If Keon Broxton can steal one more base this season, he will become the first Pirates’ minor league player in 48 years to reach double-digits in doubles, triples, homers and steal 40 bases. Back in 1967, Johnny Jeter reached those four marks and no one has been able to match it since. Jeter ended up playing six years in the majors, making his debut when he was 24 years old. Broxton turned 25 back in May, so while he is a little old for a prospect, it’s still an acceptable age for AAA success.
Broxton has done a lot of things right this season, scoring 85 runs, drawing 65 walks and playing strong defense. It’s not just the 48 extra-base hits and 39 steals, he is getting on base and adding defensive value. It might be hard to remember with his recent success, but he did not do well with the jump to AAA. He had a .551 OPS back in June and his pre/post All-Star game numbers tell a huge story. In 39 games before the break, he had a .606 OPS. In 45 games since then, he has a .915 OPS. Just for reference, the International League OPS leader for the season is Matt Hague with an .899 mark, and no one is anywhere near him. Broxton doesn’t have enough plate appearances to qualify for league leaders, but he would rank seventh if he did.
Broxton will make the majors someday, possibly with the Pirates. He has his problems with strikeouts, going down 150 times this season, but he has multiple ways to add value. There is one issue upcoming this off-season. It isn’t his Rule 5 status and whether the Pirates will add him. Broxton was a 2009 draft pick, which means he reaches minor league free agency this year. The Pirates will likely try to re-sign him, but unless he is a September call-up when the Indianapolis season ends, he might seek better opportunities elsewhere. He would make an excellent bench outfielder since he can play center field, but it’s hard to imagine the Pirates going with a rookie on Opening Day as a bench option. Adding him to the 40-man roster might be a tough decision, but deciding if he wants to come back without that 40-man spot might be even tougher for him.
It wasn’t a good day for Altoona’s Adam Frazier in the Eastern League batting title race, losing four points off his lead. At this moment, he’s just trying to stay ahead of someone that isn’t playing. Binghamton’s Gavin Cecchini has been out since August 19th with a hip injury. So while Frazier is now down to a .323 average with five games to go, Cecchini has remained at .317 the last two weeks.
Five days left in the minor league regular season and just 24 games total. Don’t fret though, Indianapolis and West Virginia are both in the playoffs, so the Morning Report and Prospect Watch will continue until the last day, which could be as late as September 18th. Altoona is also close to clinching with a three-game lead. Morgantown still has a shot and Bradenton hasn’t been eliminated yet, although Luis Heredia going tonight and three good players promoted to Altoona(see transactions section), won’t help their chances.
Pirates Game Graph
The Pirates trail by six games in the division to the Cardinals. They have a 4.5 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 three games, with five games left.
Bradenton is 6-4 in their last ten games. They trail Palm Beach by two games in the standings with four games left. Palm Beach holds the tie-breaker.
West Virginia has clinched a playoff spot.
Morgantown is 7-3 in their last ten games. They have a half game lead in the wild card chase with five games left in the season.
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 Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 9-4 to the Brewers on Wednesday night. Francisco Liriano will get the start for the Pirates tonight. In his last outing, he allowed three runs over six innings against the Rockies. Liriano gave up three runs over eight innings in his only game versus the Brewers this year. Taylor Jungmann goes for Milwaukee. He has a 2.48 ERA in 90.2 innings this season. He has faced the Pirates twice, allowing one run over seven innings each time.
In the minors, Tyler Eppler makes his AA debut tonight. In his last four starts combined, he has thrown 26.2 innings without an earned run. Wilfredo Boscan starts for Indianapolis. In his last ten appearances, he has a 1.84 ERA over 53.2 innings. Luis Heredia hasn’t made it through five innings in any of his last six starts. He had a 6.84 ERA in July and 6.75 in August. Bristol, DSL and GCL Pirates are done. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.
MLB: Pittsburgh (79-52) @ Milwaukee (57-75) 7:20 PM
Probable starter: Francisco Liriano (3.28 ERA, 45:81 BB/SO, 119.2 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (80-59) @ Columbus (80-59) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Wilfredo Boscan (3.01 ERA, 40:86 BB/SO, 141.0 IP)
AA: Altoona (72-65) @ Bowie (77-59) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Eppler (NR)
High-A: Bradenton (71-63, 39-25 second half) vs St Lucie (67-67) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Luis Heredia (5.83 ER, 40:51 BB/SO, 80.1 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (83-51, 46-19 second half) @Kannapolis (63-70) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Colten Brewer (4.81 ERA, 37:95 BB/SO, 112.1 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (38-33) vs Williamsport (44-27) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD
Rookie: Bristol (29-36)
GCL: Pirates (28-31) (season recap)
DSL: Pirates (30-42) (season recap)
Here is Keon Broxton crushing his tenth homer of the season. A shot to center field
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
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.
This Date in Pirates History
Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a game from the past with ties to a current minor league city and one of the best pitchers ever.
Matt Capps, 2005-09 reliever. Made 271 appearances and had a 3.61 ERA and 67 saves during his five seasons in Pittsburgh.
Juan Perez, lefty reliever for the 2006-07 Pirates. Had a 5.14 ERA in 24 appearances over his two seasons.
Dave Clark, outfielder from 1992 until 1996. Had an .801 OPS in 388 games with the Pirates, splitting his time between the two corner outfield positions.
Ed Konetchy, 1914 first baseman. Pirates’ owner Barney Dreyfuss had a man-crush on Konetchy and tried multiple times to acquire him before giving up way too much to get him in December 1913, sending Dots Miller and Chief Wilson to the Cardinals as part of the five-player package. Konetchy rewarded Dreyfuss by having one poor season, then jumping to the Federal League.
Harry Decker, 1890 Alleghenys. Playing for the worst team in franchise history, Decker had the highest batting average(.274) and he hit five homers, which account for all the homers he hit in his four-year MLB career.
On this date in 1890, the Pittsburgh Alleghenys took on the Cleveland Spiders in an exhibition game played in front of 2,000 fans in Altoona. Both teams were scheduled to meet the next day in Pittsburgh, but the exhibition game was put on the schedule so the teams could make extra money during the season. The Spiders won that day by a 10-6 score behind the pitching of a 23-year-old rookie named Cy Young, who had four career wins at the time. The Alleghenys made ten errors, including two by catcher Harry Decker, who you may remember from the last player you just read about before this paragraph. He also picked up two hits on his 26th birthday. The day after this exhibition game, the Alleghenys beat the Spiders 6-2 to snap a 23-game losing streak.