Morning Report: All Those Starters at West Virginia

In the past, the Pittsburgh Pirates have talked about piggy-backing starters to get certain pitchers extra innings without them being used in the starting role. This year in West Virginia, they are really taking that to the extreme. You might see one or two guys getting a lot of innings out of the bullpen for a team, but that still leaves 5-6 guys that function like normal relievers. There are multiple arms in the Power bullpen this year that have their set day to pitch every five days, just like he’s a starter.

The current rotation for the Power now includes Austin Coley, Alex McRae, Colten Brewer, Yeudy Garcia and Stephen Tarpley. That means that they have Dovydas Neverauskas(just placed on the DL), Jake Burnette, John Sever and Jose Regalado in the bullpen. All four of those pitchers have something in common this year, they have started a game. In fact, they have started 19 games between them, almost half of the starts for West Virginia.

Sam Street hasn’t started any games yet this year, but he pitched five innings on Tuesday night and has gone three innings at least six times already. So while he isn’t in the same group as those other four pitchers, he’s getting a lot of work for a reliever. That is what you typically see from a couple relievers. For instance, Bradenton has Clario Perez, who has pitched great this year in a long relief role, getting in 32 innings over 16 appearances and he’s gone at least two innings in each of his last seven outings. That is typically what you see from the bullpen. Guys that put in multiple innings, and can fill in as a spot starter.

The move to send John Sever to the bullpen might sound like an odd one, but he won’t miss many innings, possibly none at all. There will be times that he follows a starter who couldn’t make it through five innings and he picks up some of the slack. You will likely see him going 3-4 innings each time out, which could allow him to pitch another 60-80 innings this year, which would give him at least 97 innings on the year. If he’s still strong near the end of the season, you could see him step into the rotation again. The Pirates cut back on innings for Power pitchers in 2013, then put Jason Creasy and Kyle Haynes in the rotation. Those two were serving as long men earlier in the season.

West Virginia could see ten pitchers put in significant innings this year, though that assumes health and there’s no word on Neverauskas yet, but he was back dated four days to his last start, so it might not be bad. It also assumes no one else moves up and with the way Austin Coley is pitching, plus his prior experience, he could be a candidate to step into Bradenton. You also have to figure that the Marauders’ rotation will be crowded soon with some very talented pitchers, so the Pirates might not be in a rush to move up any of these players for the Power.


Pirates Game Graph

Source: FanGraphs

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates won 5-1 over the Marlins on Tuesday night to give them five wins in a row and move them over the .500 mark. Pittsburgh will send Gerrit Cole to the mound this afternoon to make his tenth start of the season. He threw 8.1 innings without an earned run in his last start against the Mets. Cole struck out a season high ten batters in that game. Brad Hand will get the ball for the Marlins, making his first start after 15 relief appearances this season.

In the minors, Altoona has the only night game in the system and it is a very interesting pitching match-up. Chad Kuhl will take on Shane Carle, who was picked one round after Kuhl in the 2013 draft. Carle was dealt to the Rockies over the off-season for current Pirate reliever Rob Scahill. Luis Heredia makes his third start, hoping to improve on last week’s performance when he allowed one run over four innings. He needed 71 pitches to get through his limited outing. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (23-22) vs Marlins (18-29) 12:35 PM
Probable starter: Gerrit Cole (2.05 ERA, 14:63 BB/SO, 57.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (27-19) @ Buffalo (23-23) 1:05 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter: Chris Volstad (3.92 ERA, 15:27 BB/SO, 43.2 IP)

AA: Altoona (25-17) @ New Britain (28-15) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Chad Kuhl (3.09 ERA, 19:27 BB/SO, 42.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (22-22) vs Daytona (26-18) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Probable starter: Luis Heredia (11.57 ERA, 4:2 BB/SO, 4.2 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (26-18) @ Lakewood (21-22) 11:05 AM (season preview)
Probable starter: Colten Brewer (6.39 ERA, 2:6 BB/SO, 12.2 IP)


Here we have a hit from Elias Diaz, who hasn’t been getting mentioned much this year because his hitting is well off last year’s great pace. Diaz is hitting .260/.338/.336 in 38 games, with 16 walks and 15 strikeouts. His .761 OPS in May is 202 points higher than his April numbers.

Recent Transactions

5/27: Kelson Brown added to Indianapolis roster.

5/26: Harold Ramirez added to Bradenton roster. Jordan Steranka and Andy Otamendi assigned to Extended Spring Training.

5/26: Josh Wall placed on disabled list. Collin Balester added to Indianapolis roster.

5/26: Dovydas Neverauskas placed on disabled list. Julio Vivas sent from Bradenton to West Virginia.

5/26: Deibinson Romero sold to Doosan Bears of the Korean Baseball Organization.

5/25: Charlie Morton activated from disabled list. Radhames Liz designated for assignment.

5/25: Stephen Tarpley added to WV Power roster.

5/25: Jerrick Suiter activated from WV Power disabled list. Miguel Rosario and Montana DuRapau promoted to Bradenton

5/22: Jaff Decker activated from disabled list. Andy Vasquez assigned to WV Black Bears.

5/20: Tyler Glasnow placed on disabled list.

5/19:  Julio Eusebio, Cesilio Pimentel and Ryan Hafner assigned to Extended Spring Training. Bradenton adds Henry Hirsch, Felipe Gonzalez and Brett McKinney to roster.

5/19: Jose Tabata added to 40-man roster and recalled. Wilfredo Boscan optioned to Indianapolis.

5/19: Justin Seller transferred to 60-day disabled list.

5/19: Matt Benedict assigned to Altoona.

5/17: Jeff Roy placed on disabled list. Trace Tam Sing added to WV Power roster

5/17: Bradenton adds Julio Eusebio, Cesilio Pimentel and Ryan Hafner to roster. Henry Hirsch, Felipe Gonzalez and Brett McKinney assigned to Extended Spring Training.

5/16: Luis Heredia added to Bradenton roster. Matt Benedict promoted to Indianapolis.

5/16: Wilfredo Boscan added to 40-man roster and promoted to Majors. Steve Lombardozzi sent to Indianapolis.

5/16: Brandon Cumpton transferred to 60-day disabled list.

5/15: Charlie Leesman placed on Indianapolis disabled list.

5/15: Antonio Bastardo activated from Paternity List. Bobby LaFromboise optioned to Indianapolis.

5/14: Charlie Morton assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

5/14: Pirates sign catcher Paul Brands.

5/13: Hayden Hurst placed on Voluntarily Retired List.

This Date in Pirates History

Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a game recap from the 1979 season. The players born on this date include center fielder Jacob Brumfield(1995-96), pitcher Ross Baumgarten(1982) and 1954 pitcher, George O’Donnell.

On May 27,1979, the Pirates opened the day with an 18-21 record, losers of three straight, sitting in fifth place, seven games out of first place. The day didn’t start off well either, with pitcher Jim Bibby leaving the game early due to a strained rib cage muscle. The Pirates ended up beating the Mets that day by a 2-1 score, then winning another five games in a row, turning their season around. After May 27th, they went 80-41, then defeated the Baltimore Orioles in seven games for their fifth World Series title.