Morning Report: Romero and Sadler Lead the Way For Indianapolis This Season

With Indianapolis having off on Thursday, it’s a good time to look at what’s going on with their team. Just a quick rundown on who has been hot and who has been not, either recently or over the entire season. I’ll try to do this the next time the other affiliates have a day off as well.

Starting with hot, the best hitters all season has been Deibinson Romero, but Steve Lombardozzi hasn’t been far behind and he recently returned to the team after a short stint with the Pirates. Romero leads the team with a .945 OPS in 34 games. Lombardozzi has an .883 OPS, which ranks him eighth in the International League, five spots below Romero.

Now Romero has been hitting well all year, but during the month of May, he has only been the third best hitter on the team. Alen Hanson has a .958 OPS this month, while Jose Tabata has been even better, and that helped him get promoted earlier this week. He has a 1.020 OPS in May.

Gustavo Nunez has an .801 OPS this month, but he is working hard for that high number. Nunez has played 30 games this season and he has no extra-base hits and just six walks. He started off slow in April, though he is still batting .306, while posting one of the lowest(.671) OPS you’ll see from a .306 hitter.

On the bad side, Mel Rojas Jr. has a .539 OPS in 18 games this month. He isn’t much better over the entire season, posting a .590 OPS in 36 games. He has no homers, one stolen base and seven walks, so nothing in going right on the offense side.

Elias Diaz is hitting .254/.336/.331 in 34 games, well off the .823 OPS he put up last season with Altoona. He has a 15:13 BB/SO ratio, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him start to hit well.

Ton Sanchez is 2-for-26 throwing out runners, and he has five errors. Usually you would blame numbers that bad on the pitching staff, but Elias Diaz has thrown out 37% of base runners while working with the same pitchers.

All the way down on the not hot list is the first base combo of Brent Morel and Hunter Morris. The latter has a .348 OPS, while Morel is hitting .181 and still getting regular playing time.

For the pitchers, they have already used nine starters and 19 different pitchers. Both Adrian Sampson(pictured above) and Casey Sadler have looked almost good every time out this season. In May, Sadler has a 1.63 ERA in 27.2 innings, while Sampson has a 2.08 mark in 26 innings. For the season, Sadler has the fifth best ERA in the International League, while Sampson is 11th best.

For relievers, Deolis Guerra has an 0.00 ERA in 8.2 innings this month. Blake Wood has a 1.65 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 16.1 innings this season.

The bullpen hasn’t been good for Indianapolis this month, with Brad Lincoln, Bobby LaFromboise, Adam Miller, John Holdzkom and A.J. Morris all pitching poorly. Wilfredo Boscan had one really bad outing that has skewed his season stats, which still look good regardless.

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates were off on Thursday. They now take on the New York Mets in a three-game series at home this weekend. Gerrit Cole will be on the hill for the Pirates tonight. This is the first time these two teams have met this season. Noah Sydergaard gets the start for New York.

In the minors, Chris Volstad is listed as the starter for Indianapolis. He has been pitching in relief lately, but could be going back to starting with Charlie Morton finishing his rehab and Nick Kingham being injured. Austin Coley will try to rebound from his worst outing of the season, while Cody Dickson will try to build off his best performance last time out. Chad Kuhl has the eighth best ERA in the Eastern League. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (18-22) vs Mets (24-18) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Gerrit Cole (2.40 ERA, 13:53 BB/SO, 48.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (23-18) @ Syracuse (16-24) 7:05 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter:  Chris Volstad (4.06 ERA, 13:22 BB/SO, 37.2 IP)

AA: Altoona (23-15) @ New Hampshire (20-20) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Chad Kuhl (2.48 ERA, 16:25 BB/SO, 40.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (21-20) @ Lakeland (19-21) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Cody Dickson (3.55 ERA, 11:22 BB/SO, 38.0 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (22-18) vs Delmarva (22-18) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Austin Coley (3.11 ERA, 3:37 BB/SO 37.3 IP)


From the Altoona Curve site, an interesting video that shows the top plays from the last week.

Recent Transactions

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.

5/12: Indianapolis placed John Holdzkom on disabled list.

5/11: Felipe Gonzalez added to Bradenton roster. Ryan Hafner assigned to Extended Spring Training.

5/11: Charlie Leesman added to Indianapolis roster.

5/11: Antonio Bastardo placed on Paternity List. Bobby LaFromboise recalled from Indianapolis.

5/11: Connor Joe added to WV Power roster. Trace Tam Sing transferred to WV Black Bears.

