Morning Report: News and Notes from a Busy Day on the Site

Yesterday was a busy day so you may have missed a few things we covered. We actually tried to plan out the day ahead of time, which always works perfectly. When they invent a sarcastic font, I’ll go back and update that last sentence. The plan on Sunday night was to post The Twenty after the Morning Report, then the Pitcher of the Month, the Steven Brault feature and the injury update on Conner Uselton and Yeudy Garcia (Gift Ngoepe was a late addition). At night, we would announce the Mason Martin signing and have the Prospect Watch, giving you seven articles on the day.

Around 10:30 AM yesterday, we found out Shane Baz was making his first pro start, so that pushed the Prospect Watch up to noon. Then between our scheduled articles, Andrew McCutchen was named the NL Player of the Month and the Pirates activated Francisco Cervelli, so some things got pushed back, while the Morning Report and The Twenty were quickly pushed off of the top section on our front page. Between those two articles, we had updates on 40 players, with 23 in the Morning Report and 20 (obviously) in The Twenty, with three players being mentioned in both of them.

So if you joined us late yesterday, you missed a lot. Even the Prospect Watch was off the top section by 7:00 PM, but we put it back up top at the end of the night because of Baz starting. I was able to get a scouting report of his brief outing, which was there shortly after the game ended. Tim Williams is covering the GCL today and it’s a 10:00 AM game, so hopefully afterwards he is able to catch up to Baz and a few other players of interest. We already have a couple articles scheduled for today, plus a GCL update article if all goes well. Enjoy your holiday and check back throughout the day for some features. I don’t expect it to be as busy as yesterday, but you never know…

* If you’ve ever wondered about the college part of a prep player’s signing bonus, the school part of Mason Martin’s contract was announced yesterday. We have actually been fooled once in the past by an announcement containing that scholarship money as if it was guaranteed with the bonus. Players get that money for school only, yet when Nathan Trevillian’s bonus was announced by a local reporter who didn’t grasp how that works, the total was $150,000 higher than his actual bonus. Yesterday with Martin, it was announced that he received a scholarship amount of $220,000 on top of his $350,000 bonus. Apparently, Gonzaga is an expensive school for four years. For you fans, hope that he never uses that money because he has a long career with the Pirates.

* A little bit of international signing news, basically just updates from Sunday’s mass announcement. One of the unnamed players is a pitcher named Jose Amaya, who has been quite the accomplished amateur pitcher growing up in Panama. He signed together with Angel Basabe, who is a Venezuelan player, but he has lived and trained recently in Panama. Basabe received the second highest bonus yesterday ($450,000), while Amaya’s bonus wasn’t announced.

One of the other players signed on Sunday, a right-handed pitcher named Brayan Torres, is from Nicaragua. He signed for a $180,000 bonus. Torres, whose named is often spelled “Bryan”, is the first player from Nicaragua for the Pirates since Adolfo Flores signed for $100,000 back in 2011. You can find info on this site for Flores, but you can’t find stats, despite the fact he spent a lot of time at the Dominican academy. When I write a tell-all book in my twilight years, there will be a section on him. Let’s hope Torres turns out much better.

* Edwin Espinal was added to the Eastern League All-Star game on Monday, then he celebrated at night by hitting his ninth home run of the season. I mentioned during the original announcement that he was deserving of an All-Star nod, but I think he’s actually more deserving of a promotion to Indianapolis at this point. I really want to see what he can do against Triple-A pitching in his last year before minor league free agency and the longer they wait to promote him, the less time he gets to prove if he’s worth keeping around at the end of the year.

* Our updated top 50 should be up sometime next week. Right now we are just gathering information on the new player in the system, plus you may have noticed a lot of live coverage in the past week, as we collect info on as many players as possible. Tim Williams has been talking to and watching players in the GCL recently, which will continue on even after the updated list.

My contribution during this stretch has been watching Morgantown games, to get as many views as I can of the new players. I watch games every night during the season, but usually I watch game for either the best starting pitcher or a loaded lineup. The last five days have been Morgantown games. They go on the road now, so the games won’t be on, but they return for a three-game set over the weekend and that will give me a chance to see more of these players before we do our rankings.


Source: FanGraphs


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 4-0 to the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday night. The Pirates will now send Jameson Taillon to the mound for his 11th start. In his last outing, he threw 6.1 shutout innings against the Tampa Bay Rays. Taillon has a 2.70 ERA in five road starts. The Phillies will counter with 26-year-old right-hander Mark Leiter, who had a 4.20 ERA in 30 innings, with 23 strikeouts and a 1.27 WHIP.  He has made two starts and 12 relief appearances.

In the minors, Steven Brault makes his first start of July and possibly (?) his last start for Indianapolis. He was named our Pitcher of the Month for June, when he followed up a month of May in which he was also our top pitcher. Brian Peloza wrote about Brault yesterday and how he looks like he belongs in the majors right now. Mitch Keller makes his second start for Bradenton since returning from his back injury. In his previous start, he threw four perfect innings. He should go five innings in this outing. Braeden Ogle will go for Bristol in his third start and Leandro Pina is slated for the GCL.

