In the Arizona Fall League on Wednesday afternoon, the Surprise Saguaros defeated Scottsdale by a 6-1 score. That gave Surprise a 7-6 record, good for second place in their division.

Two Pirates were in the starting lineup and another came out of the bullpen. Eric Wood hit fourth and played left field. Jin-De Jhang caught and batted seventh.

In the first inning, Wood came up with runners on the corners and one out. He singled on a line drive to center field to bring home a run. He was called out on strikes in the second inning. In the fourth inning, Wood hit an RBI single to make it a 6-0 game. He doubled to lead-off the seventh inning, leaving him 3-for-4 with a run and two RBIs.

Jhang came up in the first inning with Surprise up 2-0 and two runs on. He doubled on a fly ball to left field, bringing home Eric Wood with his team’s third run. Jhang singled on a line drive to center field in the third inning, then popped out to second base in the fifth inning. With Wood on third base in the seventh, Jhang grounded back to the pitcher to end the inning, giving him a 2-for-4 day, with one RBI.

Jhang got some praise from former pro scout Bernie Pleskoff, who has been covering games in the AFL.

Alex McRae came on for the fifth inning and gave up a noteworthy hit (AFL noteworthy). He allowed a double to Tim Tebow, his first extra-base hit in the AFL.  It was a four-seam fastball that registered 91.6 MPH. McRae also walked a batter in the inning, but got out of the frame with no damage. He recorded two ground outs and a fly out. McRae threw 15 pitches, with ten going for strikes. His fastball topped out at 93.2 MPH, and he also threw five sliders. In four appearances this fall, McRae has allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks, with four strikeouts, in seven innings.

Surprise now travels to Peoria for an afternoon game on Thursday. We will have live coverage from the AFL next week, covering four games and the Fall-Stars game.

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  1. What’s the name of that other catcher we had in AA this year? I think we traded him away.

    Anyway, go Jin-De!

  2. I have a hard time getting a beat on where Jhang stands, prospect-wise. He’s getting more press, and good press since McGuire left, but is that just filling the depth chart or does the team now see more in him than they did? While I like his hit tool and he seems to have a good arm, he’s still built like wonderbread, and he’s only caught 254 games over 5 years, 53 this year. Seems to me if a team thought he was a serious prospect, they’d find a way to get him more time. Was that a factor in everyone’s favorite trade? Is he a top 30 guy?

    • There is always a dollar spent bias that teams will struggle to overcome. They have a psychological need to justify their bonus payments, so the players they have spent the most on will get the first and best opportunities. Not taking anything away from McGuire’s talent, but he was always going to take starts away from Jhang, even though Jhang always showed the better bat, in the hope McGuire’s bat would blossom.

      • You do understand that Mcguire is two years younger then Jhang and was one of the youngest players in AA. If he took starts away from Jhang I think it can be argued he earned them. I have always been a fan of Jhangs bat but if he was better then Mcguire he would have played a lot more then he has the last year. If the Pirates had traded away Jhang instead of Mcguire nobody would have cared. So lets not suddenly tout this guy as some sort of stud and the guy we traded as some sort of dud.

        • Neither of us is privy to the internal assessments the Bucs make on their players. I personally am convinced they had soured on McGuire. They extended both Cerveli and Stewart and would never have done both if he was anywhere close to contributing in the next 2-3 years.

          They played McGuire a lot – hoping it would help his trade value

    • That wasn’t the worst trade made by the Pirates last season. May not even be in my top 3 bad deals.

      1. Melancon
      2. Walker
      3. Morton

      I can make the case all 3 were botched worse.

      • How the heck was Morton that bad a trade? You take anything to get rid of his salary for what he was giving you as a pitcher.

      • Hmm, I would do the Melancon trade 10 times out of 10. 2 and 3 kind of relate to me. We got Niese, Whitehead and ~7 million…err…David Freese for Walker and Morton, which is now Bastardo and Freese (both under control for 2017) for Walker and Morton (both now free agents). Yeah, not a huge fan of those moves, although that still plays better for us for 2017. Nope, Liriano trade was the worst.

      • You could make that case, but in the Melancon trade, you’d be 100% wrong, simply because it was pretty much the same deal that he was acquired in, and people hated that when it happend.

        The Walker trade was a bust because Neise was a terrible return, but replacing him with Harrison wasn’t a huge downgrade and it made room for Joyce, Freese, and Rodriguez to get the playing time they did.

        Morton was what it was, a salary dump, just like Liriano, but Morton never had Ace like seasons, and we didnt trade away 2 prospects to dump his salary, I would love to hear your case made for this trade being worse.

        Actually, you said you could make a case for all 3, I would love to hear it. Go for it.

        • Walker is a no-brained. Should’ve traded him for prospects.

          Melancon trade is a slam dunk for me, too. It was trade that ruined whatever hope for the playoffs this season’s team had.

          Morton was given away for a power ball lottery ticket.

          As for the Liriano trade. What everyone seems to know the answer to is how much of a sure thing McGuire and Ramirez are in the coming years, and what little value Hutchinson will provide to Pirates. I’m of the opinion the Pirates saw something in Hutchinson they liked more than they liked in McGuire and Ramirez. And since they get paid to make those calls, I’m going to err on their side.

          I think everybody agrees Liriano wasn’t worth his salary next season.

          • Hindsight is awesome isn’t it…
            Niese was a legitimate reclamation project – no worse on paper than Happ – had he worked out they would have had 3 years of pretty nice surplus value – but shit happens.

