Morning Report: Batting Leaders Throughout the System

We haven’t checked out the leaders around the system for awhile, so now seems like a good time to look at some offensive stats. The four full-season teams have each played over 120 games, so for the stats such as average, OBP and slugging, I’m going to use 250 plate appearances as the minimum to be listed below. Here are the top three hitters in several offensive categories. I also have some quick notes on the remaining minor league schedules, which gives you a better idea of what you’re looking at with the Playoff Push section.

Batting Average

1. Jordan Luplow – .306

2. Jordan George – .301

3. Hunter Owen – .291

OBP

1. Jordan George – .390

2. Hunter Owen – .387

3. Jordan Luplow – .386

Slugging

1. Hunter Owen – .504

2. Logan Hill – .491

3. Jordan George – .475

Runs

1. Jordan Luplow – 68

2. Christopher Bostick – 64

3. Ke’Bryan Hayes – 63

Hits

1. Christopher Bostick – 128

2. Edwin Espinal – 125

3. Kevin Newman/Jordan Luplow – 119

Doubles

1. Christopher Bostick – 31

2. Edwin Espinal – 28

3. Will Craig – 26

Triples

1. Cole Tucker – 9

2. Casey Hughston – 8

3. Ke’Bryan Hayes – 7

Homers

1. Jordan Luplow – 23

2. Logan Hill – 18

3. Edwin Espinal – 15

RBI

1. Edwin Espinal – 76

2. Logan Hill – 61

3. Jerrick Suiter – 60

Steals

1. Cole Tucker – 41

2. Ke’Bryan Hayes – 27

3. Alfredo Reyes/Eury Perez – 22

** The minor league schedule is really winding down at this point. As shown in the Playoff Push section, four of the eight affiliates have a legit shot at the playoffs, while three others haven’t been eliminated just yet. Indianapolis has 16 games left over the final 15 days, including today. Altoona has 15 games left. Bradenton is down to 14 games, as is West Virginia. Morgantown still has 18 games left without an off-day between now and September 7th. Bristol is down to 11, while the GCL has 12 (plus the completion of a suspended game) and the DSL has just six left.

** The Pirates let go of GCL manager Bob Herold over the weekend, with two weeks remaining in the season. Dave Turgeon, who was serving as the Coordinator of Instruction in the minor leagues, takes over the position to finish out the season. Turgeon managed for three years in the system when the Pirates had an NYPL affiliate in State College and Jamestown. Herold had 527 wins as a college coach at the University of Nebraska-Omaha before signing with the Pirates this off-season.

PLAYOFF PUSH

The Pirates trail in their division by 6.5 games. They are seven games back for the second wild card spot.

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

Altoona is in second place, one game back and three games ahead of third place. The top two teams make the playoffs. Their season ends September 4th.

Bradenton is in fifth place, 8.5 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, two games ahead. Their season ends September 7th.

Bristol has been eliminated from the playoffs.

The GCL Pirates are in third place, 6.5 games behind. Their season ends September 2nd.

The DSL Pirates are in fourth place, 4.5 games back. Their season ends August 26th.

PIRATES GAME GRAPH


Source: FanGraphs

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates won 6-3 over the St Louis Cardinals on Sunday night. The Pirates now begin a four-game series at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers. They will send Gerrit Cole to the mound today for his 26th start. He has posted a 3.13 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break and a 3.97 ERA in 11 starts at home. The Dodgers will counter with lefty Alex Wood, who has a 2.30 ERA in 117.1 innings, with 122 strikeouts and a 1.01 WHIP. He threw five shutout innings and struck out 11 batters against the Pirates in early May.

In the minors, Nick Kingham gets the start for Indianapolis tonight. After allowing eight runs in his start on July 19th, he has given up a total of five runs over his last five starts combined. Brandon Waddell goes for Altoona. He allowed five runs in his last start after giving up four runs total in his previous three starts combined. Luis Escobar is 17 strikeouts short of the West Virginia team record set by Tyler Glasnow in 2013. Morgantown claims they will start Scooter Hightower today. Bristol will send Hunter Stratton to the mound today, followed by Max Kranick tomorrow. The DSL begin their last week of play today and they could be eliminated from the playoffs as early as today. Bradenton has off today.

