I planned on talking about Tyler Glasnow a little today, as he was going to make his first start of the season. Due to the rain out, the Indianapolis rotation now looks a little different, though I’ll point out that it could change(It has, see update below). Trevor Williams is now scheduled to go today, with Glasnow going on Saturday. On Sunday, which was originally supposed to be Jameson Taillon’s debut, they now have Steven Brault and TBD listed. Just my guess that TBD will end up being Wilfredo Boscan and it won’t mess up the schedule because Indianapolis has off on Monday. That would then push Taillon’s debut back to Tuesday and everyone else would get enough rest before their next start.
(UPDATE: Instead of correcting this article, I’ll note that since it was finished, Taillon has now been moved to Sunday and Tuesday is now TBD. You’ll see why I did it this way in the next paragraph)
Now is a good time to remind people that minor league probables listed in the schedule below are just that, probables. They can change without much notice, but we tend to get them about 90% right when we post them, and go with TBD when it is unknown. Weather will play havoc with a schedule, especially if a pitcher starts warming up and the game doesn’t start. With doubleheaders, sometimes teams will use two starters from the rotation on the same day and make a decision down the line to insert a spot starter. Sometimes they will use that spot starter during the doubleheader. If you’re planning on going to a game to see a certain pitcher, it’s best to check the team’s website as late as possible to make sure he’s still scheduled to pitch.
Speaking of probables, it’s a good night for them even without Glasnow going. You have Williams for Indianapolis. Clay Holmes for Altoona and Brandon Waddell for Bradenton. Those three players are all among our top 25 prospects in our latest prospect guide. With the current rotations, if all the prospect stars aligned, the best day we could get is Glasnow(ranked #1), Holmes(#19), Yeudy Garcia(#12) for Bradenton and Mitch Keller(#18) for West Virginia.
As I just mentioned, Clay Holmes is starting for Altoona tonight, making the jump from Bradenton after just 23 innings in High-A. He’s a high-upside prospect still, because his stuff returned after Tommy John surgery. Holmes sits 92-95 with his fastball, mixing it with a strong curve and a change-up, which has shown improvements. He’s also got the frame to put in 200 innings a year. The main question this year will be just how much work he can put in coming off a season in which he threw a total of 36.1 innings. Part of the problem with that question is that it ignores all the throwing he did prior to making his season debut in late June.
Holmes debuted on June 23rd last year, but that’s only because he was in Extended Spring Training(EST) and it ended, turning into the GCL, with the better/older players going to Bristol or Morgantown. On June 2nd, he pitched two innings during an EST game. So three weeks prior to his debut, he was actually pitching multiple inning in games. There were three more outings between that June 2nd game and the first time he showed up in a boxscore. Going even further back, Tim Williams talked to Holmes after he threw a bullpen on March 22nd, and he was already throwing to live batters, switching between bullpens and sim games. While his season debut last year says June 23rd, three months earlier he was already throwing to batters.
The Pirates will have a schedule for him, and I’m sure he will be somewhat limited compared to a pitcher like Jason Creasy, who could put in 150+ innings this year. They say that you want to add about 40 innings a year to pitchers under 25 years old(some say 35-45, so I went middle), but that won’t mean that Holmes will be shutdown around 80 innings this year. Those innings he was pitching in EST will count towards his season total this year, and they will also take into consideration how he feels, how many pitches he throws per inning, and whether he is maintaining his performance throughout the year. You could see him skip a start here and there just to keep the workload at an acceptable level.
Yesterday, we posted the top ten prospects list for each of the four full-season affiliates. You can find links to those previews down in the schedule section of this article. We will leave them linked there all season, so you can reference them at any point.
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates won 5-1 over the Cardinals on Wednesday night, completing a three-game sweep to start the season. They begin a three-game set against the Reds tonight with Francisco Liriano on the mound, making his second start. On Opening Day, he allowed three hits and showed some wildness with five walks, but he had ten strikeouts and threw six shutout innings. The Reds will go with Alfredo Simon, making his season debut.
In the minors, Indianapolis was rained out, so Trevor Williams will try again to make his debut in the Pirates’ system. He made three starts in Triple-A for the Marlins last year, then made seven appearances in the Arizona Fall League. Williams allowed two runs over seven innings for the Pirates this spring. The Indianapolis game from Thursday will be made up on Sunday as part of a doubleheader.
In Altoona, Clay Holmes will make his Double-A debut. It’s his first April appearance since 2013 due to Tommy John surgery in March 2014. Brandon Waddell gets the start for Bradenton, skipping over a level after pitching for Morgantown last season. He was the Pirates fifth round pick in last year’s draft, signing late because he helped lead Virginia to a College World Series title in mid-June. Waddell had a 5.75 ERA in six starts after signing, but he put up a tremendous 3.18 GO/AO ratio. Logan Sendelbach gets the start for West Virginia. He was the tenth round pick last year and went to Bristol, where he really struggled. As one of the older players in the Appalachian League, he had a 5.23 ERA and 1.42 WHIP.
MLB: Pittsburgh (3-0) @ Reds (3-0) 7:10 PM
Probable starter: Francisco Liriano (1-0, 0.00)
AAA: Indianapolis (0-0) @ Columbus (0-0) 4:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Trevor Williams (NR)
AA: Altoona (0-1) vs Harrisburg (1-0) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Clay Holmes (NR)
High-A: Bradenton (1-0) @ Ft Myers (0-1) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Brandon Waddell (NR)
Low-A: West Virginia (0-1) @ Greensboro (1-0) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Logan Sendelbach (NR)
From Wednesday night, highlights of Juan Nicasio’s first start with the Pirates. Hopefully, we will have minor league highlights starting tomorrow. The Indianapolis rain out meant there was one less team to get video from.
4/6: Tampa Bay Rays claim Jake Goebbert off waivers from Pirates.
4/2: Pirates designate Pedro Florimon, John Holdzkom and Jake Goebbert for assignment.
4/2: Pirates place Jung-ho Kang, Jared Hughes and Elias Diaz on the disabled list retroactive to March 25.
4/2: Pirates release Jose Batista and Jandy Vasquez.
4/1: Pirates release Gerardo Navarro, Christopher De Leon and Enyel Vallejo.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Among the former Pirates players born on this date, shortstop John Peters, who played in the first game in franchise history back on May 2, 1882. He played 77 of the team’s 79 games at shortstop that season and finished seventh in the American Association in batting average.
Also born on this date, pitcher Tom Butters, who had a promising career derailed by a back injury. He pitched for the Pirates from 1962 until 1965. He passed away last week at the age of 77.
Reddy Gray, left fielder for the Pirates on May 28, 1903, which ended up being the only game of his career. He had a single, walk, RBI and run scored in his only game.
Pete Daniels, pitcher during the 1890 season, who won the season opener for a team that ended up going 23-113 that year.
Kirby Higbe, 1957-49 pitcher who won 22 games for the Dodgers in 1941 and made the All-Star game in 1946. Went 19-26 in 39 starts and 70 relief appearances for Pirates.
Brian Burres, 2010-11 pitcher.