Morning Report: Pan-Am Schedule, Intentional Walks and DSL Updates

Today we take a look at something that qualifies as an interesting side note, plus updates on three players in the Dominican Summer League. Before we get into that, we mentioned the other day that Harold Ramirez and Tito Polo are representing Colombia in the Pan-Am games. The schedule was released and they may not be gone too long, a week to ten days depending on how their team performs.

Colombia starts the tournament off Saturday morning against Cuba. They play Sunday through Wednesday, then again on Friday. With seven teams in the tournament, every team has one day off, as each team plays every other team once. The finals are then Saturday and Sunday, so while the Pan-Am games are over on July 26th, the baseball portion ends on the 19th. We will have updates on their progress somewhere, probably in a Morning Report late next week.

In yesterday’s Morning Report, we mentioned Chris Falwell, who was taken in the 29th round by the Pirates. His summer league struggles continued on Thursday night, as he faced four batters and all four reached base. He was moved to relief in this game and hit the first batter, then allowed a double, single and a walk before being pulled.

Intentionally Don’t Walk

While talking to a player from the DSL the other day, he told me that the Pirates don’t let their pitchers issue intentional walks down there. That seems to be pretty standard in the system this year, at least at every level below AA. Indianapolis has issued 13 intentional walks this season and Altoona has five of them. The rest of the teams in the organization have combined for zero. That got me into looking at previous years and it seems like they have been more strict about that rule recently. I eventually came up with something that proves just how strict the rule is in the Gulf Coast League.

The GCL Pirates haven’t issued an intentional walk since the 2004 season, 11 years ago. Some other teams in the league have low totals and the Marlins are next behind the Pirates for the longest streak, but they only go back to the 2011 season. The timing of noticing that stat could have been real odd because the Pirates had a good opportunity to issue an intentional walk on Thursday. With a position player on the mound(infielder Luis Perez) and a base open in the bottom of the ninth, the score was tied, but the Pirates kept the streak alive and they walked away with the loss instead.

DSL Updates

Some news out of the DSL, which wasn’t enough for an entire article. Outfielder Eliezer Ramirez(pictured above) is likely done for the year with a broken hand that occurred while he was trying to make a play last week. The 18-year-old from Venezuela, signed for $120,000 in 2013 and he was described as raw at the time. He saw minimal playing time last year and he has a .443 OPS in ten games this year, but he still has potential. The injury will likely mean that he returns to the DSL for a third season, but he will still be young enough that he can reach that upside.

The Pirates have released one player this season from the DSL, left-handed pitcher Cesar Santos. The 20-year-old from the Dominican Republic has had some control issues in his two seasons, but the team isn’t loaded with lefties, so you figure he would stick around a little longer. Turns out that he didn’t do his off-season conditioning and by the time the season started, he was hitting as low as 79 MPH with his fastball. Santos showed some promise early last year, but broke his hand in a collision that happened while trying to field a bunt play. That ended his season and being released likely ends his baseball career.

Speaking of lefties in the DSL, pitcher Oddy Nunez has been forced to sit out while MLB looks over his identification. The Pirates signed the 6’5″, 18-year-old, right before the season started and he got into one game before he was pulled from the active roster. Nunez is still there getting his throwing in on the side, but there is no timetable set for his return. We have seen players sit for over two years, with current GCL pitcher Yunior Montero being the most extreme case. He signed with the Pirates three times, plus had to wait while they verified his ID before he was able to play, which cost a talented prospect almost three years of development.

Pirates Game Graph


Source: FanGraphs

Playoff Push

The Pirates trail by 5.5 games in the division to the Cardinals. They have a 3.5 game lead for the top wild card spot.

Indianapolis is 6-4 in their last ten games. They have a five game lead in their division.

Altoona is 4-6 in their last ten games and they are in second place, trailing by two games in their division. They are starting a series tonight at home against first place Bowie.

Bradenton and West Virginia did not win their first half title. Their second half records are included below in the schedule.

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost to the Cardinals by a 4-1 score on Thursday night. In game two of the four-game series, Gerrit Cole will be on the mound looking for his 13th win. He hasn’t faced the Cardinals yet this season. In his last game, Cole allowed three earned runs over eight innings. Lance Lynn will go for St Louis. He has a 2.53 ERA in 92.1 innings. On May 1st, he allowed one run over seven innings against the Pirates, striking out ten batters.

