About a month ago, I went through the prospects who had a chance to graduate from our prospect list, thereby keeping them out of the upcoming 2017 Prospect Guide. The basic conclusion was that Jameson Taillon was a given (he’s out now) and players like Frazier, Kuhl, Glasnow and Bell had a chance. Frazier and Kuhl are now within striking distance, while Bell would need to play everyday and even then he might not make it. I wrote it before Glasnow was hurt, so his chances have disappeared now because he’s not pitching another 41.2 innings with the Pirates before the end of the season.
Kuhl looks like the best bet right now just 12.2 innings short, so no need to discuss him. Frazier is only 54 at-bats short of reaching 130 to qualify (or disqualify if you will), which doesn’t sound like a lot. Based on his playing time, he is on pace for 135 at-bats. The problem with that is, he could lose playing time when the rosters expand. I also don’t expect him to refuse to draw walks. He didn’t draw a lot in the minors, but he only has three so far for the Pirates. Since it’s 130 at-bats, if he starts walking a little more, that could make him end up falling just short, and then we have to figure out where he goes in our top 50 for next year.
Bell is the interesting one and that’s only based on him playing almost every single day until the end. He would need 118 at-bats in 39 games. That is just over three at-bats a game (literally one over). If he’s occasionally picking up four at-bats, then he could even take a few games off and still make it. Basically, if they plan on playing him everyday, then we could be sitting here watching game 162 with a red marker over his profile, waiting to see if he makes it or not. While the Pirates would take a hit in the farm system rankings if Bell (mostly him), Kuhl and Frazier all graduated, I don’t think most people would mind that they got all of that playing time.
I’m sure some of you have thought about the players to be named later in the Nova trade and how they might affect the farm system ranking. I’ve heard it every day, so I know at least someone thought it while they were reading the above part. There are two reasons why you shouldn’t worry. The caliber of players won’t be good enough to have an effect, and even if it is somehow, the Pirates are getting either 1-2 players back from the Seattle Mariners for Arquimedes Caminero. That second part likely means they will just cancel each other out, though you would hope the Pirates got a little more from a possible 4+ years of Caminero than they gave up for two months of Nova. It’s not like Nova was doing well in New York when the Pirates got him either.
The bigger effect will come from how the Pirates decide to handle the upcoming minor league free agents. None of them alone are a big deal, but Dovydas Neverauskas, Jared Lakind, Jose Osuna, Brandon Cumpton, Casey Sadler and Angel Sanchez represent a bigger difference than the Nova/Caminero trade-off possibly could. The way most farm system rankings work though, you could take all of them out of the system and the Pirates wouldn’t get knocked, so we are talking more about the depth of the system, rather than what Baseball America, or MLB Pipeline thinks about the overall system. They care more about top-end talent, while good depth makes it possible to make deals like getting Ivan Nova and not worrying about who you end up giving up.
**Keep in mind when you look at the Playoff Push section that each of the top five affiliates have about 13 games left, while Bristol and the GCL both end on September 1st. All the affiliates combined have only 83 games left, not counting playoffs. Indianapolis will be eliminated from the playoffs if they lose today. West Virginia moved from fifth to tied for third place in two days, yet they didn’t pick up any ground in the standings. Morgantown can be eliminated today from their division, but they still have a slight chance for the wild card. Bristol was eliminated from the playoffs last night. For the team, it’s their eighth straight losing season (three with Pirates, five with White Sox).
The Pirates trail the second wild card spot by 2.5 games.
Indianapolis is in second place in their division, trailing by 13 games. They trail by 13.5 games for the lone wild card spot.
Altoona leads their division by 2.5 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 tied for third place in their division, trailing first by five games.
Morgantown is in fourth place in their division, trailing first place by 13 games. They are 6.5 games back for the lone wild card spot.
Bristol has been eliminated from the playoffs. Their season ends September 1st
The GCL Pirates are 3.5 games back in their division. This is the only league where you have to win your division to make the playoffs.
The DSL Pirates have been eliminated from the playoffs. Their season ends August 27th.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates won 7-1 on Tuesday night over the Astros. Gerrit Cole gets the ball this afternoon, trying to get on track after consecutive starts in which he allowed 12 hits. In his last three starts combined, Cole has allowed 13 runs over 16.2 innings. The Astros will counter with Collin McHugh, who has a 4.99 ERA in 137 innings, with 137 strikeouts and a 1.52 WHIP. In his last start, he surrendered six runs on nine hits over three innings in Baltimore. This will be McHugh’s fourth straight start on the road, where he has a 5.81 ERA in 13 starts.
