Morning Report: Progress Reports on the 2018 Draft Picks

With three 2018 draft picks moving up to West Virginia yesterday, I thought I’d take a quick look at the progress of every draft pick who signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates this year. They signed a total of 33 players and they are all listed below by their round.

1. Travis Swaggerty – Just promoted to West Virginia yesterday after putting up an .819 OPS with Morgantown. He participated in the NYPL All-Star game right before his promotion.
2. Braxton Ashcraft – Signed late and needed to build up his arm before appearing in games so he has only pitched nine innings so far. Should have two more starts. Pitched four shutout innings earlier this week.
3. Connor Kaiser – Joined Swaggerty in the move up to West Virginia. Hasn’t hit much yet, but he’s been successful on the bases (7-for-8 in steals) and playing strong defense.
4. Aaron Shortridge – Was pitching well for Morgantown in their rotation with a high strikeout rate, but has missed the last two weeks. I was told it’s more fatigue from a long season than injury related.
5. Grant Koch – Has a .663 OPS in 25 games and runners are having their way with him on the bases (8-for-39 in throwing out runners).
6. Michael Flynn – Has been sidelined twice so far, pitching just 16.2 innings with a 5.94 ERA and 17 strikeouts.
7. Brett Kinneman – He has a .658 OPS in 44 games and strikeouts have been an issue. That was the big knock on him in college as well.
8. Zach Spears – Very large human, southpaw who just had his best outing. Was struggling before and pitching on limited pitch counts.
9. Logan Stoelke – Reliever who turns 23 next week. Allowed four runs on July 1st, nothing before or since in 16 appearances and 20 innings.
10. Mike Gretler – Hitting .277/.372/.384 in 31 games. Played in NYPL All-Star game. Third baseman who has also caught two games.
11. Michael Burrows – Over-slot signing. Just like fellow prep RHP Braxton Ashcraft, he needed to build up his arm again before getting into games. Has thrown five shutout innings, though three of those innings were in a suspended game that needs to be completed.
12. Zac Susi – Split time between Morgantown and now Bristol. Has a .598 OPS in 28 games with a 27% caught stealing rate.
13. Zack Kone – The final signing in the draft class right before the deadline. Has a .557 OPS in 26 games. Has been splitting time between SS and 2B, but could see more shortstop with Connor Kaiser being promoted.
14. Daniel Amaral – Speedy outfielder who has a .696 OPS in 40 games, with 18 stolen bases.
15. Jonah Davis – Has been crushing the ball in Bristol, posting a .323/.401/.611 slash line in 41 games, though he has 50 strikeouts. Full-time center fielder.
16. Colin Selby – Has a 4.42 ERA in 36.2 innings and nine starts for Bristol, with 35 strikeouts and a 1.31 WHIP.
17. Brad Case – College pitcher working on some mechanical changes in the GCL. As you would expect, he’s putting up strong numbers as a starter.
18. Michael LoPresti – Has been starting for Morgantown with recent success after a rough start. Very high ground ball rate, very low strikeout rate.
19. Will Kobos – Pitching in relief and occasionally starting for Bristol. Very poor numbers in ERA, walks, BAA and GO/AO ratio, yet he has 29 strikeouts in 21.1 innings.
20. Conner Loeprich – Having a lot of success in short relief for Morgantown. Low ERA, very low BAA (.156), excellent strikeout rate and a huge ground ball rate.
21. Will Gardner – Very similar report to Loeprich except Gardner started with Bristol, before moving up to Morgantown.
24. Cam Alldred – Another reliever having success in Morgantown. Hasn’t allowed a run since June.
25. Luke Mangieri – Just promoted to West Virginia. Started off strong, but faded recently. Athletic first baseman with speed.
27. Ryan Haug – First player from the class to make it to Bradenton. Catcher, who missed time due to concussion, but he’s back now.
28. Nick Patten – College hitter in the GCL and surprisingly he is struggling. Showing some power though.
30. Jack Herman – Third prep player signed by Pirates, though he signed first and he’s crushing the ball in the GCL. Leads the league in batting average.
31. Chase Lambert – Putting up an .894 OPS in 24 games with Bristol. Splitting starting time at second base, with occasional starts at shortstop.
32. Dean Lockery – Putting up an .835 OPS in 29 games with Bristol. Has made starts at second base, shortstop and third base.
33. Joe Jacques – Was having a very difficult time in the Bristol bullpen until recently turning a corner.
35. Justin Harrer – Second player to make it to Bradenton, though both were due to the convenience of having two affiliates in the same town. Wasn’t hitting much in the GCL as a college draft pick.
38. Brendt Citta – Putting up a .701 OPS in 31 games with Bristol as a 22-year-old from a major college.
39. Cody Smith – Having a tough time in the Morgantown bullpen
40. Jake Mielock  – College pitcher struggling in the GCL bullpen.

