Morning Report: Jose Osuna and His Prospect Status

It’s Sunday, so it’s time for my favorite feature. Checking up on the prospect status, with a twist this time. Our new mid-season top 50 update will be out in 2-3 weeks, which gives us some time to learn about the new draft picks on our own, plus it waits until after the July 7th signing deadline. So we aren’t too far from that point, which means players on this list will either be ranked or not ranked if they lose their prospect status before we do the final voting. I’m mostly looking at Jose Osuna when I say that.

Hasn’t he been in enough of our prospect guides already? I say it’s time to graduate him. Osuna first made it into the top 50 in the 2012 guide, which was the first year he was eligible. He’s been in the top 50 ever since. Get this man 19 more at-bats before we start the rankings process. He didn’t do us any favors yesterday by striking out as a pinch-hitter, other than moving one at-bat closer. Maybe the Pirates need to send him to the Chicago White Sox for nothing, so he can play. Alen Hanson sure seems to be finding at-bats he couldn’t find in Pittsburgh.

The last thing we want with Osuna is another player like Johnny Barbato, who fell just three appearances short of losing his prospect status when he was sent down earlier this month. He’s allowed four runs over 3.1 innings since being sent down, but you have to remember that many of the top 50 prospects won’t make the majors at all, so he’s already had a better Major League career than some really good minor league players in the system right now. I don’t know where he will rank, but a 24-year-old with two partial seasons in the majors already is going to have a high floor, which helps his ranking and puts him somewhere in the back-half of the top 50. What I wouldn’t give to get him those three appearances though.

Two weeks ago I didn’t think Elias Diaz would graduate this year. That was based on Cervelli and Stewart both returning to action, which they did shortly after I said that. The Pirates kept three catchers anyway, then Cervelli went on the DL again. So now I’m saying Diaz will cross that elusive 130 at-bat mark later this year, regardless if he gets sent down at some point. He will still be up in September and get a chance to play a little. Diaz didn’t play last night, but he’s up to 60 at-bats this year and 66 in his career. Another 65 at-bats shouldn’t be tough if he’s playing regularly.

As for the other players, Max Moroff is the new Alen Hanson, so he’s not leaving our 2018 Prospect Guide. He’s up to 26 at-bats this year and 28 career. Jacob Stallings is collecting a paycheck as the third string catcher, but not playing. He’s holding steady at 22 career at-bats.

Edgar Santana has five appearances and 4.2 innings, so he will be here for awhile, but I still see him graduating in September. The only way he doesn’t (assuming health of course) is if the Pirates send him down and call up Antonio Bastardo to try to get some trade value out of him. That could (I didn’t say should) happen soon because Bastardo’s rehab time ends today. So they have to make a decision with him, although that decision could be numerous things, even just leaving him on the DL.

* Just to make you feel old on a Sunday morning, I noticed this last night. I may have missed it during the draft because he wasn’t my player to write-up, but the 13th round draft pick of the Pirates this year was Tristan Gray. He made his pro debut last night during Mitch Keller’s rehab start, although the game won’t be completed until today. Gray’s father is Jason Gray, who was a draft pick of the Texas Rangers in…brace yourself…2000! The son of someone who was drafted in 2000 is now in pro ball himself. I thought it was bad enough when I noticed three players on the DSL Pirates who were born in 2000, but at least there, the players can debut at 16, so you expect young players. Tristan Gray already put in three years at Rice though. Sigh.

PIRATES GAME GRAPH


Source: FanGraphs

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates won 7-3 over the St Louis Cardinals on Saturday night. The Pirates will send Chad Kuhl to the mound for his 15th start. He allowed two runs over five innings in his last start. Kuhl has not gone longer than five innings since April 19th. The Cardinals will counter with right-handed pitcher Mike Leake, who has 3.03 ERA in 92 innings, with 66 strikeouts and a 1.08 WHIP. He allowed one run over 6.1 innings against the Pirates on April 18th.

In the minors, Gage Hinsz gets the start for Bradenton. Earlier this week, he allowed just one run over six innings. Altoona starter JT Brubaker has 28 strikeouts in 22.2 innings this month. Oddy Nunez gets the start for West Virginia. He has not allowed more than three hits in any of his last five starts.

