The State College Spikes Are Terrible

...And the city of State College is noticing. The Centre Daily TImes:

The Spikes entered Wednesday’s play at Lowell 8-24, the worst mark in the 14-team New York-Penn League.

Only four teams in affiliated baseball — a Dominican Summer League team that uses Arizona and Cincinnati players (.178), the Pioneer League’s Missoula Osprey (.206), Arizona League Brewers (.217) and Gulf Coast League Orioles (.240), — entered Wednesday with winning percentages below the Spikes’ .250 mark. The Spikes are the only non-rookie level team in affiliated baseball that hasn’t won 30 percent of their games.

This actually isn't primarily the fault of the current management team, even though one of the primary purposes of short-season teams like State College is to help college draftees acclimate to pro baseball. Several draftees (Cole White, Calvin Anderson, Jeremy Farrell) have been pretty good at State College, for whatever that's worth. And there have already been some promotions and injuries that have depleted the Spikes' talent base.

The Spikes' hitting has been bad, but the real problem appears to be that the Pirates didn't spend a lot of their top draft choices on pitchers, and haven't signed the first three pitchers they did draft. As a result, the Spikes haven't had any draft pick higher than 25th rounder Brian Leach pitch an inning for them, and much of the pitching at State College has been left to Dave Littlefield acquisitions, who mostly are--surprise!--terrible. The State College staff has allowed more runs than any team in the league, and their ERA is nearly a run higher than any other team.

I don't think I need to tell you that there isn't a lot of pitching talent in the minors, and that will continue unless the Pirates add some talent to their system. It would behoove them to trade for some before the July 31 deadline and sign some of their unsigned draftees before August 15. I'm waiting.

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