The Pirates spring training pitching roster is filled with a variety of talented young men, but nearly all have failed to put together solid numbers year in year out. I will highlight a few for you as we move toward the start of the season.
Donnie Veal stands out for me. Veal was a second round pick in 2005 and had begun to blossom into a dominating southpaw. He stands 6′ 4″ and at one point led all minor league pitchers with a .175 batting avergage against whille posting an 11-5 record and 2.16ERA. Now reduced to a Rule 5 pick, Veal has struggled with control. In a big way. His mechanics are being reworked. Personal tragedy has struck Veal as well with his mother passing and his father dying in a tragic scuba accident. All of this seems to have stalled an otherwise solid low minors resume.
Pitching Coach Joe Kerrigan and his staff will be pressed to quickly turnaround this intimidating prospect with what was once considered can’t miss skills, or of course we risk losing him. I think Neal wont attempt to hide him on the roster, Veal either proves he can produce or its back to the Cubbies. The odds are stacked against Veal and Kerrigan, and I think this might actually force Veal to focus on proving his ability.
A spring training reminder for you…keep a close eye on Donnie Veal, I think it will show us just how talented our pitching coaches are, which of course will be a nice measuring stick for the future. What do you think? I am sure many will say it will also be a measurement of our scouting team and I agree with that as well. It sure would be nice to have a Rule 5 work out wouldn’t it? Especially Veal, who certainly deserves a break and whose parents will be looking down from above smiling in agreement.