Morning Report: Updates on the 2014 Draft Picks

Today we take a look at the progress so far from all of the 2014 draft picks that the Pirates signed. It was a busy signing period, as they agreed to contracts with 32 players. You’ll find a quick update on 31 of those players below, with the lone exception being 17th round pick Michael Clemens, who was released last year after he failed a drug test due to HGH use.

1. Cole Tucker- With West Virginia, starting everyday at shortstop. Isn’t hitting for any power, but is more than holding his own with a .294/.315/.338 slash line and just two errors.

1. Connor Joe(pictured up top) – Extended Spring Training(EST) and has recently started playing games. Still hasn’t made his pro debut due to a back injury from last year.

2. Mitch Keller – EST, slated for either Bristol or Morgantown in a starting role.

2. Trey Supak – Same as Keller, although more likely to start at Bristol. Had minor setback(shoulder soreness) in Spring Training.

3. Jordan Luplow- Starting at 3B for West Virginia, hitting .259/.369/.389 in 16 games. Missed first week due to shoulder soreness.

4. Taylor Gushue- Starting catcher for WV, struggling at the plate with a .206/.284/.283 line.

5. Michael Suchy – Right fielder for WV, hitting .210/.333/.323 in 19 games.

6. Tyler Eppler – Recovering from elbow soreness, due to join Bradenton when he’s ready to go.

7. Nelson Jorge – EST, could return to the GCL after a very poor season at the plate, otherwise Bristol.

8. Austin Coley – Early on, he has been the best pitcher for West Virginia. In 20 innings, 2.70 ERA, 2:19 BB/SO.

9. Kevin Krause- EST, elbow injury, return date is unknown at this time, depending on how elbow reacts to treatment.

10. Alex McRae-  Has a 5.09 ERA in five starts for West Virginia and scouting reports were less than spectacular.

11. Gage Hinsz – See Trey Supak.

12. Tyler Filliben- Has a .554 OPS in limited time with West Virginia as a backup infielder.

13. Frank Duncan- Starting at Bradenton and was doing well until his rocky start on Saturday.

14. Chase Simpson – Top hitter for West Virginia, playing first base, he is already 23 years old.

15. Eric Dorsch-  Struggling in WV bullpen, also 23 years old.

16. Sam Street- Pitching well in WV bullpen, also 23 years old, 1.93 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 14 innings.

18. Erik Lunde- EST, also 23 years old(yes they drafted a lot of older players in these rounds)

19. Carl Anderson- EST recovering from hernia surgery.

20. John Sever – Starting for WV, hasn’t dominated like last year, but he is striking out a lot of batters still.

21. Eric Thomas Jr. – EST, likely headed to Bristol, though repeating the GCL isn’t out of the question.

22. Eric Karch- EST, out with an elbow injury, 23 years old.

25. Erik Forgione- EST, played one game with WV, before being replaced by Luplow.

26. Jerrick Suiter- Currently on the DL, hitting .314/.417/.412 in 16 games for WV.

27. Jess Amedee- EST, likely a bullpen arm for Morgantown.

28. Nick Neumann- Bullpen for WV, turned 24 last month. Has four saves.

30. Dave Andriese- EST, likely bench player for Morgantown

31. Luis Paula- EST, likely bullpen arm for Morgantown, though he has some upside.

32. Montana DuRapau- Bullpen for WV, 2.16 ERA in 8.1 innings.

36. Palmer Betts- EST, likely bullpen arm for Morgantown.

Pirates Game Graph

Source: FanGraphs

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 3-2 to the St Louis Cardinals on Sunday. They got swept in the series and dropped below the .500 mark. After an off-day on Monday, the Pirates will host the Cincinnati Reds for three games. Jeff Locke will be on the mound, making his fifth start.

