Down in the GCL, outfielder Alexis Bastardo is quietly having a strong season in his limited playing time. Part of the reason he hasn’t seen much time, is that he was battling a shoulder injury early in the year. When doing the top prospects list from the DSL last year, I got reports that Bastardo was just as good as fellow GCL outfielder Tito Polo. One person that saw them play often had Bastardo ranked higher, while another gave the edge to Polo because of better plate patience. The reports overall though were very similar.
Both players are about the same size, just shy of 6’0″ tall and just under 200 pounds. Polo is both very strong and in terrific shape, while Bastardo looks like he has a strong lower half. I rated the two of them 5/6 among prospects in the league, giving the edge to Bastardo because Polo had been dealing with hamstring issues all year, so there were injury concerns with him. As it turned out, Bastardo was the one with injury issues to start this year, so the two have definitely changed spots in the rankings for now.
Bastardo turned 20 earlier this year, while Polo turns 20 next week. Their age is top end for what you like to see in the GCL, but still acceptable. Both players were described as possible five tool prospects, with speed, defense, hitting and arm having a chance to be plus tools(Bastardo throws better), while power could be average. Polo has had a breakout year this season, hitting .281/.365/.452, with 14 extra-base hits and five stolen bases. We did an article that highlighted Polo last month because of how good he was doing and it’s still possible that Alexis Bastardo could end up being the better player. He is hitting .333/.381/.487 in 13 games so far, with five stolen bases in six attempts.
The GCL season has just 11 games left, so Bastardo isn’t going to see much playing time, even if he was in the lineup everyday. He will likely see plenty of time in the Fall Instructional League and there is a good chance he could play Winter Ball in his native Venezuela. In both instances, we probably won’t hear much on him. The FIL is an informal league and no real stats are kept, while the VWL has a minor league system called the Parallel League and that’s where players like Bastardo usually play until they get more experience and can handle the VWL, which is more AA/AAA type talent.
Below in the highlights, we have video of Bastardo grounding out to shortstop and making good time down to first base from the right side of the plate. The video is courtesy of the GCL Pirates fan page. He has been tough to get video of due to the sporadic playing time and nine of his 13 games have been on the road.
Pirates Game Graph
Pittsburgh: The Pirates dropped to 1.5 games behind St. Louis for the first Wild Card spot. They are a half game above San Francisco for the second spot. They are currently 3.5 games back from the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.
Indianapolis: The Indians are six games back in the International League West, and eight games back in the Wild Card with 17 games left in the season.
Bradenton: The Marauders are in first place in the Florida State League South, leading by a half game over Palm Beach. The Marauders need to win the second half division to make the playoffs. They have 16 games left in their season, four against Palm Beach.
Minor League Starter of the Day: Luis Heredia is coming off an outing that ranks among the best in his career. He threw seven shutout innings, giving up just three hits and two walks, while striking out five batters. I mentioned in the minor league schedule that day that Heredia pitches much better at home, not just this season, throughout his entire career. Today he tries to continue his recent success while pitching on the road. He has faced Lexington three times this season, though once was the game in which he was injured after one pitch early in the season. Heredia has allowed eight runs over 11 innings against them so far, so today’s game is a double challenge. Will he be able to pitch well on the road against a team that has scored often against him this year? If he is truly headed in the right direction, then tonight’s game should prove whether or not Heredia is beginning to regain his prospect status.
MLB: Pittsburgh (64-58) @ Washington (67-53) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Jeff Locke (3.98 ERA, 57:17 K/BB, 86 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (63-64) @ Louisville (62-65) 6:05 PM
Probable starter: Rafael Perez (1.35 ERA, 18:8 K/BB, 33.1 IP)
AA: Altoona (54-72) @ Erie (61-64) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: A.J. Morris (1.64 ERA, 38:17 K/BB, 55 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (68-55, 33-21 2nd half) vs St Lucie (68-53) 6:30 PM
Probable starter: John Kuchno (3.49 ERA, 57:53 K/BB, 131.2 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (47-76, 27-28 2nd half) @ Lexington (49-76) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Luis Heredia (3.96 ERA, 32:31 K/BB, 72.2 IP)
Short-Season A: Jamestown (28-31) vs Batavia (28-33) 7:05 PM
Probable Starter: Alex McRae (4.62 ERA, 33:9 K/BB, 48.2 IP)
RK: Bristol (15-38) vs Pulaski (29-24) 7:00 PM
Probable Starter: TBD
GCL: Pirates (18-31) vs Astros (23-25) 11:00 AM
Probable Starter: Dario Agrazal Jr. (2.83 ERA, 27:4 K/BB, 41.1 IP)
DSL: Pirates (32-33) vs Astros Orange (27-38) 10:30 AM
Tony Sanchez from Thursday night, crushing a bomb to straight away center field. It was the ninth homer for Sanchez in AAA this year. He also hit two with the Pirates.
Alexis Bastardo showing off his speed down the line on a ground out
8/15: Elias Diaz promoted to Indianapolis.
8/15: Stolmy Pimentel placed on 15-day disabled list. John Axford added to roster.
8/14: Clint Barmes assigned to Altoona on rehab.
8/14: A.J. Morris assigned to Altoona.
8/14: John Axford claimed off waivers from Cleveland Indians.
8/14: Matt Hague designated for assignment.
8/14: Pirates sign pitcher Matt Nevarez. Assign him to Altoona.
8/13: Ernesto Frieri outrighted to Indianapolis.
8/13: Ramon Cabrera claimed off waivers from the Detroit Tigers. Assigned to Altoona.
8/13: Wirfin Obispo designated for assignment.
8/12: Brandon Cumpton recalled from Indianapolis. Casey Sadler optioned to Indianapolis.
8/11: Casey Sadler recalled from Indianapolis. Andrew McCutchen placed on the DL.
8/10: Pirates claim Tommy Field off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels and option him to Triple-A.
8/10: Cody Rhodes assigned to Bristol.
8/10: Justin Topa activated from disabled list. Francisco Diaz placed on DL.
8/9: A.J. Morris assigned to Bradenton.
8/8: Pedro Alvarez activated from the bereavement list. Ernesto Frieri designated for assignment.
This Date in Pirates History
There have been ten former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, and while there are a lot of semi-interesting names, three of these players saw tragic endings to their life at an early age. Curt Roberts, Tiny Bonham and Andy Bednar all saw their life come to an end by the age of 40. Roberts was the first African-American player in team history. Bonham had the nickname Tiny, though it was in jest, as he was one of the bigger players on the team. Bednar not only had the shortest big league career of the group, he also had the shortest life, passing away at age 29 after a car accident. It’s not all bad memories from players born on this date. Some fans might remember Rick Reed or Al Holland, while others have probably heard of the name Gene Woodling, who played for the 1947 Pirates. Short bios on all ten players, plus a recap of a game from 1909, can all be found here.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.