While the rosters aren’t set for either Bristol or the GCL Pirates, we know all of the players who were sent to Bristol and which players were left back for the GCL. Add in the Morgantown roster being somewhat set except some possible draft additions, and we have a good idea of the players to watch for each team. I expect the GCL to add the most talent from here on out with three unsigned prep pitchers in the top 11 rounds still. I think all three (Nick Lodolo, Braeden Ogle and Max Kranick) will sign and if/when they do, they will be assigned to the GCL roster. That leaves them a little weak now, but they could look the best of all three clubs if all three pitchers sign.
The season previews will start today with Morgantown and as far as prospects, it’s more about possible future back-end of the top 50 guys, rather than just figuring out the best prospects based on our top 50 list. I won’t give away the top ten list at all, but I will say that it won’t be reminiscent of early in the season when we were comparing the top tens from the full-season teams trying to figure out which one was the best based on how many top prospects they had.
If you have noticed our top 30 prospects in the Prospect Watch recently, you would know that just one of those players isn’t on a full-season team yet. That would be Adrian Valerio, who will be the starting shortstop for Bristol. Once Gage Hinsz was promoted to West Virginia, Valerio was the lone non-injured player who wasn’t on a team. It’s not a spoiler to say that even with draft picks being sent there, Valerio will be the top prospect for Bristol. We will have to sort through some high upside GCL players from last year, along with a couple decent draft picks, once we try to figure out the rest of that top ten list.
The GCL team will mostly focus on the prep pitchers, except that it is also the popular spot for rehabbing players to make their first stop. On Friday night while getting notes from down there, I found out Nick Kingham threw a simulated game earlier in the day and his personal catcher when he throws is always Elias Diaz. With the GCL starting next weekend, you can expect those two to shift their work into GCL games, using them to build back up into shape to make it back to Indianapolis.
Under normal circumstances when Extended Spring Training is still in progress, starting pitchers will build up down there and then they first time you see them in a boxscore, they are already able to throw five innings. With no more Extended games left, the pitchers then build up during actual GCL games. With where he is now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kingham follow the Clay Holmes path from last year, just probably starting at a lower number. Holmes went 3.2 in his first game, followed by 4.2 in his second, and then five innings before moving up a level. That probably means more appearances for Kingham, and if they are home games, we should have coverage from down there.
Now you may be saying, he started off talking about possible prospects in the three lower level teams, then went into Nick Kingham. Did he just get off-topic quick like that? Yes, I did and it’s because the three lower level teams don’t have a lot of current players to be excited about, but there are a lot of potential prospects who could emerge. You might look over the three top ten lists when we publish them and not see much, but then you could possibly be missing the next breakout player in the system.
Bradenton is 5-5 in their last ten games. They are in first place in their division, two games ahead. The first half of the FSL season ends on June 22nd. Their magic number is one.
West Virginia has been eliminated from the first half pennant race. The second half begins on June 23rd.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 6-0 to the Cubs on Friday. Jon Niese gets the start tonight, going up against Jon Lester. Niese faced the Cubs back on May 3rd and allowed six runs on nine hits over five innings. In his last start, he gave up eight runs on 11 hits over 5.1 innings to the Cardinals. Lester has a 1.89 ERA in 85.2 innings, with 85 strikeouts and an 0.95 WHIP. He has faced the Pirates twice this year and allowed one run over 12.1 innings.
In the minors, Trevor Williams looks to get on track for Indianapolis. While he has had his good moments, he has a .344 BAA and a 1.85 WHIP. On the bright side, Williams has a strong 1.67 GO/AO ratio.
Brandon Waddell has really struggled recently for Altoona. This recent slide followed a strong start to the season for Bradenton, then three solid outings after being promoted. He now has a .317 BAA and a 1.64 WHIP in 35.1 innings for Altoona. After four straight starts in which he went at least six innings, Waddell hasn’t reached six innings in any of his last five games.
For Morgantown, James Marvel makes his first appearance as a pro. He signed last year for an over-slot deal in the 36th round out of Duke. Marvel was recovering from Tommy John surgery at the time he signed.
Bradenton is on their All-Star break until Monday.
