Morning Report: Checking the Progress of the 2014 Bristol Pirates

Yesterday we took a look at the progress of the players from the 2014 Jamestown Jammers. Today we drop down a level to check out how the Bristol Pirates’ players are doing this year. As with yesterday, we will concentrate on the players in the top ten and this list differs a bit from the Jamestown list, as only a few players made the jump from Bristol to full-season ball.

As I mentioned yesterday, Jamestown didn’t have many top prospects, but things already look better this year and we don’t even know half the roster, though we can assume most of it. Bristol looks even more one-sided favoring this year, as last year’s top ten was based a lot more on potential than performance, and the bottom of the list was weak. The big thing to take away from our season recap was the line that said the “top two prospects performed horribly”, but they ranked high based on performance in the past and potential. You could also throw in that Bristol just didn’t have many prospects to begin with and half of the potential prospects that were there, did really bad.

Bristol used 44 players, with three of them there on rehab, including Austin Meadows. Of the other 41 players, ten are no longer in the system. Of the 31 left, five are currently on the West Virginia Power roster and two others have pitched for the Power this year. All of the rest are in Extended Spring Training, where they will either be assigned to Bristol/Morgantown, or be among the handful of players that get released at this time of year. The amount of players that get released depends on how many draft picks sign. Adrian Grullon is out for the year, so that helps with one extra roster spot for someone else.

The top ten list for Bristol is order was: Billy Roth, Jon Sandfort, Hector Garcia, Nick Buckner, Pablo Reyes, John Sever, Trae Arbet, Luis Paula, Danny Arribas and Jerrick Suiter. Anyone who has one of our Prospect Guides can look these players up and tell you something changed between the end of the season and printing of the book, despite these players not doing anything(besides some time in the Fall Instructional League). The reason was scouting reports we got after the top ten was put out, but before the book was written.

The reports on Jon Sandfort were dreadful, with multiple scouts saying he was throwing high-80’s with no pitches in his arsenal that ranked average or better. He did not make our top 50, but Roth, Garcia and Sever did. Sever was getting better reports than we heard during the draft, so he moved up a few spots, while Garcia remained the same and Sandfort dropped.

Roth was the top prospect there last year due to potential, and this spring he looks like he could be the real thing. He has shown an increase in velocity and better control.

Sandfort came to camp and the early reports were poor. There were no other reports, because he left camp, then was released shortly after that.

Garcia is still very young, and has a lot of potential. He was probably held back this year due to his age, and I would expect him to see plenty of innings with Morgantown. As one of the better lefty prospects in the system, he is one to watch this year.

It should be an interesting year for Nick Buckner, as we will see if this toolsy outfielder can make enough contact to put those tools to good use and develop into a legit prospect. He was among the youngest in his draft class two years ago, so the slower approach is fine with a player that was considered raw.

Pablo Reyes was one of our possible breakout players this year and when he was assigned to West Virginia, it looked like it could be a possibility. He’s a second baseman with some pop in his bat and some speed. He has hit for average in the past, but he is batting .237 this year, so he still ranks as a possible breakout player.

John Sever(pictured above) has been in the WV Power rotation and has also been used as a long man out of the bullpen. He has a 3.06 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 53 innings, so he has looked the best out of this group so far this year.

Luis Paula, Danny Arribas and Trea Arbet are all long shots to make the majors, but as I said, this team didn’t have many prospects. I’d give Paula the best shot to make it to the majors, with the upside of a bullpen arm, as long as he can hit the velocity numbers we heard in college. His reports have been a little lower, sitting 90-91 in short outings.

Jerrick Suiter is doing well in West Virginia, but he is 22 years old, playing corner spots and seeing time as DH. As someone that spent three years at a major college, you should expect him to do well in Low-A ball.

Bristol should be much more interesting this year, especially with the potential rotation they could throw out if Trey Supak, Mitch Keller, Gage Hinsz and Neil Kozikowski are all there, plus some other possibilities among the DSL players that are new this season. We will have a season preview and the roster as soon as it comes out.

Pirates Game Graph

Source: FanGraphs

Playoff Push

Indianapolis is 8-2 in their last ten games and they have a 7.5 game lead in their division.

Altoona is 5-5 in their last ten games and they have a three game lead in their division.

West Virginia has been eliminated from their first half playoff race.

Bradenton has been eliminated from their first half playoff race.

