Some news and notes from the GCL and the draft, as well as an under the radar pitcher in the West Virginia bullpen.
** Fourth round pick Braeden Ogle is scheduled to make his pro debut today. He signed just three days after Travis MacGregor, who made his third pro start yesterday and is already up to four innings. The GCL season isn’t longer this year, but it runs later in the year than usual. That’s good for all of the high school pitchers coming in who had some down time between their season ending and the draft. With Ogle starting today, likely for two innings, he could get in as many as ten starts. By the end of the season, you wouldn’t even notice MacGregor got a head start on him.
The third high school pitcher down there already is Max Kranick and he makes his second appearance on Monday. Unfortunately, today and Monday are road games, which means Tim Williams won’t have live coverage. His next game to cover will be an interesting one though, as Nick Kingham makes his third rehab start. Monday will also be the pro debut of pitcher Claudio Scotti. He is a 6’4″, right-hander, who turned 18 two weeks ago, and he was born in Rome, Italy. The Pirates signed him as an international free agent this off-season and from what I’ve heard, he has been pitching well as he gets into game shape.
** The young pitching talk brings me to the new high school pitcher coming into Pirate City soon. The Pirates couldn’t sign their 41st overall pick Nick Lodolo, but they took their remaining bonus pool money and signed Austin Shields. He isn’t much different from the other players the Pirates signed out of high school. All have shown decent velocity, with Shields hitting 94 MPH. All of them have tons of projection, and Shields is a huge kid at 6’5″, 245 pounds.
The Pirates signed four high upside high school pitchers this draft, which not only gives them a ton of potential, it also gives them a better chance of getting something out of the draft due to quantity and the attrition rate of pitchers. I also mentioned Claudio Scotti here, because I got a nice report on him and he’s basically a high school pitcher as well. He’s actually eight months younger than any of the high school pitchers they took, and his cost was minimal. We don’t have a bonus for him, but it had to be low due to the fact that the Pirates didn’t have much left in their international bonus pool for the seven signings we don’t have bonus figures for yet. You could also throw in 18-year-old pitchers Domingo Robles and Brian Sousa, both of whom received six-figure bonuses to sign and made it to the States from the DSL in one season. It gives a Pirates a lot of young, high upside pitching right now in the GCL.
Getting back to Shield, the question now will be how long has he been off from pitching? If a pitcher like Ogle was off a few weeks and it takes him 27 days to get into his first game, then we might be looking at just 2-3 appearances from Shields. That’s especially true if he hasn’t been throwing since before the draft. We should know more soon when Tim gets a chance to talk to him.
** There is a pitcher quietly doing well in the West Virginia bullpen. Julio Eusebio has a 1.09 ERA in 26 appearances and 33 innings. He has a .131 BAA and an 0.88 WHIP. Eusebio is already 24 years old, but this is just his third season. He throws his fastball low-90’s and has a nice slider, which has obviously been effective this season. I saw him twice last weekend and he was not at his best, allowing his first run since May 22nd in one game, and putting two runners on in his only inning during the other game. While he is pitching well, you really want to see more usage from him before you label him a prospect. If he starts throwing 2-3 innings per game, then you’ll know the upside has become higher than before.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 5-1 to the Nationals on Friday night. Gerrit Cole will be activated off the disabled list and get the starts tonight. He made two rehab starts with Indianapolis and threw a total of eight shutout innings. Tanner Roark will pitch for the Nationals tonight. He has a 3.01 ERA in 116.2 innings, with 101 strikeouts and a 1.20 WHIP. He has a 3.31 ERA in 16.1 innings over three appearances in July.
In the minors, Steven Brault starts for Indianapolis, while Yeudy Garcia goes for Bradenton. Brault didn’t start his last game, pitching in relief of Gerrit Cole and taking the walk-off loss with two runs in 3.1 innings. His previous start was with the Pirates last Tuesday when he allowed one earned run over four innings. In his last start for Indianapolis, Brault threw five shutout innings back on June 30th. Garcia hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a game all season. He is first in the Florida State League in strikeouts and eighth in ERA.
The DSL Pirates are on their All-Star break until Monday. Nicholas Economos is scheduled for Bristol and Braeden Ogle pitches for the GCL Pirates.
