In the last two days, we have checked the progress of the 2014 Jamestown Jammers and the 2014 Bristol Pirates. Jamestown moved to Morgantown this year and they begin their schedule on Friday night. Bristol starts play next week. That leaves us with the 2014 GCL Pirates. This is the easiest team to recap, because not many players actually make the jump from the GCL to full-season ball, so there aren’t many updates to the top prospects list.

The 2014 GCL Pirates used 48 players, but that number is a little misleading because the Pirates use this league often for rehab appearances. If a player is injured and at Pirate City, it is easiest for them to just begin their rehab there. Of the 48 players used by the GCL Pirates, ten of them were rehab assignments. Of the other 38 players on the team, only four have been cut. The most notable name was Hayden Hurst, who signed a big contract in 2012 out of HS, but failed as both a pitcher and a hitter.

That leaves 34 players for now. I say it that way, because the signing of new draft picks sometimes leads to players being released that were in Extended Spring Training. It really depends on how many draft picks they sign and how many healthy players there are in camp.

Only three of those remaining 34 players have seen action already this season and all three are currently with the West Virginia Power. That leaves 31 players in EST awaiting assignment and that group includes Trey Supak, Mitch Keller and Gage Hinsz, aka the big three from the 2014 draft. All three are high upside arms signed out of the prep ranks last year, with the Pirates going over-slot to sign all three of them.

Those three will be in the boxscores soon enough, but now we take a look at the three players that made the jump to full-season ball. We start with Cole Tucker, who is the youngest of the three and he was the first round pick of the Pirates last year. They gave him an aggressive push this season and he is holding his own in the lead-off spot, playing shortstop on a regular basis. Tucker is still a couple weeks shy of his 19th birthday, so his .630 OPS doesn’t look bad when put in proper perspective. He has eight errors, which isn’t a bad total for Low-A and he is 17-for-20 in stolen bases.

Next up is Tito Polo, who started off strong, but really cooled off. Polo is hitting .223/.293/.282 in 55 games. He has 19 stolen bases and plays above average defense, but it looks like the aggressive push may have been a little too much for him. At his age, it wouldn’t be bad if he had to repeat the level, especially under a normal schedule, he wouldn’t have been in West Virginia until next year anyway. You can just chalk this season up to good experience for a young player.

Finally, we have relief pitcher Julio Vivas, who began the year with Bradenton. Vivas pitched in the Venezuelan winter league this off-season, so despite the big jump from the GCL to Bradenton, he was actually facing lesser competition. He pitched well during winter ball and he pitched great with the Marauders, yet still got a demotion. Vivas had a couple poor outings with West Virginia, but he has thrown 5.1 shutout frames over his last three appearances, so he may have been trying to do too much when he first got sent down. His demotion was due to the fact injured players were returning to Bradenton and the plan to begin with was to send him down. While it was an expected move, it still had to be disappointing because he pitched so well.

The GCL schedule begins on Monday and the team looks like it could be interesting to watch, though that depends on how many of the DSL players from last year are there instead of Bristol. They will have Ke’Bryan Hayes, the 32nd overall pick. He will be at third base next to Adrian Valerio, who is just 18, but plays defense like a future Gold Glove winner. Those two alone will make the team very interesting to watch.

Pirates Game Graph

Source: FanGraphs

Playoff Push

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

Altoona is 4-6 in their last ten games and they have a 2.5 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 beat the White Sox by a 3-2 score on Wednesday night, winning their seventh straight game. Gerrit Cole looks for the sweep tonight. He has allowed one earned run over 20 innings in his last three starts combined. The White Sox will send Jeff Samardzija to the mound. He has a 4.84 ERA in 87.1 innings.

In the minors, Yeudy Garcia has had a little trouble in his last two starts as he closes in one his innings total from last year. In his last seven innings, he has allowed five earned runs on ten hits and five walks. After giving up five runs in his first inning on 6/8, Cody Dickson has allowed two runs over his last 11.2 innings. Chad Kuhl had a 1.64 ERA in April, 3.52 in May and now 6.46 in June. Altoona has an early afternoon start time. Indianapolis was rained out yesterday and they have a schedule off-day today. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (38-27) @ White Sox (28-36) 8:10 PM
Probable starter: Gerrit Cole (1.71 ERA, 19:93 BB/SO, 84.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (42-25) @ Charlotte  (36-29) 7:05 PM 6/19 (season preview)
Probable starter: Adrian Sampson (3.58 ERA, 19:67 BB/SO, 75.1 IP)

AA: Altoona (37-26) @ Akron (33-30) 12:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Chad Kuhl (3.57 ERA, 23:48 BB/SO, 68.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (30-35) vs Tampa (31-34) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Cody Dickson (4.39 ERA, 23:42 BB/SO, 65.2 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (36-29) @ Charleston (31-34) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Yeudy Garcia (2.50 ERA, 18:51 BB/SO, 54.0 IP)

DSL: Pirates (8-8) vs Marlins (7-9) 10:30 AM (season preview)


Here’s video of Dan Gamache hitting an RBI double. He is batting .311/.356/.467 in 42 games for Altoona this year. Those numbers are strong despite the fact he started the season 4-for-41.

