This morning’s thing about the Portland Beavers inspired a few of you wonder who will become the Padres’ AAA team next year. It inspired a few others to muse in general about the great musical chairs game that is the affiliation business.
As if on cue, lar at Wezen-Ball created this fun graphic showing AAA affiliate movement over time. He also has an accompanying explanatory article. Aside from the fact that he put the little dot that’s supposed to represent Columbus where Dayton really is I like it a lot. But that’s classic Wisconsin bias for you.
The upshot: AAA teams move all the damn time. They usually end up settling back in the same cities over and over again, though, with the places going more than a few years at a time without a AAA team really only being those who don’t really want one to begin with.
Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.
Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.
Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.
Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.