Ford Heats Up at Single-A; Pirate Trade Winds Swirl

Since Nancy, the writer for our minor-league sister site, Sandlot Swashbucklers, is away on vacation, I’ve posted today’s affiliate update there. It includes blurbs on Runelvys Hernandez, Steve Pearce, Jason Delaney, Brad Corley, Shelby Ford, Jamie Romak, Jared Keel, Jared Hughes and Duke Welker. A couple quick tidbits for those of you who won’t click the link: Ford is hitting .452 (14 for 31) over his last seven...

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Troy Glaus Story has Pirate Fans in an Uproar

No matter what he does, the Pirates’ general manager can’t win. Dave Littlefield, winter 2006: We’re not going to make a big splash in the free agent market; Jose Bautista and Jose Castillo will battle for the third-base job, Freddy will play second, Chris Duffy will be the savior in center field and Ronny Paulino will follow up his freshman year with a strong second season. The addition of Adam LaRoche should help...

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Hernandez Disappoints, But Pearce and Delaney Continue to Thrive

While Nancy’s away on a well deserved vacation, I’ll be filling in with a little coverage of the Pirates’ affiliates.
At Pittsburgh Lumber Co., Monday is minor-league day. Keeping up with that tradition, let’s catch up with what’s going on at Indianapolis, Altoona, Lynchburg, Hickory and State College:

  • The Indians recently brought in starting pitcher Runelvys Hernandez, a former Kansas City Royal and Pawtucket Red Sox. With the promotions of John Van Benschoten and Shane Youman to Pittsburgh, the Indians needed a filler for the rotation. Unfortunately, Hernandez has been nothing more than an innings eater. In two starts, he has allowed 17 runs (seven earned) and 16 hits. He’s not a legitimate candidate for a major-league job any longer.
  • Former Indian Mike Coolbaugh—a veteran of many minor-league systems—was struck in the head by a line drive while coaching first base in a Texas League game. He passed away last night, leaving behind his pregnant wife and two children. Coolbaugh played with Indianapolis in 2001 while the team was affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
  • At Altoona, Steve Pearce and Jason Delaney continue to lead the show. Pearce, a first baseman, has 23 homers and 85 runs batted in spread over 300 at-bats between the Hillcats and Curve. Delaney, a 24-year-old outfielder, has a 1.058 OPS through 81 Double-A at-bats. Though neither had hit much before this year, it’s not hard to believe that they might make the jump to Indianapolis before season’s end if they stay hot.
  • Brad Corley, Shelby Ford and Jamie Romak are the bats I’m watching in Lynchburg. Corley drove in 100 runs last year, but he’s never had much plate discipline. That trend continues this year as he’s struck out 65 times while drawing just nine free passes. In his first full professional season, Ford is hitting .280/.359/.423. He strikes out twice as much as he walks, but he’s riding a seven-game hit streak. He’s batting .452 during that stretch with eight doubles. Romak, acquired in the LaRoche-Gonzalez deal, has a .407 on-base percentage thanks in large part to his good eye. His strikeout rate is still high, though, probably because he falls behind in counts looking at so many pitches.
  • There aren’t many prospects at Hickory, but two Jareds, Keel and Hughes, have caught my eye. Keel can’t find a home in the field—he’s made 17 errors between first and third base and the outfield—but he’s batting .300 with an OPS of 1.022. Hughes is 7-6 on the mound with a 3.79 ERA through 19 starts.
  • Duke Welker, the Pirates’ second-round pick in June’s first-year player draft, earned his first professional win on Saturday night. Through three starts for the Spikes, he’s 1-1 with a 2.87 ERA.

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Can Pirates Win with Four Left-Handed Starters?

Let’s jump the gun a little. Okay, a lot. Let’s assume that Shane Youman is going to pitch well enough to secure a long-term job in the Pirates’ rotation. In nine career games (seven starts), Youman is 2-4. He has walked 17 and struck out 14 in 46.2 big-league innings. Nothing outstanding there, of course. But three of his four outings this season have met the quality standard, including Sunday’s eight-inning,...

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Game #97 vs. Astros

PNC Park | 1:35 | Youman vs. Woody Williams | Box Shane Youman pitched a gem of a game, holding the Astros to one run through eight innings. Unfortunately, Woody Williams was a notch better. The Astros’ starter threw eight scoreless frames, Brad Lidge came on to earn his third save, and the Pirates were shut out for the ninth time this season, 1-0. The Bucs earned just six hits this afternoon in another display of offensive...

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Toronto Likes Wilson, But May Wait to Strike a Deal

The Toronto Blue Jays may consider Jack Wilson to be a viable long-term solution at shortstop, but general manager J.P. Ricciardi doesn’t seem to be in a rush to acquire the Pirates’ latest whipping boy. Dejan Kovacevic writes about trade possibilities surrounding both Wilson and Jose Castillo in this morning’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Toronto currently employs Royce Clayton at short, with John McDonald serving as a...

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