It's still just drills for the minor leaguers at Pirate City, but one interesting pattern is emerging: The Pirates are trying several outfielders at third base. Specifically, Connor Joe and Jordan Luplow (who played there some in high school and can be seen there in the picture above) are working out at third with the low A players. Jerrick Suiter, who played the outfield and first last year for Bristol, is also working out at third with the lower level players. The Pirates also, at least for now, have moved Edward Salcedo back to third. The Braves gave up on Salcedo there last year, moving him to right field. None of these moves may work out, but the Pirates haven't exactly emphasized third base a lot with their prospects. In the past, the third baseman at some of their affiliates was simply whichever light-hitting middle infielder was left over. It makes more sense to try some guys who may have the bat for the position and see if one or two of them can handle it defensively.
I got a clearer idea today of which players are working out with which levels, at least among the infielders and catchers. For some odd reason, the camp roster doesn't list numbers for about half the players and it's especially an issue with the outfielders. There are three main groups right now. One is basically upper level guys. Most of the likely Indianapolis roster is still in major league camp, so this very roughly resembles the possible Altoona roster. The other two roughly equate to the high A and low A teams. As always, keep in mind that these assignments can and do change over the course of the spring. Also, at this stage there are more players assigned to each group than can ultimately fit on the corresponding roster.
The upper level group right now has Jacob Stallings and several organizational catchers, one of whom -- Beau Maggi -- got released today. I think Stallings will probably be backing up Sebastian Valle at Altoona.
The Bradenton catchers are very clearly going to be Reese McGuire and Jin-De Jhang, with Jhang probably DHing a lot.
The probable West Virginia group has Taylor Gushue, Kevin Krause, Daniel Arribas and Chris Harvey. Arribas has shown some prospecty-ness so far, but I can't imagine he'll beat Gushue or Krause (who shows impressive power in BP) out of a job. I'm guessing Arribas will end up in the NYPL. Harvey is an organizational guy. Gushue and/or Krause will probably see some time at first and DH; this group currently is working with just one first baseman.
The upper level group is:
1B: Josh Bell and Jordan Steranka
2B: Max Moroff and Dan Gamache
3B: Eric Wood and Edward Salcedo
SS: Adam Frazier and Kelson Brown
This sets up interesting battles at second and third. I didn't see Jose Osuna today, but Steranka working out with this group, obviously as a potential backup, makes me think Osuna may be headed back to Bradenton.
The Bradenton group is:
1B: Danny Collins. I'm pretty sure Osuna was working out with this group before today, but as I mentioned I didn't see him at all today
2B: Erich Weiss and Michael Fransoso
3B: Wyatt Mathisen and somebody whose number wasn't listed, possibly Ashley Ponce
SS: JaCoby Jones and Christopher Diaz
If Osuna returns, this unit is obviously set.
The West Virginia group is:
1B: Edwin Espinal
2B: Pablo Reyes and a player with no number listed, probably Erik Lunde
3B: Connor Joe, Jordan Luplow and Chase Simpson
SS: Cole Tucker, Tyler Filliben and Trace Tam Sing
Pirates Prospects has confirmed that Tucker will open the season in the South Atlantic League, where he'll be one of the youngest players. Something will have to give at third, as Luplow and Joe figure to play every day and Simpson is coming off a strong debut. One or two of these guys will probably see outfield time.
Some of this is fairly clear and some isn't. P2 already reported that Austin Meadows and Harold Ramirez will join Barrett Barnes in Bradenton. Meadows is working out with the high A group. I haven't seen Ramirez yet, as he had some minor issue and was scheduled to start working out today.
The upper level group is made up of organizational types right now, like Junior Sosa, Raul Fortunato and Andy Vasquez. It's very likely that Willy Garcia and/or Keon Broxton will end up returning to Altoona, at least initially.
The West Virginia outfield will probably depend heavily on where guys like Luplow and Joe end up. Right now, players competing for spots include Michael Suchy (another player who's shown impressive raw power in BP), Tito Polo (whom P2 reported will indeed move up) and Michael de la Cruz. That the Pirates would give de la Cruz a shot at a full season job after a dismal GCL debut shows they still think he has prospect potential.