Here are some news and notes from the week:
The opening week has been an entertaining one already. The Bucs have taken the series against the Cardinals and have a chance to sweep tonight. Juan Nicasio is set to make his season debut and first start as a Pirate. Nicasio will be faced by Mike Leake, who has owned the Pirates in his career. Leake pitched 21 innings last year at PNC Park and has posted a 1.29 ERA in doing so. The Bucs have had success against harder throwers the last few years. However, pitchers like Leake who are more about locating their high 80’s- low 90’s fastball seem to have success against the Bucs.
Attendance at the game last night was 26,049. This number is compared to the sellout at 39,500+ at opening day. Not a horrible drop off. The 2nd game of the season is never a big draw and the weather was chilly. Hopefully, with the temperature increasing a little more will travel down to catch the game tonight.
Gregory Polanco maybe the new “Cardinal Killer”. In the two games this year he has been on-base 5 times, including 3 hits (single, double, triple) and 2 walks. In his 88 career at-bats against the Cardinals he is batting .352 with an .885 OPS. Seems that he is filling the void that Pedro left as the “Cardinal Killer”.
Today the Pirates officially announced the Gregory Polanco extension. For our thoughts on it check the link.
Yesterday I wrote about the Pirates 2016 draft pool being released at 7.009 million dollars. I did not mention that their international signing pool was also released. According to Baseball America, the Pirates, will be given a budget of 2.044 million dollars. Over the last few years the Pirates have gone for quantity over quality. I am not saying the guys they are signing are not going to be good players, but you rarely see them going after the big names on the international market. I have no issue with this, especially with the 2nd lowest budget this year. The Pirates have learned from Luis Heredia that it is hard to project what these 16-year-old players will develop into. The Pirates rather sign a handful of projectable players and hope that one or two of them develop. Last year the Pirates were given 2.111 million dollars to work with. They were able to sign 8 players with that money. This year they could bring in another 6-7 players if they take the same approach.
Tomorrow the minor league season starts. Look for an article previewing the players tow watch at each level tomorrow afternoon. I already wrote about some prospects I expect to have big years: