Morning Report: Pirates Have Two of the Toughest Minor League Teams to Strike Out

I couldn’t think of a good subject to write about for this morning, so now is a good time to see where each of the four affiliates rank offensively in their league. That will help for an idea for tomorrow when the natural progression will be to move on to the pitching rankings.

The good thing about looking at these team stats is that there are a lot of prospects in each lineup. If a team is doing well, but it’s a bunch of non-prospects doing the hitting, then it doesn’t really matter except to the fans of those affiliates. I’ve done a few pre-season Q&A’s for fans of Bradenton and West Virginia and I have to remember that some of those people are looking for a winning team, so they don’t care if the best hitters are too old for the league, or that a team full of prospects usually means a losing record, they just want to know where the runs/wins are coming from.

On to the stats, where we start in the 14-team International League. Indianapolis ranks ninth in OPS with a .678 mark, but they are only seven points behind fifth place, so one good game could change their position drastically. They rank ninth in homers, tenth in runs, 11th in walks, third worst in strikeouts and they lead the league in steals, but they also have more caught stealing than the next two highest totals combined. They have run 57 times total (30 successfully), 15 more than anyone else.

In the 12-team Eastern League, Altoona ranks sixth in OPS. They are the opposite of Indianapolis on the bases, ranking 11th in both steals and attempts. The Curve rank sixth in both homers and runs scored. They are seventh in walks and have the fifth most strikeouts.

Early in the season, Bradenton was one of the worst hitting teams in any league, not just the Florida State League. They now rank third in the league with a .251 average, which doesn’t sound great, but FSL offensive numbers never sound great. The batting average doesn’t exactly translate to success at the plate, as they rank sixth in OBP and slugging, which not surprisingly, ranks them sixth in OPS. They also rank sixth in runs scored and home runs. The Marauders are ninth in both steals and walks. On a strong note, they are last in strikeouts with 217, which is 89 less than the worst team.

West Virginia ranks 12th out of 14 teams with a .235 team average. They are a little bit better in OPS and runs scored, ranking two spots higher in each category. The Power have 20 homers, which ties them for fifth most in the league. They are seventh in walks and steals, and just like Bradenton, they have the least amount of strikeouts. West Virginia has only struck out 189 times, which is 113 less than the worst team in the league. The second lowest league total is 224, so they are putting the ball in play much better than any other team in the league.


Source: FanGraphs


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates won 5-4 over the Reds on Wednesday night. The Pirates are off today. They travel to Chicago to face the Cubs, where Francisco Liriano will face Jason Hammel on Friday afternoon.

In the minors, Tyler Glasnow makes his seventh start and he’s coming off an outing in which he had his best command of all three pitches, possibly ever. He has thrown 18 shutout innings over his last three starts. Glasnow also struck out 11 batters last time out for the second time this season.

Yeudy Garcia makes his sixth start, trying to build off two of his better outings in which he allowed just one earned run over ten innings. After issuing nine walks in his first three starts combined, he has walked a total of two batters in his last three games.

JT Brubaker gets the start for West Virginia. He has had control issues this year compared to last year when he walked just 12 batters in 73.1 innings. Brubaker has walked 13 batters in 33 innings, which isn’t that bad, but his control was part of the reason he ranked 31st overall in the system. He is also giving up more homers this season, doubling last year’s total of three with Morgantown. You can read a breakdown of his last start here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (18-15) @ Cubs (25-8) 2:20 PM 5/13
Probable starter: Francisco Liriano (3.60 ERA, 19:39 BB/SO, 35.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (16-15) @ Syracuse (19-13) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Glasnow (1.64 ERA, 13:48 BB/SO, 33.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (16-17) @ Richmond (10-21) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Cody Dickson (5.60 ERA, 22:16 BB/SO, 27.1 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (15-17) vs Ft Myers (19-14) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Yeudy Garcia (3.47 ERA, 11:28 BB/SO, 23.1 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (18-13) @ Lakewood (11-20) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: JT Brubaker (3.27  ERA, 13:37 BB/SO, 33.0 IP)


Here is a double from Edwin Espinal. He is hitting .236/.257/.347 in 21 games, with five doubles and a home run. Espinal seems like he has been around forever and has always had potential, but he has also always been young for the level he is at each year. He turned 22 back in January.


5/9: Mel Rojas Jr. traded to the Atlanta Braves for cash considerations.

5/8: Cole Tucker added to West Virginia Power roster. Logan Ratledge assigned to Extended Spring Training.

5/7: Billy Roth added to West Virginia Power roster.

5/6: Jung-ho Kang activated from disabled list.

5/6: Mel Rojas Jr. assigned to Extended Spring Training.

5/5: Jason Rogers optioned to Indianapolis.

5/2: Jason Creasy placed on disabled list. Brandon Waddell promoted to Altoona

5/2: Tate Scioneaux promoted to Bradenton.

4/30: Jared Hughes activated from the disabled list. Rob Scahill sent to Indianapolis.

4/27: Sam Street placed on the temporary inactive list. Jose Regalado added to Bradenton.


Six former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including one that played eight seasons in Pittsburgh. Quickly through the players, we have relief pitcher Evan Meek (2008-12), first baseman Josh Phelps (2007), pitcher Johnny Hetki (1953-54), pitcher Hank Bowory (1950) and second baseman Harry Truby (1896). Hetki is 94 years old today, the fourth oldest living former Pirates player.

Infielder Alex McCarthy played eight seasons in Pittsburgh, from 1910 until 1917. He was a backup most of his time, splitting time between second, third and shortstop. McCarthy played in 372 games for the Pirates, serving part of that time as the backup shortstop to Honus Wagner. He was sold to the Cubs at the end of the 1915 season and returned during the middle of the 1916 season, so he didn’t spend all of his time in Pittsburgh, despite playing eight consecutive seasons with the team. McCarthy had his contract purchased by the Pirates at the same time as his minor league teammate, Max Carey, who went on to have a Hall of Fame career.

On this date in 1884, the Pittsburgh Alleghenys defeated the Brooklyn Atlantics by a 9-6 score to sweep a three-game series. Pitcher John Fox picked up the only win he would collect for Pittsburgh in seven starts. The Alleghenys later moved to the National League and later became the Pirates, while the Atlantics joined them in the NL a few years later and eventually they became the Los Angeles Dodgers. Those three games were the first time the two franchises met. The Pirates currently sit at 999 wins versus the Dodgers franchise.

Morning Report

  • I remember the days when we’d have, maybe, one pitcher to root for in the system on any given day.

    Today is a prime example of having THREE pitchers with good/great potential.

    Heady days, indeed.

    • John Dreker
      May 12, 2016 10:21 am

      If Cody Dickson ever learned to attack hitters instead of pitching around contact, he could be right there too. His stuff is too good for the numbers he puts up

    • When I look at pitchers numbers, I only use three statistics. era, whip and hit vs innings pitched. I think those three can give you a pretty good picture of that pitcher. In AAA these are the studs I’m looking at.

      innings hits era whip
      Glasnow 416.1 249 2.03 1.06
      Kuhl 394 348 2.70 1.13
      Taillon 419.1 377 3.54 1.18

      This is the total Minor League output for all three. Glasnow always seemed to over power the hitters, but control being the issue. Kuhl keeps the ball down with a 94-95 mph sinker, but doesn’t get a lot of strikes outs. Taillon is a much better pitcher today than even these numbers show.

      These three are putting up amazing numbers in AAA and at least two will be up this year, maybe all three. All those drafts taking pitchers and forgoing good hitting is going to pay off.