The Eastern League All-Stars were announced on Wednesday afternoon and the Altoona Curve have five players on the roster. Selected for the squad were pitchers Alex McRae and Montana DuRapau, second baseman Kevin Kramer, third baseman Wyatt Mathisen and outfielder Jordan Luplow.
McRae seems like a solid choice with the numbers he has put up. He isn’t a dominating pitcher, but he’s almost always good for 6+ innings. He has a 3.58 ERA in 88 innings, with a 50:21 SO/BB ratio, a 1.35 WHIP and a 1.64 GO/AO ratio. You’d like to see the .290 BAA go down, but he’s pitching to contact and is quite good at getting double plays. McRae ranks third in the Eastern League in innings pitched, just 1.1 behind the league leader.
They could have taken Buddy Borden, Tate Scioneaux, Sean Keselica, Miguel Rosario and Montana DuRapau from the Altoona bullpen, because all five have performed well. I’m not sure how they decided which one to pick, or why only one of them made it. Maybe they drew straws. DuRapau has a 1.38 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP with 11 saves. Would be nice to see 1-2 of the others added to the team if any players drop out.
On the position player side, Kevin Kramer had the incredible run during the first five weeks or so, but he is out with a broken hand now. The game is July 12th, so he will probably be returning to action just after the All-Star break if all goes well. On June 14th, they said out 4-6 weeks. He will likely see a rehab assignment in the GCL before he rejoins Altoona.
Luplow seems like the most obvious choice on the team. He is currently hitting .291/.370/.542, which has him ranked seventh in the league in OPS. His 16 homers have him fifth in the league, but just two behind the leader. He’s also played a nice left field this season
Mathisen is hitting .294/.381/.411, which is basically Luplow without the power. He has been okay over at third base. I noticed six third baseman ahead of him in OPS, although I didn’t go through them to see if any have been promoted already. They could have gone with Edwin Espinal here, though the hope is that he isn’t around still when the All-Star game takes place. Still waiting for him and Will Craig to each take a step up. If Espinal is still around, he might be considered for replacing Kramer. They usually swap players out for other players on their team, so Espinal or one of the four relievers would work well there.
* As mentioned in the Prospect Watch last night, Danny Arribas was released prior to Wednesday’s game. I just wanted to give him a better send-off than that brief paragraph last night. Arribas was signed in 2011 out of the Netherlands for a $110,000 bonus. He was a very athletic player, who could catch, play third base, and around the outfield. He was never strongly considered for our top 50 list, but for a few years, he was someone who we thought could break into the back end of the list. He just never quite put it all together. While he hit well during a few of those years, he was always moving one level at a time and because of that, he was always considered old for the level after playing his first two seasons in the DSL.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he signed on elsewhere because he does have the ability to play multiple positions and provide some offense at the lower levels. This was his seventh season, so he would have hit free agency at the end of the year anyway and it was unlikely he would re-sign with the Pirates after the role he played on Bradenton’s bench.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates won 6-2 over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night. The Pirates will now send Jameson Taillon to the mound for his tenth start. In his last outing, he allowed two runs over six innings. At home this season, he has a 4.22 ERA in four starts. The Rays will counter with right-handed pitcher Chris Archer, who has a 3.88 ERA in 104.1 innings, with 126 strikeouts and a 1.20 WHIP.
In the minors, Mitch Keller rejoins Bradenton tonight. He made two rehab starts with Morgantown, throwing two shutout innings in each game. He is scheduled to go four innings tonight. More on him in an upcoming article today. Steven Brault starts for Indianapolis, trying to close out a second terrific month. He had a 1.26 ERA in May and he currently stands at 1.73 this month. Austin Shields will start for the GCL Pirates and Braeden Ogle will get the ball for Bristol. Shields made one relief appearance this year, throwing a shutout inning on Opening Day. Ogle allowed four runs over four innings in his season debut.
