Some notes for a Sunday morning, including a very strange occurrence for the GCL Pirates, and something that you don’t see often, happened to Eric Wood on Friday.
I wanted to start with a brief mention of an Altoona reliever getting lost in the mix. Miguel Rosario began the year with Bradenton and moved up to Altoona on June 14th. He was doing well with the Marauders, but being a 23-year-old reliever doing well in a pitcher-friendly league, isn’t that exciting. I’ve seen Rosario pitch a few times over the years and he was hitting 92-94 at times, working mostly fastballs. He is not the same pitcher I saw in West Virginia.
I watched his two innings from last night and now he’s got an unorthodox setup before he gets into his delivery, which is a lower arm slot than I remember. He is throwing sidearm now and throwing a lot more off-speed pitches. His pitches now have a ton of movement. If you’re able to watch last night’s eighth inning, you’ll see how impressive Rosario looks now. It is to the point that he struck out the first two batters, then got two strikes on the third hitter and threw two pitches that had to fool everyone. That’s including the umpire, because both ended up almost down the middle of the plate after late break and they were called balls. He ended the inning with a ground out to first base on that third batter, but there were some absolute nasty pitches in that inning. Rosario has now thrown shutout ball in his last nine appearances, covering 11 innings.
Rosario has solid control and doesn’t allow many homers. He has a decent strikeout rate, which I could see improving with better command due to the combination of velocity, deception and movement on his pitches. While I wouldn’t put him up there with Edgar Santana and Dovydas Neverauskas for the best relief prospects in the system (excluding current starting pitchers who may end up as relievers), it’s possible he is the third best at this point.
** The GCL Pirates did something last month that hasn’t been done by them in a very long time. On July 12th, Francis Rodriguez had one out and men on second and third, with the man on third being the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Rodriguez intentionally walked the next batter to load the bases. That seems like the logical thing to do in most cases, but that was the first intentional walk issued by a GCL Pirates pitcher since 2004. It was easily the longest streak for any current Pirates team, and any team in the GCL. The GCL Marlins had the second longest (now longest) streak, issuing no intentional walks since 2011.
The Pirates have a fairly strict policy about not issuing intentional walks at the lowest levels, with Altoona and Indianapolis the only two clubs allowed to stray from that rule. It’s not 100% disallowed at the lower levels, but it’s close.
For example, this is the third season for Bristol and they have never issued an intentional walk. All of the teams below Double-A this season have combined for seven total, and six of those came from relievers considered to be older non-prospects. The only one who doesn’t fit that mold is Vince Deyzel in the GCL. He told me his intentional walk was started after he already threw three balls, with the third pitch going for a passed ball, which opened up first base with the tying run on third. So really, he just threw one intentional ball.
The seven this season is almost like the organization really relaxed their policy. Between 2014-15, the six lowest level teams combined to issue five intentional walks in those two seasons. Even if they do stay fairly strict, I doubt we will see another 12-year stretch for any team without an intentional walk.
** Usually all of the videos in the Morning Report are in the highlight section below, but I wanted to point this specific one out because I’ve never seen it happen in the minors. Eric Wood was called out on strikes the other day after two pitches, with the umpire citing him for a pitch clock violation. He wasn’t set up in the batter’s box soon enough, so strike three was an automatic call. The strange part is it seemed like Wood was ready to hit right when he called it. He took the call better than most people would have, though manager Joey Cora obviously had something to say about it afterwards.
Indianapolis is in second place in their division, trailing by five games. They trail by 11.5 games for the lone wild card spot.
Altoona leads their division by 1.5 games. 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 five games.
Morgantown is tied for fourth place in their division, trailing first place by 12 games. They are seven games back for the lone wild card spot.
Bristol is in fourth place, trailing by 6.5 games. The top two teams in each division go to the playoffs.
The GCL Pirates are one game back in their division. This is the only league where you have to win your division to make the playoffs.
The DSL Pirates trail their division by 18 games. They trail in the wild card by 16.5 games.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates won 5-3 on Saturday night. They will send Gerrit Cole to the mound this afternoon. He has allowed one earned run over each of his last three starts. On Tuesday, he lasted just five innings against the Braves, allowing seven hits and two walks. His prior start was his first career complete game. Cole faced the Reds back on April 9th and allowed three runs over 4.2 innings. The Reds will counter with Dan Straily, who has a 3.80 ERA in 128 innings, with 101 strikeouts and a 1.14 WHIP. He has faced the Pirates three times this season, allowing four runs on nine hits and seven walks in 15 innings.
In the minors, Yeudy Garcia gets the start for Bradenton. He allowed one run over five innings in his last start. Garcia ranks eighth in the Florida State League with a 2.63 ERA. He ranks first with 108 strikeouts, and the second place pitcher went on the disabled list this week, so Garcia will get a chance to expand his lead. Frank Duncan’s 2.48 ERA would rank third in the International League if he had enough innings to qualify for league leaders. He has a 1.18 WHIP and a 1.42 GO/AO ratio. Duncan has issued seven walks over his last two games, his highest total in back-to-back games during his career.
The GCL and DSL Pirates are both off today. Nicolas Economos is scheduled to start for Bristol.
