Morning Report: A Lot of Recognition Around the FSL for Bradenton’s Best

The last two Morning Reports have looked at the top tools articles by Baseball America. On Wednesday, we looked at the International League’s best, where coaches and managers decided that Tyler Glasnow had the best breaking ball in the league and Elias Diaz was the best defensive catcher. The Eastern League list was covered yesterday, with Kevin Newman being named best defensive shortstop, Edwin Espinal was selected as the best defensive first baseman and Elvis Escobar was chosen for the best outfield arm. Today we look at the Florida State League, where the Pittsburgh Pirates were well-represented.

I’ll start at the top, where they have Logan Hill as the best power prospect. Nothing against Hill, I just find it hard to believe there isn’t a better prospect in the league who hits for power.  I’m saying that based on what he did in the league, not the fact he’s out for the season with a fractured hand. As I have said often, Hill is country strong, so it’s not the power part that I have a problem with, it’s the fact they threw the word prospect in there too. He’s a 24-year-old corner outfielder with limited defensive abilities and below average speed. Hard to imagine that’s the best power prospect in the league.

For best baserunner, they have Cole Tucker. He still leads the league with 36 steals, and that’s despite missing three weeks with a thumb injury and he was promoted to Altoona three weeks ago.

Best pitching prospect is Mitch Keller. Like Tucker, this is one you won’t find many (any?) arguments with, although unlike Tucker, Keller didn’t earn it with dominating numbers. He did well in the FSL with a 3.14 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, a 1.72 GO/AO ratio and a .207 BAA in 77.1 innings, but he isn’t going to be winning the Pitcher of the Year award for the league. This is for the best pitching prospect and he’s considered one of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball, not just the FSL.

Best fastball went to Taylor Hearn. Keller likely got some strong consideration for this one, especially from those who saw him late in his FSL run. I’ll note that the timing of these surveys handed out by BA may have hurt Keller here. They mentioned they were done in July and it his last three starts with Bradenton, Keller hit 99 MPH numerous times and even got a 100 MPH pitch in there. Hearn is right there though, always working 94-99 and coming from a big lefty.

Ke’Bryan Hayes might be a little surprising here. He wasn’t the best defensive third baseman, but he did receive the best infield arm. I expected him to get the third base nod, but wouldn’t have guessed best infield arm. He does have a strong arm, though from what I’ve seen from his teammate Alfredo Reyes, the latter probably has the better arm. Reyes has played some outfield this year and isn’t in the lineup everyday, so I’d imagine some coaches and managers haven’t seen him throw.

** Jonathan Mayo took some questions on MLB Pipeline and two of them were Pirates related. The first question was about the new farm system ranks. Pipeline only ranked the top ten systems last week, which didn’t include the Pirates. Mayo gave his votes for the teams ranked 11-15 now. The Pirates came in at #15, losing spots because of Tyler Glasnow and Josh Bell no longer being considered prospects (they also eliminated Max Moroff and Elias Diaz based on service time, but we still include them). Mayo mentions that the Pirates have players with considerable upside from this current draft, so they could rebound back into the top ten if enough of those plays pan out.

The other question was about him being down on Austin Meadows and he noted that he wasn’t, although he dropped just slightly in the rankings (#10 down to #20) due to a recurring injury. More in the link above…don’t skip his last question either, which isn’t Pirates related.

PLAYOFF PUSH

The Pirates trail in their division by three games. They are eight games back for the second wild card spot (does not include late results last night).

Indianapolis is in first place, with a 3.5 game lead. Their season ends September 4th.

Altoona is in first place, one half game ahead. Their season ends September 4th.

Bradenton is in second place, three games behind. Their season ends September 3rd.

West Virginia is in third place, two games out of first. Their season ends September 4th.

Morgantown is in first place, one half game ahead. Their season ends September 7th.

Bristol is in last place, 19 games back. Their season ends August 31st.

The GCL Pirates are in third place, seven games behind. Their season ends September 2nd.

