Both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline rated the prospects included in the deadline deals. Not surprisingly, Oneil Cruz ranked better for Pipeline, who placed him 16th on their Pirates top 30 prospect list. For the players included in deadline deals, Cruz ranked 22nd overall. Pipeline only ranked the top 39 prospects.
Baseball America has Cruz ranked as the 28th best and they went to the top 61 prospects for their list. They also had the other player acquired from the Dodgers, reliever Angel German, as the 46th best on their list. He didn’t make the shorter Pipeline list. Seth McGarry, who the Pirates sent to the Phillies, wasn’t on either list.
Since we acknowledged that our ranking of Cruz in the fifth tier (prospects ranked 23-32 in the system) was more in line with Baseball America’s feelings on him, I reached out to Jonathan Mayo of MLB Pipeline to see why he felt Cruz was the 16th best prospect in the system right now. Here is his answer:
“I really like Cruz’s upside/ceiling. If it all comes together, he could be much better than No. 16 in the system. I’m aware he’s far from a sure thing to get there, but I do tend to put the high ceiling guys higher when it makes sense and his potential belonged ahead of that group of pitchers right behind him.”
So it appears that we have the same general feeling as Mayo, but just disagreed where he should start off in the system. The 16th ranked player in our mid-season update is Clay Holmes, who we had as the last guy in our third tier. There is one catch to that though. Elias Diaz is still eligible for our list, while Pipeline doesn’t have him because he has spent 45 non-September days in the majors. We don’t use that standard for our list, but if we did, that would make Jordan Luplow our #16 guy and mean that there is a difference of only one tier.
We also have Max Moroff 24th on our list and he’s not eligible for Pipeline’s, so that closes the gap a little more. We put Cruz 32nd, but noted that the tier is much more important than the order in that tier.
There really isn’t a difference in how we feel about Cruz. It’s more a matter of figuring out where that type of player belongs. Tim Williams is now in West Virginia for this current four-game series. It sounds like Cruz and German could be activated for today’s game, so he might be able to see Cruz play four games in person. I’m going to a three-game series later in the month, plus a four-game series in Greenville will be shown on MiLB.tv, so we should get plenty of looks at him. If he goes to the Fall Instructional League, that would help even more.
It’s possible we might move him up a tier if we like what we see, then he would be in the same range as the Pipeline list. Since we did put him at the bottom of tier five, he probably can’t do anything to make himself fall on our list, since we were conservative with the ranking from the start. If you missed the Morning Report with highlights of Cruz, you should check out the easy power he has now, with plenty of room to add muscle.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 5-2 to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night. The Pirates will send Chad Kuhl to the mound for his 22nd start. Kuhl has a 6.04 ERA in 44.2 innings at home this season. He has not faced the Reds this year. The Reds will counter with 23-year-old, right-handed pitcher Sal Romano, who has a 4.57 ERA in five starts, with a 1.71 WHIP and 23 strikeouts in 21.2 innings.
In the minors, JT Brubaker starts for Altoona. He has allowed a total of four earned runs over his last three starts. That follows a stretch of five games in which he allowed at least three earned runs in each game. Brubaker didn’t walk any batters in his last start. That was the first time that happened since his great back-to-back starts at the beginning of June. Bret Helton goes for Bradenton. He posted a 1.08 ERA and an 0.88 WHIP in 25 innings last month. Hunter Stratton is slated for Bristol. He posted the identical 1.08 ERA in 25 innings that Helton put up last month.
MLB: Pittsburgh (51-56) vs Reds (44-63) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Chad Kuhl (4.84 ERA, 44:84 BB/SO, 102.1 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (59-51) @ Columbus (58-51) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Drew Hutchison (3.82 ERA, 42:93 BB/SO, 117.2 IP)
AA: Altoona (56-52) vs Erie (55-54) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: JT Brubaker (4.66 ERA, 29:81 BB/SO, 92.2 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (60-45) @ Florida (36-64) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Bret Helton (3.12 ERA, 25:68 BB/SO, 86.2 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (48-57) vs Delmarva (49-57) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: James Marvel (3.91 ERA, 29:68 BB/SO, 89.2 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (25-17) vs State College (23-19) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Sergio Cubilete (2.23 ERA, 12:21 BB/SO, 32.1 IP)
Rookie: Bristol (9-31) @ Kingsport (15-24) 6:30 PM
GCL: Pirates (12-21) vs Tigers West (14-17) 12:00 PM
DSL: Pirates (27-24) vs Indians/Brewers (21-29) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Here is Jerrick Suiter ripping an RBI double. He doubled twice on Tuesday night, extending his hot streak, which dates back to the beginning of June.
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.
7/31: Tony Watson traded to Los Angeles Dodgers for Oneil Cruz and Angel German
7/31: Seth McGarry traded to Philadelphia Phillies for Joaquin Benoit and cash
7/31: Brandon Waddell activated from disabled list. Miguel Rosario assigned to Bradenton
7/28: Jordan Luplow promoted to Pittsburgh Pirates. Edwin Espinal promoted to Indianapolis. Jordan George promoted to Altoona.
7/28: Austin Meadows assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.
7/27: Logan Hill placed on disabled list. Justin Maffei assigned to Altoona.
7/27: Steven Brault optioned to Indianapolis.
7/25: Connor Joe activated from Altoona disabled list. Justin Maffei assigned to Indianapolis.
7/25: Jonathan Schwind assigned to Morgantown.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a managerial change of note. The players start with shortstop Kevin Elster, who signed as a free agent in 1997, but broke his wrist in mid-May and missed the rest of the season. Mackey Sasser, catcher for Pirates in 1987 and in 1995. The Pirates acquired him at the 1987 trading deadline for Don Robinson, then flipped him to the Mets the next spring for Randy Milligan. He didn’t last long as a free agent signing in 1995, getting released in May.
Sid Bream, played first base for the Pirates from 1985 until 1990 and then I’m not sure what happened to him, probably something I’m just trying to forget.
Jim Gott, relief pitcher from 1987-89 and then again in 1995. Teammates with Sasser during both stops with the team. He had 34 saves for the 1988 team.
Gus Getz, third baseman for the 1918 Pirates. Had a forgettable time in Pittsburgh, but his career had two things that were noteworthy. He had 1,172 plate appearances in the majors and walked just 24 times. He also hit two homers as a pro and connected on them just eight days apart during a seven-year career.
On an off-day in 1957, the Pittsburgh Pirates had a 36-67 record and decided to make a change, firing manager Bobby Bragan and hiring Danny Murtaugh to be the interim manager. Murtaugh led the team to a winning record(26-25) the rest of the way, and then three seasons later he skippered them to their third championship in franchise history. He would win 1,115 games as the manager of the Pirates and brought home another title in 1971, while also making the playoffs three other times.