Morning Report: Ke’Bryan Hayes, Clay Holmes and a Big Day For Pitching

I’ve already had multiple people ask me about Ke’Bryan Hayes after he didn’t show up in the first two GCL games, so I thought I would address this here. Last year Cole Tucker signed right away and was in the lineup for the GCL Pirates on June 23rd, which was the third game of the season. There is a good reason you sometimes don’t see a high school player get into action right away and that is because they usually ease them into the lineup.

As a high school player, they weren’t out there everyday playing games, but they are joining a team that was already partially in place playing Extended Spring Training games and simulated games since back in March. It takes a little time to get up to speed and Hayes will be in the lineup soon, possibly today. He is with the team and in uniform, going through the drills and wearing #6 like he is the next Rennie Stennett.

Today is a big day for pitchers in the minors as shown below. Adrian Sampson, Tyler Glasnow and Luis Heredia are all scheduled to pitch. No starter has been named for Bristol yet(updated below), but if you saw the preview from yesterday, there is a strong chance that someone good will be going for them as well. It won’t be Mitch Keller, the top prospect with the team, as it was reported yesterday that he has minor forearm tightness and has been pushed back.

With the news of an ab injury to Jameson Taillon, with no timetable for his return, the start from Sampson just got a little more important than before. Both Casey Sadler and Clayton Richard pitched during these last three days and neither of them did well. Sampson had an impressive outing last time out and if he can build on that, then he could take the lead for the first person up if the Pirates need a starter. Of course if it is an emergency start, then it might be all about timing, so it is important to have multiple options pitching well. Sampson has a 19:72 BB/SO ratio in 82.1 innings, which puts him out ahead of the other two players, who both have lower strikeout rates. They have Major League experience though, and in the case of Richard, lots of experience, so it might not be just a case of taking who is pitching the best.

The returns for Tyler Eppler and Clay Holmes had some similarities. Eppler missed almost half the season with elbow soreness, while Holmes has been out since last spring due to Tommy John surgery. Both pitchers dominated early in their first game(yesterday for Holmes), then got hit around as they neared their pitch limit. Eppler repeated that same thing in his second start on Monday, retiring the first ten batters before giving up two runs in his last inning. Holmes had three scoreless innings before running into trouble in the fourth and getting pulled after 55 total pitches.

Holmes was basically on the same schedule as Taillon prior to the ab injury. That makes sense, as they had their TJ surgeries 20 days apart. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Holmes make another GCL start before going to Bradenton. If you figure that the Pirates were going to take it slow with Taillon by sending him from the GCL to Bradenton before Indianapolis, where he was at pre-injury, then Holmes should get another start before he goes to a level he hasn’t pitched at yet.


Pirates Game Graph

Source: FanGraphs

Playoff Push

The Pirates trail by six games in the division to the Cardinals. They have a half game lead for the top wild card spot.

Indianapolis is 3-7 in their last ten games, with five straight losses. They have a 3.5 game lead in their division.

Altoona is 5-5 in their last ten games and they have a 1.5 game lead in their division.

Bradenton and West Virginia have been eliminated from the first half playoff race. The Marauders have one game left in the first half and the Power begin their second half when the SAL All-Star break ends.

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates won 7-6 on Tuesday night over the Reds. Gerrit Cole will take on Mike Leake tonight in game two of the three-game series. The Reds have been the team that comes closest to owning Cole this year. His season high for runs allowed is three and his season low is five innings. Both have happened twice this year and they both came during his two starts against the Reds. Against every other team this year, he has gone at least six innings and given up two runs or less. Mike Leake has a a 4.01 ERA in 89.2 innings this season. He threw eight shutout innings against the Pirates on May 6th.

