Pittsburgh Pirates: Prospect Spring Training Quick Hits 3/7

Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

With the World Baseball Classic underway, many Major League teams have lost their notable players to the tournament.  However, Spring Training keeps moving along, and the Pittsburgh Pirates now have some unique opportunities for their minor league players.

Spring Training is now in its second full week of games.  With that being said, there has been plenty to look at so far in the Pittsburgh Pirates camp.  The biggest thing of note has been the battle for the fifth rotation spot.  Today, Trevor Williams heads to the mound against the Atlanta Braves.  Williams has made two appearances so far this spring.  In the two games, he has thrown three innings and has three strikeouts so far.  He has not allowed a run yet, and he has limited his WHIP to 1.00.  Williams has done well so far this spring, mixing his pitches and showing good command.  This is exactly what Williams needs to be successful.  His fastball is somewhat average sitting in the lower 90s with sink.  Meanwhile, his slider and change-up are serviceable.

Without true dominant stuff, it will be important for Williams to continue locating his pitches and staying ahead in counts. Williams however, is likely on the outside looking in for the fifth rotation spot.  Even if he continues to pitch well, he will likely be passed over by the other options like Tyler Glasnow, Steven Brault, or Drew Hutchison.  Regardless he needs to continue to prove his strong pitchability, and show that the Bucs can rely on him as a solid depth piece this season. Williams will likely head to the Triple-A rotation to start the year.

Austin Meadows finds himself playing for the second day in a row.  Currently all three of the Pittsburgh Pirates starting outfield are playing for their respective countries in the WBC.  Meadows is starting in right field, a place where he very well may be as soon as this season. The Andrew McCutchen rumors were swirling all winter long. If the Pittsburgh Pirates fall out of contention this season, McCutchen very well could be moved as soon as this year’s deadline. If not at this deadline, then by next season.  When the move does occur, Austin Meadows will be taking over the right field duties more than likely.  He also is batting third, a place that many believe your best hitter should be at.  If Meadows develops to his potential, he most likely will be the Pittsburgh Pirates number three hitter of the future as well.

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Kevin Newman will get a chance to play again today. Newman is not starting, but he is scheduled to replace Phil Gosselin at shortstop mid game. So far Newman has seen limited playing time, but he has done well. This spring he is batting .250 with a couple of walks, and driving in two.  He has mainly been playing off the bench, but with the WBC starting, he could see more playing time.

Prospects Max Moroff and Eric Weiss will also see time at second base today.  Moroff had a cup of coffee for the Pittsburgh Pirates last season, coming up in late July.  He also is coming off his worst season of his minor league career.  The switch-hitter is also off to a slow start this Spring, only collecting one hit in eleven at-bats so far.  Meanwhile, Weiss is coming off a great game yesterday, going three for three, scoring twice, and driving in two runs.  The now 25-year-old will likely start the season in Triple-A along with Moroff.  Both will provide bench depth this season.

Next: More Notes on Today's Game

No Pittsburgh Pirates are in action for the World Baseball Classic today.  The Pittsburgh Pirates face off against the Atlanta Braves at 1:05 ET. Starting for Atlanta is former St. Louis Cardinal’s pitcher Jaime Garcia.