Morning Report: Bradenton Rotation Shows Why You Can Never Have Enough Pitching

Yesterday it was announced that Gage Hinsz is done for the season. There wasn’t much time left anyway, but it’s possible he may have put in some innings during the Fall Instructional League due to two previous trips to the DL this season (one was actually him sitting out 11 days with an injury, though not an official DL trip). He pitched a total of 94.2 innings this season, with many tough innings in there helping to increase the workload. That’s just above the 93.1 innings he put in last year, although that number from 2016 doesn’t include him throwing in Extended Spring Training for the first month, and pitching in the Fall Instructional League, so his workload decreased this year. The Bradenton pitching staff proves why you can never have enough pitching in your system.

At the beginning of the season, Bradenton had Mitch Keller, Hinsz, Taylor Hearn, Pedro Vasquez and Dario Agrazal in the rotation. That’s an impressive group of young arms and all of them looked the part of prospects during the season. They also missed a lot of time this season.

The only pitcher of the group to not miss more than a month of action this season is Pedro Vasquez. The Marauders have played 124 games this season, and while those five rotation members are 1-5 in games started, they also got (so far) 12 starts from Bret Helton, 11 from Cam Vieaux (who goes tonight), nine from Logan Sendelbach, three from James Marvel and one each from Sam Street and Nick Kingham. Keller and Agrazal were both promoted, but they have made five starts combined with Altoona. With Vasquez and Keller having two starts remaining, the Bradenton Opening Day rotation is going to put in fewer than 100 total starts this season, and that includes Altoona starts and the rehab games in Morgantown for Keller.

Luckily for the Pirates, none of the injuries sound serious. Keller is back healthy from an unhealthy back. Hearn had an oblique injury. The update on Hinsz (after the announcement) last night from trainer Todd Tomczyk said that it’s nothing significant that would cause any long-term damage. Agrazal has missed a lot of time, but his injury was a pec strain and not arm related. It’s also the first time he has been injured since joining the Pirates in 2013.

** Andrew McCutchen passed Dave Parker in total bases for Pirates on Tuesday. McCutchen now has 2,398 total bases, which ranks him tenth in team history behind nine Hall of Famers. Here is the list (1-9): Roberto Clemente, Honus Wagner, Willie Stargell, Paul Waner, Pie Traynor, Max Carey, Lloyd Waner, Bill Mazeroski and Arky Vaughan.

The hit that put McCutchen ahead of Parker, tied him with Bill Virdon for 15th most hits in team history, with 1,431 each. McCutchen will move up that list quickly, as Dick Groat finished with 1,435 hits with the Pirates.

** For subscribers of ESPN Insider, Keith Law posted his list of the best tools in MLB in numerous categories this week. He started with hitting and speed, moved to pitching tools and then did fielding. The Pittsburgh Pirates came up completely empty in every category, with each one having five players listed.

** I’m leaving this little section here and just updating the numbers daily for the next week or so. 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 two others haven’t been eliminated just yet. Indianapolis has 13 games left over the final 12 days, including today. Altoona has 12 games left, Bradenton is down to 12 games, and West Virginia is at 12 left. Morgantown still has 15 games left without an off-day between now and September 7th. Bristol is mercifully down to eight, while the GCL has nine (plus the completion of a suspended game) and the DSL has just four left.

PLAYOFF PUSH

The Pirates trail in their division by eight games. They are 7.5 games back for the second wild card spot.

Indianapolis is in first place with a 5.5 game lead. Their season ends September 4th.

Altoona is in first place with a one game lead. The top two teams make the playoffs. Their season ends September 4th.

Bradenton is in fifth place, seven games behind. Their season ends September 3rd.

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

Morgantown is in first place with a one game lead. 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 have been eliminated from the playoffs.

PIRATES GAME GRAPH


Source: FanGraphs

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates won 1-0 over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night. They will send Chad Kuhl to the mound today for his 26th start. He has posted a 3.60 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break and a 4.88 ERA in 13 starts at home this season. The Dodgers will counter with lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu, who has a 3.45 ERA in 101.2 innings, with 98 strikeouts and a 1.31 WHIP.

In the minors, Clay Holmes gets the start for Indianapolis. He allowed four runs over five innings in his last start, which followed five no-hit innings in his previous game. Casey Sadler has walked just two batters in 39.1 innings with Altoona. Bradenton starter Cam Vieaux has allowed two runs over 13 innings in his last two starts. In his prior two starts, he gave up 11 runs over 11 innings. West Virginia starter Mike Wallace was unable to make it out of the first inning in his last start six days ago. Steven Jennings is scheduled to make his ninth start in the GCL. The DSL Pirates were rained out yesterday and will play a doubleheader today. Evan Piechota goes for Bristol and Sergio Cubilete goes for Morgantown.

