First Pitch: All of the Spring Training Updates on the Top 20 Pirates Prospects

A few weeks ago, Pete Ellis was down in Bradenton providing extra Spring Training coverage for the site. During the process of discussing article ideas, Pete and I kept having the same exchange. Pete: Have you done an article on [Insert Prospect Here]? Me: Yes. We’ve averaged between four and five articles per day on the site during Spring Training, with coverage between the minors...
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2 days ago  |  Discuss

Pirates Make Eight More Cuts, Including Jameson Taillon and Alen Hanson

The Pittsburgh Pirates have cut eight more players today. The players are as follows. Casey Sadler Collin Balester Gift Ngoepe Jeremy Bleich Willy Garcia Alen Hanson Mel Rojas Jr. Jameson Taillon Taillon, Hanson and Sadler have all been optioned to Indianapolis, while Garcia has been optioned to Altoona. The other four players have been reassigned to minor league camp. There are...
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12 days ago  |  Discuss

What is the Difference Between Mel Rojas and Keon Broxton?

Mel Rojas Jr. was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the third round of the 2010 MLB draft. The son of the former big league closer had a ton of tools, including the ability to play center field, and the potential to hit for some power, but was considered very raw at the time he was selected. He struggled in the lower levels, and didn’t do so well in his initial jump to Double...
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28 days ago  |  Discuss

FanGraphs Releases the Pittsburgh Pirates 2015 ZiPS Projections

FanGraphs has released the 2015 ZiPS projections for the Pittsburgh Pirates. There are a lot of projection systems out there, but ZiPS is one of the most popular ones, and also one of the better systems. For tonight’s First Pitch, I’ll be doing some analysis using these figures. For now, here is a quick rundown of what was said in the article. **Andrew McCutchen is projected...
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February 06, 2015  |  Discuss

Winter Leagues: Gorkys Hernandez Homers, Shows Off Great Defense (With Video)

In the Dominican on Saturday night, Estrellas won 2-1 to stay alive in the best-of-nine finals. The Gigantes took a 4-3 advantage in the series. Mel Rojas Jr. went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, while Gustavo Nunez went 0-for-3 after sitting out his first game of the entire playoffs on Friday. Rafael Perez started the game and had his worst outing, allowing two runs on three hits and...
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January 26, 2015  |  Discuss

Winter Leagues: Valle Returns to Action, Kennelly Helps Perth Clinch Playoff Spot

On Wednesday night in Mexico, catcher Sebastian Valle returned to action with his new team. He was drafted by Jalisco for the finals on Tuesday. In his first game back, he went 1-for-4 with a single and run scored, as his team lost by an 11-8 score. In the Dominican, Mel Rojas Jr. went 1-for-3 with a run scored in his team’s 5-1 win. The Gigantes took a 3-2 lead in the best-of...
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January 24, 2015  |  Discuss

First Pitch: Pirates Prospects is Looking For Writers For the 2015 Season

The 2015 season is around the corner, and Spring Training starts in less than a month. Over the next few weeks I will be adding writers to the site for the upcoming season. If you’re interested in writing for the site, and you’ve got a media background or strong writing skills, then check out the positions below, along with qualifications for each position. Major League Coverage...
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January 22, 2015  |  Discuss

Winter Leagues: Mel Rojas Jr. Homers, Sebastian Valle Gets Drafted For Finals in Mexico

In the championship series in the Dominican on Tuesday night, Mel Rojas Jr. went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer in the third inning that gave his team a lead they would never relinquish. Rojas scored two runs and stole his first base of the playoffs in the 5-3 victory that evened up the best-of-nine series at two games apiece. The homer was the first of the winter for Rojas, who hasn’t...
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January 21, 2015  |  Discuss

Winter Leagues: Gorkys Hernandez Homers, Perez Continues Dominant Playoff Run

On Sunday in the Dominican playoffs, Gustavo Nunez went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk in his team’s 7-3 win. Mel Rojas Jr. struck out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning. He batted for Carlos Paulino, who spent the last four years in the Pirates’ system. In Venezuela, Julio Vivas retired the only batter he faced, picking up the last out in the top of the ninth and stranding...
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January 20, 2015  |  Discuss

Winter Leagues: Two Big Games From Andy Vasquez, Rojas and Garcia Return to Action

It was a slow Monday night in winter ball, although we do have some late news from Sunday night that didn’t get into Monday’s article. In Colombia, Andy Vasquez homered and drove in five runs in his team’s win. In the first two games, he is 4-for-9 with two homers and eight RBIs. His team took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. In Venezuela on Monday, Wilfredo Boscan pitched...
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January 14, 2015  |  Discuss

Winter Leagues: Alen Hanson Returns Again, Sebastian Valle Continues to Hit

In the Dominican on Sunday night, Alen Hanson went 2-for-4 with two singles and a strikeout. He didn’t play in the playoff opener. Hanson played second base on Sunday and made a throwing error. He played just seven regular season games, missing significant time with a hand injury, and just recently he missed a week with a stomach virus. Mel Rojas Jr. went 1-for-2 with a single...
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December 29, 2014  |  Discuss

Winter Leagues: Playoffs Start in the Dominican, Gorkys Hernandez Returns to Action

The Dominican League playoffs began on Saturday night and three Pittsburgh Pirates players saw action. Mel Rojas Jr. went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and an outfield assist. His team didn’t make the playoffs, but Rojas was one of a handful of players that were drafted by the teams that did make it into the round robin tournament. Willy Garcia struck out as a pinch-hitter in his...
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December 28, 2014  |  Discuss

