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


Source: FanGraphs

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

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)

HIGHLIGHTS

Here is a highlight from Bligh Madris, because frankly, it’s been too long without one.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

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.

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17 COMMENTS

  1. Really not accurate to say a 6.58 ERA would be about 4 in Indy. I get the elevations of parks, thinner air and what makes the PCL a hitters paradise, but it doesn’t just translate as so.

  2. Trade Idea: Glasnow (or Meadows), one of the other backlogged arms at AAA (Brault, Kingham, Holmes, HUtchinson) and one of the two shortstops of the future (Newman or Tucker) to Oakland for Sonny Gray.
    The As, in the first case, would get to young arms to start for them on August 1.

    • I think we need three things to make not only the playoffs but a run once in:
      – SP: Williams and Kuhl are both #5 guys. We need another arm equivalent our top 3
      – 2B or 3B: Freeze and Frazier aren’t playoff caliber starters
      – OF: Polanco’s going to be out a while and Marte can’t play in the playoffs

      I say all of the because it is probably too much to give up for just one of the three pieces. I also don’t think the A’s would think it is enough. They might want Glasnow, Meadows, and Tucker

  3. John: Even after the giveaway of Hanson, he is still what I would think would be the best fit for a team like the Pirates, but with a different Manager. For the CWS he has played 2B, CF, and RF, has hit 2 doubles and a HR, scored 13 times in only 57 AB, 6 walks/8 K’s, and has stolen 2 bases. I know he has an OF assist because it was on MLB First Pitch the other day.

    All the defensive versatility and the footspeed to steal a base. I listened to the Root sports guys talk about Moroff’s speed and I almost choked on my beer. He did not attempt to steal a base this year at AAA and last year he had 9 SB and 7 CS. CH had no use for Hanson, but seems smitten with Moroff and Gosselin. Go figure.

    I doubt the CWS will hold onto Hanson, even though he is much better than a lot of the young guys currently playing for them. Their SS Anderson has 10 W/93 K’s; their 3B Davidson 14 W/113 K’s; and their 2B Sanchez 22W/60 K’s. Their team leader in steals has 6. When they DFA him maybe we can re-claim him or, if not, we can always wait 4 years until he turns 28, and trade a AAA pitcher for him????

    • Moroff does have some speed, but he isn’t close to as fast as Hanson. I would say it’s slightly above average though. He has basically become the new Hanson.

      In 54 games, Hanson had 59 plate appearances.
      In 52 games, Moroff has 64 plate appearances.

      Hurdle seems to need to see immediate results or you don’t play. He stuck with Ngoepe way too long because of his first start it seems. After that start, Ngoepe hit .163/.241/.204 with 25 strikeouts in 55 plate appearances. Basically, he got the same amount of PA’s as the other two in 18-20 fewer games. Hurdle threw the scouting reports out the window and forced AB’s on a defensive replacement because he made a strong first impressive, but the International League OPS leader got benched immediately. There is a huge difference in the hitting abilities of Hanson/Moroff and Ngoepe, not to mention the fact that he is 27 and they are 24.

      • Gosselin 6 for 40 (150 BA) in 28 games with 2 rbis. Nothing beats veteranosity as far as Clint is concerned.

        • Like a lot of MLB Managers, Clint loves those guys that have numbers on the back of an MLB card like Gosselin. BeING honest, I was a Hanson backer for a long time, but IMO, he will be lucky to be anything more than Chase D’Arnaud. I think the reason they will give Moroff a little better opportunity is he has easier pop in his bat and is much more consistent defensively than Hanson will ever be.

  4. You’re being a bit generous with Duncan’s ERA. The difference between the International League and PCL is about 1.10 in terms of average ERA.

    • He pitches in Reno, which is much worse than other parks in the league. I did Reno to Indianapolis, not IL to PCL

  5. I love Madris’ swing. I think he could add a lot of power if he just incorporated a bit more of his lower half. His wrists are lightning quick.

  6. i think the gcl team is my favorite minor league team to follow right now. tons of interesting young talent down there

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