Morning Report: Luplow and Polo Putting Up Impressive Totals

Tito Polo and Jordan Luplow aren’t having great seasons by any means, but they are both excelling in their own specific category of stats. During yesterday’s West Virginia Power game, Luplow hit his 33rd double and Polo stole three bases, giving him 39 on the season. With four weeks to go in the season, those two have already surpassed the Pirates’ minor league leaders from last year. I’m not sure if that’s really exciting since Chris McGuiness was the doubles leader with 31 and Drew Maggi led with 37 steals. Neither of them is still in the organization and they are both having poor seasons elsewhere. At least with Luplow and Polo, they are both prospects instead of minor league veterans.

You don’t have to go back far for higher totals in each category. Josh Bell and Matt Hague had 37 doubles in 2013, which is well within reach for Luplow. Gregory Polanco had 40 steals in 2012. The way Polo has been running lately, he could pass that total in the first inning of today’s game. You have to go back to Jose De Los Santos with 53 in 2009 to find a total Polo likely won’t reach.

How about the rest of the categories since we are on the topic, comparing last year to this year.

The home run leader last year is another player not in the system, JaCoby Jones. He hit 23 homers, two more than Stetson Allie. This year, Allie has 16 homers and no one else is really close, with second place Willy Garcia hitting his 11th last night.

For runs scored, it was Jones and Erich Weiss with 72 apiece. That is going to be surpassed this year too, as Keon Broxton has scored 71 runs already.

Josh Bell had 138 hits last year, which will also get passed this season. Max Moroff has 128 already, though Austin Meadows has 126 and he’s been hitting well recently, while Moroff has been in a slump. They should both pass it and Bell could too if he picks things up at AAA. He has 119 hits now.

Triples last year was Alen Hanson with a dozen. Triples aren’t always a given, but Hanson and Broxton each have ten, so one of them could top last year’s total.

Walks probably won’t be topped. Allie had 71 last season, and this year Broxton and Moroff are tied with 52 each. That’s a big difference to overcome in four weeks.

For the three slash line categories, I used 300 plate appearances for last year and 250 for this season. Gregory Polanco led in 2014 with a .328 average, .390 OBP and .504 slugging. This year, Adam Frazier has a .341 average and .392 OBP. Dan Gamache leads with .451 slugging, one point over Jordan Luplow.

On the pitching side for strikeouts, it was Tyler Glasnow, who struck out 157 last year. This season, no one is catching him. Steven Brault took over the lead last night with 104, but Glasnow has 101 and will pitch before Brault does.

For ERA, I used 70 innings, which is a half of an inning per team game played. Not surprisingly, it was Glasnow at 1.74 last year. Adjusting the total for games played up to this point this year, Montana DuRapau’s 1.15 ERA in 62.2 innings is running away from everyone. If you would rather have a starting pitcher, then it’s Yeudy Garcia, with a 2.31 ERA.

Orlando Castro(remember him?) had the lowest WHIP last year, a lower 1.05 than the 1.05 Tyler Glasnow put up. This season it’s either DuRapau with his obscene 0.48 WHIP, or for starters it’s Glasnow at 1.07, though he’s barely pitched more than DuRapau. Just to answer your question, Castro had shoulder surgery.

Pirates Game Graph

Source: FanGraphs

Playoff Push

The Pirates trail by six games in the division to the Cardinals. They have a 3.5 game lead for the top wild card spot.

Indianapolis is 8-2 in their last ten games. They have a 3.5 game lead in the division.

Altoona is 5-5 in their last ten games and they are in second place, three games back of Bowie.

Bradenton is 6-4 in their last ten games. They trail Palm Beach by two games in the standings.

West Virginia is 6-4 in their last ten games and they have a four game lead in the division.

Morgantown is 4-6 in their last ten games. They trail by six games in the division and they are one game back in the wild card chase.

The Bristol Pirates are 7-3 in their last ten games. They are 2.5 games back in the division.

GCL Pirates are 8-2 in their last ten games. They are one game back in the standings.

The DSL Pirates have been eliminated from the postseason.

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates won 6-5 over the Dodgers on Saturday evening. Charlie Morton will take the mound tonight, looking for the series sweep. He threw seven shutout innings in his last start against the Reds last Sunday. He will face Alex Wood, who has a 3.65 ERA this season in 125.2 innings. He faced the Pirates back on June 28th while with the Braves and threw 7.1 shutout innings.

