The Brent Morel promotion was a strange one. The Pirates probably only needed an extra hitter for the three game series against the Cardinals this weekend, assuming Andrew Lambo could return early next week. None of the available hitters on the 40-man roster have had a good season, with the exception of Gregory Polanco, who won’t be called up until the Super 2 deadline passes.
I don’t know what the Pirates knew regarding their outfield situation at the time Morel was recalled. Since the move, Travis Snider’s suspension was upheld, and Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte both dealt with minor injuries. The combination meant that Gaby Sanchez was playing in right field tonight. It’s possible that all of this came after the decision to bring up Morel. But Morel shouldn’t have come up to begin with. Like the rest of the options, he didn’t have strong season numbers. The only player who has been hitting well recently has been Jaff Decker. He should have been called up on Friday, and not Morel.
As it stands, the Pirates weren’t impacted by the move at all. They won both games that Snider missed, and even won tonight without McCutchen and Marte. And now, Jaff Decker will be promoted to Pittsburgh, presumably to take Morel’s spot on the active roster. So no harm was done by the decision to bring up Morel in the first place, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a strange move.
Our Prospect Highlights this morning had video of Decker during his recent hot streak.
Wandy Rodriguez will start for the Pirates on Thursday. As I wrote in the article, this is a mistake. Rodriguez has looked bad in his rehab outings so far. He’s had success the first few innings, then fell apart each time. He has also struggled during his time in the majors this year. There is no reason why he should be starting, especially when Brandon Cumpton has looked so good. Cumpton should be the fifth starter, and Rodriguez should be moved to the bullpen as a long reliever.
I’m guessing the decision to keep Rodriguez in the rotation and Cumpton in Triple-A has to do with preserving depth. If they moved Rodriguez to the bullpen, they’d have one less starter, and would have to DFA someone like Jeanmar Gomez, who has been struggling recently. The problem here is that preserving depth only makes sense if the guys who you are keeping around are doing well. Rodriguez and Gomez are not. I’d give Gomez more of a pass, since he’s not doing horrible, and since he’s coming off a great year. But starting Rodriguez, for whatever reason, doesn’t bode well for the team’s chances of success in those starts.
As far as depth goes, Vance Worley could be an option to add to the mix. Ryan Palencer wrote today that Worley feels like he is back on track as a starter, after working with Jim Benedict in extended Spring Training. Worley was basically added for free from the Minnesota Twins, but is an interesting pitcher, since he is only a year removed from a strong run in the Philadelphia rotation in 2011-2012. The Pirates have revived the career of pitchers who have done a lot less than Worley.
I saw Tyler Glasnow on the mound tonight, and will have video and an article on Glasnow this week. I wrote up a brief recap of his start in the Prospect Watch tonight. Also, check out tomorrow’s Minor League Schedule, which includes a preview of Jeff Locke returning to the Indianapolis rotation.
The draft is getting closer, but don’t expect any clear picture of who the Pirates will take until draft day. It’s going to be impossible to know who will be available to them with the 24th pick. However, we will get an idea of what type of talent could be available in that range.
Lately, a few top college pitchers have required Tommy John surgery, with Erick Fedde being the second guy announced in the last week. John Dreker wrote about how one of these guys could fall to the Pirates. It will be interesting to see what happens here. For a team at the top, the draft is so rich with pitching that you don’t really need to take a guy who is guaranteed to miss the next year and who is currently injured. But for a team at the bottom of the first round, you could take that risk, and miss having a guy for a year, if it means that you get better talent in the long run. Kyle Gibson was an example of this a few years ago with the Twins.
The Pirates certainly haven’t shied away from taking guys who have had Tommy John surgery in the past. Adrian Sampson and Hayden Hurst were two examples in recent drafts. But taking a guy who is currently injured is another issue. Tommy John is more of a setback these days, and hardly alters a pitcher’s upside, so I’m not even sure if these two would fall to the Pirates. If they did, it would leave the Pirates with an interesting decision.
Speaking of players in their range, Kyle Schwarber went to the Pirates in Baseball America’s first mock draft. As John Dreker writes in the Draft Prospect Watch, Schwarber homered tonight against Penn State.