Indianapolis saw their season end in the playoffs on Saturday night. The Indians finished the season with a 79-63 record, finishing in first place in their division. They began the year with a lot of the top 50 prospects in the system and gained a few more along the way. The season didn’t go as expected for their top overall prospect, as Austin Meadows played just 72 games and got off to a slow start on offense. Tyler Eppler and Nick Kingham had some inconsistencies during the season and Barrett Barnes went from a healthy breakout season in 2016 with Altoona, to 31 games played this season. There were some highlights along the way though. Here are the top five from this season.

1. Tyler Glasnow – This would actually be a lowlight-turned-highlight. If things went somewhat well in the majors for Glasnow, then he would have never played for Indianapolis. He turned that demotion into a chance to better himself as a pitcher and showed instant improvements. Glasnow lost the windup and worked from the set at all times. He was throwing harder and throwing more strikes, while displaying a better mound presence. He finished with a 1.93 ERA, 140 strikeouts and an 0.95 WHIP in 93.1 innings. On Wednesday in Milwaukee, he gets his first chance to see if the new and improved Glasnow can carry over that success to the majors. He should be able to get in four starts for the Pirates by the end of the season.

2. Jordan Luplow – While his initial promotion to the majors was both rushed and brief, Luplow breezed through his time at Altoona and then put up better numbers in Indianapolis. That fast start got him promoted to the Pirates just 28 days after he got the Triple-A. He would return to Indianapolis days later and didn’t miss a beat on offense. Luplow went from a player who put up solid stats in the pitcher-friendly FSL last year, to someone who already has three weeks (and counting) in at the Major League level. He could very well end up starting next year back in Indianapolis, but he’s clearly a much better prospect now than he was coming into this season.

3. Steven Brault –  Brault spent too much time in Indianapolis this year. He dominated the league, winning the ERA title and getting named the league’s top pitcher. The Pirates kept him in the starting role as depth and that opportunity never came up, although many fans were calling for him to replace almost every pitcher in the Pirate rotation at some point. Even with a couple of starts now, including last night’s terrific effort, Brault still hasn’t had much of a chance at the big league level, especially with him switching between roles. He put up a great season for Indianapolis though, and should get a real chance at winning a spot with the Pirates next year out of Spring Training.

4. Max Moroff – Speaking of not really getting chances with the Pirates, Max Moroff became the IL leader in OPS about two days after he was called up to the Pirates in early June. In 51 games with Indianapolis, he put up a .909 OPS and collected 13 homers. Unfortunately for Moroff, he’s spent over a month more time in the majors than he did in Triple-A and doesn’t even have half of the plate appearances he got for Indianapolis. That lack of an opportunity shouldn’t take away from the strong stats he put up with Indianapolis.

5. Christopher Bostick – The Pirates wanted to turn Bostick into a versatile player and his athleticism allowed him to have success in that role, playing five different positions during the season. The fact that he also put up solid stats, finishing in the top ten in numerous offensive categories, helped get him his first (and second) promotion to the majors. The 24-year-old is getting a September look with hopes to fill a bench role at some point with the Pirates.

** Altoona begins the Eastern League finals tonight in Trenton. Brandon Waddell goes in game one of the best-of-five series. He faced Trenton once this year on the road and allowed one run over 4.2 innings back on August 5th. Waddell limited the runs against him that game, but also ran up the pitch count, which limited his innings.

Trenton counters with Dillon Tate, who faced Altoona back on August 12th in his Double-A debut and allowed three runs over six innings. He had a 3.24 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 17 strikeouts in 25 innings with Trenton.

Altoona went 5-8 in the season series between these two clubs and Trenton went 2-1 in games played in Trenton.

Indianapolis

(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

(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 6 PM

9/15: Game Four VS Trenton 6 PM (If necessary)

9/16: Game Five VS Trenton 3 PM (If necessary)

PLAYOFF PUSH

The Pirates trail in their division by ten games. They are 11.5 games back for the second wild card spot.

PIRATES GAME GRAPH


Source: FanGraphs

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates won 7-0 over the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night. Gerrit Cole will be on the mound making his 30th start of the season today. He allowed one run over seven innings in each of his first three starts against Milwaukee this season. In his most recent outing against the Brewers, Cole gave up four runs over six innings. The Brewers will counter with lefty Brent Suter, who has 3.55 ERA in 63.1 innings, with 51 strikeouts and a 1.29 WHIP. He faced the Pirates once and allowed two runs over 4.2 innings.

