Some notes for a Tuesday morning. Promotions and returns for a few injured pitchers, as well as a quick look at the Players of the Week, and a comparison between the worst hitting teams in baseball.

** It appears that Nick Kingham will make his next start with Bradenton, as he continues his return from Tommy John surgery. Kingham was assigned to Bradenton on Monday, along with Justin Topa, who pitched Monday night for the Marauders. Bradenton doesn’t have any starters listed for their upcoming games, so I’m not sure when Kingham will make his first start. He last pitched on Friday, so it won’t be during today’s doubleheader. If he pitches tomorrow and they keep him on a five-day schedule, then he will get four more regular season starts, plus Bradenton could use him during the playoffs as well.

Kingham made six starts in the GCL, with a 3.00 ERA and only two walks, compared to 16 strikeouts. He had a 1.00 WHIP and a 1.07 GO/AO ratio. You want to see good numbers, although they don’t really mean much. The most important stat is the 24 innings he pitched. If he does make five more starts and gets some time in during the Fall Instructional League, then he should have a decent base number to build off of next year.

Another player returning is Jason Creasy, who will rejoin Altoona just in time to help them out with innings during back-to-back doubleheaders. Creasy pitched twice for Morgantown, stretching out to two innings in his last game, which was last Tuesday. According to Sean McCool, Creasy will be available for 1-2 innings. If you missed the article from August 9th, Tim Williams talked to Creasy about his improved velocity and better curveball.

** This was a late addition to our The Twenty article (formerly know as the Top Performers), so you may have missed it. Both Barrett Barnes and Sandy Santos won the Player of the Week awards for their leagues. Barnes was our top hitter for last week, as he went 9-for-17 with two doubles and three homers in five games. He has been on a hot streak much longer than that though, getting named as our Player of the Month for July. He had a .978 OPS in July and now has a 1.127 mark in 11 games during August. Santos had a 1.346 OPS last week, collecting four doubles and two triples. He will be playing in the New York-Penn League All-Star game tonight, along with five of his teammates.

** I have mentioned a few times that Bristol is the worst hitting team in the Appalachian League and Tim Williams is getting a front row seat to their offensive offense the last three days, plus one more game tonight.They have a .641 team OPS, which is 47 points behind the second worst team in the league. Why not take it a step further and see how they compare with the worst around the minors? This obviously comes with the disclaimer that all leagues aren’t created equal and you shouldn’t expect huge offense from teams in the Florida State League or the Gulf Coast League, but you also shouldn’t expect to see a team from the California League or Pacific Coast League among the worst teams, because those leagues are nightmares for pitchers. So here is a list of the worst teams in OPS in every league of the minors, just for comparison sake:

International League: Syracuse .666

Pacific Coast League: New Orleans .681

Eastern League: Harrisburg .676

Southern League: Biloxi .641

Texas League: San Antonio .661

Florida State League: Brevard County .601

California League: Inland Empire .664

Carolina League: Wilmington .660

South Atlantic League: Rome .650

Midwest League: Dayton .621

New York-Penn League: Batavia .567

Northwest League: Tri-City .622

Pioneer League: Grand Junction .752

Appalachian League: Bristol .641

Arizona League: AZL Cubs .652

Gulf Coast League: GCL Tigers East .600

Dominican Summer League: Marlins .537

This list shows that there are plenty of teams with worse production from their offense, and there were also plenty of teams with a lower OPS than Bristol, but they weren’t last in their league. As far as the Appalachian League’s average offense, it ranks as the fourth highest among the 17 leagues with a .728 mark. The PCL, California and Pioneer Leagues all have better offenses, although that’s just barely true for the California League and it’s possible Bristol is the reason that league is slightly ahead. So whichever way you look at it, compared to their own league average or the worst teams in other leagues, Bristol is one of the worst offenses in baseball.

PLAYOFF PUSH

The Pirates trail the second wild card spot by one game.

