Back in April, Jin-De Jhang almost went the entire month without striking out, ending up with two in 54 at-bats. He has managed to keep his strikeouts low, while also hitting for a .300 average this year. In 260 at-bats, he has 26 strikeouts, which is a nice even 10.0 at-bats per strikeout. Over his four seasons in pro ball, he has struck out once every 8.24 at-bats. Jhang turned 22 during the season and catchers usually take a little longer to develop at the plate, so he still has a chance to turn into a nice Major League player. The walk rate and power numbers are lower than you like to see, but someone that makes that much contact at a young age, is a good bet to add some extra-bases. I wouldn’t expect him to turn into a home run hitter, but the doubles should eventually show up.
Getting back to the strikeout totals by Jhang from April, with the GCL, Bristol and Morgantown all having about a month of games in now, I thought I’d take a look at which players from those teams are the hardest to strike out.
Going into play on Saturday, the most impressive totals for Bristol came from Jordan George and Carlos Munoz. I included both because Munoz had 36 more at-bats. George was a 35th round pick this year and at 23, he was one of the older players drafted. He has struck out six times in 61 at-bats. Munoz is two years younger than George and he has a track record in pro ball of not striking out often, just like Jhang. He has ten in 101 at-bats this year and 73 in 660 at-bats over the years. He also has 139 walks, so it’s not often you see someone with twice as many walks as strikeouts. If you missed it from last night, Munoz also hit three homers.
For Morgantown, the toughest player to strikeout has been Kevin Newman with 15 in 106 at-bats. That’s obviously not near the numbers from Bristol or close to what Jhang put up, but it’s the best on the team from anyone with significant amount of at-bats. Ulises Montilla has three in 36 at-bats, but he has obviously seen very little time. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Newman is the best because he was very difficult to strikeout in college. In 227 at-bats with Arizona this year, he struck out 15 times, the same number he has for Morgantown, though he has less than half the amount of at-bats.
The best in the GCL is catcher Yoel Gonzalez, who has struck out five times in 51 at-bats. He has put up decent strikeout numbers in the past, including 30 in 150 at-bats last year in the GCL and a slightly better rate in the DSL as a rookie. He’s still young for the league, about to turn 19 next week, but things aren’t looking good for his bat despite the contact numbers. He’s hitting .137/.279/.196 this year. Gonzalez hasn’t hit much in the past, though he’s always been very young for the league. So you can give him a little slack, but you want to also see improvements each year. For those wondering about Ke’Bryan Hayes, he’s putting up good numbers, just not as good as Gonzalez. He’s struck out nine times in 60 at-bats.
On to a little playoff news and Bradenton had their game canceled on Saturday, and Friday’s suspended game was declared a tie. Those are both things you see when two teams don’t meet again during the regular season, although in leagues that play two halves, such as the Florida State League and South Atlantic League, that also holds true if the teams don’t play again before the first half ends. For Bradenton, they lost two games, though the stats from Friday(1-1 tie in the sixth) do count in the season stats. The Marauders are going for the playoffs and trailed by two games going into Saturday, so they might miss those games at the end of the season if they fall just short of the playoffs.
One last playoff note and that’s the addition of Morgantown to the Playoff Push section because they have been winning a lot lately. They still trial by five games in the standings, but they have won eight straight. They are in a league that has one wild card team in the playoffs and the Black Bears only trail by a 1/2 game for that spot.
Pirates Game Graph
The Pirates trail by seven games in the division to the Cardinals. They have a three game lead for the top wild card spot.
Indianapolis is 5-5 in their last ten games. They have a one game lead in their division.
Altoona is 5-5 in their last ten games and they are now tied for second place with Richmond, both one game back of Bowie.
Bradenton is 8-2 in their last ten games. They trail Palm Beach by two games in the standings.
West Virginia is 7-3 in their last ten games and they have a two game lead in the division.
Morgantown is 9-1 in their last ten games. They trail by five games in the division.
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 9-3 to the Nationals on Saturday night. Game four of the series is this afternoon with Gerrit Cole on the mound. He will take on Joe Ross, who is making his fifth start of the season. He faced the Pirates on June 19th and gave up one run over 7.1 innings. Cole is making his 20th start of the season. He gave up two runs over 7.1 innings in his last start. He did not face the Nationals last time the two teams met.
In the minors, Tyler Glasnow will be on the mound for Altoona this afternoon, making his 14th start of the season. He has struck out seven batters or more in each of his last five starts. Glasnow gave up three earned runs in his last game, though it came with ten strikeouts. In his two prior starts, he threw a total of 13 shutout innings. Neil Kozikowski gets the start for Bristol tonight. He couldn’t get out of the first inning last time out, giving up four earned runs before he reached his single innings pitch count limit. The GCL and DSL Pirates are off today. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.