Both Morgantown and Bradenton need to finish suspended games before their regular game. Morgantown is a 0-0 tie in the third inning and Bradenton is up 3-2 in the middle of the eighth. Morgantown will send Ike Schlabach to the mound for his second start during their regularly scheduled game. He gave up two runs over four innings last time out, with no walks and five strikeouts. No starter listed for Bristol, but it will probably be Jacob Taylor. The DSL Pirates are off on Sundays. Tomorrow is the opener of the GCL season and Yeudry Manzanillo will be starting.

MLB: Pittsburgh (35-40) @ Cardinals (33-40) 8:05 PM
Probable starter: Chad Kuhl (5.46 ERA, 27:53 BB/SO, 64.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (42-32) @ Louisville (29-45) 6:05 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter: Drew Hutchison (3.57 ERA, 28:62 BB/SO, 75.2 IP)

AA: Altoona (39-32) vs Hartford (32-40) 1:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: JT Brubaker (3.75 ERA, 16:55 BB/SO, 62.1 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (38-31) @ Lakeland (31-37) 1:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Gage Hinsz (6.83 ERA, 21:33 BB/SO, 55.1 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (32-37) vs Lexington (35-37) 2:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Oddy Nunez (3.06 ERA, 12:47 BB/SO, 53.0 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (4-1) @ Batavia (3-1) 1:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Ike Schlabach (4.50 ERA, 0:5 BB/SO, 4.0 IP)

Rookie: Bristol (1-2) vs Greeneville (1-2) 6:00 PM

DSL: Pirates (10-9) vs Indians (8-11) 10:30 AM 6/26 (season preview)

HIGHLIGHTS

Here is Jason Rogers with a two-run shot to the right-center gap from Friday, his eighth home run of the season.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

6/25: Logan Ratledge promoted to Altoona.

6/25: Ryan Nagle promoted to West Virginia.

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.

6/19: Tomas Morales assigned to Altoona. Zane Chavez placed on disabled list.

6/18: Chris Stewart activated from the disabled list. Jacob Stallings optioned to Indianapolis.

6/16: Pirates sign Shane Baz.

6/16: Justin Maffei assigned to Altoona.

6/15: Ronny Agustin assigned to West Virginia.

THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY

Six former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a high scoring doubleheader for the Pirates. Starting with the players and we have some recent ones. Paul Maholm and Aramis Ramirez are familiar to even the most recent Pirates’ fans. Maholm played for the team from 2005 until 2011 and Ramirez was with the club from 1998 until 2003. He was then traded away in a deal most people would like to forget. I’ll leave it at that and you can check the link above if you want to torture yourself. Ramirez did come back at the end of 2015 for a farewell tour, so that was fun.

Also born on this date: 1994 pitcher Alejandro Pena, pitcher John Gelnar, who played for the 1964 and 1967 teams. Infielder Bill Webb (1917), and 1929-30 pitcher Ralph Erickson, who is one of a handful of former Major League players who lived to 100 years old. He passed away in 2002.

On this date in 1912, the Pirates took on the St Louis Cardinals in Pittsburgh for two games. By the end of the day, they would collect 35 hits and outscore the Cardinals 29-7. Chief Wilson and Hall of Famer Max Carey each hit grand slams. The Pirates finished second in the NL that year with a 93-58 record.

On this date in 2016, Clint Hurdle picked up his 1,000th managerial win and the Pirates defeated the Dodgers for the 1,000th time in franchise history in an 8-6 win at PNC Park.

