With the Dominican Summer League team starting on Saturday, we are taking a look at what that league has produced recently for the Pittsburgh Pirates as far as MLB players and prospects. Yesterday, we looked at the 2008-11 teams, then posted the 2016 season preview in the afternoon. This group today is too recent for any Major League players, but it does have a lot more prospects than yesterday. There are also a lot more players in the system, so for the last couple years, I’ll only mention players who have moved up to the U.S. already.
2012: The Pirates had two DSL clubs for the first time this season. When they upgraded their academy, they made it big enough to hold 70 players, which is two 35-man rosters. From the first team (called Pirates1) Danny Arribas, Deybi Garcia, Tomas Morales, Carlos Munoz, Tito Polo and Pablo Reyes are the position players left. On the pitching side, Adrian Grullon, Cesilio Pimentel, Jose Regalado, Miguel Rosario and Eduardo Vera are the players left.
There were some players who played for both teams, so the Pirates2 might seem a little weak because I’m not going to repeat any players. In fact, the second club only adds two new names, Julio Vivas and Henrry Rosario. So between the two clubs, you have top 50 prospects in Tito Polo, Pablo Reyes and Carlos Munoz. You also have Danny Arribas playing well for West Virginia this year. Tomas Morales and Miguel Rosario at Bradenton, and Adrian Grullon could have potential as a 6’8″ righty, now that he is finally healthy. Pimentel, Regalado, Garcia and Rosario are all fillers at this point, while Vera is nearing the end of his Tommy John surgery recovery, which cost him all of last season. Vivas has some potential due to a big frame and deception in his delivery. He has also had success in winter ball against much older competition, but he’s still far away at this point.
2013: The Pirates had two clubs again. I’ll only mention players by name who were also down there in 2012. On the position player side for Pirates1, they had Luis Benitez, Julio de la Cruz, Deybi Garcia, Tito Polo, Pablo Reyes, Sandy Santos. For pitchers they had Jose Regalado. There are also two players on that team still down there, Johan De Jesus and Rudy Guzman. Santos and de la Cruz are the big names, with Santos being a toolsy outfielder, who could breakout one day. De la Cruz is apparently hitting well in Extended Spring Training this year. The Pirates paid $700,000 to sign him, so they hope he is finally living up to that price tag. Benitez is a filler in the outfield.
The second team adds Michael de la Cruz, Alexis Bastardo, Jhoan Herrera, Dario Agrazal, Hector Garcia, Yoel Gonzalez, Delvin Hiciano and Francis Rodriguez. They also had Carlos Munoz, Eduardo Vera, Julio Vivas, Henrry Rosario, plus Ramy Perez, who is still in the DSL. There is a lot of potential with those first six names, as they are all young and have tools that make them worth watching. Hiciano had Tommy John surgery, while Rodriguez missed all of last year with a torn ACL. None of the new players mentioned are top 50 players, though Hector Garcia made it before his Tommy John surgery, and Michael de la Cruz was ranked 20th right out of the DSL, before he had numerous issues (ankle injury, skin rash, home sickness) in his first season, which ended up as a disaster.
2014: Back down to just one team in the Dominican, the 2014 group had Victor Fernandez, Huascar Fuentes, Mikell Granberry, Edison Lantigua, Luis Perez, Raul Siri, Felix Vinicio and Adrian Valerio on offense for new players, as well as Jhoan Herrera and Sandy Santos. For pitchers, they add Luis Escobar, Yeudy Garcia, Mister Luciano, Christian Mota, Alex Martinez, Nestor Oronel, Edgar Santana and Julian Villamar. The repeats from 2013 are Delvin Hiciano and Francis Rodriguez. They also have nine guys still in the DSL. Only ten players aren’t still around.
This group has top 50 prospects in Adrian Valerio, Yeudy Garcia and Luis Escobar. Edgar Santana will likely end up as a top 50 prospect, while Siri and Lantigua have potential to breakout. Fernandez has plus speed, Mota and Villamar hit 95-96 with their fastball and Luciano has a plus-plus name.
2015: This number will be low because only 14 players have come to the U.S. so far. Of the 38 players they used, only five aren’t around anymore. The other 19 are repeating the DSL this season. This list adds Paul Brands, Yondry Contreras, Raul Hernandez and Melvin Jimenez for position players, plus Mikell Granberry, Huascar Fuentes and Felix Vinicio from the 2014 team. On the pitching side, it adds Ronny Agustin, Domingo Robles, Miguel Hernandez, Oddy Nunez, Brian Sousa and Argenis Romano, as well as Julian Villamar. Contreras would be the big prospect, though he set the DSL Pirates record for strikeouts last season despite not playing 14 of the 72 games. Hernandez, Robles and Sousa all have potential on the pitching side. I don’t think any of these players will end up as top 50 prospects at the end of the season.
