Morning Report: A Breakdown of Stephen Tarpley’s Season

Stephen Tarpley makes his final start of the season tonight. He comes into the game with a 2.35 ERA in 111 innings, which ranks him fourth in the South Atlantic League. The leader is his teammate Yeudy Garcia, who has a 2.02 ERA and makes his last start on Sunday. Tarpley ranks ninth in the league with 102 strikeouts, only 15 behind the leader. He trails Garcia with 108 and Austin Coley with 111 strikeouts for the team lead. Tarpley is seventh in the league with a 1.13 WHIP. He also has a .236 BAA and a 1.46 GO/AO ratio, so just like I said with Steven Brault yesterday, Tarpley is doing a lot of things right.

He is having a terrific season and he’s been consistent all year. Remember that he didn’t make his first start until May 25th, so the fact that he is trailing the strikeout leader by 15 shows just how good he has been. Of course, if he was healthy all year and pitching well, he may not be in Low-A still. With West Virginia in the playoffs and Bradenton not, he will at least make one more start this year, though again you could say he may have helped Bradenton into the playoffs, as they were only eliminated on Friday night with two games to go.

Tarpley has made 19 starts this year. He was on a limited pitch count early, and he wasn’t going longer than five innings, so we will use that as the cutoff. He has gone at least five innings in 18 of those 19 starts. More recently, he has gone at least six innings in eight of his last nine starts.

He has obviously been good at keeping runs off the board with a 2.35 ERA, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. In 15 of his starts, Tarpley has given up two earned runs or less. In 12 of his games he has allowed one earned run or less, with zero in five of those games. One of those other starts was three runs over six innings, so it wasn’t exactly bad. The other two were five and six runs.

He hasn’t walked more than three batters in any game, which isn’t a surprise since he has excellent command of all of his pitches. In nine of his starts, he has struck out more than one batter per inning. Tarpley has only allowed two homers all year.

Tarpley does have an odd split, especially for someone who plays in a ballpark that is fairly neutral. In ten home starts, he has a 3.42 ERA and 1.30 WHIP, so he is basically an average pitcher at home. That means he must be pretty good on the road. In nine away games, he has a 1.29 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP.

His worst month was June, but it was just one of his poor starts that caused the bad month, which really wasn’t that bad. He had a 3.60 ERA in June. Since then it was 1.72 in July and 2.52 last month.

Right-handed batters are hitting .247 against him, while he is holding lefties to a .205 average.

Finally, this has to be my favorite stat and we bring back Steven Brault for this one. Both Tarpley and Brault have gone three seasons in pro ball without allowing a homer to a left-handed batter. Tarpley has only allowed six homers total, while Brault has allowed nine, though he does have almost 150 more innings. All 15 homers have come from right-handed batters.

The Adam Frazier batting title watch got a little closer with a 1-for-4 game that dropped him down to a .322 average. He is five points ahead of Binghamton’s Gavin Cecchini, who is out with a hip/groin injury. I watched the Altoona game on Friday night and they are playing Binghamton on the road. The Mets’ announcer made it sound like Cecchini wouldn’t be back until the playoffs, so now it’s just a matter of Frazier holding a five point lead with three games to go. Cecchini’s actual average is .3166, so Frazier could go 0-for-6 and not lose the lead.

The minor league regular season ends on Monday. The Pirates’ affiliates have a total of 14 games left and two teams are still fighting for a playoff spot. Indianapolis and West Virginia have already clinched their spot, although Indianapolis is still trying to win their division. They are tied for the lead and Columbus holds the tiebreaker. Depending on which teams get which playoff spots, the playoffs will begin on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Pirates Game Graph


Source: FanGraphs

Playoff Push

The Pirates trail by 5.5 games in the division to the Cardinals. They have a four game lead for the top wild card spot.

Indianapolis has clinched a playoff spot.

Altoona is 4-6 in their last ten games. They lead the wild card by two games, with three games left.

Bradenton was eliminated from the playoffs.

West Virginia has clinched a playoff spot.

Morgantown is 6-4 in their last ten games. They are tied for first in the wild card chase with three games left in the season. Two teams are just one game back in the chase.

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

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

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

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates defeated the Cardinals by a 9-3 score on Friday night. They now send Charlie Morton to the mound this afternoon. He went six innings in his last start, allowing three runs against the Rockies. He has not faced the Cardinals this year. St Louis will go with Jaime Garcia, who has a 2.03 ERA in 93 innings. He gave up four runs on ten hits over 6.1 innings in his last start, which was against the Giants. He hasn’t faced the Pirates this year.

