Pirates Prospects » Top Stories http://www.piratesprospects.com Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Sat, 06 Sep 2014 15:13:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Morning Report: Best OPS Doesn’t Always Equal Best Prospect http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/morning-report-best-ops-doesnt-always-equal-best-prospect.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/morning-report-best-ops-doesnt-always-equal-best-prospect.html#comments Sat, 06 Sep 2014 12:00:38 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=87737 When judging the prospect status of a player in the lower levels, OPS is one of the main tools you use, but a high OPS doesn’t always mean a player is a legit prospect and the Pirates had three examples of that this year in the GCL and with Bristol and Jamestown.

The leaders in OPS in the lower levels for the Pirates were Henrry Rosario, Danny Arribas and Kevin Krause, not exactly the names that stick out in your mind when you think of top prospects in the Pirates’ system. The OPS stat is still an important one to use, but it’s almost useless when the player has major flaws or is too old for the level.

Danny Arribas hit a career-high four homers this year.

Danny Arribas hit a career-high four homers this year.

Starting with Rosario, who put up an .862 OPS this year for the GCL Pirates and spent most of his time in center field. That was the ninth highest OPS in the league from a player at a key defensive position. On those two facts alone, one would assume that Rosario is a prospect. The problem with that is that he played in the GCL last year too and turned 21 in April. He’s also a very small player, who isn’t the best base runner(speed or SB ability) despite batting lead-off and having the range to play center field. This is the first time he has shown any success on the field, struggling during his first two seasons, split between the DSL and GCL.

Rosario is a case of an older player doing well, while getting a majority of his at-bats against younger pitchers. The GCL Pirates this year had three toolsy outfielders, Michael de la Cruz, Tito Polo and Alexis Bastardo, who all have much more projection than Rosario due to their age and skills they possess. While he had the better stats this year, that trend won’t likely continue as the players move up the ladder. There are such things as sleeper prospects and late bloomers, but due to his size and lack of standout tools, it would be tough to project Rosario to be anything more than a filler in the low levels.

The case for Bristol’s OPS leader is a little different. Danny Arribas has hit well each of the last three years, but he is about to turn 22 years old and he’s moving at a snail’s pace in the minors. Four years into his career, he’s still playing in rookie ball. Arribas has the ability to become a legit prospect if he can keep hitting for high average while playing an important position. He is mainly a catcher, but he’s athletic enough to move elsewhere, or just play multiple positions to keep his bat in the lineup when he isn’t catching.

Arribas needs to be challenged soon. If he goes to Jamestown next year and does well, it doesn’t mean much because he will still be too old for the level. Even a full season at West Virginia next year would put him behind the pace of legit prospects. So while he led Bristol with a .768 OPS, he still has a lot to prove. There is also the matter of 50 strikeouts in 160 at-bats, a very poor rate that easily ranks as the worst of his four-year career. Arribas was challenged in the Australian Baseball League last winter and he struggled in a league that would compare well to the talent you see at AA. Arribas batted .164/.254/.218 in 34 games in the ABL.

The Bristol team has some possible high upside players due to their age in Trae Arbet and Nick Buckner. They also have Pablo Reyes, who is a pure natural hitter and a year younger than Arribas. In fact, catcher Chris Harvey could have more upside, even though he went undrafted. He did well in his brief time, he is a huge kid with power potential and he is also younger than Arribas, plus he has had the potential tag attached to him for some time, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he broke out.

When you get to Jamestown and Kevin Krause, you can pretty much tell just by his draft position that he isn’t considered a better prospect than third round pick Jordan Luplow, fourth rounder Taylor Gushue, or fifth rounder Michael Suchy and that’s because Krause was a ninth round pick. Scouts will tell you that the half season they play after being drafted doesn’t change someone’s prospect status much, unless something drastic happens. So while Connor Joe didn’t play a single game, the fact that his injury(right now) isn’t a long-term concern, means he is still rated right up there with Luplow and Gushue, who were both ranked around the same place as Joe. Krause could very well end up being better than Suchy, because Suchy is considered a raw player with huge upside. If you’ve followed prospects for awhile, you know that players described that way, don’t have a huge success rate.

Getting back to Krause, you have the best prospect of this trio of OPS leaders, but he still has a lot to prove. He hit seven homers, but the fact he is a catcher, meant that his short-season experience is an even smaller sample size, so a home run barrage can really pad that OPS column. In 39 games, Krause had a .923 OPS, which was 42 points higher than the league leader, though he fell well short of the required plate appearances. The Pirates aren’t going to place Krause ahead of Taylor Gushue on the depth charts because years of scouting reports say that Gushue is the better player. There is also the matter of Krause throwing out 16% of base runners, the lowest percentage on the team and Gushue being 13 months younger than him, which gives him the better upside from an already higher starting point.

As you go further down the affiliate chain, these three OPS leaders are further away from being legit prospects. Krause is the closest and his short-season stats are a good sign, but Jamestown really isn’t a challenge for him with his experience, it was more like a continuation of his season. Arribas needs to move faster up the chain to become a prospect you watch closely and Rosario is just an extreme long shot, who should be a serviceable filler until he hits the upper levels, if he gets that far. As I said at the top, OPS is a good judge of talent, but taken out of context, it can also be a misleading indicator for future success.

Pirates Game Graph

The Pirates game against the Cubs was suspended in the seventh inning with the score tied 3-3.


Source: FanGraphs

Playoff Push

Pittsburgh: The Pirates are five games behind St. Louis for the NL Central lead and two games behind Milwaukee for the second Wild Card spot. They are five games behind San Francisco for the first spot.

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes:  The Pirates will finish up yesterday’s game before they play today’s regularly scheduled contest. Friday’s game was suspended in the seventh inning with the scored tied at three runs apiece. Francisco Liriano has faced the Cubs twice this year, throwing six shutout innings on Opening Day and three innings on June 10th before leaving with an oblique strain that landed him on the disabled list. The minor league season is over. Bradenton was the only affiliate to make the playoffs. They lost their series Wednesday night. You can read the DSL season recap here complete with scouting reports for each player and the top ten players to watch list can be found here. We will post other season recaps soon.

MLB: Pittsburgh (71-68) @ Cubs (64-76) 3:00 PM DH
Probable starter: Francisco Liriano (3.91 ERA, 140:63 K/BB, 131.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (73-71)

AA: Altoona (61-81)

High-A: Bradenton (78-61)

Low-A: West Virginia (54-81)

Short-Season A: Jamestown (35-40)

RK: Bristol (22-46)

GCL: Pirates (20-40)

DSL: Pirates (34-36)

Highlights

With the minor league season over, it’s time to take a look back at some recent video from the GCL, which we will continue to do over the next few days. All videos are courtesy of the GCL Pirates fan page. Below is a video of Henrry Rosario hitting a home run. It was one of three homers he hit this season.

