Today the Pirates’ upper level minor leaguers took on the Blue Jays. As always, the scores were somewhat of a mystery, but I’m pretty sure the Pirates’ AAA squad won and the AA squad lost badly.
The starters were Nate Baker (AA) and Mike Colla (AAA). As he did the last time I saw him, Baker got hammered. I didn’t watch in too much detail, but he appeared to be getting hit hard and scored upon in every inning. He was throwing mostly 90-91 and I didn’t see any offspeed stuff. Colla fared much better, throwing four innings without allowing any runs that I could see. He threw mostly fastballs, ranging from 88-91, mostly 89 in the first inning and 90 afterward. There were a few well hit balls that were caught, but for the most part Colla didn’t have much trouble.
After the starters, most of the pitchers were guys who are struggling to turn things around in one way or another. Two veteran lefties pitched in the AAA game. Jo-Jo Reyes was shaky with the first few hitters but settled down after that. He threw 89-90 with a good curve. Brian Tallet threw one inning, facing three hitters. The two RH hitters hit the ball hard, but the one LH hitter hit into a DP. Tallet threw a fastball at 87-88 and a cutter in the low- to mid-80s. Another veteran, Tim Wood, finished the AAA game with a scoreless inning. Wood threw mainly fastballs, mostly 94-95.
In the AA game, Duke Welker, Brian Leach and Victor Black followed Baker. Welker had a quick inning, inducing three groundballs with a 94-95 mph fastball that he consistently kept down. He threw one 86 mph slider that I saw. Welker’s control faltered with his second hitter, as he went to 3-0 before allowing in infield hit. The next batter, however, bounced into a DP. Leach, who’s trying to get back on the prospect track after struggling last year, got hit hard and at least one of his innings ended when he reached his per-inning pitch limit. Black threw a scoreless inning, showing a 92-95 mph fastball that he struggled to control, and a slider that he didn’t control much at all.
Most of the hitters in both games were minor league veterans and organizational players. Brandon Boggs and Matt Durham hit the ball well in the AAA game, with the former lining a HR while batting left-handed. I saw Robbie Grossman, who played center in the AA game, bat four times. The first time he got rung up on a dubious call on a full count. The next two times he hit the ball hard, one a long fly to center and the other a liner to left, but both were caught. The last time, his only AB hitting right-handed, he grounded out. Ramon Cabrera and Matt Curry did little in the at-bats I saw. I haven’t been impressed with Curry this spring, although I haven’t seen him a lot. He takes a lot of pitches and works the count, but most of his at-bats seem to end in walks and strikeouts. I also don’t think he’s picking up offspeed pitches well. He did draw one walk today but then got picked off.