PLAYOFF PUSH

The Pirates are in fourth place in their division, trailing by nine games with 41 games left on the schedule. They trail the second wild card team by six games.

Indianapolis is in first place and they lead by one game with 18 games left in their schedule.

Altoona is in second place and trails by one game with 20 games left in their schedule. They lead the race for the second playoff spot by four games.

Bradenton is in sixth place and trails by 15 games with 18 games left in their schedule.

West Virginia is in fifth place and trails by 11.5 games with 20 games left in their schedule. They trail the second place team by 2.5 games and could make the playoffs if Lakewood wins the second half title and they finish second.

Morgantown is in sixth place and they trail by 11 games with 19 games left in their schedule.

Bristol is in third place and trails by 5.5 games with 15 games left in their schedule. They trail the second place team, which also gets a playoff spot, by three games.

The GCL Pirates are in fourth place and they trail by nine games with nine games left in their schedule, so the best they could do right now is a tie. All they have to do is win nine and the first place team loses nine…

The DSL Pirates1 have been eliminated from the playoff race.

The DSL Pirates2 have been eliminated from the playoff race.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 6-4 to the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday afternoon. The Pirates now return home for a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs. Ivan Nova will get the start today, coming off of his outing on August 9th when he allowed two runs over six innings against the San Francisco Giants. The Cubs will counter with left-hander Jon Lester, who has a 3.89 ERA in 134.1 innings, with 105 strikeouts and a 1.34 WHIP. In his last start against the Pirates on July 31st, he allowed four runs over five innings.

The minor league schedule includes some players who were promoted mid-season and some who got demoted recently. Indianapolis doesn’t have a starter listed (well they do, but it’s Mitch Keller, who started yesterday). I believe Brandon Waddell might make the start, but don’t quote me on that. Altoona will send Eduardo Vera to the mound. He has given up two runs in six of his last eight starts. The other two games were one run and three runs. Bradenton is sending Pedro Vasquez to the mound for his second start in High-A, although he had a one inning outing suspended due to rain and that’s not showing up in his stats yet. Oddy Nunez starts for West Virginia, his second start since being demoted. He allowed two runs over six innings in the first game. Bristol needs to complete a suspended game (losing 10-8 in the 10th inning) before playing their regularly scheduled game. Steven Jennings is scheduled to pitch today.

MLB: Pittsburgh (61-60) vs Cubs (69-50) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Ivan Nova (4.42 ERA, 88:27 SO/BB, 124.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (66-56) @ Lehigh Valley (73-49) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD (0.00 ERA, 0:0 SO/BB, 0.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (65-52) @ New Hampshire (67-50) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Eduardo Vera (4.48 ERA, 44:16 SO/BB, 70.1 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (50-64) @ Clearwater (66-54) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Pedro Vasquez (5.40 ERA, 4:2 SO/BB, 3.1 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (60-56) vs Columbia (55-62) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Oddy Nunez (2.25 ERA, 7:1 SO/BB, 12.0 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (22-35) @ Batavia (24-31) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD (0.00 ERA, 0:0 SO/BB, 0.0 IP)

Rookie: Bristol (25-28) @ Burlington (16-37) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Steven Jennings (5.22 ERA, 38:23 SO/BB, 50.0 IP)

GCL: Pirates (21-23) vs Tigers East 12:00 PM  (season preview)

DSL: Pirates1 (29-34) vs Red Sox2 10:30 AM  (season preview)

DSL: Pirates2 (25-38) vs Tigers2 10:30 AM  (season preview)

HIGHLIGHTS

From Altoona, two highlights. We owe you (actually MiLB owed everyone) a better Will Craig highlight than what they posted yesterday. Here’s his 19th home run, opposite field and the right fielder’s reaction says it all.

Dario Agrazal records a strikeout.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

8/15: Travis Swaggerty, Luke Mangieri and Connor Kaiser promoted to West Virginia.

