Yesterday, as I stared out onto a large white canvas that used to be grass, my thoughts understandably turned to Bradenton, Florida. Yes, Spring Training for the Pittsburgh Pirates is now in full effect, and we fans are eagerly absorbing any and all morsels of news that trickle back up north and elsewhere. In effort to cure my boredom and get my Pirates-talk fix, I took to our twitter and asked a simple question. As usual with our readers, their answers gave me true inspiration:
This is why I love our readers. When topics come about organically like this, it’s a Pirates writer’s dream come true.
Back to the question at hand. This spring training carries with it so few questions, so few battles for positions that it’s hard to project any surprises. But we will do our best. Here now are my best bets at unexpected roster makes and misses this year.
My unexpected miss: John Holdzkom
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My first unexpected miss is this: John Holdzkom may not start the year on the 25-man roster. As one of the only relievers with a minor league option left, Holdzkom will feel the brunt of guaranteed major league contracts for the likes of Radhames Liz and Stolmy Pimentel (who is out of options). It’s a shame too, with a fastball that can flirt with 98mph and averages out at 95.5. However, we must always remind ourselves with Big John that he appeared in only nine games in 2014, and could benefit from more seasoning at triple-a. It would be far more beneficial for him to dominate that level of competition than get his confidence shaken after a few rough outings.
My unexpected make: Jose Tabata
My unexpected make for the 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates 25-man roster may just be Jose Tabata. I am looking at this purely through the prism of Andrew Lambo. Lambo is a notorious slow-starter, and his woeful performance in the spring of 2014 does not leave me with much confidence going into 2015. Lambo gets the nod for versatility, but with Sean Rodriguez‘s ability to play 1B, this is not as important of a bargaining chip as it once could have been. I’ve written recently that I would not want Jose Tabata on the Pirates’ opening day roster, but yet another bad spring for Lambo could force the team’s hand. I can only hope that I am incorrect.
There you have it. These are but just two scenarios that could happen as the Pittsburgh Pirates take their hacks in Bradenton. Do you have any unexpected makes or misses for us? Let us know in the comments or on social media.