First Pitch: Why Throw Bedard at Pirate City?

The Pirates threw Erik Bedard today in minor league camp, giving the team a chance to take a look at Jo-Jo Reyes in the major league game. There were some questions as to why the Pirates had Bedard throwing against Toronto’s A-ball team. To answer that question, let’s ask another question: why does Bedard need to start in major league camp?

There’s obvious reasons for Bedard to get playing time in major league camp. But one start in minor league camp doesn’t hurt him.

The Pirates know what they’re getting with Bedard. He doesn’t need to prove himself to make the team.

At this point, the main focus for Bedard should be getting him stretched out for the season. Whether that happens against major league players or minor league players is irrelevant.

Again pointing to Bedard’s track record, he doesn’t really need to throw to major league hitters during every outing in Spring Training. That’s not going to be the difference between him putting up numbers like last year, and totally struggling in 2012.

The big reason came on the flip side of all of this. Jo-Jo Reyes gave up three earned runs on five hits in 2.1 innings, with three walks and no strikeouts. One start doesn’t tell much, although this is more revealing than if Reyes started against the high-A team and put up a line like we saw out of Bedard: 3 innings, 1 hit, 0 earned runs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts.

It really doesn’t matter what Bedard’s stat line is, since he’s a lock to make the team. But if Reyes puts up a great stat line against minor league guys, there will be that question of whether his start was legit and how that start impacts his chances of making the team. And with the left handed relief spot in question, the Pirates need to fully evaluate all candidates and answer as many of those questions as they can.

Links and Notes

**The Pirates offense showed up in a big way today, beating Minnesota 17-6. Recap here.

**The Pirates started the day by cutting 10 players from big league camp. There are now 48 active players in camp, plus two injured players (Gustavo Nunez and A.J. Burnett). The Spring Training Tracker is updated with the moves.

**Tony Sanchez is working hard to bounce back from his 2011 season. Sanchez was one of the recent cuts.

**The Pirates finished sixth in international spending, and had two of the top 30 bonuses in 2011.

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.
  • leadoff

    Your reasoning makes a lot of sense, but my money says Bedard probably did not want to make the 90 mile trip. I was listening to a veteran talk about his spring training and the tricks some of the vets use to get out of taking the long bus rides, don’t remember the guys name.

  • John Toperzer

    Jo-Jo Reyes is a perfect fantasy player. Last season I made sure to play my hitters whenever he started. Last Saturday, Bedard started against the Twins and went three in a game Reyes relieved and also went three.