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    Default Pirates hope Raynor is hidden treasure

    Pirates hope Raynor is hidden treasure
    By Rob Biertempfel, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
    Thursday, March 25, 2010


    Rule 5 outfielder John Raynor is trying to make the Pirates as a bench player this spring.

    BRADENTON, Fla. -- Near the end of spring training in 2008, the Florida Marlins brought up a few minor leaguers as reserves for two exhibition games in Miami against the New York Yankees.

    It was the first time outfielder John Raynor had been around a major-league training camp, and he was playing in a major-league stadium. He was excited and nervous ... until his first at-bat.

    "What surprised me was, when I got into the (batter's) box, everything was locked in," Raynor said. "Playing the game is just playing the game, no matter who's around."

    After being claimed by the Pirates in December in the Rule 5 draft, Raynor, 26, has a shot to spend his first summer in the big leagues. The Pirates must either keep Raynor on their active roster all season or offer him back to the Marlins for half of the $$50,000 claim fee.

    "It will all be new experiences, stuff to take in, and it will be a lot of fun," Raynor said. "But when it comes to getting between the lines, it's all the same. That's how you stay up there."

    The past two years, the Pirates kept Rule 5 pitchers Evan Meek and Donnie Veal. As a position player, Raynor's situation is a bit different. He's on the bubble for one of the five bench spots.

    "I'm doing everything I can to make the decision tough on these guys," Raynor said. "I'll have to see how it plays out."

    Becoming a Rule 5 pick can put a player on the fast track to the majors. Or, it can turn out to be just a footnote in a career minor-leaguer's media guide bio.

    In 1954, the Pirates made one of the best-ever Rule 5 pickups, snatching Roberto Clemente from the Brooklyn Dodgers. Other teams' success stories include George Bell, Darrell Evans, Josh Hamilton, Joakim Soria, Dan Uggla and Shane Victorino.

    "Look at Johan Santana. You don't have to say much more," Pirates manager John Russell said. "He was a Rule 5 with the (Minnesota) Twins and turned out to be one of the best pitchers in baseball. We've been fortunate with Meek and Donnie Veal. And it looks like Raynor is a nice player."

    Oftentimes, however, the Rule 5 draft yields little return on a team's investment. Five of the 17 players taken last December already have been returned to their original clubs.

    Catcher Jason Jaramillo, infielders Bobby Crosby and Delwyn Young, and outfielder Ryan Church are locks to head north with the Pirates. That leaves one bench spot for either Raynor, Brandon Moss or Steve Pearce.

    Pearce is a homegrown prospect, but his star appears to be fading with management. Moss is coming off a disappointing 2009 season and is stuck in a deep batting funk this spring.

    Does Raynor, who has excellent speed and a .299 career batting average over four minor-league seasons, have an edge?

    "He has kind of a low-maintenance swing, which is good," Russell said. "He's able to drive the ball the other way. He can run. He's got some tools."

    Raynor is not intimidated by the make-or-break nature of being a Rule 5 pick.

    "For me, it takes pressure off," Raynor said. "It's not like it's making me press or anything. It allows me to realize I have good opportunity here; I just have to take advantage of it."

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_673242.html
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    Default Re: Pirates hope Raynor is hidden treasure

    Raynor should be the choice for the last bench spot. so far he has earned it over Pearce and Moss.
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    Default Re: Pirates hope Raynor is hidden treasure

    that picture makes him look like a golf pro

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    Default Re: Pirates hope Raynor is hidden treasure

    Quote Originally Posted by jleisele58 View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    that picture makes him look like a golf pro
    LoL!..... You're right.........
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    Default Re: Pirates hope Raynor is hidden treasure

    Jaramillo is a lock, but may start at AAA to get more playing time. I agree with the bench and Raynor, with the limited amount of exposure that I have had this year. Dejan said the bullpen could be good and gave sketchy positives of the starters.

    I have not heard much, this spring, of Andy LaRoche, and still know little of Iwamura.

    Someone said " a slow start and .500 baseball". I agree.

    The Pirates have picked up guys like they are perpetually in the draft. This year will start to reflect management's skills at acquiring players and Raynor is a part of that.

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    Default Re: Pirates hope Raynor is hidden treasure

    I'm really not sold on Raynor. I just don't see him lasting a full season as the 13th man. The reports on his defense haven't been good at all this spring, and he apparently botched one horribly in right field with 2 outs in the 9th today that led to a loss. He got off to a hot start at the plate, but he's fallen off pretty hard since. He started off 8-19 (.444), but has gone 2 for his last 17 since. He didn't seem to be hitting the ball particularly well even when they were falling in. I don't know that he's done enough to really impress as a Rule 5 guy. There isn't really some other great option that we'd be missing by carrying him, but I don't think he's been anything special.

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