It was a big day at Pirate City today. Gerrit Cole took the mound, and was easily the top draw at camp. A crowd of about 25 fans gathered to watch the 2.5 inning intrasquad game, mostly focusing on Cole. The right-hander was topping out at 98 MPH, and flashing a 91 MPH slider. He recorded at least four strikeouts in his three innings of work, and that’s mostly because I’m only counting the four he had in the first and third innings, as I was getting photos and video during his second inning of work.
There was also another draw today at Pirate City. Clayton Holmes and Jake Burnette were making their Spring debuts in game situations. Perhaps you’ve heard of them.
Holmes received a fairly large bonus in the ninth round of the 2011 draft. By fairly large, I mean a record-setting $1.2 M. He’s a 6′ 5″, 230 pound right-hander who has thrown 90-93 MPH in the past, and was touching the low 90s with his fastball today.
Burnette was taken in the seventh round of the 2011 draft. His $550 K bonus was almost four times the recommended slot price for a seventh round pick. He’s 6′ 4″, 180 pounds, and was throwing 90-93 MPH today in his two innings of work.
It was only two years ago that these two guys would be some of the top pitching prospects in the system. Now? The bonus babies from the 2011 draft are just a bonus to the system. And what a great bonus to have. Two tall, projectable right-handers out of high school who can already touch 93 MPH with their fastballs and who each have the chance to add velocity in the future.
I talked to Holmes and Burnette today after their outings. I’ll have a feature on them tomorrow, taking a closer look at what they’ve been working on since signing last year, how their camp is going, and what the Pirates have been doing to develop each pitcher.
Links and Notes
**Kristy Robinson takes a look at the adjustments Pedro Alvarez made over the off-season. She also reviewed Evan Meek’s velocity.
**From the Pirates History Blog, John Dreker looks at the Pirates prospects from 50 years ago.
**Wilbur Miller was a guest on the latest Rumbunter Podcast. Wilbur talked about the players in the minor league system, where they project to start, and where they could end up this year. The podcast also includes an interview with Kyle McPherson.
**The real schedule for minor league camp starts today. The Pirates will play the Phillies at Pirate City. The AAA and AA teams will be at home, and the A-ball team will be on the road. I’ll have information on who will be playing for which team on the blog tomorrow.