MLB: Pittsburgh (55-53) vs Reds (44-65) 1:35 PM
Probable starter: Gerrit Cole (2.73 ERA, 25:77 BB/SO, 92.1 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (58-57) vs Toledo (52-63) 1:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Frank Duncan (2.48 ERA, 17:61 BB/SO, 76.1 IP)
AA: Altoona (62-50) @ Reading (75-38) 5:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Cody Dickson (3.74 ERA, 73:73 BB/SO, 110.2 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (56-54) @ St Lucie (58-50) 1:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Yeudy Garcia (2.63 ERA, 46:108 BB/SO, 102.2 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (55-56) @ Delmarva (59-52) 5:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Dario Agrazal (4.46 ERA, 13:64 BB/SO, 113.0 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (21-27) vs Williamsport (28-20) 4:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Cam Vieaux (3.40 ERA, 16:25 BB/SO, 42.1 IP)
Rookie: Bristol (17-25) vs Kingsport (15-28) 6:00 PM (season preview)
GCL: Pirates (16-22) vs Yankees West (15-21) 12:00 PM 8/8 (season preview)
DSL: Pirates (21-33) vs Cubs1 (21-32) 10:30 AM 8/8 (season preview)
Here is a home run from Jason Rogers on Friday night, his fifth of the season.
8/6: Arquimedes Caminero traded to Mariners for two players to be named later. Curtis Partch recalled from Indianapolis
8/6: Jason Creasy assigned to Morgantown on rehab.
8/6: John Kuchno assigned to Indianapolis. Josh Outman assigned to Altoona.
8/6: Chris Harvey assigned to Morgantown
8/4: Ryan Vogelsong activated from disabled list. Max Moroff optioned to Indianapolis.
8/4: Pirates release Wilfredo Boscan.
8/4: Kelvin Marte placed on disabled list.
8/4: Henrry Rosario promoted to Bristol. Sam Kennelly assigned to GCL Pirates.
8/3: Chris Harvey promoted to Indianapolis. Trey Haley sent to Altoona.
8/3: Elvis Escobar promoted to Altoona. Justin Maffei assigned to Bradenton.
8/3: Erik Lunde assigned to Bradenton. Jose Regalado activated from disabled list.
8/2: Wilfredo Boscan placed on disabled list.
8/2: Tomas Morales assigned to Altoona. Chris Diaz activated from temporary inactive list.
8/1: Pirates trade Francisco Liriano, Reese McGuire and Harold Ramirez for Drew Hutchison.
8/1: Pirates acquire Ivan Nova from New York Yankees for players to be named later.
8/1: Pirates trade Jon Niese to New York Mets for Antonio Bastardo and cash.
8/1: Blake Cederlind placed on disabled list. Evan Piechota assigned to Bristol.
8/1: Edgar Santana promoted to Indianapolis.
7/31: Pirates recall Max Moroff. Steven Brault optioned to Indianapolis.
7/31: Erik Lunde assigned to GCL Pirates.
7/30: Pirates trade Mark Melancon to Washington Nationals for Taylor Hearn and Felipe Rivero.
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. Tomas Morales assigned to Bradenton.
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.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Eight former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including one better know for his managerial career. We start with an important transaction that occurred on this date in 1958. The Pirates signed an 18-year-old kid out of high school named Willie Stargell. During his first season of pro ball in 1959, Stargell played D League ball, which is similar to Low-A now. He hit .274 with seven homers in 118 games. You can read more on Stargell here.
Players born on this date include:
Jim Gray, who played for the franchise in 1884, 1890 and 1893. He was a very good local player who filled in occasionally when needed. He also played for the Pittsburgh team in the Player’s League in 1890, but dressed for just six games total during his four stops in the majors.
Adonis Terry, 1892-94 pitcher. In a roundabout way, the Pirates acquired him for Hall of Fame pitcher Pud Galvin. They sent Galvin to St Louis for Cub Stricker, who never played for the Pirates. Instead, he was immediately dealt for Terry, who won 30 games between his first two seasons in Pittsburgh, but lasted just one game the next year.
Les Fleming, successful minor league hitter, who never saw that translate over to MLB success. Hit .258 in 24 games for the Pirates.
Jerry McNertney, catcher for the 1973 team. Was the backup at the beginning of the year when Manny Sanguillen tried to replace Roberto Clemente in right field. When that didn’t work, Sanguillen went back to catching and McNertney lost his spot.
Jim Sadowski, pitcher for the 1974 Pirates. Spent eight season in the Pirates system, but his big league career lasted just nine innings.
Steve Kemp, 1985-86 left fielder. He was a slugger for the Tigers in the early 80’s, but his Pirates career was a disaster over two seasons.
Tyler Yates, 2008-09 pitcher. One of the first players the current front office trade for, which didn’t work out that well.
The Hall of Fame manager mentioned above is Bill McKechnie, which if you’ve ever been to Spring Training, you’ll recognize the last name from the Pirates home field. He played six seasons for the Pirates and managed them for five years, including 1925 when the franchise won it’s second World Series title. An interesting note about his start with the Pirates as a manager. He tried out for the team as the backup middle infielder, then when that didn’t work out, he became a coach, which transformed into the manager when George Gibson got fired. You can read more about McKechnie in the link above.