MLB: Pittsburgh (56-41) vs Nationals (52-44) 1:35 PM
Probable starter: Gerrit Cole (2.31 ERA, 28:122 BB/SO, 124.2 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (57-44) vs Louisville (50-52) 1:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Chris Volstad (3.51 ERA, 33:62 BB/SO, 97.1 IP)
AA: Altoona (54-47) @ Akron (52-49) 2:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Glasnow (2.37 ERA, 17:70 BB/SO, 57.0 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (50-48, 18-10 second half) @ Clearwater) 1:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Cody Dickson (4.05 ERA, 39:67 BB/SO, 97.2 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (57-41, 20-9 second half) @ Hagerstown (48-49) 3:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Alex McRae (4.53 ERA, 19:64 BB/SO, 89.1 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (19-16) vs Staten Island (19-15) 4:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Bret Helton (4.84, 10:18 BB/SO, 22.1 IP)
Rookie: Bristol (13-16) @ Pulaski (18-14) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Neil Kozikowski (5.30 ERA, 5:11 BB/SO, 18.2 IP)
GCL: Pirates (14-11) vs Phillies (20-8) 12:00 PM 7/27 (season preview)
DSL: Pirates (19-29) vs Brewers (20-28) 10:30 AM 7/27 (season preview)
Here is a nifty double play from Alen Hanson and Gift Ngoepe on a slow hit ball.
7/25: Pirates designate Brent Morel for assignment.
7/25: Justin Sellers sent outright to Indianapolis
7/25: Adam Miller assigned to GCL on rehab
7/24: Robert Stock activated from disabled list.
7/23: Pirates traded Yhonathan Barrios to Milwaukee Brewers for Aramis Ramirez and cash.
7/23: Steve Lombardozzi designated for assignment.
7/23: John Holdzkom assigned to Morgantown on rehab.
7/23: Hunter Morris activated from Indianapolis disabled list.
7/23: Wes Freeman released. Andy Otamendi assigned to Bradenton.
7/23: Mervin Del Rosario assigned to GCL Pirates.
7/22: Pirates purchase contract of Pedro Florimon. Wilfredo Boscan optioned to Indianapolis. Jayson Aquino designated for assignment.
7/22: Barrett Barnes promoted to Altoona. Andy Vasquez promoted to Indianapolis.
7/22: Gorkys Hernandez assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.
7/21: Jonathan Schwind and Andrew Lambo assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.
7/21: Harold Ramirez activated from temporary inactive list. Robert Stock placed on disabled list.
7/20: Jordy Mercer placed on disabled list. Pirates recall Brent Morel. Corey Hart transferred to 60-day DL.
7/20: Tito Polo activated from temporary inactive list. Jeff Roy promoted to Bradenton.
7/20: Kelson Brown activated from Indianapolis disabled list.
7/19: Junior Lopez assigned to Bradenton. Oderman Rocha assigned to GCL Pirates.
7/19: Pirates place Gorkys Hernandez on DL. Wilfredo Boscan recalled.
7/19: Jose Tabata activated from temporary inactive list.
7/17: Pirates sign Jake Thompson. Assigned to Indianapolis.
7/17: Pirates recall Jaff Decker.
7/17: Oderman Rocha assigned to Bradenton. Junior Lopez assigned to GCL Pirates.
7/16: Hunter Morris placed on Indianapolis disabled list. Jose Tabata placed on temporary inactive list.
7/15: Pirates sign Ryan Nagle. Assigned to Morgantown.
7/15: Pirates sign Brandon Waddell and James Marvel. Waddell assigned to Morgantown.
7/15: Luis Paula sent to Morgantown.
7/13: Wilfredo Boscan sent to Indianapolis.
7/13: Seth McGarry assigned to Morgantown.
7/13: Omar Basulto assigned to GCL. Mike Wallace transferred from GCL to Bristol.
This Date in Pirates History
Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a trade of note involving a player that is still in the Pirates’ system. First the trade, and on this date in 2008, the Pirates sent Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady to the New York Yankees for Jose Tabata and three pitchers, Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens and Daniel McCutchen. The Pirates got decent use out of the three pitchers, with both Karstens and Ohlendorf looking real good at times. Jose Tabata is the one that is still around and he ended up signing a deal that looks bad now with the way he has performed, but it could have been a good deal if he lived up to his potential. Marte was a free agent at the end of the 2008 season and while Nady had another year on his contract, he ended up getting injured seven games into the 2009 season and missed the rest of the year.
The players born on this date include 1969-70 infielder Jose Martinez, 1949-51, 1955 outfielder Tom Saffell, 1948-49 third baseman Eddie Bockman and 1947 second baseman Jimmy Bloodworth. Saffell, Bockman and Bloodworth all served in the military during WWII, missing a combined nine years of their playing career.