First Pitch: 18 To Go

After today’s round of cuts, the Pirates are left with 43 active players in camp, just 18 cuts away from their Opening Day roster. The Spring Training tracker has been updated with the players who are still in camp, including an update to the chances for each player to make the team.

By my estimates, there are 19 players who have locked up roster spots. There are two more players who will start the year on the disabled list. That leaves 24 players in camp who are competing for seven spots.

I don’t think the chances are good for the non-roster players. There are 13 remaining, and the only ones I see having a shot at the team are Juan Cruz, Nick Evans, and Jake Fox. Of those three, I think Cruz has the best shot, potentially taking a bullpen position.

Out of the guys remaining on the 40-man roster, I feel that if they’re on the roster at this point, they’ve got a legit shot at making the team.

The middle infield bench spot looks to be between Josh Harrison, Yamaico Navarro, and Jordy Mercer.

The corner infield bench spot looks like a battle between Matt Hague, Nick Evans, and Jake Fox.

I’ve got Jason Grilli and Chris Resop as locks for the bullpen, mostly due to their salaries. That leaves four non-closer bullpen spots. Cruz has the best shot of the non-roster guys. Jared Hughes, Chris Leroux, Brad Lincoln, Daniel McCutchen, Evan Meek, Daniel Moskos, and Tony Watson all have a shot at the remaining spots. This looks to be one of the more interesting battles in Spring Training, as the Pirates have more talent than roster spots.

Chris Leroux is out of options, so I’d expect him to make the team. At least one spot will go to a left hander. Watson had the inside track heading in to camp, but his struggles and the strong performance of Moskos could make that battle more wide-open. This would leave two spots for Hughes, Lincoln, McCutchen, Cruz, and Meek, who is struggling to regain arm strength.

There aren’t many easy decisions remaining. The next two weeks should be interesting as the above battles play out.

Links and Notes

**The Pirates lost 10-0 to the Twins. Recap here.

**Brad Lincoln pitched three scoreless innings in a B game today.

**The Pirates opened up the day by cutting five players, including Starling Marte. If you agreed with my post last night and think that Marte should have stayed in major league camp…well, you probably need to re-read that, because you missed the point of that post.

**The Pirates drafted Jonathan Schwind in the 41st round last year, and converted him to a catcher, which isn’t a normal defensive move. I looked at how the move was going in my feature on Schwind today.

**Wilbur Miller was at Pirate City today, and has a recap of his thoughts on his blog.

About Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He is a credentialed media member with every team in the Pirates’ system, including the Pirates themselves. He’s a regular guest on Extra Innings on 104.7, and makes regular appearances on ESPN 970, 93.7 The Fan, and TribLIVE Radio in Pittsburgh, as well as ESPN 1430 in Altoona and ESPN 1450 in State College.
  • duckwoes

    Tim, were the Pirates able to get a 4th option on Alvarez?  I know they had used the 3rd last season