Morning Report: Exploring the DSL Pipeline, 2012-2014

In yesterday’s Morning Report, we took a look at the DSL pipeline, breaking down the players left in the system, who played in the DSL/VSL between 2008 and 2011. That coincided with the 2015 DSL season preview, which was posted Friday afternoon. The preview covers every player on the team and in the Dominican academy, along with an updated injury list and who should see the most time. Today we take a look at the star players from the 2012-14 DSL teams. During the first two years of that three-year stretch, they had two affiliates in the DSL, so there were twice as many players.

The two 2012 clubs produced many players that came to the States, some of them were mentioned yesterday, as they were members of earlier clubs, either in the DSL or VSL. The team known as Pirates1, used 48 players, but some also played for Pirates2. The first club had 23 players that are still in the system, with the best players being outfielder Tito Polo, second baseman Pablo Reyes and pitcher Jose Regalado, who are all with the WV Power. Also Bradenton pitcher Miguel Rosario and Richard Mitchell, Omar Basulto, Carlos Munoz, Adrian Grullon and Dan Urbina, who are all in Extended Spring Training(EST).

The second club in 2012 used 54 players, but many of them also played on the other team. Among the ones that didn’t, five are still in the system. Reliever Julio Vivas is by far the best. He has split this season between Bradenton and West Virginia. The others are all in EST, including pitcher Francis Rodriguez, who just came over this year.

The teams from 2013 obviously still have a lot of players left and a few are still in the DSL. The best of the players from Pirates1 are Tito Polo, Pablo Reyes, Julio de la Cruz, Urbina and Regalado. Of the 37 players they used, four also played for the second team. This team was weak compared to the other club and besides Polo and Reyes, there are possibilities for prospects, but not much upside and many long shots. It seems hard to believe, but just two years later, 17 of the 37 players are no longer in the system.

The second club in 2013 had Michael de la Cruz, who was a breakout prospect by the end of the season. He had multiple issues(injuries and adapting to the U.S.) last year and the reports haven’t been good this year, so he has really fallen off. Luckily, there is still plenty of time for him to rebound, as he is still just 18 years old. This team had 32 players that didn’t play for the first team. The best of the group includes Dario Agrazal Jr., Jose Batista, Hector Garcia, Julio Vivas and Richard Mitchell, and that’s just the pitchers. They also had Alexis Bastardo, Yoel Gonzalez, Jhoan Herrera and Carlos Munoz. Many of these players will be ones you see playing for West Virginia in the upcoming years and there should be something good to come from this group. Just nine of these 32 players have been released.

In 2014, they went back to one club and many of the players are covered in the season preview linked above. The Pirates did promote 15 of the players already, including the entire starting rotation. This group also has huge upside, because most of the best players are still very young. It includes pitcher Yeudy Garcia, who was been one of the best pitchers for the WV Power this year. He skipped right over three levels with one year experience. He’s really good, but there are others that could have higher upside, such as outfielder Edison Lantigua, or shortstop Adrian Valerio, who has hit well in EST and he’s known for having an outstanding glove. Only four of the 39 players aren’t around anymore.

The 2013 and 2014 club still have a ton of upside, but many of them are still very young and inexperienced, so the chances of them reaching that upside is much slimmer than the group we saw yesterday, which had two Major League players and a few top prospects that could soon join them. The GCL Pirates should be a fun team to follow this season due to the prospects that came to the States for the first time this year. Some will end up at Bristol, but a good deal with start in the GCL.

Pirates Game Graph

Source: FanGraphs

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 6-2 to the Padres on Friday night, snapping their seven game win streak. Charlie Morton will be on the mound tonight, making his second start of the season. He gave up two runs over seven innings in his debut. The opposing pitcher will be Tyson Ross, who has a 3.84 ERA this season.

