Pirates cut eight from camp; GM says 'future is bright' in Class AAA
March 14, 2016 8:14 AM
Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow were optioned to Class AAA Indianapolis Monday.
By Stephen J. Nesbitt / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
BRADENTON, Fla. — The Pirates sent eight prospects, including five of their most promising young starting pitchers, to minor league camp Monday, reducing the number of active players in major league spring-training camp to 54.
With innings at a premium as starting pitchers get stretched out, top prospects Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow, right-handers who could be ready to join the Pirates rotation later this season, were optioned to Class AAA Indianapolis.
Left-hander Steven Brault and right-handers Trevor Williams and Chad Kuhl were reassigned to minor league camp and eventually will form what general manager Neal Huntington expects to be the best Indianapolis rotation he’s seen since joining the Pirates in 2007.
“The future is bright,” Huntington said. “You run Taillon, Glasnow, Kuhl, Brault and Williams out in one setting — that's a very exciting group. … Each one of them brings something that's very, very intriguing. Now you put that group of five together, it bodes well for our future.
“It's a very interesting group for the near future as well as the long-term future.”
Also reassigned to minor league camp were left-handed reliever Kelvin Marte and catcher Reese McGuire, a first-round pick in 2013.
Outfielder Harold Ramirez, who was 11 for 19 at the plate this spring, was optioned to Class AA Altoona. First, however, Ramirez is en route to join Team Colombia in Panama City for a World Baseball Classic qualifier March 17-20.
Earlier this spring, manager Clint Hurdle called him a bone collector — “He gets base hits” — and also said the 21-year-old who hit .337 last year at Class A Bradenton goes to the plate “with bad intentions, which excites me.” Still, he’s a long way from the majors.
“Why get ahead of ourselves?” Hurdle said. “I’m in a different business than you’re in. I’m a crock pot. People have a tendency to be microwaves.”
Huntington said all five starting pitchers sent down Monday “deserve” to start the season in the Indianapolis rotation, but one or two could be delayed should the Pirates put a depth starter at Class AAA — likely candidates are left-hander Kyle Lobstein and right-hander Wilfredo Boscan.
That explains why Brault, when asked where he’ll start the season, smiled and said the Pirates “are keeping it nice and cryptic.”
As they left McKechnie Field and headed for Pirate City, the starting pitcher prospects spoke of learning from older, major league starters during camp, from learning workout techniques from right-hander Ryan Vogelsong to taking slider tips from ace Gerrit Cole.
“There’s a lot of guys you can gravitate toward,” Williams said. “There’s a lot of guys you can learn a lot from. Just really thankful I had the opportunity to be here and do that.”
In an ideal world, Huntington said, the Pirates stays healthy and Taillon and Glasnow won’t be called upon to jump to the majors early in the season.
“We want to be patient,” Huntington said. “We want to put them in positions to be successful. We also don’t want to close doors.”
Taillon allowed six hits and two runs in four innings of Grapefruit League action this spring. Glasnow gave up two runs in 1 2/3 innings in his only league start, but he also pitched in an unofficial “B” game last week and allowed two runs in two innings.
“I'm usually a bit of a slow starter,” Glasnow said. “It happens usually every year for me. I've just got to kind of get into the feel of things and get out there and just compete more. You get into more competition mode and things start to kind of fall into place.”
Grapefruit League statistics:
• Tyler Glasnow: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3 BB
• Jameson Taillon: 4 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 3 K
• Steven Brault: 3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 HR, 1 K
• Chad Kuhl: 3 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 HR, 2 K
• Trevor Williams: 2 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 K
Stephen J. Nesbitt: firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.
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