In Bristol tonight, Hector Garcia is the scheduled starter. The 18-year-old lefty could be a real sleeper prospect in the Pirates system, but we really haven’t talked much about him. He is the youngest player on the Bristol roster and possibly the best prospect on the team.
Last year while doing the DSL season recap for pitchers, I got a decent report on Garcia, but honestly thought he would return to the DSL due to his age and the fact he wasn’t used as a starter. I was told that he is an aggressive pitcher that goes right after hitters. He had some control issues with his off-speed stuff, but once he improves that area “he will be a K machine”.
Garcia was sent to the States despite his age and not only that, he also skipped right over the Gulf Coast League. The Pirates gave him an aggressive push and he seems to be handling it well. Garcia is pitching in the starting role, but due to pitching multiple innings in relief last year in the DSL, he is actually 1.1 innings behind last year’s IP total.
The Pirates liked Garcia enough when they signed him that they gave him a $190,000 bonus. He showed quick improvements, hitting 92 MPH last year, which makes him different from a lot of lefties that have success in the lower levels. At age 17 last year, he was already throwing harder than what you see from a lot of lefties in the system. Throwing 88-90 MPH with strong control and/or a decent breaking ball has got a lot of lefties to AA. Jhonathan Ramos, Eliecer Navarro and Orlando Castro all fit that mold, while Omar Basulto and Jose Batista are two other pitchers in the system that have shown strong results with below average velocity.
Garcia is looking good this year, posting a 3.83 ERA, with 40 strikeouts and 15 walks in 40 innings. He has a .237 BAA and has given up just three homers in his 81.1 innings as a pro. Garcia has seen a limited amount of lefties, but has held them to a .111 BAA(3-for-27). That makes his season a little more impressive, because he isn’t just feeding off his advantage over left-handed batters. Right-handed batters are 33-for-125 against him(.264 BAA), so 82% of his at-bats are coming against righties.
It’s too early in his career to predict how good he will be. What we do know is that Garcia got a strong bonus and then an aggressive push in his second season. We also know he has shown early improvements, good velocity and he has handled the starting role well. I’m going to say that he will probably go to Jamestown next season to face some tougher competition than he is seeing this year. Another aggressive push to West Virginia doesn’t seem likely due to his age. I guessed where he would be last year too and Garcia proved me wrong.
Remember his name. He will probably break into the back end of the Pirates top 50 in the upcoming Prospect Guide and could move up the ranks quickly if he keeps showing strong improvements.
Pirates Game Graph
Pittsburgh: The Pirates are 3.5 games behind St. Louis for the first Wild Card spot. They are 2.5 games behind San Francisco for the second spot. They are currently five games back from the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.
Indianapolis: The Indians are six games back in the International League West, and seven games back in the Wild Card with 10 games left in the season.
Bradenton: The Marauders are in third place in the Florida State League South, one game behind Fort Myers and Palm Beach, who are both tied for first place. They need to win the second half division to make the playoffs, unless Fort Myers wins the second half title. Fort Myers won the first half title, so if they also win the second half, then the team with the second best overall record would make the playoffs. In the overall standings, Bradenton is two games behind Palm Beach for the second best record. The Marauders have nine games left in their season, two against Palm Beach.
Minor League Starter of the Day: Today is a good day for prospects besides Hector Garcia mentioned above. Tyler Glasnow is obviously the best starter going today. He leads the FSL with a 1.43 ERA and he has been even better in his last ten outings, posting a 1.25 ERA over 57.2 innings, with 79 strikeouts. Glasnow leads all Pirates pitchers in strikeouts and ERA. Mitch Keller starts for the GCL team today, his ninth and likely final appearance of his rookie season. The 2014 second round pick has a 1.14 ERA and is striking out more than a batter per inning. Luis Heredia starts for West Virginia tonight. It’s a home game, which should bode well for him. Heredia has pitched better at home ever year that he has been in pro ball and this season is no different. He has a 2.93 ERA at home in eight starts and 4.78 on the road, also in eight starts. Buddy Borden was originally scheduled for Thursday. That game was rained out and then Borden was pushed back to Sunday. The DSL season ends today.
