The playoffs start tonight in the minor leagues and we will have full coverage here for each series, with live coverage for many of the games. From our current top 30 prospects list, 17 players are active for the playoffs, which means we will still have some interesting games left, besides the fact they are playoff games.
Here is a brief summary of each series:
Indianapolis released their rotation plans on Tuesday and they will send out Wilfredo Boscan for the opener, followed by Vance Worley on Thursday and Tyler Glasnow on Friday. If the series goes further than that, Chris Volstad will start Saturday. No one has been named for game five yet. With no days off in between, they would likely go with their #5 starter, who was Matt Benedict at the end. It’s also possible A.J. Morris starts, or is the backup with Benedict on a short leash. Scranton will go with Kyle Haynes in game one, who you may remember as the player that left in the Chris Stewart trade. The players on offense to watch are: Josh Bell, Alen Hanson, Willy Garcia and Keon Broxton. Tony Sanchez is there too for players in the non-prospect category.
Altoona is going with Chad Kuhl in game one, then it looks like Tyler Eppler in game two and Steven Brault in game three, though the last two are TBD for now. Eppler didn’t have a great AA debut last week, but between him, Kuhl and Brault, you have three of the best pitchers in the system over the last 5-6 weeks. Assuming it goes five, I’d expect Zack Dodson, followed by Jason Creasy for the last two games. The players to watch on offense are: Austin Meadows, Barrett Barnes, Adam Frazier, Max Moroff, Erich Weiss and Jose Osuna.
The West Virginia Power are going with their big three in the playoffs, saving their pair of aces for last, though the first pitcher is no slouch. Austin Coley doesn’t have a low ERA like Stephen Tarpley or Yeudy Garcia, but 3.66 is better than average in the league and he’s been on a hot streak lately. In his last four starts, he has allowed one earned run in each game. He also set a team record with 16 wins, so he’s kept the Power in most of the games he has pitched. Tarpley goes in game two and Garcia gets three if necessary. Players on offense to watch are: Kevin Newman, Kevin Kramer, Tito Polo, Connor Joe, Pablo Reyes, Michael Suchy, Elvis Escobar and Taylor Gushue. Basically you have a great starting three(by low-A standards) and a lineup that can put up runs, plus they went 50-20 in the second half, so this looks like the team to beat.
Morgantown is going with Dario Agrazal Jr. in the opener. He’s been their most consistent pitcher all season, so it makes sense to use him first. No starters are listed after him, but Bret Helton has been following Agrazal in the rotation and then if it goes three, who better to have than the lefty who pitched the deciding game in the College World Series. Brandon Waddell has been following Helton, so that gives the Black Bears a pitcher who has succeeded under pressure on numerous occasions just a few months ago. They lost some offense when Kramer and Newman moved up, but they still have Ke’Bryan Hayes, along with a lot of other interesting drafts picks. Casey Hughston was the third round pick, and while he has struggled, you expect much more from him. There’s also Ty Moore, Logan Hill, Mitchell Tolman and Christian Kelley. Then you have Danny Arribas, who ended the season with a 14-game hit streak, to go along with Carlos Munoz, who moved up from Bristol.
I’ll leave up the Playoff Schedule section below, which I will update each morning with the previous day’s results. As mentioned yesterday, the Prospect Watch will return tonight, with live reports from Indianapolis and Altoona. I’ll be listening in to the Morgantown game and writing up a recap afterwards, while Tim Williams will take West Virginia. The Morning Report and Prospect Watch will both continue until the day the last playoff game is played.
Indianapolis vs Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Best-of-five series.
9/9: @Indianapolis 7:05
9/10: @Indianapolis 7:05
9/11: @Scranton 6:35
9/12: @Scranton TBA if necessary
9/13: @Scranton TBA if necessary
Altoona vs Bowie. Best-of-five series.
9/9: @Altoona 6:00
9/10: @Altoona 6:00
9/11: @Bowie 7:05
9/12: @Bowie 6:05 if necessary
9/13: @Bowie 1:05 if necessary
West Virginia Power vs Hickory. Best-of-three series.
9/9: @ West Virginia 7:05
9/11: @ Hickory 7:00
9/12: @Hickory 7:00 if necessary
Morgantown vs Williamsport. Best-of-three series.