In the minors, Clay Holmes makes his fifth start for Bradenton. He only went two innings in his last game back on July 28th, getting his workload limited as part of his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Stephen Tarpley will make his 15th start of the season. His 2.32 ERA would rank him third in the SAL if he qualified, but he’s currently about 12 innings short. A.J. Morris will make his second start of the season, taking the spot left vacant when Wilfredo Boscan was designated for assignment. Morris threw six shutout innings in his only start this year. Four Morgantown players will be headed to the NYPL All-Star game on August 18th. The GCL and DSL Pirates are off today. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (64-44) vs Dodgers (62-48) 8:05 PM
Probable starter: Charlie Morton (4.19 ERA, 24:48 BB/SO, 77.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (67-48) @ Norfolk (65-48) 6:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: A.J. Morris (2.71 ERA, 18:55 BB/SO, 63.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (61-53) vs Richmond (57-55) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Zack Dodson (3.98 ERA, 26:57 BB/SO, 126.2 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (58-53, 26-15 second half) @ Charlotte (61-48) 1:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Clay Holmes (2.35 ERA, 5:12 BB/SO, 15.1 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (65-46, 28-14 second half) @ Asheville (57-54) 2:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Stephen Tarpley (2.32 ERA, 18:76 BB/SO, 77.2 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (24-24) @ Williamsport (30-18) 5:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD

Rookie: Bristol (20-22) @ Greeneville (23-20) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD

GCL: Pirates (24-13) vs  Blue Jays (22-14) 11:00 AM DH 8/10 (season preview)

DSL: Pirates (23-37) vs Rangers2 (27-33) 10:30 AM 8/10 (season preview)


Here is video of Keon Broxton, who extended his on base streak to 31 games on Friday, then added another on Saturday.

Recent Transactions

8/9: Cole Tucker placed on disabled list. Erik Forgione sent to Morgantown.

8/8: Kevin Newman and Edgar Santana promoted to West Virginia.

8/8: Junior Sosa placed on disabled list. Isaac Sanchez activated from Bradenton disabled list.

8/7: Vance Worley sent outright to Indianapolis.

8/7: Deolis Guerra returned to Pirates from Indians and placed on disabled list. Wilfredo Boscan designated for assignment.

8/6: Rob Scahill assigned to GCL on rehab.

8/5: Indians claim Deolis Guerra off waivers.

8/5: Isaac Sanchez assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab. Stephan Meyer assigned to GCL from Morgantown.

8/4: Dovydas Neverauskas promoted to Bradenton. Robert Stock sent to GCL.

8/4: Jake Burnette activated from disabled list.

8/4: Jonathan Schwind activated from Altoona disabled list. Adam Miller assigned to Altoona.

8/3: Michael Morse added to active roster. Jaff Decker optioned to Indianapolis.

8/2: Shane Kemp sent from Bristol to GCL.

8/2: Josh Smith activated from Altoona disabled list.

8/1: J.A. Happ added to active roster. Bobby LaFromboise sent to Indianapolis.

8/1: Josh Bell and Jeremy Bleich promoted to Indianapolis.

8/1: John Holdzkom placed on disabled list. Hunter Morris sent to Altoona.

7/31: Pirates trade Adrian Sampson to Mariners for J.A. Happ.

7/31: Pirates trade Jose Tabata to Dodgers for Michael Morse and cash.

7/31: A.J. Burnett placed on disabled list. Bobby LaFromboise recalled from Indianapolis.

7/31: Deolis Guerra designated for assignment.

7/31: Dan Gamache promoted to Indianapolis. Erich Weiss promoted to Altoona. Trace Tam Sing promoted to Bradenton.

7/30: Pirates trade JaCoby Jones to Detroit Tigers for Joakim Soria

7/30: Vance Worley designated for assignment.

7/30: Justin Seller traded to Chicago White Sox for a player to be named later, or cash.

7/30: Pirates sent Gorkys Hernandez outright to Indianapolis

7/30: Logan Ratledge promoted to Morgantown. Erik Forgione promoted to West Virginia

7/30: Pirates acquire Joe Blanton for cash considerations.

7/29: Pirates trade Jayson Aquino to Indians for cash considerations.

7/28: Gift Ngoepe placed on disabled list.

7/28: Pirates release Ulises Montilla.

7/28: Brent Morel refuses outright assignment to Indianapolis.

7/28: Miguel Ferreras retired. Mervin Del Rosario promoted to Bristol.

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.

7/27: John Holdzkom activated from Indianapolis disabled list.

