Found May 01, 2013 on
Andy Vasquez has been a surprising bright spot in the Altoona offense.
The Curve lost their best hitter when Adalberto Santos went down with a hip injury April 15, and the offense has struggled for noticeable spells in the early season. Santos returned Tuesday night, so there is some optimism he’ll be able to pick up where he left off prior to his injury.
Andy Vasquez has been the team’s best hitter over the past ten games putting up a .417/.432/.556 line, followed by Matt Curry’s .316/.381/.500. Vasquez is a bit old at 25 and has never been all that highly regarded as a prospect, signing out of the Dominican Republic at age 20. His major problem has been plate discipline, so even at points when he’s hit well, his low walk rate and high strikeout rate have made it difficult to project him as anything other than an organizational player.
In a small sample size in 2013, Vasquez has a 6.8% walk-rate about double what it was 2010-2012, and he’s already striking out less so far. There’s not a lot of power, but he has played almost every position on the field in his career, and if he keeps hitting consistently, he could be considered a super-sleeper utility player prospect. With Santos back in the fold at third base, expect Vasquez to play a mix of positions moving forward.
Matt Curry will reach 900 plate appearances in AA this week, and he did enough to deserve a promotion to AAA coming into 2013 (along with Santos and Andrew Lambo for that matter). He’s up to .270 on the season, which is about where I’d expect him to be, and he has three homers in the early going. As a first baseman, he’ll need the pop to continue moving up, and he’ll need to show he can hit lefties (3-for-25 in 2013). His plate patience is not as good this year as previous seasons, possibly a sign he’s taking bigger cuts and starting his swing earlier to increase his power. Or maybe that’s just the small sample size. My opinion on Curry will probably remain the same until he gets called up to AAA for a new test.
Andrew Lambo didn’t have a great week, only hitting .237/.286/.342, but he’s been one of the few bright spots in the line-up through the first month of the season. Similar to Curry, I worry about platoon splits (3-for-25 against lefties), but Lambo has looked good at the plate when I’ve seen him, and he has always had a good swing. Like Curry, he’s another player who has logged lots of at bats in AA (almost 1,400), and now is the time to see what he can do in AAA.
Injuries have slowed Lambo’s development, but this year he looks 100 percent.
“It’s great to feel healthy. When something’s wrong you have to overcompensate and bad things start happening,” said Lambo.
Bottom of the line-up continues to struggle
The jump to AA is the hardest one to make for hitters, as AA pitchers are much more able to command a repertoire of pitches consistently. Especially in the early going, it’s not uncommon to see players start slowly, and, as Cory Giger reminded me recently, Andrew McCutchen was only hitting .158 in Altoona in mid-May 2007.
Disclaimers aside, several Curve hitters have really struggled to open the season (through Monday):
Alex Dickerson: .192/.250/.359
Carlos Paulino: .193/.292/.246
Gift Ngoepe: .145/.238/.232
The sliver of good news here is that Dickerson hit his second homer (first to clear the wall) on Monday, and his swing looked better on Tuesday against Akron than when I saw it previously. He started slow last season, and hopefully he can make adjustments to put in more productive at bats moving forward.
It’s also worth noting that while Paulino and Ngoepe have struggled at the plate, they are outstanding defenders, probably the best at their positions in the system. Unfortunately, to have an impact, they will need to make serious advances at the plate. Ngoepe especially looks befuddled at the plate, striking out in over 40% of his plate appearances after Tuesday’s game.
“They’re going to get better. They can’t get much worse than that,” said manager Carlos Garcia.
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The PNC Park jumbotron has introduced the Pirates’ lineup with some strange and cheesy videos in the past (such as this one), but when I saw this new one on Youtube I couldn’t stop laughing:
So much awkwardness. Some players (Gaby Sanchez) embraced the silly Saturday Night Live theme, some (Pedro Alvarez and Clint Barmes) clearly wanted nothing to do with it, and some (Wandy...
