Pittsburgh Pirates: Series of Spring Training Roster Moves

(Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /

With the season inching closer and closer, the Pittsburgh Pirates have continued to reassign players to minor league camp.

Opening day is half way here.  The Pittsburgh Pirates will be hosted by the Detroit Tigers on March 29th, and by then they will need to have a 25 man roster that they are happy with.  Well, yesterday the Bucs decided to move several players off their Major League spring training roster.  The team did not move any notable major league players, but several big name prospects, along with some minor league veterans.

Outfielders on the Move

The biggest prospect who they moved to minor league camp is Austin Meadows.  This makes the second year in a row that he put on an impressive display at spring training, but would not be considered for a major league roster spot on of camp. Meadows came out swinging a hot bat this spring, and through the first two weeks he led the Pittsburgh Pirates in most offensive categories.  He ended his camp batting .368/.429/.737 with one home run, eight RBIs, and seven hits in nine games. Meadows will be back in Triple-A to start the season.

Along with Meadows, outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds was also reassigned.  Reynolds was the top prospect acquired from the San Fransisco Giants in the Andrew McCutchen trade.  The former College World Series champion at Vanderbilt did not put on a strong display this Spring.  He appeared in 11 games and had 16 plate appearances, putting up a slash line of .063/.063/.063, posting one hit while striking out twice. Reynolds will likely start the year in Double-A.

The last top prospect hitter to be reassigned is Cole Tucker.  Tucker was the Pittsburgh Pirates first round pick in 2014.  The shortstop made it up to Double-A last season, so there was no real expectation for him to make a push for a roster spot. The shortstop appeared in 10 games, and like Reynolds, did not exactly open any eyes in his spring training time.  He posted a slash line of .093/.286/.182 with a double and a triple.  Tucker will start the year in Double-A.

Holmes Return to Minors

The most notable pitcher to be sent away from big league camp was starting pitching prospect Clay Holmes.  Holmes had a very impressive spring training, this comes after he put up a strong full season at Triple-A last year.  While Holmes was not likely to make the big league club out of spring, he likely left a lasting impression on the coaching staff.  While he appeared in three games and gave up four earned runs, he had a very strong last outing.  He threw three scoreless innings in his last appearance, struck out two, while allowing only one hit.  All in all, he finished up with a 4.91 ERA in 7.1 innings pitched.

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The other players reassigned were outfield prospect Jason Martin, catcher Christian Kelley, and pitchers Damien Magnifico and Jack Leathersich.  The ladder two are minor league veterans who did not fair well this spring.  Martin, of course, was acquired in the Gerrit Cole trade and will share the outfield with Austin Meadows this year in Triple-A.  Meanwhile, Leathersich and Magnifico will be emergency bullpen arms.