If it was winter, the three articles I posted just below would probably get their own article because of the slow period for news. With the minor league season starting up now and the Pirates playing, these articles would either get buried quickly, or they would bury other articles that deserve to be on the front page longer. So here are three articles of interesting for your viewing pleasure, with a brief write-up of each one.
Baseball America put out their annual list of the youngest players at each level, saving us the trouble of going through every roster in the same league as the Pirates and their affiliates. The Pirates only have two players on these lists, though they would have done better if it weren’t for a couple injuries. Tyler Glasnow is the ninth youngest player in the International League. Reese McGuire is the sixth youngest in the Eastern League. Austin Meadows would have been tied for fourth youngest, while Cole Tucker would have been the youngest player in the Florida State League, which is where he will likely start off(minus a potential rehab appearance at a lower level).
Baseball America also put out a list of the best rosters in the minors. No surprise that Indianapolis made the list, with the sixth best roster according to their prospect rankings. One good thing about ranking is that they just rated the Opening Day roster, so Chad Kuhl and Elias Diaz weren’t part of the group of players they considered. Nick Kingham will also be around later in the year, though he might not be with the team before 1-2 of the top prospects moves up to Pittsburgh. It makes you wonder if Altoona would have made the list if Austin Meadows wasn’t currently injured. I think they stack up pretty well with the 9th/10th place teams on that list if you include Meadows.
Over at MiLB, they posted their list of the most interesting rosters, lineups and rotations. They named Indianapolis as the most interesting rotation, and they did it without even mentioning Trevor Williams and Steven Brault. Tyler Glasnow, Jameson Taillon, Chad Kuhl, and the eventual return of Nick Kingham, were enough to push them to the top apparently. You’d have a hard time finding a better rotation 1-5, when all five of the pitchers are top 24 prospects in a system that ranks well for talent. That’s without even figuring in Kingham, since he probably won’t return to Indianapolis until July.
I realized awhile ago that a big part of covering prospects is talking about the weather. Indianapolis reminded me of that early this year by having their first two games postponed. Altoona had a rain delay on Thursday night, and I was told they could be getting a lot of snow, possibly by the time you read this it will already be there(UPDATE: They have already postponed today’s game). Then you have the rain in Florida because it always rains in Florida. It’s cooperating early, but you can guarantee that the Marauders will play some doubleheaders this year, or lose some games. The GCL team ended up playing 11 doubleheaders last year and still lost a game off their schedule. Bristol played seven doubleheaders and still couldn’t find time in their schedule to make up three lost games.
In yesterday’s Morning Report, I posted the new schedule for the Indianapolis rotation, which changed within an hour of me posting the article. For now, it is Tyler Glasnow today, Trevor Williams and Jameson Taillon tomorrow, then TBD on Tuesday, which I assume will be either Steven Brault or Wilfredo Boscan, with the other one going Wednesday. They are off Monday.
On Thursday, 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.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates won 6-5 over the Reds on Friday night to remain perfect this season. Gerrit Cole makes his season debut today, going up against Raisel Iglesias, who allowed two runs over six innings in his season debut on Monday. Cole has a 5.23 ERA against the Reds in six starts and has yet to pick up a win against them.
In the minors, Indianapolis was rained out for a second straight day. The schedule says Tyler Glasnow is starting this afternoon(UPDATE: Attempt #3 failed, game has been postponed), with Trevor Williams moved back to Sunday. They have changed the rotation a few times already, so hopefully it’s set now. The Indianapolis game from Thursday will be made up on Sunday as part of a doubleheader, while Friday’s game hasn’t been rescheduled yet.
In Altoona, Tyler Eppler was supposed to make his season debut, but they have postponed today’s game already. For Bradenton, Colten Brewer gets the start. He made 22 starts for West Virginia last year and had a 4.90 ERA. Brewer is a power pitcher, who sits 93-95 and touches higher, but he had his share of issues last year. He had a nice 1.40 GO/AO ratio and his 99 strikeouts in 119.1 innings, isn’t a bad total. He also only walked 37 batters, plus he had a respectable .258 BAA, so the results don’t match the stats. Brewer still could put it together and become more than just someone who throws hard. Bret Helton gets the start for West Virginia. He was the ninth round pick last year, and he had a 4.97 ERA in 14 starts with Morgantown after signing.
MLB: Pittsburgh (4-0) @ Reds (3-1) 1:10 PM
Probable starter: Gerrit Cole (NR)
AAA: Indianapolis (0-0) @ Columbus (0-0) 1:05 PM (season preview) POSTPONED
Probable starter: Tyler Glasnow (NR)
AA: Altoona (0-2) vs Harrisburg (2-0) 1:00 PM (season preview) POSTPONED
Probable starter: Tyler Eppler (NR)
High-A: Bradenton (1-1) vs Ft Myers (1-1) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Colten Brewer (NR)
Low-A: West Virginia (1-1) @ Greensboro (1-1) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Bret Helton (NR)
Hopefully, we will have minor league highlights starting tomorrow, but two Indianapolis rain outs meant there was one less team to get video from. Altoona hasn’t posted any videos yet and they are usually good with them. So we go to another Pirates video and I think everyone will like this one…
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
On this date in 1930, the Pittsburgh Pirates traded Hall of Fame pitcher Burleigh Grimes to the Boston Braves for pitcher Percy Jones and cash. This trade didn’t work out well for the Pirates, who failed to get a single win out of Jones, while Grimes won 33 games over the next two seasons.
The only former player born on this date, pitcher Claude Passeau, is one that got away from the Pirates. After using him for one game in 1935(his MLB debut), the Pirates traded him to the Phillies. Passeau ended up winning 162 games in his career. The Pirates got catcher Al Todd in return for Passeau and he had three strong seasons in Pittsburgh, but they also threw in catcher Earl Grace, who was a capable backup for two seasons. They won the catcher part of the deal, but lost out big with the pitcher.
The first time the Pirates ever played on April 9th might surprise you, considering how many years they were around prior to that season. In the early years of baseball, the season began much later, with games opening up in early May at one point. It wasn’t until 1959, that the Pirates opened a season before April 11th. That year, they opened up on the road at Crosley Field, dropping a 4-1 decision to the Reds. You can see the boxscore here. Roberto Clemente drove in the only run for the Pirates.
Also on this date in 2001, the Pirates opened up PNC Park on a somber note, as Willie Stargell passed away that same day. The Pirates lost 8-2 to the Reds in front of 36,954 fans.