Recent Transactions

6/18: Steven Brault promoted to Altoona. Jin-De Jhang added to Bradenton roster.

6/18: Ten draft picks signed and assigned to various short-season teams. Link here with details.

6/17: Alen Hanson placed on disabled list. Kelson Brown added to Indianapolis roster.

6/17: Pirates sign Kevin Kramer, Tanner Anderson, Nicholas Economos and Mike Wallace. Kramer assigned to Morgantown. Anderson and Wallace assigned to Bristol. Economos assigned to GCL.

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.

This Date in Pirates History

Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus one trade of note. We start with the transaction, which has a couple of ironic nicknames. On this date in 1908, the Pirates sent pitchers Tom McCarthy and Harley Young to the Boston Doves for pitcher Irv Young. The Pirates got seven starts and nine relief appearances in 1908 from Irv Young, who posted a 2.01 ERA. The two Youngs were part of an unfortunate trend back in the day, which gave players with the same last name, the same nickname. Irv was known as Cy the Second, while Harley became known as Cy the Third. Irv went 63-95 in his career, while Harley went 0-3. It’s safe to say, neither lived up to that Cy Young comparison.

As for the players born on this date, we have Ron Necciai, a pitcher for the 1952 Pirates. He had a promising career derailed by injuries. In the minors in 1952, he pitched 42.2 innings over four starts and two relief appearances. He struck out 109 batters. That’s not a misprint.

Newt Halliday, first baseman for the Pirates on August 19, 1916. He was a late-innings defensive replacement, who struck out in his only at-bat. The 20-year-old Halliday joined the Navy the next year and contracted tuberculosis, which he succumbed to in 1918, making him one of the youngest MLB players ever to pass away.

Ben Shaw, 1B/C for the 1917-18 Pirates. His career was cut short just like the other two, but his reason was a salary dispute. Shaw didn’t sign his contract in 1919 and instead played outlaw baseball, which got his banned from the majors until 1925, which effectively ended his big league career.

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  1. “Dan Gamache is batting .311/.356/.467 in 42 games for Altoona this year. Those numbers are strong despite the fact he started the season 4-for-41.”

    That is pretty darn good! I hadn’t realized he had turned his year around. I remembered the 4 for 41.

    Soooooooooooooo….is he a prospect, albeit a fringe, utility prospect?

  2. Is there a scenario where Tucker would repeat WV and Newman would get the push to Bradenton to start 2016? Keith Law put Newman as the Pirates #3 prospect in front of Taillon and Bell. That seems crazy to me but it does speak highly of Newman. I’m very excited to see Keller, Supak and Hinsz in the box score finally.

    • I think this would be the smart approach. Significant time in low-A shouldn’t be necessary for a polished college bat like Newman; if he’s as advertised, no reason the club couldn’t get him through that level this year.

      Tucker is and will be going through a ton of physical changes. So much room on that wiry frame for growth. A second time through the league should give his body a chance to catch up to his skills.

    • Keith Law loves Newman more than the Pirates, so that is where the ranking comes from. I imagine next year he will be ahead of Tucker. You have to remember that Newman is three full years older than Tucker and that means three years of college, two Cape Cod league batting titles, so there is a clear advantage in age/experience, plus they have similar overall upside(total, not tool-for-tool) and Newman is a lot closer to reaching that upside. I don’t see the Pirates taking either of them off shortstop, so that likely means Bradenton for Newman and WV again for Tucker

      • Law had Newman 2nd I think. Well, rankings mean squat at this point. Let’s see how he does. Heard and read great things. Good to have some middle IF depth in the system. For a while I felt like the Bucs were stacked at OF and P and then slowly C. Finally the middle infield looks promising as well.

    • Based on his performance to date, and given their ages, it would make sense for Newman to be in Bradenton next year (assuming he earns that promotion) and Tucker to repeat WV to continue to get stronger, especially with the bat. His average is around .270, which isn’t bad, but the last time I looked I think he had 4-5 extra base hits to date…sounds like he and McGuire have similar issues at the plate….

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