The DSL Pirates are in third place, 2.5 games back. Their season ends August 26th.

PIRATES GAME GRAPH


Source: FanGraphs

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Detroit Tigers 7-5 on Thursday afternoon. The Pirates now travel to Toronto, where they will send Jameson Taillon to the mound today for his 17th start. He has posted a 9.64 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break. On the road this season, Taillon has a 4.88 ERA. The Blue Jays will counter with Marcus Stroman, who has a 3.17 ERA in 145 innings pitched, with 120 strikeouts and a 1.33 WHIP. He has a 2.90 ERA at home and 2.76 since the All-Star break.

In the minors, Tyler Glasnow goes for Indianapolis, trying to make his 11th start in a row without allowing more than two runs. Alex McRae goes for Altoona today after making his last appearance in relief during Mitch Keller’s Double-A debut. Pedro Vasquez goes for Bradenton, coming off an outing in which he threw five shutout innings. He ranks fifth in the FSL with a 2.91 ERA and third with a 1.14 WHIP. West Virginia starter Eduardo Vera allowed one run over seven innings in his last start. Travis MacGregor goes for Bristol, while Max Kranick makes his second GCL start.

MLB: Pittsburgh (57-58) @ Blue Jays (54-60) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Jameson Taillon (4.60 ERA, 28:84 BB/SO, 86.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (64-53) vs Syracuse (45-73) 7:15 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Glasnow (4.00 ERA, 25:71 BB/SO, 81.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (60-55) vs Trenton (76-39) 7:00 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter: Alex McRae (3.45 ERA, 29:74 BB/SO, 128.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (62-51) vs Charlotte (55-58) 6:30 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter: Pedro Vasquez  (2.91 ERA, 27:92 BB/SO, 117.2 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (55-58) @ Hagerstown (64-50) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Eduardo Vera (3.13 ERA, 11:85 BB/SO, 100.2 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (30-20) @ Aberdeen (28-22) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD

Rookie: Bristol (10-38) vs Johnson City (26-22) 7:00 PM

GCL: Pirates (14-26) vs Braves (21-19) 12:00 PM

DSL: Pirates (32-26) vs Rays2 (31-24) 10:30 AM  (season preview)

HIGHLIGHTS

Here is Jordan Luplow’s 22nd home run of the season. That’s best in the system.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

8/10: Nick King assigned to GCL Pirates.

8/9: Joey Terdoslavich placed on Indianapolis disabled list.

8/8: Matt Anderson placed on West Virginia disabled list. Blake Cederlind activated from disabled list.

8/8: Jerrick Suiter activated from Temporary Inactive List. Jake Brentz assigned to Bradenton.

8/7: Dovydas Neverauskas optioned to Indianapolis. George Kontos added to active roster.

8/7: Danny Ortiz sent outright to Indianapolis.

8/7: Gage Hinsz placed on disabled list. Alexis Bastardo released.

8/7: Carlos Munoz promoted to Bradenton. Brent Gibbs activated from West Virginia disabled list.

8/7:  Austin Meadows assigned to Morgantown on rehab.

8/6: Max Moroff optioned to Indianapolis. Sean Rodriguez added to active roster.

8/5: Pirates claim George Kontos off waivers. Designate Jhan Marinez and Danny Ortiz for assignment.

8/5: Pirates acquire Sean Rodriguez from Atlanta Braves for Connor Joe.

8/5: Wade LeBlanc reinstated from bereavement list.

8/4: Mitch Keller promoted to Altoona. Jerrick Suiter placed on the temporarily inactive list.

8/4: Michael de la Cruz assigned to GCL Pirates

8/4: James Marvel promoted to Bradenton. Oddy Nunez activated from West Virginia disabled list.

8/3: Angel German and Oneil Cruz added to West Virginia roster. Jordan Jess promoted to Bradenton. Nick King assigned to Morgantown.

8/3: Eury Perez traded to Miami Marlins for cash.

