Morning Report: Updates on Two Injured Players, Another Tommy John Surgery

Just over two weeks ago, the Morning Report centered around all of the Tommy John surgeries in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ system. At the time, they had the most in Major League Baseball since the beginning of last spring. The Pirates had 12 reported cases, though as I pointed out in the article, most other teams don’t have the type of minor league coverage we provide, so there isn’t someone searching out the whereabouts of pitchers in the DSL, who haven’t played yet this season.

I thought I had everyone covered when I wrote that article, but then I realized I missed two players and just got around to asking about them. Before I did that, I did the recap of all 41 players from the Dominican Summer League, covering some players that never even got into a game this year. One of them was a pitcher signed over the winter named Saul de la Cruz, no relation to either of the de la Cruz’s already in the system. He was doing rehab work when I asked about his update for the TJ surgery article, but since then it was decided to he would need the surgery, so he became the 13th player since last spring, at least that’s what I thought.

While looking over notes from last year’s DSL season recap, I came across the name Delvin Hiciano, who was invited to the Fall Instructional League last year and Spring Training this year, but he never showed up on any rosters once the season started. That’s unusual, because if a player is in your system, he has to be on a roster, even if he’s just injured. You can see the West Virginia Power roster has some players that haven’t played all season and it was known early on that they would be out all year. Anyway, Hiciano became out of sight, out of mind until I saw his scouting report on Saturday:

Second-year player Delvin Hiciano throws 93-94 MPH and showed improvements on all of his pitches as the season went along. He missed some time due to injury, but returned to finish strong. He will be 23 before next year starts and has thrown just 22.2 innings over two years, so he is really inexperienced for his age.

He obviously has a big arm, but didn’t get any more experienced this year by not playing. That’s going to carry over well into 2016 because he had his Tommy John surgery about two months ago. So Hiciano became the 14th player known to have Tommy John surgery in the Pirates’ system since last spring, although he was technically either the 10th or 11th depending on the exact date.

There is a bit of good news regarding the second player I missed for that original article. Pitcher Jesus Paredes was in the GCL last year and he was placed on the West Virginia Power roster this year, though he was there because the short-season teams don’t have a disabled list, but they do have roster limits. The good news is that Paredes is not #15 for Tommy John surgery. Instead, he has been rehabbing a sore shoulder and it looks like he will get into a GCL game before the season ends, possibly tomorrow.

Pirates Game Graph

Source: FanGraphs

Playoff Push

The Pirates trail by 4.5 games in the division to the Cardinals. They have a two game lead for the top wild card spot.

Indianapolis is 6-4 in their last ten games. They have a three game lead in the division.

Altoona is 7-3 in their last ten games. They are in second place, 4.5 games back of Bowie and they lead the wild card by three games.

Bradenton is 5-5 in their last ten games. They trail Palm Beach by four games in the standings.

West Virginia is 8-2 in their last ten games and they have a nine game lead in the division. Their magic number is five.

Morgantown is 8-2 in their last ten games. They are a 1/2 game back in the wild card chase.

The Bristol Pirates are 5-5 in their last ten games. They are five games back in the division and 2.5 in the wild card.

The GCL Pirates have been eliminated from the postseason.

The DSL Pirates’ season is finished. They did not make the playoffs.

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 5-2 to the Marlins on Tuesday night. Tonight they will face Chris Narveson, who has a 3.86 ERA in 11.2 innings this season. This is his first start of the year. Jeff Locke will start for the Pirates. In his last game, he gave up six runs on 11 hits in five innings. He threw 5.2 shutout innings against the Marlins on May 26th.

In the minors, Vance Worley makes his third start for Indianapolis this afternoon. In his last start, he allowed one unearned run over seven innings. Stephen Tarpley gets the start for West Virginia, his 18th of the season. He had his worst outing of the season last time out, allowing six earned runs on ten hits in 5.1 innings. Immediately prior to that, he had his best game of the season, eight shutout innings on three hits and no walks. Bradenton is off today. The DSL Pirates’ season is done. You can view the season recap here. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (75-48) @ Marlins (50-75) 7:10 PM
Probable starter: Jeff Locke (4.56 ERA, 51:102 BB/SO, 134.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (77-54) vs Louisville (61-70) 1:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Vance Worley (1.50 ERA, 2:11 BB/SO, 12.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (68-60) vs Reading (73-54) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Zack Dodson (3.92 ERA, 33:70 BB/SO, 142.1 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (67-61, 35-23 second half) @ Ft Myers (70-59) 7:05 PM 8/27 (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD

Low-A: West Virginia (77-49, 40-17 second half) @ Augusta (62-63) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Stephen Tarpley (2.57 ERA, 20:95 BB/SO, 98.0 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (33-30) vs Batavia (25-37) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD

Rookie: Bristol (27-30) vs Pulaski (39-22) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD

GCL: Pirates (27-28) vs  Phillies (33-23) 12:00 PM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates (30-42) (season recap)


Here is a video of Jose Osuna hitting a long homer for Altoona on Monday night. It was his 12th homer of the season, eighth since being promoted from Bradenton.