Recent Transactions

9/2: Pirates recall Gregory Polanco, Jeff Locke, John Holdzkom, Casey Sadler and Bobby LaFromboise.

9/2: Chase d’Arnaud added to 40-man roster and promoted to Pittsburgh. Michael Martinez designated for assignment.

9/1: Pirates recall Gerrit Cole and Tony Sanchez. Stolmy Pimentel activated from the disabled list

9/1: Pirates designate Chris McGuiness for assignment. John Holdzkom added to 40-man roster.

8/30: Brent Morel promoted to Pittsburgh. Jeff Locke sent to Indianapolis.

8/30: Blake Davis activated from disabled list.

This Date in Pirates History

Nine former Pittsburgh Pirates players have been born on this date, including a player that was replaced by a future Hall of Famer, before replacing another future Hall of Famer himself. Tommy Thevenow played six seasons for the Pirates, spending time at shortstop, second base and third base. He started at shortstop before being replaced by a rookie named Arky Vaughan, moving Thevenow over to second base. A couple years later, Thevenow replaced aging Pie Traynor at third base. During his Pirates career, Thevenow hit .251 over 499 games. He hit two homers during his 15-year career and both of those homers came within five days of each other and both were inside-the-park homers. You can read the bio for Thevenow and the other eight players here.

Also included in that link is a recap from the 1960 season, when the Pirates lost their MVP due to a hit-by-pitch, but still managed to pull off a win and remain in first place the rest of the season.

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First Pitch: Why You Never Really Give Up On Prospects http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/first-pitch-why-you-never-really-give-up-on-prospects.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/first-pitch-why-you-never-really-give-up-on-prospects.html#comments Sat, 06 Sep 2014 05:14:50 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=87736 There are a lot of stories in the minor leagues that are pretty standard. You’ll have guys like Gerrit Cole who are drafted as top prospects, perform well in their minor league careers, and go on to become big leaguers, as expected. There will be some surprise breakout prospects like Gregory Polanco and Tyler Glasnow, where the individual performances are a bit of a surprise, but the overall strategy of “find enough talented players and 1-2 of them will break out” is expected.

My favorite story when it comes to covering prospects is when a player goes from being a non-prospect to someone who makes the majors. It’s a rare story that doesn’t come along every year, but when it does come along, it’s a great thing to follow. We’re seeing the latest version with John Holdzkom.

Earlier today I linked to a story by J.J. Cooper about the path Holdzkom took to the big leagues. We’re at a point right now where we don’t really know what Holdzkom could be. Maybe he will be an elite reliever and one of the best scouting stories you’ve ever heard of. Maybe he will be good enough to help the Pirates’ bullpen this year, but only your average middle reliever going forward. Maybe the three strikeout inning performance in his debut will be the pinnacle of his career, and he will fail to match that going forward. No matter what happens, the fact that he reached the majors is incredible.

The thing I liked the most from Cooper’s article is that Holdzkom fixed his control issues with a simple change in his grip. Rather than putting both fingers on the seams of the ball, he moved them closer together, and it immediately led to improved control. I’d say that this is a reminder that every player is just a simple adjustment away from being a legitimate prospect, but that would over-simplify the issue. It’s never easy to find that adjustment. Some players can never make it. Some scouts and coaches can never find it.

Just look at Holdzkom. He spent five years with the Mets, a season with the Reds, and was with three indy ball teams in the last two years. That doesn’t count high school and his time at Salt Lake Community College. You think about all of the coaches he had watching him, and no one made that simple switch until this year. The fact that this adjustment came in indy ball made the story that much better.

This is why teams give prospects extended chances. It’s why you see countless waiver claims, minor league free agent signings, and other moves that will amount to nothing the majority of the time. Those moves always generate two types of responses. Either they are ignored completely, or they result in misplaced outrage in the form of “the Pirates have a need in the majors and instead they’re signing this guy.” In Holdzkom’s case, the reaction was that he was ignored. Between the article that announced he was signed, the article about his promotion to Indianapolis, and all of the Tweets from my account and the site account, there were no responses to the Holdzkom signing.

These moves are usually meaningless, but you make those types of moves hoping that you’ll eventually land a guy like Holdzkom. In an example that isn’t so extreme, this is also why you continue giving starting time to guys like Alex Presley, Elias Diaz, Andrew Lambo, Mel Rojas, Keon Broxton, and many other players who have struggled a few seasons, looked to be career minor leaguers, then revived themselves as prospects. Even if there’s a small chance that they turn things around, you take that chance when there’s no risk involved and no downside if the player doesn’t work out.

Links and Notes

**Links: The Amazing John Holdzkom Story, and a Guide to Scouting

**Carlos Munoz Named to the GCL All-Star Team

**Pirates Still in Playoff Picture, Thanks to Horrible Second NL Wild Card Race

**Austin Meadows Was Impressive in His Short Time With West Virginia

**Morning Report: Minor League Depth at Second Base

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Links: The Amazing John Holdzkom Story, and a Guide to Scouting http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/links-the-amazing-john-holdzkom-story-and-a-guide-to-scouting.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/links-the-amazing-john-holdzkom-story-and-a-guide-to-scouting.html#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 17:46:16 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=87732 The Pittsburgh Pirates are about to take on the Chicago Cubs this afternoon, opening a series where they hope to turn things around and capitalize on the recent slide by Milwaukee and the .500 play by Atlanta. While you wait for the opening game of the series, here are some interesting links to check out.

**J.J. Cooper wrote an amazing article at Baseball America about how John Holdzkom went from indy ball to the big leagues. Cooper talks about some of the changes that led to the tall right-hander fixing his control issues, while also detailing how the Pirates noticed him. It’s a great read if you want to learn more about one of the Pirates’ newest relievers.

**Kiley McDaniel has a great guide to scouting over at FanGraphs, along with some handy charts that show you the qualifications for the 20-80 scale. Wondering what constitutes a “plus-plus” fastball? What a runner has to get for 80 speed? Or what about overall player grades? All of this is in there, along with some good explanations on the process.

