I originally didn’t have a subject for the Morning Report, but I wrote up two paragraphs early on Tuesday about pitcher Mike Wallace, who was promoted from Bristol to Morgantown. You can see that just below. We then got so ridiculously busy with news and four people providing coverage of games, that we strayed from our normal ways.
Wallace wasn’t enough for an article on his own, but then we got three more minor league transactions and that usually leads to a “Minor Moves” article. There were some big stories yesterday, so a Minor Moves would have got lost. So I decided to just add those three transactions into the Morning Report you’re currently reading.
Then the moves didn’t stop happening, so what you have here is the original write-up on Mike Wallace, plus ten other transactions yesterday. These don’t include the Nova/Yankees trade, Hanson/Lobstein/Kelvin Marte, or the two Indianapolis suspensions. There were 11 other moves yesterday besides the big ones we wrote about during the day, 12 if you include Mitch Keller being made official with Bradenton, which we have covered thoroughly. So while none of these moves are big on their own, it’s a lot to take in and would have been one article under normal circumstances.
**The Pirates have promoted right-handed pitcher Mike Wallace from Bristol to Morgantown. Since Wallace pitched on Sunday, his season would have been over if he wasn’t promoted. Bristol plays their last game tomorrow. Now Wallace will be able to make one more start this season and he earned it with his pitching in Bristol. He started out in the bullpen and gave up six runs over three innings in his first game. From that point on, he allowed two runs or fewer in every appearance up until Sunday, when he faltered in his last inning of that game.
Wallace was moved to the starting rotation after Blake Cederlind got hurt and Opening Day starter Nestor Oronel pitched very poorly. So he made the most of his opportunity and earned a late promotion as a reward. One late season start doesn’t seem like much, but it shows the player that the team noticed their efforts and he even gets a little bit extra in that minor league paycheck for the four extra days that Morgantown plays. The chance to impress at a higher level is obviously the bigger deal.
**The Mitch Keller promotion came with a few other minor moves that didn’t get mentioned earlier. Reliever Sean Keselica moved up to Bradenton, while Scooter Hightower and Matt Frawley took the two vacated roster spots in West Virginia. Keselica had a 1.41 ERA in 51 innings with West Virginia, striking out 54 batters, while posting a .180 BAA and a 2.24 GO/AO ratio. Unlike the other two players, he will get a chance to extend his season into the playoffs with Bradenton. Also in that Marauder bullpen, Nick Neumann returned for the first time since early July. He has been on the disabled list for the last seven weeks. Neumann threw a scoreless inning last night, dropping his ERA to 2.63 through 41 innings.
Hightower and Frawley have been pitching in the bullpen for Morgantown this season. Hightower had a 2.82 ERA in 38.1 innings, striking out 37 batters. He only walked seven batters, but was a little too easy to hit, posting a .295 BAA. Hightower had a successful Power debut, throwing four shutout innings last night. Frawley is the second 2016 draft pick to join West Virginia after Stephen Alemais was promoted earlier this month. Frawley held NYPL batters to a .234 average over 28 innings, while walking nine and picking up 33 strikeouts. Despite that, he had a 4.18 ERA in 17 appearances.
**Indianapolis is about to lose more September call-ups, so they needed reinforcements. In stepped Justin Maffei and Trace Tam Sing for position players, and Jason Creasy and Jhondaniel Medina for pitchers. Maffei began the year with Altoona and lost his spot when Austin Meadows joined the team. After sitting around as an Altoona extra for awhile, he then went to Bradenton and hit the ball well in 17 games, posting an .880 OPS. Indianapolis is a little advanced for him, but he is there for exactly a week, then could join either Altoona or Bradenton for the playoffs.
Tam Sing was the extra for Bradenton all season, getting into a total of 14 games. He hasn’t played since late June, which is technically a good sign since they would have needed multiple injuries for him to get more playing time. Like Maffei, Indianapolis is a big step over where he should be, but it’s necessary for this week.
Creasy made his Indianapolis debut and threw two shutout innings. If he didn’t get injured in April, he would have likely made his Triple-A debut much earlier. He missed a lot of time this season and only has 34.1 innings, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he returned to Altoona for the playoffs. Medina has been bouncing between Indianapolis and Altoona this season and the 23-year-old has handled the jump fine, including three shutout innings last night. He has a 1.69 ERA in 10.2 innings with Indianapolis. That’s made more impressive by the fact he’s had four stints there.
**Finally, Henry Hirsch and Junior Lopez moved up from Bradenton to Altoona, covering the spots left open by Medina and Creasy moving up. Lopez is getting to Altoona a lot later than originally expected. He was on the Altoona roster in Spring Training up until the last afternoon, when the change was made. When I say that, I mean he was on the roster that morning and it changed after the last day of Spring Training. I thought he would dominate Bradenton with a fastball that consistently hits 93, and can touch 96 MPH. He also has has a strong changeup and command. We don’t know if the late changed affected him, but a 4.25 ERA in the Florida State League doesn’t match the stuff.
Hirsch had a 3.75 ERA in 62.1 innings with Bradenton. He put up strong stats there last year, getting extended outings in relief, but he didn’t have the control he had last season. That led to the same amount of walks in 25 fewer innings this year, plus five more hit batters. Both Hirsch and Lopez are good candidates for the Altoona bullpen next year. It’s hard to say right now if they will stay with Altoona or go back to Bradenton for the playoffs (they might split up). Altoona will likely get back Medina and Creasy, plus Josh Smith and John Kuchno were recently moved up to Indianapolis. If those pitchers return for the playoffs, then Altoona will have some better/more experienced options.
