Gage Hinsz is scheduled to make his 11th start tomorrow. Last year while in Bristol, he pitched ten games. One of them is listed as a relief appearance, but he was just making his start during a suspended game that was being resumed. So while it counts as a relief appearance, it was just like a start. With him pitching the same amount of games up to this point this season, I wanted to compare the stats between the two years.
Hinsz is a better pitcher than he was last year. He has better control, his velocity has improved and his curveball looks a lot better. So comparing just 2016 Hinsz vs 2015 Hinsz is no comparison. This comparison is just for his stats. I’ll point out that the South Atlantic League this season has a combined .699 OPS, while the Appalachian League last year had a .713 OPS, so they are fairly close. Bristol improved the league average (.722), while West Virginia drags it down (.680), so that makes it even closer.
Last year, Hinsz threw 38 innings in his ten games. Part of that was because of a limited pitch count. Part of it was due to his control, which led to him throwing more pitches per inning and being removed from games earlier. This season, he has thrown 55.1 innings. The most impressive part is that he has gone at least five innings in each start. He is doing that at age 20, as one of the youngest pitchers in the league. He’s the same age as Mitch Keller (Hinsz is 16 days younger) and Keller has failed to go at least five innings in four of his 18 starts this season.
Hinsz was actually tougher to hit last year, though he was obviously facing worse hitters (compared to Low-A) in the Appalachian League. He had a .252 BAA and a .692 opponent’s OPS last season. This season he has a .282 BAA and a .751 OPS. One thing about this year’s stats is the split. He had an .838 opponent’s OPS in his first five games, and that has dropped down to .665 in his last five starts.
The strikeout rate in nearly the same between the two seasons, with a 5.7 SO/9IP rate last year, compared to 5.4 this season. He did set his career best with nine strikeouts earlier this year, but that also means the strikeouts have dropped recently. That’s actually part of the reason why he has been able to put in 55.1 innings, he is getting quicker outs.
The walk rate is where we see the biggest improvement. Last season he had 23 walks in 38 innings. This year in 17.1 more innings, he has just under half as many walks (11) as last season. To really see the difference that makes, despite allowing more hits this season, he has lowered his WHIP from 1.58 last year to 1.27 this year.
So not only are we seeing better overall stuff from Hinsz with the curve, velocity and command, it has led to longer outings and less base runners. One area that you would like to see both Hinsz and Mitch Keller turn around is the GO/AO ratio. Both got more ground outs than air outs last year, but this season Hinsz is at 0.81 GO/AO and Keller has an 0.96 ratio
UPDATED: Hinsz was originally scheduled to start today, but Bret Helton will get the start now and Hinsz goes on Sunday
** The GCL Pirates are lucky they are in one of the worst divisions in baseball. With a 14-17 record, they have a one game lead in their division. The GCL plays a 60-game schedule, which is the shortest for any league the Pirates have an affiliate in, which means that Friday’s 3-2 loss was the start of the second half. I’m almost sure one team will finish over the .500 mark, but it won’t take much to win the division this year. In the DSL, the Pirates are bad enough that they could be eliminated next week. They currently have 25 games left of a 72-game schedule, which means 1/3 of the season left after today. The division elimination number is down to nine games and it’s ten games for the lone wild card spot.
** Bristol and Elizabethton need to stop playing each other. It seemed like they got rain every time they played last year. Now this year they had a rain out earlier in the year, followed by a game suspended in the first inning on Thursday. Then last night, while trying to play a doubleheader, the first game was ended in the fifth inning with a 3-0 Bristol loss. The second game was postponed with no makeup date announced yet. They might be thinking, why bother at this point.
Indianapolis is in second place in their division, trailing by four games. They trail by 9.5 games for the lone wild card spot.
Altoona leads their division by a half game. The top two teams in the division go to the playoffs, with the first place team getting the home field advantage in the first round.
Bradenton won the first half title. They have home field advantage in the playoffs.
West Virginia is in sixth place in their division, trailing first by 4.5 games.
Morgantown is in third place in their division, trailing first place by seven games. They are four games back for the lone wild card spot.
Bristol is in fourth place, trailing by three games. The top two teams in each division go to the playoffs.
The GCL Pirates lead their division by one game. This is the only league where you have to win your division to make the playoffs.
The DSL Pirates trail their division by 17 games. They trail in the wild card by 16.5 games.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 3-1 to the Brewers on Friday night. The Pirates will go with Jameson Taillon tonight. In his last start, he allowed three runs on seven hits over six innings against the Phillies. His prior start was against the Brewers and he gave up one run over six innings. Taillon hasn’t walked a batter in his last three starts. The Brewers will counter with Chase Anderson, who has a 5.40 ERA in 95 innings, with 74 strikeouts and a 1.45 WHIP. He started against the Pirates on July 20th and gave up three runs on six hits and two walks over four innings.