MLB: Pittsburgh (60-64) vs Dodgers (87-35) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Gerrit Cole (4.04 ERA, 38:141 BB/SO, 153.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (69-57) vs Louisville (50-76) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Nick Kingham (3.66 ERA, 26:82 BB/SO, 96.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (65-60) @ Hartford (58-67) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Brandon Waddell (4.37 ERA, 24:42 BB/SO, 47.1 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (65-57) @ Daytona (47-74) 7:05 PM 8/22 (season preview)
Probable starter: Logan Sendelbach (3.48 ERA, 20:52 BB/SO, 75.0 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (60-62) @ Greenville (69-56) 1:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Luis Escobar (4.07 ERA, 53:147 BB/SO, 115.0 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (34-24) vs Mahoning Valley (31-25) 7:05 PM (season preview)

Rookie: Bristol (12-43) @ Greeneville (29-27) 7:00 PM

GCL: Pirates (18-29) vs Blue Jays (30-18) 10:00 AM

DSL: Pirates (34-31) vs Astros Orange (24-41) 10:30 AM (season preview)

HIGHLIGHTS

Here is the 14th home run of the season by Danny Ortiz. All of them have come since June 15th.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

8/20: Pirates recall Jacob Stallings.

8/20: Trae Arbet placed on disabled list. Shane Kemp assigned to West Virginia.

8/19: Steven Brault optioned to Indianapolis. Dovydas Neverauskas recalled from Indianapolis.

8/19: Barrett Barnes assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.

8/19: Max Kranick promoted to Bristol.

8/19: John Bormann assigned to Indianapolis.

8/18: Wade LeBlanc placed on disabled list. Steven Brault recalled from Indianapolis.

8/18: Joey Terdoslavich activated from disabled list.

8/17: Francisco Cervelli placed on disabled list. Max Moroff recalled from Indianapolis.

8/15: Gregory Polanco placed on disabled list. Elias Diaz recalled from Indianapolis.

8/15: Austin Meadows activated from disabled list. Jackson Williams assigned to Indianapolis.

8/15: Tomas Morales activated from Altoona disabled list.

8/14: Gage Hinsz activated from disabled list. Jake Brentz assigned to Altoona and placed on disabled list.

8/12: Phil Gosselin claimed on waivers by Texas Rangers.

THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY

Eight former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including the Major League single-season leader for triples.

Chief Wilson was in his second season in the majors when he played on the 1909 World Series team. He hit .272 that year and played 154 games. By 1911, he hit .300 and drove in 107 runs. The next year, he clubbed 36 triples, setting an MLB record that still stands and hasn’t even been approached since, with 26 being the highest total since then. Wilson stayed around Pittsburgh until 1913 when he was part of the inexcusable Dots Miller trade to the Cardinals. Wilson had a rifle for an arm, picking up 181 assists in his nine-year career.

Jeff Clement, first baseman in 2010 and 2012. Came over from the Mariners in the Jack Wilson/Ian Snell trade.

Jesse Chavez, reliever for the 2008-09 Pirates. Came over from the Rangers in a deal for Kip Wells.

Ramon Vazquez, 2009 infielder. Signed a two-year deal, but ended up lasting just one season.

Lou Collier, shortstop for the 1997-98 Pirates. Hit .246 in 110 games during the 1998 season.

Murry Dickson, pitcher from 1949 until 1953. Pirates purchased him from the Cardinals for $125,000. Won 20 games for the 1951 Pirates. Finished 66-85, 3.83 in 137 starts and 91 relief appearances during his five seasons in Pittsburgh, playing mostly for last place teams.

Cobe Jones, shortstop for the 1928-29 Pirates. Played the last game of the 1928 season and 25 games the next year.

Jim Mosolf, outfielder for the 1929-31 Pirates. Batted .462 during September of 1929. Played 40 games during the 1930 season, just six as a starter. Mosolf played even less often in 1931, with 39 games total and four starts all season.

  • What was Bob Herold doing so wrong in the GCL that merited dismissal with two weeks left in the season? Why not wait until the end of the year? There is a story there.

  • Wilbur Miller
    August 21, 2017 10:24 am

    Wow, dumping the GCL mgr now? There are a lot of very important prospects on that team. Ominous thing to see.

    • Makes no sense to me either.

    • I agree, I find that very strange. He left a college coaching job for this position and is fired, and before the end of the season no less. Seems like something is afoot there

      • Did he violate a black and white rule like keeping a Pitcher in game after pitch count? Sure seems like he committed a Cardinal sin of some sort.

    • Could be an offer of a job at the college level where he seemed to be for quite a while?

  • not sure if it’s a good or bad thing that most of the team leaders aren’t top prospects

    • It’s not a good thing. When Austin Meadows and Kevin Newman both have WRC+ near 80-85 it’s not a good thing.

      • for sure…but on the other hand, it’s good to see lesser draft picks play well and produce.