MLB: Pittsburgh (68-77) @ Brewers (75-69) 7:40 PM
Probable starter: Gerrit Cole (3.93 ERA, 47:168 BB/SO, 181.0 IP)

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

AA: Altoona (74-66) @ Trenton (92-48) 7:00 PM (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)

HIGHLIGHTS

Here is Altoona recording the final out of their first round sweep of Bowie.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

9/10: Pirates recall Tyler Glasnow, Johnny Barbato, Dan Runzler, Jack Leathersich, Jacob Stallings and Edgar Santana

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.

THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY

Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, starting with the most recent first. Franquelis Osoria pitched for the 2007-08 clubs. He had very little success with the Pirates, or even before in two years with the Dodgers. In 68 games for Pittsburgh, he had a 5.66 ERA in 89 innings. For the Dodgers, he had a 5.13 ERA in 38 appearances.

Mike Roesler pitched for the 1990 NL East champs. He made five relief appearances for the Pirates in the beginning of the season. That 1990 season was unique, as clubs were allowed to carry 27 players during the first three weeks due to the lockout, which shortened Spring Training. When the rosters were reduced, Roesler was sent down and never played in the majors again.

Trench Davis, 1985-86 center fielder. Pirates signed him as an undrafted free agent in 1980. He hit .133 in 17 games with the Pirates, getting into two mid-season games in 1985 and 15 games the following May.

George Freese, third baseman for the 1955 Pirates.  George’s teammate that season, who also played third base, was his brother Gene. George hit .257 in 51 games for the Pirates. His only other big league time was one game for the Tigers in 1953 and nine games for the Cubs in 1961.

On this date in 1883, the Pittsburgh Alleghenys allowed 27 runs in a loss to the Cincinnati Red Stockings (modern day Reds). That run total has only been topped once in franchise history, when the Alleghenys gave up 28 runs to the Boston Beaneaters (now the Braves) on August 28, 1887.

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74 COMMENTS

  1. I hate to say this but maybe Taillon’s spot shouldn’t be guaranteed. His good starts have been very good but the bad ones have been terrible. He hasn’t had the same control he had last year and runs up some extreme pitch counts. What to do?

  2. I know I said I think Moroff won’t be in the prospect guide… now I’m not so sure. They, again, won’t start Moroff. He’s a much better 2B than Frazier and has HR power. He can play 3B. This is a perfect time to see if he can hit consistently. If he can, he could be a better player than Frazier. Why not just have Freese and Rodriguez share playing time and let Moroff start everyday?

    • That is logical. But there are a lot of logical things that won’t be done. Like waive Jaso with a sincere and hearty thanks for the last two years, but we know you aren’t on the team in 2018.

  3. This is reaaallly random, but i saw something when i was looking at the AA roster.

    why don’t we talk more about Pablo Reyes in AA? i’m a pretty new subscriber so maybe i’ve missed something. I at least see that he did not make the top 50.

    very solid numbers in AA (and every single step before that), just turned 24. is he an awful defender or something?

    not being critical at all. but what, outside of a 234 PA sample of .362 BABIP baseball makes Kevin Kramer the #16 prospect but Reyes not in the top 50? The difference must be totally about eye tests and talks with scouts i guess?

  4. Two things:
    1. Brault better start the rest of the way. He deserved it and nothing that the other non-Cole starters did entitled them to start over Brault all year long.
    2. Glasnow deserved his demotion but it is critical to our success next year to see if he is a AAAA or legitimate MLB pitcher
    Again, I don’t care who sits for these two but some needs to

    • I don’t know how much i believe in Brault as a SP, but man, he looks like he’d be nice to have around as an extra bench bat haha.

  5. Hope Tim made it through the hurricane OK. How did the storm affect the Pirates’ facilities/training schedule/personnel in Bradenton?

    • It was mentioned somewhere the players that were at Pirates City came north to Pittsburgh to ride out the storm. Idk about buildings and stuff

    • No one was at Pirate City during the storm. It was basically empty at that time, except for two players and a coach, who were all moved up to Pittsburgh on Wednesday, well ahead of the storm. They are fully assessing everything today, but the initial look indicates that it’s most just cleanup and a few trees are down. Nothing serious there and McKechnie Field escaped any damage.

  6. John: I thought you mentioned the people who really did better than the others, except you could have had 3 more pitchers listed.

