Morning Report: News and Notes Leading Up to the 2018 Draft

The 2018 MLB amateur draft starts on Monday night, just five days away. The first day will include the top three draft picks for the Pirates, followed by rounds 3-10 on Tuesday and 11-40 on Wednesday. We will have coverage here of every single pick along with thoughts and information throughout the three days, which then leads into the signing period for draft picks.

To celebrate the upcoming MLB draft, we’re offering a big subscription discount of 18% off from now through the draft , so that you can follow all of our updates and coverage.To get the discount, use the code MLBDRAFT for an Annual subscription, or MLBDRAFT3 for a Top Prospect Plan.

Today we are going to go over some notes for the draft. We should be getting plenty of mock drafts over the next few days, although last year seemed like everyone waited for the final day to make their picks, so it was all bunched into one day.

The big news recently is that right-handed prep pitcher Mike Vasil, who some had possibly going in the 10-15 range, has removed his name from the draft so he could attend Virginia. Keith Law at ESPN Insider discussed for his subscribers why that was a bad idea.

MLB Pipeline had numerous articles of interest dealing with the best tools in the draft. Here are the best overall tools from Jim Callis.

That first article is the best of the best, but if you’re looking at a breakdown by position, check out these links.

Right-handed pitchers

left-handed pitchers

Corner infielders

middle infielders

I’m sure the final articles for outfielders and catchers will be up soon and I’ll include those links tomorrow. Outfielders could be split up into corner and center field.

Want even more reading? I did too, which is why I started looking at the Baseball America top 500, which actually has 500 scouting reports. That’s useful on the second and third day of the drafts when you’re looking for information on the later picks.

BA also has a Q&A with Jordyn Adams, who has been mentioned as a possibility for the Pirates.

One last bit of info is the draft representative for the Pittsburgh Pirates during the live draft on Monday. They will send Rennie Stennett, who hopes to go 3-for-3 in making strong picks that day.


Bradenton is in third place in their division, five games behind the leader with 21 games remaining in the first half.

West Virginia is in fourth place in their division, 6.5 games behind the leader with 19 games remaining in the first half.


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 8-6 to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night. They will send Joe Musgrove to the mound for his second start today. He threw seven shutout innings against the St Louis Cardinals in his last start. The Cubs scheduled starter is right-hander Kyle Hendricks, who has a 3.16 ERA in 62.2 innings, with 51 strikeouts and a 1.02 WHIP. He faced the Pirates last month in Chicago and allowed two runs over six innings.

The minor league schedule includes some question marks again. Indianapolis doesn’t have a starter listed. Altoona has Brandon Waddell listed, while Bradenton has Eduardo Vera. We know that’s wrong because Vera is with Altoona now, but there is still question as to whether he is just taking the spot of the injured Dario Agrazal, or is someone else (Waddell perhaps?) moving up to make room for Vera, which would still leave them with five starters. Not only is Vera not pitching for them, but they have a doubleheader today as well. For now, all I’m positive about is that Gavin Wallace is starting for West Virginia in their afternoon game and his older brother gets the start in one of the Bradenton games. Hopefully this all gets sorted out soon.

MLB: Pittsburgh (28-26) vs Cubs (29-22) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Joe Musgrove (0.00 ERA, 7:0 SO/BB, 7.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (25-24) vs Gwinnett (22-27) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD (0.00 ERA, 0:0 SO/BB, 0.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (23-24) vs Akron (31-21) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Brandon Waddell (2.68 ERA, 43:19 SO/BB, 53.2 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (26-22) @ Daytona (27-20) 5:00 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: Mike Wallace (5.63 ERA, 21:3 SO/BB, 24.0 IP) and TBD

Low-A: West Virginia (25-23) @ Lexington (27-22) 1:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Gavin Wallace (3.86 ERA, 21:8 SO/BB, 39.2 IP)


From the last two days for Altoona, homers by Stephen Alemais and Logan Hill



5/29: Dario Agrazal placed on DL. Bryan Reynolds added to Altoona roster.

5/29: Joel Cesar activated from West Virginia DL. Blake Weiman promoted to Bradenton.

5/29: Brett McKinney released.

5/28: Ivan Nova placed on disabled list. Pirates recall Nick Kingham.

5/28: Pirates released George Kontos.

5/27: Raul Hernandez placed on disabled list. Yoel Gonzalez added to West Virginia roster.

5/26: Starling Marte activated from disabled list. Jose Osuna optioned to Indianapolis.

5/25: JT Brubaker assigned to Altoona. Austin Coley assigned to Altoona.

5/25: Jacob Taylor retired. Kevin Mahala was released (possibly retired).

5/24: Trae Arbet released. Jesse Medrano added to Bradenton roster.

5/23: JT Brubaker assigned to Altoona.

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.


Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus two trades of note. The two older players born on this date were pitcher Al Mamaux (1913-17) and 1912 outfielder Mike Donlin. Mamaux was a highly touted pitcher out of college. By his third year in the big leagues, he won 21 games for the 1915 Pirates and threw eight shutouts. By 1917 he had fallen out of favor with the team due to condition and off-field issues and was traded to Brooklyn before the 1918 season. Donlin was one of the best hitters of his day, but he cared more about money than playing baseball, so when his acting career began to pay more, he quit the game. He was a .333 career hitter in 1,049 games. The third player born today is someone everyone knows about, Tony Watson.

The two trades the Pirates made on this date occurred in 1912 and 1925. The first one saw the Pirates deal away long-time star Tommy Leach and pitcher Lefty Leifield to the Cubs for pitcher King Cole and outfielder Solly Hofman. It ended up being a one-sided win for the Cubs, as the Pirates got little from either player they acquired. The 1925 trade saw first baseman Al Niehaus being dealt for pitcher Tom Sheehan. This deal was made possible by the signing of veteran Stuffy McInnis, which was covered in yesterday’s Morning Report. McInnis outhit Niehaus and Sheehan was a valuable reliever for the Pirates team that went on to win the World Series.

On this date in 1925, the Pittsburgh Pirates collected 32 hits during a doubleheader sweep of the Cardinals. In the second game, the Pirates set a Major League record (since 1900) with eight triples in one game. The 1894 Baltimore Orioles had nine triples in a game. Game two was the first game ever managed by Rogers Hornsby and game one was the last game ever managed by Branch Rickey. You can read more about these games in the link above. The boxscores can be found here: Game one Game two