MLB: Pittsburgh (66-62) @ Milwaukee (71-57) 7:10 PM
Probable starter: Edison Volquez (3.58 ERA, 100:53 K/BB, 146 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (67-67) @ Columbus (73-61) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Casey Sadler (3.22 ERA, 67:23 K/BB, 111.2 IP)
AA: Altoona (56-75) vs New Britain (65-66) 6:00 PM
Probable starter: Zack Dodson (4.68 ERA, 71:44 K/BB, 109.2 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (71-59, 36-25 2nd half) @ Palm Beach (73-57) 6:35 PM
Probable starter: Tyler Glasnow (1.43 ERA, 140:55 K/BB, 113.1 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (50-77, 30-29 2nd half) vs Kannapolis (58-70) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Luis Heredia (3.82 ERA. 35:32 K/BB, 77.2 IP)
Short-Season A: Jamestown (30-34) vs State College (40-26) 7:05 PM
Probable Starter: Austin Coley (5.63 ERA, 15:4 K/BB, 16 IP)
RK: Bristol (18-42) @ Burlington (27-33) 7:00 PM
Probable Starter: Hector Garcia (3.83 ERA, 40:15 K/BB, 40 IP)
GCL: Pirates (18-37) vs Yankees1 (34-20) 10:00 AM
Probable Starter: Mitch Keller (1.14 ERA, 26:9 K/BB, 23.2 IP)
DSL: Pirates (34-36) vs Cubs (42-28) 10:30 AM
Cole Tucker hit his second homer of the season on Friday and drove in four runs. Here we have two at-bats from his game on Wednesday, which was the first pro start from 11th round draft pick Gage Hinsz. The first at-bat for Tucker ends with a single to center field.
In the second video, Tucker is batting righty and he flies out to right field, advancing the runner to third base. Both videos are courtesy of the GCL Pirates fan page.
8/21: Stolmy Pimentel assigned to Altoona on rehab.
8/21: Yunelky Adames released.
8/21: Oderman Rocha and Nathan Sopena promoted to Jamestown.
8/21: Julio Vivas promoted to Bristol.
8/21: Andrew Dennis placed on disabled list.
8/21: Indianapolis places Nevin Ashley and Blake Davis on disabled list.
8/21: Wirfin Obispo clears waivers. Outrighted to Indianapolis.
8/20: Gerrit Cole activated from disabled list. Brent Morel assigned to Indianapolis.
8/20: Jacoby Jones placed on disabled list. Francisco Diaz activated from DL.
8/20: Felipe Gonzalez promoted to Bradenton. Jake Burnette promoted to West Virginia.
8/20: Matt Curry assigned to Altoona. Drew Maggi placed on disabled list.
8/19: Andrew McCutchen activated from disabled list. Michael Martinez sent to Indianapolis.
8/19: Josh Bell placed on disabled list. Ralph Henriquez activated from DL.
8/19: Adam Wilk placed on disabled list.
8/18: Matt Hague claimed off waivers by Toronto Blue Jays
8/18: Clint Barmes assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.
8/18: Pat Ludwig placed on disabled list.
8/17: Charlie Morton placed on disabled list. Brent Morel recalled
8/17: A.J. Morris assigned to Indianapolis.
This Date in Pirates History
Only one former Pittsburgh Pirates player on this date, pitcher Guy Bush, who pitched for the 1935-36 Bucs. Today’s Pirates history includes a big game from Roberto Clemente and the second no-hitter in team history. In yesterday’s History section, we posted the bio for Howie Camnitz, who was a huge part of the 1909 World Series champs. One day after his 26th birthday, Camnitz threw five no-hit innings against the New York Giants. The two teams played a doubleheader on August 23, 1907 and after the first game went extra-innings, they agreed to play a shortened second game. Camnitz kept the Giants off the board and out of the hit column, while Honus Wagner drove in the only run. The first franchise no-hitter was thrown 11 months earlier and was also a shortened game.
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.