark Appel is first overall. **The Pirates pick 9th and 14th. Law has Jon Denney at 9th, and Kohl Stewart 14th. Denney is a high school catcher, who Law calls “a good-throwing catcher who receives well, hits and hits for power.” Stewart is a prep pitcher who throws...

McPherson bidding for starting spot

Bucs right-hander Kyle McPherson pitched well in a 2-1 loss to the Phillies on Thursday. He allowed four hits, but otherwise had no problems in five scoreless innings. McPherson is vying for a spot in the Pirates’ rotation and he took a step toward winning the job with his outing.'s George Von Benko caught up with McPherson after the game.

Chase d’Arnaud Has Torn Thumb Ligament

According to a tweet from Rob Biertempfel, infielder Chase d’Arnaud’s left thumb injury, which has kept him out of action since late last week, is a torn ligament that may require surgery.  This could keep d’Arnaud out for a considerably longer stretch at an inopportune time for him.  He’s trying to regain prospect status after struggling to a 252/325/383 line in AAA last...

Roster Watch: Gaby Sanchez

When you punch Nyjer Morgan in the face, that’s the picture I use when making a post about you. It’s just that simple. The Pirates acquired Gaby Sanchez last year from the Marlins in a trade that sent Gorkys Hernandez and a competitive balance pick to the Marlins and Kyle Kaminska to the Bucs, along with Sanchez.…
Pirates News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.