Indianapolis is in second place in their division, trailing by eight games. They trail by 11 games for the lone wild card spot.

Altoona leads their division by 3.5 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 fifth place in their division, trailing first by three games.

Morgantown is tied for fourth place in their division, trailing first place by 12 games. They are 7.5 games back for the lone wild card spot.

Bristol is in fourth place, trailing by 7.5 games. The top two teams in each division go to the playoffs.

The GCL Pirates are three 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


Source: FanGraphs

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates won 8-5 over the Giants on Monday night. They will now send Jameson Taillon to the mound tonight for his 11th Major League start. In his last outing, he threw eight shutout innings against the Padres. Taillon has gone at least six innings in each of his last six starts. The Giants will counter with Jeff Samardzija, who has a 4.23 ERA in 146.2 innings, with 107 strikeouts and a 1.23 WHIP. He threw 5.2 shutout innings in his last start, which was against the Marlins. Prior to that outing, he gave up at least four earned runs in each of his previous four starts.

In the minors, Tyler Eppler gets the start tonight for Altoona. He got knocked around in his last game, giving up five runs on 11 hits in six innings. Eppler has managed to go at least six innings in 17 of his 22 starts this season. That has led to him ranking fifth in the Eastern League in innings pitched, just 4.1 innings behind the leader. His 1.27 WHIP has him tied for eighth best in the league. Bret Helton goes for West Virginia tonight. He has allowed one earned run over 13 innings in his last two starts combined.

Altoona and Bradenton have doubleheaders today. No pitchers have been named yet for the Marauders. Morgantown is on their All-Star break. They are sending six players to Tuesday’s game. Mike Wallace will pitch for Bristol.

MLB: Pittsburgh (60-56) @ Giants (66-52) 10:15 PM
Probable starter: Jameson Taillon (2.85 ERA, 8:47 BB/SO, 60.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (62-62) vs Louisville (60-64) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Kelvin Marte (4.02 ERA, 16:47 BB/SO, 62.2 IP)

AA: Altoona (66-53) @ Portland (45-73) 5:00 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Eppler (3.97 ERA, 26:91 BB/SO, 133.2 IP) and John Kuchno (4.20 ERA, 6:12 BB/SO, 15.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (60-58) vs Ft Myers (60-59) 5:00 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter:  TBD

Low-A: West Virginia (60-59) @ Lexington (44-75) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Bret Helton (4.08 ERA, 43:81 BB/SO, 117.0 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (25-31) vs Vermont (21-35) 7:05 PM 8/17 (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD

Rookie: Bristol (21-30) vs Pulaski (22-27) 7:00 PM (season preview)

GCL: Pirates (18-25) vs Yankees East (14-28) 12:00 PM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates (26-35) vs Rangers1 (44-16) 10:30 AM (season preview)

HIGHLIGHTS

Here is a long two-run homer from Barrett Barnes from over the weekend.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

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.

8/10: Christian Kelley promoted to Bradenton. Raul Hernandez assigned to West Virginia.

8/10: John Kuchno assigned to Altoona.

8/9: Chad Kuhl promoted to Pirates. Curtis Partch optioned to Indianapolis.

8/9: Erik Lunde retired.

8/9: Kyle Lobstein placed on disabled list. Kelvin Marte activated from disabled list.

8/9: Raul Hernandez assigned to Bradenton.

8/8: Delvin Hiciano assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.

8/8: Josh Outman assigned to Indianapolis.

8/7: Austin Meadows activated from Indianapolis disabled list.

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 released 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: Colten Brewer suspended.

THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY

Ten former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including a player included in the worst trade the Pirates ever made.

Rick Reed, pitcher from 1988 until 1991. He eventually became a good Major League pitcher, but it was well after the Pirates released him in 1992. Reed pitched just 31 games for the Pirates over his four seasons.

Al Holland, pitcher for the Pirates in 1977 and 1985. He was acquired in exchange for Kent Tekulve in 1985. He was dealt away later in the season as part of a six-player trade with the Angels.

