One of the things we get questions about all the time is when a certain player will be promoted. Usually we base our answers on patterns that have been established in the past and trends over the years. When we got word that Jeff Roy was being sent to Bradenton last week, we guessed that Barrett Barnes would be going to Altoona before he even knew(he was still in the lineup the next day) and it happened to work out that way. Most people would have guessed Harold Ramirez was going due to his terrific half season at the plate, but those trends we follow didn’t point that way due to his age and lack of playing time. Barnes seemed like the more likely player to get promoted since he is older and behind where he should be due to injuries. Ramirez still might see some time at Altoona this year, but that could depend on whether Bradenton looks like a playoff team as the season nears the end.
JaCoby Jones was promoted on Monday to Altoona and at the beginning of the year, he seemed like a player that would be promoted around now. As the season went along, his numbers never really took off, unless you count the strikeouts, and there were a lot of those to count. He is well off the pace he set last year, when his walks/strikeouts were still an issue, but he was hitting despite them. Tim Williams pointed out in First Pitch that Jones has improved defensively, so that helped in the decision I’m sure.
Jones is 23 already, older than many players that were already in AA, so it’s not a surprise that he got promoted this year, just the timing is a bit odd. He hasn’t been hitting recently, though that .750 average for Altoona sure looks nice. You don’t really expect a player in a down year, in the middle of a slump, to be promoted. It’s something that will be saved in the memory bank for future reference, which could be next year with Jordan Luplow or Connor Joe, with the latter looking like he needs to repeat Low-A at this point, but that isn’t going to happen.
One of the other things we get a lot is promotions from short-season teams. With Carlos Munoz on a hot streak of very recent, his name has come up a lot. The thing to remember with these players is that they have been in camp since March. They played games during Spring Training, they played games during Extended Spring Training, they have been watched every single day for the 3 1/2 months leading up to Opening Day in their league, but that doesn’t stop questions of promotions less than a month into their season. To call for a promotion for these players, you’re basing more importance on one month of stats versus 3 1/2 months of training and games, and there were more games played before the season than they have played so far.
When the Pirates placed Munoz or Trae Arbet, they knew what they were doing and being in Bristol instead of Morgantown won’t prevent either of them, or anyone else from being at West Virginia next year. What will prevent them is their overall skills and whether or not the Pirates think they can handle the jump. Most people forget it because recent stats stand out more, but West Virginia didn’t have Connor Joe or Jordan Luplow to start the year. If Carlos Munoz was ready to face tougher competition, there was an opening at his position for a month and with five years in the system, plus winter ball experience in Mexico, he wouldn’t have been considered rushed to the level. There is a reason he is at Bristol, so trust the system and the people placing these players at certain levels based on much more than we see on paper.
The GCL Pirates have had a lot of trouble getting in their games lately. Starting with last Wednesday, they played four innings before the game was suspended. The next day they continued and got one inning in before the rains suspended the game again. On Friday and Saturday, they were rained out. Then after an off-day on Sunday, they got in a half inning yesterday before rain halted play. That gives them a total of 5 1/2 innings over a six day stretch. It also gives them six doubleheaders coming up in a 15-day stretch.
Bradenton has almost been as bad recently, which makes sense since they are in the same town as the GCL, although they usually play night games and there has been road games, so it’s basically been raining a lot in that area. The Marauders have had a game called a tie, another canceled and last night’s game was postponed due to rain. For both teams it throws off their starting rotation, but then again, last time Luis Heredia pitched on eight days rest he had his best career game, so he might be due for another gem next time up.
The Pirates trail by 6.5 games in the division to the Cardinals. They have a three game lead for the top wild card spot.
Indianapolis is 4-6 in their last ten games. They are tied for first in their division with today’s opponent, Columbus.
Altoona is 5-5 in their last ten games and they are in second place, two games back of Bowie.
Bradenton is 8-2 in their last ten games. They trail Palm Beach by 1.5 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 four games in the division.
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates go on the road to take on the Minnesota Twins in a quick two-game set starting tonight. Charlie Morton will be on the mound against Mike Pelfrey in the opener. Morton allowed five earned runs on seven hits in 6.2 innings his last time out, which was a road start in Kansas City. Pelfrey has a 3.94 ERA this season in 105 innings and he gave up two runs over six innings against the Angels in his last start.
