At this point last year, I took a look at the minor league starting pitchers for the Pittsburgh Pirates and how they were acquired by the team. The breakdown was 15 draft picks, all of them taken in the first ten rounds. There were also four players acquired in trades and three international free agents. The list had a total of 22 players because two starters were injured at the time, so I included them and their replacements.

I’m going to update that list today by showing where those players are now. That will be followed by the 20 current starting pitchers, plus I’m going to include Nick Kingham, who was supposed to be in the starting rotation, but won’t join Indianapolis for at least a few weeks.

First, last year’s list, with updated locations for each pitcher:

2016 Starters


Tyler Glasnow, 5th round, 2011….Pirates rotation

Jameson Taillon, 1st round, 2010…Pirates rotation

Chad Kuhl, 9th round, 2013….Pirates rotation

Steven Brault, trade….Indianapolis rotation

Trevor Williams, trade….Pirates bullpen

Wilfredo Boscan, free agent….Lost on waivers to Braves, now in Triple-A Mets rotation


Tyler Eppler, 6th round, 2014….Indianapolis rotation

Clay Holmes, 9th round, 2011….Indianapolis rotation

Jason Creasy, 8th round, 2011….released

Cody Dickson, 4th round, 2013….Indianapolis bullpen

David Whitehead, trade….released by Pirates and Phillies


Yeudy Garcia, international free agent….Altoona rotation

Colten Brewer, 4th round, 2011….minor league Rule 5 pick, High-A bullpen for Yankees

Brandon Waddell, 5th round, 2015…Altoona rotation

Austin Coley, 8th round, 2014….Altoona bullpen

Alex McRae, 10th round, 2014….Altoona rotation

Stephen Tarpley, trade…traded to Yankees, on the DL


Mitch Keller, 2nd round, 2014….Bradenton rotation

JT Brubaker, 6th round, 2015….Altoona rotation

Dario Agrazal, international free agent….Bradenton rotation

Bret Helton, 9th round, 2015….Bradenton bullpen

Logan Sendelbach, 10th round, 2015….Bradenton bullpen


So the breakdown on the 22 minor league starters at this time last year by where they are now has 12 still starting for the Pirates. Five have been moved to the bullpen and five are no longer with the organization. Now on to the 21 current starting pitchers, so I can repeat (and expand on) this article again next year and check everyone’s progress.

2017 Starters


Steven Brault, trade

Tyler Eppler, 2014 draft, 6th round

Clay Holmes, 2011 draft, 9th round

Drew Hutchison, trade

Josh Lindblom, free agent

Nick Kingham, 2010 draft, 4th round


Alex McRae, 2014 draft, 10th round

Brandon Waddell, 2015 draft, 5th round

Yeudy Garcia, international signing

JT Brubaker, 2015 draft, 6th round

Tanner Anderson, 2015 draft, 20th round


Mitch Keller, 2014 draft, 2nd round

Gage Hinsz, 2014 draft, 11th round

Taylor Hearn, trade

Pedro Vasquez, trade

Dario Agrazal, international

West Virginia

Cam Vieaux, 2016 draft, 6th round

Matt Anderson, 2016 draft, 10th round

Oddy Nunez, international

Luis Escobar, international

James Marvel, 2015 draft, 36th round


So as you can see by the chart, the big difference is that there are three draft picks who were taken after the tenth round, which is three more than last year. Hinsz and Marvel were in Extended Spring Training at this time last year, while Anderson was a reliever for West Virginia, so he has made a huge jump. The totals are 12 draft picks, four international free agents, four acquired by trade and one signed as a free agent.


Source: FanGraphs


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 6-2 to the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night. Ivan Nova will make his second start of the season tonight. He allowed one unearned run over six innings in the home opener last week. The Reds will counter with 24-year-old lefty Amir Garrett, who threw six shutout innings in his debut. In the minors, everyone today is making their second start. Indianapolis has an early afternoon game. Altoona’s Alex McRae recorded a career-high nine strikeouts in his first start. Bradenton’s Pedro Vasquez gave up one run over four innings in his debut with the Pirates last week. James Marvel threw five shutout innings for West Virginia.