Charlie Morton could return on May 14th.
Rob Biertempfel and Michael Sanserino have the potential return dates for Francisco Liriano and Charlie Morton.
Potential return dates: Liriano May 11. Morton May 14.
— Michael Sanserino (@msanserino) May 1, 2013
#pirates hurdle: Liriano back on May 11, Morton around May 14
— Rob Biertempfel (@BiertempfelTrib) May 1, 2013
As I wrote...
The Pittsburgh Pirates are winning and have tons of young, exciting players. So, naturally, they’ve decided to a video mashup introducing themselves Saturday Night Live-style.
Andrew McCutchen and Co. (or whoever the Pirates have working in their video room) spared no expense to make their presentation look like Saturday’s No. 1 sketch comedy show (because it’s the only Saturday...
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Fransisco Liriano is scheduled to make his season debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 11. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle delivered the news to reporters on Wednesday.
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I'll give them points for being different then pretty much every other baseball team out there, but maybe--just maybe--the money could...
Nick Kingham fanned 26 in his last 17 innings.
A month into the minor league season, things are starting to take shape with the Pirates’ full-season affiliates. With a deep roster and very talented pitching staff, Indianapolis is dominating the International League with a 20-7 record. By contrast, Altoona is increasingly struggling despite a good rotation led by Jameson Taillon...
The Pittsburgh Pirates have designated pitcher Jonathan Sanchez for assignment. Struggling mightily all season, his final straw was throwing at St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig. His suitors will be thin and it just goes to show that if you are struggling, you shouldn’t give the source of your good income a great reason to get rid of you.
The post Pittsburgh Pirates...
The Pittsburgh Pirates have finally done something that will get them some much needed publicity, it has nothing to do with what their doing on the baseball diamond, but it’s a start.
According to USA Today Sports, the 16-12 Pirates have a unique way of doing their player introductions, adopting a late-night television vibe in the mold of Saturday Night Live or David Letterman...
THOSE were the Pirates we came to know and love during the past few weeks. After falling behind yet again at Miller Park, the Bucs pulled off a big comeback and managed to shut Milwaukee down late to get out of Wisconsin with a rare victory.
Jeanmar Gomez‘s start went about how most expected it to go. He labored early on and only managed to go four innings and gave up a couple...
ALTOONA- Despite a late comeback bid from Altoona, the Akron Aeros were able to secure their 12th win of the season 5-4.
Altoona started their late inning rally in the eighth off of Aeros pitcher Bryce Stowell.
After Stowell got Curve shortstop Drew Maggi to ground out to first baseman Chun Chen, centerfielder Mel Rojas doubled and gave Altoona their first base runner. Left...
There are two primary types of Pirates losses in Milwaukee. The first was the one you saw on Monday, when the Bucs just get blown out. Tuesday was different, but just as painful. The Bucs took advantage of whatever makes Miller Park so great to hit in and crushed several homers of their own, but as usual they were outgunned and lost in a long, back-and-forth battle.
Bradenton’s game last night was suspended in the seventh inning with the score tied 4-4 and Brevard County batting. The game will resume today, prior to the start of the regularly scheduled game. West Virginia was off yesterday. Indianapolis has off today. For a look at the possible starters over the next few weeks, please check out our Probable Pitchers Chart. We have added a...
I want to say that nothing went right in this game, but that's not true in the strictest sense. The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning and then nothing went right from there. Wandy Rodriguez couldn't find the strike zone in the first inning and when he had a chance to get out of the inning with the Pirates still only down 2-1, Clint Barmes booted a double...
Long story short: the lock at my apartment got jammed shut last night and no one answered the emergency maintenance number, so I couldn't get into my apartment and as a result didn't see much of last night's game besides Rickie Weeks's homer that sealed the deal for Milwaukee. There were home runs, bad pitching, the Pirates lost at Miller Park. Frankly, I've heard...