5/10: Pirates acquire Jayson Aquino from Toronto Blue Jays for cash. Aquino assigned to Bradenton.

5/9: Pirates released Justin Howard.

5/8: Charlie Morton assigned to Altoona on rehab.

5/8: Nick Kingham placed on disabled list. Adam Miller added to Indianapolis roster.


This Date in Pirates History

Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including closer Jose Mesa(2004-05) and reliever Julian Taveras(2003). Also born on this date, outfielder George Spriggs(1965-67), infielder Hoke Warner(1916-17,1919) and 1908 pitcher Tom McCarthy.

On this date in 1965, the Pirates sent shortstop Dick Schofield to the San Francisco Giants for Jose Pagan. The deal worked out well for Pittsburgh, as Schofield really struggled at the plate for the Giants and Pagan played with the Pirates until 1972.

On this date in 1923, the Pirates and Phillies hooked up for a four-player deal that brought Lee Meadows to the Pirates. He would win 87 games with the team, going 19-10 during both the 1925 and 1927 seasons when the Pirates went to the World Series.

On this date in 1968, Willie Stargell hit three homers and drove in seven runs in a 13-6 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. During the sixth inning, Stargell just missed his third homer of the game, when he got a double off the left field wall. Two innings later, he put another one over the fence to cap off his day.

  • Is Deibinson Romero getting any first base time?

    • John Dreker
      May 22, 2015 3:46 pm

      He played one inning there and had no plays, moved as a switch in the tenth inning of a game and the fifth batter collected a walk-off hit. That’s it for this season, but he has played there in the past occasionally, both regular season and winter league

  • John – have you guys heard any talk of replacing Corey Hart with Deibinson Romero?

    • S Rod can play first, Tabata………can play RF. What use does Hart really serve? Why not bring up Romero? It’s not like you need him to get regular at bats in AAA. Romero’s future is a bench bat if all works out. Seems like a good swap.

      • John Dreker
        May 22, 2015 11:34 am

        They must have saw something in him to give the deal they did, so I’m not sure they would give up on him this quick. He only has 38 plate appearances, not that he deserves more the way he is hitting, but you would expect them to give him a bigger shot for $2.5M

      • Hart is *supposed* to be Pedro’s platoon mate, but up to this point Alvarez has seen exactly as many PA against LHP as Hart.

        I don’t think Hurdle wants to strictly use S Rod in that role, and would like to see if Romero can put something together.

        • I think his lower body is shot and he just looks old. I give him a month tops. Although I’m not big on Locke by any means a part of me says he may be streaky and he could put it together for half a season until replaced by Taillon or Sampson. I don’t see any signs that Hart can recover. If I’m wrong, he’ll hit and we’ll be happy.

    • John Dreker
      May 22, 2015 11:31 am

      None at all, but I’m not sure that would be something you hear ahead of time, it would just happen. Hart has been bad, but he is also averaging less than one plate appearance a game, so he is still in that area where one big game could make his overall stats look a lot better. At this rate though, he won’t reach any of his incentive plateaus(first one is 350 plate appearances) so I can see them giving him longer to work out. Recent history suggests this might be it for him though as far as what you can expect

      • Makes sense, and I’d normally never consider seven weeks into the season enough to judge a bench bat.

        But I really don’t think this is a situation where stats tell the story. I’m far from an expert on such things, but it looks to me like he’s missing some of the bat speed/leverage in his swing from the 2012 Brewers days, and his legs look like they’re shot. Painful watching him move on the diamond at times.

        For a player with such huge question marks surrounding health, this seems pretty damning. Not like another six months of baseball will do his legs any favors, either.

        • Yeah, there is a huge difference when watching a player with bad stats like Lambo vs. a player with bad stats like Hart- Hart has poor numbers, but is actually playing in all facets, much worse than his numbers. Unless a fastball happens to hit his bat, he isn’t getting a hit, he’s been missing outside fastballs on the corner by 2-3 inches at times and truly cannot catch up to anything over 93 mph- and that’ wouldn’t be so bad, if he wasn’t cheating so bad on the fastballs that he cannot even be in the zipcode of a curve ball or slider thats 10 mph slower

  • I realize moving Sanchez from a catcher to RF/1B devalues him but I don’t think he A) has any trade value as a catcher B) has any shot at surpassing the two catchers on the 25 man roster, Diaz or eventually McGuire and C) I don’t think he can solve his throwing woes which means his value is his bat. So why not try him at 1B or RF? He could get decent at bats there and could be a fixture on the bench for years. Possibly even a platoon for Bell given what I’ve about him batting from the right side.