Results tagged ‘ Josh Bell ’

Notes of spring: Pirates’ Glasnow, Bell, Meadows, more

By Sam Dykstra/

BRADENTON, Florida — At the Pirate City complex Wednesday, I chatted with Pirates director of Minor League operations Larry Broadway about a host of different prospects in the Bucs system. Here are some of the best snippets from that exchange:

On Tyler Glasnow and overcoming control issues: “Everything starts with a thought. So start with  the emotional process, the thought process. Just having a routine mentally, from a plan standpoint, what he needs to do pitch to pitch so he can find consistency. You’ve always got to have consistency on the mental side first. … As far as the raw stuff, it’s all there. The fastball’s there. The spin, the shape of the breaking ball, that stuff is there. It’s the overall consistency of it all.”

On Austin Meadows’ hitting ability (Note: This came before the Pirates announced Meadows broke an orbital bone while playing catch and was headed back to Pittsburgh for further tests.) “He’s got a consistency of approach every single day, a good knowledge of the strike zone. He works really hard on his craft and his plan. His ability to commit to zones and the repeatability of his swing is very good as well. … It’s about commitment level to an approach. With every good hitter, the dangers are when you listen to the little voice in your head about whether your approach is right, and you do that at-bat to at-bat or pitch to pitch. The advancement and maturity is the ability  to say, ‘All right, I’ve got a plan. I’m going to die with that plan.’ He’s not going to let that little voice get him on the fence.”

On how Meadows and fellow outfield prospect Harold Ramirez should look at Pittsburgh’s young, crowded outfield: “We preach about controlling the controllables. You can’t play farm director. You can’t play GM. You have to just play every day and trust things are going to work themselves out. They always do, some way or another. If it’s your time, it’s your time, whenever that is, wherever that is. It’s on them to be ready to answer the bell and not worry about who’s ahead of them or behind them because that’s detracting from the energy that needs to be going into today.

On Josh Bell’s growth at first base: “It was rough to start. Huge gains last year throughout the year, and then even bigger gains as he stepped forward into the offseason and our mini-camp in January and even going into Spring Training again. So he’s the  kind of young man who works tirelessly at everything. If you tell him he can’t do something, he’s going to show you he can do it. He won’t be denied. He won’t back down from anything. So this has been a challenge that he’s taken and run with it and become really good.”

On Jameson Taillon’s injury history and potential work on injury prevention: Those are things that are being studied vigorously. Those things pop up. They are what they are. The UCL pops up. You try to be as scientific as you can and add the art of coaching with it. But there’s no magic formula for innings pitched or based on body weight, frame, all that.You put them all together, do the best you can to progress [pitchers] at a reasonable rate and hope that everything stays together the way it’s supposed to.

On why the Pirates picked up Jesse Biddle after he was designated for assignment by the Phillies: He was a former high pick. We believe he’s a starting pitcher. We like the way he can spin the baseball. Arm strength, being left-handed, there are a lot of things. We think he could be a Major League-level starting pitcher. So we were willing to take the risk in trading a now Major League reliever [Yoervis Medina] for somebody we believe could be a starter with calculated risk. We’ll see what he’s got.


Backfield Blog: Burghers vs. Alleghenys

Pirates STEditBy Jake Seiner /

Another day, another Minor League camp. After hanging out at Orioles’ camp in Sarasota on Monday, Tuesday brought me to Pirate City in Bradenton.

When I visited Pittsburgh’s Minor League complex last year, I came away impressed by the size of the crowd on hand. Tuesday was very much the same, and Minor League games haven’t even started yet. Being from Pittsburgh originally, I know how Yinzers love their sports and are willing to travel to see them. Even still, the fact that the Pirates seem to regularly draw 100-plus folks out to the Minor League complex is impressive. For comparison, I could probably count the fans at Baltimore’s Buck O’Neil Complex on Monday with the fingers on two hands.

I’ve seen similar-sized crowds at Minor League Spring Training games for Boston and Minnesota, but those complexes are located on the same site as the big league camp fields — most of the MiLB viewers are just overflow MLB fans there primarily for Grapefruit League action. Pirate City isn’t on the same site as McKechnie Field, though, meaning everybody who came to the Minors camp today was there just for the youngsters.

