With Spring Training only weeks away, many minor leaguers will be returning to the field for the first time in over a year. In 2020 the minor league season was canceled for the first time since it was founded in 1901 due to COVID-19. As a result, many players such as Pirates prospect Cam Alldred had their development put on hold. Entering 2021, however, Alldred will be looking to move up in the Pittsburgh system.
Alldred joined the Pirates in 2018 after being selected by Pittsburgh in the 24th round of the MLB Draft that year. However, it was a process full of uncertainty.” There were a couple of other teams,” said Alldred. “The White Sox and the Phillies showed some interest. It was a crazy process. I was getting ready to head to the Cape Cod league when I got the call saying I was getting drafted by the Pirates. It was the best day of my life, Honestly.”
Alldred’s Pro Career So Far
Although Alldred was drafted as a pitcher, he began his college career as a two-way player. However, after Alldred’s Sophomore season, he decided to focus solely on pitching and his draft stock rose.
“Doing both in college is a really difficult task,” said Alldred. ” Trying to play the field and keep my arm in shape to pitch was hard. I do miss hitting a little but I love pitching.”
— Cincinnati Baseball (@GoBearcatsBASE) March 26, 2018
Since joining the Pirates organization, Alldred has had a solid minor league career. In 59 games, the Pirates reliever has posted a 3.40 ERA and struck out 95 batters in 90 innings of work. In recent years, the Pirates have struggled to successfully develop prospects, such as Tyler Glasnow, who have gone on to excel with other teams. However, recently, the Pirates have undergone many adjustments since Ben Cherington became the General Manager in November of 2019.
” There has been a lot of change developmental wise for pitchers compared to my first spring training,” said Alldred. ” In day to day stretching, we have focused more on hip mobility. I definitely think we are heading in the right direction.”
COVID-19’s Impact on the Minor Leagues
In 2020 those changes were put on hold due to the pandemic. Like many other minor leaguers, Alldred had to adjust and be creative with his training.
“Everyone could see it building up, and it was crazy. All of a sudden, everyone was leaving,” said Alldred. ” It was tough, but thankfully, I know some local guys in other organizations. I stayed down in Florida at the beginning and got an Airbnb where we did what we called prison workouts. We were doing sprints, pushups, bodyweight stuff on the street. We didn’t know that the Minor league season would be canceled entirely. ”
With the Minor Leagues set to resume, the Ohio native will be looking to build on some of the lessons he learned in 2019.
” One thing I learned a lot from the last season I got to play is reading hitters,” said Alldred. ” Reading swings and reading hitters during an at-bat. With fewer Minor League teams this year, it’s going to be a dogfight out there.”
Although it will be more competitive this season, it is a challenge Alldred is prepared for, It’s going to be more difficult this year,” said Alldred. But I’m just going to go out there and try to take each day individually.”
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Main Image Credit: https://twitter.com/camalldred