Since the season started, multiple players have moved up a level. Some of them earned a promotion, while others were called up to fill a need. Today we take a look at how the top players are handling the jump in competition. Some veteran players have been left off the list, as their promotions are usually based on a need due to an injury or another player getting promoted/demoted.
Starting with the players that moved up from Altoona to Indianapolis, we have Yhonathan Barrios, Keon Broxton, Willy Garcia, Gift Ngoepe and Angel Sanchez. Broxton was the first of the group to move up and he had an .828 OPS with Altoona in 45 games. Since the move, he has a .588 OPS in 32 games. Things obviously haven’t gone well so far. He has stolen 21 bases already, including 10-for-10 in attempts with Indianapolis. He has also looked good on defense, so some things have gone right, just not the hitting.
Barrios was the next one up and the other three followed shortly afterwards. He was doing real well with Altoona at keeping the runs off the board and he has continued that success with Indianapolis. He throws hard, but he isn’t striking out many batters, which isn’t the best sign for a reliever. In 34.2 innings, he has a 13:17 BB/SO ratio.
Garcia was hitting for average with Altoona and starting to show some power, while also cutting down on strikeouts. That has been a big issue for him throughout his career. He had a .794 OPS in 53 games for the Curve, but since his promotion, Garcia has a .429 OPS and 17 strikeouts in 17 games.
Sanchez allowed four earned runs over five innings in his first AAA start. In his three starts since then, he has allowed four earned runs in 20 innings. His ERA with Altoona was just slightly lower, but everything else has improved since his promotion. He needs to put in more time, but he is looking like a possible depth option for the Pirates, which could get him back on the 40-man roster at some point this year.
Ngoepe has only been up six games, so there isn’t much to say about his time with Indianapolis. He has shown improvements at the plate this year, which is interesting since he has moved from switch-hitting to batting only from the right side. His defense is what will eventually get him to the majors, as long as he can just hit enough that his offense doesn’t totally off-set the defensive value he adds.
The key players that have moved from Bradenton are Jose Osuna(pictured above) and Steven Brault. Obviously not a big group, but these two have been doing well with the move.
Osuna was really driving the ball before his promotion, and he had the highest slugging percentage in the FSL last year among players with enough plate appearances to qualify for the league title. Josh Bell actually led the league in slugging last year, but that was only after an adjustment to compensate for him falling short in plate appearances. Either way, Osuna was hitting the ball well last year in High-A, so it’s no surprise he was doing it again this year. Since joining Altoona, he is hitting .301/.325/.434 in 30 games. It’s important to note that he is still just 22 years old.
Brault started off slow for Bradenton, then was one of the best pitchers in the organization over his last 10-11 starts. His debut for Altoona wasn’t good, but he has thrown 13 scoreless innings since then, so it looks like he has adjusted quickly.
Two relievers have moved up from Bradenton as well, though neither ranks as a top prospect. Brett McKinney wasn’t a dominant reliever for the Marauders and he has really struggled since being promoted. He has a 9.58 ERA and 2.03 WHIP in 10.1 innings with Altoona. Clario Perez was dominating at Bradenton with a low ERA, strong WHIP and GO/AO ratio, plus he was getting strikeouts. He has only pitched twice since being promoted.
West Virginia has sent four players to Bradenton, three relievers and Kawika Emsley-Pai, who recently retired. The relievers are Montana DuRapau, Miguel Rosario and Junior Lopez, with the first two moving up at the same time in late May. Lopez moved up just after the All-Star game.
DuRapau has performed great since getting to Bradenton, allowing two earned runs over 25.2 innings. He has held batters to a .113 average this season and he has a 4:39 BB/SO ratio in 44.2 innings. One strange difference is his ground ball ratio. He was getting a ton of grounders with West Virginia, posting a 2.33 ratio. With Bradenton, he has a sub-par 0.90 ratio, so that is something to watch.
Rosario has handled the tougher competition well. His ERA was 1.75 with the Power and has gone up to 2.57 with Bradenton, but he’s getting more strikeouts and has a lower WHIP with the Marauders. Rosario is almost a year younger than DuRapau. Lopez just moved up so you can’t tell much from his three shutout innings with Bradenton. He has a 1.21 ERA this year, but Rosario actually has better numbers, and his earlier promotion was well-deserved.