Today’s session was a shorter one, but there were some highlights. I got my first in-person look at 2014 first-rounder (24th overall) Cole Tucker and came away impressed. The 18-year-old is a 6-foot-3 beanpole, but his hands and feet seemed to work really well at shortstop during infield practice. I snagged a little video of him taking batting practice too.

Previous reports suggested Tucker was destined for Class A West Virginia, an aggressive promotion for the 18-year-old — one of the youngest players in the 2014 Draft class. I talked with Pirates player development director Larry Broadway about that, and Broadway said Tucker’s destination hasn’t been determined yet. But the shortstop could show he’s ready for the South Atlantic League this spring, and so far, so good.

“It’s the expectation,” Broadway said. “We’ve challenged him to get himself ready to do that and we’ll see how the rest of the spring plays out. But the expectation is for him to answer the bell and go out and do it.”

Speaking of bells, the highlight of the day was easily the 420-plus foot triple Josh Bell rocked off Pirates’ right-hander Charlie Morton during an intrasquad scrimmage (Burghers vs. Alleghenys, which made me chuckle). I got the mammoth knock on tape — you can view it in this notebook I wrote about Bell’s transition from the outfield to first base.

I was interested to see Bell work at first and got to do so during infield drills prior to the scrimmage. Reports I’d read from the Arizona Fall League said Bell was a bit rough on the dirt still. I think those are still fair sentiments. His actions aren’t the smoothest and he still doesn’t look entirely comfortable, but he did make all the plays required of him Tuesday, including a nifty pick on a short hop during practice.

Broadway said the team moved him to first in part because they think he’ll just be too big for the outfield, and I believe him. Bell isn’t just a big guy. He’s very uniquely shaped. I described him in the notebook as having the shoulders and waste of a comic book super hero. The image that kept popping into my head was actually the NBA’s Dwight Howard and his cannonball shoulders. Bell isn’t quite that jacked, and he’s only 6-foot-2. But he’s a very distinctive athlete with tons of raw strength. The swing he used to crack that triple off Morton reminded me a lot of vintage Ryan Howard in the way he leveraged the bat through the zone.

That’ll do it for today. Tomorrow is a lighter day for me — the plan is to head to one of the Fort Myers locations (Boston or Minnesota) and take in whatever games are going on. I’m not sure what Boston has planned for Yoan Moncada this early in MiLB Spring Training, but there’s a chance I’ll catch him in game action tomorrow. Even if not, should be a fun day as the teams get their first game action. I’ll be posting updates throughout the day on Twitter (@Jake_Seiner), so feel free to follow along there.

One writer’s 2014 league-by-league MVP choices

By Sam Dykstra /

For about the last week or so, league after league in the Minors has announced their postseason All-Star teams and end-of-season awards. So now that the individual circuits have had their collective says — aided by coaches, front-office people and local media — it’s time for the PROSPECTive blog to weigh in on who should have won the MVP awards in each of the 10 full-season leagues.

Ken Inness/

Ken Inness/

International League: Steven Souza Jr., Syracuse – This is about as easy a pick as you’ll find on this post. Souza was the best player in the league from beginning to end in what was the 25-year-old outfielder’s best season by far in the Minors since he was a third-round pick back in 2007. Souza won the IL’s slash-line Triple Crown with an impressive .350/.432/.590 showing, and that alone would be good enough to give him the nod in this space. But for good measure, he tacked on 18 homers, 75 RBIs and 26 steals in 96 games with the Chiefs as a means of showing off his all-around offensive profile, besides helping Syracuse make the playoffs for the first time since 1998. The Nationals called up their No. 5 prospect on two different occasions, and he’s back up with the big club after recovering from a left shoulder contusion suffered at the beginning of last month. Souza hasn’t been able to get his feet under him in the Majors yet (1-for-12, four strikeouts) but has built up a resume worthy of a Major League outfield spot, either in Washington or elsewhere, in 2015. (Actual MVP: Souza(more…)

The Untouchables: Prospects who shouldn’t be traded by July 31

By Sam Dykstra /

For some, this is the second-most exciting month in Major League Baseball. (We can all agree playoff baseball in October trumps all.) About halfway through July, we get the All-Star Game and get to celebrate not only the best of the best from the first half but also the game itself, as we’ve seen in each of the past two Midsummer Classics with the going-away parties for Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter.

