Here are some new and notes from around the system for your Tuesday morning.
*The Pittsburgh Pirates signed 17-year-old Dominican catcher Darwin Baez on Sunday. He’s the sixth catcher they have signed since July 2nd and he will fill out one of the Dominican Summer League rosters. Baez will probably have a tough time getting playing time this year with some interesting new catchers signed ahead of him. The only returning catcher from last year’s DSL team is Ruben Gonzalez, a 20-year-old who didn’t show much on offense as a first-year pro last year. Gonzalez was still a solid defensive catcher and his age/experience could get him some playing time over a younger group of players. The Pirates have now signed 61 international players since July 2nd.
*Hector Quinones, who was drafted in the 32nd round last year, has decided to retire. He was down at Pirate City in Extended Spring Training until leaving on Saturday. Quinones played for the GCL Pirates, Bristol and Morgantown last year, posting a 4.84 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in 35.1 innings between the three clubs. He was also part of our winter league coverage, seeing time in Puerto Rico. He was likely scheduled back for one of the short-season teams this year, unless West Virginia had multiple bullpen spots open.
*We mentioned last week that two players were dropped from our top 50 prospects when Kyle Crick and Dovydas Neverauskas each made their 31st MLB appearance in the same game. Now Max Moroff is back with the Pirates and we could see another one drop out soon. He needs eight more at-bats and then we need to figure out who moves into that open 50th spot (last week it was Bligh Madris and Alex Manasa). With Edgar Santana and Colin Moran still in the majors, we could be reaching for three more names before you know it. Santana needs six more appearances, while Moran needs 53 more at-bats, so he has some time still.
*Jesus Liranzo made his debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates last night, seeing a short relief outing for the Altoona Curve. He retired both batters he faced on fly balls. Liranzo was placed on the disabled list right after the Pirates picked him up from the Los Angeles Dodgers off waivers. He wasn’t actually injured, just needed to build back up to pitch after sitting around for a short time on waivers. To make room for Liranzo, Sam Street was assigned to Morgantown, which is just a paper move and he should be back as soon as a spot opens up in Altoona. In most case like this, the player actually stays with the team.
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 6-2 to the Colorado Rockies on Monday night. The Pirates will send Trevor Williams to the mound today for his fourth start. He allowed one run over six innings in his start against the Chicago Cubs last week. In his first start, he threw six no-hit innings. The Rockies will counter with 28-year-old right-handed pitcher Chad Bettis, who has a 2.04 ERA in three starts, with 12 strikeouts and a 1.13 WHIP in 17.2 innings.
The minor league schedule includes the second start for Taylor Hearn, who went five innings in his first game, allowing just one hit. Indianapolis was postponed during each of the last three days, so they could shuffle their rotation a little. They have a doubleheader today and Nick Kingham is listed as one starter, while game two could be Austin Coley, who was supposed to start Saturday/Sunday before the postponements. Sergio Cubilete makes his second start for West Virginia, while Bradenton has yet to announce a starter.
MLB: Pittsburgh (11-5) vs Rockies (10-8) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Trevor Williams (1.56 ERA, 10:7 SO/BB, 17.1 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (4-4) @ Syracuse (6-3) 4:05 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: Nick Kingham (0.82 IP, 16:3 SO/BB, 11.0 IP)
AA: Altoona (6-3) @ Akron (5-5) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Taylor Hearn (0.00 ERA, 4:3 SO/BB, 5.0 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (8-3) vs Palm Beach (7-4) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD
Low-A: West Virginia (6-5) @ Charleston (5-6) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Sergio Cubilete (11.57 ERA, 1:3 SO/BB, 2.1 IP)
From Sunday, Starling Marte had five hits and they are all in this video.
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) April 16, 2018
4/16: Jesus Liranzo activated from Altoona disabled list. Sam Street assigned to Morgantown.
4/14: Pirates claim Enny Romero off of waivers.
4/13: Kyle Crick and Richard Rodriguez recalled. Clay Holmes and Josh Smoker sent to Indianapolis.
4/12: AJ Schugel assigned to Bradenton on rehab
4/11: Pirates sign Denny Roman and Cristian Charle
4/10: Bryan Reynolds placed on Altoona disabled list. Jason Martin activated from DL.
4/5: Pirates claim Jesus Liranzo from Los Angeles Dodgers. Placed on Altoona disabled list.
4/2: Kevin Siegrist placed on suspended list for Indianapolis.
4/2: Pirates place Joe Musgrove on DL; Recall Clay Holmes
3/31: Pirates release Clark Eagan
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Just one former Pittsburgh Pirates player born on this date, 1931 pitcher Bob Osborn, so we concentrate on a big day in team history that occurred on this date in 1955. At the time it didn’t seem like a big day and the Pirates lost 10-3 to the Dodgers in game one of a doubleheader, but it ended up being the beginning of a historic career. Batting third and playing right field was Roberto Clemente, making his Major League debut. He went 1-for-4, scoring a run and collecting his first hit off Johnny Podres. Clemente had an infield single in his first career at-bat, then scored on a triple from Frank Thomas one batter later. In game two that day, Clemente batted lead-off and played center field. He had two hits in the second game and scored another run.
The Pirates have opened some seasons on this date worth noting. The Pirates shutout the Cardinals on Opening Day in 1902 by a 1-0 score. They would win the NL title that year and finish with a 103-36 record, best in franchise history.
Twenty-one years later, the Pirates opened up for the second time on April 17th. This time they beat the Cubs by a 3-2 score. Pirates had three Hall of Famers in the lineup, Max Carey, Pie Traynor and Rabbit Maranville.
The 1934 Pirates lost to Hall of Famer Dizzy Dean on Opening Day. What’s interesting about that day is the 1-5 in the Pirates’ lineup. Lloyd Waner, Freddie Lindstrom, Paul Waner, Pie Traynor and Arky Vaughan are all in the Hall of Fame.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.