NL Notes: Pirates, Phillies, Jimenez, Torres

We'll round out the evening with a few notes from around the National League:

  • The success of the Pirates was not just about developing youngsters and gem-in-the-rough free agents, writes Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Out of ideas on how to improve the club without extra cash to spend, the Pirates concocted what Sawchik calls "perhaps the most aggressive, systematic approach to run prevention — from alignment to pitching strategy — in baseball history." The plan was in the works for years in the organization's lower levels, and developed in the bigs as a combined front office, coaching staff, and player effort. I dare not attempt to encapsulate this interesting piece here, and will instead simply recommend that you give it a full read.
  • The Phillies want to add a right-handed, outfielding power hitter to the lineup in 2014, reports's Todd Zolecki. While they are hardly unique in this pursuit — the Diamondbacks and Giants are reportedly among the many teams keen to improve their pop — the Phils' needs are somewhat more specific. With Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Domonic Brown, Ben Revere, and Cody Asche presumably penciled in as regulars, and righty-swinging Darin Ruf and Maikel Franco already in the infield mix, the club is definitely shopping for a right-handed, corner outfielder, says Zolecki.
  • Philadelphia's interim manager Ryne Sandberg says that the team's bullpen has had some questions answered over the last few weeks, reports Zolecki. Sandberg says that "solidify[ing] the starting rotation" is a top priority, along with "figur[ing] out the catching situation and better defense in the outfield." With youngsters like B.J. Rosenberg, Jake Diekman, and Justin De Fratus staking their claim to a spot in the big league pen, Sandberg  says the club may have "a better feel [for] what they really need to concentrate on — as far as the front office — as far as the necessary pieces that either aren't here or that they need to go and get."
  • Wondering where top international amateurs rank now that they've signed? Baseball America's Ben Badler, via J.J. Cooper, says that the Cubs' Eloy Jimenez and Gleyber Torres — the top two July 2nd prospects per BA — would likely fall within the top-30 organizational list but outside the top ten. Both should skip the Dominican Summer League and head straght to rookie ball, according to the piece.

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