Then there’s July 31, one of the most important dates on the baseball calendar. It’s the non-waiver trade deadline, the final day teams can wheel and deal freely in attempts to strengthen their rosters for the stretch run or shore up their farm systems during what is otherwise a down year. The biggest deal from last July was the one that sent Matt Garza to the Rangers for C.J. Edwards, Mike Olt, Justin Grimm and a player to be named later (Neil Ramirez). The Jake Peavy to Boston/Jose Iglesias to Detroit and Bud Norris to Baltimore trades produced some headlines closer to the deadline day itself.

The trade machine got churning in a big way this year when the Cubs traded Jeff Samardzija to the A’s for top prospect Addison Russell, Billy McKinney and Dan Straily.

As we get closer to July 31 — only 15 days away as of this writing — it’s time to consider which prospects you won’t see moved in a deadline deal this year. Each prospect you see here plays in an organization where the Major League club is within seven games of a playoff spot and could be conceivably seen as buyers come the deadline.

Ken Inness/

Ken Inness/

Corey Seager, shortstop, Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers have been in go-for-it mode ever since changing ownership groups back in 2012, and with the best record in the NL and a one-game lead over the Giants for the top spot in the NL West, that certainly hasn’t changed this season. The club has been linked to left-handed starters Cole Hamels and David Price this July. The price for either is expected to be steep and would perhaps surpass the package the A’s sent to the Cubs for Samardzija. That likely means not just one but two top prospects as well as other pieces.  (more…)

Prospect Roundup: Games of June 12

By Jake Seiner / short-season league previews:

New York-Penn League

Northwest League game stories:

Padres OF Jake Goebbert gobbles up seven RBIs

Pirates RHP A.J. Morris goes distance for first time

Dodgers LHP Tom Windle tosses seven shutout frames

Indians OF Clint Frazier steers ship with big night

Dunedin Blue Jays clinch first-half FSL title

Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez sharp in rehab outing

Rockies OF Raimel Tapia smacks grand slam, drives in five

Tigers IF Hernan Perez collects four hits, scores four times

Mets 3B Aderlin Rodriguez fuels doubleheader sweep

Other top prospect performances:

Red Sox C Christian Vazquez, Triple-A Pawtucket: 2-for-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, B — Vazquez’s catch-and-throw skills are a thing to behold behind the plate. Now he’s found his power stroke at the plate, belting his first two homers of the season over the past week. If Vazquez can be even an average Major League hitter, he could be a hugely valuable piece for the Sox going forward, although he’ll have to hold off Blake Swihart if he’s going to get a catching gig in Boston.


Prospect Roundup: Games of June 5

By Jake Seiner / news:

Astros take LHP Brady Aiken with top pick in Draft features:

2013 Draft Retrospective: One year gone game stories:

Astros OF Dan Gulbransen cycles and drives in six

Marlins RHP Jose Urena fans seven over eight scoreless

Rancho Cucamonga turns triple play in rout

Giants LHP Mike Kickham thrives, Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard injured

Pirates OF Josh Bell sets career high with five hits

Rangers 3B Joey Gallo, Pelicans wrap up division title

Reds RHP Dan Corcino tosses six strong frames for Wahoos

White Sox LHP Charlie Leesman goes eight shutout innings

Orioles LHP Mitch Horacek tosses six shutout frames

Rays RHP Alex Colome tosses eight scoreless in pitchers’ duel

Other top prospect performances:

Royals SS Orlando Calixte, Double-A Northwest Arkansas: 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, R — Calixte has improved his numbers across the board in his return to the Texas League, slashing .292/.340/.551 through 23 games.


