Our Pittsburgh Pirates are in the swing of things in Bradenton as spring training and Grapefruit League action is under way in FLA. Today, Mrs. Black-N-Gold takes a look at 3 players who made their MLB debuts in Pittsburgh last season and are counted on as major contributors to the Pittsburgh Baseball Club this season and beyond.
1)1B Josh Bell-The switch-hitter hasn't made it onto the field for a game yet but it shouldn't be long. Bell is working his way back from off season knee surgery. He has been taking BP and working in the field but is still rehabbing the knee. Reports are that he's looked very good in the cage from both sides of the plate. It will be good to see what the former 2nd round pick can do at first during a live game. Bell said that he lost weight and has been using yoga to improve his flexibility in hopes of upgrading his defense at first. If he's serviceable at first base it will be a lot better than the great Pedro Alvarez experiment of a few seasons ago. And some pop from his bat would be a welcome addition to the lineup, too.
2)RH Tyler Glasnow-Mrs. Black-N-Gold doesn't expect to Glasnow to start the season in Pittsburgh, especially considering how his MLB career began in Black-N-Gold last season. The highly-touted prospect had an unimpressive 0-2 mark with a 4.24 ERA for Pittsburgh last year. That record included a 4.24 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP in 23.1 innings. He gave up 22 hits, 11 earned runs, 2 home runs and 13 walks for the big-league club. Word is that Glasnow has been working on a changeup to add to his arsenal. Hopefully, it works for him. It's hard to rely on a starting pitcher with just a fastball (no matter how intimidating it is) and not much else. As stated early, the right-hander will probably start the season again in Indy to continue to work out the kinks. If all goes well, he should be back before the end of spring.
3)UTL Adam Frazier-The versatile Frazier is taking over the role vacated by the departure of Sean Rodriguez. Following a career year by SRod that some him except a free agent contract in Atlanta, will be a tall order to fill for Frazier. He doesn't have the power stroke that Rodriguez found in his final season in Pittsburgh, nor his defensive acumen. The Pirates are counting on Frazier's speed to help ignite the offense and he's working on improving the glove work at the various positions throughout the field. Frazier's ability to get on base could help him see almost regular playing time in the Pirates lineup.
So there you have it. If these 3 players can live up to the promise of the young careers, they can except to enjoy the fruits of the labor on the field at PNC Park for many years to come. Hopefully, a World Series will eventually come along with that. Let's Go Bucs!!!!!