Morning Report: Stats Leaders Across the System

I haven’t done an update on the players among the league leaders in their league in awhile, so now is a good time to check on the leaders. That is code for I couldn’t think of a good topic to write about today.

For Indianapolis, Steve Lombardozzi is seventh with a .309 average. Pirates fans will remember Matt Hague, who leads with a .347 mark. Lombardozzi is also eighth with a .371 OBP and Gorkys Hernandez(pictured above) is 11th in OPS. That surprised me just now and I check the boxscores every single day.

Hernandez is tied for fourth in runs scored, while Alen Hanson is one run behind him, tied for sixth place. Hanson is tied for first with eight triples and Hernandez is tied for eighth with 31 walks. Hanson is seventh with 17 stolen bases.

With pitchers, Casey Sadler is sixth with a 1.20 WHIP, but likely got some bad news on Wednesday with his DL trip for forearm tightness. Adrian Sampson is tied for second with 76 strikeouts and Blake Wood leads with 18 saves.

For Altoona, both Josh Bell and Max Moroff are tied with the second best batting average(.318) in the Eastern League. Bell is tied with Keon Broxton(who still qualifies for league leaders for now) with an .828 OPS, which is good for ninth in the league. Moroff is right behind them .009 lower.

Moroff is second in the league in runs scored with 45, trailing the leader by one. His 84 hits leads the league, two ahead of Bell, who is in second place. Bell is tied for the lead with six triples and Stetson Allie is tied for third with ten homers. Moroff(34) and Bell(33) are fourth and sixth in walks.

On the pitching side, remember when Altoona dominated the ERA leaders? At one point they had all five starters in the top ten. Now only Angel Sanchez(9th with 2.79) is in the top ten and he will soon be dropped from the list because he has been promoted. Sanchez is 11th in WHIP and Chad Kuhl is 11th in strikeouts.

For Bradenton, Jin-De Jhang(.306) is third in average and Jose Osuna(.764) still ranks tenth in OPS, but he’s up in Altoona and won’t stay on the list.

JaCoby Jones is eight in runs scored and fourth in RBIs, so he has helped produce runs for the team despite a high strikeout total. Erich Weiss is eighth in hits and Jones is tenth. Jones is also fifth in homers.

The pitching side has almost nothing of note, with Brett McKinney ranking fifth in saves. He’s in Altoona, though really struggling, so a return might not be out of the question.

For West Virginia, there isn’t much. Jordan Luplow is tied for fifth with 17 doubles. Chase Simpson is tied for seventh with 31 walks and Michael Suchy is tied for ninth with 30 free passes. Tito Polo and Cole Tucker are tied for ninth with 19 steals.

For pitchers, Yeudy Garcia is eighth with a 2.57 ERA. Austin Coley is sixth with 61 strikeouts and ninth with a 1.12 WHIP. Nick Neumann is tied for fourth with ten saves.

When I post another update in a month or so, I’ll include the short-season teams.

Pirates Game Graph

Source: FanGraphs

Playoff Push

The Pirates trail by seven 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 six 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 two game lead in their division.

Bradenton and West Virginia did not win their first half title. The second half begins for both teams today.

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 5-2 to the Reds on Wednesday. A.J. Burnett will get the ball tonight, trying to bounce back from a start in Washington in which he allowed 14 hits, though only three earned runs over 6.2 innings. He has pitched against the Reds twice this year, giving up a total of four earned runs over 12.1 innings. The Reds will go with Anthony DeSclafani, who has a 3.48 ERA in 82.2 innings. He has faced the Pirates twice this year and allowed five earned runs over 11 innings.

In the minors, Steven Brault and Cody Dickson will both start tonight, two lefties that began the year in the Bradenton rotation. Before his first AA start last week, Brault was on quite a run, establishing himself as the best pitcher on the Marauders. His first AA start didn’t go well, but High-A to AA is considered a big jump in talent. Dickson has been inconsistent all season despite having quality stuff. His last two outings have gone well, with three earned runs over 11.2 innings, so he looks to continue that success. West Virginia returns to action tonight after completing their All-Star break. The GCL Pirates will play a doubleheader today. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (40-31) vs Cincinnati (33-37) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: A.J. Burnett (2.05 ERA, 25:81 BB/SO, 92.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (42-31) @ Gwinnett (36-35) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Angel Sanchez (7.20 ERA, 2:3 BB/SO, 5.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (42-29) vs Erie (27-44) 7:00 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter: Steven Brault (8.31 ERA, 1:5 BB/SO, 4.1 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (32-38) @ St Lucie (35-34) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Cody Dickson (4.20 ERA, 26:46 BB/SO, 70.2 IP)

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

Short-Season A: Morgantown (2-4) @ Auburn (5-1) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD

Rookie: Bristol (1-1) vs Greenville (1-1) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter:  Marek Minarik (NR)

GCL: Pirates (1-0) vs Phillies (1-0) 11:00 AM DH (season preview)

DSL: Pirates (12-10) vs Red Sox2 (15-5) 10:30 AM  (season preview)


Here’s video of Gift Ngoepe showing off the glove. His bat has been strong too, hitting .266/.349/.371 this season while playing shortstop everyday.

