On Tuesday night, Jacob Stallings recorded his 131st at-bat in the Major Leagues. That ended a long prospect journey that started back in 2012 as a seventh round draft pick.
Stallings made his big league debut on June 19, 2016. He didn’t get much of a chance to play for the Pirates that first year, getting 15 at-bats over five games. Going into 2017, Stallings was considered one of the safer prospects in the system. He was basically already at his peak. Good enough to be a backup catcher in the majors, but he was stuck as the third-string catcher in Indianapolis.
During that 2017 season, Stallings played five games again and this time he totaled 14 at-bats. Parts of two seasons in the majors and he only had 29 at-bats to show for it.
The term “prospect status” is often misunderstood and that’s because it is somewhat vague. When we use it, it’s fairly straightforward. A player who has prospect status is eligible for our prospect guide rankings. They can have no big league experience, or in this extreme case with Stallings, it could take them parts of four seasons to lose that tag. Age really isn’t a factor, because in the case of Stallings, he was blocked at the big league level, while also seeing sporadic time when he did get to the majors. Age is a factor when determining where they should rank, not whether or not we rank them.
Back to the journey of Stallings. In 2018, he was almost a big league regular compared to the previous two seasons, getting a whopping 37 at-bats over the season. He finished the year with a career total of 149 days of service time in the majors. Granted, most of it was in September, but he still officially lost the prospect tag for some people much earlier than he did for us.
MLB Pipeline uses MLB rookie-eligibility rules, which only requires 45 non-September days in the majors. Someone could make the Opening Day roster, not play for 45 days, get sent down the next day, and that would still be considered their rookie season. We use the second rule only for batters. If you don’t have more than 130 at-bats, you’re still have prospect status. Stallings pushed that rule to the limit. He was at 1.060 (one full year and 60 days towards his second service year) in service time when he finally recorded his 131st at-bat, becoming the fourth player after Bryan Reynolds, Kevin Newman and Clay Holmes to lose their prospect status this season.
So how did Stallings celebrate his new title of common Major League player? He made a pitching appearance on Wednesday, throwing a shutout inning. Oh how I wish that happened on Monday before he crossed that 130 at-bat threshold. I could have started tracking his pitching stats as a way for him to lose the prospect status, because using at-bats was taking too long.
As for who could be next, Dario Agrazal seems like the most logical choice, though Cole Tucker is much closer and an everyday player, so he could get called up two weeks from now and still reach his prospect status limit faster. Agrazal isn’t on the hot seat right now because he has pitched so well as a starter, so a bad start won’t knock him out of the rotation. He has already thrown 28 innings and the maximum for a prospect is 50 innings, so 22.1 more will get him knocked out of the 2020 Prospect Guide. He will be in the mid-season guide, which will be released very soon, and spoiler alert, he will be in the top 50. For the record, Tucker is 19 at-bats away, Pablo Reyes is next closest at 34 at-bats away.
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 6-3 to the St Louis Cardinals on Thursday afternoon. They now travel to New York for three games against the Mets. The Pirates will send out Dario Agrazal for his sixth start. In each of his last two starts, he has allowed one run over six innings, once at home against the Philadelphia Phillies and the other time on the road versus the Cardinals. The Mets are countering with veteran right-hander Zack Wheeler, who has a 4.69 ERA in 119 innings, with 130 strikeouts and a 1.28 WHIP. He faced the Phillies in his last start back on July 7th and gave up six runs in five innings. He has been out due to a shoulder impingement, but returns today on a somewhat limited (75-85) pitch count.
The minor league schedule includes Max Kranick making his 20th start of the season. His 104 innings ranks third in the FSL, just 2.1 behind the league leader. Kranick ranks tenth in the league with a 1.20 WHIP. Indianapolis will send out Cam Vieaux. He gave up two runs over six innings in his last start. It was just the second time in ten outings for Indianapolis that he went longer than five innings.
Sean Brady goes for Altoona. He gave up six runs over five innings in his last start. It was his first start since June 7th with more than two earned runs and it broke a streak of 11 straight games with 6+ innings. Greensboro will send out Colin Selby, who gave up two runs over six innings in his last start. It was the fifth straight start with one or two runs allowed for Selby. Bristol’s Luis Ortiz went six innings for the first time in his career (five starts) during his last start. He allowed one run on three hits and one walks, striking out a career best five batters.