8/2: Gregory Polanco activated from disabled list. Jordan Luplow optioned to Indianapolis.

8/2: Wade LeBlanc placed on Bereavement List. Dovydas Neverauskas recalled from Indianapolis.

8/1: Oddy Nunez and Blake Cederlind placed on disabled list. Oneil Cruz and Angel German assigned to West Virginia.

8/1: Adrian Valerio activated from disabled list.

8/1: Stephan Meyer assigned to West Virginia. Hector Quinones assigned to Bristol.

THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY

Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including a player who held a Major League record for 33 years. Starting with outfielder Woody Jensen, who spent his entire nine-year Major League career with the Pirates from 1931 until 1939. He played 738 games with the team, and in 1936 he had 696 at-bats, which stood as an MLB record until the Pirates Matty Alou had two more at-bats during the 1969 season. Jensen had trouble cracking the outfield for the Pirates early in his career because the team had three Hall of Famers at one point, Paul and Lloyd Waner, as well as Freddie Lindstrom. Jensen hit .285 during his career and struck out just 100 times in 2,869 plate appearances.

Others players born on this date include:

Al Pedrique, 1987-88 shortstop. It took him nine years to make the majors after he signed. He hit .301 for the Pirates in 1987. then struggled the next year and was released after the season.

Dorn Taylor, pitcher in 1987 and 1989. The Pirates signed him as a non-drafted free agent, one of those rare success stories from that route. He made the Opening Day roster in 1989.

Walter Barbare, 1919-20 infielder. Prior to the 1921 season, he was part of a famous trade that involved two future Hall of Famers, with the Pirates getting back shortstop Rabbit Maranville from Boston(Braves) and Billy Southworth going to other way, along with cash and another player. At the time, it was considered a blockbuster deal.

  • I know the publication is about prospects and their futures, but–once again–some perspective would be nice based on the many previous article-subjects who just languish in the PBC system and then disappear from MLB.

  • Nothing on Trevillian this season? About time for him to go home then. Third year and nary a pitch thrown.

    • i didn’t know he was still in the org

    • He is throwing bullpens down at Pirate City and the reports are strong. He had a setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery early in spring, but is on track now. If all goes well, he could debut soon, or they might take it cautious and he might just pitch in the Instructional League next month. They don’t put radar on rehab guys until they take the mound, but I’ve been told by multiple people that he’s throwing harder now than before, which was 88-90.

      • Thanks, John. He’s still a youngster. I would hope he gets a taste of MiLB experience. Your response was good, as far as it goes for NT. He hasn’t had much go his way. If he handles his setbacks as well as JT he has a solid future ahead.

  • West Va deserves credit for not giving up on the season after a Bristol like start. Them being close to making the playoffs and near .500 are remarkable (although they’re in an NLC like division).

  • Re: Logan Hill- BA ranked him as the best power prospect in the league, not necessarily as a good prospect. I find it hard to knock their logic, wasn’t he leading the league in HR’s and slugging % when he was promoted? They did not rank the best prospect with power potential, just the guy that displayed the most power at the level.

    • BA didn’t rank him, the managers and coaches did. It’s the word prospect I disagreed with, and yes he was leading in homers, no he was not leading in slugging. Other hitters got promoted before him, who were ahead of him in slugging, so they don’t show up among the qualified hitters anymore. He may have the best power in the league, but he isn’t the best power prospect in my mind. Those are two different things.

      You say best power prospect to me and I’m looking for the player with power who will do the best in the majors.

      • John, are we closer to figuring out if Taylor Hearn is a starter or power lefty reliever based on command?

        • I would imagine they give him a full year at Altoona to figure that out. I don’t think he did anything this year to take his name out of the running for a future rotation spot but it’s hard not to want to fast track him as a reliever. Especially from what you see out of Rivero.

          • Also time to start seriously thinking about trying to protect the arm.

            We’re talking about a kid who is about to turn 23 and just doubled the amount of innings he’s ever thrown in a year – including high school and college – and still only made it three months without breaking. Oh, and his throwing elbow is already surgically held together with metal screws.