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Pirates Still in Playoff Picture, Thanks to Horrible Second NL Wild Card Race http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/pirates-still-in-playoff-picture-thanks-to-horrible-second-nl-wild-card-race.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/pirates-still-in-playoff-picture-thanks-to-horrible-second-nl-wild-card-race.html#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 16:21:57 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=87720 The Pittsburgh Pirates lost a huge series this week, getting swept by the St. Louis Cardinals. As a result, they dropped in the projected standings, and are currently last in the projected contenders list below. The good news is that Milwaukee is riding a nine game losing streak, and the Braves have been playing .500 ball for quite some time. So while the Pirates were hurt by this last week, they certainly aren’t out of the race.

The playoff odds and projections come from the top three projection sites: Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs and ClayDavenport.com. Here are the latest projections.

Baseball Prospectus: 82.9 wins, 21.4% chance to make playoffs

The Baseball Prospectus odds dropped about 10%. BP is the lowest on the Pirates right now, as they’re the only projection system of the three that has them below 30%. The Pirates need to pick up two wins in the BP projections to take the second Wild Card spot.

FanGraphs: 83.2 wins, 31.1% chance to make playoffs

FanGraphs has the Pirates with the best odds to make the post-season, which makes this the first time that I can remember that a projection likes the Pirates more than the projections from Clay Davenport. The Pirates are still ranked last of the contenders here, but only need one win for the projected second Wild Card spot.

Clay Davenport: 83.3 wins, 30.6% chance to make playoffs

Clay Davenport is similar to FanGraphs, in that the Pirates only need one more projected win for the second Wild Card spot.

The Competition

Here are the rankings of the NL contenders. To get “contender” status, a team must have a 15% or better to make the playoffs in all three projection systems.

  Team Odds W L

1

Nationals

99.9

93

69

2

Dodgers

99.3

91

71

3

Cardinals

94.5

89

73

4

Giants

90.3

88

74

5

Brewers

44.5

84

78

6

Braves

42.6

84

78

7

Pirates

27.7

83

79

The Pirates dropped from sixth to seventh this week. They are one win in the projected standings behind the Brewers and the Braves. The second Wild Card spot is currently projected to be decided at 84 wins. That’s why the Pirates still have a shot here. They have been struggling recently, but so have the Brewers and the Braves. The Pirates have an easy schedule coming up against the Cubs, Phillies, and Red Sox. They need to take advantage of this schedule to try and make up ground on those other teams, while hoping that the free-fall continues in Milwaukee. At this point it’s looking like the only playoff hopes for the Pirates will be as the second Wild Card team.

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Austin Meadows Was Impressive in His Short Time With West Virginia http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/austin-meadows-was-impressive-in-his-short-time-with-west-virginia.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/austin-meadows-was-impressive-in-his-short-time-with-west-virginia.html#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 14:59:52 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=87699 Austin Meadows progressed well in the short time he has had in Low-A West Virginia.

A week before Spring Training, Meadows hurt his hamstring while working on his base running. Coupled with a setback to the injury in May, this injury caused Meadows to miss the first three months of the season. With the influx of outfield talent in the Pirates system, the organization took the opportunity to be patient with Meadows, and allow his injury to heal completely. He was appreciative that the Pirates never rushed him to get back onto the field.

“I’m just glad they were really patient about it, rather than coming back too soon and possibly tear it again or something like that,” Meadows said, regarding his injury. “Even though it happened a second time when I was rehabbing. I’m glad they were patient with it, and I’m here now.”

Meadows had a good season in his limited time in West Virginia, posting a slash line of .322/.388/.522 in only 165 plate appearances and showed glimpses of his power potential during his shortened campaign, compiling 19 extra base hits (16 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs). At 6’3’’, 200 pounds, he is a big, athletic player who should hit for more power as he continues to get stronger and more experienced.

Meadows’ showed solid plate discipline skills, with 14 walks, and a 19% strikeout rate. West Virginia Manager Michael Ryan was impressed with his advanced approach at the plate at such a young age.

“His patience at the plate, his hitting approach, is beyond his years,” Ryan said. “It’s not a Low-A approach. One at-bat he’ll go up and sit off-speed, the next one he’ll turn on a fastball. The next time he’ll draw a walk. Just the way he sees the ball is better than what other guys do here.”

According to Ryan, sometimes Meadows can be too patient, taking pitches “right down the middle almost” at times. Ryan wants Meadows to continue to work on his aggressiveness at the plate, and that will lead to even more success.

Meadows realizes the importance of not falling behind in counts, and not taking too many hittable pitches.

“A lot of these pitchers have a lot of good off-speed stuff to get you out, with pitches in the dirt or where ever it is. So I just [need] to be aggressive.”

Defensively, Meadows has performed well in center field, according to Ryan. Ryan believes that Meadows can stick in center field going forward despite his size, because of his athletic ability.

“He can play center, no question,” Ryan said. “He covers a lot of ground; he runs very well for a guy his size. What I was mostly surprised with was how well he could run. If the organization decides to move him to a corner outfield spot, he’ll be just as good there. I think knowing how to play all three is just going to be a bonus for him. [But] he can play center, and he does it pretty well.”

The Pirates might not need him in center field in the long-term, since their system has a lot of center field options, including three currently in the majors.

Now that the West Virginia season is concluded, the plan for Meadows is to head to the Instructional League and continue to get more at bats.

“Just getting out there and getting as many at bats as I can, especially this year facing a lot of adversity with the hamstring injury and not really getting a lot of at bats. Play as many games as I can in instructs and finish this year off strong and start off next year fresh.”

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Morning Report: Minor League Depth at Second Base http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/morning-report-minor-league-depth-at-second-base.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/morning-report-minor-league-depth-at-second-base.html#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 12:00:28 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=87693 Today is the 78th birthday of Pittsburgh Pirates’ legendary second baseman Bill Mazeroski, so what better day to take a quick look at the depth at second base in the Pirates’ system. As a side note, you can read a bio of Mazeroski here, which was posted two years ago today on the blog site.

The depth at second base obviously starts with Alen Hanson, who is the only top prospect among second baseman in the system right now. He’s only been depth at second base since early August when he made the move over from shortstop. Hanson will need some time to get used to the position, which will happen in Winter ball and next year at Indianapolis. His bat and base running will be good enough that he should be an above average player at the top of the Pirates lineup, even if his defense is subpar.

Hanson is the top prospect at 2B, but there are other possibilities for the position (Photo credit: David Hague)

Hanson is the top prospect at 2B, but there are other possibilities for the position (Photo credit: David Hague)

After Hanson, you get a bunch of names that have potential to reach the Majors, but none of them are legit prospects yet. The best defensive second baseman is Gift Ngoepe, who also provides excellent defense at shortstop. Ngoepe was hitting early in the year at Altoona, but the numbers really dropped off in the second half. He can add value with his glove and speed, but there is a chance he won’t hit enough to make the Majors. At 24, he posted a .699 OPS this year, but he had an .871 on May 1st. After that date, he had a .661 OPS, with 113 strikeouts in 362 at-bats. His potential seems like a possible back-up middle infielder, late-inning defensive replacement/pinch-runner.