In the minors, three teams play tonight as Indianapolis has off. Altoona brings their 15-6 record home to face a Richmond team that has won three games all season. Zack Dodson makes his fourth start, coming off an April in which he threw 18 shutout innings. Dovydas Neverauskas is looking to build on one of the best starts of his career. He threw five shutout innings last week, giving up two hits and two walks. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (12-13) vs Reds (12-13) 7:05 PM 5/5
Probable starter: Jeff Locke (4.76 ERA, 7:20 BB/SO, 22.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (15-10) vs Rochester (14-9) 7:05 PM 5/5 (season preview)
Probable starter: Wilfredo Boscan (1.50 ERA, 9:16 BB/SO, 24.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (15-6) vs Richmond (3-17) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Zack Dodson (0.00 ERA, 3:2 BB/SO, 18.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (11-12) @ Ft Myers (9-15) 7:05 PM(season preview)
Probable starter: Matt Benedict (2.70 ERA, 2:13 BB/SO, 22.0 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (14-9) @ Greensboro (11-12) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Dovydas Neverauskas (5.87 ERA, 13:13 BB/SO, 15.1 IP)


From Saturday, Josh Bell had a huge game for Altoona. He drove in all five runs in a 5-3 win, which ended on a walk-off three-run homer. Bell is now hitting .395/.452/.568 through 20 games.

Recent Transactions

5/1: Jerrick Suiter placed on disabled list. Austin Coley added to WV Power roster.

5/1: Pirates sign pitcher Robert Stock.

4/29: Jaff Decker placed on disabled list. Wilkin Castillo added to Indianapolis roster.

4/27: Jeremy Bleich promoted to Altoona

4/26: John Sever added to WV Power roster. Austin Coley transferred to WV Black Bears roster.

4/25: Jonathan Schwind placed on disabled list.

4/25: Justin Sellers transferred from Bradenton to Indianapolis on rehab.

4/25: Jeremy Bleich added to Bradenton roster.

4/22: Francisco Diaz assigned to WV Black Bears roster. Kawika Emsley-Pai added to WV Power roster.

4/21: John Sever assigned to WV Black Bears roster. Jose Regalado added to West Virginia Power roster.

4/20: Justin Sellers assigned to Bradenton on rehab.

This Date in Pirates History

Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including one that has an interesting baseball-related story from after his playing days were over. Depending on your age, you might remember two players born on this date, outfielder Jason Michaels(2008) and infielder Ken Oberkfell(1988-89). Before those two, there was 1919 first baseman Vic Saier and 1914-15 outfielder Zip Collins. The oldest player is the one we take a look at today.

Lou Gertenrich played just one game for the Pirates, manning right field on June 21,1903. The Pirates were short two outfielders due to an injury to Fred Clarke, and regular right fielder Jimmy Sebring left to get married. Gertenrich was a local player from Chicago and the Pirates were in Chicago at the time. He had played two Major League games two years earlier, so they Pirates picked him up for one day and he actually batted second during his only game(remember that this was in the middle of a pennant race, which the Pirates won). He went 0-for-4 and handled the only two plays he had in the field. Gertenrich isn’t as obscure as you would think a player from 1903 with three games experience would be. In 1922, he advertised his candy company on the back of baseball cards that are quite popular now for pre-war collectors due to their scarcity.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    May 4, 2015 1:50 pm

    Its still very early yet obviously, but to date the 2014 draft is looking worse than the day it occurred. Tucker looks fine, but I am still concerned about his bat. Joe still not playing and has a back issue. Luplow not exactly setting the world on fire. Supak, Keller, Ginsz are all good prospects, but not currently pitching. Of the college position players, only Simpson is hitting.

    • Could not possibly disagree with you any more.

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        May 4, 2015 2:36 pm

        First of all, I did say it was early – things can turn around – just my observation based on last year and so far this year….So, with all that being said, discounting potential which is just that – potential, what actual performances to date can you point at and conclude otherwise?

        • John Dreker
          May 4, 2015 3:24 pm

          Just to point out that Keller, Supak and Hinsz are all pitching. They do play games almost daily during Extended Spring Training

          • How do they look?

            • John Dreker
              May 4, 2015 6:41 pm

              Tim had reports on Keller and Hinsz that were good, but they were still early in the process building up, so it was a limited outing. Supak was still recovering from the shoulder soreness at the time. I’m sure there will be more when he gets a chance to see them in longer outings

          • BuccosFanStuckinMD
            May 4, 2015 5:49 pm

            That is not what I meant by pitching – I’m talking about pitching in real games against real opponents….not in controlled environments like extended spring training games…..