MLB: Pittsburgh (61-66) vs Dodgers (89-36) 4:05 PM
Probable starter: Chad Kuhl (4.52 ERA, 53:108 BB/SO, 125.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (70-58) vs Louisville (51-77) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Clay Holmes (3.45 ERA, 53:92 BB/SO, 101.2 IP)

AA: Altoona (68-60) vs Bowie (67-61) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Casey Sadler (4.58 ERA, 2:33 BB/SO, 39.1 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (67-57) @ Daytona (47-76) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Cam Vieaux (4.19 ERA, 18:42 BB/SO, 66.2 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (61-64) vs Charleston (70-58) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Mike Wallace (3.80 ERA, 24:72 BB/SO, 87.2 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (35-26) @ State College (31-30) 7:05 PM (season preview)

Rookie: Bristol (13-45) @ Elizabethton (36-24) 7:00 PM

GCL: Pirates (20-30) vs Phillies (32-19) 12:00 PM

DSL: Pirates (35-32) vs Dodgers2 (40-28) 10:30 AM DH(season preview)

HIGHLIGHTS

Here are some West Virginia highlights from their last series. Adrian Valerio homers.

Ryan Nagle homers.

Albert Baur double.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

8/23: Edgar Santana optioned to Indianapolis. Pirates select the contract of Angel Sanchez.

8/23: Cody Dickson promoted to Indianapolis.

8/23: Gage Hinsz placed on disabled list.

8/23: Arden Pabst placed on disabled list. Henrry Rosario promoted from Bristol to West Virginia.

8/22: Joaquin Benoit and George Kontos placed on disabled list.

8/22: Dovydas Neverauskas optioned to Indianapolis. Steven Brault, Edgar Santana and Johnny Barbato recalled from Indianapolis.

8/22: Hunter Owen and Jason Stoffel assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.

8/21: Pirates option Jacob Stallings to Indianapolis.

8/21: Brandon Cumpton promoted to Indianapolis. Jacob Brentz activated from Altoona disabled list.

8/21: John Bormann assigned to Bradenton.

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.

THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY

Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including an infielder for a World Series winner, who went on to manage the team for two full seasons. Starting with the most recent player first:

Kevin Correia, 2011-12 pitcher. He won 12 games during each of his two seasons in Pittsburgh. He had a 4.49 ERA in 325 innings for the Pirates. Correia was an All-Star during the 2011 season.

Al Bool, catcher for the 1930 club. In the minors in 1929, he hit .322 with 31 homers and 36 doubles. He hit .259 in 216 at-bats for the Pirates, driving in 46 runs. Began the year as the third-string catcher and ended up as a platoon starter.

Jewel Ens, 1922-1925 infielder and manager from 1929 until 1931. He also served five years as a Pirates coach under Pie Traynor. After hitting .296 in 47 games during the 1922 season, he moved into a coaching role and occasionally saw playing time. Ens played a total of 67 games for the Pirates, his only Major League team. He had a 176-167 record as a manager for the Pirates, taking over the team late in the 1929 season.

Bill Kelsey, 1907 catcher. Played just two career Major League games, both at the end of the 1907 season for the Pirates. Went 2-for-5 with a run scored.

  • It happens so often that I’m no longer amazed at how Pirates fans underappreciate Cutch.

  • Looks like Cutch will be the only non-Hall of Famer on that list. For a few years I thought he had a shot, but last year really derailed him. His hot streak this year made it look like he could get the train back on the track, but here he is slumping during the most important stretch of the season. Cutch probably will go down as a “really good” player but not HOF’er.

    • michael schalke
      August 24, 2017 11:18 am

      Agree 100%. Very good player but rarely comes through in crunch time and in my opinion not a real good leader.

    • Cutch is still only 30 years old so assuming he plays another 5 years and is relatively healthy he should end his career with over 2000 hits, 300 homers, and right around 200 stolen bases. Add in his 5 all stars, 4 silver slugger award, 3 top 3 MVP finishes invluding winning one league MVP and being the face of a franchise for almost a decade and he should have a decent chance. Probably not first ballot but I bet he gets in the HOF eventually.

      • Yes. His counting stats should be very good, but not HOF. Like most guys in the “really good” category (some exceptions) he has played at a HOF level for a period of time, but it isn’t going to span a long enough period of time. His really terrible year at age 29 is a disntinct mark against him. He should have been really good and wasn’t. It is a small thing, but his struggles with the bases-loaded (still has never hit a grand-slam) is an indication that he falls below HOF level. He is my favorite player. I wish I were wrong, but obviously I don’t think I am.

    • Being the Pirates history buff that I am, I don’t want see McCutchen break into the team’s top ten in hits. The Pirates are the only team that has all Hall of Famers in their top ten for hits. Right now he is 207 behind tenth place. The reason I don’t want to see him in there is because I don’t think he will make the Hall of Fame

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