Recent Transactions

8/26: Stephan Meyer and Tanner Anderson promoted to Morgantown.

8/26: Cristian Mota promoted to Bristol.

8/25: Ke’Bryan Hayes promoted to Morgantown. Raul Siri promoted to Bristol.

8/25: Kevin Kramer promoted to West Virginia. Jordan Luplow placed on disabled list.

8/25: John Bowker placed on disabled list. Kelson Brown activated from disabled list.

8/25: Pedro Florimon sent outright to Indianapolis.

8/25: Alen Hanson placed on temporary inactive list.

8/22: Jordy Mercer activated from disabled list. Travis Ishikawa placed on disabled list.

8/22: Josh Wall sent outright to Indianapolis.

8/22: Pirates release Jesus Ronco and Luis Brun

8/21: Josh Harrison activated from disabled list. Josh Wall designated for assignment.

8/20: Corey Hart assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

8/20: Travis Snider signed to minor league deal.

8/19: Josh Wall added to Pirates. Pedro Florimon designated for assignment.

8/18: Edwin Espinal placed on disabled list. Junior Sosa activated from Bradenton disabled list.

8/18: Adam Miller placed on disabled list. Jeremy Bleich activated from temporary inactive list.

8/16: Jose Salazar retired.

8/16: Pirates sign Frank Herrmann. Jeremy Bleich placed on temporary inactive list.

8/16: Rob Scahill sent to Indianapolis on rehab.

8/14: Edward Salcedo traded to Royals. Robert Stock assigned to Altoona.

8/13: Angel Sanchez placed on disabled list. Andy Vasquez sent to Altoona.


This Date in Pirates History

Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a trade of note. Exactly 12 years ago, the Pirates traded Brian Giles to the San Diego Padres for Jason Bay, Oliver Perez and Corey Stewart. While Giles put up huge numbers in Pittsburgh, the Pirates made out great in this deal, getting strong production out of Jason Bay in Giles’ spot. Perez also had one huge season on the mound for the Pirates before his numbers really fell off and he was eventually traded. Stewart never made the major.

Players born on this date include:

Jeff Richardson, 1991 infielder. Played six games for Pirates, filling in for an injured Jeff King. Richardson came to Pirates from the Reds in the Billy Hatcher trade.

Sparky Adams, 1928-29 infielder. Was part of the return in the unpopular, but necessary Kiki Cuyler trade. Pirates sold him to the Cardinals after two seasons.

Eric Fryer, 2011-12 catcher. Pirates acquired him from Yankees for Eric Hinske. Played 16 games over two seasons for Pirates. Has played for Twins the last three seasons.

  • Speaking of pitchers with TJ surgery, any word on our number 2 ranked prospect and his recovery from TJ and the hernia I believe it was?

    • Yes also any updates on Cole Tucker who I fear has some issues.

      • The Pirates are going to release a statement on Tucker’s shoulder this week. He had to get a second opinion, which is usually a bad sign.

        Taillon has been down at Pirate City for the last month getting back up to speed. On July 29th, they were still a few days away from him beginning light throwing, which would then start the process of building up to pitch again. The reason you don’t hear updates is that they would be pretty boring. Something like:
        Aug 1st: 20 soft throws from 60 feet.
        Aug 2nd: off.
        Aug 3rd: see Aug 1st.
        Aug 4th: See Aug 2nd

        • But John, what does he eat for lunch on the off days? WE THE PEOPLE DEMAND CONTENT.

          • If you look on the PPG tweet section Taillon will tell you he hunts and fishes for his lunch most days or so it seems. Also Reese McGuire tweets about 40 times a day and I think it was Glasnow’s dad who said something hilarious about Ice Cube. I don’t belong to twitter but will occasionally check out that section on the PPG website. Sometimes Tim and/or John are asleep, eating lunch or in the bathroom and I just need content much quicker than they can provide. Although I believe Tim has gotten himself down to 3 hours a day from March through the winter meetings. Navy Seal training which I believe my 3 dollars a month probably paid for.

          • He took his random MLB drug test the other day, so that’s always fun

          • In my experience following plenty of the Pirates’ minor leaguers, it seems like everyone is eating Chipotle like 4 times a day.