First Pitch: The Minor League Transaction Chain Reaction

It’s getting to that point in the minor league season where we will start to see promotions take place. A lot of the first promotions take place when the calendar gets close to June (outside of the minor ones that are needed simply to fill out a roster or provide a spot starter). And in a lot of cases, one move will spark a chain reaction.

Tonight, Jose Osuna was promoted to Altoona from Bradenton. I don’t want to say that this move will spark any kind of reaction. It could just be a solo move, with nothing else significant happening. Or it could be something we look back on in a few days as part of a bigger chain of moves.

In this case, I don’t know if I’d expect anything major. The only other big move might come from Altoona, and I’m only guessing that because Larry Broadway mentioned to me that someone would probably have to move on from Altoona to create room for Osuna to get promoted. But there’s no word yet on who that might be, if it’s anyone at all.

Down in West Virginia, I’ve written about how Chase Simpson is blocked. I don’t know if this move clears the way for him to move up to Bradenton. He can play first base, DH, and third base. However, those positions are taken by Edwin Espinal, Jin-De Jhang, and Wyatt Mathisen. This would give Simpson less playing time in Bradenton than what he is getting in West Virginia. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jhang eventually moves up if he keeps up his current hitting. That would be enough to open up playing time for Simpson, giving him a split between first and DH, with the occasional start at third.

As for the replacement in Bradenton, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Jordan Steranka. He was recently moved off the roster when Harold Ramirez was added, and sent to extended Spring Training. Now that Osuna is gone, Steranka could have his spot back, serving as the backup first baseman to Espinal.

There will definitely be a corresponding move from Altoona tomorrow, and possibly more after that. We’ll have all of the updates on the site when we find out the latest news, at which point we’ll be able to see whether the moves were connected.

**Prospect Watch: Dickson Throws Shutout Ball, Garcia Hits First Homer. Live reports from Indianapolis and Bradenton.

**Jose Osuna Promoted to Altoona. My story on the promotion, with quotes from Osuna.

**Nick Kingham Has Tommy John Surgery. Tough news for Kingham. In the article, I looked at what this could mean for his future, and how Taillon’s timeline could serve as a guide.

**Injury Updates: Rehab Plans For Taillon, Holmes, and Eppler; Lakind Update. Several pitchers are getting closer to Bradenton, and Taillon continued his rehab work. As for the Bradenton guys, that’s going to be an interesting set of transactions in a few weeks, with Holmes and Eppler joining the rotation.

**David Todd Podcast: Taillon and Holmes Rehab Notes, Heredia’s Struggles. My weekly segment with David Todd on ESPN 970.

**Keith Law’s Second Mock Draft Has Big Name Falling to Pirates. The top of the draft is weak, but the Pirates seem to be in a good spot to get some value. It seems that every mock draft or ranking has a guy rated much higher falling to them at 19. This could end up being a minor version of when Austin Meadows fell to them with the ninth overall pick in 2013.

**Another Pirates Second Baseman to Watch in the Lower Levels. A look at Pablo Reyes, who is a project, but has shown some interesting skills while getting a somewhat aggressive push.

**Morning Report: Updated League Leaders in the System


  • Thanks tim.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    May 29, 2015 4:03 am

    If the team would do the right thing and DFA Hart, plus let go of Hunter Morris and Brent Morel, that would solve a lot of problems as it would allow a couple of guys to move up from each level….

    • BFS: I pulled up the minor league box scores, saw Dan Gamache listed as the 1B for Altoona, and immediately looked for the news that Josh Bell had been promoted. I thought that would start the parade of promotions, but Jose Osuna is the first out of the box?

      With Romero leaving for ROK, Morel will still have life as a 3B.

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        May 29, 2015 7:27 am

        But Morel hasn’t been playing much 3B in Indy – he’s been playing 1B mostly from what I can tell….

      • I wondered the same. Sure Bell could show more power but he’s really not being challenged by AA pitching anymore.

        • Completely agree with you.

          I don’t think Bell’s overall timeline to the Majors should be adjusted at all, but no one has yet to give an actual answer as to why he wouldn’t be better served facing AAA competition. No, the “Pirates Way” isn’t an answer.

          More and more guys are acknowledging that the jump from AAA to the Majors is hardest of all, yet you very often see prospects spend more time in AA than AAA. It would seem to make at least logical sense that facing the quality of pitcher closest to the Major Leagues more would have some benefit.

          If Bell were specifically working on a swing change or plate discipline against pitchers with lesser command then I could totally understand,l but that doesn’t appear to be the case. At all.

          • Eugene Sinicki
            May 29, 2015 1:24 pm

            I think 7 years of control and Super 2 play a factor. Squeeze as many games out of a player, but avoid Super 2. Isn’t is possible the short AAA stint could limit exposure to weaknesses?

    • Hart is the Bucs best PH. We can afford to carry him as long as he is good at that. However, that is the ONLY thing he is good at.

      Hunter Morris, I would have no problem releasing.