In the minors, it’s an interesting night for fans of the Travis Snider deal. Both pitchers acquired in the deal are starting on the same day for the first time. For Stephen Tarpley, it’s just his second start and he will have a hard time topping his first outing, which consisted of one run over five innings. Steven Brault has been one of the better pitchers in the system since late April. He has a 2.60 ERA in five May starts. Jason Creasy is 11th in the Eastern League in ERA, trailing three of his teammates(Zack Dodson, Chad Kuhl and Angel Sanchez). You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (25-23) @ Padres (24-26) 10:10 PM
Probable starter: Charlie Morton (2.57 ERA, 0:3 BB/SO, 7.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (30-19) vs Toledo (19-29) 7:05 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter: Wilfredo Boscan (3.22 ERA, 12:22 BB/SO, 36.1 IP)

AA: Altoona (27-19) vs Binghamton (25-23) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Jason Creasy (2.82 ERA, 16:27 BB/SO, 51.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (23-25) vs Jupiter (22-26) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Steven Brault (3.59 ERA, 12:30 BB/SO, 42.2 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (28-20) @ Delmarva (23-25) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Stephen Tarpley (1.80 ERA, 2:3 BB/SO, 5.0 IP)

DSL: Pirates (0-0) vs Yankees2 (0-0) 10:30 AM (season preview)


In the video below, you’ll see the first home run in the first at-bat for Keon Broxton in AAA.

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.

This Date in Pirates History

Two former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus two trades of note. The two players born on this date were pitcher Al Mamaux(1913-17) and 1912 outfielder Mike Donlin. Mamaux was a highly touted pitcher out of college and by his third year in the big leagues, he won 21 games for the 1915 Pirates and threw eight shutouts. By 1917 he had fallen out of favor with the team due to condition and off-field issues and was traded to Brooklyn before the 1918 season. Donlin was one of the best hitters of his day, but he cared more about money than playing baseball, so when his acting career began to pay more, he quit the game. He was a .333 hitter in 1049 games.

The two trades the Pirates made on this date occurred in 1912 and 1925. The first one saw the Pirates deal away long-time star Tommy Leach and pitcher Lefty Leifield to the Cubs for pitcher King Cole and outfielder Solly Hofman. It ended up being a one-sided win for the Cubs, as the Pirates got little from either player they acquired. The 1925 trade saw first baseman Al Niehaus being dealt for pitcher Tom Sheehan. This deal was made possible by the signing of veteran Stuffy McInnis, which was covered yesterday. McInnis outhit Niehaus and Sheehan was a valuable reliever for the Pirates team that went on to win the World Series.

On this date in 1925, the Pittsburgh Pirates collected 32 hits during a doubleheader sweep of the Cardinals. In the second game, the Pirates set a Major League record with eight triples in one game. You can read more about these games, along with boxscores, in the link above.

  • So I was at the Bradenton game today. Brault pitched fantastic. Rarely is a pitcher in A+ ball allowed to pitch into the 7th inning. Unfortunately, that rare experience didn’t go well as after limiting Jupiter to 3 hits and no runs through 6, he ran out of gas in the 7th. 4 runs later, he was replaced after 6 2/3. Preventing A wild pitch and an error from Weiss on a deflected ball from Brault would have still had us ahead 3-2.

    This was the first time i’ve had the chance to see our top prospects in a real game. Jupiter threw lefties at us exclusively until the end, so Reese and Austin got to get some practice. Austin hit a ball to short hard that was booted and allowed a run to score, and hard to second which went for a groundout, but he did go fishing a few times on some bad breaking pitches and struck out on one in the dirt.

    Reese didn’t do much at the dish either tonight, he did have a productive groundout to move a runner over, and put thebarrell on a flyout early in the game, but it wasn’t a productive day. Behind the plate, it wasn’t one of his better days either, a pass ball, and couldn’t keep a few pitches in front of him that went as wild pitches.

    Two other top prospects which did look good were Barrett Barnes and Harold Ramirez. Barrett has pop, and scored the first hit with a screaming double that one hopped the fence, and led to the first run of the game. On the bases, he danced around enough to create a balk from the pitcher on the next pitch. I can see the raw power that has been talked about.
    Ramirez……..can just plain hit. He runs pretty well, but I don’t see him as a potential base stealer, but he hit the ball to all fields today and he ran HARD on everything he hit, flyballs or grounders. No hustle issues here for sure. I know we like to see that in Pittsburgh since Cutch and Marte definitely *clears his throat* conserve their energy at times.

    The other big name of course is Jacoby Jones. He did hit a homer in the 9th (opposite field), and he also looked good at short, but didn’t have to field many grounders today. He swings hard, and seemed to me to run about as well as ramirez. He isn’t as big as I thought he’d be, he’s tall but his arms definitely aren’t big. Mathisen definitely has bigger forearms for sure.