Morning Report: What Kind of Upside Does Erich Weiss Possess?

Last year, The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Erich Weiss in the 11th round out of Texas and he was the last player they signed. They gave him a $305,000 bonus, which put them over their draft bonus pool, costing the team approximately $75,000 in penalty taxes on top of the bonus amount. It was a surprising total because Weiss really struggled his junior year and he didn’t seem to have huge upside.

This season, Weiss has a .287/.378/.376 slash line through 129 games, with 21 doubles, 60 walks and 21 stolen bases in 33 attempts. He has made 20 errors in 113 games at second base and he has struck out 115 times. There are some good signs to his season, but he is also about to turn 23 years old, so you take what he’s doing in Low-A with a grain of salt.

Early in the season, it seemed as if he could be a mid-season call-up to Bradenton. Weiss was an All-Star and he hit .307 with an .808 OPS in the first half. He ended up spending the entire year at West Virginia and his second half hasn’t been that good, especially for someone his age. Erich Weiss

I got a chance to watch him during a four game series this year and he looked more like the second half player. Weiss made a lot of soft contact at the plate, which helps explain the four home runs all season. He showed decent speed, nothing special, but he is known as a smart player, so the 21 steals aren’t a huge surprise, especially when you factor in the poor success rate. The one thing that differed from his scouting report was the range he showed. He looked good at second base and made at least three difficult plays.

It’s tough to see huge upside with Weiss, at least enough to explain the bonus he was given. He will likely never hit for power and he strikes out too much for someone that doesn’t hit for power. His speed isn’t a plus and he will probably be an average second baseman that could also play third base, where his bat really doesn’t fit. Perhaps the worst part is that the left-handed hitting Weiss already projects as a platoon player with a .213 average and .614 OPS vs lefties. In limited at-bats last year against southpaws, he went 4-for-20, so he hasn’t shown any success.

I’m not writing him off, because the Pirates obviously saw something in him and he has looked good at times. He’s not a top 30 prospect in the system, but he shouldn’t have any trouble making the top 50 list in the upcoming Prospect Guide. Right now, I’d say his ceiling looks like a backup infielder in the Majors. A smart bench player that you can put at a couple different positions and expect him to hold his own. That’s not the upside you want from someone that cost what he did, but it’s possible with more consistency, he can exceed his current projections.

Pirates Game Graph


Source: FanGraphs

Playoff Push

Pittsburgh: The Pirates are one game behind St. Louis for the second Wild Card spot. They are two games behind San Francisco for the first spot. They are currently two games back from the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.

Bradenton: The Marauders are in first place in the Florida State League South, 1.5 games ahead of Palm Beach and Fort Myers. 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 a half game ahead of Palm Beach for the second best overall record. The Marauders have two games left in their season.

Today’s Schedule

Minor League Starter of the Day:  Today is all about the playoffs for Bradenton, who need to just win one game of their doubleheader to clinch a playoff spot. It’s the last day of the FSL season and they have a 1.5 game lead over both second place teams(see playoff push above). Cody Dickson and Montana DuRapau each make their last start of the season. DuRapau was featured here prior to his last start, then he went out and gave up one run over six innings. Bristol’s season ended on Friday. The GCL season ended Thursday. The DSL season ended last Saturday. You can read the season recap here complete with scouting reports for each player and the top ten players to watch list can be found here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (71-64) vs Reds (64-71) 1:35 PM
Probable starter: Francisco Liriano (3.98 ERA, 135:60 K/BB, 124.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (72-70) vs Columbus (77-65) 6:05 PM
Probable starter: TBD

AA: Altoona (60-80) @ Bowie (71-69) 2:05 PM
Probable starter:  Thomas Harlan (3.25 ERA, 24:17 K/BB, 55.1 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (76-61, 41-27 2nd half) @ Charlotte (63-68) 10:30 AM DH
Probable starter: TBD

Low-A: West Virginia (54-80, 34-32 2nd half) vs Asheville (88-49) 2:05 PM
Probable starter: Cody Dickson (3.96 ERA, 103:58 K/BB, 127.1 IP)

Short-Season A: Jamestown (34-39) @ Williamsport (33-41) 4:05 PM
Probable Starter: Montana DuRapau (2.21 ERA, 52:7 K/BB, 57 IP)

RK: Bristol (22-46)

GCL: Pirates (20-40)

DSL: Pirates (34-36)

Highlights

This highlight from Indianapolis involves two players that will soon be in Pittsburgh when the rosters expand and one that just joined the team. Tony Sanchez lines a single that scores Gregory Polanco. Brent Morel tried to go to third base on the play and got thrown out.