In the minors, Clay Holmes will make his first start for Bradenton today. He has pitched three times in the GCL, improving with each outing. On Saturday, he threw five shutout innings. Angel Sanchez has made quite a strong impression in his last two starts, giving up one run over 14 innings. He will make his fifth AAA start tonight. Jason Creasy had issued 32 walks this year in 91.1 innings after giving up 22 in 148.2 innings last year. He will lead Altoona against the first place team in their division, Bowie. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (50-34) vs Cardinals (56-30) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Gerrit Cole (2.28 ERA, 26:113 BB/SO, 110.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (52-36) @ Columbus (47-41) 7:15 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Angel Sanchez (2.88 ERA, 5:21 BB/SO, 25.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (46-39) vs Bowie (48-37) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Jason Creasy (3.55 ERA, 32:38 BB/SO, 91.1 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (41-44, 9-6 second half) @ Daytona (44-40) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Clay Holmes (NR)

Low-A: West Virginia (49-35, 12-3 second half) @ Greensboro (32-52) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Colten Brewer (5.21 ERA, 16:55 BB/SO, 57.0 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (8-11) @ Lowell (13-7) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD

Rookie: Bristol (5-10) vs Burlington (10-7) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter:  TBD

GCL: Pirates (11-5) vs Phillies (13-3) 12:00 PM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates (15-20) vs Marlins (13-22) 10:30 AM (season preview)

Highlights

Here we have video of an RBI single from Jose Osuna on Wednesday. Since being promoted from Bradenton, he is hitting .308/.331/442 in 32 games.

Recent Transactions

7/10: Pirates sign Ike Schlabach and assign him to GCL.

7/10: Pirates sign Tate Scioneaux and assign him to Morgantown.

7/10: Jesus Paredes promoted to Morgantown. Oderman Rocha sent to GCL.

7/9: Pirates sign Sherton Apostel.

7/9: Mike Wallace sent from Bristol to GCL.

7/7: Clay Holmes added to Bradenton roster. Harold Ramirez placed on temporary inactive list.

7/7: Trace Tam Sing added to West Virginia roster. Tito Polo placed on temporary inactive list.

7/6: Josh Harrison placed on disabled list. Travis Ishikawa added to active roster.

7/6: Justin Seller assigned to GCL on rehab.

7/5: Pirates claim Travis Ishikawa on waivers.

7/4: Pirates sign five international players.

7/3: Pirates sign Kevin Sanchez and Samuel Inoa.

7/3: Pirates trade Clayton Richard to Chicago Cubs for cash considerations.

7/2: Chris Volstad sent outright to Indianapolis.

7/2: Pirates sign Larry Alcime Jr and Kyle Simmons.

7/1: Alen Hanson activated from disabled list. John Holdzkom and Hunter Morris placed on disabled list.

7/1: Paul Brands assigned to GCL Pirates from DSL.

6/30: Corey Hart sent on rehab to Indianapolis.

6/30: Jose Tabata outrighted to Indianapolis.

6/29: Jeff Inman and Gift Ngoepe promoted to Indianapolis.

6/29: Pirates sign Daniel Zamora.

6/28: Jose Tabata designated for assignment. Gorkys Hernandez added to Pirates roster.

6/28: Chris Volstad designated for assignment. Steve Lombardozzi added to Pirates roster.

6/28: Clario Perez promoted to Altoona. Wes Freeman activated from disabled list.

6/28: Kawika Emsley-Pai retired.

6/28: Hunter Morris activated from Indianapolis disabled list.

6/27: Junior Lopez promoted to Bradenton. Dovydas Neverauskas activated from West Virginia disabled list.

6/26: Tyler Glasnow assigned to Altoona.

6/26: Deolis Guerra added to Pirates roster. Rob Scahill placed on disabled list.

6/26: Wilkin Castillo activated from Indianapolis disabled list.

 

This Date in Pirates History

Two former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, and both were pretty good infielders. Starting with the oldest one first, because his career with the Pirates was very brief. Bobby Lowe pinch-hit for the Pirates on April 17,1904 and struck out in his only at-bat. He never actually signed a deal with the Pirates, and after making the team as a utility player out of Spring Training, he was quickly let go so he could sign with the Tigers. Lowe played 18 seasons in the majors and put together a solid career, but he is known for just one game. On May 30,1894, he became the first player in Major League history to hit four home runs in one game. Over 1821 career games, he hit .273, scoring 1135 times, while driving in 988 runs and stealing 303 bases.

The second player actually made his name with the Pirates, shortstop Gene Alley. He signed with the Pirates out of high school in 1959 and played for the team from 1963 until 1973, which was also his entire big league career. Alley was the double play combo partner of Bill Mazeroski, and while Maz was getting all the defensive attention, Alley won the NL Gold Glove in both 1966 and 1967. He made two All-Star teams and twice received NL MVP votes. He ended his career with 999 base hits, though if you count his playoff stats, he had exactly 1,000. Unfortunately for Alley, he was 1-for-27 during the postseason. He turns 75 today.

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