    Two of the people mentioned were Max Moroff and Jordan Luplow, and Jose Osuna has been up since early in the year. Why are they unable to be placed in the lineup at 3B? Luplow played 3B for 80+ games at A, Osuna has been a 1B for at least 3 or 4 years, and Moroff is reputed to be able to play 2B, SS, and 3B? Are Freese and Rodriguez important to the future of this ballclub?

    • Moroff could play third base, but I can answer why he isn’t playing. Osuna has never played there in a game. I have heard a lot of people ask about him moving to third base and I’m a bit surprised. He’s a 0.0 WAR hitter and -1.0 dWAR at his natural positions he has played a lot over the years. Yet a lot of people want him in at third base. The questions on Luplow at least make sense because he played there, but he wasn’t good and shoulder surgery ended that experiment.

      Third base is not an easy position to learn, guys are moved off the position more often than moved to it from random spots other than shortstop. Look at Will Craig. Pirates moved him off third base despite a well above average arm for the spot and tons of experience. He goes over to first base and he is almost instantly a better first baseman and by the end of this year, it looked like his natural position. That doesn’t mean they were wrong moving him off the spot though.

      • I agree 3B is a tough position but Craig’s defense at 3B was questioned from Day 1 and Luplow played 3B in HS as well as in Lo A. We are 10 games under .500 – what better time than now to work Luplow or Moroff at 3B?

        In 2010 at AA we has this kid named Harrison, a career infielder, at 3B and he committed 14 Errors in 86 games and in 2009 at AA we had this kid named Alvarez at 3B who made 12 Errors in 51 games. Luplow had 21 Errors in 86 games in 2015 – a 910 %age. In 2012 SRod played 49 games at 3B for the Rays with 11 errors and an .894 %age

        • They took Luplow off the spot, mostly because he had shoulder surgery that season, but also because he just wasn’t any good. The only time he played the position since then at all was one inning in Altoona this year and that was an emergency situation, last man on the bench when Mathisen got hurt and there was already a position player on the mound. I can’t see someone who was over-matched at the spot in Low-A, learning it at the majors. Everything moves so much faster in the majors.

          I assume if the Pirates were worried about third base right now, Eric Wood wouldn’t have been moving all over the place all season and he would have kept getting reps at third base all year. Moving an infielder there full-time would make much more sense than trying players like Osuna and Luplow

  7. 2018 rotation: Cole, Taillon, Nova, Glasnow, Brault
    2018 bullpen: Rivero, Hudson, Kontos, Kuhl, a lefty, Neverauskas/Santana, Kingham
    .
    Williams is the 6th starter. Holmes is 7. I still feel Kuhl is better served as a power ground ball reliever like J Hughes. Moving Cole for a prospect haul is fine by me.

    • Please no to Nova in rotation. Yes he is an innings eater, but his pitches are too easy to hit over the fence.

      Williams belongs in rotation over Nova, who should be dealt (given away), or moved to bullpen.

    • I’m hoping that they can find a buyer for Nova. Gopher Ball Man has returned to his Yankee ways.

      Also, I like Kuhl in the starting rotation. I used to think he was bullpen material, but if he can continue to be consistent, I want him in there.

      Either make Williams or Kingham our #6 SP.

      Or…………we can move one of them for some much needed ‘Pop’ in the lineup.

      • I really liked them signing Nova and then watching him pitch early in the season. But now he is the most logical choice to move. He’s earned his contract, but I wouldn’t expect him to bring back anything in return. So a deal would be about salary relief, and I’m sure that will generate some discussion.

        • i bet they keep him as the #5. Not that Nova is super battle-tested or anything, but i bet they value having a veteran in addition to Cole in there. Plus it would seem like bad form to deal a guy that just gave less money to sign with you.

          Then again, that’s Nova’s fault. who knows.

          • Nova would be perfectly fine as a #5. He’s been pretty bad lately, but who he actually is, I think, is somewhere between the hot start and cold finish, and even while he’s been bad, he’s eaten innings, which isn’t a bad thing to have at the last spot in the rotation.

      • If Glasnow has figured something out, and Kuhl and Williams aren’t flukes, a couple pretty decent arms who probably have a good bit of trade value are freed up.

        I think trading Kingham might be the right choice, for example, if he can be a piece in a deal for a strong hitting 3B or 2B. I just don’t know there will be room for him in the Majors, which matters with him being out of options next year (I think). But for a team in a true rebuild, he’d be worth the chance of letting get his experience in the Majors right away.

