Morning Report: Sunday Notes on Altoona’s Win, Call-Ups Today and Two Young Prospects

Last night saw the end of the Indianapolis season and the continuation of the Altoona season. The Indians lost a tough game, while Altoona breezed through a series sweep of Bowie, which was a team they had trouble with during the entire regular season. The pitcher they beat (Lucas Long) had gone seven innings in all three starts against Altoona this season and didn’t walk a single batter in 21 innings. So of course he walked the first batter of the game last night on four pitches, then ended up going just four innings.

The Curve now move to Trenton for two games after an off-day today and tomorrow, then the series shifts to Altoona for the final three games. Trenton went 92-48 during the regular season and then won 3-1 in their division series over a Binghamton team that won 85 games on the year. Altoona won a total of 74 games. The Curve played Trenton 12 times this year and won four of those games. I’ll post a preview of the series on Tuesday morning, along with a recap of the highlights from Indianapolis this season. The schedule for the championship round is listed below.

There are some notes below, including games going on outside of the majors/minors for a Pirate prospect. Enjoy your Sunday. If you’re in the path of hurricane Irma, be safe.

** Sherten Apostel, who was the big hitter for the DSL Pirates this year, took part in the U18 (18 years old and under) Baseball World Cup this week. In the eight games for Netherlands (he’s from Curacao), Apostel went 7-for-23 with four doubles and four walks. The original plan for him was to head from this tournament right to the Fall Instructional League, but the start of that action has been put on hold until they see how Hurricane Irma treats Pirate City. A few players who were staying at Pirate City, were sent up to Pittsburgh on Wednesday to ride out the storm.

** I planned to use this top section of the Morning Report to discuss the possible call-ups for the Pirates today, but then I found out who they were. I could have just not said anything and given my “guesses”, looking like a genius in the process, but I’ll give some thoughts in tomorrow’s Morning Report instead. Just a heads up, I probably won’t read the comments when we announce the transactions because I’m sure a couple of the moves (or non-moves) might not agree with the general consensus of who should be up.

** To tie up some loose ends from last week, I have to mention a note we missed. When Mason Martin was named the GCL MVP, I failed to notice the press release also had the GCL season All-Star team mentioned at the bottom. I was actually waiting for the announcement all this time until I decided to search for it a couple of days ago and found out I missed the news. Martin obviously made the All-Star team to go along with his MVP award, while Rodolfo Castro was named the top shortstop in the league. The 18-year-old in his second pro season, hit .277/.344/.479 in 53 games. He finished 12th in the league in OPS, third with six homers, tenth with 12 doubles and led the league with 90 total bases. So he clearly earned the spot, with one small asterisk. He played just 19 games at shortstop, splitting his time almost evenly between shortstop, third base and second base.


(Durham won the series 3-1)

9/6: Indianapolis 3, Durham 10

9/7: Indianapolis 0, Durham 2

9/8: Indianapolis 5, Durham 0

9/9: Indianapolis 3, Durham 4


(Altoona won the series 3-0)

9/7: Altoona 2, Bowie 0

9/8: Altoona 8, Bowie 4

9/9: Altoona 6, Bowie 1

Eastern League Finals

9/12: Game One @ Trenton 7 PM

9/13: Game Two @ Trenton 7 PM

9/14: Game Three VS Trenton TBA

9/15: Game Four VS Trenton TBA (If necessary)

9/16: Game Five VS Trenton TBA (If necessary)


The Pirates trail in their division by 10.5 games. They are 10.5 games back for the second wild card spot.


Source: FanGraphs


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 4-3 to the St Louis Cardinals. Ivan Nova will be on the mound making his 28th start of the season today. He has faced the Cardinals twice this season, allowing a total of five earned run over 13.2 innings. Nova has a 4.97 ERA in 16 road starts this season. The Cardinals will counter with right-hander Michael Wacha, who has a 4.21 ERA in 141 innings, with 132 strikeouts and a 1.40 WHIP. He has faced the Pirates twice this season, allowing one run over 6.2 innings the first time, then five runs over four innings the last time.