MLB: Pittsburgh (37-46) @ Phillies (28-53) 4:05 PM
Probable starter: Jameson Taillon (2.97 ERA, 20:50 BB/SO, 57.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (47-36) vs Columbus (42-40) 6:05 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter: Steven Brault (2.04 ERA, 30:83 BB/SO, 88.1 IP)

AA: Altoona (41-39) vs Binghamton (44-34) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tanner Anderson (4.29 ERA, 19:47 BB/SO, 77.2 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (44-34) @ Palm Beach (48-30) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Mitch Keller (2.66 ERA, 8:41 BB/SO, 44.0 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (36-42) @ Lexington (41-40) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Blake Cederlind (6.95 ERA, 20:46 BB/SO, 44.0 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (9-5) @ Mahoning Valley (9-5) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Stephan Meyer (4.22 ERA, 3:6 BB/SO, 10.2 IP)

Rookie: Bristol (3-9) vs Kingston (3-7) 7:00 PM

GCL: Pirates (2-5) vs Blue Jays (5-1) 10:00 AM

DSL: Pirates (16-10) vs Dodgers2 (18-7) 10:30 AM (season preview)


Here is an opposite field double by Mitchell Tolman, who went on a tear last week, earning a spot in The Twenty


7/3: Francisco Cervelli activated from disabled list. Edgar Santana optioned to Indianapolis.

7/2: Starling Marte assigned to Bradenton on rehab.

7/2: Hunter Owen assigned to Morgantown. Nick King assigned to West Virginia.

6/30: Logan Hill promoted to Altoona. Jordan Luplow promoted to Indianapolis. Alexis Bastardo promoted to Bradenton. Julio Eusebio promoted to West Virginia.

6/30: Connor Joe placed on disabled list.

6/30: Jason Rogers released.

6/29: Yeudy Garcia assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.

6/29: Brandon Cumpton promoted to Altoona.

6/29: Mitch Keller activated from the disabled list.

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.

6/27: Antonio Bastardo activated from disabled list. Jacob Stallings optioned to Indianapolis.

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.


Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date , plus a famous manager was born on this date as well. Going quickly through the players, as bios of each can be found in the link. Starting with the most recent first we have 2010 relief pitcher Brendan Donnelly, left fielder Wayne Nordhagen, who played for the Pirates on June 19, 1982. We also have pitcher Jim Minshall (1974-75), pitcher Jim Nelson, who was a member of the 1971 world champs, 1929 pinch-runner Mel Ingram, 1912 right fielder Stump Edington, and 1906 pitcher Lou Manske. Ingram was a four-sport star at Gonzaga and was signed to a unique contract, one that started on June 18th and guaranteed he would be released by September 1st so he could return home to his job.

Chuck Tanner was born on this date in 1928. He managed the Pirates from 1977 until 1985, leading them to their fifth World Series title. Tanner was a Major League outfielder for eight years, but he is better known for his work as a manager. He was managing the Oakland A’s when the Pirates traded Manny Sanguillen and cash to Oakland for Tanner. In his nine seasons in Pittsburgh, which included the dreadful 1985 season, he had a 711-685 record. He led the Pirates to one title and three second place finishes. Tanner finished with 1,352 career wins.

The link above also contains a noteworthy trade from 1905, plus a recap of a doubleheader from the 1902 season, when the Pirates were the most dominant team in baseball. In that 1905 trade, the Pirates sent shortstop George McBride to the St Louis Cardinals in exchange for infielder Dave Brain. The significant part of the deal is that Brain was soon traded to Boston as part of the deal to acquire Vic Willis, who would go on to have four straight 20-win seasons with the Pirates, including the 1909 World Series winning season.

  • Joseph Willis
    July 4, 2017 3:25 pm

    Do we know if the Basabe kid is the little brother of the twins by the same name already in the minors and both very good prospects for two different teams?

  • where can we go to find the international signing tracker for this year? I am interested in seeing the height and weight of the players they signed. The Basabe kid looks like he is twelve years old and stands about 5’6″ and weighs about 110lbs.

  • John … is the college money only guaranteed for a certain amount of years? I’m wondering if a successful player can retire at 35 after making millions and then use the money to go back to school.
    Also, I wonder if they know they are not putting Espinal on the 40-man and don’t want to take the chance that he’ll do well.

    • John Dreker
      July 4, 2017 10:08 am

      I haven’t heard of a time limit, but it seems like it would be odd to put one in there for several reasons

  • terrygordon30
    July 4, 2017 9:31 am

    Jim Nelson was a terrific young pitcher, until his arm troubles got the best of him.

  • terrygordon30
    July 4, 2017 9:28 am

    The Sunday mass announcement? Is this a Roman Catholic site?

  • Come on, John! You can’t tease us with the promise of spilling the dirt on Adolfo Flores, like, 30 years from now. Can’t you just write a book under an assumed name? How about John Doe? Wedge Antilles? Jose Canseco?