Some minor league notes before today’s major league game begins…
-Japanese team Chiba Lotte is trying to acquire Hayden Penn from the Pirates. Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker reported that a deal was close, although Dejan Kovacevic mentioned that there was only an inquiry. Penn was claimed off of waivers during Spring Training, and was designated for assignment at the start of the season. He cleared waivers and was outrighted to AAA, where he has had success recently. Penn has had a 3.35 ERA in June and July, with a 39:14 K/BB ratio in 45.2 innings of work. His big issue before being demoted was a total lack of control, so the low walk totals are nice to see.
Penn will be eligible for minor league free agency in the off-season, so the Pirates need to make a decision on him one way or the other. With the lack of rotation depth in the majors, I don’t think they can afford to let Penn go. He’s not going to be an impact guy, but there’s a chance he could be a back of the rotation or back of the bullpen arm if his control is fixed.
-Colton Cain has been promoted from the Gulf Coast League to State College. Cain, an eighth round draft pick last year, broke his commitment to Texas by accepting a $1.125 M bonus to sign with the Pirates. In four starts in the GCL this year, Cain posted a 3.77 ERA in 14.1 innings, with a 15:5 K/BB ratio. Like every other pitcher at the lower levels, Cain is probably working strictly on fastball command, which makes his K/BB ratio the most important stat. Cain’s last start in the GCL came on Friday, when he pitched four innings, allowing two runs on three hits, with two walks and five strikeouts.
-Jairo Marquez has been promoted from State College to West Virginia, and Pat Irvine has been sent from West Virginia to State College. Marquez only had six at-bats in State College, with a single, a walk, and a strikeout. Irvine was being used as the backup catcher in West Virginia, and had a .212/.297/.242 line in 33 at-bats. Marquez is a catcher, while Irvine is new to the position, so this move is probably just an abandonment of Irvine as the backup catcher, with Marquez taking his spot since there is no one to backup Ramon Cabrera.