This is now the final full week of the regular season in the minors. For this morning, I’m going to do a quick glance at what is left for each of the eight affiliates of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Indianapolis is going to clinch their division soon. With nine games left on their schedule, they have a 6.5 game lead. They can clinch that spot with two wins during today’s doubleheader and a loss by Columbus. The other story line for Indianapolis will be the players they lose this week to the majors. The Pirates are going to call up some players on September 1st and they usually aren’t available the day before either, so we could find out who is coming up by Thursday.

Altoona has two goals for this week. They will clinch a playoff spot as early as today, but they are still batting for the home field advantage in the playoffs, going for the division title. They currently have a one game lead. Altoona basically has the same situation going that Indianapolis does this week. Altoona is going to lose players to Indianapolis to help fill in for the promoted players. One thing that might limit the players they lose is that Barrett Barnes and Jason Stoffel could join Indianapolis at that point. Both were rehabbing in the GCL last week.

Bradenton is now just playing out the string, losing their playoff chances in a tough way. Bradenton had all three games this weekend canceled due to rain. Since the minors don’t make up games, those three games are lost and now they don’t have enough games left to catch the first place team. It was an extremely slim playoff hope anyway, but still a tough way to get eliminated. The only real story for Bradenton now is who will move up if Altoona needs extra players. The Marauders finish up on Sunday, while all of the other full-season teams finish next Monday.

West Virginia is in third place in their division, just two games back. So they have some pretty important games this week, all on the road. There is also the case of Luis Escobar, who needs four strikeouts to match the team record for season strikeouts, set by Tyler Glasnow in 2013. Escobar has one start left. It seems like a safe bet he will get the record, but it still has to happen and he only has one shot to do it. He has struck out 5+ in each of his last eight starts.

Morgantown goes until next Thursday, three days longer than any other team plays this year. With 11 games left in the season, they trail the playoffs by three games. Their final two games are on the road in Mahoning Valley, which is the first place team in their division. They will likely see some reinforcements from the two teams below them.

Bristol is basically just trying not to lose three of the next four games to avoid a 50-loss season during a 68-game schedule in which two games were canceled by rain. Maybe 1-2 of their players moves up to Morgantown for an extra week of play.

GCL Pirates haven’t officially been eliminated from the playoffs, but they technically have been. They can catch one of the teams ahead of them, but they can’t catch both because those two teams play each other still. So all that is left for them is some player goals. Can Mason Martin lead the league in homers and set the team record? Can he lead the league in slugging, OBP and/or OPS? Lolo Sanchez leads the league in runs scored and should be able to hold on to finish first. Shane Baz, Steven Jennings and Cody Bolton each make their final starts. Will anyone move up to Morgantown for some extra games?

DSL Pirates saw their season end on Saturday, well, actually Friday due to a rain out. I guess they could watch some DSL playoffs if they wanted to do that.


The Pirates trail in their division by seven games. They are 8.5 games back for the second wild card spot.

Indianapolis is in first place with a 6.5 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 has been eliminated from the playoffs

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

Morgantown is in second place, three games back. Their season ends September 7th.

Bristol has been eliminated from the playoffs.

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

The DSL season is over.


Source: FanGraphs


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates won 5-2 over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday afternoon. They now travel to Chicago to take on the Cubs and will send Trevor Williams to the mound today for his 21st start. He has posted a 3.78 ERA in eight starts since the All-Star break and a 4.85 ERA in nine starts and three relief appearances on the road this season. Williams has allowed eight earned runs over 13.2 innings against the Cubs this season. The Cubs will counter with lefty Mike Montgomery, who has a 3.43 ERA in 102.1 innings this season, with 81 strikeouts and a 1.27 WHIP. He faced the Pirates three times in relief earlier this season, giving up two runs over five innings.

In the minors, Indianapolis has a doubleheader and can clinch their division as early as today. Altoona starter Alex McRae ranks fourth in the Eastern League with 138.2 innings pitched. Bradenton had their game rained out yesterday, leading to it being canceled. They also had Friday’s suspended game canceled and the stats from the first four innings of that game will not count in the season stats. They will attempt to play a doubleheader against a different team today. Tenth round pick Beau Sulser gets the start for Morgantown and Travis MacGregor will start for Bristol. The DSL season is over. West Virginia has off today.

MLB: Pittsburgh (63-68) @ Cubs (69-60) 1:10 PM
Probable starter: Trevor Williams (4.40 ERA, 41:91 BB/SO, 122.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (74-59) @ Louisville (52-81) 5:00 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD

AA: Altoona (70-62) @ Richmond (58-74) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Alex McRae (3.76 ERA, 33:83 BB/SO, 138.2 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (67-58) @ Tampa (79-49) 5:00 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: Bret Helton (3.41 ERA, 35:82 BB/SO, 108.1 IP) and Cam Vieaux (4.46 ERA, 21:44 BB/SO, 72.2 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (64-65) @ Lakewood (69-64) 7:05 PM 8/29 (season preview)
Probable starter: Eduardo Vera (3.50 ERA, 14:103 BB/SO, 118.1 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (35-30) vs State College (34-31) 7:05 PM (season preview)

Rookie: Bristol (15-47) vs Kingsport (28-34) 7:00 PM

GCL: Pirates (23-31) vs Braves (29-25) 12:00 PM

DSL: Pirates (36-34) (season preview)


Here is Brandon Waddell finishing off his six shutout innings from last week with a strikeout.


8/27: Barrett Barnes assigned to Bradenton.

8/26: Francisco Cervelli placed on the disabled list. Elias Diaz recalled from  Indianapolis.

8/25: Francisco Cervelli activated from the disabled list. Elias Diaz optioned to Indianapolis.

