Today is a great day if you love following pitching prospects in the minor league system. You’re usually guaranteed that the best hitters will play more often than not if they are healthy, but you really need the pitching stars to align to get a day like today.
If you somehow missed it from last week, we released our mid-season top 50 prospects list. On that list, you will find six of the seven pitchers going today for Indianapolis on down to the GCL Pirates. That seventh pitcher who didn’t make the list is Tyler Glasnow, who lost his prospect status this year before being sent to the minors back in early June.
We don’t rank DSL players until they come to the States, so the most you will get is seven top 50 pitchers on a particular day. Morgantown needed a little help today from a rehab player because they don’t have a pitching prospect in the top 50 on their roster, although Ike Schlabach is making his case to be included in the 2018 Prospect Guide top 50.
Here is the list of pitchers going today, along with the team, listed according to their mid-season rank:
1. Mitch Keller, Bradenton
12. Braeden Ogle, Bristol
20. Steven Jennings, GCL Pirates
27. Eduardo Vera, West Virginia
32. Brandon Waddell, Morgantown
41. Alex McRae, Altoona
Keller is the top prospects, which makes him the most interesting. You could probably say that Glasnow is the most important start because he has looked like a totally different pitcher since being sent down and that could help the Pirates soon, but this is a big game for Keller as well. He was struck by a line drive on his shin during his last start. It looked painful, it left a big mark, but he is apparently going to start today on normal rest. I have a feeling that could be a decision made final today when they see how he feels, but either way, the relief should be there that something that looked bad, ending up being minor. Keller was nearing the end of his night when it happened anyway, so just like his bee sting incident, it only cost him a few batters each game.
Unfortunately, the GCL Pirates are going on the road today, so you won’t get live coverage of Jennings. The flip side to that is Shane Baz starting on Wednesday at home, which will be covered live.
* On Monday afternoon, a couple of minor leaguers for the Pittsburgh Pirates picked up awards. Outfielder Bligh Madris was named the New York-Penn League Player of the Week and Garrett Brown was named the South Atlantic League Player of the Week. Both players were covered yesterday in our weekly feature titled The Twenty.
Madris had hits in all five games he played last week, including the first three home runs of his pro career. He also drew three walks and had the walk-off hit during Friday’s game. He is hitting .299/.386/.517 through his first 23 games as a pro after being drafted in the ninth round back in June. Since striking out in all four at-bats on July 15th, he has gone 13-for-27 at the plate with only two strikeouts. Madris leads Morgantown with his .903 OPS and ranks fifth overall in the NYPL.
Brown also had a bad game on July 15th, striking out twice on an 0-for-4 night. Since that game, he has gone 13-for-31 at the plate. He is hitting .337/.371/.413 in 24 games since joining the West Virginia Power on June 19th. Despite the recent success, the 24-year-old outfielder is still considered to be a raw player due to quitting baseball during college to concentrate on football. He is one of the fastest players in the entire system, possibly at the top of that list. If he can get on base enough to use that speed, then he becomes a legit prospect. At this point, you give him a break when factoring in his age, because he is making up for a lot of lost time.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the San Francisco Giants by a 10-3 score on Monday night. The Pirates will send Jameson Taillon to the mound tonight for his 14th start. He did not face the Giants the first two times these teams met. Taillon has a 2.31 ERA in six road starts. The Giants will counter with lefty Madison Bumgarner, who has a 3.57 ERA in 40.1 innings, with 38 strikeouts and a 1.04 WHIP.
In the minors, Tyler Glasnow starts for Indianapolis tonight. He has not given up more than two runs in any of his seven Triple-A starts. Mitch Keller is slated for Bradenton after leaving his last start early due to taking a line drive off of his shin. He went six shutout innings in that game before the injury. Brandon Waddell makes his second rehab start for Morgantown tonight. He gave up one run over four innings in the first game and also threw three shutout innings in the GCL prior to moving up two levels. Braeden Ogle will go for Bristol tonight. He has a 4.20 ERA through six starts. Steven Jennings, the 42nd overall pick in this year’s draft, makes his fourth pro start today in the GCL. Over his first three outings, he has allowed three runs on 11 hits and two walks, with seven strikeouts in 7.1 innings.
