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:
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.
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
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.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
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
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
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.