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Insider Only Spring Training Report

Pirates catchers and pitchers have already arrived to Bradenton and a number of position players have arrived early including 2008 1st round draft Pedro Alvarez.
Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus released his top 100 minor league prospects with Pedro Alvarez coming in as Goldstein’s #4 prospect. Orioles catcher Matt Wieters is rated as the top minor league prospect in the majors. Two other Pirates prospects received some recognition. Centerfielder Andrew McCutchen came in at #25 and outfielder Jose Tabata #91.
Alvarez who showed up to minicamp 20 lbs over his normal playing weight (235) is in good shape as the official start of training camp begins on Tuesday. Alvarez has been running the base pads well and his bat speed is impressive for a power hitter. The Pirates seem very excited to see how Alvarez performs in Spring Training games which begin on February 25th.
It is very early but the three most impressive pitchers on Saturday were

Matt Capps, Sean Burnett and Ross Ohlendorf.
Capps, 25, seems to be in full health and entering the final year of his contract he is determined to stay healthy and have a successful season. Capps is arbitration eligible in 2010 & 2011.
The organization loves Ohlendorf power as he has been throwing the ball very hard throughout the early workouts.
Evan Meek also had a solid session.
18 of the 34 pitchers in camp threw sessions on Saturday.
Among them were; Virgil Vasquez, Ian Snell, Brian Slocum, Evan Meek, Romulo Sanchez, Jeff Sues, Matt Capps, Ross Ohlendorf, Chris Bootcheck, Juan Mateo, Sean Burnett, Craig Hansen, Daniel Haigwood, and Jesse Chavez.
Tom Gorzelanny did not throw a session on Saturday but looks about 15 lbs lighter than he was last year. Gorzelanny is nicknamed the pillsburry dough boy in the clubhouse. He did some running on the side.
This could be the end of Sean Burnett‚Äôs tenure with the Pirates if he doesn‚Äôt make the roster coming out of camp. He’s off to a good start as he had a solid throwing session on Saturday.
Craig Hansen who apart of the Jason Bay trade has a lot of prove in spring training. He is not off to a good start as his control was not very good yesterday. He threw two balls in the dirt and one sailed over the catchers head.
All signs point towards the team being very patient with #2 rated prospect Andrew McCutchen. No guarantee that he will be on the Pirates opening day roster. The front office has claimed the former regime rushed McCutchen’s development but from everything I’ve seen from him he should be the on the opening day roster.
The organization is trying to downplay that the team was “highly interested” in Bobby Abreu
The Pirates were not in on Adam Dunn who signed a two year – $20 contract with the Washington Nationals.
A source said it is likely that the Pirates pick up their pursuit of Pedro Martinez who will not return to the Mets.
Nate McLouth is shooting for a 30 + home run season.
Special commentary provided by Brian Kelly who will be in Bradenton, FL covering the Pirates for Inside Pittsburgh Sports.

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