8/15: Dylan Busby activated from West Virginia disabled list. Oneil Cruz placed on disabled list.

8/15: Montana DuRapau placed on disabled list.

8/15: Nick Burdi assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

8/14: Pirates sign Johan Montero.

8/14: West Virginia assigns Ben Bengtson, Fabricio Macias and Kyle Watson to Morgantown.

8/14: Bligh Madris placed on disabled list. Justin Harrer promoted to Bradenton.

8/14: Shane Baz traded as the player to be named later to the Rays.

8/13: AJ Schugel assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

8/13: Jackson Williams activated from Indianapolis disabled list.

8/12: Miami Marlins acquire Christopher Bostick for cash.

8/12: Pirates recall Jacob Stallings. Option Jordan Luplow.

8/12: Stephen Alemais placed on the DL. Jin-De Jhang added to Altoona roster.

8/11: Pirates recall Michael Feliz and Buddy Boshers. Clay Holmes and Casey Sadler optioned to Indianapolis.

8/11: Jin-De Jhang placed on temporary inactive list.

8/10: Pirates recall Clay Holmes. Option Dovydas Neverauskas to Indianapolis.

8/10: Afredo Reyes assigned to Altoona. Dylan Busby assigned to Bristol.

8/8: Luis Nova and Denny Roman promoted to Bristol. Yerry De Los Santos promoted to GCL Pirates.

8/8: John Pomeroy promoted to West Virginia. Alec Rennard and Argenis Romano promoted to Morgantown.

8/8: Rodolfo Castro activated from West Virginia disabled list.

8/8: Josh Bell activated from disabled list. Jose Osuna optioned to Indianapolis.

8/7: Pirates claim Buddy Boshers off waivers. Christopher Bostick designated for assignment.

8/7: Jackson Williams placed on Indianapolis disabled list.

8/7: Jin-De Jhang activated from Altoona DL. Bralin Jackson placed on disabled list.

THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY

Ten former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including a player included in the worst trade the Pirates ever made.

Rick Reed, pitcher from 1988 until 1991. He eventually became a good Major League pitcher, but it was well after the Pirates released him in 1992. Reed pitched just 31 games for the Pirates over his four seasons.

Al Holland, pitcher for the Pirates in 1977 and 1985. He was acquired in exchange for Kent Tekulve in 1985. He was dealt away later in the season as part of a six-player trade with the Angels.

Curt Roberts, second baseman in 1954-56. First African-American player for the Pirates. Spent time in the Negro Leagues before playing in the minors. A few players born on this date met tragic endings at an early age. Roberts was hit by a car at age 40, while he was changing a tire.

Gene Woodling, 1947 outfielder. Spent 17 seasons in the majors, while also serving two years in the military during WWII.

Tiny Bonham, pitcher for the 1947-49 Pirates. He made the AL All-Star team twice while with the Yankees and won 103 career games. During the 1949 season, he went to the hospital for an appendectomy and found out he had intestinal cancer, passing away two weeks later at the age of 36.

Andy Bednar, pitcher for the 1930-31 Pirates. Pitched five Major League games, all for the Pirates. Died in a car accident in 1937 at the age of 29.

Bill Keen, first baseman for the 1911 Pirates. Got injured in his first game and was used strictly as a pinch-hitter after that. He is why I encourage people to read the link above for more information. Very interesting story about his short career, confusion with his name, and his minor league stats being attributed to someone else.

Gene Steere, shortstop for the 1894 Pirates (or Braves if you want to be correct) Hit .205 in ten games and committed five errors.

Willie Clark, first baseman during the 1898-99 seasons. Hit .306 in 57 games in 1898 and led all NL first baseman in fielding the next season.

Hank Robinson, pitcher for the 1911-13 Pirates. Won 28 minor league games in 1911 before he joined the Pirates. He had a 2.26 ERA in 1912 and 2.38 in 1913, before he was dealt to the Cardinals in an inexcusable trade that also saw Chief Wilson (the single-season triples leader and 1909 right fielder) and Dots Miller go to St Louis for Ed Konetchy, who Pirates’ owner Barney Dreyfuss had a man-crush on. I’m not just saying that because I’m still mad about them dumping Miller. Dreyfuss tried often to trade for Konetchy, to the point he finally gave up way too much to get him. His reward for the trade? Konetchy played poorly in 1914, then jumped to the Federal League after one season.

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