            • John Dreker
              May 4, 2015 6:37 pm

              Well that is the only option at this point and most of the games are against real opponents. They play the Phillies, Yankees and Blue Jays and when it isn’t one of those teams, then it is an intrasquad game. There isn’t any other option, they aren’t at the Low-A level for readiness, so it’s hard to be down on them for not being pushed by the Pirates. They have a set way, even Taillon didn’t start Opening Day with WV his first full year, he was held back.

        • FWIW:

          “The Pirates raised a few eyebrows when they selected Tucker in the first round of the 2014 draft, and turned some heads with an aggressive assignment for the 18-year-old shortstop. The wiry-framed Tucker has a high waist and long legs, which correlates with the belief that there is plenty of overall projection left. During their series with Hagerstown, Tucker displayed his box of tools. In the field, you can see why the Pirates are high on him, as he displayed efficient range to the hole and a quick transfer from his glove. His hands are very smooth presently, although the footwork will need to be refined some before he is consistently able to make use of his quirky throwing motion. Overall, the defense left me with a positive feeling, and I think there is a chance for Tucker to be an average or better fielder at the position.

          At the plate, Tucker displays barrel control from both sides, with the left side currently more slap-happy than drive-happy. He displayed plus bat speed and quick hands through the zone, and the ball jumped off the bat more than I was expecting for a player that is so wiry. The Pirates may have been aggressive with their assignment of Tucker, but the results on the field will begin to turn more heads than the assignment. –Tucker Blair”

          Scouting A-ball stats three weeks into the minor league season is no way to judge prospects.

  • It’ll be fun to follow Keller, Supak, Eppler and Hinsz once they start throwing.

  • Bell reminds me a little of Ryan Howard with his stance. That’s where that comparison ends though. It’s a shame Howard fell off a cliff though. He’s a good guy and had a few excellent years. Anywho, if Josh Bell ends up like Bill Madlock I’ll be happy with that. He definitely has the look of a future batting champion.

    • John Dreker
      May 4, 2015 12:13 pm

      I remember watching Howard in the minors and I wasn’t impressed, except by the power he had. He had this loopy swing and he swung and missed a lot. He was playing a series against Hickory(when they were the Pirates) and Walter Young was at first base for Hickory. Howard and Young were basically the same players, except lefty/righty. They were both big guys, painfully slow, awkward defenders, swung at everything, missed a lot and when they hit the ball, it took off. I can’t believe their careers went in such opposite directions, although the Phillies would love to trade Howard straight up for Young right now and he hasn’t played pro ball since 2009.

      • I live in Philadelphia and Ryan Howard is the bunch line of every joke. It’s really a shame. Every now and again I’ll hear the story of how Littlefield was called about Howard (I believe Thome was blocking him) and only wanted Duke as part of the discussion. As the story goes Littlefield dropped the F-Bomb and hung up.

        • John Dreker
          May 4, 2015 12:53 pm

          I’ve heard the story numerous different ways and it’s always different, but it has been denied by both sides, so it was probably a rumor started that got legs. Benson was the original story, then it became Kip Wells and apparently both sides turned it down. I actually liked Brad Eldred more than Howard because he had the same swing flaws, but was more athletic, so at the time, the rumor didn’t bother me. Now, Phillies would have to throw in JP Crawford(or about $30M) to get Eldred for Howard

          • I was pretty sure that Brad Eldred and Steve Pearce were going to save the Pirates. I was younger and dumber then but mostly just desperate for .500 baseball.

            • Pearce has turned into a pretty good ball player, and Eldred really never really got much of a chance to be fair.

        • I’ve never heard Duke in those rumors. I’ve heard Wells and Benson. I believe Benson was the original story, and it carried over each year with different pitchers after that.

          • My buddy who writes for the Phillies told me about it back before I even knew who Duke was. Living in Philly I didn’t have the best access to the minor league teams outside of the PPG online. Thank God for this site by the way. Baseball America and ESPN only tell you so much.