Pirate System Bitten by Injury Bug
For the most part, the Pirates avoided injuries to significant players in their farm system last season, but they have been hit with a flood thus far, resulting in the following players currently spending time on the DL:
- Kyle McPherson, P, Indianapolis, shoulder inflammation
- Chase d’Arnaud, SS, Indianapolis, concussion
- Adalberto Santos, OF, Altoona, sprained knee
- Andrew Lambo, OF, Altoona, injury to right wrist
- Jarek Cunningham, 2B, Altoona, wrist injury
- Hunter Strickland, P, Bradenton, hand injury
- Josh Bell, OF, West Virginia, meniscus surgery
Chase d’Arnaud has just been activated and returned to the Indianapolis lineup. Every attempt by d’Arnaud to attain additional experience has been stalled by injury; he was hurt during parts of last season with Pittsburgh, he had about ten at bats in winter ball with the Toros del Este in the Dominican Republic before he injured his hand, and now he missed the first month of this season after being clipped by a pitch in the head. d’Arnaud, sadly, is probably the only in-house SS option in the upper levels of the system, and he will have to make up for lost time to maintain that glimmer of hope.
Hunter Strickland was just returned to active duty with Bradenton. He impressed me when I saw him down there, hitting 94 on the gun repeatedly, but a year lost to shoulder surgery has him behind in his development as well. The time clock is a bit slower for pitchers, but Strickland will have to be protected from the Rule 5 draft this winter, so he will have to continue to show progress to remain in the Pirates’ system.
Adalberto Santos was the only player promoted from Bradenton to Altoona who was actually hitting this year. His injury came at a very inopportune time; as a college senior draftee, he needs to be on an escalated pace at this point, and a sprained knee when he was in the midst of a torrid streak was not what he was looking for.
The two worst injuries belong to Kyle McPherson and Josh Bell. McPherson had reached the point in his development where he was practically considered a shoe-in to make the Pirates rotation before the end of 2012, and position himself as a possible number three starter behind Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon in the future. McPherson is suffering from a bout of recurring shoulder inflammation. He is a critical piece to the Pirates puzzle; if he goes down for good it will be a major blow.
Josh Bell’s meniscus surgery went well, and he is expected back later this year. But this surgery can carry with it a chance for lingering pain and discomfort, and as Bell was off to a less than inspiring start to his professional career, the Pirates need to get him another month or two of experience to avoid a totally wasted year.