In the minors, Kyle Lobstein gets his fourth start of the season and his first one in three weeks. He has thrown a total of 14 shutout innings over his last six appearances. Gage Hinsz was originally scheduled for today, but he has been pushed back to Sunday in favor of Bret Helton tonight.
The GCL Pirates will go with fourth round pick Max Kranick. Twice he has gone in relief of Nick Kingham, though no word on whether Kingham will start today. Kranick threw three shutout innings in his last outing.
MLB: Pittsburgh (52-49) @ Brewers (44-56) 7:10 PM
Probable starter: Jameson Taillon (3.60 ERA, 5:31 BB/SO, 40.0 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (55-52) vs Norfolk (41-65) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Kyle Lobstein (1.36 ERA, 11:29 BB/SO, 33.0 IP)
AA: Altoona (58-47) @ Trenton (66-40) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Alex McRae (6.89 ERA, 12:32 BB/SO, 47.0 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (54-49) @ Daytona (55-46) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Austin Coley (3.99 ERA, 33:71 BB/SO, 108.1 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (51-52) vs Delmarva (57-46) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Bret Helton (4.22 ERA, 37:68 BB/SO, 98.0 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (20-20) @ Auburn (17-23) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Stephan Meyer (6.75 ERA, 12:22 BB/SO, 34.2 IP)
Rookie: Bristol (16-19) @ Elizabethton (17-18) 6:00 PM (season preview)
GCL: Pirates (14-17) vs Yankees East (10-20) 10:00 AM (season preview)
DSL: Pirates (16-31) vs Mets1 (28-19) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Here is the fifth home run of the season from Gift Ngoepe.
7/29: Pirates recall Steven Brault. A.J. Schugel optioned to Indianapolis.
7/29: Austin Meadows assigned to Morgantown on rehab
7/29: Jin-De Jhang sent to Altoona.
7/28: Frank Duncan activated from disabled list.
7/26: Eric Fryer reinstated from paternity list. Elias Diaz optioned to Indianapolis.
7/25: Ke’Bryan Hayes placed on the disabled list.
7/24: Tyler Glasnow placed on disabled list. A.J. Schugel recalled.
7/23: Tyler Glasnow recalled. A.J. Schugel optioned to Indianapolis.
7/23: Eric Fryer placed on paternity list. Elias Diaz recalled.
7/22: Erik Kratz clears waivers. Elects free agency.
7/21: Chris Diaz placed on temporary inactive list.
7/20: Jose Regalado assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.
7/20: Ryan Vogelsong assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.
7/19: Francisco Cervelli activated from disabled list. Erik Kratz designated for assignment.
7/19: Jameson Taillon activated from disabled list. Chad Kuhl optioned to Indianapolis.
7/19: Frank Duncan placed on disabled list.
7/19: Elias Diaz assigned to Indianapolis.
7/19: Justin Topa assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.
7/17: Jonathan Schwind assigned to Altoona.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus four trades of note and another birthday mention. Before we get into the players, current manager Clint Hurdle turns 59 today. With all the players and trades, I’m only going to list their names and then you can just check the link above if you want to read about Johnny Rizzo holding the club record for homers in single season, or what it was like when Chuck Ward took over at shortstop for Honus Wagner in 1917.
Mickey Mahler- Lefty reliever for 1980 Pirates
Bill Hall – Catcher, who played for the team in 1954, 1956 and 1958
Johnny Rizzo – 1938-40 outfielder, set club record with 23 homers in 1938.
Hal Finney – Catcher from 1931-34, 1936. He went 0-for-35 and didn’t reach base once that final season.
Chuck Ward – 1917 shortstop. How hard could it be to replace Honus Wagner?
Casey Stengel – 1918-19 outfielder. Yes, that Stengel. He was a fairly good baseball player before becoming a Hall of Fame manager.
Bill Merritt – Catcher from 1894 until 1897.
2011: Derrek Lee acquired from Orioles for minor league first baseman Aaron Baker.
2009: Tom Gorzelanny and John Grabow sent to Cubs for Josh Harrison, Kevin Hart and Jose Ascanio.
2004: Kris Benson and Jeff Keppinger sent to Mets for Ty Wigginton, Jose Bautista and Matt Peterson.
2001: Jason Schmidt and John Vander Wal dealt to Giants in exchange for Armando Rios and Ryan Vogelsong.