Last week, we released our mid-season update to the top 50 prospects list. We put together a book for the scouting reports on each player and some other added extras.

When we put together that book, we wrote up four extra reports. That was just after the trade deadline, so we knew there would be two players to be named later in those trades. We also figured Jordan Luplow was close enough that he would lose his prospect status. That didn’t happen before he was sent down, but I expect it to happen by early September because he’s nine at-bats away.

The fourth extra report was just in case something came up and that something actually happened first. On Sunday, Christopher Bostick was traded to the Miami Marlins for cash, which was basically just a waiver claim involving a little more cash than normal. On Monday, we posted the scouting report for the player who was #51 in our rankings, (he’s #49 now) Conner Uselton.

Yesterday, Shane Baz was named as the player to be named later in the Chris Archer deal. That’s a key piece in the system to lose, though he was the lowest level (Bristol) player among the top 16 prospects in the system. So it is a possible long-term loss, but not something that will affect the Major League team any time soon.

For people who rank the farm systems, this could knock the Pirates 1-2 spots, depending on where they had Baz. Some who do those rankings, weigh top prospects heavily in the farm system rankings. Meaning, you could lose a top 100 prospect and it would have more effect than losing all of your prospects ranked 31-50 in the system.

I think depth is important because you can develop prospects from depth. It goes without saying that it’s much harder to go from non-prospect to legit prospect than it is to go from fringe prospect to legit. The Pirates have definitely lost some depth this season, but there were still some players of interest outside our top 50. Our new #50 prospect is an example of that.

Rodolfo Castro is 19 years old and playing second base base for the West Virginia Power right now. He got an aggressive push to the level at a young age (was still 18 when the season opened) because he put up solid stats in the DSL in 2016 and the GCL in 2017. He has seen a slip in his overall stats, but he’s doing enough that he still remains an interesting player to watch. If it takes him a full year to adjust to Low-A, then that’s fine because he will still be young for the level.

Here’s the write-up for Rodolfo Castro:

Rodolfo Castro – Castro started the 2018 season with the West Virginia Power after playing for the GCL Pirates last year. He got the aggressive push despite being 18 years old at the beginning of the season (turned 19 in late May). Castro was ranked #43 in our preseason guide, but dropped a few spots due to the issues that held him back from a higher spot coming into the season. He had a high strikeout rate in the DSL in 2016 as a rookie, then his walks went down and the strikeouts remained an issue last year in the GCL. This season has seen his walk rate go down even more, while the strikeouts are about the same.

The problem this year with Castro is that he isn’t getting the desired results. Despite the strikeouts, he put up a .771 OPS in the DSL and followed that up with an .823 mark last year. Those numbers came in two leagues that favor pitchers and he was one of the youngest players in each league. He’s getting some credit for holding his own while getting an aggressive push, but at the time of this write-up, his .234/.280/.388 slash line probably isn’t enough to get him to Bradenton next year. He’s shown the ability to play second base, and he’s getting the occasional start at shortstop as well. He has slightly above average speed, which he could use better on the bases. Castro has the power to be a nice middle infield prospect, but he needs to add the patience before he makes a significant jump in the rankings.

PLAYOFF PUSH

The Pirates are in fourth place in their division, trailing by eight games with 42 games left on the schedule. They trail the second wild card team by five games.

Indianapolis is in first place and they lead by 1.5 games with 20 games left in their schedule.

Altoona is in second place and trails by two games with 21 games left in their schedule. They lead the race for the second playoff spot by three games.

Bradenton is in sixth place and trails by 15 games with 19 games left in their schedule.

West Virginia is in fifth place and trails by 10.5 games with 21 games left in their schedule. They trail the second place team by 1.5 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 12 games with 20 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 ten games with ten games left in their schedule, so the best they could do right now is a tie. All they have to do is win ten and the first place team loses ten…

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 5-2 to the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night. Chris Archer will get the start today, coming off of his outing on August 8th when he allowed two runs over five innings against the Colorado Rockies. The Twins will counter with right-hander Jose Berrios, who has a 3.66 ERA in 150 innings, with 153 strikeouts and a 1.09 WHIP. In his last start, he allowed four runs over four innings against the Cleveland Indians. He has walked 12 batters in his last 15.2 innings.

