Morning Report: Updates on the 2013 Draft Picks Who Were Traded Away

The Pittsburgh Pirates signed Buddy Borden this week after he was released by the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays made the unusual move to immediately put him in the bullpen after acquiring him. Borden made the Florida State League All-Star game as a reliever last year and also got some starts, which included one earned run over six innings against the Marauders and seven inning no-hitter during a doubleheader. He was in the bullpen in Double-A this year and pitching well recently after a poor start to his season. Now that the Pirates have one of their 2013 draft picks back, what about the other three they traded from that group?

The Pirates traded JaCoby Jones last year for Joakim Soria at the trade deadline last year. Right before the trade, they moved him up to Altoona, which in retrospect, seemed like an audition. He went to Erie (also in the Eastern League) and started off with a three home run game in his first week, then slowed down after that. The biggest issue with him with the Pirates was strikeouts, and he struck out 52 times in 37 games with Erie.

Jones went to the Arizona Fall League, where he failed a drug test (drug of abuse) and was suspended 50 games. Surprisingly to me, he was able to serve part of that suspension in the AFL, where most players don’t play everyday. So Jones missed a little more than a month this year and returned to Erie, where he put up a .991 OPS in 20 games before being promoted. In Triple-A, he is struggling now after some nice games at the start. The strikeout total is still high, but the power is there still. He also has above average speed, though four stolen bases this year doesn’t scream speed. He just hasn’t been running as much as before.

One interesting note with the 24-year-old Jones is that he was showing some progress as a shortstop last year and that’s where the Tigers used him after the trade. This year he is seeing time in the outfield, as well as third base and even first base, but no shortstop.

Also traded from that class in a smaller deal was Shane Carle for Rob Scahill, which was prior to last season. Carle spent all of last year in Double-A, except on Triple-A start which didn’t go so well. On the season in 27 starts, he had a 3.68 ERA in 166.1 innings, with a 1.25 WHIP and 103 strikeouts. This season, Carle is in the Pacific Coast League, which is never fun for any pitcher. He is struggling, even taking the league into consideration. He has a 5.65 ERA, with a .339 BAA and a 1.67 WHIP. On the bright side, he has a nice 1.44 GO/AO ratio.

The final player is lefty Blake Taylor, who was the second round pick of the Pirates. He was traded for Ike Davis, though he had to wait a couple months before being sent to the Mets due to the rule at the time that you had to wait one year to trade draft picks. That rule has been changed, so deals can go through after the season for draft picks. Taylor had a 3.95 ERA in 41 innings in 2014, though that came with 30 walks. Last year, he got in just 12 innings before he needed Tommy John surgery. I heard recently that he was recovering well, but as of right now, he still isn’t pitching this year and since his surgery was at the end of July, he probably won’t be back this season.


Source: FanGraphs


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 5-4 to the Dodgers on Monday afternoon. The Pirates now travel to Seattle for two games, with Jon Niese on the mound tonight. In his last three starts combined, he has allowed 17 earned runs on 24 hits over 16.2 innings combined. The Mariners will counter with Hisashi Iwakuma, who has a 4.45 ERA in 95 innings, with 72 strikeouts and a 1.35 WHIP. In his last start, he allowed five runs on 11 hits and three walks in 4.2 innings against the Tigers.

In the minors, Trevor Williams is listed as the starter for Indianapolis. He will need to be activated from the temporary inactive list (bereavement leave) before the game. Cody Dickson was on a nice run of success until his last two starts. He went seven starts without allowing more than one run prior to his game on June 17th. Since then, he has allowed seven runs on 14 hits and nine walks in 11.1 innings.

JT Brubaker will make his third start for Bradenton. He struggled a bit in his first game, then bounced back with two runs over six innings last week. He has 86 strikeouts in 73 innings including his West Virginia stats. James Marvel gets his third start and hopes it’s more like his first game than the second. He threw six shutout innings in his debut, allowing just two hits and no walks, with five strikeouts. He came back with four runs on four hits and two walks in 3.2 innings, with no strikeouts.

Ronny Agustin gets the start for the GCL Pirates. Bristol doesn’t have a starter listed, but their five-man rotation should reset today with Opening Day starter Nestor Oronel on the mound.

MLB: Pittsburgh (37-40) @ Mariners (38-38) 10:10 PM
Probable starter: Jon Niese (4.93 ERA, 31:63 BB/SO, 87.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (41-36) vs Gwinnett (34-44) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Trevor Williams (5.01 ERA, 12:14 BB/SO, 32.1 IP)

AA: Altoona (42-33) vs Binghamton (32-42) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Cody Dickson (3.68 ERA, 31:48 BB/SO, 73.1 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (41-31) vs Jupiter (33-40) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: JT Brubaker (4.91 ERA, 3:9 BB/SO, 11.0 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (37-37) vs Lexington (26-48) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Logan Sendelbach (3.43 ERA, 20:58 BB/SO, 76.0 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (6-5) @ Batavia (2-9) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: James Marvel (3.72 ERA, 2:5 BB/SO, 9.2 IP)

Rookie: Bristol (4-1) vs Greeneville (1-4) 7:00 PM (season preview)

GCL: Pirates (1-1) vs Braves (1-2) 12:00 PM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates (7-13) vs Rangers1 (15-5) 10:30 AM (season preview)


Here is Max Moroff’s sixth home run of the season. He hit his seventh on Monday night.


6/28: Carl Anderson assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.

6/28: Pirates sign Max Kranick.

6/27: Pirates sign Buddy Borden. Assigned to Bradenton.

6/27: Jeff Roy assigned to Bristol.

6/27: Erik Lunde placed on the disabled list.

6/26: Pirates purchase the contract of Chad Kuhl. Kyle Lobstein optioned to Indianapolis.