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates defeated the White Sox by a 3-0 score on Tuesday. The four game series now shifts to Chicago, where Jeff Locke will get the ball. He shutout the Phillies for six innings in his last outing. Prior to that, he allowed 11 runs over 10.1 innings in his two previous starts. John Danks(5.29 ERA) will start for the White Sox.

In the minors, Luis Heredia will make his seventh start and he is still looking to go five innings for the first time. In all six starts, he has reached his pitch count early, which has limited his innings. In his last start, Heredia struck out a season-high five batters. Adrian Sampson will try to bounce back from a dreadful start in which he allowed eight runs in 1.2 innings. That equals the amount of runs he allowed over his previous four starts combined in 25.1 innings. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (37-27) @ White Sox (28-35) 8:10 PM
Probable starter: Jeff Locke (2.05 ERA, 7:12 BB/SO, 26.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (42-25) vs Durham (39-28) 1:35 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter: Adrian Sampson (3.58 ERA, 19:67 BB/SO, 75.1 IP)

AA: Altoona (37-25) @ Akron (32-30) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Zack Dodson (2.57 ERA, 11:28 BB/SO, 66.2 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (30-35) vs Tampa (31-34) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Luis Heredia (4.71 ERA, 10:13 BB/SO, 21.0 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (36-29) @ Charleston (31-34) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter:  Colten Brewer (4.91 ERA, 9:29 BB/SO, 36.2 IP)

DSL: Pirates (8-7) vs Cubs (10-5) 10:30 AM (season preview)


In Indianapolis, Jaff Decker came up with the score tied in the tenth and hit a walk-off homer off former teammate Andy Oliver.

Recent Transactions

6/16: Pirates sign Ke’Bryan Hayes. Assigned to GCL Pirates.

6/15: Willy Garcia promoted to Indianapolis. Mel Rojas Jr. sent to Altoona.

6/15: Pirates sign Kevin Newman. Assigned to West Virginia

6/14: Angel Sanchez promoted to Indianapolis.

6/14: Tyler Eppler added to Bradenton roster. Ryan Hafner released.

6/13: Brad Lincoln and Wilkin Castillo placed on Indianapolis disabled list. Radhames Liz activated from reserve roster.

6/12: Pirates sign J.T. Brubaker, Seth McGarry and Bret Helton.

6/11: Pirates acquire John Bowker from the San Francisco Giants.

6/10: Yhonathan Barrios promoted to Indianapolis.

6/9: John Holzkom activated from Indianapolis disabled list

6/9: Brett McKinney promoted to Altoona. Ryan Hafner added to Bradenton roster.

6/7: Pirates release Tyler Sample.

6/5: Justin Sellers assigned to Bradenton on rehab.

6/5: Charlie Leesman placed on Indianapolis disabled list.

6/5: Francisco Diaz activated from WV Power disabled list.

6/5: Kawika Emsley-Pai promoted to Bradenton roster. Jin-De Jhang assigned to Extended Spring Training.

6/3: Pirates outright Radhames Liz to Indianapolis.


This Date in Pirates History

Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including one of the best hitters ever. Before we get into the players, there is one trade of note. Two days after the Pirates traded away Hall of Fame pitcher Pud Galvin in 1892, they traded away the player they got in return for him. Cub Stricker was dealt to the Baltimore Orioles for pitcher Adonis Terry. Stricker never even played for the Pirates, but he was a valuable trade piece, as it brought Terry to replace Galvin in the rotation. The new pitcher won 18 games and put in 240 innings the rest of the season.

The players born on this date include pitcher Bennie Daniels, who was a member of the 1960 World Series champs. He started his time with the Pirates in 1957 and played four seasons with the club. Also we have Joe Bowman, who put in five seasons in Pittsburgh from 1937-41 and Zeb Terry, who played shortstop for the team in 1919. Finally, we have Pete Browning, an outfielder for the team in 1891 and the man who is known as the original Louisville Slugger. Browning hit .341 during his career, collecting 1646 hits in only 1183 games. He won three batting titles during his career, including the only one in the Player’s League, which was a league loaded with talent, that only existed during the 1890 season.

  • That slide was badass.

  • I don’t think i have ever seen better prospects in the lower levels of the pirates organization till this year. If Bristol gets those 4 arms in their rotation, that is scary. Most of those guys would be top 10 prospects in a week farm system! Neil Huntington has done one of the best jobs ever! LETS GO BUCS!

  • Okay…I’m convinced by that video (and off of a lefty!).

    Bring up Decker and DFA Hart.

    • That was a nice swing. In a two-strike count, too (on a mistake pitch, granted).