In addition to the roster moves for Altoona and the trade of Chris Dickerson today, the Pittsburgh Pirates made six moves in the lower minors, including a rare mid-season promotion from the Dominican Summer League.
Jake Burnette was added to the GCL roster on rehab and he pitched today. The seventh round pick from the 2011 draft signed an over-slot bonus, but has not lived up to the hype, mostly because he has been unable to stay healthy. He didn’t fare well in his season debut today, allowing five runs(three earned) on three hits and two walks in 1.1 innings.
The GCL Pirates sent third baseman Edgardo Munoz to Bristol. There seemed to be too many infielders that needed playing time with the GCL Pirates and Munoz was hitting well in his limited time, plus he is already 22 years old, so he is old for the GCL.
Bristol sent third baseman Jhoan Herrera all the way back to the Dominican Summer League. Herrera injured his ankle and had not played yet this season. He is better now and should start playing regularly in the DSL. He was signed for $300,000 in 2012.
Mike Fransoso was sent to the West Virginia Power. He started the season with the Power before joining Jamestown, where he hit .269/.356/.385 in 16 games.
Collin Balester had his rehab moved from the GCL Pirates to Bristol. He had a rough time in the GCL, giving up ten runs in 1.1 innings over two appearances. He missed the beginning of the year due to elbow surgery.
Finally, as the title says, the Pirates promoted a hard-throwing lefty to the United States. Cristian Mota has made the rare mid-season move from the DSL to the GCL and there are probably a couple reasons why. First, he is already 22 years old, so that is very old for the DSL. Mota was signed last year and has pitched just six innings, all in relief. He is also very small at 5’10”, 150 pounds.
The scouting report on him is that he hits 95 MPH consistently in short outings and uses a fastball-heavy approach. He also throws a curve and change-up, but his fastball is his only plus pitch and he attacks hitters with it. That’s a very impressive speed from a lefty. Mota walked three batters in his final outing, which lasted just 0.1 IP, so he isn’t leaving on a high note. He has allowed just two hits though, and none in his last four outings. He left this morning for the GCL and should be available to pitch soon. His last outing was on Saturday.
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.