Morning Report: A Few More Notes on the Draft

Three days, forty rounds and forty-two players, and it’s done.  Get the final tally and keep up with signings on our 2019 draft pick signing tracker.

Here’s the final demographic breakdown:

Position

RHP:  14
LHP:  3
C:  5
Corner IF:  3
Middle IF:  5
CF:  9
Corner OF:  3

That’s 17 pitchers and 25 position players.  That struck me as unusually skewed toward hitters and, in fact, it is.  Starting in 2012 (i.e., the year after Bud Selig had a tantrum over the Pirates paying Josh Bell $5M and changed the rules), the Pirates have more or less trended toward taking fewer pitchers.  The first number is hitters:

2019:  25/17
2018:  25/16
2017:  23/19
2016:  19/22
2015:  16/25
2014:  20/22
2013:  22/19
2012:  19/22

I have no clue why this might be.  It could just be a matter of which players the Pirates happened to like more.

If that seems like a lot of center fielders, or outfielders generally, it is.  The Pirates also are trending toward drafting more outfielders. The breakdown for center fielders and outfielders over the same period (CF then corner OF):

2019:  9/3
2018:  3/8
2017:  5/4
2016:  3/3
2015:  2/3
2014:  2/4
2013:  6/1
2012:  4/1

The likely reason, at least to me, for focusing more on outfielders is that the Pirates’ system hasn’t produced much hitting talent, so there’s a severe need.  The sudden explosion in center fielders could result from the Pirates’ interest in biometrics and a growing focus on athleticism.  Or it could be random.

Type of School

The scholastic breakdown is as follows:

College:  31 (including two NAIA)
— Senior:  11
— Junior:  18
— Sophomore Eligible:  2
Junior College:  3
Prep:  8

This is a little college-heavy compared to MLB as a whole, but not far from the norm.  According to MLB.com, for instance, the breakdown in 2018 was 805 college, 104 junior college and 303 prep.  In 2017, it was 771 college, 130 junior college and 312 prep.

PLAYOFF PUSH

Altoona is in fourth place in their division, eight games back with 13 games remaining in the first half.

Bradenton is in a three-way tie for first place with 11 games remaining in the first half.

Greensboro is in second place in their division, six games back with 12 games remaining in the schedule.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates won 7-4 over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night. Chris Archer gets the start today in the series finale. He allowed four runs over seven innings in his last start. That followed consecutive starts of five innings each, in which he gave up a total of seven runs on 12 hits and eight walks. The Braves will counter with right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, who has a 6.10 ERA in 38.1 innings, with 32 strikeouts and a 1.28 WHIP. He gave up five runs over five innings in his last start, which followed six shutout innings against the St Louis Cardinals. He has 18 strikeouts and no walks in his last three starts combined.

The minor league schedule includes the first appearance for Nicholas Economos since he was named as our Player of the Week. He had two outings last week for Bradenton in which he allowed one run over seven innings each time and one of those runs was a home run by MLB rehabber Didi Gregorius.  Indianapolis will send out Cam Vieaux for his third Triple-A start. He gave up two runs over five innings in his debut, then allowed five runs over five innings last time out. Colin Selby will make his fifth start for Greensboro. He has a 1.00 WHIP in 20 innings, with a 24:6 SO/BB ratio and a .189 BAA. Altoona has off today.

The full 2019 Pirates Prospects Prospect Guide is now available, up to date as of April 3rd, with every player in the minor league system (NOTE: There have been just three players released and two added since then, so the book is still 99% up to date). Includes full reports on the top 50 prospects, reports on over 150 other players, as well as looks back at the recent drafts and international signing classes. Subscribers get 20% off the purchase of a book.

MLB: Pittsburgh (29-31) vs Braves (33-28) 12:35 PM
Probable starter: Chris Archer (5.66 ERA, 47:26 SO/BB, 47.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (33-23) @ Toledo (23-33) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Cam Vieaux (6.30 ERA, 8:6 SO/BB, 10.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (26-29) vs Akron (29-27) 7:00 PM 6/7 (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD

High-A: Bradenton (33-25) @ Daytona (32-27) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Nicholas Economos (1.89 ERA, 18:6 SO/BB, 19.0 IP)

Low-A: Greensboro (38-20) @ Lakewood (21-37) 7:05 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter: Colin Selby (4.50 ERA, 24:6 SO/BB, 20.0 IP)

DSL: Pirates1 (2-2) vs Indians/Brewers 10:30 AM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates2 (4-0) vs Giants 10:30 AM (season preview)

HIGHLIGHTS

From Indianapolis, Jason Martin comes through with a big hit

From Altoona, Jason Delay hits his fifth home run of the season

Jared Oliva hits his third homer

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

6/5: Jesus Liranzo sent outright to Indianapolis. Trayvon Robinson placed on injured list.

6/4: Deon Stafford and Hunter Stratton suspended (league). Shea Murray assigned to Extended Spring Training. John Bormann and Luis Nova added to Bradenton roster.

6/3: Cody Bolton placed on injured list

6/2: Pirates release Randolph Gassaway

5/31: Pedro Vasquez and Alfredo Reyes assigned to Altoona. Adrian Valerio and Ryan Valdes assigned to Bradenton.

5/31: Jack Herman assigned to Greensboro. Brett Kinneman assigned to Extended Spring Training

5/31: Allen Montgomery added to Bradenton roster

5/30: Connor Kaiser activated from Greenboro injured list.

5/29: Joe Jacques promoted to Bradenton.

5/29: Jake Elmore sent outright to Indianapolis.

5/28: Mitch Keller optioned to Indianapolis.

5/28: Alfredo Reyes promoted to Indianapolis. Domingo Robles promoted to Altoona.

5/27: Pirates acquire Yefry Ramirez from Baltimore Orioles for cash or PTBNL.

5/27: Pirates recall Mitch Keller. Montana DuRapau optioned to Indianapolis.

5/27: Cam Vieaux promoted to Indianapolis. Steven Baron activated from injured list.

5/27: Ryan Valdes and Austin Coley promoted to Altoona.

5/27: Alex McRae added to 40-man roster and recalled. Doydas Neverauskas optioned to Indianapolis.

5/27: Pirates recall Richard Rodriguez to serve as 26th man for doubleheader.

5/26: Francisco Cervelli placed on 7-day injured list. Jake Elmore designated for assignment. Jacob Stallings and Jose Osuna added to Pirates.

THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY

Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a trade of note and a huge game from the Pirates’ offense. The players born on this date are outfielder Doug Frobel (1982-85), lefty pitcher Jake Hewitt (1895) and second baseman Fresco Thompson, who was a September addition to the 1925 Pirates team that went on to win the franchise’s second World Series title. He hit .243 in 14 games and drove in eight runs.

On this date in 1949, the Pirates traded pitcher Kirby Higbe to the Giants for infielder Bobby Rhawn and pitcher Ray Poat. Rhawn lasted all of nine days with the Pirates before he was put on waivers and claimed by the White Sox. Poat lasted until the end of the year, but after two starts, he was a seldom used bullpen arm and had no success in Pittsburgh. The Pirates must have known Higbe was nearly done, because the pitcher, who was once a star for the Brooklyn Dodgers, was through in the majors by the end of the season.

On this date in 1894, the Pirates defeated the Boston Beaneaters (current day Braves) by a 27-11 score in the highest offensive output in team history. The Pirates put up 12 runs in the third inning and another nine in the fourth inning. They were actually outscored 8-3 in the last five innings, but Boston never came close to getting back in the game. Jake Stenzel became the first Pirates’ player to hit two home runs in the same inning.

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