            Morton had ZERO value – getting a dozen baseballs for him would have been a great trade.

            If you keep Melancon you are writing posts about how awful it is to lose him in free agency and get nothing in return. The ONLY way keeping him made sense is if you think he can get you to at least the NLDS…

            • “Niese was a legitimate reclamation project – no worse on paper than Happ…”

              Laughably false.

              FWIW, Morton was worth as much as Niese in ’15 despite throwing 50 less innings and was projected to be just as valuable in ’16. If you learned *nothing* from the Niese debacle, like, oh, how scouting the stat line from three years ago might not be the best way to identify reclamations, then I don’t know what to tell you.

              • How about not telling me anything…
                Do us both a favor and stop reading or responding to any of my comments – you are obviously a baseball genius and know everything – and your attitude sucks by the way…
                Why the Pirates pay Huntington when a genius like you is available beats me.

                • Bruce, I just clicked on your profile and six of your last seven comments directly assert your own personal opinion as superior to that of another poster, all while calling people “stupid” and “idiot” in the process. I’m fully aware of the fact that I rub people the wrong way at times, but you, you either seem blissfully ignorant of the fact that you do the same or are unwilling to treat others as you expect to be treated yourself.

                  You’re clearly too emotionally fragile to handle this disagreement of opinion thing, and for that I apologize for engaging you in the first place. I genuinely hope I didn’t cause you any mental stress.; this is supposed to be fun! This will be the last time I respond to you, and will pay Tim for your yearly subscription if you choose to leave because of me.

                  • I signed up on day one and for three years – will not renew because people like you take all the fun out of this – not because of you personally…

                    My comments and opinion are generally guided by the following…
                    1. The Pirates set a payroll/budget and it is is close to $100M
                    2. The FO has to work within that budget – that means all criticism of Huntington needs to take that into consideration.
                    3. That the people working for the Pirates have more information about player than I do and are not all idiots.
                    4. Trades are the result of negotiation – Huntington did not call up the Mets and ask for Niese – there was some back and forth and at the end of the day the BEST offer on the table for Walker was Niese – there were likely other offers that Huntington at the time thought were worse – he was wrong – but when you are resource constrained that sort of shit happens.
                    5. Facts are better arguments than hindsights – some idiot posted on this site how “smart” the Cubs were in getting Rizzo for a marginal pitcher – go back and look at Rizzo’s stats prior to the trade and tell me how brilliant a move that was. The same sort of brilliance I think that had 19 teams pass on Mike Trout – without a doubt the best player in baseball the last 3 years.

          • “What everyone seems to know the answer to is how much of a sure thing McGuire and Ramirez are in the coming years, and what little value Hutchinson will provide to Pirates.”

            Scott, you fundamentally misunderstand the reason most folks don’t like the Liriano trade if this is what you truly believe.

        • In hindsight, it looked worse than it was at the time of the trade. Rogers was the Brewers breakout guy in 2015. Broxton did the same for them in 2016. The Freese signing killed Rogers chances in 2016, and now that the Pirates have signed Freese long term, Rogers may leave – probably Milwaukee again where he will hit 25-30 HR/year in the middle of their order.

          What do you think of Supak? The Pirates just do not give up young pitching unless there is some issue. I never heard anything, but it was way out of character for the Bucs.

          • I heard that Supak wasn’t really developing as the Pirates expected. I talked with a scout this summer who said he heard Supak didn’t come “as advertised”. I don’t think it was a mistake to trade him, but they could have gotten a more useful return.

              • I also heard this around March or April, and it was in reference to their pre-season stance. As with any young player, Supak could have changed. Based on that report, it seems he improved his curveball, as did Hinsz by the start of the season to the end.

                I’m not against trading him, and he did have value. But it was a poor use of assets to trade him for Rogers.

          • I think Supak is every bit of the prospect that Gage Hinsz is for the Pirates, and more.

            I also think you’re massively overrating Jason Rogers, whose “breakout” in 2015 was no more than one good month of baseball, September. There’s no defensive value here, and he was barely a league-average hitter as a 28 yo on his third time through AAA, this time out of the PCL. The Pirates had every reason in the world to allow Rogers to assume Freese’s role, and yet they extended the 33 yo player for $10m more than they would’ve paid Rogers. He’s an org guy at this point, definition of Quad-A.

            I give the Brewers coaches and player development staff credit for getting out of Broxton what the Pirates couldn’t, I don’t fault that part of the trade at all. But including a kid with Supak’s upside less than two years after drafting him overslot was pointless and unnecessary. Absolutely a mistake.

      • I’ll give you Walker.

        But they got Rivero and Hearn for Melancon. That’s a good return for two months of a reliever who they would have lost to FA for nothing.

        And Morton missed the entire season with an injury and they saved $8 M. It doesn’t really matter who they got back in that scenario, since he didn’t have a lot of trade value due to the price and injury history.

      • Then cubs got Anthony Rizzo for a pitcher of Mortons caliber, they really know how to run an organization getting Rizzo rather than Whitehead and finflex

        • You really are an idiot – and one reason I won’t be renewing…
          Tebow is a great natural athlete. He will probably fail – but it does nobody any harm that he is getting a tryout…

          And he has a very nice weekend job on ESPN/SEC Channel..

    • I understand the sentiment, especially if you’re a Steelers fan, but how can you be against a guy pursuing a dream?

      Chances are he’ll fail miserably, but I won’t ever fault him for going for it.

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