In the minors, Mitch Keller gets the start, looking for his fourth straight shutout performance. In those 18 innings over his last three games, he has allowed ten hits, issued two walks, and he has 21 strikeouts. Keller is tied for third in the South Atlantic League with a 2.56 ERA, and he ranks sixth with 124 strikeouts, and first with an 0.91 WHIP.
Drew Hutchison makes his fifth start since joining the Pirates. He is third in the International League with a 1.16 WHIP and also ranks third with 126 strikeouts. Luis Escobar gets his tenth start and 13th appearance. He ranks 11th in the NYPL with a 2.81 ERA. Escobar has allowed three earned runs or less in every appearance this season.
Max Kranick is scheduled for the GCL Pirates and Nicholas Economos gets the start for Bristol.
MLB: Pittsburgh (63-60) vs Astros (65-61) 12:35 PM
Probable starter: Gerrit Cole (3.30 ERA, 31:91 BB/SO, 109.0 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (64-67) vs Columbus (77-54) 1:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Drew Hutchison (5.40 ERA, 7:16 BB/SO, 21.2 IP)
AA: Altoona (70-58) @ Harrisburg (65-63) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Cody Dickson (3.83 ERA, 84:90 BB/SO, 127.0 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (67-59) @ Jupiter (62-64) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Austin Coley (4.56 ERA, 42:80 BB/SO, 126.1 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (65-62) vs Lexington (48-79) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Mitch Keller (2.56 ERA, 16:124 BB/SO, 119.1 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (29-34) vs Williamsport (33-29) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Luis Escobar (2.81 ERA, 24:42 BB/SO, 51.1 IP)
Rookie: Bristol (23-36) @ Johnson City (35-23) 7:00 PM (season preview)
GCL: Pirates (20-30) vs Yankees East (16-34) 12:00 PM (season preview)
DSL: Pirates (26-40) vs Indians (24-43) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Here is a home run from Monday night for Barrett Barnes, who has been the best hitter in the system since the start of July. He homered again on Tuesday night.
8/22: Kyle Lobstein activated from the disabled list.
8/21: Evan Piechota promoted to Morgantown.
8/21: Yeudy Garcia activated from disabled list. Henry Hirsch placed on temporary inactive list.
8/20: Jung Ho Kang placed on disabled list. Josh Bell recalled from Indianapolis.
8/20: Stephen Alemais promoted to West Virginia. Alfredo Reyes placed on disabled list.
8/20: Ke’Bryan Hayes assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.
8/20: Pirates release Edgardo Leon
8/18: Pirates release Josh Outman.
8/18: Juan Diaz assigned to Bristol.
8/18: Jeremias Portorreal and Gabriel Brito promoted to GCL Pirates.
8/17: Josh Smith assigned to Indianapolis.
8/15: Yeudy Garcia and Chase Simpson placed on disabled list.
8/15: Hector Garcia assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.
8/15: Nick Kingham and Justin Topa assigned to Bradenton.
8/14: Tyler Glasnow assigned to Altoona on rehab.
8/14: Jason Creasy assigned to Altoona.
8/12: Chris Stewart assigned to Altoona on rehab.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including an infielder for a World Series winner, who went on to manage the team for two full seasons. Starting with the most recent player first:
Kevin Correia, 2011-12 pitcher. He won 12 games during each of his two seasons in Pittsburgh. He had a 4.49 ERA in 325 innings for the Pirates. Correia was an All-Star during the 2011 season.
Al Bool, catcher for the 1930 club. In the minors in 1929, he hit .322 with 31 homers and 36 doubles. He hit .259 in 216 at-bats for the Pirates, driving in 46 runs. Began the year as the third-string catcher and ended up as a platoon starter.
Jewel Ens, 1922-1925 infielder and manager from 1929 until 1931. He also served five years as a Pirates coach under Pie Traynor. After hitting .296 in 47 games during the 1922 season, he moved into a coaching role and occasionally saw playing time. Ens played a total of 67 games for the Pirates, his only Major League team. He had a 176-167 record as a manager for the Pirates, taking over the team late in the 1929 season.
Bill Kelsey, 1907 catcher. Played just two career Major League games, both at the end of the 1907 season for the Pirates. Went 2-for-5 with a run scored.