MLB: Pittsburgh (3-4) vs Reds (6-2) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Ivan Nova (0.00 ERA, 0:4 BB/SO, 6.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (2-4) vs Columbus (4-2) 1:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Drew Hutchison (6.75 ERA, 2:5 BB/SO, 5.1 IP)

AA: Altoona (3-3) @ Richmond (3-3) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Alex McRae (1.80 ERA, 1:9 BB/SO, 5.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (6-0) @ St Lucie (2-4) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Pedro Vasquez (2.25 ERA, 1:4 BB/SO, 4.0 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (0-6) vs Asheville (4-2) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: James Marvel (0.00 ERA, 1:6 BB/SO, 5.0 IP)


From Monday night, Pablo Reyes drives home Wyatt Mathisen with the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. Altoona would win by a 2-1 score.


4/11: Albert Baur placed on disabled list. Ty Moore added to West Virginia roster

4/11: Cam Vieaux assigned to Extended Spring Training. Mike Wallace added to West Virginia roster

4/11: Jordan George assigned to Extended Spring Training. Trace Tam Sing added to Bradenton roster

4/10: Victor Fernandez placed on West Virginia disabled list. Carlos Munoz added to active roster

4/7: Junior Lopez suspended 25 games

4/4: Pirates sign pitcher Yoandy Fernandez

4/4: Pirates release Francis Rodriguez, Adrian Grullon, Robbie Coursel and Nestor Oronel


There have been nine former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including Hall of Fame pitcher Vic Willis, who spent just four seasons with the Pirates, but he put up some big stats during that time. When the Pirates acquired Willis, he was known as a workhorse starter, though it was with the Boston Doves (Braves) and they weren’t a good team. In the three seasons prior to his acquisition by the Pirates, Willis had a combined 42-72 record. That was back when a starting pitcher usually finished what they started.

The four-player deal that brought him to the Pirates in December of 1905 turned everything around for Willis and was the key to getting him inducted to the Hall of Fame 90 years later. In his four seasons in Pittsburgh, he won at least 21 games each year and threw at least 289.2 innings each year. He had a 2.08 ERA in 1,209 innings with the Pirates and helped the team to the 1909 World Series.

Willis was sold to the Cardinals prior to the 1910 season and lasted just one more season in the Majors. He finished with 249 wins and 50 shutouts, which ranks 19th all-time. Willis completed 388 of his 471 starts. You can read much more on his career in the link above under his name.

One player of note from the “other eight players” born on this date. Reliever Jeff Wallace holds a Pirates’ record most people don’t know, possibly even Wallace for that matter. He holds the team record for most pitching appearances without a loss. Between 1997, and then 1999-2000, he pitched 90 times without ending up in the loss column. The next closest to him all-time is Joakim Soria with 29 games.

Another interesting one is Woodie Fryman, who won 141 games during his career. He spent the 1966-67 seasons with the Pirates, before they traded him to the Phillies for Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning. Fryman won those 141 games, plus saved 58 others, despite the fact that he didn’t sign his first pro contract until he was 25 years old.

In other history, the Pirates opened the 1960 season in Milwaukee on April 12th that year. They lost 4-3 to the Braves after Roy Face gave up two runs in the eighth inning. Warren Spahn was the opposing starter and he homered off Pirates’ starter Bob Friend. Dick Stuart had three hits, while Roberto Clemente had two hits and drove in a run. You can view the boxscore here. It wasn’t the best start to the season, but things obviously turned out well in Pittsburgh in 1960.

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  1. Did anyone notice from the box score that the Bucs only played the Braves that one game and it was not an extended series. Game two was against the Reds. Very different schedule at that time.

    • I only recently learned that the NL opened up the season a week earlier than the AL that year because of the west coast travel they had to do for the Giants and Dodgers. That was new for 1960, even though Giants and Dodgers moved two years earlier

  2. James Marvel is an interesting guy to watch. Possibly the only pitcher taken (by the Pirates) who was known to have an injury which would sideline him for a season or so. If he gets his innings built up maybe he can rise thru the system.

    AAA starter (who shall remain unnamed) may turn his Pirates career around starting today. David Whitehead, released, and today’s AAA SP seem similar to me. Both acquired as salary dumps and neither showed little or nothing so far.

    Nick Kingham has been around since 2010. Guy’s got a lot of stick to it-ness,

    Nice writeup, especially seeing the progressions.

  3. Top 3 guys in Bradenton seem to jump out at me, all 3 seem to have potential MLB upside, but wake me up in 2017 June and 2018 Spring training to see if I’m wrong, usually am 🙂 🙂

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