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GCL Pirates drop a doubleheader

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I got to see the first game, and three innings of the second game, of the GCL Pirates’ doubleheader with the Tigers East. The Pirates lost both games, 5-2 in game one and 6-1 in game two.

The highlight was seeing Shane Baz (pictured) pitch three scoreless innings in game one. Baz threw primarily fastballs, which sat at 94-95 mph. I only saw a few sliders and one or two curves. He fanned only one and didn’t walk anybody, showing better command than I would have expected; much better, for example, than Mitch Keller when I saw him in the GCL. Baz gave up five hits, three of them infield hits and only one really hit hard. He had trouble only in his third inning, getting out of it with two pickoffs.

Shane Baz allowed five hits and no walks in three innings.

The Pirates had almost no offense in the doubleheader, managing only three hits in the first game and one in the second. They also lost Lolo Sanchez, who fouled a ball off his ankle his last time up in game one. He was limping badly and had to come out, and was scratched from game two.

Lolo Sanchez came out after fouling a ball off his ankle.

Mason Martin played first in game one and left in game two. He went 1-7, the one hit a broken bat single. He struck out only once, which is an improvement at least. He takes a big cut, but he was generally patient and didn’t chase bad pitches, which is consistent with his high walk rate.

Calvin Mitchell played only game one, going 1-4. He also dropped a routine fly, letting one run score.

Calvin Mitchell was 1-4 in game one.

One of the more interesting players to me was Rodolfo Castro, who usually plays short and has shown a good bat with some pop. He’s bigger than the typical shortstop, especially at this level, so it’d be nice if he could stay at the position. Unfortunately, he played third in both games, with Victor Ngoepe at short. He had several tough chances, two of which didn’t go well. One was a sac bunt attempt that he should have let roll foul, but he picked it up and then couldn’t get a throw off. The other two were slow rollers that he had to charge. He made a nice pickup and got the out on one, but threw wildly on the other.

Rodolfo Castro played third in the doubleheader.

The pitchers other than Baz weren’t among the team’s better prospects. Eumir Sepulveda followed Baz and threw three scoreless innings, but he and David Lee combined to give up five in the 7th, blowing a 2-0 lead. Lee was the last draft pick the Pirates signed this year. He was signed out of college, but has very limited experience. He has a big breaking curve and pitches “backward,” going mainly with the curve and using his 88 mph fastball relatively sparingly. He did not command either well in this game. The game two starter, Yeudry Manzanillo, simply got hammered. He threw 88 mph and relied a lot on a slider.

David Lee struggled in relief in game one.
Yes, baseball has entered the 21st century.