MLB: Pittsburgh (33-34) @ Cubs (45-20) 8:15 PM
Probable starter: Jon Niese (4.60 ERA, 25:54 BB/SO, 76.1 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (36-31) @ Charlotte (35-34) 6:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Trevor Williams (5.40 ERA, 9:8 BB/SO, 21.2 IP)
AA: Altoona (35-31) vs Hartford (37-28) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Brandon Waddell (5.35 ERA, 13:24 BB/SO, 35.1 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (36-29) vs Jupiter (30-35) 6:30 PM 6/20 (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD
Low-A: West Virginia (34-33) vs Charleston (41-26) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Bret Helton (3.75 ERA, 24:40 BB/SO, 57.2 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (1-0) @ Mahoning Valley (0-1) 7:05 PM
Probable Starter: James Marvel (NR)
DSL: Pirates (3-9) vs Yankees1 (7-5) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Here is Austin Meadows extending his hit streak to 24 games with a first inning home run. That was also his 24th extra-base hit of the streak. He has since been promoted to Indianapolis and the streak remains intact.
6/17: Pirates released Garrett Russini and Guido Knudson.
6/17: Pirates sign Matt Frawley, Stephen Owen and Arden Pabst.
6/16: Pirates sign 13 draft picks.
6/16: Casey Hughston and Logan Sendelbach assigned to West Virginia. Julio Vivas and Billy Roth assigned to Morgantown.
6/15: Pirates release Nick Buckner.
6/15: Trey Haley sent outright to Indianapolis.
6/15: Dovydas Neverauskas promoted to Indianapolis. John Kuchno placed on disabled list.
6/14: Pirates place Gerrit Cole on the disabled list. Recall Jameson Taillon.
6/14: Kevin Newman and Wyatt Mathisen activated from disabled list. Trace Tam Sing assigned to GCL Pirates.
6/14: Miguel Rosario promoted to Altoona.
6/14: Pirates release Robert Zarate.
6/13: Sam Street activated from Temporary Inactive List. JT Brubaker assigned to GCL Pirates.
6/11: Pirates acquire Erik Kratz from Angels for cash considerations. Trey Haley designated for assignment.
6/11: Clay Holmes added to Altoona roster. David Whitehead placed on disabled list.
6/11: Pirates place Francisco Cervelli on disabled list.
6/11: Pirates option Kyle Lobstein and Cole Figueroa to Indianapolis. recall Rob Scahill and Arquimedes Caminero.
6/10: Mitch Keller added to West Virginia roster. Logan Sendelbach assigned to GCL Pirates.
6/10: Alex McRae promoted to Altoona.
6/9: Pirates option Jameson Taillon to Indianapolis. Kyle Lobstein recalled from Indianapolis.
6/9: Frank Duncan promoted to Indianapolis.
6/8: Pirates recall Jameson Taillon. Curtis Partch optioned to Indianapolis.
6/8: JT Brubaker promoted to Bradenton. Julio Vivas added to West Virginia roster.
6/6: Clay Holmes assigned to Extended Spring Training. David Whitehead added to Altoona roster.
6/4: Pirates released Nate Irving, Edgar Figueroa, Eric Thomas and Eliezer Ramirez.
6/4: Pirates option Rob Scahill and Wilfredo Boscan to Indianapolis. Recall Curtis Partch and Cory Luebke.
6/4: Ryan Vogelsong transferred from 15-day disabled list to 60-day DL.
6/4: Guido Knudson added to Indianapolis roster.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus one trade of note. We start with the transaction, which has a couple of ironic nicknames. On this date in 1908, the Pirates sent pitchers Tom McCarthy and Harley Young to the Boston Doves for pitcher Irv Young. The Pirates got seven starts and nine relief appearances in 1908 from Irv Young, who posted a 2.01 ERA. The two Youngs were part of an unfortunate trend back in the day, which gave players with the same last name, the same nickname. Irv was known as Cy the Second, while Harley became known as Cy the Third. Irv went 63-95 in his career, while Harley went 0-3. It’s safe to say, neither lived up to that Cy Young comparison.
As for the players born on this date, we have Ron Necciai, a pitcher for the 1952 Pirates. He had a promising career derailed by injuries. In the minors in 1952, he pitched 42.2 innings over four starts and two relief appearances. He struck out 109 batters. That’s not a misprint.
Newt Halliday, first baseman for the Pirates on August 19, 1916. He was a late-innings defensive replacement, who struck out in his only at-bat. The 20-year-old Halliday joined the Navy the next year and contracted tuberculosis, which he succumbed to in 1918, making him one of the youngest MLB players ever to pass away.
Ben Shaw, 1B/C for the 1917-18 Pirates. His career was cut short just like the other two, but his reason was a salary dispute. Shaw didn’t sign his contract in 1919 and instead played outlaw baseball, which got his banned from the majors until 1925, which effectively ended his big league career.