When you go down to Bradenton, you have Max Moroff, who struggled at the plate, but he was young for the level. We saw yesterday that Jose Osuna didn’t do so well at a young age last year at Bradenton, then had a strong season repeating the level this year. If Moroff can bounce back next year, then he will be back on track to be a prospect. Bradenton might run into some trouble for playing time with JaCoby Jones and Erich Weiss making the move there next year, which would cover Moroff’s two positions. It doesn’t seem like he did enough to move to Altoona, so something will have to give.

Bradenton also had Adam Frazier, who played the entire season at shortstop. He has played second base in the recent past and he made 36 errors at shortstop, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him play second base again in the future. He really didn’t hit well this year, but he will be 23 next year and as pointed out with Moroff, there already looks like a logjam at Bradenton, so expect Frazier to move up. He had a great June, posting a .355 average and .824 OPS. The other four months were disasters at the plate.

We covered Weiss here the other day, saying he looks like a solid all-around player, but limited upside due to his age and overall performance at a low level. Weiss is actually 13 months older than Hanson and 20 months older than Moroff. Defensively he looked good at second base, he has average speed and drew some walks, while hitting for average. On the flip side, he had a high strikeout total and didn’t hit for any power, plus he doesn’t have any tools that stand out other than baseball smarts.

If you go down to the lower levels, there are three players to watch. Pablo Reyes at Bristol, Sam Kennelly in the GCL and Raul Siri in the DSL. Reyes and Siri are both pure hitters that make solid contact, with plenty of upside possible from their bat. Siri has better speed and defense, while Reyes looked good two levels higher. Kennelly was signed as a shortstop, but saw very little time there this year. He’s played all four infield positions, spending most of his time this year at second base. Kennelly is just 18 years old and he put up a better OPS than first round pick Cole Tucker this year at the same level. He made good contact in his first year as a pro, striking out once every 7.2 plate appearances.

The depth is basically Hanson, with some marginal players in full-season ball, then you get three players with upside at the lower levels, but none of them are top prospects yet. You could also throw in JaCoby Jones as a possibility if he can’t stick at shortstop, because he has played second base in the past with success. The hope is that Hanson holds the position down in the future and you develop at least one top prospect among the rest. Even if there isn’t room for them in the Majors, you have a strong trade piece for the future.

Pirates Game Graph

The Pirates were off on Thursday

Playoff Push

Pittsburgh: The Pirates are 5.5 games behind St. Louis for the NL Central lead and 1.5 games behind both Atlanta and Milwaukee for the second Wild Card spot. They are 4.5 games behind San Francisco for the first spot.

Bradenton: The Marauders lost their best-of-three series against Fort Myers on Wednesday night.

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes:  The Pirates were off yesterday. They begin a three game road series against the Cubs this afternoon with Vance Worley on the mound. He faced the Cubs once this year, back on June 21st at Wrigley. Worley picked up the victory by allowing three runs on five hits and a walk over 6.2 innings. The minor league season is over. Bradenton was the only affiliate to make the playoffs. They lost their series Wednesday night. You can read the DSL season recap here complete with scouting reports for each player and the top ten players to watch list can be found here. We will post other season recaps soon.

MLB: Pittsburgh (71-68) @ Cubs (64-76) 2:20 PM
Probable starter: Vance Worley (3.01 ERA, 60:16 K/BB, 86.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (73-71)

AA: Altoona (61-81)

High-A: Bradenton (78-61)

Low-A: West Virginia (54-81)

Short-Season A: Jamestown (35-40)

RK: Bristol (22-46)

GCL: Pirates (20-40)

DSL: Pirates (34-36)

Highlights

With the minor league season over, it’s time to take a look back at some recent video from the GCL, which we will continue to do over the next few days. All videos are courtesy of the GCL Pirates fan page. Below is a video of Sam Kennelly, who we talked about above in the second base depth. He had a .284/.388/.343 slash line in 30 games this year.

Recent Transactions

9/2: Pirates recall Gregory Polanco, Jeff Locke, John Holdzkom, Casey Sadler and Bobby LaFromboise.

9/2: Chase d’Arnaud added to 40-man roster and promoted to Pittsburgh. Michael Martinez designated for assignment.

9/1: Pirates recall Gerrit Cole and Tony Sanchez. Stolmy Pimentel activated from the disabled list

9/1: Pirates designate Chris McGuiness for assignment. John Holdzkom added to 40-man roster.

8/30: Brent Morel promoted to Pittsburgh. Jeff Locke sent to Indianapolis.

8/30: Blake Davis activated from disabled list.

8/29: Stolmy Pimentel assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

8/29: Tommy Field sent outright to Indianapolis.

8/29: Andrew Lambo promoted to Pirates. Gerrit Cole sent to Bristol.

This Date in Pirates History

Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players have been born on this date, including Bill Mazeroski, whose bio can be found at the top of this article. Also born on this date, pitcher Lefty Leifield, who played eight seasons for the Pirates. His first Pirates claim to fame was his start on September 26,1906 against the Phillies, which resulted in the first no-hitter in team history. The second claim to fame was being a major part of the 1909 Pirates, the first World Series winners in franchise history. Leifield had 109 wins with the Pirates and owns the best ERA(2.38) for any pitcher with more than 1250 innings for the team.

Also included in today’s history is a game recap from the 1990 season, when the Pirates tried to overcome recent struggles against a Mets team that had won two NL East titles in the previous four seasons. You can find that recap, along with the four bios(including Leifield) all in this link here.

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First Pitch: The Lack of Moves Isn’t the Big Problem It’s Made Out to Be http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/first-pitch-the-lack-of-moves-isnt-the-big-problem-its-made-out-to-be.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/first-pitch-the-lack-of-moves-isnt-the-big-problem-its-made-out-to-be.html#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 05:42:21 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=87696 The Pittsburgh Pirates did nothing to upgrade their team this year. That’s the reason they’re not currently in line for the playoffs, and why they might not make the playoffs. Or at least that’s what I’ve been hearing.

I heard it during the off-season, when it was said that they weren’t going to be contenders this year because they didn’t make any additions to the team. It was repeated constantly the first two months of the season when they didn’t bring up Gregory Polanco right away. Then it came back up over the trade deadline, and once again at the new deadline in August.

