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Minor Pirates notes

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MLB: Cleveland Indians at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Some very minor notes. Like the kind that probably only me, Vlad and about three other people care about, so feel free to give this a pass. It won’t be on the test.

— The Pirates have announced most of their minor league coaching assignments. Apart from team-specific assigments, they’ve made a couple of moves (sub. req’d) related to minor league pitching. Justin Meccage will move from Altoona pitching coach to Minor League Pitching Coordinator and Scott Mitchell, who was in that position, becomes Senior Pitching Coordinator, which will be the higher-level position. If you’re at Pirate City a lot in March, one thing you might notice is that there are a couple of coaches who always seem to be nearby when you look around. That’s because they’re always keeping a close eye on the same pitchers that the hardcore fans want to see. For the last couple years that’s been Mitchell and Meccage. Hopefully, they’ll become the new Benedict and Searage. As for team assignments:

Indianapolis

Manager: Andy Barkett
Hitting Coach: Butch Wynegar
Pitching Coach: Stan Kyles

(Barkett, who was the assistant hitting coordinator last year, replaces Dean Treanor.)

Altoona

Manager: Michael Ryan
Hitting Coach: Kevin Riggs
Pitching Coach: Bryan Hickerson

(Ryan managed Bradenton to a title in 2016 and moves up to replace Joey Cora. Hickerson pitched in the majors for three different teams from 1991-95.)

Bradenton

Manager: Gera Alvarez
Hitting Coach: Keoni De Renne
Pitching Coach: Matt Ford

(Alvarez was the coordinator at the Pirates’ DSL academy last year. Ford moves up from West Virginia, where he coached Mitch Keller and Gage Hinsz last year. They should both open 2017 at Bradenton.)

West Virginia Power

Manager: Wyatt Toregas
Hitting Coach: Ryan Long
Pitching Coach: TBA

West Virginia Black Bears

Manager: Brian Esposito
Hitting Coach: Jonathan Prieto
Pitching Coach: Tom Filer

(Esposito managed the Power last year; he’s switching roles with Toregas, who managed the Bears. Esposito will also serve as the catching coordinator. Filer is moving up from Bristol.)

Bristol Pirates

Manager: Kory DeHaan
Hitting Coach: TBA
Pitching Coach: TBA

GCL Pirates

Manager: Bob Herold
Hitting Coach: Austin McClune
Pitching Coach: Elvin Nina

(Herold was the winningest coach at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and also managed for five years in the minors with the Royals.)

DSL Pirates

Manager: Kieran Mattison
Hitting Coach: Bernie Castro
Pitching Coach: Dan Urbina
Other Coaches: Cecilio Beltre and Gavi Nivar

— A few days ago, the Pirates signed two independent league players: RHP Andrew Potter and C Jose Barraza. Both were prep draftees and both are still just 22. It’s unlikely either will go very far, but they both have some raw ability. Potter washed out of the Diamondbacks’ system due to control problems. He tried three different indy ball teams in 2016 and, with the last one, suddenly started finding the plate. He also was reportedly sitting at 93-94 mph. Barraza got released by the White Sox after just 74 games. He has a good arm and some power; in fact, he’s mostly hit well the last three years, albeit with alarming strikeout totals. Judging by his passed ball totals, his receiving needs work.

— The Pirates have released a bunch of lower level minor leaguers: RHPs Billy Roth, Ivan Cespedes, Delvin Hiciano, Alex Martinez, Mister Luciano and Luis Paula; LHP Cristian Mota; C Deybi Garcia; and 1B Sam Kennelly. The closest thing to a prospect here was Roth, a 16th-round pick in 2013 who got an above-slot bonus. He throws in the mid-90s but was never able to overcome command issues.

— Brady Dragmire is still a Ranger.