In our preseason top 50 prospects list, there were five players who are no longer with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Since we just released our mid-season top 50 list, I wanted to give an update on those players.
The most notable player would be Alen Hanson, who ranked 20th in our Prospect Guide. Everyone knows the details of Clint Hurdle gluing him to the bench, then the Pirates getting rid of him for nothing. Then he got replaced by Alen Hanson part II with Max Moroff sitting on the same bench spot before the glue could dry. Hanson has been seeing more playing time with the Chicago White Sox, and to be honest, they are a much better fit for him right now because they can give him playing time without worrying about results at this point. They sold off their top players and stocked their farm system, so they are playing for a high draft pick next year. That doesn’t make it right that the Pirates gave him away for free, just saying that it’s better for him.
Hanson is hitting .245/.322/.340 for Chicago, and has even started in center field and batted lead-off. He has the same exact total of plate appearances (59) that he received with the Pirates. The difference being that he spent 54 games with the Pirates, and last night was Chicago’s 35th game since they acquired him.
We had Lisalverto Bonilla ranked 28th going into the season and he was gone before the print could dry on the book. They picked up Pat Light the day after we received the books from the printer and DFA’d Bonilla, hoping to get him through waivers. Now they have neither player. Bonilla was picked up by the Cincinnati Reds, who have bounced him between Triple-A and the majors. The results haven’t been good, but they got four starts and five relief appearances out of him. Pirates probably would have used him in the bullpen at some point around late April or May, but he isn’t a big loss. Just a side note, neither Hanson nor Bonilla qualify for prospect status anymore, both crossing those maximum totals with their new team.
Frank Duncan was traded for Phil Gosselin after we ranked him 37th overall in our prospect guide. You need some context before I mention his stats. He was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks and their Triple-A team plays in Reno. That’s not only a hitting paradise, they also play numerous clubs who have parks that fall in that same category. Duncan has a 6.58 ERA in 105.1 innings, with a 1.68 WHIP. That would be about the same as a 4.00 ERA for Indianapolis. So it wouldn’t be great results for Indianapolis if it translated over, but it wouldn’t look as bad as that ERA does now without proper context.
The Pirates sent back Rule 5 pick Tyler Webb to the New York Yankees at the end of Spring Training. The Yankees sent him to Triple-A, recalled him, then traded him to the Milwaukee Brewers, who sent him to the minors after two games. Webb was okay during his brief time with the Yankees, but had some trouble with the Brewers and now he is in the Pacific Coast League with Duncan learning the harsh realities of a high offense park. Webb was ranked #42 in our book.
Jared Lakind was ranked #45 in our book and had issues with consistency all season at Altoona. We saw much better from him last year. It was no surprise that he got released, but you could also say it wasn’t a surprise he got picked up right away. After all, he was good enough to get ranked in the top 50 as a Double-A reliever. The Miami Marlins signed him nine days after he was released and he was assigned to Low-A. That’s obviously not a good spot for someone of his caliber. He is actually teammates with Nick Neumann there. He was released late in Spring Training due to a roster crunch at Altoona, the same thing that got Lakind later in the season.
Since I mentioned him above, Pat Light was claimed by the Seattle Mariners, who got him through waivers. He is now feeling the joy of pitching in the PCL, with poor stats in his small sample size. He also spent two weeks on the disabled list.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates won 13-5 over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night. The Pirates will send Chad Kuhl to the mound tonight for his 20th start. He faced Colorado at PNC Park this season, allowing three runs over five innings. Kuhl has a 2.49 ERA in four starts this month. The Rockies will counter with right-handed pitcher German Marquez, who has a 4.34 ERA in 83 innings this year, with 76 strikeouts and a 1.41 WHIP. He allowed one run over five innings against the Pirates on June 14th.
