Yesterday we looked at the Pittsburgh Pirates who were above average for their league in hitting. Today we switch over to the pitchers, which is what we also did each of the last two years around this time. To define league average for pitching, I used two categories in the past and will continue with that this year. You can view the 2016 and 2017 results here, which allows you to see how those numbers played out over the year and how the lower level players in those previous articles have progressed since then.

Below is a list of players who have and ERA and/or WHIP better than their league average. Obviously, the players who qualify for both lists are having a strong year compared to what you should expect from their league. As most of you know from following this site, all minor leagues are not created equal, so it’s better to compare players versus their league as opposed to grouping all of the players in the system together.

The International League has an average ERA of 3.76 and a 1.31 WHIP. That’s down from a 3.88 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP at this point last year. The ERA leader is Tanner Anderson at 1.93 this year. He’s followed by Nick Kingham at 2.20 and Tyler Eppler with a 3.60 mark. As for WHIP, you have the same three guys in the same order. Anderson is at 1.07, Kingham at 1.12 and Eppler has a 1.28 WHIP. Indianapolis has four guys with 20+ innings who didn’t make either list.

The Eastern League has an average ERA of 3.93 and a 1.34 WHIP. That’s down from 4.01 and 1.36 last year at this time. Altoona only has five pitchers who qualify for this list and four of them are under a 3.93 ERA. They are led by Brandon Waddell at 1.66, JT Brubaker, who is no longer with the team, at 1.80. Dario Agrazal at 2.45 and Mitch Keller has a 3.02 ERA. Agrazal has an 0.92  WHIP, Waddell is at 0.95, Brubaker at 1.06, Taylor Hearn at 1.15 and Keller has a 1.24 WHIP. So four of their starters are above average in both categories and all five made the WHIP list.

The Florida State League has an average ERA of 3.70 and a 1.30 WHIP. The ERA is slightly up from 3.64 from last year at this point, while the WHIP is .01 lower. As for the players who are under the average ERA, Eduardo Vera leads the way with a 2.88 mark. He is followed by James Marvel (3.48) and Oddy Nunez at 3.52, who dipped below the league average in his start yesterday. For WHIP, Vera is well below at 1.00, followed by Luis Escobar 1.21, Marvel at 1.24 and Cam Vieaux is right at the league average. Only six pitchers on the team had enough innings to qualify and Mike Wallace was the only one who didn’t make either list.

The South Atlantic League has an average ERA of 3.79 and a 1.28 WHIP. That’s a slight improvement on last year’s 3.88 ERA and 1.29 WHIP at this same point. The Power are led by Blake Weiman with a 1.38 ERA. He’s followed by Evan Piechota at 2.08, Domingo Robles at 3.06, Travis MacGregor at 3.10 and Ike Schlabach has a 3.38 ERA. For WHIP, they are led by Weiman at 0.88, Piechota 1.01, Gavin Wallace at 1.07 and Robles at a 1.19 WHIP.

A total of 12 pitchers made both lists.


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 7-2 to the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night. They will send Chad Kuhl to the mound for his tenth start today. He tossed 4.1 innings against the San Diego Padres in his last start, allowing four runs on six hits and two walks. The Reds scheduled starter is right-hander Homer Bailey, who allowed six runs on ten hits over 4.2 innings against the Chicago Cubs in his last start. He has a 6.11 ERA in 53 innings over ten starts, with 32 strikeouts and a 1.60 WHIP.

The minor league schedule includes Eduardo Vera starting for Bradenton. In his last start he went six innings and gave up four runs. It was the second time he allowed a season high four runs and the seventh time in a row that he has gone at least six innings. Altoona starter Pedro Vasquez gets his third start. His last appearance was three innings in relief and he allowed one run. Indianapolis starter Austin Coley faced two batters in relief during his last outing. That has been his only appearance over the last nine days. West Virginia starter Gavin Wallace had his last start limited to one inning due to rain, which caused the game to be suspended.

MLB: Pittsburgh (26-21) @ Reds (17-32) 7:10 PM
Probable starter: Chad Kuhl (4.53 ERA, 47:18 SO/BB, 39.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (23-19) vs Louisville (13-28) 1:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Austin Coley (9.00 ERA, 12:12 SO/BB, 24.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (21-19) @ Bowie (20-23) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Pedro Vasquez (4.91 ERA, 11:3 SO/BB, 11.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (23-20) @ Fort Myers (18-25) 12:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Eduardo Vera (2.88 ERA, 27:10 SO/BB, 50.0 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (24-18) @ Columbia (23-20) 11:05 AM (season preview)
Probable starter: Gavin Wallace (4.01 ERA, 19:7 SO/BB, 33.2 IP)


From Indianapolis on Monday, the crazy play that ended the game…


5/22: Jesus Liranzo promoted to Indianapolis.  Jackson Williams assigned to Morgantown.

5/22: Tyler Jones released.

5/21: David Lee retired.

5/21: JT Brubaker activated from Temporary Inactive List

5/21: Cody Bolton added to West Virginia roster. Dylan Busby placed on disabled list.

5/20: Pirates activate Josh Harrison from DL. Nick Kingham optioned to Indianapolis.

5/19: Pirates recall Nick Kingham. Max Moroff optioned to Indianapolis.

5/19: Sean Keselica added to Altoona roster.

5/19: Brett Pope added to West Virginia roster.

5/18: Travis MacGregor and Joel Cesar placed on disabled list. Max Kranick added to West Virginia roster.

5/18: Pirates recall Austin Meadows. Starling Marte placed on the disabled list.

5/17: JT Brubaker placed on temporary inactive list. Jackson Williams added to Indianapolis.

5/14: Jin-De Jhang assigned to Altoona. Jackson Williams assigned to Morgantown.


Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including one of the best pitchers in team history. First the other players born on May 23rd, we start with Mike Gonzalez, who was a reliever/closer for the Pirates from 2003 until 2006. Infielder Nelson Norman from the 1982 team and right fielder Bill Miller, who played his only MLB game on August 23, 1902. He has a very interesting story that falls under the “sign of the times” category, which can be read in the link above.

On to the star player from this date, pitcher Deacon Phillippe. He won 168 games for the Pirates between 1900 and 1911, helping them two four NL titles and two World Series appearances. In 12 Major League seasons, he never had a losing record, finishing 189-109, which makes him a fringe Hall of Fame candidate. During the 1903 season when Pittsburgh played in the first World Series, Phillippe won 25 games and he started five games during the WS, winning three times. You can read a lot more on him here, which is an article that breaks down how he fared against the best/worst teams during his day and the best pitchers of his time.

One trade of note on this date in 1963. The Pirates dealt outfielder Bob Skinner to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for  outfielder Jerry Lynch. It seemed like the Pirates were getting slightly worse in the deal, but Lynch ended up being the better player, while Skinner struggled early in 1964 and was dealt away to the St Louis Cardinals.

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