We had a mock draft from Jonathan Mayo posted yesterday. A short time after that went up, I noticed that Keith Law also posted a mock draft for ESPN Insiders. This is his third attempt at a mock draft this year and it came with just four days (now three) left until the draft. Shameless plug time. The Pirates will make three picks on that first day of the draft, followed by rounds 3-10 on Tuesday and rounds 11-40 on Wednesday. We will have full coverage of every pick and thoughts on the draft, plus signing updates here.
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Law’s pick for the Pirates with the tenth pick is Arizona high school left-handed pitcher Matthew Liberatore. There seems to be a consensus among the draft experts that the Pirates will go with a high school player with their first pick and a pitcher seems most likely. Liberatore would be an excellent pick for the Pirates if he gets to them. Many consider him to be the best prep pitcher in the draft, so there’s a chance he could go much higher. It sounds like the only way that the Pirates go with a college player is if one of the top ones drops to them.
You can read more about Liberatore in our report from early May, which also includes a video. If you just want a basic summary, then he’s a 6’5″ projectable-frame lefty with a nice four-pitch mix, who throws strikes and he’s hit 97 MPH this spring.
** If you missed the note in the Live Discussion thread yesterday, Jung-Ho Kang will play for Bradenton tonight (weather permitting of course). They are home for the next seven days, so I assume that’s how long his stay with the team will last before he moves to a higher level.
** Montana DuRapau’s suspension ended on Wednesday and following Thursday’s Altoona game, he was assigned to the Curve roster. No other move has been made yet and as of yesterday he was actually still down at Pirate City, but it appears that DuRapau will begin his season in the Altoona bullpen. He finished up last year in Indianapolis and pitched well, though the suspension obviously knocks some luster off of that performance. He was actually a Spring Training invite this year before the suspension. Mitchell Tolman’s suspension ends after Altoona’s next game (which will be tonight, weather permitting of course).
** The Pirates signed their 70th international free agent since July 2nd. Luis Cadet is a skinny, 6’3″, 18-year-old, left-handed pitcher from the Dominican. Signing this late means he had to earn a job during tryouts at the academy, just days before the DSL season opens.
** Bradenton had their doubleheader rained out yesterday. Since they don’t play Daytona again during the first half of the season, that means that both games have been canceled from the schedule. Their first half is now down from 70 games to 65 games. With only four starters on the team right now due to Eduardo Vera going to Altoona and being replaced on the roster by a reliever, the Marauders could actually choose any of them for today. All are on at least five days rest due to the rain and an off-day on Monday.
The Marauders will likely turn to Mike Wallace, Scooter Hightower or Adam Oller for the last starting spot, since all three were starters at the end of last year. That’s until someone else is ready to move up. With so many young pitchers with West Virginia, that would probably be Gavin Wallace who moves up to join his brother. Braeden Ogle has been down at Pirate City for two weeks rehabbing shoulder inflammation and Travis MacGregor was hoping to miss no more than two starts, so one or both could return to West Virginia over the next couple of weeks.
Bradenton is in third place in their division, five games behind the leader with 17 games remaining in the first half.
West Virginia is in fourth place in their division, seven games behind the leader with 19 games remaining in the first half.
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 10-8 to the St Louis Cardinals on Thursday night. They will send Jameson Taillon to the mound for his 12th start today. He allowed three runs over 6.1 innings against the Cardinals in his last start. The Cardinals scheduled starter is right-hander Miles Mikolas, who has a 2.58 ERA in 66.1 innings, with 51 strikeouts and an 0.98 WHIP. He faced the Pirates in his last start and allowed four runs over six innings.
The minor league schedule includes Taylor Hearn making his tenth start. He has a 1.50 ERA in his last four starts combined, though he hasn’t gone longer than 5.1 innings in any of those games. JT Brubaker makes his fifth start for Indianapolis tonight. Including his Altoona stats, he has a 2.38 ERA in 56.2 innings, with 48 strikeouts and a 2.11 GO/AO ratio. Bradenton hasn’t played in a while, so their rotation is up in the air right now. Gavin Wallace starts for West Virginia. Due to rain, he hasn’t pitched since May 23rd.
MLB: Pittsburgh (29-27) @ Cardinals (30-24) 8:15 PM
Probable starter: Jameson Taillon (4.53 ERA, 54:17 SO/BB, 57.2 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (25-25) vs Scranton/WB (24-28) 7:15 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: JT Brubaker (3.32 ERA, 13:11 SO/BB, 21.2 IP)
AA: Altoona (25-24) @ Hartford (26-28) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Taylor Hearn (4.06 ERA, 46:18 SO/BB, 44.1 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (26-22) vs Charlotte (24-25) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD (0.00 ERA, 0:0 SO/BB, 0.0 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (25-23) @ Greensboro (24-27) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Gavin Wallace (3.86 ERA, 21:8 SO/BB, 39.2 IP)
From Altoona on Wednesday night, Stephen Alemais hits a walk-off single that was very close to being a walk-off homer.
5/31: Montana DuRapau assigned to Altoona.
5/30: Brandon Waddell promoted to Indianapolis. Jerrick Suiter assigned to Morgantown.
5/30: Eduardo Vera promoted to Altoona.
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.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, and one has an interesting story attached to his last game. As for the other four players, we start with Hal Smith, who caught for the 1965 Pirates. He was actually a coach who got forced into catching duties due to injuries. He retired from playing in 1961, so he wasn’t that far removed from his big league career. He remained a coach with the Pirates for two more years. He is one of three players named Hal Smith who have played in the majors, and all three played for the Pirates.
Lou Tost pitched one game for the Pirates on April 24, 1947 and allowed one run in one inning. It was his last big league game. Other players born on this date include 1925 first baseman Al Niehaus and 1898 second baseman Bill Eagan. Niehaus hit .219 in 17 games for the 1925 Pirates as a 26-year-old rookie, before they traded him to Reds for pitcher Tom Sheehan. Eagan hit .328 in his brief time with the Pirates, but they let him go after he showed up to the park drunk (after staying out all night) and he was unable to play on June 3, 1898.
Finally, one player of note that was born on this date is pitcher Harry Gardner. He didn’t do much during his two seasons (1911-12), but according to his official career stats, he has been discredited for a long time. In his last game, stats that you will find anywhere say that he gave up six unearned runs and recorded just one out. Those stats are wrong. Gardner actually allowed three unearned runs and pitched a complete inning according to the boxscores and game notes from back on April 14, 1912. You can read a full recap of the differences here.