Winter Leagues: Mel Rojas Jr. Gets Drafted For Playoffs, Treanor Picks Up Award

The Dominican League wrapped up play on Sunday, so action in winter ball was very light on Monday, but there was some news related to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Dean Treanor was named the Manager of the Year for guiding Estrellas de Oriente to a 32-18 record and first place in the league. It is his third time winning the award. Treanor has managed the Pirates AAA club in Indianapolis...
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December 24, 2014  |  Discuss

Winter Leagues: Four Hits From Edwin Espinal, Rojas and Diaz Reach Base Three Times

On Saturday night in the Dominican, Edwin Espinal had a huge game. Two days earlier, the 20-year-old first baseman started for the first time this winter and collected three hits. He did himself one better in his second start, collecting four hits, scoring twice and he drove in a run. Espinal is 7-for-14 in five games. What he has done the last two starts is fairly impressive considering...
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December 21, 2014  |  Discuss

Winter Leagues: Big Game From Edwin Espinal, Bryan Sousa Makes His Debut

In the Dominican on Thursday night, Edwin Espinal made his first start of the season count. He went 3-for-4 with a double, a run scored and he drove in two runs. Espinal spent this season in Low-A ball, so the lack of playing time isn’t surprising considering the difference in play between Low-A and winter ball in the Dominican. He has been playing in their version of the minor...
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December 19, 2014  |  Discuss

Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Rule 5 Draft Live Blog

The Rule 5 draft is today at noon EST, and is usually the last big event of the Winter Meetings. I’m not sure that will be the case this year, since this has been a very active week, and there have been a lot of transactions this morning. Either way, the Dodgers will have to briefly abandon their plan of trading with every single MLB club at noon as all of the teams get together...
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December 11, 2014  |  Discuss

First Pitch: The Upper Level Roster Crunch that Might Give Way This Week

I’ve been finishing up the profiles in the 2015 Prospect Guide over the last week, getting ready to send the book to the publisher on Friday. In the process, I’ve noticed a bit of a roster crunch in the upper levels when it comes to first base. The Pirates currently have more first base and outfield options than they have positions in Altoona and Indianapolis. A few of the prospects...
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December 09, 2014  |  Discuss

Winter Leagues: Joely Rodriguez Loses Shutout Streak in Third Start

In the Dominican on Sunday afternoon, Joely Rodriguez made his third start and went five innings, allowing two runs on six hits and three walks, striking out three batters. He did a good job keeping the ball on the ground, getting nine ground outs, two of them double plays. Four of the hits he allowed were also ground balls. Prior to Sunday, Rodriguez had thrown eight shutout innings...
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December 08, 2014  |  Discuss

Winter Leagues: Alen Hanson Could Return Soon

On Friday night in the Dominican, Tony Sanchez went 0-for-3 and allowed two stolen bases in two attempts. He is hitting .107 through 28 at-bats and he is 2-for-10 in throwing out base runners in nine games. Mel Rojas Jr. went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. His average dropped down to .237 in 114 at-bats. Willy Garcia went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. He is hitting .250/.290...
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December 06, 2014  |  Discuss

Pirates Prospects Who Are Eligible For the 2014 Rule 5 Draft

The Pittsburgh Pirates set their 40-man roster today, adding four players and protecting those players from the upcoming Rule 5 draft on December 11th. The players on the lists below are eligible for the Rule 5 draft. When a player is eligible for the Rule 5 draft, that means any team can select him in the draft, paying $50,000 to the former team. The drafting team has to protect...
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November 20, 2014  |  Discuss

Keeping Track of Today’s Pittsburgh Pirates 40-Man Roster Additions

Today is the deadline to add players to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from the 2014 Rule 5 draft. Yesterday I wrote about the protection process, along with who should be protected this year. The Pirates have until 11:59 PM EST tonight to set their rosters. In previous years, the official announcements have come anywhere from 1 PM to after 9 PM. Usually by this point...
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November 20, 2014  |  Discuss

Pirates Need to Protect Players Tomorrow From the Rule 5 Draft; Who Should Be Protected?

Tomorrow is the deadline for teams to protect players from the 2014 Rule 5 draft. If you’re unfamiliar with the process, the basic rundown is that players are eligible to be selected by another team in their fourth or fifth Rule 5 draft (depending on when they signed), unless they are added to the 40-man roster. If a player was 18 or younger in his signing year, he is eligible...
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November 19, 2014  |  Discuss

Winter Leagues: Update on Alen Hanson, More Hitting From Mel Rojas Jr.

We got an update on Alen Hanson’s injured right hand, which isn’t much, but that can be considered good news. Hanson will return to the United States to be reevaluated this week. I was told that there were no setbacks in his progress. Last we heard on October 30th was that Hanson would miss at least three weeks after he was hit on the right hand by a pitch. In the Dominican on...
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November 16, 2014  |  Discuss

Winter Leagues: Stolmy Pimentel Struggles Again, Mel Rojas Jr. Doubles Again

On Friday night in the Dominican, Stolmy Pimentel made his fourth start and continued to struggle. In two innings of work, he gave up just one run, but allowed three hits and three walks. In 9.1 innings, he has given up ten runs on 16 hits and seven walks, while striking out four batters. Pimentel has now made three starts in which he failed to go longer than two innings. Wirfin...
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November 15, 2014  |  Discuss

Winter Leagues: Mel Rojas Jr. Collecting Extra-Base Hits, Tito Polo Begins Season In Colombia

On Wednesday night in the Dominican, Mel Rojas Jr. went 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. More on him below. Carlos Paulino played his sixth game, coming in as a defensive replacement behind the plate in the ninth inning. He didn’t get a chance to bat. Willy Garcia had his second straight 0-for-4 game, though he didn’t strikeout, which is a small victory. Garcia is...
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November 14, 2014  |  Discuss
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