Bradenton is 8-2 in their last ten games. They are in first place in their division, four games ahead. The first half of the FSL season ends on June 22nd. Their magic number is ten.
West Virginia is 6-4 in their last ten games. They are in fourth place in their division, trailing first place by seven games. The first half of the SAL season ends on June 19th.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 5-4 to the Angels on Sunday afternoon. They will now take on the Mets for three games at home, sending Jon Niese to the mound against his former teammates tonight. In his last three starts combined, he has allowed four earned runs over 18 innings. The Mets will counter with Steven Matz, who has a 2.60 ERA in 55.1 innings, with 53 strikeouts and a 1.05 WHIP. In his last start, he allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks in 5.2 innings against the White Sox. In his prior outing, Matz threw eight shutout innings against the Nationals.
In the minors, Tyler Glasnow gets the start for Indianapolis tonight. He threw five no-hit innings during his last outing, though he walked four batters. He ranks seventh in the International League in ERA, first in strikeouts and fourth in walks.
Stephen Tarpley will make his sixth start, as he looks to get on track after missing the start of the season with a Spring Training oblique injury. In three of his starts, he failed to make it to the fifth inning due to a high pitch count. Dario Agrazal has pitched ten times. In his three worst starts, he gave up 15 earned runs in 11 innings. In the other seven starts, he has allowed just five earned runs over 39 innings. We added the DSL season preview below to the schedule. It will be there all season for easy access.
MLB: Pittsburgh (30-25) vs Mets (31-24) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Jon Niese (4.36 ERA, 22:47 BB/SO, 64.0 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (29-26) @ Columbus (32-24) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Glasnow (2.07 ERA, 29:72 BB/SO, 61.0 IP)
AA: Altoona (31-24) @ Erie (22-35) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: David Whitehead (6.28 ERA, 43:24 BB/SO, 43.0 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (32-24) @ Lakeland (28-28) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Stephen Tarpley (5.87 ERA, 10:22 BB/SO, 23.0 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (29-26) vs Delmarva (30-24) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Dario Agrazal (3.60 ERA, 7:31 BB/SO, 50.0 IP)
DSL: Pirates (0-1) vs Rangers1 (1-0) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Here is a triple from Austin Meadows, who managed to collect a triple in four straight games. One of the games he had two triples, with the second one being shown here.
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.
6/2: Gage Hinsz assigned to West Virginia. Mitch Keller assigned to Extended Spring Training.
6/2: Justin Masterson assigned to Indianapolis. Frank Duncan assigned to Altoona.
6/2: Arquimedes Caminero assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.
6/2: David Whitehead assigned to GCL Pirates.
6/1: Pirates release Michael Fransoso.
5/29: Justin Masterson assigned to Bradenton.
5/29: Jhondaniel Medina assigned to Altoona.
5/28: Tony Watson reinstated from paternity list. Kyle Lobstein optioned to Indianapolis.
5/28: Cole Tucker promoted to Bradenton. Jess Amedee added to West Virginia roster.
5/27: Trevor Williams and Jim Fuller assigned to Indianapolis.
5/27: Kevin Newman placed on disabled list. Colten Brewer added to Bradenton roster.
5/27: Logan Sendelbach added to West Virginia roster. Jess Amedee assigned to Extended Spring Training.
5/26: Jhondaniel Medina promoted to Indianapolis.
5/25: Pirates place Tony Watson on paternity list. Recall Rob Scahill.
5/25: Pirates place Arquimedes Caminero on disabled list. Recall Kyle Lobstein.
5/24: Pirates place Ryan Vogelsong on disabled list. A.J. Schugel recalled from Indianapolis.
5/23: Logan Sendelbach assigned to Extended Spring Training. Jess Amedee added to West Virginia.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a trade of note and a huge game from the Pirates’ offense. The players born on this date are outfielder Doug Frobel (1982-85), lefty pitcher Jake Hewitt (1895) and second baseman Fresco Thompson, who was a September addition to the 1925 Pirates team that went on to win the franchise’s second World Series title. He hit .243 in 14 games and drove in eight runs.
On this date in 1949, the Pirates traded pitcher Kirby Higbe to the Giants for infielder Bobby Rhawn and pitcher Ray Poat. Rhawn lasted all of nine days with the Pirates before he was put on waivers and claimed by the White Sox. Poat lasted until the end of the year, but after two starts, he was a seldom used bullpen arm and had no success in Pittsburgh. The Pirates must have known Higbe was nearly done, because the pitcher, who was once a star for the Brooklyn Dodgers, was done in the majors by the end of the season.
On this date in 1894, the Pirates defeated the Boston Beaneaters (current day Braves) by a 27-11 score in the highest offensive output in team history. The Pirates put up 12 runs in the third inning and another nine in the fourth inning. They were actually outscored 8-3 in the last five innings, but Boston never came close to getting back in the game. Jake Stenzel became the first Pirates’ player to hit two home runs in the same inning.