Pirates Promote Luis Escobar to Altoona

The Pittsburgh Pirates have promoted right-handed pitcher Luis Escobar to the Altoona Curve on Monday. Lefty reliever Jake Brentz came off the disabled list to fill Escobar’s spot in Bradenton.

Escobar is one of the top pitching prospects in the system, but his promotion now is a little surprising. He was added to the 40-man roster this off-season, so in that sense, this promotion makes sense. He’s already used an option and he was still in High-A. James Marvel has been the best pitcher on the Bradenton staff, plus he had experience last year with the Marauders, so he would be the more deserving candidate at this point.

The 22-year-old Escobar has a 3.98 ERA in 92.2 innings this season. He has 85 strikeouts, a 1.23 WHIP and a .224 BAA. He has a 2.37 ERA in three July starts and his strikeout rate has increased recently. Escobar throws mid-90s, with a curve that looks plus at times and an effective changeup. When all three of his pitches are on, he’s very tough to hit. He gets wild at times, especially in big spots, which is what is really holding him back at this point.

Evan Piechota takes his place in the Bradenton rotation for now. Alfredo Reyes has been promoted to Indianapolis, which could be short-lived, as they are short some position players, but expect Austin Meadows and Christopher Bostick soon. Pedro Vasquez, who left yesterday’s start early, was placed on the DL with a right forearm strain.

UPDATE: Eric Wood was placed on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain.

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.

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