The argument is extremely lazy, assuming that everything wrong with the Pirates is because they didn’t add Player X. It over-estimates the value of one player, and assumes that a team’s fortunes can be determined by one player. It’s also an evolving argument that forgets how things actually played out, and forgets that the Pirates’ problems weren’t due to a lack of moves. Let’s take a look at each time frame, and see if adding a player would have fixed the issues for the Pirates.

The Off-Season

The Needs: The Pirates were coming off a season where they had great pitching and a league average offense at best, leading to 94 wins and a playoff spot. The bullpen was expected to be strong again. The perceived needs were in the rotation and the offense. The specific moves were an addition at first base, and bringing back A.J. Burnett. The Pirates ended up signing Edinson Volquez, making a minor trade for Vance Worley, a few other minor moves that didn’t help as much, and traded for Ike Davis a few weeks into the season.

The Rotation Results: Volquez and Worley have been the best starters in the rotation this year from a results standpoint, with a 3.31 and 3.01 ERA, respectively. Meanwhile, A.J. Burnett has been pitching through an injury, and has a 4.40 ERA on the season. The advanced metrics say that all three pitchers should be in the league average range going forward. But so far, the Pirates would have been worse off if they would have gone for Burnett over Volquez. You can go the hindsight route and say they should have added both, but that ignores the real problem. The guys who were expected to do well — Francisco Liriano and Gerrit Cole — haven’t done well. Liriano has turned things around lately, but for most of the year these two haven’t lived up to expectations. The Pirates made some good moves in the off-season, and dodged a bullet with the aging Burnett. But those moves are hidden by the fact that the guys already in place have struggled.

The Bullpen Results: The bullpen has been the biggest issue this year, a year after they were automatic. The Pirates have seen Jason Grilli and Bryan Morris struggle, only to go elsewhere and be lights out. Other players who performed last year, such as Jeanmar Gomez and Justin Wilson, have also struggled this year. Mark Melancon and Tony Watson have been two of the best relievers in the game this year. Jared Hughes has posted good numbers for a middle reliever. Once again, the guys who did well last year, and who were expected to do well this year, haven’t done well. Making matters worse, two of those players immediately had success elsewhere, while the Pirates haven’t been able to get one of their signature bullpen reclamation projects going (although I am looking forward to seeing what John Holdzkom can do after following his progress with Indianapolis this year).

The Offense Results: The Pirates ended up adding Ike Davis a few weeks into the season. Davis hasn’t been the best addition, but it might not matter. They have one of the top offenses in the NL this year, with a .321 wOBA that ranks second behind Colorado, and a 105 wRC+ that ranks first, tied with the Dodgers. A big reason for this is due to the guys already on the roster, like Russell Martin, Josh Harrison, and the MVP, Andrew McCutchen. Not everyone has played up to expectations (Pedro Alvarez, for example), but this is a case where a lot of things were going right.

The Verdict: Pirates fans would have been happy in the off-season if the Pirates spent money on Burnett, rather than Volquez, and if they would have added a first baseman (which they eventually did). The pitching swap would have made them worse, while the offense turned out to be fine. The Pirates aren’t in this situation because of a lack of off-season moves, unless you want to look back in hindsight and say they should have done something to prevent their situation in the bullpen and with their top two starters.

Gregory Polanco and the First Two Months

The Need: Polanco was destroying Triple-A pitching during the month of April. Meanwhile, the Pirates offense was struggling. Andrew McCutchen started slow the first two weeks. Neil Walker, Jordy Mercer, Starling Marte, and Russell Martin were all struggling offensively. The Pirates were coming off a season where they had an average offense at best. You could have expected some of these players to rebound, but the expectation that the Pirates wouldn’t have a top offense was totally justified. Travis Snider and Jose Tabata were also struggling, which led to the hope that Polanco could come up early and help the Pirates, even if that meant the potential for a $10-15 M raise down the line.

The Results: Snider and Tabata continued their struggles in right field, which led to Josh Harrison getting regular playing time, and beginning his breakout season. It’s possible that Harrison could have broken out even if Polanco came up in May. But the fact is that the Pirates didn’t need Polanco in May because of Harrison. And now they’ve turned into the top offense in the NL. That doesn’t include production from Polanco, who has struggled since coming up.

The Verdict: I still think Polanco is going to be a star. He just hasn’t made a seamless jump to the majors, which is not uncommon. That’s what the Super Two argument was all about — not wanting to pay a massive amount for a guy who could be a star in the long-term, all to get an extra month of production when he’s going to be at his least productive state in the short-term. It’s easy to look back and realize this was the case now. But at the time — when clouded by expectations that the Pirates would struggle offensively, and while watching Polanco tearing up in Indianapolis — it was easy to believe that he was the answer.

The Trade Deadline(s)

The Need: At this point the Pirates knew about their bullpen issues. They knew that they could use a starting pitcher, since Liriano and Cole had been unreliable. They knew that the offense was fine and no longer an issue. So the task was simple: add pitching.

The Results: The Pirates added Ernesto Frieri in a swap for Jason Grilli, hoping that Frieri would bounce back with a change of scenery. It ended up that Grilli was the one who bounced back. They added John Axford in a waiver claim. Francisco Liriano returned and was much better than he was in the first part of the season. Gerrit Cole returned, but has been about the same. Jeff Locke has struggled in the second half, while Charlie Morton went down with an injury. Meanwhile, the Pirates tried to make a move at the deadline, offering up prospects, but the two teams trading top starters — the Rays and Red Sox — were looking for MLB talent. It was a rare case where a team willing to part with top prospects didn’t have the inside track to any player they wanted.

The Verdict: This is where we look at what trading for a player actually does for a team. Oakland and Detroit added the top starting pitchers. Oakland added Jeff Samardzija in early July, then traded for Jon Lester at the deadline. The moves made them a favorite in the American League. But the results haven’t worked in their favor. They had a .621 winning percentage before the first move. They have a .481 winning percentage since the Samardzija trade, and a 13-19 record since their busy deadline.

Detroit traded for David Price. They had a .552 winning percentage before that. Since the move, they have a .529 winning percentage. Meanwhile, Price has a 3.86 ERA in his time with Detroit, although his 2.94 xFIP suggests he’ll be better going forward. Those are two cases where a team made a big splash, and saw their results go south after the move. This doesn’t mean that adding a player will actually hurt your team. That would be ridiculous. For the meaning, let’s look at the next team.

The Cardinals added Justin Masterson and John Lackey at the deadline. They had a .533 winning percentage before the deadline. They have had a .594 winning percentage since the trades. Meanwhile, Masterson has performed poorly, and has been removed from the rotation. Lackey has performed the same as the guy they traded away to get him, Joe Kelly.