Curt Roberts, second baseman in 1954-56. First African-American player for the Pirates. Spent time in the Negro Leagues before playing in the minors. A few players born on this date met tragic endings at an early age. Roberts was hit by a car at age 40, while he was changing a tire.

Gene Woodling, 1947 outfielder. Spent 17 seasons in the majors, while also serving two years in the military during WWII.

Tiny Bonham, pitcher for the 1947-49 Pirates. He made the AL All-Star team twice while with the Yankees and won 103 career games. During the 1949 season, he went to the hospital for an appendectomy and found out he had intestinal cancer, passing away two weeks later at the age of 36.

Andy Bednar, pitcher for the 1930-31 Pirates. Pitched five Major League games, all for the Pirates. Died in a car accident in 1937 at the age of 29.

Bill Keen, first baseman for the 1911 Pirates. Got injured in his first game and was used strictly as a pinch-hitter after that. He is why I encourage people to read the link above for more information. Very interesting story about his short career, confusion with his name, and his minor league stats being attributed to someone else.

Gene Steere, shortstop for the 1894 Pirates(or Braves if you want to be correct) Hit .205 in ten games and committed five errors.

Willie Clark, first baseman during the 1898-99 seasons. Hit .306 in 57 games in 1898 and led all NL first baseman in fielding the next season.

Hank Robinson, pitcher for the 1911-13 Pirates. Won 28 minor league games in 1911 before he joined the Pirates. He had a 2.26 ERA in 1912 and 2.38 in 1913, before he was dealt to the Cardinals in an inexcusable trade that also saw Chief Wilson (the single-season triples leader and 1909 right fielder) and Dots Miller go to St Louis for Ed Konetchy, who Pirates’ owner Barney Dreyfuss had a man-crush on. I’m not just saying that because I’m still mad about them dumping Miller. Dreyfuss tried often to trade for Konetchy, to the point he finally gave up way too much to get him. His reward for the trade? Konetchy played poorly in 1914, then jumped to the Federal League after one season.

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11 COMMENTS

    • I’d be shocked if he started next season anywhere else. The only other slight possibility is he starts in Extended Spring Training a couple weeks behind everyone else just to keep his innings down and allow him to pitch up to October

  1. The dog days usually eat everyone up but this is very refreshing. Unfortunately I take sleeping meds and am generally shot by 10 PM, CDT, I hope I can see the catch Cutch made on tape tonight.

  2. Will need a lot of help to catch the Cubs if at all possible, but it does appear that the pirates are finally starting to put all the pieces together at the end of the season. That is the time to do it. They are set up to make a good push for the dreadful do or die play in game…I don’t think I would want to play them right now if I was another team…

    • The way the Giants are playing they may well drop to the Wildcard Game. Ugh the thought of MadBum again is not a pleasant one. Hopefully they drop completely out or maintain the lead for the division.

  3. It finally appears that the Pirates are starting to fire on all cylinders…pitching..fielding and hitting all starting to come around at the same time!

    • It definitely took awhile but the pitching is finally stabilizing a bit with Taillon looking good and Vogelsong and Kuhl giving the team a chance to win each time they take the mound. Even though Cole has had a couple shaky outings by his standards, he hasn’t truly imploded in a game yet either. Still a bit early to judge Nova, his results have been fine but particularly in his last start in LA there were some well hit outs to the outfield. As long as the offense can be a bit more consistent instead of putting up 7 runs one night and one or two the next, they Bucs still have a very good shot at the wild card.

  4. What a great catch by McCutchen at an important point in the game. He looks enthusiastic and engaged in the last few days and is stinging the ball to right center, always a good sign.
    Vogelsong is becoming a national story and seems to be providing inspiration and leadership at a key point in the season.

    • I agree on Cutch. I think if he can continue to do better it will have a much bigger impact on this team than just the stats would indicate. Having your leader/MVP in a huge slump is a drain on the whole team.

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