Morning Report: How Much of a Hit Will the Farm System Take by the End of the Season?

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.


Source: FanGraphs


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.


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.

  • I’m thinking they add Dovydas Neverauskas, Jose Osuna, and Brandon Cumpton to the roster. Though Sadler and Lakind are decent players, we have a bunch of the same guys already.

    Brault is my sleeper to make the majors out of spring training (barring an injury)

    • Cumpton will not have pitched for two years, and will have to be resigned as he had a one year deal. I can’t imainge anything but a minor league deal and late season depth for cumpton unfortunately

  • His full name was Jewel Winklemeyer Ens.

    Who would do that to a little kid?

    • Maybe his dad knew he wouldn’t be there to help him along
      So he gave him that name before he said goodbye
      Because the dad knew the son had to get tough or die
      And it’s the name that helped to make him strong
      By putting the the gravel in his guts and the spit in his eye
      that’s why his son-of-a-bitch dad, named him Jewel

    • I once knew a couple named Jewel and Opal and didn’t figure out which was which. A kid I grew up with had a dad named Susie.

  • John … Frazier is an interesting case. He was listed as a medium risk at a grade 4. If he doesn’t use up his prospect eligibility, he will have had a chance to prove his value in the majors. I would say he would now be at least a low risk 4 or maybe even a Medium risk 5.

    • Since he already has a couple months in the majors and hasn’t failed, that’s an automatic low risk

  • RonHeb….We get Cody!

    Mrs Foo and I should be there between 6:30-6:45. I will call you when we are leaving the house (10-15 min drive)

    I will be the tall, skinny, pale ugly guy with a pretty blonde in tow (I tell people she’s my wife). I’ll have an “old school” Pirate shirt on.

    • LOL!!!! OK, I will be a not so tall no so short kind of stocky guy wearing a McCutchen Jersey most likely. I will plan to be there around 6:30. Might be a 30 min drive but no biggie. See you then.

  • How about the work of Bristol’s Big John Wallace in his last 4 starts. 23 IP, 11 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 16 K.

  • John- How would you compare Barrett Barnes to Harold Ramirez? Both are shorter, stockier outfielders. Feels like Barnes may have a higher ceiling, with more power potential, if he can stay healthy of course. Barnes seems more athletic overall as well. Would you agree?

    • Barnes is more than three years older than Ramirez, so it’s tough to just compare them even up based on what they are doing this year. Ramirez right now is basically the same age as Barnes was going into the 2013 season.

      What Barnes is doing right now in Double-A isn’t that impressive for a 25 year old, but he does get some credit for missed time. If you’re going to give him credit for missed time though, Ramirez has missed a lot of time as well.

      This last month is the first time Barnes is showing real power in his career. Due to that fact and his age, he still has a lot to prove next year in Triple-A. Plus health concerns will remain for at least another year. His defense is average in left field, his arm is below average and has got worse since he signed. His speed is above average, so that helps

      • It seems like Allie is keeping an eye Barnes they seem to be performing well in the same games – albeit at a much lower average

        • Allie reaches minor league free agency at the end of the season. I assume he will go elsewhere and someone will give him a chance because of the power

  • I’d say Mitch Keller will definitely be in Altoona by this time next year.

    Why did I think of Moonlight Graham when I saw the mention of Bill Kelsey… I wonder why he only played just 2 career games. Now I need to go watch Burt Lancaster wax nostalgic about stretching a double into a triple. One of my alltime favorite movie scenes.

  • Why use 130 AB instead of PA?
    At his walk rate, Moroff may remain a prospect in perpetuity