It’s almost like the results of 1-2 roster moves (or a lack of those moves) don’t determine the results of a team of 25 players.

You can analyze the moves that a team did, or didn’t make at the deadline or in the off-season. But that’s a small piece of the puzzle. The Pirates didn’t make the moves that people wanted in the off-season. The offense that they had improved, the pitchers they added have helped this year, and the pitching they had largely struggled. They tried to add pitching at the deadline, but the teams trading starting pitching wanted MLB help.

It’s easy to be frustrated over the lack of moves. And maybe that added to a percentage of the problem. But ignoring everything else that has happened ignores a much larger percentage. It’s much more difficult to be upset over the fact that the Pirates made two great moves to add starting pitching over the off-season, but then saw their best pitchers from the 2013 season struggle in 2014. Not only is it hard to fit that in a Tweet, but you also don’t get the clear satisfaction of assigning blame, because you’re not sure whether to blame the players, blame the management for not anticipating this, or just realize that sometimes things don’t go as planned, and not every situation needs someone to blame.

Overall, the lack of moves are a convenient thing to complain about. But that’s not the problem with the Pirates. The problem is much more complex, looking at all of the little things that have gone wrong this season, whether that’s from a transaction standpoint, a managerial standpoint, or just players playing below their expectations. Despite all of the things that have gone wrong, and despite the lack of major moves, the Pirates currently sit 1.5 games out of the Wild Card race, with an easy schedule coming up. They can still make the playoffs. I don’t think they’re in a good position to advance in the playoffs, but no single move would have changed that.

Links and Notes

**Josh Bell is the Pirates Prospects 2014 Minor League Player of the Year

**Tyler Glasnow is the Pirates Prospects 2014 Minor League Pitcher of the Year

**Morning Report: Jose Osuna Quietly Had a Strong Second Half

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Josh Bell is the Pirates Prospects 2014 Minor League Player of the Year http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/josh-bell-is-the-pirates-prospects-2014-minor-league-player-of-the-year.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/josh-bell-is-the-pirates-prospects-2014-minor-league-player-of-the-year.html#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 16:39:50 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=87680 The Pittsburgh Pirates had several top candidates for the 2014 Minor League Player of the Year award. The race ultimately came down to three players, with Josh Bell, JaCoby Jones, and Keon Broxton putting up the best numbers out of all of the full-season players. In the end, Bell was chosen as the Pirates Prospects 2014 Minor League Player of the Year, making this the fourth year in a row that an outfielder has won the award.

The decision to go with Bell over Jones and Broxton was made with the decision to put less weight on Bell’s Double-A numbers. Bell had a .335/.384/.502 line in 363 plate appearances with Bradenton, putting up better numbers at his original level than Broxton and Jones did at their levels. He eventually moved up to Altoona, where he had a .287/.343/.309 line in 102 plate appearances. The average and OBP were fine, but the power dropped in his initial run through the new level.

While Bell was challenged with a new level, Broxton and Jones got to stay at the same level all year. That led to a huge finish to the season for each player, which came after they established they could hit at the level. Even with that advantage, and even with Bell’s struggles at a new level, they were only slightly ahead of him as far as basic numbers. Bell had an .834 OPS in 465 plate appearances, while Broxton was at .853 in 471 plate appearances and Jones was at .851 in 501 plate appearances.

The advanced metrics show that Bell was ahead of those two, even with his jump to Altoona. He posted a .382 wOBA and a 138 wRC+. Jones was right behind him, with a .381 wOBA and a 134 wRC+. Broxton was up there with a .377 wOBA and a 134 wRC+.

The age and experience factor also worked to Bell’s benefit. This was his age 21 season, and his first at the High-A level. This was Broxton’s age 24 season, and his second run through the Double-A level. Jones is 22, and played in a major college program at LSU for three years, which is about the equivalent of what he saw in Low-A. Bell’s age and lack of experience at his two levels this year make his numbers even more impressive.

When he was drafted, Bell was projected to be a guy who could eventually hit for plus average from both sides of the plate, and plus power from both sides of the plate. The sky was seen to be the limit, with the potential for a .300 average and 25-30 homers a year. Bell made some great strides in Bradenton this year, showing improvements with his ability to hit for average and hit against left-handers. He also displayed some solid power, mostly in the form of gap power, but also some power that will translate better in a league that isn’t so pitcher friendly. His struggles in the power department in 102 plate appearances in Double-A don’t raise many concerns, since it’s common for a hitter to struggle initially when making that jump.

Bell looks to be a big part of the future for the Pirates. He won’t fit in the outfield plans in the long-term, which is why the Pirates are moving him to first base in the Arizona Fall League this off-season. He should carry that over to next year, where he will likely start the season back in Altoona. If he has success in the AFL this off-season, and carries that success over to the season next year like Gregory Polanco did this year, then he could work his way to the majors by the end of the year. A more conservative timeline has him taking over as the starting first baseman in 2016.

Josh Bell is the Pirates Prospects 2014 Minor League Player of the Year. (Photo credit: David Hague)

Josh Bell is the Pirates Prospects 2014 Minor League Player of the Year. (Photo credit: David Hague)

Below you will find our Minor League Players of the Year for each level in the farm system, our previous overall award winners, and the 2014 monthly awards.

Previous Pirates Prospects Minor League Players of the Year

2013 – Andrew Lambo

2012 - Gregory Polanco

2011 - Starling Marte

2014 Pirates Prospects Minor League Players of the Year By Level

Indianapolis – Gregory Polanco, OF (.328/.390/.504, 7 HR, 305 PA)

Altoona – Keon Broxton, OF (.275/.369/.484, 15 HR, 471 PA)

Bradenton – Josh Bell, OF (.325/.375/.459, 9 HR, 465 PA)

West Virginia – JaCoby Jones, SS (.288/.347/.503, 23 HR, 501 PA)

Jamestown – Chase Simpson, 3B (.286/.369/.481, 7 HR, 224 PA)

Bristol – Jerrick Suiter, 1B/OF (.279/.403/.358, 1 HR, 238 PA)

GCL Pirates – Tito Polo, OF (.291/.374/.475, 3 HR, 186 PA)