MLB: Pittsburgh (46-56) @ Mets (47-55) 7:10 PM
Probable starter: Dario Agrazal (2.25 ERA, 12:10 SO/BB, 28.0 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (52-50) @ Rochester (50-53) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Cam Vieaux (5.21 ERA, 49:26 SO/BB, 48.1 IP)
AA: Altoona (52-49) vs Richmond (37-64) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Sean Brady (3.95 ERA, 47:26 SO/BB, 86.2 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (55-46) vs St Lucie (56-46) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Max Kranick (3.89 ERA, 74:27 SO/BB, 104.0 IP)
Low-A: Greensboro (61-41) vs Kannapolis (45-57) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Colin Selby (3.18 ERA, 66:23 SO/BB, 68.0 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (21-17) @ State College (20-20) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD
Rookie: Bristol (16-19) vs Elizabethton (20-15) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Luis Ortiz (3.52 ERA, 18:6 SO/BB, 23.0 IP)
GCL: Pirates (9-15) vs Orioles (17-7) 12:00 PM (season preview)
DSL: Pirates1 (22-24) vs Indians/Brewers (11-34) 10:30 AM (season preview)
DSL: Pirates2 (38-8) vs Colorado (22-24) 10:30 AM (season preview)
From Altoona on Wednesday night, Bligh Madris hits a two-run triple
Three straight hits to start the ninth, including a two-run triple by @Bligh_Guy
⬇️9⃣ Erie 7, Curve 3 pic.twitter.com/HAUoZYCpUI
— Altoona Curve (@AltoonaCurve) July 24, 2019
Chris Sharpe hits an RBI double
.@Chris_Sharpe19 breaks us out of the funk to post our first run of the day
⬇️6⃣ Erie 3, Curve 1 pic.twitter.com/tENC5LLpV9
— Altoona Curve (@AltoonaCurve) July 24, 2019
A nice running catch over his shoulder for Robbie Glendinning
— Altoona Curve (@AltoonaCurve) July 24, 2019
7/25: Pirates recall Alex McRae. Luis Escobar optioned to Indianapolis.
7/25: Will Kobos promoted to Greensboro.
7/24: Keone Kela added to Pirates roster. Clay Holmes placed on injured list.
7/24: Angel German suspended by Altoona.
7/23: Brandon Waddell promoted to Indianapolis. Nicholas Economos promoted to Altoona. Conner Loeprich promoted to Bradenton. Winston Nicacio promoted to Greensboro. Oliver Garcia promoted to Morgantown. Miguel Peralta released.
7/23: Luis Nova placed on Greensboro injured list. Nick Mears placed on Bradenton injured list.
7/23: Tyler Lyons placed on paternity list. Eric Wood placed on temporary inactive list.
7/22: Saul de la Cruz promoted to Bristol. Wilger Camacho sent to GCL Pirates.
7/22: Elvis Escobar assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.
7/20: Michael Gretler placed on injured list. Victor Ngoepe promoted to Greensboro.
7/19: Jerrick Suiter placed on Altoona injured list. Bralin Jackson activated from injured list.
7/18: Mike LoPresti promoted to Greensboro.
7/17: Bear Bellomy promoted to Morgantown.
7/16: Pirates sign Jesus Castillo.
7/16: Hunter Owen activated from Indianapolis injured list.
7/16: John O’Reilly promoted to Bradenton. Matt Eardensohn assigned to Bristol.
7/16: Lizardy Dicent assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a trade of note. First the trade, and on this date in 2008, the Pirates sent Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady to the New York Yankees for Jose Tabata and three pitchers, Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens and Daniel McCutchen. The Pirates got decent use out of the three pitchers, with both Karstens and Ohlendorf looking like solid pitchers at times. Jose Tabata was still around until 2015 and he ended up signing a deal that looks bad now with the way he performed, but it could have been a good deal if he lived up to his potential.
The Yankees didn’t get much from the deal. Marte was a free agent at the end of the 2008 season. Nady had another year on his contract, but he ended up getting injured just seven games into the 2009 season and missed the rest of the year.
The players born on this date include 1969-70 infielder Jose Martinez, 1949-51, 1955 outfielder Tom Saffell, 1948-49 third baseman Eddie Bockman and 1947 second baseman Jimmy Bloodworth. Saffell, Bockman and Bloodworth all served in the military during WWII, missing a combined nine years of their playing career. You can read more about those players in this link.