In the minors, Angel Sanchez makes his eighth start for Indianapolis, as he looks to continue his strong season that has seen him post a 2.74 ERA over 124.1 innings. Steven Brault has allowed one run on five hits in each of his last two outings. Clay Holmes is making his fourth start for Bradenton, after three rehab starts with the GCL Pirates. He has a .196 BAA with Bradenton and a 2.00 GO/AO ratio. Bradenton was rained out and will play a doubleheader today. The GCL Pirates played just a half inning before their game was suspended due to rain. They will attempt to finish that game today, followed by the regularly scheduled game, which will now be seven innings. West Virginia has an early morning start time. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.
MLB: Pittsburgh (57-41) vs Twins (52-46) 8:10 PM
Probable starter: Charlie Morton (4.59 ERA, 20:36 BB/SO, 64.2 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (58-45) @ Columbus (58-45) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Angel Sanchez (2.64 ERA, 9:35 BB/SO, 44.1 IP)
AA: Altoona (55-48) vs Richmond (53-48) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Steven Brault (3.79 ERA, 7:37 BB/SO, 35.2 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (51-48, 19-10 second half) @ Clearwater (57-44) 5:00 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: Clay Holmes (2.70 ERA, 5:11 BB/SO, 13.1 IP) and TBD
Low-A: West Virginia (58-42, 21-10 second half) @ Hagerstown (49-50) 11:05 AM (season preview)
Probable starter: Austin Coley (3.93 ERA, 16:84 BB/SO, 100.2 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (20-16) @ Tri-City (19-17) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Dario Agrazal Jr (2.43 ERA, 5:26 BB/SO, 37.0 IP)
Rookie: Bristol (13-18) vs Greenville (18-15) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD
GCL: Pirates (14-11) vs Phillies (20-8) 12:00 PM (season preview)
DSL: Pirates (19-30) vs Brewers (21-28) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Here is a video of Tyler Glasnow’s 12th strikeout from Sunday.
7/27: JaCoby Jones promoted to Altoona. Josh Smith placed on disabled list.
7/27: Steve Lombardozzi sent outright to Indianapolis. Andy Vasquez placed on disabled list.
7/27: Jordan Steranka activated from Bradenton disabled list. Isaac Sanchez placed on disabled list.
7/27: Junior Sosa added to Bradenton roster.
7/26: Jonathan Schwind assigned to Bristol on rehab.
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.
This Date in Pirates History
Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus two trades of note. We start with the players and two of them were born on this date in 1867 and they both pitched for the 1890 team, which was the worst in franchise history. Duke Esper and Bill Day couldn’t help a team that went 23-113, as they combined to go 0-8 in their eight starts. Esper also pitched for the Pirates in 1892 and went 2-0 in three starts for a much better team. The other player born on this date is Carmelo Martinez, who joined the Pirates 100 years after the other two players. He was with two pennant winners during the 1990-91 seasons He didn’t last long with the Pirates, who acquired him at the end of August 1990 and traded him away the following May.
The trades on this date include first baseman Gus Suhr for pitcher Max Butcher, which was a one-sided deal as far as career stats, with Suhr being one of the best first baseman in team history. In 1939, he was near the end of his career and the Pirates shipped him to the Phillies for Butcher. The Pirates got 67 wins out of Butcher during his time in Pittsburgh, while Suhr played just 70 games before he was released.
The other trade on this date was in 2000, when the Pirates dealt outfielder Wil Cordero to the Indians for infielder Enrique Wilson and outfielder Alex Ramirez. Wilson didn’t stay long, as he was dealt to the Yankees the following season for Damaso Marte. Ramirez struggled in his time in Pittsburgh and was sold to Japan that off-season. Between the majors, minors and Japan, he hit 505 career homers.
One game of note and it’s from the 2001 season, when the Pirates trailed 8-2 to the Astros in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and no one on base. They managed to score seven runs, capping it off with a walk-off grand slam from Brian Giles. The Pirates had five hits, a walk and a hit by pitch. Here is the boxscore from that game and a description can be found in the link above.