Shane Baz had his worst pro start, getting only two outs in the GCL Pirates’ 13-4 loss to the Yankees West. Baz had no command of his fastball or slider, going to three-ball counts on a string of hitters. He gave up a HR to the leadoff batter, followed by a single and two walks to load the bases. He got a strikeout on a couple of good curves, but another single brought in a run. A force out plus a wild throw by Victor Ngoepe trying to get two brought in two more runs, one of them unearned. By then, Baz had hit his pitch limit and was done. His fastball while he was in the game ranged from 91-95, mostly 91-93.
Baz was followed by Adonis Pichardo, Angel Vasquez and Jose Delgado, all of whom are probably longshots to get very far beyond short-season ball, if they make it that far. Pichardo and Vasquez threw mainly upper-80s fastballs, Pichardo with a fairly good slider and Vasquez with a curve. Pichardo gave up two runs, while Vasquez got torched for seven, one unearned, in an inning and a third. The score by then was 13-0. Neither of the two showed good command, but Pichardo’s slider got him out of some jams, while Vasquez got hit hard by almost all the hitters he faced, including two longballs.
Delgado’s stuff was better, but his command worse due possibly to a delivery that was rarely the same twice. The stuff was good enough, though, that he allowed no runs.
The Pirates had some offense, as Lolo Sanchez, Rodolfo Castro, Gabriel Brito and Felix Vinicio all had two hits, but they missed a lot of chances through the first seven innings. Three times they got runners to third with no outs or one out, and failed to score. In the eighth they finally put up four runs, three on a bases-loaded triple by Brito.
A few random observations:
Brito has put up pretty good numbers for a catcher, with a 271/358/386 line. I’m skeptical whether he’ll ever produce much power; he has one HR in 85 career games. Today he had to deal with four pitchers who were struggling with their command, which gave his blocking skills quite a workout. He did very well at it.
Sanchez went 2-5, but hit line drives his first three times up and a long fly to left the fourth. After he hit with little authority last year I was afraid he’d be another speedy center fielder with a weak bat, like Michael De La Cruz. Instead, he’s hitting 312/368/461 with four HRs; he had no longballs last year and slugged .275. He’s definitely not a slap hitter and is quite capable of turning on the ball and pulling it, which he did his first four times up today. He also makes very good contact, with only 16 strikeouts in 141 ABs this year. At this point I think Sanchez is the most promising hitting prospect on the team, although that could change if Mason Martin’s K rate subsides a bit.
Rodolfo Castro played third again, as he has for a couple weeks now with Ngoepe at short. It’s concerned me a bit, because Castro has a very promising bat for a shortstop (291/371/480) and he’s even a switch hitter. John Dreker tells me, though, that Castro is playing third because they’ve got some infield injuries and the alignment they had today, which included Cristopher Perez at second, is the only one real choice they have right now.