MLB: Pittsburgh (67-76) @ Cardinals (74-68) 2:15 PM
Probable starter: Ivan Nova (4.11 ERA, 28:114 BB/SO, 168.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (79-63) (season preview)

AA: Altoona (74-66) @ Trenton 7:00 PM 9/12 (season preview)
Probable starter: Brandon Waddell (3.55 ERA, 31:114 BB/SO, 66.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (70-62)  (season preview)

Low-A: West Virginia (69-67) (season preview)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (40-35) (season preview)

Rookie: Bristol (17-49)

GCL: Pirates (26-34)

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


Here are two highlights from Friday night in Indianapolis. First is the final two outs from Nick Kingham’s seven shutout innings. The batter is Michael McKenry.

This one is Danny Ortiz keeping Durham off the board in the sixth inning.


9/9: Cole Tucker placed on disabled list. Kevin Kramer added to Altoona roster.

9/8: Gregory Polanco and Adam Frazier activated from disabled list.

9/7: George Kontos activated from disabled list.

9/6: Jack Leathersich added to Indianapolis. Cody Dickson assigned to Bradenton.

9/4: Pirates claimed Jack Leathersich on waivers from Chicago Cubs.

9/3: Josh Harrison placed on disabled list. Christopher Bostick recalled from Indianapolis.

9/3: Austin Meadows placed on disabled list.

9/3: Anderson Feliz and Justin Maffei promoted to Indianapolis. Mitchell Tolman and Casey Hughston promoted to Altoona

9/3: Kevin Kramer assigned to Morgantown on rehab.

9/2: Kevin Kramer and Taylor Hearn assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.

9/1: Pirates activate Wade LeBlanc and Joaquin Benoit from disabled list.

9/1: Hunter Owen added to West Virginia. Shane Kemp promoted to Bradenton.


Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including one Hall of Famer. We start with a disappointing player for the Pirates, 1958-59 first baseman, Ted Kluszewski. He was once a feared slugger, but the Pirates got him on the downside of his career. From 1953-56, he hit at least 35 homers and drove in at least 100 runs each season. With the Pirates, hit hit .284 and drove in 54 runs in 160 games.

Others players born on this date include:

Neil Walker, 2009-15 second baseman. I think you know who he is.

Chad Hermansen, 1999-2002 outfielder. Sigh.

Bob Garber, 1956 pitcher. Signed with Pirates as an amateur free agent in 1948 and missed time serving in the Korean War. Gave up one run over four innings in his only two Major League games.

Brandy Davis, 1952-53 outfielder. Hit .187 over 67 games in his only two years in the majors.

Kid Durbin, pinch-runner on June 30, 1909. His only game with the Pirates was also the first game ever in Forbes Field. The Pirates traded for him a month earlier and he ended up playing just that one game, which was his last Major League game. He played just 32 games in the majors, yet still played for three teams that won the World Series.

The Pirates had a young first baseman named George Kelly for a brief time during the 1917 season. He started the year with the New York Giants and when Honus Wagner got hurt, the Pirates got Kelly to replace him. Wagner was in his last season and playing first base. When Wagner returned, Kelly went back to the Giants. It didn’t look like a big deal at the time, but it could have changed Pirates’ history if they kept him.

Kelly was one of the leading run producers in the NL from 1920-25, averaging more than 100 RBIs a season. During that time, the Giants went to four straight World Series. That eventually led him to get elected to the Hall of Fame. During the Giants four World Series seasons, the Pirates finished second once and third three times, so having Kelly and keeping him away from the Giants could have made a difference those years. He was born on this date in 1895.

  • Looks like SS is the new “position of strength” we can deal from for salary relief

  • Poor Chad Hermansen–Let us hope we do not see this repeated with some of our AAA future All-Stars.

  • Rodolfo Castro had an excellent year, but the reason he split time at SS was to get PT at SS for Victor Ngoepe. They both played SS, and 2B, and Castro also played some 3B. Moving forward, I hope they dedicate more of the SS duties to Castro.

    Think of an infield of Sherten Apostel at 3B, Rodolfo Castro at SS, and Mason Martin at 1B. Excellent scouting.

    • Castro played almost all of his third base when the GCL Pirates had only three healthy infielders for almost three full weeks, so they just left the best defensive setup for the three. Castro was at 3B, Ngoepe at SS, Perez at 2B. He would have seen more time at SS if not for the injuries to Francisco Mepris and Jesse Medrano at the same time.

      • Glad to hear the reason – thank you. The P2 Projection was that Castro would be the starting SS, and he has certainly not done anything to hurt his chances. How much did he sign for?

        • He signed for $150,000. Would have likely got much more if he waited to sign because his bat was weak at the time of his signing. He’s still very young, so no surprise that he developed the bat a lot over the last two years