This Date in Pirates History

Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a transaction of note involving a Hall of Fame manager. On this date in 1919, the Pirates sent outfielder Casey Stengel to the Philadelphia Phillies for utility fielder Possum Whitted. Stengel refuses to report to Philadelphia after the deal, demanding a raise before he showed up. He ended up getting one the next season, but the Phillies dealt him away prior to the 1921 season. In 35 games for the Pirates in 1919, Whitted had a .389 average. Then he was a starter for the next two seasons, before the Pirates sold him to Brooklyn after the 1922 season.

The players born on this date include:

Matt Morris, 2007-08 pitcher. Sorry, it’s his birthday

Pat Mahomes, relief pitcher for 2003 Pirates. Had a 4.84 ERA in 22.1 innings over nine appearances in his only season in Pittsburgh.

Roman Mejias, member of the 1960 World Series champs. Mejias was signed by the Pirates out of Cuba in 1953 and he hit .216 in 71 games as a rookie for the 1955 Pirates. After spending the next season in the minors, he then played another five years off and on for the Pirates. During the 1960 season, Mejias spent most of the year in the minors, only getting three Major League appearances off the bench in May. After playing four games during the 1961 season, the Pirates lost him to Houston in the expansion draft.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    August 9, 2015 4:52 pm

    How about Suchy and Suiter? Maybe I missed, but those two have played well enough to deserve an individual article profiling both of them.

    I do agree, Luplow has come on strong of late – and he now looks like we may indeed have something with him going forward – especially if he can stick at third base. Even Conner Joe has hit better of late. After a long slump, Simpson is also heating up again.

    Even though his SB stats are just bizarre (in a bad way), Escobar has quietly put together an outstanding year at the plate.

  • Both Luplow and Suichy are in the top ten in OPS in the 14-team SAL – very close to #4. Suiter is #16. They are a bit older than some of the other top players however.

  • Tim or John. I had actually been meaning to ask about Luplow. I am intrigued by the combination of walks (12.1%) strike outs (14.5%) and power (.185 ISO). I wonder if you guys have anything to say about his transition to 3rd or on how you see him profiling offensively going forward. I do seem to remember a Fangraphs guy liking the pick and him being one of the “young for his year” guys the Pirates drafted

  • Looks like the pirates organization is getting better at finding a developing hitters. When the hitter development gets to the same level as the finding and development of pitching watch out mlb it’s the golden age of pirates!

  • I didn’t have time to read the article yet but is Luplow leading the minors in doubles? 32 is a bunch.

    • He hit #33 last night and no, it’s not the minor league leader, just the Pirates leader

  • What’s the ceiling on a guy like Dodson? Is he in Indy next year?

    • He’s a minor league free agent at the end of the season, so they would have to re-sign him first. If they did, he would probably come back in the Altoona rotation

  • I remember Roman Mejias well for some reason….probably for the name.
    Now I remember (thanks to a guy on the PBC Asylum)…….

    Mejias was Roberto Clemente’s roommate on the road when he was up with the Bucs. In fact, some say he was called up more for that (Roman was apparently very mature and down to earth) than for his playing ability.

  • The best thing about Matt Morris???

    He was the final straw in the ending of Littlefield’s “Reign of Terrible”.

  • John totally off topic but what in your opinion should the Pirates do with Cervelli over the next few seasons? Sign, trade arbitrate? He has been everything and more this season and is a high energy player. I know we have a few catchers coming up through the system but he is a proven player. I would like to see the same tandem this year for next season.

    • I could see them going with the same guys next year, with Elias Diaz as the third string. I figured Diaz would be the backup by now, but he hasn’t even caught half the games for Indy, and while his hitting isn’t bad, it could be better. I personally wouldn’t extend Cervelli because he’s been injured so often. I’d just go with him and Stewart and see how Diaz develops and McGuire handles AA and go from there.

      • Thanks- But Cervelli seems to be taking better care now that he is a starter, but he is high energy which leads to some of his injuries. Diaz development is puzzling. I know TS was a first round pick but he hasn’t shown anything.

        • I just don’t think you have to make that decision now to sign him long-term. He is here next year and if he is healthy and Diaz doesn’t look like a future starter, or McGuire struggles, then you can extend him. You can’t overlook years of data for 2/3 of a season

  • Possum Whitted what a player. What a name!

  • Can we just pretend Matt Morris never pitched for the Pirates. IMO, no player exemplifies “the streak” more than him.