In the minors, Steven Brault gets the start for Indianapolis. His 2.06 ERA is the best in the International League. He is eighth in the league in innings pitched, though he could move into third place by going at least 5.2 innings tonight (assuming no one ahead of him starts). Brault ranks fourth in the league in WHIP and sixth in strikeouts. The GCL Pirates were rained out yesterday, so they will play a doubleheader today. Leandro Pina, Jake Webb, Cody Bolton and Austin Shields are all scheduled to see action, which would be a loaded day for interesting pitchers. Hunter Stratton will start for Bristol. Ike Schlabach is the likely starter for Morgantown. The schedule lists Gavin Wallace, but he pitched in relief yesterday.
MLB: Pittsburgh (49-48) @ Rockies (56-42) 8:10 PM
Probable starter: Chad Kuhl (4.85 ERA, 38:76 BB/SO, 91.0 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (54-44) @ Gwinnett (48-49) 6:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Steven Brault (2.06 ERA, 36:95 BB/SO, 100.1 IP)
AA: Altoona (49-47) @ Bowie (52-36) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Cody Dickson (7.47 ERA, 12:15 BB/SO, 15.2 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (54-40) vs Clearwater (51-45) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Cam Vieaux (3.34 ERA, 8:15 BB/SO, 29.2 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (42-51) vs Lexington (48-47) 6:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: James Marvel (4.17 ERA, 25:58 BB/SO, 77.2 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (19-12) vs State College (17-14) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD
Rookie: Bristol (8-21) @ Burlington (11-17) 7:00 PM
GCL: Pirates (8-13) vs Phillies (11-9) 10:00 AM DH
DSL: Pirates (23-18) vs Dodgers2 (24-16) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Here is a highlight from Bligh Madris, because frankly, it’s been too long without one.
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.
7/15: Cody Dickson activated from Altoona disabled list.
7/15: Raul Hernandez promoted to Morgantown.
7/15: Brandon Waddell assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.
7/14: Brent Gibbs placed on disabled list. Yoel Gonzalez added to West Virginia roster.
7/14: Will Reed assigned to GCL Pirates.
7/14: Montana DuRapau promoted to Indianapolis.
7/13: Dany Hernandez promoted to Bristol. Will Reed assigned to GCL Pirates from Bristol.
7/13: Pasquale Mazzoccoli promoted to West Virginia. Andrew Potter released.
7/12: Luis Escobar activated from temporary inactive list. Nick King assigned to Morgantown.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Six former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus two trades of note. We start with the best player born on this date and you can find a full bio for him here. George Gibson was a catcher for the Pirates from 1905 until 1916 and held the team’s record for games caught until Jason Kendall passed him nearly 100 years after Gibson played his first game. He was a key member of the 1909 club, catching 150 games that season, which is almost unheard now under much easier conditions for a catcher. When he first came up to the majors, he was strictly a defensive specialist with a cannon for an arm, but he turned himself into a respectable hitter. Gibson also managed the Pirates after his playing career was over, finishing with a 401-330 record.
Other players born on this date include pitcher Ryan Vogelsong, who played for the Pirates in 2001 and 2003-06, then became a Pirate again last year. Also infielder Denny Gonzalez (1984-85, 87-88), and first baseman R.C. Stevens, who was a member of the 1960 World Series champs.
Sheldon LeJeune played center field for the 1915 Pirates and he may have had the best arm in team history. Back in 1910, he broke the world record for longest throw in the air at 426 feet. He was a great minor league player, but his success never carried over to the majors. Finally, Jack Glasscock played for the 1893-94 Pirates and he is an under-appreciated star from that era, one who hit .290 career, with over 2,000 hits and played a terrific all-around game.
As for the two trades made on July 22nd, we have the 1988 deal that sent outfielder Darnell Coles to the Mariners for outfielder Glenn Wilson. We also have the 2009 deal that saw Adam LaRoche go to the Red Sox for shortstop Argenis Diaz and pitcher Hunter Strickland. You can read more about these deals and the bios of the five players mentioned above, in the link at the top of this section.