MIAMI — The Pirates are already planning ahead for their September call-ups, with Clint Hurdle and Neal Huntington having “scratch the surface” conversations on the subject, including one discussion yesterday, according to Hurdle. One issue here is that the Pirates don’t have a lot of flexibility with their roster, as I outlined last week.
“There’s certain requirements you’ve got to meet to be playoff eligible,” Hurdle said. “And we don’t have a lot of flexibility on our roster about guys to move. It could turn out to be very simplistic. Sometimes you don’t get everything you want. Sometimes you go with what you’ve got.”
The Pirates also find themselves in a common situation where Indianapolis is in line for the playoffs, only to potentially see a lot of their best players moving up to the majors before the playoffs get there. And you can expect the same thing to happen this year.
“I think we’ve got a history here of pulling some guys September 1st, to meet some needs we’d like to have initially,” Hurdle said. “Whether it’s another bat bench. Whether it’s another catcher. Whether it’s another reliever. Some length in the bullpen. Those are all areas we’ve addressed every year since I’ve been here. I’d imagine that would be something that could very well happen again.”
Hurdle did say that the priority is in the majors, so don’t expect players to be left behind for the sole purpose of helping the Indianapolis playoff run. However, when that run is complete, do expect Dean Treanor and the Indianapolis staff to join the Pirates, plus a few bonus players to possibly come up.
“That’s the hard part,” Hurdle said of calling guys up when Indianapolis is in a playoff race. “We’ve absolutely stripped that club a couple times going in to the playoffs, and then we’ve adjusted on the back-end where we’ve taken guys in Double-A. They’ve already had a bunch of movement this year. It’s been a good year for movement.”
The Pirates have already promoted a few guys to Indianapolis from Altoona, sending up top prospects Tyler Glasnow and Josh Bell, along with other interesting prospects like Willy Garcia, Dan Gamache, and Keon Broxton. Altoona is currently three games up in their playoff race, so the Pirates might not be able to call too many guys up from Double-A to Triple-A. If they did call some guys up, you’d think that Chad Kuhl would be one of the guys at the top of the list, especially with his year-long success and mid-90s velocity. Bradenton isn’t in line for the playoffs, so Altoona could get some help on the back side of things with some late promotions from High-A.
In the lower levels, there was already a lot of movement this afternoon, which could help a few playoff teams in the system. You might be able to expect more of that in the upper levels. But one thing that is guaranteed is that the Pirates will be bringing up help to Pittsburgh on September 1st, and they’ve got a lot of options to choose from.
“There’s been a lot of good things happening throughout our system,” Hurdle said.
**The Key to Charlie Morton Having Success Against Left-Handers. My game story from Miami, with a look at what Charlie Morton has been doing for better results against lefties, from conversations I had with Morton tonight and on August 9th in Pittsburgh.
**A.J. Burnett Threw a Two Inning Sim Game Today. A good step, and an even better sign that Burnett says he’s not feeling any pain.
**Prospect Watch: Another Great Outing From Steven Brault. Sean McCool with a live report on Brault. I’d be a bit surprised if the Pirates moved him up to Indianapolis, since he has about half a season in Altoona, and the Pirates usually look for more than that before promoting pitchers to Triple-A.
**Pedro Florimon Sent Outright to Indianapolis. Speaking of options to return to Pittsburgh, it will be interesting to see if the Pirates create a spot for Florimon, especially since they need spots for Vance Worley, Radhames Liz, and Travis Snider, and now have Jordy Mercer as their defensive shortstop option in the majors.
**Ke’Bryan Hayes Promoted to Morgantown, Kevin Kramer to West Virginia. A lot of movement in the lower levels, all broken down in one article.
**Carlos Munoz Named Appalachian League Player of the Year. He’s having a great season, and could put himself in position to be the regular first baseman in West Virginia next year.
**Gregory Polanco Stepping Up as the Final Piece of the Dream Outfield. We’ve written about Polanco a lot lately, detailing why he’s having so much success. I took a step further to point out that the Dream Outfield© is finally happening in Pittsburgh.