      • I don’t think you can move him to the pen yet, but if/when he moves to the pen, I would think of him in a Hughes-type role too. I’d also think of Kuhl in an 8th inning role, and think he could dominate in that role. But unless Hurdle is willing to pitch Kuhl 2-3 innings at a time, I’d hate to lose the innings Kuhl would be pitching as a starter.

        • To expand on this, pitching Kuhl a couple of innings out of the pen every other night would (obviously) lead to an inning per game, which (obviously) equates to a starter pitching 5 innings every fifth game. So two innings with a day off between would give Kuhl similar impact on the team’s season (especially if you factor in leverage). But an inning at a time with the policy of never pitching three days in row equates to 2/3 of an inning per game, and I think that’s too much of a loss in innings to justify moving Kuhl to the pen. (Same applies to Williams.)

          • I’d actually love to see them try moving two starters to the pen where they alternate taking the 7th and 8th to set up Rivero. So, for example, game 1, Glasnow gets the 7th and 8th, then game 2 Kuhl gets the 7th and 8th. Starters go all out for 6 and Rivero closes. On a day when Rivero is unavailable, then Glasnow/Kuhl gets moved to the 8th and 9th with Neverauskas/Kontos/Hudson taking the 7th. (I’m not necessarily recommending Glasnow and Kuhl for those roles, just the concept.)

        • I was just saying that because unlike many others, I’d choose Kuhl as the starter over Williams any day. He has better stuff and velocity. He’s more raw than Williams and that means he can improve more than him too.

          It’ll be interesting next spring training. I think we’ll make a spot for Glasnow and that means we only have one spot left (unless we trade Nova).

    • I don’t know how you move Kuhl and Williams out of the rotation without undermining the concept that a player earns his playing time. Cole is the only starter with a sub-4 ERA but if you remove Williams first start and Kuhl’s fourth start in April (i.e., two starts very early in their development) they both would have sub-4 ERA’s right in line with Cole’s. And in the second “half” split of the season, Kuhl has been the 19th best starter and Williams the 21st best starter by fWAR in the NL (Cole, btw, has been the 6th best).

      • Exactly. i bet we see a trade or two. Kuhl and Williams probably have more trade value than we realize.

        moving a young SP in an effort to improve 3b,SS, or C could be the way to go

        • We once traded from what we believed to be a position of depth (outfield) and it quickly turned out to be far shallower than we thought. Can’t have enough pitching. We were fortunate to get through the year w/o a major injury to a starter or two.

          • what trade are you talking about? i’m legitimately blanking. Is this about Snider? McLouth?

            sure you can’t have too much pitching, but you need to have enough offense too. Theyre running 8ish deep right now, and that’s not counting Kingham, Holmes, Hutchison, or Keller. if that’s not enough, then that means that the whole top 5 is injured. In which case… 2018 is doomed anyway.

            if you don’t trade from what you think is an area of depth, what trades should you make? I’m definitely not advocating trading … you know… 5 of their major-league-ready SP. But they could probably spare 1 or maybe two if they really like some guys currently in AA. It’d help the offense a lot more than it’d hurt the pitching.

              • ohhhhh forgot about him. I mean he’s better than Jaso and i wish they still had him, 38% Ks and all. But i dont see losing him as a reason to dogmatically never trade from depth ever again.

                • I think the comment’s still valid, though. What was very recently seen as a position of strength quickly devolved into a potential weakness. In this case the players traded may not have contributed to that weakness, but it persists nonetheless.

                    • one could argue they exceed that, depending on if you trust Brubaker, Eppler, Waddell, and Hutchison with a few starts

                    • I mean I suppose one could argue anything, but in this case those guys are neither valuable prospects nor probable rotation pieces.

                      This is the deal-from-pitching fallacy in a nutshell. No team has so many good pitchers that they can deal from them without taking a hit. It comes down to an acceptable level of risk.

                      This is also what made the reclamation years so incredibly valuable.

                    • sure. but here’s how i think about it.

                      would having 10 good SP next year vs having 11 good SP next year have any negative difference, whatsoever? maybe. probably not, but maybe.

                      would getting someone better than Jordy Mercer at SS have any positive difference? probably. maybe not, but probably.

