First Pitch: Recapping a Busy Day of Injury Updates, Transactions, DSL, and Draft News

Today was an extremely busy day for updates on the site. Overall, we had 17 posts going up since last night’s First Pitch. There’s a good chance you missed some of that. I had an article ready for tonight, but I decided to push that back until tomorrow to recap what ended up one of the busiest news days of the year so far. I’ll just take today as a practice run for the madness next week with the draft, which is always one of my favorite days of the year in running this site.

The Injury Updates

The Pirates have had a ton of injuries this year to their minor league system. I don’t know if it’s because there have been so many injuries, but the demand for new information and updates on these players has been bigger than I ever remember. That kind of demand for prospect information is the same kind of demand that keeps this site running strong. But in most cases, if there’s no update given, that just means there’s no update to give.

Take Austin Meadows, for example. I had an update on him today, noting that he has Started Doing On-Field Work This Week. Prior to this, the only update would have been that Meadows remained on the DL, and was in rest mode. To give an extreme comparison, it would be like providing an update on Jameson Taillon next month, when all the update would say is that he’s recovering from Tommy John surgery and won’t be back until early next year.

If there’s no change in the player’s status, then there’s nothing really to update. I’m in the business of providing information that people want, and people want injury updates this year. We’ve reported every update when there was an update to report. Unfortunately, there haven’t been many updates, as the recovery times for some of these guys have been slow.

I mentioned that Meadows started doing on-field work this week. Barrett Barnes has also been doing on-field work this week. Barnes has had a slow rehab period, as this is his third hamstring injury on the same leg in two years. Also in that link: Jose Osuna and Jeff Inman are close to returning to Bradenton. They should both be there by this time next week.

I was over at Pirate City today to see Stolmy Pimentel start his rehab work. He’ll pitch two innings his next time out, and will rehab as a reliever as he makes his way back to Pittsburgh.

Also, if you’re wondering about Luis Heredia, I didn’t see him. I also didn’t see him the two other times I’ve been to Pirate City in the last week. I’m trying to get an update there, or at least see if there is any change in his situation.

The Indianapolis outfield took a hit today. Ryan Palencer reported earlier this week that Andrew Lambo visited a specialist. Today it was announced that Lambo had surgery on his right thumb. That will put him out for six to eight weeks. Also, Ryan reports that Chris Dickerson went on the DL. The pair of moves, plus the impending promotion for Gregory Polanco, led to a much deserved promotion to Indianapolis tonight…

The Transactions

The biggest transaction today, or at least the biggest surprise, was the promotion of Mel Rojas to Indianapolis. It might not be a surprise when you consider the previously mentioned injuries to Indianapolis outfielders. It might not be a surprise if you’ve been following the progress from Rojas this season. All I can say is that when I wrote a few days ago that Rojas was one of the guys deserving of a promotion, I didn’t expect the move to come by the weekend.

**In expected news, Wandy Rodriguez was placed on unconditional release waivers today. This pretty much ends his time with the Pirates, and also means the Pirates are on the hook for the full $7.5 M they owed him this year.

**A series of minor moves, led by Ryan Beckman to Altoona, and Brandon Mann Released.

**As the Pirates get ready for the start of the Dominican Summer League season tomorrow, they released eight players from the DSL. More on that in a link below.

Draft and International News

The DSL starts tomorrow. John Dreker will have a preview in the morning, with some of the top prospects to follow. This year there will only be one team to follow, as the Pirates have dropped one of their DSL teams. In the article, I explain how this basically means the team has moved to Bristol. The Pirates still have four short-season teams. This year they have three in the US and one in the DSL, rather than two at each location. That means the overall competition is higher. The Pirates will get more of an opportunity to challenge some guys who might have been too good for the DSL or GCL, but not good enough for Jamestown, or lacked a spot in the GCL.

The way I see it, the GCL now becomes the advanced DSL team. Bristol is where the advanced guys who normally would have been in the GCL will go. Jamestown will still be where the most advanced guys go, although I could see a few borderline prep guys getting held back at Bristol. It’s going to be interesting to follow.

The rosters for some of these teams will largely be filled by the draft, which takes place next week. Baseball America released their fourth mock draft. Meanwhile, MLB.com released their Top 200 Draft Prospects.

The Daily Stuff

Aside from all of the busy news, we had our daily coverage. I included a quick article on Gregory Polanco in this section, in part because it didn’t fit in the above sections, and in part because it seems like Polanco is a daily feature. Polanco is now considered a top three prospect in the game. I included a few links to opinions and reports on Polanco. He might be up in a little over a week.

**Prospect Watch: Adrian Sampson Leads a Great Night of Pitching; JaCoby Jones Grand Slam. Another huge night for Sampson, and a great night for the pitching overall. The four starters combined for an 0.73 ERA in 24.2 innings pitched.

**Minor League Schedule: Nick Kingham Continues to Improve This Year

**Prospect Highlights: Homer From Jaff Decker, Fine Defense By Indianapolis

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • emjayinTN

    Tim: A tough break for Andrew Lambo, but it sounds like he will be available sometime after the AAA All Star break. Glad to hear that Austin Meadows is starting on-field rehab, and that Stolmy Pimental is starting his rehab.

