Minor Moves: Harlan and Lopez Promoted, Hughes Sent To Indianapolis

Two pitchers have moved up in the Pittsburgh Pirates system today, while two players at the upper level flip roster spots again. Left-hander Thomas Harlan has been promoted to the Bradenton Marauders, while righty Cesar Lopez has taken his spot on the West Virginia Power roster. No corresponding moves have been announced for Bradenton yet to open up a spot for Harlan, or with Jamestown to fill the spot of Lopez.

Lopez has not yet progressed like the Pirates hoped he would
Lopez has not yet progressed like the Pirates hoped he would

Thomas Harlan is a big 6’6″ lefty, who has put up impressive numbers this season, despite the fact he doesn’t have overpowering stuff. When I saw him twice this season, he was sitting 86-88 MPH and using his off-speed stuff effectively. In 19 appearances out of the pen for the Power, he was 3-3, 2.40 in 45 innings, with 11 walks, 41 strikeouts, a 2.17 GO/AO ratio and a .212 BAA. His last outing was his first start of the year. On Thursday against Kannapolis, he threw four innings, allowing two unearned runs on four hits, one walk and he struck out five batters. Harlan was a 13th round draft pick of the Pirates last year out of Fresno State.

Cesar Lopez is a 22-year-old righty out of Cuba, who has been a disappointment so far. He signed a $600,000 bonus in late 2010 and has spent three seasons in short-season ball. He was used twice at Bradenton this year when they needed an arm out of the bullpen and pulled someone from Pirates City. Lopez was hit hard in his three innings, giving up six runs. He has pitched well for Jamestown in eight relief appearances, posting a 2.81 ERA, with 15 strikeouts and a .179 BAA in 16 innings.

In other minor moves, Zach Thornton has been promoted to Indianapolis, while Oscar Tejeda has been sent back to Altoona. Both players have switched roster spots before, with Tejeda bouncing between Indianapolis and Altoona all season long. Thornton has pitched 28 times this year, ten for Bradenton and nine times each for Altoona and Indianapolis. He has a combined 2.70 ERA in 43.1 innings, with eight walks and 50 strikeouts. He has held batters to a .207 average, while posting a 2.36 GO/AO ratio.

Tejeda has spent so much time going between Indy and Altoona this year, that as a bench player, he has just 86 AB’s all season and he has not flourished in the yo-yo role. The 23-year-old utility man is hitting .151 with a .492 OPS.

*Jared Hughes was originally scheduled to pitch a rehab game in the Gulf Coast League this week, but rain washed away those plans. He is now scheduled to join Indianapolis for his rehab assignment. Hughes was 1-2, 4.96 in 15 appearances for the Pirates this season before being sent to the minors. He pitched well for Indianapolis, going 1-0, 0.69 in 11 games, allowing one run in 13 innings and picking up two saves. Hughes was shutdown with right shoulder inflammation in early June.

*Reliever Atahualpa Severino was placed on the Temporary Inactive List for Indianapolis

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2 players who have quietly had very solid seasons to date are Mel Rojas and Dan Gamache. I have also noticed that Alex Dickerson is really coming on at Altoona, as I predicted he would – same type of season as last year in Bradenton – struggled in the beginning and finished strong. He now has 11 HRs, with still about half the season to go. With Hague in Indy – barring a trade, I doubt if Dickerson will get moved up anytime soon – unless they continue to use him in the OF instead of 1B.


For Harlan, very well deserver. I am surprised Gourley has not been promoted yet – he is equally deserving, if not more so.

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