First Pitch: Pirates September Call-Ups Could Have a Domino Effect

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.

  • I do not see any prospects (with exception to Diaz) getting the September call-up until after the AAA playoffs. With the current 25-man roster, I see a 3rd catcher, Liz, Worley, LaFromboise, Scahill (They did not use his option), Snider, Ishikawa, Burnett – That’s 33 players.

  • Cubs 21-4 since July 29. An .840 winning pct. And that’s with a 3-game losing streak in the middle.

    Only 4 teams have exceeded .840 in August in MLB history, the Moneyball A’s being most recent (24-4).

    And this is from a team that wasn’t supposed to win until next year.

    • Scary isn’t it. If they have the money to buy some pitching in the offseason it’s going to be annoying to play in the NL Central for years to come.

      • piraterican21
        August 26, 2015 9:49 am

        If they get D. Price this off season it’s gonna be ridiculous, as it is I am terrified of Arrieta, so much that I rather face Lester in the WC game even thou we struggle against lefty, add Price, Baez at second and keep Fowler and we be sentence to play for the WC every year

        • What if Lester breaks down and Arrieta is having a fluky season? The Pirates have Glasnow, Taillon, and Kingham coming in the next 2 years not to mention a very deep offense for the foreseeable future. Now, there are no guarantees, but if I were the Cubs, I’d be just as nervous about the Pirates.

          • Agree totally. And we will have Josh Bell at 1B. Pirates will be a dynasty in all of baseball.

        • If Baez was capable he would be there right now.

    • Yes, but besides the Pirates with whom they split two games, the only team they played during that stretch that has a winning record is the Giants, against whom they went 5-0. But the Giants went 11-15 over the same stretch as they have been battling injuries. The weighted average winning percentage of all opponents during the month is .452. So the Cubs have done an effective job beating up on poorer teams. That’s not necessarily an indication of strength against playoff caliber opponents.

    • And it’s from a team that’s 3rd in their division. Think about how crazy that is.

  • I don’t think Bucs will be bringing up more than five, and all will have had MLB experience.

    • I see more than 5. I think it will be Hart, Schill, Ishy and somepoint Burnett off the DL. Plus a catcher, Snider, Bobby the strawberry, Worley, Liz and Decker. I see 10 or 11 throughout the month.

      • To make room on the 40 man for a few of these guys i believe they will place some injured minor leaguers on the MLB 60 day DL. Service time is not a major factor for some of these guys at this point in the year. Taillon, Kingham, Sadler

  • Could Travis Snider be pulled up for bench or DH? He played pretty well before Polanco took over RF.
    He is 7 for 17 .412 1HR in seven games at Indy. He could play well in PNC.

    Also Pedro Alvarez’s weakness defensively at 1B is cause for worry. Sean Rodriquez and Michael Morse offer some hope. Could Aramas Ramirez play 1B? He is having hot streaks with the bat and we are covered at 3B. with Josh and/or Jung Ho.

    • Snider will be coming up on 9/1 guaranteed! So will a couple Pitchers, likely Liz and Laframboise. And either Diaz or Sanchez will be coming up as #3 Catcher, too.

      Don’t count on Hanson, Bell or Glasnow though.

      • I say Snider will be up Friday actually. After he starts tomorrow Cole won’t be needed again until 9/2 which is after Bristol’s season is over. There is no reason not to “option” him and bring up another player. Adding Snider then would also make him postseason eligible.

        • We do have guys on the ML disabled list, so Snider could still be postseason eligible even if he isnt on the 25 man before September.

          • True I suppose but I don’t really know how that works under the new rules.

            • I dont have a firm enough grasp to say anything with assurance either. I know you can add a player not on the 25 man by August 31 for an injured player, which in my mind would mean since Cumpton/Lambo are on the ML DL we can throw in a player for those spots.

          • Just the 40 man roster

        • Snider or anyone else has to be placed on our 40 man roster this Monday (our off day) and then he can be activated on Tuesday and he will be post season elig.

          • I dont see them skipping Cole on Tuesday, Locke will be the one skipping a start or they might even try to reorder the rotation for the final month

            • No its not Cole skipping a start. He’ll start 8/27 and then make his regularly scheduled start on 9/2. They are off Monday so they only play 4 games between his starts.

              • Then have Locke sent down, skip his start and have everyone else go on regular rest. You still get Snider and dont have Locke throwing against STL for no reason.

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