9/9: @Morgantown 7:05
9/10: @Williamsport 7:05
9/11: @Williamsport 7:05 if necessary
Pirates Game Graph
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.
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates won 7-3 over the Reds on Tuesday night. J.A. Happ will go to the mound today for the final game of the series. This will be his seventh start with the Pirates. In his last three starts combined, he has allowed one earned run over 18.2 innings. The Reds will send Keyvius Sampson to the mound. He has a 6.68 ERA in 31 innings. He has faced the Pirates twice this year(once in relief), allowing three runs over six innings.
MLB: Pittsburgh (82-55) @ Reds (57-80) 7:10 PM
Probable starter: J.A. Happ (1.57 ERA, 7:32 BB/SO, 34.1 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (83-61) vs Scranton W/B (81-63) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Wilfredo Boscan (3.07 ERA, 45:86 BB/SO, 126.0 IP)
AA: Altoona (74-68) vs Bowie (79-63) 6:00 PM
Probable starter: Chad Kuhl (2.48 ERA, 41:101 BB/SO, 152.2 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (74-64)
Low-A: West Virginia (87-52, 50-20 second half) vs Hickory (81-57) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Austin Coley (3.66 ERA, 25:111 BB/SO, 147.2 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (42-34) vs Williamsport (46-30) 7:05 PM
Probable Starter: Dario Agrazal Jr. (2.72 ERA, 11:45 BB/SO, 76.0 IP)
Rookie: Bristol (29-36)
GCL: Pirates (28-31) (season recap)
DSL: Pirates (30-42) (season recap)
Here is the fourth hit of the day for Eric Wood on Monday. The pitcher is a position player. Wood hit .237/.303/.305 in his first season with Altoona. He is still just 22, so another season at AA won’t hurt.
9/7: Travis Ishikawa activated from disabled list.
9/5: Travis Ishikawa assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.
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.
This Date in Pirates History
Eight former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, though one of them was much more important to the team than others. One of the players born on this date was Hall of Fame pitcher Waite Hoyt, who played five seasons in Pittsburgh. He went 35-31, 3.08 in 616.1 innings with the Pirates, winning 15 games during the 1934 season. In his career, he won 237 games. We also have a manager, who is a Hall of Fame player. Frankie Frisch led the Pirates to a 539-528 record from 1940 until 1947. He had five winning seasons in Pittsburgh, topping out at 90 wins in 1944.
Other players born on this date include 1887-88 outfielder Abner Dalrymple, who was the first batter after the team made the switch to the National League in 1887. Doc Johnston, 1915-16 first baseman. He hit .243 and drove in 103 runs in 261 games with the Pirates. Pete Naton, 1953 catcher, whose entire big league career consisted of six games with the Pirates after graduating from Holy Cross in 1953.
Dan Costello, 1914-16 outfielder. Had a .566 OPS in 152 games over three season. His only other Major League time was two at-bats with the 1913 Yankees. Tom Foley, 1993-94 infielder. Hit .246 in 145 games for Pirates, seeing starts at all four infield spots. Dan Miceli, 1993-96 reliever. Had a 5.41 ERA in 139 games with Pittsburgh, picking up 24 saves.
The best player born on this date just happened to be born in the same hometown and in the same year as John Dreker, just blocks away. At one time, they even lived on the same street. That John Dreker would be my great-grandfather, though my first house was also two blocks away from the Miller residence, which was still in their family until 2009. That proximity is likely the main reason we ended up with six relatives in common.
Dots Miller was the second baseman for the 1909 World Series champs, the double play partner of the great Honus Wagner. Miller played 151 games that season, posting a .725 OPS, while leading all NL second baseman in fielding percentage and assists. He finished third in doubles, fourth in triples and fifth with 222 total bases. He even drove in the third most runs in the league, finishing with 87 RBIs. In five seasons in Pittsburgh during the deadball era, he had a .704 OPS in 710 games
You can read his full bio here, which is includes an updated story on how he got his nickname. You should read it and pass it along for me, after all, this is the 157th day straight I wrote a Morning Report for you. It’s a free article, so non-subscribers can read it.