                    • i guess the spot where we disagree is that i think Hutchison, Eppler, Holmes, Brubaker, and Waddell could come up and not embarrass themselves after a little more seasoning?

                      they’d come behind Cole, Taillon, Kuhl, Williams, Nova, Glasnow, Brault, Kingham, Keller. Hell, even Cumpton! (Cumpton, who posted 1.7 WAR in 100 career innings before TJ! forgotten man.)

                      i don’t know what most teams’ top 15 near-mlb-ready SP depth charts look like, but i feel like that would stack up pretty well with the rest of baseball.

                    • Holmes is the one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-others of that group. Holmes would actually have some value and upside.

                      The rest come down to a distinction without a difference for me. An academic argument. None project to be more than replacement-level starters, so to me saying they’re better than another club’s 10-15 or whatever doesn’t appreciably contribute to winning Major League ballgames and they sure as hell aren’t bringing back the kind of 3B/SS/2B you’re looking for this winter.

                    • i think we’re both arguing about this because we are bored. i guess we can argue about if trading Kuhl, Cutch, and Freese for Donaldson and a decent prospect is a good or a bad idea when it actually happens 😛

                • It’s probably cool to hit 20 home runs in MLB but if that’s all your hits for the year and you don’t walk or barely make contact how much are the HRs worth

            • Keon Broxton, Mel Rojas, Jr, Harold Rameriz, Tito Polo, Willy Garcia are a few that, when let go or traded, I recall it was mentioned that outfield was a position of depth thus the players were expendable.

              • i’m not sure what your point with Polo, Ramirez, or Rojas is, since those guys have never touched MLB yet.

                If Keon Broxton and Willy Garcia (and his 0.2 WAR in 100 PA) are going to make you afraid of dealing from a position of depth then i guess have at it haha.

                and if you aren’t dealing from a position of depth (to improve areas of shallowness), then the only remaining trades are trades from positions of shallowness (to improve areas of depth). and i’m not sure why any anybody would do *that*.

                it sounds like the logical endpoint of your argument is “never trade, ever”. and if it’s not, then what is your point you are trying to make? it sounds like you dont want to make trades from areas of depth, and you’re definitely not advocating making trades from areas of shallowness. what are you suggesting? what kind of trades *are* you okay with?

                the problem with dealing Keon+ for Rogers was that it was a bad trade. the player they gave up was a lot better than the player they received. if Rogers was good he wouldve improved depth at another position! The problem wasnt that Keon was an outfielder. the problem was that Rogers was awful.

                • I think they have decent starting pitching depth. I don’t see it as so deep that Williams and Kuhl would be expendable. Other than a spot start or 2, most of the pitchers at AAA aren’t really adequate replacements for the starters in the bigs. This year was an anomaly in that all starters got through the season w/o significant injury time. That’s unlikely to happen again. That’s all.

      • Kuhl in particular is so damn fascinating!

        You’re right, he’s “earned” his playing time. He’s been exciting and adaptive and undoubtedly interesting, but honestly, how stable is this version of Kuhl?

        The velo and strikeouts have been a great development, but how many folks have noticed that Kuhl has the second worst walk rate of *any* qualified starter in baseball? Second worst! His rise in K’s has been almost exactly coincidental to a rise in walks: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/76df6e8db0b276991e4dd2cb2db19d00d7134720dcc80692594dd953d8ff8255.jpg

        His entire profile right now is being held together solely by limiting homeruns, with a second-half HR/FB and HR/9 rate almost half the league average. And he’s somehow done so without actually limiting fly ball frequency or authority. Above average fly ball rate, below average pop up rate, and above average air ball exit velo. This isn’t what a contact authority manager’s profile looks like.

        All that’s to say I don’t think we really yet know what Chad Kuhl is going to be moving forward, but it’ll be fun to find out.

        • I think the young staff can get to the point where everyone is under 4 era/fip. Nova is a gigantic question mark he better pitch out of his mind next year I think he gets yanked quick otherwise or at least I hope esp if Brault Glasnow look good to finish the year.

        • At this point in his career, Kuhl seems to be a pitcher of extremes. For example, according to fangraphs in the 2nd half he’s 16th out of 42 qualified pitchers in the NL in soft contact % but 4th worst in hard contact %. He has the lowest medium contact %. I.e., there’s not a lot of in between. And as you suggest, he has the highest BB rate but he also has the 13th highest K rate (right between Cole and Carlos Martinez).