The Pirates trail the second wild card spot by a 2.5 games.
Indianapolis has been eliminated from the playoffs. Their season ends September 5th.
Altoona leads their division by one game. 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 has been eliminated from the playoffs. Their season ends September 5th.
Morgantown has been eliminated from the playoffs. Their season ends September 5th.
Bristol has been eliminated from the playoffs. Their season ends September 1st.
The GCL Pirates have been eliminated from the playoffs. Their season ends September 1st.
The DSL season has ended.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 3-0 on Tuesday night to the Cubs. Ryan Vogelsong will get the start tonight. He went 5.1 innings against the Brewers in his last start, giving up two earned runs. In his previous start, which was against the Marlins, he allowed one earned run over six innings. Vogelsong has faced the Cubs twice in relief this season, allowing one run over 3.1 innings. The Cubs will counter with Jason Hammel, who has a 3.21 ERA in 140 innings, with 116 strikeouts and a 1.14 WHIP. He has faced the Pirates twice this season, allowing a total of three earned runs over 11.2 innings. In his last two starts combined, Hammel has surrendered nine earned runs on 15 hits in 5.2 innings, losing both games.
In the minors, Tyler Eppler gets the start for Altoona, coming off a game in which he allowed six earned runs on 12 hits in 5.2 innings. He has just four strikeouts in his last three starts combined. Eppler ranks fourth in the Eastern League in innings pitched, 6.2 behind the leader. Morgantown starter Cam Vieaux has allowed one run over six innings in each of his last two starts. No starter has been named for Bradenton yet. It was originally scheduled to be Stephen Tarpley, but he was traded away last night.
*The GCL Pirates have been postponed today*. We will have live coverage from both Tim Williams and Wilbur Miller from Bradenton (weather permitting). Matt Eckelman gets the start for Bristol. The DSL season ended Saturday.
MLB: Pittsburgh (67-63) @ Cubs (84-47) 8:05 PM
Probable starter: Ryan Vogelsong (3.02 ERA, 21:39 BB/SO, 50.2 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (67-70) vs Toledo (64-74) 1:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: John Kuchno (5.47 ERA, 18:20 BB/SO, 49.1 IP)
AA: Altoona (73-61) vs Binghamton (62-72) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Eppler (4.22 ERA, 29:95 BB/SO, 149.1 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (69-64) vs Jupiter (67-66) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD
Low-A: West Virginia (68-65) @ Columbia (63-71) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Dario Agrazal (4.53 ERA, 17:79 BB/SO, 137.0 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (33-37) vs Batavia (19-49) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Cam Vieaux (3.38 ERA, 18:49 BB/SO, 64.0 IP)
Rookie: Bristol (25-41) @ Kingsport (25-41) 7:00 PM (season preview)
GCL: Pirates (22-34) vs Yankees East (19-36) 12:00 PM POSTPONED(season preview)
DSL: Pirates (27-42) (season preview)
Here is a home run from Barrett Barnes on Monday night, his ninth of the season. He lost his 13-game hit streak on Tuesday night.
8/30: Tito Polo and Stephen Tarpley sent to New York Yankees as part of Ivan Nova trade from August 1st.
8/30: Jason Creasy and Jhondaniel Medina promoted to Indianapolis.
8/30: Justin Maffei and Trace Tam Sing assigned to Indianapolis.
8/30: Henry Hirsch and Junior Lopez promoted to Altoona
8/30: Nick Neumann activated from Bradenton disabled list.
8/30: Alen Hanson promoted to Pirates. Jameson Taillon and Steven Brault assigned to Bristol.
8/30: Pirates purchased contract of Kelvin Marte. Kyle Lobstein designated for assignment.
8/30: Mitch Keller and Sean Keselica promoted to Bradenton. Scooter Hightower and Matt Frawley promoted to West Virginia
8/30: Mike Wallace promoted to Morgantown.
8/29: Pirates recall Steven Brault. Gerrit Cole placed on disabled list.
8/28: A.J. Schugel recalled from Indianapolis. Adam Frazier optioned to Bristol.
8/28: Pirates activate Tyler Glasnow from disabled list. Optioned to Indianapolis.
8/28: Justin Topa placed on disabled list. Henry Hirsch activated from temporary inactive list.
8/27: John Kuchno promoted to Indianapolis.
8/25: Nick Kingham assigned to Altoona. Chase Simpson activated from disabled list.
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.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Eight former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus six trades of note. Everything was covered in the link at the beginning here, so with so much to mention, I’ll just list all the transactions and players and you can view the link if you so choose.
2011: Outfield Matt Diaz sent to Braves for Eliecer Cardenas.
1997: Shortstop Shawon Dunston acquired from the Cubs.
1985: Bill Madlock sent to Dodgers for R.J. Reynolds, Sid Bream and Cecil Espy.
1981: Pirates acquired second baseman Johnny Ray and two players to be named later from the Astros for Phil Garner.
1968: Relief pitcher Elroy Face sold to Detroit Tigers.
1953: Johnny Lindell sold to Philadelphia Phillies.
Players born on this date:
Morris Madden, 1988-89 pitcher.
Ramon Hernandez, lefty reliever from 1971 until 1976.
Roy Berres, catcher from 1937 until 1940.
Syd Smith, 1914-15 catcher.
Wally Rehg, 1912 outfielder.
Monte Cross, 1894-95 shortstop.
Red Ehret, 1892-94 pitcher. Red was involved in one of the most colorful baseball trades of all-time when he was sent to the Browns for pitcher Pink Hawley.
Duke Farrell, 1892 OF/3B.