First Pitch: Updated Draft Prospect Rankings

Fangraphs has a pair of articles from the weekend regarding the draft. Eric Longenhagen updated their draft board (rankings), while also talking about the draft. In particular, he mentions that he’s not as high on Reid Detmers, who we covered here on Saturday (link also has a link to a previous mention). Detmers is ranked 15th in their latest update, while most have him as a top ten pick.

While this isn’t a mock draft, we can match up the rankings with the Pirates first round pick. Longenhagen has Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad ranked seventh overall, which is where the Pirates make their first selection. We covered Kjerstad here when Baseball America had him rising up their draft charts. He also moved up for Fangraphs in this latest update. Kjerstad was hitting .448/.513/.791 through 16 games this year before play was halted.

As a side note, Mick Abel was the other player in the Detmers link above from Saturday and he’s ranked eighth by Fangraphs in the latest update. The draft board on Fangraphs has updated reports for everyone listed.

That Kjerstad link has two scouting videos, but I’ll include another one here, which is his season highlights and it’s eight minutes long.

MLB Pipeline recently put out an article looking at the best tools in the draft. Kjerstad got an honorable mention in the power category.

** Just a heads up. The original Angels in the Outfield, featuring the Pittsburgh Pirates as the main team in the 1951 movie, will be shown on Turner Classic Movies at 1 PM EST today. I’ll be watching.





By John Dreker

Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date and one trade of note.

Daniel Moskos, pitcher for the Pirates in 2011. He had a 2.96 ERA in 24.1 innings over 31 appearances during his only season in the majors. Moskos was a first round pick (fourth overall pick) in the 2007 draft. He pitched another seven seasons after his lone big league stint.

Romulo Sanchez, pitcher for the 2007-08 Pirates. He signed with the Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 2002. Sanchez joined the Pirates as a free agent two years later after the Dodgers released him in March of 2004. He went from the Gulf Coast League, all the way to Double-A as a starter in his first year stateside with the Pirates. He switched to relief in 2006, starting back at low-A Hickory, and again pitched at three levels, including Double-A. That 2006 season he had a combined record of 0-3, 5.86 in 58.1 innings. Sanchez spent the 2007 season pitching for Altoona, making 40 relief appearances with a 2.81 ERA. In late August, he was called up to the majors and pitched 16 times, totaling 18 innings, with a 5.00 ERA and 11 strikeouts. Sanchez spent most of 2008 in the minors, getting five appearances with the Pirates prior to September, and five more once the minor league season ended. The Pirates traded him in May of 2009 to the Yankees for Eric Hacker. Sanchez played two games in the majors for the Yankees in 2010, then spent 2011 in Japan. Despite last pitching in the majors in 2010, he was still active in winter ball in 2019-20.

Yoslan Herrera, pitcher for the 2008 Pirates. Herrera, like Pedro Ramos (mentioned below) was from Cuba. The Pirates signed him as an amateur free agent on March 6, 2007, giving him a three-year deal worth $1.92mil. He spent his first season pitching for Altoona, where he made 25 starts and went 6-9, 4.69 in 128.2 innings. He began the next season at Altoona as well and had a 6-9 record again. Yoslan made one start for Indianapolis in late June, then two weeks later he made his Major League debut. In five starts over the next month, he went 1-1, 9.82, giving up 20 runs and 48 base runners in 18.1 innings. Herrera returned to Altoona for 2009, going 11-1, 3.23 in 23 outings (15 starts) while also making another brief stop in Indianapolis. The Pirates released him on October 30, 2009 and he finished his career the following season in Triple-A for the Minnesota Twins. Herrera returned after three seasons off and after pitching in the minors, he made 20 appearances for the 2014 Los Angeles Angels, posting a 2.70 ERA in 16.2 innings.

Pedro Ramos, pitcher for the 1969 Pirates. He signed with the Pirates as a free agent prior to the 1968 season, spending the entire year at Triple-A Columbus, where he had a 5.09 ERA in 76 innings. Ramos had originally signed with the Senators in 1953 and spent 13 of his 15 seasons in the majors prior to signing with the Pirates. From 1958 until 1961, the Senators franchise (switched to Minnesota in 1961) lost an average of 89 games a year and Ramos was a workhorse for those teams. His record suffered due to the team’s poor play, going 49-75 over those four seasons, losing at least 18 games each year. In fact, he led the American League in losses in each of those four seasons. In his fifteen seasons in the majors, he had just two winning seasons, 1956 when he went 12-10 and 1963, when he went 9-8 for the Indians. Ramos began the 1969 season back in Triple-A for the Pirates, earning a promotion one month into the season. He pitched five games in relief for the Pirates, allowing four runs in six innings. Pittsburgh released him on June 5th and he signed with the Reds less than a week later. Ramos played briefly with the Senators in 1970, then finished his career in the minors two years later. He had a career record of 117-160, 4.08 in 582 major league games.