Pirates Game Graph
The Pirates trail by six games in the division to the Cardinals. They have a 2.5 game lead for the top wild card spot.
Indianapolis is 7-3 in their last ten games. They have a six game lead in their division.
Altoona is 2-8 in their last ten games and they are now trailing by 3.5 games in their division.
Bradenton and West Virginia did not win their first half title. Their second half records are included below in the schedule.
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates defeated the Indians by a 5-3 score on Sunday. They will now take on the San Diego Padres in a three-game series. A.J. Burnett will be on the mound tonight taking on James Shields. Burnett has allowed six earned runs over 19.2 innings in his last three starts combined. He faced the Padres on May 28th and gave up a season high five runs in 5.2 innings. Shields has a 4.14 ERA in 104.1 innings this season. He allowed two runs over six innings on May 29th against the Pirates.
In the minors, Radhames Liz has made two starts and allowed one run over nine innings. Prior to that, he threw 5.1 scoreless innings in relief. Steven Brault will make his fourth start for Altoona. In his last two outings combined, he has allowed four hits, two walks and no runs over 13 innings. Bristol was rained out for the fourth day in a row on Sunday and they will attempt to play a doubleheader today and tomorrow. West Virginia will finish Sunday’s game, which was suspended in the fourth inning with the Power up 4-1, before they play the regularly scheduled game. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.
MLB: Pittsburgh (47-34) vs Padres (39-45) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: A.J. Burnett (2.05 ERA, 27:90 BB/SO, 105.1 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (50-34) vs Louisville (41-43) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Radhames Liz (0.63 ERA, 6:17 BB/SO, 14.1 IP)
AA: Altoona (44-38) vs Harrisburg (40-43) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Steven Brault (2.08 ERA, 3:15 BB/SO, 17.1 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (40-41, 8-3 second half) @ Jupiter (39-42) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Frank Duncan (5.26 ERA, 32:59 BB/SO, 75.1 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (45-34, 8-2 second half) vs Delmarva (39-39) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Austin Coley (3.92 ERA, 13:67 BB/SO, 82.2 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (6-10) vs Batavia (5-11) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD
Rookie: Bristol (3-6) vs Johnson City (4-5) 6:00 PM DH (season preview)
Probable Starter: Logan Sendelbach and Neil Kozikowski
GCL: Pirates (8-3) vs Yankees1 (5-6) 12:00 PM (season preview)
DSL: Pirates (12-19) vs Brewers (12-18) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Here we have video of Sebastian Valle hitting a two-run homer on Saturday. He is hitting .266/.329/.386 in 45 games. The homer was his second of the season.
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.
6/25: Robert Stock added to Bradenton roster. Jordan Steranka placed on disabled list.
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.
This Date in Pirates History
Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including one of the better Pirates’ pitchers from the 1930’s. Starting with the most recent first, we have 2001 pitcher Omar Oliveras, 1975 second baseman Willie Randolph and 1981-85 first baseman Jason Thompson. In 1983, Thompson made the All-Star team and hit .284, with 31 homers, 101 RBIs and 101 walks. Randolph has a great career that started in Pittsburgh, but they traded him away right after he made the majors, in a deal that did not work out. The Pirates got Doc Medich, while giving up Randolph, Ken Brett and Dock Ellis.
Cy Blanton pitched for the Pirates from 1934 until 1939. He won 56 games over a four-year stretch from 1935-38. Blanton led the National League with a 2.58 ERA and with four shutouts in 1935. He led the NL again with four shutouts in 1936 and his 34 starts in 1937 were the most in the league. Blanton completed 129 of his 155 starts with the Pirates.
On this date in 1980, the Pirates won the longest game ever in Three Rivers Stadium. In the 20th inning of a game that took just over 5 1/2 hours, Omar Moreno drove in Ed Ott with the winning run. That win pushed the Pirates to 42-37 on the season. You can read a recap of the game in the link above and the boxscore can be found here.