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: Braeden Ogle placed on the 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.


Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus two trades of note. Starting with the transactions, we have the 1996 deal that brought Jason Schmidt to the Pirates in exchange for Denny Neagle. The two pitchers both had their moments for their new club, but the Pirates got nothing from the two minor league players that were thrown into the deal. The Pirates got Ron Wright and Corey Pointer, adding a lot of power to the farm system, though neither made the majors with the Pirates. Wright actually did get called up, but injured his wrist and never played.

On this date in 1988, the Pirates traded for Ken Oberkfell. They sent Tommy Gregg to the Braves four days later and received cash in return. Oberkfell was known as a decent hitter with a strong glove, but he hit just .181 in 34 games for the Pirates.

Former players born on this date include:

T.J. Beam, 2008 relief pitcher. Had a 4.14 ERA in 45.2 innings over 32 appearances.

Mark Ryal, 1990 outfielder. He went 1-for-12 in nine late-season games.

Wally Roettger, 1934 outfielder. The Pirates acquired him in a four-player trade with the Reds. He hit .245 in 47 games with Pirates.

Charlie Grimm, first baseman from 1919 until 1924. He hit .286 in 770 games with the Pirates, driving in 369 runs. He was sent to the Cubs in a six-player deal after the 1924 season, which was covered here. The deal included the Pirates’ all-time win leader Wilbur Cooper and Hall of Fame shortstop Rabbit Maranville.

Bill Stuart, 1895 shortstop. Hit .247 in 19 late-season games for the Pirates.

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  1. John … Who in order would be your top three picks of Pirates that should be in the HOF? Would Wilbur Cooper be one?

    • I wouldn’t say any of their players should be in the Hall of Fame, but the best cases would be Dave Parker and Al Oliver. Both are fringe to me, with Parker being the better choice. Cooper, along with Deacon Phillippe, Sam Leever and Babe Adams were all very good pitchers over their career. If any of them got into the Hall of Fame, I don’t think it be a bad choice, but none of them are among the biggest snubs.

      • I did some research based off of JAWs and the rankings of Pirates not in the Hall of Fame …

        Top 50:
        – Relief Pitchers: Kent Tekulve is at 25
        – C: Jason Kendall (19), Russell Martin (27), Smokey Burgess (30), and Manny Sanguillen (34)
        – 1B: n/a
        – 2B: Willie Randolph (hardly a Pirate) is at 17
        – SS: Jay Bell (47)
        – 3B: Bill Madlock (46)

        The OF top 100:
        – LF: Bonds (1), Moises Alou (45) Jason Bay (82), Richie Zisk (92), Starling Marte (99)
        – CF: Cutch (37), Amos Otis (42), VanSlyke (45), Oliver (52), George Hendricks (96)
        – RF: Brian Giles (27), Parker (37), Jose Bautista (54), Kirk Gibson (56), Reggie Sanders (59), and Raul Mondesi (81)

        Top 230 Pitchers (to get to Deacon):
        – Rick Reuschel (45), Cooper (86), Adams (95), Leever (170), Bob Friend (179) John Candelaria (184), Rick Rhoden (213), Jerry Reuss (225), and Deacon Philippe (229)

        • It’s hard to come up with a reason why the top 20 of a position in the history of the game are not in the HOF, so I would say maybe Randolph and Kendall deserve some serious consideration.

          Also, based on that logic the top 100 pitchers including Adams, Cooper, and Reuschel would get a second look.

        • Also, I calculated that Bonds would rank 4th for Left Fielders from 1986 through 1998 the years most likely to be non- steroid years…

        • I wasn’t including Bonds when I answered before because he’s still on the ballot, but he’s an obvious Hall of Famer. I can understand wanting to leave him off in the past, but now with Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez in the Hall, as well as the leader of the entire steroid era (Selig) you can’t use the steroid case against him anymore. Now it’s just dislike from writers holding him back. Rodriguez seemed like the most obvious juicer of them all, especially when he came back during the first ST of testing and looked like a bobblehead. Plus steroid help you recover faster and the all-time leader for games caught played in the Texas heat most of his career and never wore down during the steroid seasons? Yeah, surrreee…just put Bonds in already and stop using the “he didn’t play nice with reporters” defense.

    • For the Pirates:
      – Brault, Neverauskas, Diaz, and Moroff are already up.
      – We need to see if Glasnow has really improved or not. He gets put in the rotation. I don’t care if they go with six or give everyone a rest one time through.
      – Kingham needs to get the call up to see if he is ready for the majors. He either makes the team next year, is traded, or will be lost.
      – Santana needs to get the call as he is in the running for a bullpen spot next year.
      – After the S-Rod issue yesterday, Ngoepe needs to be available on the bench. (NOTE: I would actually bring up Newman but I know that won’t happen.)
      – Ortiz is the closest outfielder ready to help but he is not on the 40-man, so I guess Bostick gets the call

      At the end of the AAA season, add Hutchison and Stallings

      • I don’t really see a long-term place (or short term for that matter) for Moroff on the roster. Jack of all trades, master of nothing. There are better players ahead of him just about everywhere except 3B and he ain’t a solution there either. Hutch is non-tender man walking.

          • Your sentence could have been “I do wonder if [plug about 10 names in here] could become . . . They have so many guys who can play 2B. I’m thinking that one of the Kevin’s is destined for 2B. Moroff will just be a utility guy on the Pirates or somewhere else, occasionally getting time in the bigs but mostly in AAAA.

    • He reminds me of Cal Ripken in that Cal thought it was in his and everyone’s best interest that he play everyday.
      Instead, they tend to wear down and suffer through slumps and end up hurting both themselves and the team.
      Cutch has to learn to sit, certainly when he is slumping but also when he is hot.

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