            Is the body ever going to be able to withstand the stress of those long levers over 180 innings, even if the command and third pitch eventually come around?

            • That’s a good point. There’s a durability concern here as well. An oblique and a foot not so much but the elbow definitely. I naturally just assume that everyone who can’t throw a third pitch goes to the pen and then adds 2 MPH to their fastball and that’s that – they’re a reliever. Which would make Hearn very valuable as a lefty. But now Chad Kuhl has magically added a few ticks to his fastball as a starter and is becoming a strikeout pitcher which is reversing that trend and now I’m starting to question everything I thought was true…………….

        • Hearn was working on a new slider right before he got hurt and his last two outings produced one walk and 19 strikeouts in 10.2 innings. I would say he is still very much in the running for a starter job in the future.

          His injury timing was bad though, because he was just having success for the first time with the pitch, so there is no guarantee he just picks up where he left off. That being said, he was showing three plus pitches in those last two starts. Those reports out there about his changeup being average or I’ve even seen “average at best” are wrong. He had three plus pitches and he was throwing strikes.

          • If I recall he gets upset about the change being called average. I’m going to try and find his quote. It was probably on here when referencing an old scouting report from his days with the Nats.

      • I would guess that the criteria used is any player that holds a “prospect” status. That would qualify Hill, but I get what you are saying. Then again, maybe the coaches really believe Hill might hit for the best power as a major leaguer.

      • But Hayes should be docked for his arm because non-prospect Reyes may have a stronger arm?

        • Never said that, but that one does say “best infield arm” and does not include the word prospect, so they could have went with Reyes there. I wouldn’t make a guess who has the best infield arm in the FSL because I haven’t seen everyone, but I do know Reyes has a better arm, so I have no problem saying that. If it said prospect with the best infield arm, I wouldn’t have even mentioned Reyes.

          I think you missed the point of the “surprise” with Hayes. The surprise is that he wasn’t the best defensive third baseman.

          • Sorry, I don’t have a BA subscription. I assumed since some rankings were “prospects”, they all were.

            Thanks for breaking down the article for us cheapos that only pay for PP!

            • That’s not what I meant. Instantly regret that, but it’s too funny not to leave it. Anyway, Pirates Prospects. Your subscription site. You know…

            • I didn’t realize it was a pay article on their site. Not all of them are. I usually note that with (subscription required) when it’s a pay one to save people clicks

  • rickmontgomery
    August 11, 2017 9:27 am

    Is there a sadder or more hopeless place to be in all baseball than to be a starter this year for Bristol?

    • I think with the way Pirates program young pitchers to think on the mound, they aren’t as bothered as you would imagine. I’ve talked to Braeden Ogle after four of his starts, three had some defensive issues behind him and he talked about what he was working on, nothing was game related really. They send them out to the mound with a checklist of things to work on and sometimes those things set them up for failure.

      I mentioned that often with Clay Holmes last year, that they gave him things to do each game whether they worked or not, so his overall numbers were almost useless to look at. He wasn’t always going out there trying to get batters out with his best stuff, he was using the game to improve other areas. He knew what was going on though and embraced the process. Not every pitcher can do that (see: Dickson, Cody).

  • i’d really like to see luplow get an extended look in the majors to see how he does

    • You’re talking about someone who has a total of 28 games in Triple-A, it’s not like they are holding him back. He basically skipped the level to get to the majors, he’s been back over a week and still hasn’t reached 100 at-bats yet for Indy. Be patient, he will be back up September 1st or once Indy is done.

  • What is Luplow’s power potential in the majors? 20-25 HR’s? 30-35 doubles?

    • I wouldn’t say that many, those are All-Star numbers. He might get 25 homers this year in the minors, but he has 19 doubles. I can’t see him improving on those in the majors. He doesn’t really have plus power, but I think it’s power that stands out in this system because we haven’t seen it in the past.

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