2014 Pirates Prospects Player of the Month Awards

April

Overall - Gregory Polanco

Indianapolis – Gregory Polanco

Altoona – Stetson Allie

Bradenton – Josh Bell

West Virginia – Erich Weiss

May

Overall - Keon Broxton

Indianapolis – Chris Dickerson

Altoona – Keon Broxton

Bradenton – Josh Bell

West Virginia – JaCoby Jones

June

Overall - Josh Bell

Indianapolis – Chris Dickerson

Altoona – Willy Garcia

Bradenton – Josh Bell

West Virginia – Harold Ramirez

July

Overall - JaCoby Jones

Indianapolis – Tony Sanchez

Altoona – Keon Broxton

Bradenton – Jose Osuna

West Virginia – JaCoby Jones

Jamestown – Kevin Krause

Bristol – Enyel Vallejo

GCL Pirates – Carlos Munoz

August

Overall - Keon Broxton

Indianapolis – Andrew Lambo

Altoona – Keon Broxton

Bradenton – Jose Osuna

West Virginia – Austin Meadows

Jamestown – Chase Simpson

Bristol – Danny Arribas

GCL Pirates – Henrry Rosario

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Tyler Glasnow is the Pirates Prospects 2014 Minor League Pitcher of the Year http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/tyler-glasnow-is-the-pirates-prospects-2014-minor-league-pitcher-of-the-year.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/tyler-glasnow-is-the-pirates-prospects-2014-minor-league-pitcher-of-the-year.html#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 15:15:05 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=87632 For the second year in a row, Tyler Glasnow has been named the Pirates Prospects Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Glasnow won last year after dominating the South Atlantic League with a 2.18 ERA and a 164:61 K/BB ratio in 111.1 innings. His numbers didn’t see much of a drop in his move up to High-A this year, with a 1.74 ERA in 124.1 innings, along with a 157:57 K/BB ratio.

Glasnow saw a slight decline in his strikeout rate, going from 36.3% last year to 31.9%. The latter number is still amazing, ranking sixth among 676 qualified pitchers in the minor leagues this season. It was also the best mark in the Pirates’ system, excluding guys who didn’t have many innings. The only player who exceeded that amount, and had a decent amount of innings, was 2014 draft pick John Sever, who had a 37.7% strikeout rate in 40.2 innings in Bristol. Sever was named our Pitcher of the Year in Bristol.

The strikeouts were encouraging once again, but the best sign was the decline in walks. On the season, Glasnow only saw a slight drop, going from a 13.5% walk rate in 2013 to an 11.6% walk rate in 2014. Those numbers improved as the season went on, as seen in the table below.

Month K% BB%
April/May

27.2

16.2

June

29.3

14.1

July

33.1

7.4

August

37.2

8.8

By the end of the season, Glasnow was putting up amazing strikeout numbers, along with respectable walk numbers. To put the walk numbers in perspective, 7.7% is the league average in the majors this season, while 20.3% is the average strikeout rate. If Glasnow can just put up league average walk numbers to go with his amazing strikeout numbers, then he’ll continue putting up video game numbers with his overall results.

From a development standpoint, Glasnow made some big strides with the changeup, getting more comfortable with the pitch and developing it to where it was an average offering. The changeup, combined with his improved control, makes it more likely that he could eventually be a top of the rotation starter in the majors. He’s going to have to work on his composure in games, avoiding a big inning, or avoiding a big inning turning into multiple big innings. That’s something that will come with more challenging competition, as it is clear that Glasnow didn’t see much of a challenge the last two years in A-ball. Now that his control has improved, and his changeup has developed, he can focus on the in-game skills. That work should begin in the off-season, as Glasnow will be heading to the Arizona Fall League to pitch for the Scottsdale Scorpions.

Tyler Glasnow is the Pirates Prospects Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the second year in a row.

Tyler Glasnow is the Pirates Prospects Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the second year in a row.

Below you will find our Minor League Pitchers of the Year for each level in the farm system, our previous overall award winners, and the 2014 monthly awards.

Previous Pirates Prospects Minor League Pitchers of the Year

2013 – Tyler Glasnow

2012 – Jeff Locke

2011 – Kyle McPherson

2014 Pirates Prospects Minor League Pitchers of the Year By Level

Indianapolis – Casey Sadler, RHP (3.03 ERA, 124.2 IP, 77:24 K/BB)

Altoona – Adrian Sampson, RHP (2.55 ERA, 148 IP, 99:30 K/BB)

Bradenton – Tyler Glasnow, RHP (1.74 ERA, 124.1 IP, 157:57 K/BB)

West Virginia – Buddy Borden, RHP (3.16 ERA, 128 IP, 122:48 K/BB)

Jamestown – Montana DuRapau, RHP (2.21 ERA, 61 IP, 57:8 K/BB)

Bristol – John Sever, LHP (1.33 ERA, 40.2 IP, 63:17 K/BB)

GCL Pirates – Mitch Keller, RHP (1.98 ERA, 27.1 IP, 29:13 K/BB)

2014 Pirates Prospects Pitcher of the Month Awards

April

Overall - Casey Sadler

Indianapolis – Casey Sadler

Altoona – Adrian Sampson

Bradenton – Pat Ludwig

West Virginia – Buddy Borden

May

Overall - Adrian Sampson

Indianapolis – Jake Brigham

Altoona – Adrian Sampson

Bradenton – Orlando Castro

West Virginia – Shane Carle

June

Overall - Nick Kingham

Indianapolis – Nick Kingham

Altoona – Joely Rodriguez

Bradenton – Tyler Glasnow

West Virginia – Yhonathan Barrios

July

Overall - Tyler Glasnow

Indianapolis – Rafael Perez

Altoona – Adrian Sampson

Bradenton – Tyler Glasnow

West Virginia – Buddy Borden

Jamestown – Frank Duncan

Bristol – John Sever

GCL Pirates – Dario Agrazal

August

Overall - Tyler Glasnow

Indianapolis – Rafael Perez

Altoona – Zack Dodson

Bradenton – Tyler Glasnow

West Virginia – Buddy Borden

Jamestown – Tyler Eppler

Bristol – John Sever

GCL Pirates – Mitch Keller

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Morning Report: Jose Osuna Quietly Had a Strong Second Half http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/morning-report-jose-osuna-quietly-had-a-strong-second-half.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/morning-report-jose-osuna-quietly-had-a-strong-second-half.html#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 12:00:57 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=87642 Back in 2012, I got to see the West Virginia Power play two series in Lakewood, giving me a first chance to see Gregory Polanco and Alen Hanson. I also got a chance to see a 19-year-old first baseman with a sweet line drive stroke from the right side. Jose Osuna had some strong games during the seven games he played in Lakewood, collecting hits in six of those games. He hit a homer and three doubles, showing some pop in his bat. Those in-person looks, plus strong season stats at a young age, had Osuna ranked fairly high in the system. Jose Osuna

The next season, he moved up to Bradenton and the results didn’t carry over. While Hanson and Polanco continued their ascent towards the Majors, Osuna stalled at High-A ball and was forced to repeat the level this year. His season got off to a nice start, but an oblique strain shut him down for exactly one month. At the time of the injury, he had a .282/.326/.400 slash line.

