I watched the Pittsburgh Pirates short season A Ball affiliate the Jamestown Jammers take on the Aberdeen Iron Birds at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, MD on 8/10/14. The Iron Birds won the game 10-4. The Jammers are not loaded with many high end prospects. None of the top 10 ranked players in the Pirates system are on the Jammers’ roster. The talent level in this game was further diluted because the Jammers did not have C Taylor Gushue or C Kevin Krause in the starting lineup. The two catchers have been the best hitters for the Jammers this season. Instead Jamestown started Deybi Garcia behind the plate. Here are some of the noteworthy players I observed.
Alex McRae got the start for the Jammers. It was a pretty rough outing for McRae. He started ok. A lot of ground balls through the first two innings. The grounders turned to line drives in the 3rd inning. He was knocked out in the 4th inning after giving up a pair of home runs. Aberdeen had a lefty heavy lineup and McRae really seemed to struggle against left-handed hitters. This was the first poor outing of the season for McRae. He sat between 90-92 mph with his fastball. Here is a snippet of McRae’s delivery:
The most impressive fastball of the night belonged to Luis Urena. He pitched two scoreless innings. Urena is an interesting prospect. He was signed out of the Dominican in 2009 as an OF. After four seasons of struggling to make contact the Pirates decided this season to convert him to a pitcher. From what I saw it looks like a good plan. He has a nice delivery and a very live arm. He sat between 92-94 mph with most of his pitches at the high end of that range. The problem is that was literally all Urena threw. Not one off speed pitch in his two innings of work. However, the control of his fastball was quite good on this night, and the Abderdeen lineup struggled to square him up. If he ever develops a breaking pitch he could make it as a relief pitcher.
Eric Dorsch pitched a scoreless 8th inning. The only thing notable about Dorsch is his size. The guy is huge. The Pirates list him as 6′ 8″. For a guy that big he doesn’t throw all that hard. He topped out at 91 mph.
Speedy left-handed hitting CF Elvis Escobar is having a nice season for the Jammers as their leadoff hitter, but he really struggled with breaking balls from Aberdeen’s left-handed starting pitcher Stephen Tarpley. One of the more impressive looking players in the Jammer’s lineup was OF Michael Suchy. Suchy is big strong guy. He is built a lot like Matt Holliday. Despite the strong frame Suchy has yet to show much power with the Jammers. He is still looking for his first home run of the season. In this game he did have a sharply hit line drive single to right field and a bloop double down the right field line. Here is a snippet of Suchy’s swing: