Morning Report: Exploring the DSL Pipeline, 2008-2011

The Dominican Summer League season starts on Saturday and we will have a preview of the entire roster later today. In this article, we are going to take a look at the players that have come through the DSL for the Pirates since 2008 when the current front office took over. This is a brief look at each club and what it produced. I’m going to split this into two articles, covering the first four years today and the next three years tomorrow. During the 2012-13 seasons, they had two clubs in the Dominican and before that, they had a team in Venezuela. That league hasn’t produced much, but I’ll mention them briefly below as well.

Starting with 2008, this team has the best current player, Starling Marte. In fact, he’s the only current player in the system still. Pitcher Emmanuel De Leon was around until the end of last season when he hit minor league free agency. Marte is all the team produced of note.

In 2009, the other current corner outfielder for the Pirates made his debut. Gregory Polanco was joined on that club by Bradenton reliever Clario Perez, and that’s all that is left in the system. Joely Rodriguez was on the team, as was Diego Goris, who was used in the Yamaico Navarro deal with the Royals.

The 2010 club saw the debut of Alen Hanson, who hit .324 and stole 20 bases, while splitting his time between second base, third base and left field. Willy Garcia also played his first season with this team and didn’t do much, but the scouting reports were outstanding. The team also had Christopher De Leon, Miguel Ferreras and Maximo Rivera, who are all in Extended Spring Training(EST), and Clario Perez and Isaac Sanchez, who are in Bradenton’s bullpen.

The 2011 club is actually a good place to stop because anyone on that team has used up their four years of DSL eligibility already, even if they were a rookie then(I’m looking at you Patrick Reyes). There are plenty of players left like Edwin Espinal, the first baseman for Bradenton and Jose Regalado, who is pitching for the WV Power. Also Danny Arribas(EST), Cesilio Pimentel(EST), Rinku Singh(injured), Mervin Del Rosario(EST), Adrian Grullon(EST), Yunior Montero(EST), Deybi Garcia(EST) and the aforementioned Rivera, Perez, De Leon and Sanchez are all still around. Miguel Ferreras was also with this team, but injured the entire year. Still a lot left, though Espinal is the only top 50 prospect.

The 2008 VSL team had four players of note, though none made the Majors. Jhonathan Ramos was around until last year. Ramon Cabrera had two stints in the system and was traded for Andy Oliver. Junior Sosa still exists in the system, though he is just an extra right now, and Diego Moreno was part of the A.J. Burnett deal with the Yankees.

The 2009 team has some interesting names as well. Sosa and Cabrera, plus Exicardo Cayones, who was the other half of the Burnett trade. They also had Elias Diaz and Yhonathan Barrios, two players with legit chances to help the Pirates at some point.

The big name in 2010 was Jose Osuna, who just got promoted to Altoona last night. They also had Oderman Rocha, Orlando Castro and Ulises Montilla, who are all still in the system. Considering this team was around just five seasons ago and used a 35 man roster, just four players left is a low number.

The final year of the VSL had Dilson Herrera, who was involved in the Marlon Byrd deal. He has already played briefly for the Mets twice, which is a quick jump from this level to the big leagues. Others still around include Bealyn Chourio, Edgar Munoz, Carlos Munoz, Tomas Morales, Jose Salazar, Andy Otamendi, Julio Vivas, Dan Urbina and the aforementioned Montilla and Rocha. Still a fairly large group of players, though no top prospects.

These four years gives the Pirates two MLB players, Polanco and Marte. They also have Alen Hanson, Elias Diaz, Jose Osuna, Willy Garcia, Yhonathan Barrios, Edwin Espinal and about 30 other players still in the system that aren’t currently top 50 prospects.

Pirates Game Graph

Source: FanGraphs

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates won 11-5 over the Padres on Thursday night to extend their winning streak to seven games. They will send Francisco Liriano to the mound tonight to try to keep the streak intact. In his last start, Liriano allowed one earned run over six innings against the Mets, while striking out 12 batters. The Padres will send James Shields to the mound, who has a 6-0 record for a below .500 team, despite a 3.75 ERA, which is fairly high for Petco Park.

