With all the new draft picks soon to be in the system, they will be playing for one of the three lower level teams. The Pittsburgh Pirates rarely send a new draft pick into full-season ball, with very few exceptions since the new front office took over in 2008. One time they did, reminds us of what could happen with this new class of draft picks. In 2008, the Pirates drafted shortstop Jordy Mercer in the third round and shortstop Chase d’Arnaud in the fourth round. Mercer played briefly for State College before moving up to Hickory, while d’Arnaud stayed at State College.
If anyone would go to the West Virginia Power from this new group, it would probably be first round pick Kevin Newman. With the Pirates also drafting shortstop Kevin Kramer in the second round, one of them will either have to play second base, or play on a different team. At least with Cole Tucker at West Virginia, they have been good about giving him days off during his first full season so that would open some space for Newman. When they both play the same day, one could DH while the other starts at shortstop. We will soon see what the Pirates decide to do, and I wouldn’t rule out Tucker getting demoted once a short-season team starts playing. He hasn’t looked bad considering his age, but the play at the lower level might be better suited for him at this point.
Speaking of the short-season teams, all three will be playing soon. The team in Morgantown, named West Virginia just to cause confusion, begins their New York-Penn League season on Friday. Expect it to be filled with college players, either draft picks from this year or ones that were with a short-season team last year. We already heard after J.T. Brubaker and Bret Helton signed on Friday, that they were both assigned to the Morgantown(get used to it) roster.
The Bristol club get their Appalachian League schedule started in nine days. They will have some new drafts picks, which will likely be the junior college players, or some small college players. This team will also have some members of last year’s GCL club, plus a few of the advanced players from last year’s DSL team, who have been in Extended Spring Training the last couple months. Last year, Bristol was nearly devoid of any real prospects, to the point we had trouble putting together our top ten list in the season recap. Usually the trouble is leaving certain players off at the lower levels, but the trouble with Bristol last year was the uneasiness of calling some players on the list “prospects”. Things should be better this year, but it won’t take much for that to be true.
Finally, we have the GCL club. This team usually gets the high school players from the draft but we seem to have hit a roadblock with the normal plan this year. The Pirates didn’t draft many high school players and I doubt all of them sign. They did bring over a large group of players from the DSL last year, so the ones that don’t go to Bristol, will be in the GCL. You also might see some players repeat the level, plus there could be some non-drafted free agents that fill out the roster, though Bristol had five NDFA players last year. It’s a 35 man roster, so they will need to get players from somewhere. The GCL team begins their schedule next Monday.
One note about the GCL infield and it’s the left side, where the Pirates’ second pick in the draft, Ke’Bryan Hayes, will likely play alongside shortstop Adrian Valerio(pictured above). Hayes is a strong defensive player, while Valerio is an outstanding glove at shortstop, so they give the team a young, talented pair to watch. They could be a pair that moves up the system together, or they could get separated right away if the Pirates decide to challenge Hayes, but that’s something to think about some other day.
Pirates Game Graph
Indianapolis is 8-2 in their last ten games and they have a six game lead in their division.
Altoona has a 3.5 game lead in their division.
West Virginia trails first place Hickory by five games with nine games left in the first half.
Bradenton has been eliminated from their first half playoff race.
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates won 4-3 over the Phillies on Saturday afternoon in the second game of a three-game series. A.J. Burnett will be on the mound today, trying to complete the sweep. He faced the Phillies on May 12th and gave up one earned run over seven innings. The Pirates will have a tough game ahead of them though, as Cole Hamels pitches for the Phillies. He has a 3.19 ERA in 87.1 innings this year. He faced the Pirates on May 13th and held them to two runs over seven innings, while striking out nine batters.
In the minors, Tyler Eppler will be on the mound for Bradenton, making his season debut. Altoona starter Angel Sanchez is seventh in the Eastern League in ERA. West Virginia had their game postponed due to rain on Saturday. They will play a doubleheader today. First game starter Austin Coley has a 1.04 WHIP, fifth best in the SAL. Yeudy Garcia will start the second game. He is eighth in the SAL in ERA and 12th in WHIP(1.12). The DSL Pirates are off today. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.
MLB: Pittsburgh (34-27) vs Phillies (22-41) 4:05 PM
Probable starter: A.J. Burnett (2.11 ERA, 23:70 BB/SO, 76.2 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (40-24) vs Gwinnett (30-31) 1:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Wilfredo Boscan (4.56 ERA, 20:35 BB/SO, 49.1 IP)
AA: Altoona (35-24) vs New Hampshire (28-32) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Angel Sanchez (2.58 ERA, 18:44 BB/SO, 69.2 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (28-34) vs Ft Myers (31-31) 1:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Eppler (NR)
Low-A: West Virginia (34-27) vs Augusta (29-31) 1:05 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: Austin Coley (3.56 ERA, 8:57 BB/SO, 60.2 IP) and Yeudy Garcia (2.47 ERA, 16:48 BB/SO, 51 IP)
DSL: Pirates (6-6) vs Brewers (3-9) 10:30 AM 6/15 (season preview)
Here’s a video of Alen Hanson hitting a two-run triple on Friday night. It was his seventh of the year, which ties him for the lead in the International League.
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
Two former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus seven trades of note. Mark Lee pitched for the 1980-81 Pirates after they acquired him in a trade from the San Diego Padres. He pitched 16 games out of the bullpen with the Pirates and was traded away during Spring Training in 1982. Also born on this date, Randy Tomlin, who was a member of three playoff teams. He pitched from the Pirates from 1990 until 1994, making 94 starts and 12 relief appearances. He started one game during the 1991 playoffs and pitched twice in relief in the 1992 playoffs.
Seven trades of note on this date, all listed below. Details of each trade can be found in the link above.
1892: Pirates trade Hall of Fame pitcher Pud Galvin to the St Louis Browns for second baseman Cub Stricker.
1917: Third baseman Doug Baird sent to the Cardinals for pitcher Bob Steele.
1940: Catcher Ray Berres sent to the Boston Bees for catcher Al Lopez, who is a HOF manager.
1953: Infielder Pete Castiglione sent to the Cardinals for outfielder Hal Rice.
1954: Hal Rice(yes him again), traded to Cubs for outfielder Luis Marquez.
1982: Pitcher Eddie Solomon sent to White Sox for infielder Jim Morrison.
1983: Outfielder Marvell Wynne dealt to Mets for catcher Junior Ortiz.