As Charlie notes, Gerrit Cole and pretty much every other interesting Pirate pitcher of consequence is taking the mound against the Rays today. I'm not much interested in spring training results but I am curious to see how Cole fares against big league hitters. He's high on my list of things to talk about during spring training and I'm particularly interested just to see how he fares in situations where he's out of his comfort zone.
Speaking of things to talk about this spring, I've been thinking about how I want to do spring training and season previews and here's how it's going to go down: every day I'm going to try and answer a question about the Pirates in the coming season (stuff like "When will we see Gerrit Cole?" ). I have a long list of questions to tackle, but if you have anything on your mind leave it in the questions or holler at me on Twitter. If it's not on the list and I think it's interesting, I'll try to get to it.
I did the Pirates' portion of the season preview for Big League Magazine this spring. You can check out an excerpt of it here. Their preview issue is a heck of a thing: bloggers and writers familiar with all 30 teams wrote a couple thousand word previews for each club in addition to other season preview articles. Which is to say that it's not free, but there's lots of stuff for the $4.95 that the preview issue costs. (Full disclosure: my payment is based on how many copies of the issue get sold.)
Jason Parks put out his Top 101 prospects at Baseball Prospectus yesterday. Parks loves high upside guys and that's reflected in his rankings of Pirates: Gerrit Cole is at #3, Jameson Taillon is at #11, Gregory Polanco is at #44, Luis Heredia is at #53, and Alen Hanson is at #66. That's about where Polanco and Hanson come in on other lists, but those are particularly high slots to find Cole and Taillon and Heredia in, I think. Not that I'm complaining, of course, just noting that most lists have those guys a bit lower.
I'm doing World Baseball Classic previews over at The Outside Corner this week. On Monday I ran down the qualifying round, I did Pool A yesterday, Pool B will be today, and so forth. I'm shooting to have them run at 2:30 every day, if you're interested in checking back in. I'm also trying to pass them around on Twitter.
I have a question. It's one that I've been thinking about ever since the Martin signing, and especially since it's a 2-year deal: What happens if Tony Sanchez starts playing really well in AAA? Right now he's the future at C, and he should be the priority if he earns it, but regardless of how well he hits it would be hard to feel comfortable trading Martin before Sanchez has proved himself at the ML level. This is, of course, a wildly optimistic concern anyway, since there haven't been a whole lot of signs that Sanchez is gonna break out.