In the minors, it is a big night for prospects. Tyler Glasnow will make his second start for Morgantown, hoping to go longer than the 1.1 innings he put in during his first rehab outing with the team. Adrian Sampson will make his 15th start of the season. He allowed one run over seven innings in his last game. Sampson is second in the International League in strikeouts. Luis Heredia will make his eighth start of the year and he is hoping to go five innings for the first time. In all seven starts this season, he has had trouble with high pitch counts, limiting his innings on the year. Trey Supak will start for Bristol. He was signed last year for $1M as the Pirates second round pick. West Virginia is on their All-Star break. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (40-30) vs Cincinnati (32-37) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Gerrit Cole (1.78 ERA, 22:97 BB/SO, 91.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (42-30) @ Gwinnett (35-35) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Adrian Sampson (3.39 ERA, 19:72 BB/SO, 82.1 IP)

AA: Altoona (41-29) vs Erie (27-43) 7:00 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter: Matt Benedict (4.63 ERA, 8:14 BB/SO, 35.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (31-38) @ Charlotte (45-24) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Luis Heredia (6.31 ERA, 11:16 BB/SO, 25.2 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (37-32) vs Greensboro (29-40) 7:05 PM 6/25 (season preview)
Probable starter:  Colten Brewer (5.66 ERA, 11:32 BB/SO, 41.1 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (2-3) @ Williamsport (5-0) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter:  Tyler Glasnow (13.50 ERA,  1:2 BB/SO, 1.1 IP)

Rookie: Bristol (0-1) vs Greenville (1-0) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Trey Supak (NR)

GCL: Pirates (1-0) vs Phillies (1-0) 12:00 PM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates (11-10) vs Mets2 (14-7) 10:30 AM  (season preview)


Here’s video of Mel Rojas Jr. hitting a triple. Since being demoted to Altoona from Indianapolis, he is hitting .290 with four extra-base hits in nine games. In 51 games with Indianapolis, he had six extra-base hits, all doubles.

Recent Transactions

6/23: Pirates sign Shane Kemp. Assigned to Bristol.

6/22: Pirates sign Austin Sodders. Assigned to GCL.

6/21: Marek Minarik and Luis Paula sent to Bristol.

6/20: Pirates release Edgar Munoz

6/20: Pirates sign Garrett Russini as a non-drafted free agent.

6/19: Pirates sign Sean Keselica and Stephan Meyer. Both players assigned to Morgantown.

6/19: Collin Balester traded to Cincinnati Reds.

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. Five others were also signed later in the day. Details here.

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.


This Date in Pirates History

Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including the franchise’s all-time leader in batting average. Starting with the players that didn’t hit .360 for the Pirates, we have third baseman Ken Reitz(1982), pitcher Al Gerheauser(1945-46) and Rollie Hemsley, who caught for the Pirates from 1928-31 and made five All-Star teams during his 19-year career.

Also born on this, pitcher Kirtley Baker, who played for the worst team in franchise history. The 1890 Pittsburgh Alleghenys went 23-113 and Baker won three of those games. Unfortunately, he lost 19 games, giving him the lowest winning percentage(.136) for any pitcher that has at least 20 decisions with the Pirates. Despite the poor record, he did have a highlight to brag about. At the end of June, he threw a shutout against the New York Giants and pitcher Mickey Welch, who is a 300-game winner and a Hall of Famer.

Finally, Jake Stenzel was born on this date and no one had a higher average than his .360 mark with the Pirates. He is the only player in Major League history to hit .350 with 80 RBIs, 100 runs scored and 50 stolen bases in a season, four times. He did it three times with the Pirates, while everyone else in franchise history reached those numbers twice, both times by Honus Wagner. Stenzel hit .371 in 1895 and the previous year he scored 150 runs, which remains the franchise’s single-season record. His .429 on base percentage is also the best in team history.

  • Just seen on Trib site that Cory Hart to DL with left shoulder impingement. Huntington said will go short on bench “until pitching is balanced.” Called up Chris Volstad.

  • I love Jake Stenzel.

    • John Dreker
      June 24, 2015 9:37 am

      It’s too bad his career fizzled out so soon. You could make a case for him being one of the best all-time players at his peak. I think the trade the Pirates made with him would have broke the Pirates internet if it happened now. It would have been like trading McCutchen after his MVP year for Jim Edmonds in his early 30’s

    • Who drafted Jake, Cam or Dave Littlefield? Maybe Simba? Anyone named Jake should be on an MLB roster. Jake Alvarez, Jake Lambo, Jake Dreker…………

  • John: Thanks for the update and info on Hayes, Eppler, and Holmes. Since his breakout in AA and the work so far this year in AAA, Adrian Sampson shopuld be the first called if something happens beyond what we already have in place in Pittsburgh.