          The stats kind of match what I see–one inning might be a real grind where you wonder if he’ll make it through. And then he’ll dominate for 2-3 innings where batters look almost helpless against him.

          My belief in him is based on the idea that the stuff is there and as he learns how to command that stuff he’s going to move from back-of-the-rotation to mid-rotation (he’s probably already there) to maybe top-of-the-rotation (if a #2 counts as TOR).

          • He’s definitely a guy of extremes, and that’s also why I remain skeptical.

            He’s only a mid-rotation starter right now if you fully trust the fly ball suppression, and aligning the increased stuff with newfound command *and* continued fly ball suppression has to be like a 5% probability.

            The biggest thing for me is that I don’t trust this sort of narrative that seems to be out there that his increased velo just showed up one day. His current delivery is noticeably more violent than what he used in AAA and into his first year. Predictably, command has suffered. He wasn’t any better as a sinker-slider guy so I don’t necessarily see this as a *bad* way to develop him, it just also speaks to the difficulty in putting it all together. There’s never been a Chad Kuhl that threw 96-98 with good control, and there’s never been a Chad Kuhl with good control who struck out hitters.

            He’s super interesting!

        • That’s why I think Kuhl’s stuff plays up better in the pen. Perhaps his wildness stems from him overthrowing to maintain that increase in velo. No need for that over an inning or two. I do like Kuhl, though, in either position.

    • How does moving two rookie players in to the starting rotation make the rotation better next year? Aren’t Kuhl and Williams allowed to benefit from their experience this year? To me, that’s asking for a repeat of this year next year.

      • The same way moving JHay back to a super utility role after he “earned” a starter spot made the lineup better.

        If you have four starting pitchers who project to be roughly as good as one another for two rotation slots, then it makes all the sense in the world to put the two who profile best in the bullpen in that role.

        This isn’t to say I agree with the specific suggestion above, particularly Brault, but it could easily make the club better overall.

        • While I don’t disagree. I don’t see the pirates moving existing starters back esp Williams because he’s been far better as a starter. But I would kill to see what Kuhl and Holmes would look like after getting broken in for bullpen work.

          • Very, very much agree. Williams absolutely seems more suited for the rotation than pen, and I think Holmes can be a monster in 1-2 inning outings. I don’t see that delivery ever producing enough command to effectively start at the big league level, but a heavy fastball at 98 paired with swing-and-miss cutter? Yes please. Misses bats and keeps the ball in the park.

            • The biggest problem there is the pirates severe need for lefties in the pen. Kontos Neverauskas Schugel look like they’ve punched their tickets already maybe Holmes is Hudson’s replacement in ’19 but doesn’t hurt to keep starting him in Indy next year.

              • Yeah, this all comes down to what 2018 intends to be for me.

                If they intend for this to be one last run with Cutch/Cole/Harrison/etc then they simply have got to get more upside into that pen. Holmes could be one of those guys. Kuhl could be one of those guys. Glasnow could be one of those guys. But surrounding Rivero with a bunch of middle relievers isn’t going to cut it.

                  • I hear you, but it took Brad Hand six years to become BRAD HAND, and relievers break constantly.

                    I think you gotta develop these guys, when you’re in a situation where their options can be utilized, rather than committing to established relievers and praying they last.

                    I’m fine with buying relievers at the deadline, but otherwise I think I’d rather be sure the starting prospect I’m dealing for an established reliever isn’t gonna be one himself.

            • That scenario sounds interesting. I am left wondering what to make out of Brault. By itself, his stuff does not seem that electric. But last night, it seemed the batters had a hard time picking up the ball, as they were late on low 90s fastballs. Is he legit or simply a new toy the league does not know, I guess is my question.

              • On one hand, this has always been Brault’s path to Major League success. The days of groundballing your way to quick outs throwing fastballs low in the zone are over. He was always going to have to get by on deception and missing bats, and that’s what he did the other night.

                On the other hand, the Brewers definitely aren’t the club you want to use as a barometer. My goodness do they swing and miss a lot.

                I think in the end Brault will have a fine career getting lefties out in the pen, but I struggle to see a path to him turning a lineup of righties over three times well enough to be more than a low-end #5/#6 starter. We’ll see!

  8. How has Glasnow’s change up been after being sent back down? I was so concerned about fastball command (which I’ve been ecstatic to hear about) that the 2 pitch mix slipped my mind. Just something that I talked about with another fan last night and I don’t recall seeing anything about it recently.

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