In the minors, Clayton Richard makes his fourth start for Indianapolis. He has not been strong in either of his last two starts, giving up seven earned runs on 12 hits and five walks in 10.2 innings. Prior to that(including his Bradenton start), he threw 11 innings without an earned run. Yeudy Garcia will make his fourth start of the season. In his last six appearances(three in relief) he has thrown a total of 24.2 innings without allowing an earned run. He is seventh in the league in ERA and fourth in WHIP(0.96). You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (25-22) @ Padres (23-26) 10:10 PM
Probable starter: Francisco Liriano (3.86 ERA, 23:64 BB/SO, 53.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (29-19) vs Toledo (19-28) 7:15 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter: Clayton Richard (4.02 ERA, 7:7 BB/SO, 15.2 IP)

AA: Altoona (26-19) vs Binghamton (25-22) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Angel Sanchez (3.02 ERA, 13:30 BB/SO, 52.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (23-24) vs Daytona (28-19) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Frank Duncan (3.89 ERA, 8:31 BB/SO, 44.0 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (27-20) @ Delmarva (23-24) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Yeudy Garcia (1.70 ERA, 9:36 BB/SO, 37.0 IP)


In the video below, you’ll see the first home run from Willy Garcia this season. I mentioned yesterday in this section that Garcia hasn’t homered yet this year. Tito Polo hasn’t homered yet either…

Recent Transactions

5/29: Andy Vasquez added to Altoona roster.

5/29: Keon Broxton promoted to Indianapolis. Adam Miller placed on disabled list.

5/29: Jeff Roy activated from West Virginia disabled list. Andy Otamendi assigned to Extended Spring Training.

5/28: Jose Osuna promoted to Altoona. Jordan Steranka added to Bradenton.

5/28: Andy Otamendi added to WV Power roster. Trace Tam Sing assigned to WV Black Bears.

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.


This Date in Pirates History

Two former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus two trades of note and one interesting signing that we will look into. The former players born on this date are third baseman Charlie Hayes(1996) and 1929 third baseman Jim Stroner. If you know Pirates history, you’ll know that Stroner didn’t have much of a chance to play third base, as one of the team’s all-time greats was in the middle of his career. That would be Pie Traynor.

The Pirates traded infielder Billy Almon to the New York Mets on this date in 1987 for minor league outfielder Scott Little and shortstop Al Pedrique. It looked like a good trade for the Pirates, as Pedrique hit .301 as a rookie, but by the end of the next season, he was hitting under .200 and got released.

On this date in 1931, the Pirates traded catcher Rollie Hemsley to the Cubs for catcher Earl Grace and cash. Grace became a solid starter for the Pirates, even though he was acquired to be a backup at the time. They regretted giving up Hemsley though, as he went on to make five All-Star teams and catch over 1400 games in the big leagues.

On this date in 1925, the Pirates signed veteran first baseman Stuffy McInnis. He was being used as a bench player early in his time with the Pirates, but then put on one of the best hitting shows in team history. From July 29th until the end of the season, McInnis hit .468 and helped the Pirates to their third World Series appearance. He hit .286 in the series and the Pirates ended up winning their second title in seven games over the Washington Senators.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    May 29, 2015 9:40 am

    Although Marte and Polanco look to be potential stars, the Pirates haven’t had a ton of recent success with Latin American players. I am old enough to remember when the Pirates were one of the early pioneers in Latin America (60s/70s), and it was often evident on the ML roster.

    I think part of the problem is that the Pirates seldom are involved with any of the top 20-25 Latin American prospects – Sano and Heredia may have been the only two exceptions. The team has found value in Marte and Polanco, which is great, but IMHO the team needs to be more aggressive with the top prospects. Also, have we been involved with any of the recent Cuban players coming to MLB? Abreu would look good at first base right now, just to name one example….

    With all that being said, it appears (so far) that Kang may have been one of the best international signing bargains in recent memory…

    • I tend to agree with you regarding recent LA success, although the baseline for judging that is always tough to set. Maybe two players in eight years is good? I don’t know, but I do *feel* like it is a bit lacking. For me, that comes down to literally zero success what-so-ever in the pitching department. An arm or two along with Marte and Polanco, with Alen Hanson possibly contributing, would certainly change my mind.

      I also agree that they should be more aggressive in the premium talent market. The July 2 rules don’t even impact their typical strategy, as the vast majority of their signings are of the variety under $300k. With the North American draft cap slashing their amateur budget, I *thought* that would lend itself well to taking a shot at a few premium July 2 guys every couple years.

      Seems like the exact opposite has happened.