MLB: Pittsburgh (36-42) vs Rays (41-39) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Jameson Taillon (3.33 ERA, 18:46 BB/SO, 51.1 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (43-35) vs Durham (48-30) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Steven Brault (2.24 ERA, 30:74 BB/SO, 80.1 IP)
AA: Altoona (40-34) @ Bowie (38-39) 11:05 AM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tanner Anderson (3.79 ERA, 17:45 BB/SO, 73.2 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (40-33) vs Dunedin (36-39) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Mitch Keller (2.93 ERA, 8:39 BB/SO, 40.0 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (33-40) @ Augusta (27-45) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Blake Cederlind (6.86 ERA, 18:42 BB/SO, 39.1 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (6-3) vs Mahoning Valley (5-4) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Stephan Meyer (4.76 ERA, 2:3 BB/SO, 5.2 IP)
Rookie: Bristol (2-5) @ Princeton (1-6) 7:00 PM
GCL: Pirates (1-2) vs Braves (1-2) 12:00 PM
DSL: Pirates (12-10) vs Indians/Brewers (9-12) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Here is Eury Perez making a great catch out of center field. I usually wouldn’t include a non-prospect video, but there weren’t any other recent highlights posted. Besides, you get to watch Phil Gosselin try to cut down a runner at the plate who scored about five seconds earlier
6/29: Yeudy Garcia assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.
6/29: Evan Piechota assigned to GCL Pirates from Bristol.
6/28: Nelson Jorge and Raul Hernandez promoted to Bristol. Eumir Sepulveda and Adonis Pichardo assigned to GCL Pirates from Bristol.
6/28: Daniel Arribas released. John Bormann assigned to Bradenton.
6/28: Angel Vasquez promoted from DSL Pirates to GCL Pirates.
6/26: Ty Moore promoted to Bradenton. Garrett Brown promoted to West Virginia
6/25: Logan Ratledge promoted to Altoona.
6/25: Ryan Nagle promoted to West Virginia.
6/25: Matt Diorio and Huascar Fuentes assigned to Bristol from Morgantown.
6/25: Victor Ngoepe, Felix Vinicio, Jose Delgado, Nelson Jorge and Brian Sousa assigned from Bristol to GCL Pirates
6/24: Cole Tucker activated from disabled list.
6/24: Dario Agrazal placed on disabled list. Cody Dickson assigned to Indianapolis.
6/24: Geoff Hartlieb promoted to Bradenton. Andrew Potter promoted to West Virginia.
6/23: Jake Brentz promoted to Altoona.
6/23: Samuel Reyes promoted to GCL Pirates.
6/22: Francisco Cervelli placed on the disabled list. Jacob Stallings Recalled
6/22: Evan Piechota, Chris McDonald, Nelson Jorge, Jhoan Herrera and Luis Perez transferred from Morgantown to Bristol.
6/22: Justin Maffei and Anderson Feliz assigned to Indianapolis. Austin Meadows and Gift Ngoepe placed on disabled list.
6/22: John Bormann assigned to Indianapolis.
6/22: Pirates sign five draft picks.
6/21: Pirates sign eight draft picks.
6/21: Pirates release Chase Simpson
6/21: Altoona activates Michael Suchy from disabled list.
6/20 Pirates sign Conner Uselton and Calvin Mitchell.
6/20: Pirates announce nine draft signings.
6/20: Dario Agrazal promoted to Altoona. Yeudy Garcia placed on disabled list.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus one trade of note involving the single-game strikeout king. The players born on this date include pitcher Tony McKnight (2001), second baseman Burgess Whitehead (1946), second baseman Heinie Reitz and pitcher Patsy Flaherty, who played for the Pirates in 1900, and then again during the 1904-05 season. You can read a bio of Reitz and his time with the Pirates here. Whitehead has a very interesting career stat. He played nine season in the majors, seeing time with three different teams (also Giants and Cardinals). Whitehead hit 17 homers in his career and all of them were hit at the Polo Grounds.
Also born on this date, third baseman and current broadcaster John Wehner. He played for the Pirates from 1991 until 1996 and then again during the 1999-2001 seasons. He has been a broadcaster with the Pirates since 2005. Wehner set a record with 99 consecutive errorless games at third base. In 1997, he won a World Series ring with the Florida Marlins. While in Pittsburgh, he hit .250 over 364 games.
The one trade of note happened on this date in 1961 and the Pirates gave up young pitcher Tom Cheney in exchange for veteran Tom Sturdivant. The two players put up similar stats while with their new teams, but Cheney had a very memorable game. On September 12,1962, he threw 16 innings and struck out 21 batters, which is a Major League record. It was a complete game win and one of the best pitching performances of all-time. You can see the boxscore of that game here.