MLB: Pittsburgh (46-43) @ Nationals (55-36) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Gerrit Cole (2.77 ERA, 20:55 BB/SO, 68.1 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (49-45) @ Louisville (45-48) 6:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Steven Brault (2.82 ERA, 16:50 BB/SO, 38.1 IP)
AA: Altoona (52-39) vs Harrisburg (48-43) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Cody Dickson (3.69 ERA, 59:55 BB/SO, 90.1 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (49-41) @ Dunedin (47-44) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Yeudy Garcia (2.56 ERA, 32:92 BB/SO, 81.0 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (47-44) @ Hickory (48-44) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Bret Helton (3.63 ERA, 33:63 BB/SO, 89.1 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (13-15) vs Auburn (14-14) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Cam Vieaux (3.92 ERA, 10:12 BB/SO, 20.2 IP)
Rookie: Bristol (9-12) vs Danville (10-11) 7:00 PM (season preview)
GCL: Pirates (9-10) vs Tigers West (10-9) 10:00 AM (season preview)
DSL: Pirates (14-22) vs Mets1 (18-17) 10:30 AM 7/18 (season preview)
Here is a two-run double from Reese McGuire. It was his 14th double of the season, one behind his career-high set last year.
7/15: Pirates sign Austin Shields. Assigned to GCL Pirates.
7/15: Pirates sign Boomer Synek. Assigned to GCL Pirates.
7/14: Francisco Cervelli assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.
7/14: John Kuchno assigned to Altoona.
7/14: Jordan George promoted to West Virginia
7/13: Daniel Zamora placed on West Virginia disabled list.
7/13: Colten Brewer activated from temporary inactive list. Nick Neumann placed on Bradenton disabled list.
7/12: Rob Scahill claimed off waivers by Brewers.
7/10: Ryan Vogelsong assigned to Altoona on rehab.
7/9: Jonathan Schwind promoted to Indianapolis.
7/8: Pirates sign Josh Outman.
7/8: Josh Bell promoted to Pittsburgh. Tyler Glasnow optioned to Indianapolis.
7/8: Nick Kingham assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.
7/7: Juan Paula promoted to Morgantown.
7/7: Tyler Glasnow recalled. Kyle Lobstein optioned to Indianapolis.
7/6: Steven Brault optioned to Indianapolis. Kyle Lobstein promoted to Pirates.
7/6: Jacob Stallings sent outright to Indianapolis.
7/6: Pirates released Clario Perez.
7/5: Gerrit Cole assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.
7/5: Steven Brault promoted to Pirates. Jacob Stallings designated for assignment.
7/5: Austin Meadows placed on Indianapolis disabled list.
7/5: Tomas Morales promoted to Indianapolis (sent back to Altoona on 7/6)
7/4: Jameson Taillon placed on 15-day disabled list.
7/4: Jin-De Jhang promoted to Indianapolis. Tomas Morales assigned to Altoona.
7/4: Erik Lunde activated from disabled list. Assigned to Bradenton. Raul Hernandez assigned to GCL.
7/4: Elias Diaz assigned to Bradenton on rehab.
7/4: Chris Stewart placed on disabled list.
7/4: Pirates claim Eric Fryer off waivers. Rob Scahill placed on waivers.
7/3: Pirates sign Chris McDonald and Evan Piechota. Both assigned to GCL.
7/3: Pirates sign six international free agents.
7/3: Yunior Montero promoted to West Virginia.
7/3: Curtis Partch sent outright to Indianapolis.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
One former Pittsburgh Pirates player born on this date, and one trade of note that is tied into that player. On this date in 1918, the Pirates traded third baseman Gus Getz to Indianapolis, which was a minor league team at the time not affiliated with the Pirates. In exchange, they picked up shortstop Roy Ellam. He had played ten games for the 1909 Reds, then spent the next nine seasons in the minor leagues before this trade. Ellam replaced Howdy Caton at shortstop, who happens to be the player born on this date. Caton played for the Pirates from 1917 until 1920 and lost his shortstop job a second time to someone a little bit better than Ellam. At the end of the 1920 season, Caton took the bench, as the Pirates tried out rookie Pie Traynor at shortstop and he seemed to work out well, though he’s obviously better know as a third baseman.
The first time they played the All-Star game on July 16th was 1985 and Tony Pena was the only representative of the Pirates. Pena came off the bench and replaced Ozzie Virgil in the bottom of the seventh inning on defense. In his only at-bat, he struck out against Dan Petry. The NL won the game by a 6-1 score. You can find the boxscore here. Pena played four All-Star games while with the Pirates, all as a reserve.