Recent Transactions

6/24: Casey Sadler placed on disabled list. Brad Lincoln and Josh Wall added to Indianapolis roster.

6/24: Corey Hart placed on disabled list. Chris Volstad added to Pirates roster.

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

6/22: Andy Otamendi assigned to Morgantown.

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.


This Date in Pirates History

Six former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a high scoring doubleheader for the Pirates. Starting with the players and we have some recent ones. Paul Maholm and Aramis Ramirez are familiar to even the most recent Pirates’ fans. Maholm played for the team from 2005 until 2011 and Ramirez was with the club from 1998 until 2003. He was then traded away in a deal most people would like to forget. I’ll leave it at that and you can check the link above if you want to torture yourself.

Also born on this date, 1994 pitcher Alejandro Pena, pitcher John Gelnar, who played for the 1964 and 1967 teams. Infielder Bill Webb(1917) and 1929-30 pitcher Ralph Erickson, who is one of a handful of former Major League players that lived to 100 years old. He passed away in 2002.

On this date in 1912, the Pirates took on the St Louis Cardinals in Pittsburgh for two games. By the end of the day, they would collect 35 hits and outscore the Cardinals 29-7. Chief Wilson and Hall of Famer Max Carey each hit grand slams. The Pirates finished second in the NL that year with a 93-58 record.

  • The almost complete lack of power at every level of the system is striking.

    Not a single Top 30 prospect has an isolated slugging percentage over .150…that is just incredible.

    Josh Bell simply has to develop or this club is going to be searching for power at a time when the market values it more than ever. Make the swing change now.

    • The lack of power is very startling…besides Bell and maybe Garcia who has the next best power really? Jones a shortstop?!

      • Can Meadows develop it?

      • Let me be clear; I’m not talking about raw power. Plenty of the Pirates prospects have that.

        Maybe I’m reading too much into recency, but there seems to be a concerted effort throughout the organization focusing on contact, to the point of being extreme.

        • They have appeared to have a clear strategy of finding guys that have advanced abilities to make contact, even if that means a more questionable or raw power tool.

          I get the logic, in that you can help develop power if a guy makes regular contact and makes regular hard contact, but it does run with risks. Total speculation, but i could see it being the product of some internal analytics surrounding the impact of shifts and possible efficient ways to counter it offensively.

          • Absolutely agree on your first paragraph, Luke, but watching what has happened to Bell, Meadows, Jones, and Garcia this year leads me to believe that they either *do not* have intentions of teaching any of these guys to tap into their raw, or that they’re just really, really terrible at it.

            • Im reserving judgement just yet. Certainly i can see how one could say “it aint working or we aint trying” but i can also see a scenario where the team has a plan in place where power is the last thing they “teach”.

              Meaning, they focus a ton on quality hitting tools outside of power, put an emphasis on learning to hit the ball hard regardless of where it goes, and then lastly have them focus on how to use those tools with small tweaks/ideas/strategies that boost power. Risk involved, im relatively skeptical, but for many its early. Bell will be the first guy to sink/swim.

    • Andrew McCutchen spent five full seasons in the minors and only the first two posted an ISO above .150. The other three were .126, .104, and .115. His power didn’t start to come out until his call-up year, and since then, it’s been here to stay.

      Starling Marte was similar, developing his power the year before he was called up.

      I’m not concerned about the lack of power. If McCutchen and Marte are an indication of Bell’s development, the power will start to come out late this year and into next. If that doesn’t happen, then I’ll be concerned, but not before.

      • Except I think those guys were a result of physical development.

        The only direction for Josh Bell’s body to go is down. Kid is an absolute monster. His lack of power is a direct result of his swing; simply not enough loft at present to ever really expect a change.

        The Pirates need to take a page from what the Cards are doing right now with Stephen Piscotty, sooner rather than later.

        • You know what the most troubling thing for me in all of this discussion is? That for a team making mechanical changes so that there is more contact, our teams do not have a lot of .300 hitters. Yes, Moroff and Bell are .300 hitters…but even with our major league roster, changes have been made to Pedro’s swing and his ISO is down and is he really hitting for any more average (no)?

          • Pedro is an absolute enigma. I just give up trying.

            If he broke out in the second half, there’d be a laundry list of indicators you could find that said this was coming…he’s swinging at significantly less less balls out of the zone, making contact with more in the zone, increasing his walks, decreasing his strikeouts, using the entire field more, and on top of that all he’s got a top 20 average fly ball distance in all of baseball and has the 3rd(!) highest average exit velocity of any hitter in all of baseball. Those are all good things!

            For whatever reason, the pieces just aren’t fitting together. It just feels like getting out of the organization is his best bet.

  • piraterican21
    June 25, 2015 10:31 am

    Matt Hague would had been the perfect right handed platoon option n 1b