Results tagged ‘ Virgil Vasquez ’
Alright so the race is heating up for the Pirates 5th spot in the rotation. The two battling for the job in spring training are Jeff Karstens and Virgil Vasquez. Neither of these guys have been fairing well in camp.
Alright we are now only 11 days away from opening night, when the Philadelphia Phillies begin their quest to defend their championship against the Atlanta Braves. As we approach the final week of spring training, the every day big league hitters are really starting to gear up and really start swinging the bats. I’m looking forward to looking around the league to see what happens in this last week of spring training, but I am even more looking forward to the end of spring training. It’s been going on forever, let’s get to the regular season already! Anyways, let’s get to some Pirates news.
The Pirates defeated the Atlanta Braves 5-2 last night. The big story here was Ross Ohlendorf. Ross pitched 6 scoreless innings, giving up 5 hits and striking out 3. His spring ERA is now down to 0.59, making him a lock for a spot in the starting rotation (at least he’s a lock in my book). He has looked terrific, being efficient and location all of his pitches extremely well. I’d love to see him in the 4th spot in the rotation, preceded by Maholm, Snell, and Duke, and followed by Karstens. The Pirates offense was provided by Craig Monroe, Nate McLouth, and Ryan Doumit. Let’s take a closer look at these three hitters, shall we??
- Craig Monroe
Craig Monroe has been stellar for his new team this spring. He’s hitting .302 with 12 RBI and 6 runs. Monroe is a lifetime .253 hitter, which is obviously not too good. He has had three 20+ home run seasons, but that’s in his past. Monroe is going to be nothing more than a pinch hitter and a situational player. I don’t know who will have the advantage between Monroe and Hinske. They will be two great players coming off the bench. Personally, I like Eric Hinske better, just because of his defense. Hinske, by the way, is a career .254 hitter. He had 24 homers in his first season, and hit 20 again last season. His defense is definitely superior to that of Monroe, but the way Monroe has looked this spring, I don’t see how you could look him over that quickly. It’s a good problem to have. If the Pirates do indeed record their 17th consecutive losing season, it won’t be the fault of the outfield.
- Nate McLouth
Nate McLouth, pretty much the single reason to watch the Pirates last year, had success out of nowhere. No one expected him to do that. The only reason he even became an every day player was because of his awesome performance in spring training last year. He is mimicking that success again this spring. He’s hitting .325 with 3 home runs and 8 RBI. The average is good to see. McLouth hit .276 last year. Don’t expect a .300 season from McLouth. I’m a little weary of his power numbers as well, I don’t see him hitting 26 homers again this year. If he stays healthy all year, he’ll probably eclipse 20. I would also say he’s not going to repeat his RBI number again (94). Hitting in the 3 hole, it’s a guaranteed minimum 75, with potential to get to 100. I’m thinking somewhere in the mid to high 80′s. With hitters Nyjer Morgan and Freddy Sanchez hitting in front of him, I’m not seeing many runners to be on base for Nate (at least until Andrew McCutchen starts leading off for the Pirates). Nate could very well make his 2nd consecutive all-star appearance, just because the rest of the club is so mediocre.
- Ryan Doumit
Ryan Doumit is one of the pillars that is holding the future together for the Pirates. He’s been showing good signs this spring as well. He is hitting .295 with 2 home runs and a .477 slugging percentage. Doumit is a rare catcher. He hit .318 last year, and it’s pretty rare to see a catcher hit that far above .300. His career average is .278. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Doumit’s average take a step backwards this year, but I definitely can see his power numbers rising. He hit a career high 15 homers last year. I expect Ryan to raise that number into the 20′s this year. This guy has great potential, and hitting in the clean up spot could warrant a legitimate chance to get to 100 RBI. Although his 69 ribs last year suggest otherwise. Maybe I’m expecting too much out of him, but I see Doumit as our best offensive player, so he’d better perform.
The Pirates play another night game tonight against the Rays at 7. Jeff Karstens will take the mound to try and boost his chances at making the rotation. We should be hearing word from manager John Russell soon about who the rotation will be. This is definitely a big start for Karstens. He hasn’t been great this spring, but has shown good signs and had some ups, enough to put him ahead of Virgil Vasquez, atleast. Personally, I’m rooting for Karstens. Let’s Go Bucs.