Kevin Newman Promoted to West Virginia

According to Todd Murray, who writes for the Dominion Post out of Morgantown, Pirates’ first round draft pick Kevin Newman has been promoted to the West Virginia Power(H/T Bucs Dugout). Also being promoted is relief pitcher Edgar Santana, who is a 23-year-old with a fastball that hits mid-90’s.

This is an interesting development with Cole Tucker not playing the last 11 days. Since Newman is going there, I imagine the plan is to have him play almost everyday. He hasn’t done well for Morgantown, hitting .227/.283/.344 in 37 games, but the South Atlantic League isn’t much more advanced than the NYPL at this time of year. The SAL has players that haven’t been promoted to high-A yet, while the NYPL is full of college players just drafted. The average age of pitchers in the NYPL is actually higher than the average age of SAL pitchers(21.6 years/21.3).

Santana has a 2.70 ERA in 30 innings, with 32 strikeouts. He has a .219 BAA, 1.00 WHIP and a 1.95 GO/AO ratio, so he’s doing good in all areas. Reports from the DSL last year said he had the best fastball velocity among everyone there, although he wasn’t a polished pitcher and didn’t have much success, so he has obviously made a lot of progress in one year.

  • The “Cole Tucker” mystery now only deepens. Hopefully, NH will be able to shed some light on this during his radio show this evening.

  • Well it seems that I caught Newman’s last game in Morgantown last night and obviously as a Bucco’s fan we wish him the best.
    I obviously never saw what the Pirates Brass saw that caused them to pay millions for Newman but I guess we’ll see. My hope is that he gets to an advanced placement hits to a high average and we trade him at top value asap… for something better.

    • My friend was at the game last night too and sent me a text that he thought Newman will be promoted soon. Bizzarre. He may be a savant.

  • Good grief. All this angst about what is actually a very good problem to have. There is no such thing as “too many shortstops” in your organization. Tucker and Newman can coexist on the same team just like Moroff and Frazier have at Altoona.

    Anyway, wasn’t Newman’s early slump the result of his having fouled a ball off his foot or something? There is so much that goes on with these young guys that isn’t reflected in their stat lines.

    • That’s how I feel. With Newmans promotion, I assume that gets Kramer more reps at SS? Let these guys battle it out awhile. Then down the road once you have some more data available and an idea of their strengths and weaknesses, you can decide who sticks where, who changes positions and who may become an organizational depth piece that can be dealt.

  • If you draft a “polished” college player in the first round, he should not be undervalued by starting him at short-season. Since Tucker was already at Lo A, if you make the decision to draft a college SS, his placement should have been above the kid who is 2 or 3 years younger and playing the same position. Once Tucker received an aggressive promotion to Lo A, the drafting of more Shortstops in the early rounds was poor planning at best.

    • Um….

      No. If the Pirates liked Newman’s game when compared to the players on the board, then they should take Newman and make league placement work later on.

      When the team has a pick in the 20s, planning is an afterthought.

      In any case, the Tucker-Newman problem is not an actual problem. The Pirates could have Tucker return to the Power next season, giving his age and 2015 not-injured season as the reasons for the not-promoted assignment. Newman moves to Bradenton and then to Altoona if all goes well. Tucker then moves to Bradenton once Newman leaves.

      The worst consequence: Tucker’s 2015 performance suggests that he will succeed in the FSL and his return to the SAL could be interpreted as a sign of failure during the 2015 season. But Tucker hasn’t failed.

      • I was thinking the same thing. Tucker could start in low A again next year and finish in the FSL and still be way ahead of most players at the same age.

    • I think you are overreacting emjay. Almost every mlb team starts its college draftees off this way. Compared to the old system, summer at bats after the draft are just bonus abs, no matter where you get them. I think it’s a time to assess what players need to work on and weaknesses in their game so they can work on them and make the transition into pro ball. A lot of these college kids are gassed by this time of year. I bet Tucker is worn out too. He has played way more in a summer than he ever has and he is so young…if he sits the rest of the year he had a very successful season.

      • The belief that a player must earn his promotion needs to go. Developmental goals are more important than simple counting and rate stats. This is especially true for the most talented prospects. If player X hits the ball hard and controls the strike zone, his BA does not matter a jot.

      • So, if a HS kid like Tucker starts in the GCL, and a 3 year college kid starts in Short-season, what is the benefit to drafting a college player/pitcher? The only options open to the Pirates with Newman were to start him in SS or Hi A, because Tucker had jumped over SS and was already performing very well at Shortstop at Lo A.

        With Mercer and Kang at the MLB level, and youngsters Tucker and Valerio at the lower levels, and 3 or 4 others along the way, was drafting a Shortstop in our best interests? I do not think so.

        • Yeah, did they need to draft a ss…that’s iffy. Especially considering Newman could end up a 2b and they have arguably the most 2b depth in the minors. But if they loved his bat I guess you can never have enough MI that can hit. A guy who is a major college ss is gonna be versatile other places even if he gets moved off short. If Newman comes out and torches high A next year it would be tough to fault the pick. Especially considering the pirates struggle to find consistent 1-2 hitters.

  • By the way that picture makes Newman look to be old, scrawny, and uncoordinated…

  • Really odd. What is going on with Tucker? Newman has done nothing at all to deserve the promotion…I cannot imagine what he has “checked off the checklist”….

    • Tucker news is linked in the article and Newman really didn’t have to earn a promotion, he was the first round pick based on his college career and two Cape Cod League batting titles, not 37 games in the NYPL. He could have started in the SAL and for most teams, that’s the normal placement. Pirates are the ones that are usually conservative their first year. Newman’s double play partner at Arizona, who was drafted in the second round, has already played 41 games in Low-A.

      • I understand the argument, John, about how Newman could have gone straight to Low-A and that that is the normal placement for a draft-pick of his position. I also get the argument about his two Cap Cod League seasons and his last year in college (his previous years were not really that impressive)…however, Newman wasn’t placed in the SAL league. He was placed in the NYPL (a league he should, theoretically, rake in!) and against similar competition to what he would face in college (probably lesser even since, as you noted, many of the better college players get placed in Low-A immediately) and laid an egg in 37 games. Those 37 games aren’t meaningless…he played 37 professional games (154 ABs) and was not good. Newman had 121 and 160 ABs respectively in the Cape Cod League. Newman is not as good as his Cape Cod League numbers (really high BABIP) or his final year at Arizona (again really high BABIP) and he’s not as bad as his numbers in Morgantown (.252 BABIP)…

      • And my apologies, I meant the “What is going on with Tucker?” comment more as rhetorical/in passing…I read the other article. It really is odd what is transpiring, at least to an outsider.

        • Gotcha. As far as Newman, what I was trying to say is that the main purpose of putting him in Morgantown was just to get used to pro ball and the Pirates really aren’t concerned with the results. There is a great chance that no matter what he did, good or bad, the plan was already in place to start him at Bradenton next year. His stats are surprisingly bad, but I wouldn’t worry because he is a professional hitter and if he stays healthy, he will reach the majors in a timely fashion.

          • Hughston after his 1-34 start has managed to have better stats than Newman. I know Newman was banged up and seems to sit at least once a week. Any chance he is struggling through a nagging injury?

            • It’s possible, but I don’t think they would put him out there everyday if he was injured. It’s good to get in some pro experience, but it’s not necessary to play every game.

    • I don’t think the checklist includes slash line thresholds.