Erich Weiss hit an RBI triple earlier this week against Lexington.

Recent Transactions

8/30: Brent Morel promoted to Pittsburgh. Jeff Locke sent to Indianapolis.

8/30: Blake Davis activated from disabled list.

8/29: Stolmy Pimentel assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

8/29: Tommy Field sent outright to Indianapolis.

8/29: Andrew Lambo promoted to Pirates. Gerrit Cole sent to Bristol.

8/28: Jayson Nix claimed by Kansas City Royals.

8/28: JaCoby Jones activated from disabled list. Adam Landecker placed on disabled list.

8/28: Brett McKinney promoted to Bradenton. John Kuchno placed on disabled list.

8/28: Charlie Morton sent to Altoona on rehab.

8/26: Jake Brigham placed on temporary inactive list.

8/25: Jhonathan Ramos placed on disabled list.

8/25: Alen Hanson placed on disabled list. Drew Maggi activated from DL.

8/25: Clint Barmes activated from disabled list. Gregory Polanco sent to Indianapolis.

8/25: Jose Tabata added to 40-man roster and promoted to Pittsburgh. Jayson Nix designated for assignment.

8/25: Jonathan Schwind assigned to GCL on rehab.

8/24: Pirates claim Bobby LaFromboise. Designate Tommy Field for assignment.

This Date in Pirates History

The Pittsburgh Pirates made six trades of note on this date, including the acquisition of second baseman Johnny Ray in exchange for Phil Garner. Thirteen years earlier, the Pirates traded away reliever Elroy Face, sending him to the Tigers right after he made his 802nd appearance for the team, a total that tied Walter Johnson for the most games pitched for the same team. That game recap can be found in the link below.

There have been eight former Pirates born on this day, including Ramon Hernandez, a lefty reliever for the 1971 World Series champs. He made ten appearances for the Pirates that year, throwing shutout ball in the first nine games. The following year, he had a 1.67 ERA and 14 saves in 53 games. You can read more about him, as well as bios for the other seven players here.

  • What is the general opinion regarding Eric Wood and Max Moroff as prospects??

    • Wood moved up a level at a good age and showed improvements. We had him outside the top 50 last year because the results were average at best and he didn’t do anything that really stood out. He hit for a little more power this year, got on base at a better rate and really cut down his errors. He should be somewhere in the top 50, but to really move far up the list, he needs to show the same improvements next year at AA.
      Max Moroff didn’t improve on offense and he moved to second base, so that hurts his prospect status a little. His defense played better at 2B and he is a great age for High-A ball, so he still has time to show something, but he needs to cut down on strikeouts. Wood and Moroff should rank right around the same spot, both have potential, but I think Moroff has a slightly higher upside.

  • Skinny Merlino
    August 31, 2014 12:48 pm

    I find it funny all the sudden people are using harrison as an example for struggling prospects

  • Projections are exactly why Josh Harrison was a utility player and he had a lot better stats in the minors than Weiss. IMO, the Pirates know that the light will go on somewhere for this kid and will give him his chance, if he does not work out, he won’t be alone. Unfortunately many draft picks that teams spend a lot more money on don’t always work out either, spend 6 mil on a guy and not have him work out, that is a loss, a couple hundred thousand is not much of a loss.
    Anyone ever find out what happened to Conner Joe?

    • Joe went down with a back strain right after he joined Jamestown. They sent him down to Pirates City to rehab and he remained there. You can use Harrison as an example of age/level. He was putting up the same stats at the same age as Weiss, but doing it at AA. He also had more speed, made better contact and could fill in at SS. All that, and it still took him another four years to show value.

  • On Weiss: Or maybe the Pirates had lotsa money left and had to give it to SOMEBODY???? 🙂 🙂 🙂

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