Pirates minor league notebook: Third baseman leading Power offensively
While the West Virginia Power, and in particular their offense, have scuffled a bit throughout much of April, third baseman Erich Weiss has provided a bright spot in the middle of the order.
An 11th-round pick of the Pirates in the 2013 draft out of Texas, Weiss put together 41 decent games with Jamestown in 2013 but seems to be hitting his stride early this season.
The left-handed-hitting infielder was batting .358 heading into Saturday night's game against Hagerstown, 56 points higher than the team's second-leading hitter, Danny Collins (.302). Weiss also leads or is tied for the team lead in runs (11), walks (11), on-base percentage (.456), slugging (.463), stolen bases (four), home runs (one), total bases (31) and on-base plus slugging percentage (.918).
And all of this after going 0 for 9 to begin the season.
“It's all about seeing the ball and trusting in the process in what you've practiced through spring training and the offseason and just carrying it over to the game,” Weiss said. “Even though results don't show automatically at first, it's a very long season, too, and in the first couple of series, no one is right there and no one is clicking.
“It's all about learning the whole year.”
Weiss' 11 walks in 20 games nearly matches his total of 13 from Jamestown a year ago, when he hit .273 without a home run.
If there is a chink in the armor, one would point to Weiss' righty-lefty splits as he is pummeling right-handed pitching at a .412 clip while hitting just .188 against lefties.
While Weiss has shined, the rest of the lineup hasn't provided much support.
The Power (7-13) were second to last in the South Atlantic League in runs scored (72) entering Saturday, seventh in the 14-team league in team average (.250) and tied for second to last in home runs (four). The Power had recorded the third-fewest RBIs with 65.
Hitting coach Leoni De Renne said the early struggles aren't unusual for players at this level.
“The guys that were here last year, seeing them play this year in High-A, they're so much different because they know what to expect,” De Renne said. “These kids are 18, 19, some of them out of college. Playing every day is different. They'll realize at the end of a week, at the end of a month, they've still got four months left. It's a grind.”
Setting the pace
Right-hander Shane Carle (0-1, 3.24 ERA) is on an impressive early strikeout binge. His 19 punchouts in 162⁄3 innings over his first four starts is ahead of the pace Tyler Glasnow set last year in breaking the franchise single-season record with 164.
Glasnow struck out 16 over 15 innings in his first four outings last season.
Ryan Pritt is a freelance writer.
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