6/26: Pirates designate Curtis Partch for assignment.

6/26: Pirates unconditionally release Cory Luebke.

6/26: Trevor Williams placed on bereavement list.

6/26: Tomas Morales sent to Bradenton.

6/25: Justin Maffei assigned to Altoona.

6/25: Luis Paula and David Whitehead assigned to Bristol on rehab.

6/24: Pirates purchase the contract of Adam Frazier. Designate Cole Figueroa for assignment.

6/24: Juan Nicasio activated from restricted list. Designate Jorge Rondon for assignment.

6/24: Jacob Stallings optioned to Indianapolis.

6/23: JT Brubaker added to Bradenton roster. Colten Brewer placed on temporary inactive list.

6/23: Tito Polo assigned to Bradenton.

6/22: Pirates recall Kyle Lobstein. Wilfredo Boscan optioned to Indianapolis.

6/22: Jhondaniel Medina assigned to Indianapolis.

6/21: Pirates recall Wilfredo Boscan. Curtis Partch optioned to Indianapolis.

6/21: Pirates sign Braeden Ogle.

6/20: Trace Tam Sing and Erik Lunde added to Bradenton roster. Pablo Reyes placed on temporary inactive list.

6/19: Steven Brault sent to Morgantown on a rehab assignment.

6/19: Pirates purchase the contract of Jacob Stallings. Jason Rogers optioned to Indianapolis.

6/19: Tomas Morales promoted to Indianapolis.

6/18: Pirates option Rob Scahill to Indianapolis. Recall Jason Rogers, Jorge Rondon and Curtis Partch.

6/18: Cory Luebke designated for assignment.

6/18: Juan Nicasio placed on restricted list.

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 sign Will Craig, Matt Anderson and nine other draft picks.

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.


Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a trade of note and the last game at Forbes Field. The players born on this date include 1997-98 shortstop Kevin Polcovich, catcher Orlando McFarlane (1962,1964), pitcher Mike Lynch (1904-07) and 1894 shortstop Frank Scheibeck, who played his first MLB game in 1887 and his last in 1906, but he only got into 390 games total. McFarlane was signed out of Cuba by the Pirates and was lost to the Tigers in the 1965 Rule 5 draft. Lynch was signed out of college, where he was undefeated at Brown University.

On this date in 1979, the Pirates and Giants made a six-player deal that brought Bill Madlock to Pittsburgh. After the trade, he hit .328 with 44 RBIs and 21 stolen bases in 81 games, helping the Pirates to the playoffs. In the World Series, Madlock hit .350 and drove in three runs.

On this date in 1970, the Pirates played the last two games at Forbes Field. The park opened in 1909 and saw the Pirates win three World Series titles. On the last day of the stadium, the Pirates swept the Cubs in a doubleheader in front of a sold out stadium. Al Oliver hit the final home run in the park and later scored the final run. Here is the boxscore from the last game.

On this date in 1914, Honus Wagner collects his 3,000th hit. His hit total has changed multiple times over the years, so his single off of Cincinnati’s Pete Schneider hasn’t always been recognized as his 3,000th hit, but it is the new accepted date. You can view the boxscore here.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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I still think Jones ends up being a ML player – possibly at SS only or more of a utility player. He has difference maker abilities, with his speed and power potential. The Ks will likely always be there to some extent, but there are some pretty successful current ML players who strike out a lot as well.
Taylor is the wild card in this group – as he’s still young, but essentially missed the past two seasons. The Pirates spoke very highly about him after he was drafted. It was a dumb trade to acquire Ike Davis, regardless of what we gave up – as the outcome with Davis was very predictable. If Taylor gets healthy and pitches to his original potential, this could turn into a major coup with the Mets (after the Niese trade this year, the Mets must love trading with the Pirates)….


This Marvel kid has me intrigued. Could end up being a steal. I think he’s a name to watch in the coming years.


The name is definitely worth watching.


Posting about that final DH at Forbes reminded me that a guy with one of the strangest career trajectories passed over the weekend.

Jim Hickman, whom I grew up with while he was on the Mets, was supposed to be a power hitting star. It never happened with the Mets. In fact, he never achieved a WAR over 1.6 or an OPS over .700 in any full season with the Mets. He was traded to LA, then they traded him to the Cubs.

In his first 8 seasons, Hickman had a total career WAR of 5.0. Then, in his third year with the Cubs at age 33, he became a 5.0 WAR player for the season, hitting .315 with an OPS of 1.001, earning an All Star berth and MVP votes (finishing 8th). He hammered 31 HRs and 115 RBI despite never having achieved more than 21 and 57 respectively prior to that.

His second best year was at age 35, when he compiled a 2.4 WAR. In 13 seasons, those were the only two years above 1.6 (and he’d only exceeded 1 WAR twice prior to joining the Cubs).

Apologies for the sidebar, but I don’t recall another player having a career year in his supposedly declining years (age 33, his 9th season). This was before PEDs, but two years after the mound was lowered. Just found this really interesting and pretty unique.

Bruce Humbert

I always thought Clemente had one of the more interesting careers
In the six seasons before he turned 28 he averaged just over 3 fWAR
Over the next seasons his WAR averaged just under 7 peaking in 1967 at 7.7 – he turned 33 that season


I feel Moroff has the best bat to be the 2B of the future. Over Hanson, Kramer, even Frazier.


Eh… I still predict come 2019 that Tucker will be the starting SS and Newman the starting 2B with Frazier, Jay-Hay, and Moroff all Super Utils.

Brian Bernard

I don’t believe J-Hay will be a super U at the salary he’s projected to be making in 2019.


I don’t know. I still think he’ll get in 130+ games 450+ at bats as a super util.

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