In the minors, Vance Worley starts for Indianapolis, his fifth game since being sent to the minors. He gave up two runs over eight innings in his last start. Barring a short outing, Zack Dodson will end up leading all Pirates’ minor league pitchers in innings pitched. He is two outs behind Steven Brault, who is done for the year, and he leads Chad Kuhl by 2.1 innings. Kuhl will start on Monday. Bristol, DSL and GCL Pirates are done. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (80-53) @ St Louis (86-48) 4:05 PM
Probable starter: Charlie Morton (4.22 ERA, 32:80 BB/SO, 106.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (81-60) vs Toledo (60-81) 6:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Vance Worley (2.42 ERA, 5:15 BB/SO, 26.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (73-66) @ Binghamton (75-63) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Zack Dodson (3.83 ERA, 36:82 BB/SO, 155.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (72-64, 40-26 second half) @ St Lucie (68-68) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Felipe Gonzalez (3.41 ER, 27:74 BB/SO, 100.1 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (84-52, 47-20 second half) @Kannapolis (64-71) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Stephen Tarpley (2.35 ERA, 25:102 BB/SO, 111.0 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (39-34) @ Mahoning Valley (31-41) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD

Rookie: Bristol (29-36)

GCL: Pirates (28-31) (season recap)

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

Highlights

Here are highlights and lowlights from Indianapolis again. Haven’t been any good solo videos posted the last couple days, so there is a little something for everyone in the full game highlights.

Recent Transactions

9/3: Hunter Morris assigned to GCL Pirates

9/2: Austin Meadows, Tyler Eppler and Montana DuRapau sent to Altoona. Matt Benedict and Mel Rojas Jr sent to Indianapolis

9/2: Oderman Rocha assigned to Bradenton

9/2: Pedro Florimon added to 40-man roster. Deolis Guerra placed on 60-day DL.

9/1: Luis Escobar promoted to Morgantown

9/1: Casey Sadler placed on 60-day DL. Elias Diaz, Bobby LaFromboise, Jaff Decker recalled

9/1: Rob Scahill activated from DL. Travis Snider and Radhames Liz added to 40-man roster

8/31: Wilkin Castillo added to Indianapolis roster. John Bowker and Adam Miller activated from disabled list.

8/29: Alen Hanson activated from Temporary Inactive List. Wilkin Castillo assigned to GCL.

8/28: Carlos Munoz promoted to Morgantown.

8/28: Edwin Espinal activated from Bradenton disabled list. Clay Holmes placed on disabled list.

8/28: Kelson Brown placed on disabled list.

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

This Date in Pirates History

Six former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including a Hall of Famer everyone loves(except Yankees fans) and the pitcher who threw the first no-hitter in team history. We get the others out of the way quickly first, starting with catcher Rod Barajas, who hit .206 with 11 homers in 104 game during the 2012 season. Andy Barkett played 17 games for the 2001 club, his only Major League experience. He hit .304, splitting his time between first base and outfield. Chris Green, lefty pitcher for 1984 Pirates and fourth round pick in the 1979 draft. Gave up two runs in three innings over four appearances. Jimmy Knowles, 1884 first baseman for Alleghenys. Hit .231 in 46 games, scoring 19 runs.

Lefty Leifield, pitcher for the Pirates from 1905 until 1912. Before the Pirates brought him to the majors in September 1905, he pitched 616 innings for the 1904-05 Des Moines Prohibitionists of the Western League. He won five games for the Pirates that season, giving him 31 wins that year. In his first full season, Leifield had 18 wins and a 1.87 ERA. On September 26th of that season, he threw a six inning no-hitter against the Phillies, which was the first in 25 seasons for the franchise.

Leifield won 20 games during the 1907 season and another 19 in 1909 when the Pirates won their first World Series title. He started and lost game four of the series. The Pirates traded him to the Cubs during the 1912 season and he went on to play until 1920. During his time in Pittsburgh, he had a 109-84, 2.38 record, completing 125 of 191 starts.

Also born on this date 79 years ago, Hall of Fame second baseman Bill Mazeroski. You can read a full bio for him here. Known most for his amazing defense and his walk-off homer that ended the 1960 World Series, Mazeroski ended up with some decent offensive numbers during his career. He played in ten All-Star games and won eight Gold Gloves. He still holds the career record with 1706 double plays turned by a second baseman. Mazeroski had 2016 hits during his career and drove in 853 runs.

  • John, I watched Benedict pitch quite a few times, and am wondering just what the organization can see that I don’t. He honestly looked to me the entire season like he wasn’t ready for AA let alone AAA.

    • I think they see someone that can give them innings and they don’t mind moving him around. He’s been at three different levels and used in both relief and starting. That should tell you all you need to know

  • I like to think I know most of the players from 1988 up to today, but I can honestly say I have no recollection of an Andy Barkett. Good for him .304 in the Show.

    • I have no recollection of him either and I can remember most players back to the late 80’s when I lived in Pittsburgh and my dad had season tickets.

      • He was up for almost a month, late May until late June, but barely played the last ten days.

        • Heh…yeah,I was going to say John, there is a good reason those people don’t remember Barkett. He was barely there, and was totally forgettable when he was.

  • Both Tarpley and Brault have gone three seasons in pro ball without allowing a homer to a left-handed batter.

    That is just amazing!!!

    Thank you Nick Markakis!!! If he had not gone to Atlanta, Baltimore would not have needed a RFer!

    • Not only do they look bad in the original trade, but then they release Snider, who is picked up by the Pirates for pocket change and then he makes the highlights last night by driving in 2 runs with a double. It will be a long off-season for that GM!

  • Happy Birthday Maz!!! Thanks for all the great memories.

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