  • WillyMoGarcia33
    June 26, 2017 9:42 am

    This is kind of what makes my blood boil in terms of managing their youth. With a player like Hanson, you could at least tell yourself, “Well, he struggled in AAA, so they’re trying to work with him”. But he’s getting extended playing time in Chicago now, and showing some promise. Even getting an OF assist other day playing CF. With Moroff, he didn’t come with the same stigma’s regarding his bat and such, but yet he gets just as much playing time. 2 starts 6/12 and 6/14, but almost 2 weeks later, he’s had 1 additional start, and another AB. 4 AB’s in almost 2 weeks, how do they expect these kids to gain any traction just riding the pine? Even with Diaz, Cervelli hits the concussion DL again, and Stewart starts back to back days. Are they trying to showcase Stewie for a trade? Diaz has even shown promise in the bigs with his bat and defense, yet Stewart still gets the nod? Not saying they need to plug them in as everyday starters, but hell, give the kids a chance. Trying to showcase and trade Stewart is the only reasonable assumption I can come to in playing him consistently, meanwhile carrying 3 catchers, which makes no sense. Stallings is really serving no purpose being on the roster, but luckily for him he’s getting paid for it.

  • I think Osuna has done a nice job.
    Hope he can stick around a while.

  • ” Maybe the Pirates need to send him to the Chicago White Sox for nothing, so he can play. Alen Hanson sure seems to be finding at-bats he couldn’t find in Pittsburgh.”

    Why not follow through with your logic (with which I agree) that the PBC never gave this guy a chance to flash his SH and speed, leaving him wallow in the minors too long.

    I am sure it’s happening still with others “young Bucs.” (They also need to find Osuna more at at bats, playing in LF or RF. They also should play Diaz as often as they did Cervelli, when the latter wasn’t injured.)

    • Diaz will probably start today, but it’s hard to imagine why Stewart starts over him. I’m all for a little more Osuna too. It’d be helpful to see more of him before Marte returns.

      I also hope Kuhl makes it past the 5th today. If he doesn’t, let’s see what Hutch or Brault have for a couple of starts. Kuhl might be just what the BP needs.

      At any rate, it’s good to see the Bucs playing better than early in the season.

  • I would really rather see Osuna start than to see Jaso start. Not that Jaso isn’t hitting but it’s not like he’s going to be our bench player forever too. Pinch hitting, double switches are good enough for him.

    • The only thing I don’t mind about Osuna not getting enough at-bats is that he has always played winter ball all off-season. Assuming he does that again this year, he gets close to 300 plate appearances, depending on how far his team goes in the playoffs. He might only be 24, but in baseball experience, he’s an old 24 with all of the playing time he has had over the years. Osuna has 3,637 plate appearances, which doesn’t even include the two years of winter ball where he was getting his at-bats on the Venezuelan version of the minor league side. So if anyone could be fine with a partial playing time, it’s him.

      When Hanson played winter ball, he usually started late and twice he got hurt for an extended time, so it was almost detrimental to him.

  • I checked and Hanson is hitting .333 and playing 2nd and the OF for the White Sox. Sometimes players do need a change of scenery.

    • True, but the sample size is small.

      The big difference seems to be that he is actually playing. With the Pirates he was averaging 1.44 PA/game. With the Sox he’s at 2.36. Chicago is giving the kid a chance…something the Pirates never did.

  • Don’t feel bad about Tristan Gray. MLB clubs are just drafting young players. My son was born last week and he’s starting at 3rd base this afternoon for the DSL Brewers.

    • I can do a little better than that. A new family moved onto our street a few weeks ago, a young couple with 7 year old and 4 year old sons. (My street now has 8 boys and a girl between 4 and 9.)

      Yesterday, I saw the man and his two sons in their front yard. Dad was pitching tennis balls to the 4 year old, and the 7 year old was shagging. I started walking down the street to chat, and the 4 year old put a good lefty swing on a ball and drove it 110 feet or so on the fly. I started clapping as I was walking.

      I got to their yard and settled in as the BP catcher. The little guy hit several more solid shots although, of course, he had a pretty high whiff rate. Then the 7 year old took over, and dad switched to overhand. Of the first half dozen pitches, the kid hit 4 ropes and a hard grounder. He had a great LH swing; kept his head still, good lower body, kept his hands in.

      I told the father that both his boys had great swings. He told me that he spent a year and a half in the Braves’ system, and was already on the coaching staff for the local travel team (and the 7 year old is on it despite his brief residence time). So the older boy will be draft eligible in about 2028. I expect to hear his name called.

  • John, I know I’ve told you this before, but I love the Pirates history write ups!

    • You can find Today in Pirate history on Facebook. That will help keep you up to date in the off season

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