Prospect Roundup: Games of June 2

By Jake Seiner / news:

Astros 1B Jon Singleton signs deal, promoted to Majors

Tigers 1B Mike Hessman has pre-cancerous growth removed

Draft Retrospective:

Nationals’ Harper still on top for 2010 class game stories:

Huntsville clinches title despite rainout

Rangers C/1B/LF Joe Jackson — great-great-great nephew of Shoeless Joe — continues breakout

Pirates RHP Tyler Glasnow posts more zeros for Marauders

Reds OF Jesse Winker homers twice in Blaze win

Astros RHP Nick Tropeano tosses eight scoreless for RedHawks

Mariners OF Austin Wilson stays red-hot for LumberKings

Brewers RHP Taylor Jungmann solid again for Sounds

Other top prospect performances:

White Sox 2B Carlos Sanchez, Triple-A Charlotte: 3-for-5, 2B, R — The slick-fielding 21-year-old is begging for a call-up to Chicago, slashing .287/.372/.401 this season with each of his two home runs coming in his past nine games. (more…)

Prospect Roundup: Games of May 19

By Jake Seiner / game stories:

Pawtucket, Burlington both turn triple plays

Yankees LHP Dan Camarena chucks five perfect frames

Twins RHP Trevor May tosses eight scoreless innings

Brewers RHP Damien Magnifico tosses shutout

Orioles OF Dariel Alvarez plates career-best six

Astros LHP Luis Cruz fans seven straight for Hooks

Twins 3B Chad Christensen belts first two homers

Mets RHP Kevin McGowan posts shutout for Gnats

Cubs 3B Kris Bryant, RHP Pierce Johnson boost Smokies

Rockies RHP Christian Bergman sets Sky Sox scoreless mark

Padres RHP Casey Kelly strikes out six in fourth rehab outing

Other top prospect performances:

Dodgers OF Joc Pederson, Triple-A Albuquerque: 3-for-6, HR, 4 R, 2 RBI, K, SB — Pederson has 14 homers and 13 steals while hitting .361 in Triple-A. He’ll be ready whenever a spot opens in Los Angeles and should be a solid contributor both to the Dodgers and to fantasy lineups once he finds MLB playing time. (more…)

Prospect Roundup: Games of May 15

By Jake Seiner / features:

Reds LHP Amir Garrett splitting time between diamond and hardwood game stories:

Twins RHP Alex Meyer unhittable, unhappy in second win

Dodgers OF Joc Pederson goes yard twice for ‘Topes

Red Sox 2B Mookie Betts goes 3-for-5, homers in blowout

Cardinals OFers Randal Grichuk, Oscar Taveras go off

Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks fans 11 in eight scoreless frames

Angels 2B Alex Yarbrough slugs first two homers

Pirates RHP Buddy Borden fans seven in six scoreless

Marlins RHP Jose Urena allows two hits in six innings

Astros SS Thomas Lindauer belts first grand slam

Cardinals LHP Jonathan Cornelius impresses for Springfield

Yankees 3B Eric Jagielo homers twice, including slam

Other top prospect performances:

Red Sox OF Bryce Brentz, Triple-A Pawtucket: 3-for-4, HR, 2 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI — The 24-year-old has struggled in his return to Triple-A, hitting just .230 with six homers through 39 games. One upside — he’s more than doubled his walk rate from a year ago.


Prospect Roundup: Games of May 12

By Jake Seiner / news:

Mets RHP Rafael Montero to make MLB debut Wednesday game stories:

Orioles RHP Hunter Harvey fans career-high 10 for Delmarva

Yankees RHP Jaron Long, son of hitting coach Kevin Long, leads RiverDogs in duel

Dodgers INF Josmar Cordero collects four hits, impressing early for Loons

Brewers RHP Jimmy Nelson ties season high with nine strikeouts

Royals OF Jimmy Paredes plates eight in first cycle

Blue Jays 3B Mitch Nay stays red hot for Lansing

Other top prospect performances:

Pirates OF Gregory Polanco, Triple-A Indianapolis: 2-for-4, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R, BB, K, PO — Polanco is a perfect 4-for-4 stealing bases in May, indicating he’s made improvements base running — an area Pittsburgh has highlighted as needing improvement. Getting picked off Monday was a small step backward. No question about Polanco’s bat, though, even though he’s cooled some of late.