MLB: Pittsburgh (50-50) @ Giants (38-63) 10:15 PM
Probable starter: Jameson Taillon (3.08 ERA, 24:72 BB/SO, 73.0 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (56-45) vs Rochester (58-43) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Glasnow (1.49 ERA, 20:66 BB/SO, 42.1 IP)
AA: Altoona (51-48) @ Reading (54-44) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Alex McRae (3.70 ERA, 27:61 BB/SO, 112.0 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (56-41) @ St Lucie (46-53) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Mitch Keller (3.36 ERA, 20:54 BB/SO, 64.1 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (45-51) vs Lexington (48-50) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Eduardo Vera (3.16 ERA, 9:68 BB/SO, 82.2 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (21-12) vs Batavia (11-22) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Brandon Waddell (2.25 ERA, 1:4 BB/SO, 4.0 IP)
Rookie: Bristol (8-24) vs Bluefield (21-10) 7:00 PM
GCL: Pirates (10-14) vs Yankees West (11-11) 12:00 PM
DSL: Pirates (24-19) vs Cubs1 (22-20) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Here is the first career home run from 14th round draft pick Chris Sharpe.
7/23: Adrian Valerio placed on disabled list. Andrew Walker assigned to West Virginia.
7/22: Gregory Polanco placed on the disabled list. Steven Brault recalled from Indianapolis.
7/22: Hector Garcia assigned to Morgantown on rehab.
7/21: Adonis Pichardo assigned to GCL Pirates from Bristol. Ryan Valdes, Hector Quinones and Will Reed promoted to Bristol.
7/20: Kevin Newman promoted to Indianapolis. Anderson Feliz and Jackson Williams assigned to Altoona.
7/20: Tomas Morales placed on disabled list.
7/20: Cole Tucker promoted to Altoona. Logan Ratledge assigned to Bradenton.
7/20: Stephen Alemais promoted to Bradenton.
7/20: Pirates release Zane Chavez
7/19: Brandon Waddell and Conner Joe assigned to Morgantown on rehab.
7/18: Starling Marte activated from restricted list. Phil Gosselin optioned to Indianapolis.
7/18: Hunter Owen placed on disabled list. Nick King promoted to West Virginia.
7/15: Taylor Hearn placed on disabled list.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a trade of note. We start with one of the best pitchers in the last 30 years for the franchise, possibly the best. Doug Drabek pitched six seasons in Pittsburgh and his 1990 Cy Young award is the last one won by a Pirates’ pitcher. He helped the Pirates to three straight playoffs during their 1990-92 run. Drabek went 92-62, 3.02 in 1,362.2 innings over 196 starts in Pittsburgh. You can read a full bio on Drabek here.
Other players born on this date include 2010-13 outfielder Alex Presley. Ed Sprague, who was the third baseman during the 1999 season. Jack McMahan, a pitcher in 1956 that the Pirates picked up in the November 1955 Rule 5 draft. Also outfielder Marv Rackley, who spent the 1949 season with the Pirates. He turns 96 today and he’s the second oldest living Pittsburgh Pirates player.
On this date in 1896, the Pirates traded first baseman Jake Beckley to the New York Giants for first baseman Harry Davis and cash. The deal was unpopular at the time and did not work out well. Beckley is a Hall of Famer, who was the Pirates career home run leader until being passed by Honus Wagner in 1908. He also had a strong career after the deal, while Davis lasted with Pittsburgh until 1898 when he was sold to Louisville. You can read more on this deal, the players listed above and a 1956 game recap, in the link at the top of this section.