After tonight’s game, the Pirates optioned Evan Meek to Triple-A. The team will make a corresponding move tomorrow.
Clint Hurdle prefers to have two left-handers, so the favorites to replace Meek are Daniel Moskos and Doug Slaten. Moskos is on the 40-man roster, so no corresponding move would need to be made. Slaten is not on the 40-man roster, so a spot would have to be cleared if he was added.
Statistically, Slaten has had a much better year than Moskos in Triple-A. He’s got a 0.69 ERA in 13 innings, with an 8:3 K/BB ratio. Moskos has a 3.68 ERA in 7.1 innings, with a 6:7 K/BB ratio. Surprisingly, the struggles for Moskos this year have been against left handers, with a .333 BAA. Slaten has a .200 BAA versus left handers, and a .107 vs right handers.
Slaten does have the advantage of being a few years older than Moskos, and having more experience. But that experience includes a career .241 BAA and a .666 OPS against left handers in the majors.
If the Pirates went with a right hander, the options include Daniel McCutchen, Bryan Morris, or Jared Hughes. Hughes isn’t eligible to return to the majors until Wednesday, since he was optioned to Triple-A on the 21st. Tomorrow would be the end of his normal ten day period in the minors, but the Pirates called him up for a double header last week, extending his stay in the minors one more day.
McCutchen has a 3.52 ERA in 15.1 innings, with a 12:4 K/BB ratio. He’s mostly pitched in extended relief outings.
Morris is a dark horse candidate. He has a 5.59 ERA in 9.2 innings. However, his stats are much more dominant. He has a .211 BAA, a ground out of 5.33:1, and has an 11:2 K/BB ratio. He was throwing 93-95 MPH over the weekend, with a nice curveball and a sharp cutter that he’s added this year. Morris will be out of options next year, so the Pirates will need to see what they have in him at some point this year.
My guess would be Doug Slaten, due to his numbers this year, and his success in the majors against left-handers. I think Hurdle’s preference for two left handers also points toward Slaten.
Links and Notes
**The Pirates won 9-3 against the Braves. Game story here.
**Prospect Watch: Gerrit Cole threw six shutout innings, striking out six.
**Jeff Locke threw seven shutout innings for Indianapolis today. My live recap.
**Pirates Notebook: Young Arms Learning From Burnett. Also a look at Joel Hanrahan.
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.