        • Luplow merits some excitement. But when you weight unexpected good things/breakouts vs top prospects having bad years I think it’s clear that this hasn’t been a good year for the system. And the big league club needs a lot of help and soon.

          • i can agree with that.

          • Cole Tucker was legitimately good as a 20 yo in high-A, definitely should consider his season a success despite the heavy struggles in AA.

            Otherwise, the best you can really say about any Top 20 hitting prospect is that Ke’Bryan Hayes held his own.

            Newman has either lost his eye or isn’t being thrown enough strikes to take a walk. Elias Diaz has struggled all year. Kevin Kramer was cold for as long as he was hot, and then apparently had his hand amputated.

            Most disappointing has to be Will Craig, though. Literally the only legit hitting prospect left behind on any FSL team after normal promotions, he’s limped to a sub-.700 second-half OPS with a .073 ISO. Seventy Three! He also has just a .668 OPS against RHP for the entire year.

            And the thing about the FSL suppressing power, which is true, is that the actual power hitters still produce. Sort the leaderboards, find the actual prospects, and the ones that are supposed to have power almost always actually show power. Brent Rooker, college power hitter drafted just this year, .250 ISO. Even Nick Senzel, whose power many scouts question(ed), .171 ISO. Jorge Matteo, .160 ISO! You can go back years and do the same exercise.

    • Older players like Hunter Owen, Logan Hill, Jordan George are going to do well because of their age/experience at the level. Top prospects are moved quicker, so they don’t get the chance to pile up stats.

      If you use George and Tucker as examples. Tucker is younger than many of the 2017 draft picks at Morgantown. George is older than many of the prospects in Triple-A. There are reasons for both of those things and it’s part of the reason why Tucker is the top ten prospect and George isn’t rated.

      • “Top prospects are moved quicker, so they don’t get the chance to pile up stats.”

        nah man. other team’s top prospects put up great stats regardless of how long they’re there. no reason the pirates prospects can’t do the same.

        • That’s not always true, just feels that way, but you can find many examples of Pirates moving players at the first sign of success and many examples of guys dominating levels before moving up

          • oh yeah for sure. there’s just some recency bias creeping in, with meadows and tucker off to slow starts at their new levels.

            • I wouldn’t worry about Tucker at Altoona. Mostly because it’s a small sample size and he is starting there again next year. He’s been a human highlight reel on defense there.

              One of the reasons it’s tough to get excited about Newman’s average/steady defense at shortstop is that players like Tucker, as well as Ngoepe, Alfredo Reyes, Valerio, Alemais, make Newman look like a little leaguer compared to them. Even Brett Pope at Morgantown is a defensive stud. I’ve seen more above average plays from him in about ten games than I have from Newman over the years. So when you see Newman making all of the routine plays and nothing flashy, you wonder how he could ever stick at the position. Not that he isn’t good enough to play the spot, it’s just he is so vanilla compared to a large group of above average defenders.

              Tucker is starting to put himself up there with the rest of them defensively and he has become a much better base runner, so he has really improved his stock and a few bad games from a 21-year-old in Double-A shouldn’t cause any concern when you see how well-rounded he has become as a player.

          • When you look at “top” prospects Meadows season looks really bad. Preseason #6 in top 100 list on Fangraphs. Whereas Meadows has been injured AGAIN and can’t even approach a league average hitter prospects near same ranking too huge steps… Gleybor Torres, Robles, Eloy Jimenez. If Meadows was producing at Indy same way Bellinger is at MLB level people would be going nuts. Even JP Crawford having much better year.

  • Herold – Philosophical differences or ?

  • It is a little disappointing that:
    1. Most our team leaders (Luplow, George, Hill, Espinal, and Owen) in hitting stats are not highly rated prospects (although Luplow might be by the end of the year)
    2. We didn’t learn much about the AAA guys (Meadows, Barnes, Wood, Bostick, Newman, Brault, Kingham, a resurgent Glasnow, Santana, an injured Kramer never made it to AAA, Moroff never played, etc.)
    There are probably reasons for #1 but as for #2, that means we need to field an MLB team via free agency/trade again. Unless, we want to risk handing a job to an unproven entity and suffer through another bridge year.
    This is a part of this endless cycle of not knowing if the young guys can play and then blocking them with veterans – but not good veterans or long term contract veterans just in case the young guy succeeds.

    • Seems to be a habit that hitting improves drastically for guys at AA under Kevin Riggs – think the Pirates can figure that out before another team hires him away from us?

  • I still think that Danny Ortiz would’ve made a fine 4th OF’er for the Bucs this year.

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