When Osuna returned to action, there was obviously some rust and a slump had his stats down to .250/.296/.360 on June 21st. From that point on, he turned his season around and put himself back on the prospect track. With a strong finish in August, Osuna’s final numbers were .296/.347/.458 in 97 games. He batted .323 with an .893 OPS over his last 61 games.

If you compare just that stretch to Josh Bell’s breakout season, you’ll see that Osuna had the higher OPS, thanks to a higher slugging percentage and similar OBP. Osuna actually had the highest slugging percentage in the FSL among all qualified hitters, even with the slump after he returned from injury. As a side note, Bell won the slugging crown despite falling 15 plate appearances short to qualify. When an 0-for-15 was added into his stats, he still had the highest slugging percentage, so his .502 mark led the league.

Osuna also compares well to Bell in one other area, he is four months younger. That is important to note, despite repeating the FSL, he was still a year and seven months younger than the average player in the league. Proof of how young he is for the league can be seen by his splits against pitchers that were older and younger than him. Just 27 of his 410 plate appearances came against pitchers that were at least one day younger than him. That means 93.4% of the time, he was facing an older pitcher on the mound. Another note on his age is the fact he was a pitcher growing up and has a tremendous arm(he hit 90 MPH at 16), but that took away some development time with his bat.

The downside to Osuna is the fact he plays first base, which means he is at a position with a huge demand on offense. He also has some poor walk rates during his career. The good news for the second part might be his August results, which hid this gem mixed in with the high average and OPS. He drew 14 walks in the month. That was the highest monthly total of his five-year career, even dating back to his days in the Venezuelan Summer League. He even picked up two walks in Bradenton’s first playoff game on Tuesday.

All signs point to Osuna going to Altoona next year and splitting first base with Josh Bell, while also getting time in the DH spot and possibly corner outfield time. He has played 74 games in the outfielder during his career, and while it’s not his strong suit, the arm plays well out there. If Bell progresses like you would expect, he will be gone some time around mid-season, which would open up first base full-time for Osuna. Assuming he hits like he did in August, Osuna might find himself much higher up the prospect charts this time next year.

Pirates Game Graph


Source: FanGraphs

Playoff Push

Pittsburgh: The Pirates are five games behind St. Louis for the NL Central lead and two games behind Milwaukee for the second Wild Card spot. They are 4.5 games behind San Francisco for the first spot.

Bradenton: The Marauders lost their best-of-three series against Fort Myers on Wednesday night.

Today’s Schedule

Minor League Starter of the Day:  The Pirates are off today. They begin a three game series against the Cubs on Friday. The minor league season is over. Bradenton was the only affiliate to make the playoffs. They lost their series last night. The game recap can be read here. You can read the DSL season recap here complete with scouting reports for each player and the top ten players to watch list can be found here. We will post other season recaps soon.

MLB: Pittsburgh (71-68) @ Cubs (64-76) 2:20 PM  9/5
Probable starter: Vance Worley (3.01 ERA, 60:16 K/BB, 86.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (73-71)

AA: Altoona (61-81)

High-A: Bradenton (78-61)

Low-A: West Virginia (54-81)

Short-Season A: Jamestown (35-40)

RK: Bristol (22-46)

GCL: Pirates (20-40)

DSL: Pirates (34-36)

Highlights

With the minor league season over, it’s time to take a look back at some recent video from the GCL, which we will continue to do over the next few days. All videos are courtesy of the GCL Pirates fan page. Below is a video of Nelson Jorge, the Pirates seventh round pick from this season, who really struggled in his first year as a pro. He hit .150, with a .474 OPS and 61 strikeouts, which was the second highest strikeout total in the league. Out of the 72 players that had enough plate appearances to qualify in the league, Jorge had the lowest average, lowest OPS, lowest slugging and was next to last in OBP. It might be hard to believe, but he finished with the same .150 BA batting with runners on base and with the bases empty. Perhaps most disappointing is the fact he was drafted as a shortstop, but he played second base almost every game. That mostly was due to Cole Tucker being there, but he played just four of the 18 games that Tucker didn’t play at shortstop.

The upside with Jorge? He turns 19 in December, so he’s young. He went 5-for-6 in steals. His defense was pretty good at second base. Right now he is definitely a project and it’s hard to find someone that started off that poorly and went on to great success. Unless something really clicks, I’d expect him back in the GCL next year and probably at second base again with the anticipated arrival of Adrian Valerio(see the DSL players to watch list linked above if you don’t know who he is). Below is one of the three doubles Jorge hit this year.

Recent Transactions

9/2: Pirates recall Gregory Polanco, Jeff Locke, John Holdzkom, Casey Sadler and Bobby LaFromboise.

9/2: Chase d’Arnaud added to 40-man roster and promoted to Pittsburgh. Michael Martinez designated for assignment.

9/1: Pirates recall Gerrit Cole and Tony Sanchez. Stolmy Pimentel activated from the disabled list

9/1: Pirates designate Chris McGuiness for assignment. John Holdzkom added to 40-man roster.

8/30: Brent Morel promoted to Pittsburgh. Jeff Locke sent to Indianapolis.

8/30: Blake Davis activated from disabled list.

8/29: Stolmy Pimentel assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

8/29: Tommy Field sent outright to Indianapolis.

8/29: Andrew Lambo promoted to Pirates. Gerrit Cole sent to Bristol.

8/28: Jayson Nix claimed by Kansas City Royals.

8/28: JaCoby Jones activated from disabled list. Adam Landecker placed on disabled list.

8/28: Brett McKinney promoted to Bradenton. John Kuchno placed on disabled list.

8/28: Charlie Morton sent to Altoona on rehab.

This Date in Pirates History

Two former Pittsburgh Pirates players have been born on this date, both played with the team over 100 years ago. One of them, Elmer Horton, pitched for the Pirates in 1896 and was part of a trade that saw Pittsburgh send away their all-time leader in batting. Also on this date in 1982, the Pirates called on a 22-year-old pitcher to make his Major League debut against Fernando Valenzuela and they came away with a 1-0 victory. You can read more about that game, as well as the two bios and a trade of note, all in the link here.

On this date in 1890, the Alleghenys(Pirates) beat the Cleveland Spiders 6-2, snapping a 23 game losing streak. The game was their first home game since the first loss in the streak back on August 12th. The Alleghenys went right back out on the road and lost their next seven games on the way to a 3-20 finish to the season.

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