Tom Sturdivant, pitcher for the 1961-63 Pirates. He spent ten seasons in the majors (1955-64), playing for seven different teams along the way. Between the 1956-57 seasons, Sturdivant went a combined 32-14 for the Yankees, winning 16 games each year. Despite those strong seasons, he won just 26 more games and never reached double figures again. The Pirates acquired him from the Washington Senators in exchange for pitcher Tom Cheney on June 29, 1961. Sturdivant had a 2-6, 4.61 record in 80 innings prior to the trade. For the Pirates that season, he went 5-2. 2.84 in 85.2 innings, making 11 starts and two relief appearances. In 1962, he made 12 starts and 37 relief appearances for the Pirates, finishing with an overall record of 9-5, 3.73 in 125.1 innings. Less than a month into the 1963 season, after just three relief outings, the Pirates sold him to the Detroit Tigers. Sturdivant finished the 1963 season with the Kansas City Athletics, then split his final year in the big leagues between the A’s and New York Mets. He finished with a 59-51 record in 335 games, 101 as a starter.

Red Lucas, pitcher for the 1934-38 Pirates. Before joining the Pirates, Lucas had ten seasons of big league experience in already, the last eight with the Reds. For Cincinnati, he went 109-99 in 257 games, 202 as a starter. Three times from 1929 until 1932, he led the NL in complete games and four times from 1927-33, he received MVP votes. In 1933, he went 10-16, 3.40 with 219.2 innings pitched. The Reds traded Lucas, along with outfielder Wally Roettger to the Pirates on November 17, 1933 in exchange for second baseman Tony Piet and outfielder Adam Comorosky.

Lucas had pitched over 200 innings in a season six times with the Reds, but he never topped the 175 mark for the Pirates. He was still a valuable pitcher for the team, four times finishing with a record over .500 on the season and twice winning in double figures. His best season came in 1936 when he went 15-4, 3.18 in 22 starts and five relief appearances. After losing the team’s fourth game of the season, Lucas didn’t pick up another loss until over three months later and that second loss was a 1-0 game. After going 6-3, 3.54 in 13 starts during the 1938 season, the Pirates released him. He finished his Major League career with a 157-135 record in 396 games, including a 47-32 mark while with Pittsburgh. He was a strong fielding pitcher, committing just 12 errors while on the mound. He occasionally played in the field on his off-days early in his career. At the plate, Lucas was a great hitter for a pitcher, batting .281 in his career, and he was used nearly 500 times as a pinch-hitter. During the 1931 season alone, he pinch-hit 67 times. After his big league career ended, he pitched another five seasons in the minors. He also managed for three seasons, two as a player-manager.

Walt Woods, pitcher for the Pirates on April 27, 1900. He spent 20 seasons in pro ball from 1895-1914, playing all nine positions over the years. Woods began his career as an outfielder/pitcher, played middle infield frequently early on, then spent a long stretch as a third baseman, before finishing his career as a catcher. He played just three seasons in the majors, and during one of those seasons, he played just one game before going down to the minors. On April 27, 1900 the Pirates were playing their eighth game of the season, facing the Cincinnati Reds that day. Jesse Tannehill was on the mound for Pittsburgh. He had won a combined 49 games the previous two seasons, but on this day he gave up eight runs in the first two innings and Woods replaced him on the mound. Woods had pitched for the Louisville Colonels in 1899, going 9-13, 3.28 in 186.1 innings. The previous season, as a rookie, he also went 9-13. That 1898 season he was with the Chicago Orphans (Cubs), where he threw 215 innings. For Pittsburgh though, his stay would be a short one. He lasted three innings, giving up seven runs in the fifth inning before being pulled. Woods never played again in the majors. Three weeks later he was with the Springfield Ponies of the Eastern League and fourteen years later he finished his career with the Troy Trojans of the New York State League.

The Trade

On this date in 1910, the Pirates traded pitcher Sam Frock and first baseman Bud Sharpe to the Boston Doves for pitcher Kirby White. Sharpe had once played for Boston in 1905, but was in the minors up until that 1910 season. The Pirates had acquired the 28-year-old Sharpe as a Rule 5 draft pick in September of 1909. Frock was 27 years old and had also played previously with Boston, making his debut in the majors with the 1907 Doves. He pitched 36.1 innings for the 1909 Pirates, posting a 2.48 ERA. White was 26 years old, and he had a 7-15, 2.94 record in 174.1 innings with Boston between the 1909-10 seasons. He had already made three starts in 1910, and despite two losses, he had a 1.38 ERA.

After the trade, White pitched 153.1 innings for the 1910 Pirates, going 10-9 with a 3.46 ERA. He threw three shutouts and had a streak of 32 consecutive scoreless innings during the second half of the season. He wasn’t healthy in 1911 when he reported to the team and after a poor outing in late May, he was sent to the minors, never returning to the big leagues. Frock suffered nearly the same fate as White. He was used very often by Boston, pitching 255.1 innings in 1910 after the trade. The next season, he didn’t even last a month in the majors before his contract was sold to a minor league team and he too never returned to the majors. Sharpe was Boston’s everyday first baseman after the trade, hitting .239 with no homers and 29 RBIs in 115 games. His contract was sold to a minor league team before the 1911 started, putting all three players out of the majors by the end of May 1911.

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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