    Six days remaining until the Draft – any rumors about the PTBNL in the Ike Davis trade? Hopefully it was not open-ended based on how well Davis performed after the trade. That has been an excellent add for the Pirates and Ike Davis.

    Pirates locked up a plus .500 month going into the last game of the month tonight with a 15-13 record in May – a step in the right direction, and the team seems to be playing well since Martin returned, Harrison has become our leadoff, Walker has taken over the #2 spot, Davis/Sanchez have taken over the Cleanup spot in the order, and Marte and Alvarez were moved down in the order.

    The Gregory Polanco countdown begins tomorrow.

    • piratemike

      Are you kidding me ? The friggen countdown has been going on for about 3 years. :)
      I am so tired of all the talk at this point that I don’t care how he plays I’ll just be glad that the arguing over whether he should have started the season in Pitt. will at least die down a little ……but just a little.

      • freddylang

        Mike if he plays great people will talk about it even more and somehow invent a theory the Pirates would have won 10-12 more games with him. We all know this could be coming. Although he is probably about the equivalent of a 8 WAR or more player for a whole season of what he has done at Indy. I will be happy with a .350 obp and .400+ slug, solid defense and 10-15 SB down the stretch. I am guessing he will be in the leadoff spot because that is where he is needed most.

      • emjayinTN

        mike: It is what it is since his breakout year in 2012, but what really pushed it over the top was the MVP award in the DR Winter League. This is the course the Pirates have followed in the past and will continue into the future with their highest prospects – the league has not left them many options and we were balancing days against a lot of money down the road as a Super Two. Gregory Polanco was never the answer in 2014 – our pitching has been spotty at best, and our lineup has a tendency to disappear at times. NH’s best friend is JHAY who provided what was missing out of our RF group, and allowed that the Pirates might not have gotten anything better from bringing him up. The pitching and hitting has to get better and I hope we do not place it all at this kid’s feet to make it happen – but, it is a great situation for him to enter and make a difference. And, it is not all about GP – NH has to make some moves with Snider, Tabata, and/or Harrison.

        I noticed that he batted leadoff last night, and it would be hard to make any other move other than to put him into the lineup in place of Harrison.

  • glassers

    What’s the old saying ” if Lambo didn’t have bad luck he would have no luck at all ” . Nice kid that I would like to see make it to the majors some day .

    • freddylang

      I agree to a point but Lambo did slow down his career progression and prospect status with 2 drug suspensions in the minors.

      • glassers

        Yep some time you make your own bad luck . I saw him the day after he was cut and sent back down to the minors . He was still smiling and signing for some kids over at Pirates City . I thought to myself I don’t think I could be that cordial under the same circumstances

  • weltytowngang

    This more of a comment on this site: lot of info on Pirates Prospects and posted in one place so I don’t have to chase all over the place. Appreciate the effort and thought that goes into this and IT’S ALL ON THE PIRATES. Thank you very, very much. Great job!

    • Lee Young

      Those of us who have pretty much been ‘on this site’ since its inception, echo your comments.

      Lots of baseball team followers WISH they had a site this good.

  • Monsoon Harvard

    I’m still wondering why Casey Sadler was removed after his warm-ups yesterday.

  • freddylang

    Hey Tim…any chance Neil Walker will move back to Catcher? So glad that one is dead…or is it? Although I think he could play some 3B before it is all said and done. Thanks for the incredible coverage. I used to have to dig all this info up all over the place and still only get 40% of what you put out…and for free.

    • freddylang

      I used to frequent the Pirates official site and that corporate-spun site is basically dead to me now.

      • glassers

        Unfortunately you miss the banter on the message board then . Good discussions ( mostly) and all are welcome .

        • freddylang

          I definitely used to frequent the message board a lot. I got sick of the same old thing everyday. Guys were like old married couples. Rrit like a broken record and the other guy with the same dumb jokes. But I had a lot of great conversations to get me through freezing Ohio winters and to spring training. Now I live in Florida and near Bradenton so I don’t need those guys anymore. LOL! Plus P2. Can’t forget that!

  • R Edwards

    Another player at Altoona who will soon demand consideration for a move to Indy is Keon Broxton. Kid is 24 years old, with a lot of raw athletic ability – former 3rd round pick of the Diamondbacks I believe. He started out VERY slow this year, but no one in Altoona – including Rojas – has outhit Broxton over the past 4 weeks. I’d like to see the team move Decker to Altoona, to swap places with Broxton. Broxton has much greater upside and potential – Decker has been scuffling all season at Indy.

    • freddylang

      Few Players if any in the minors had a better May than Broxton: 1.106 OPS, .375 avg, .450 obp, 15 XBH in 30 games, .656 SLG, and throw in 6 SB. His stats would be ridiculous if he didn’t slug .146 in April.

  • R Edwards

    I would be all in favor of Altoona waiving Sample and Benedict – those two combined have cost that team a lot of wins late in games.

  • https://profiles.google.com/117072260031604417798 PikeBishop65

    I think Lambo is slated to be another Ron Wright for the Bucs. All that talent and injuries, bad timing, inopportune slumps and just plain bad karma, just makes him another “never was.”

  • Jared

    This team is extremely frustrating…extremely sloppy. The defense has evaporated…the team cannot hold a runner…cannot bunt…can’t run the bases. This major league team is not good…needs some help.