The minor league schedule includes a doubleheader for Indianapolis after the second game last night was rained out. Mitch Keller should get the start in game one, trying to repeat his start from last week when he allowed one run over six innings. No starter has been announced yet for the second game, but Casey Sadler was tentatively listed for yesterday’s game two, so it could be him. James Marvel makes his second start for Altoona. He allowed two runs over 6.2 innings in his Double-A debut. Domingo Robles gets his second start for Bradenton, hoping it goes A LOT better than last time. He gave up nine runs on 11 hits in 3.1 innings in his debut. West Virginia starter Max Kranick allowed five runs over 3.1 innings in his last game. Prior to that, he has a stretch of 27.1 innings in which he posted a 34:1 SO/BB ratio. Morgantown returns from their All-Star break. Bristol has off today.

MLB: Pittsburgh (61-59) @ Twins (55-63) 1:10 PM
Probable starter: Chris Archer (4.82 ERA, 9:6 SO/BB, 9.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (65-55) @ Scranton/WB (61-56) 5:05 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: Mitch Keller (6.67 ERA, 36:15 SO/BB, 29.2 IP) and TBD

AA: Altoona (64-52) @ New Hampshire (67-49) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: James Marvel (2.75 ERA, 5:2 SO/BB, 6.2 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (50-63) @ Clearwater (65-54) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Domingo Robles (24.30 ERA, 3:3 SO/BB, 3.1 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (60-55) vs Columbia (54-62) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Max Kranick (4.22 ERA, 62:16 SO/BB, 64.0 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (21-35) @ Batavia (24-30) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Osvaldo Bido (4.73 ERA, 39:14 SO/BB, 51.1 IP)

Rookie: Bristol (25-28) @ Burlington (16-37) 7:00 PM 8/16 (season preview)
Probable starter: Steven Jennings (5.22 ERA, 38:23 SO/BB, 50.0 IP)

GCL: Pirates (20-23) vs Braves 12:00 PM  (season preview)

DSL: Pirates1 (29-33) vs Red Sox2 10:30 AM  (season preview)

DSL: Pirates2 (24-38) vs Tigers2 10:30 AM  (season preview)

HIGHLIGHTS

From Indianapolis, here is Max Moroff leading off with a homer.

I also included this Will Craig two-run single despite the poor camera work at the worst possible time

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

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.

8/6: Pirates acquire Adeiny Hechavarria and cash considerations From the Tampa Bay Rays for Matt Seelinger.

8/6: Domingo Robles Promoted to Bradenton. James Marvel promoted to Altoona.

THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY

Six former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus two trades of note. On this date in 1969, the Pirates traded pitcher Jim Bunning to the Dodgers for two minor league players and cash. The Hall of Fame pitcher was near the end of his career and on the downside, so the Pirates didn’t miss him much. That was good because they all got was six games from the two players that they got in return.

On this date in 1910, the Pirates purchased the contract of Max Carey from his minor league team. That was the start of his 17-year career with the team. Carey played 2,178 games for Pittsburgh, collecting 2,416 hits and 918 walks, with 1,414 runs scored and 688 stolen bases. He’s fourth in team history in runs, hits and games, second in walks and first all-time in steals.

Players born on this date include:

Oliver Perez, pitcher from 2003 until 2006. He was involved in two big trades that both worked out well, coming over with Jason Bay and leaving for Xavier Nady. He had 239 strikeouts during the 2004 season.

Ramon Morel, relief pitcher from 1995-97. He was signed as an amateur free agent in 1991 and made it from high-A to the majors during the 1995 season.

Duffy Dyer, catcher from 1975 until 1978. He was drafted in the first round in 1966. The Pirates acquired him for Gene Clines right after the 1974 season.

Bernie Walter, pitcher for the Pirates on August 16, 1930. He was actually the team’s batting practice pitcher, spending the entire 1930 season with the Pirates, but he only pitched one inning. He never even played minor league ball, so that one inning was his entire career.

Red Peery, pitcher for Pirates on September 22, 1927. During the end of the 1927 season, shortly before the Pirates went on to their fourth World Series, Peery pitched at the end of a blowout loss during a doubleheader. That would be his only appearance for the Pirates.

Lew Carr, shortstop for the 1901 Pirates for two weeks. Honus Wagner was a third baseman at that time, as he didn’t play shortstop regularly when he first joined the Pirates. Carr played nine games and held his own at the plate with a .701 OPS, but regular shortstop Bones Ely took his job back and Carr was released.

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