Morning Report: Jhondaniel Medina Puts Together a Remarkable Run

Bradenton reliever Jhondaniel Medina showed unbelievable consistency this season. In May, he had an 0.00 ERA in 10.1 innings over seven appearances. In June, he had an 0.00 ERA in 8.1 innings over six appearances. In July, he had an 0.00 ERA in 11.1 innings over seven appearances. In August, he had an 0.00 ERA in 10.2 innings over seven appearances. Basically, he went 123 straight days without allowing an earned run. That’s 27 appearances and 40.2 innings.

Jhondaniel Medina
Jhondaniel Medina

Medina gave up four earned runs at the end of April, leaving him with a season ERA of 0.72 in 50 innings. Those runs all came on the road, giving him an 0.00 home ERA in 26 innings. That streak is just as impressive, even though the innings total is lower, it covered the entire season. The 50 innings pitched total over a full season is obviously low for someone that didn’t miss any time, but to be able to remain that consistent over a four month stretch is an amazing streak.

The Pirates acquired Medina from the Baltimore Orioles in November of 2012 in exchange for Yamaico Navarro. Prior to that deal, he spent three seasons at the low levels of the Orioles system, putting up decent numbers, with a low BAA and a nice K rate. Medina went to the West Virginia bullpen and he really took off. He had a 1.78 ERA and 13 saves in 28 appearances. In 35.1 innings, he had 55 strikeouts and a .164 BAA.

That performance got Medina a promotion to Bradenton this year, though he actually played for Bradenton in 2013, joining the bullpen from Extended Spring Training when they needed an arm in April and then again in May. He ended up back there this year and had his terrific season, which has been extended thanks to the Marauders clinching a playoff spot on Sunday. Medina had a low ERA, a .174 BAA and a 1.33 GO/AO ratio, plus he went the entire year without allowing a homer. In five seasons, he’s allowed just four homers.

So now that you know the background, what kind of future does Medina have?

Medina throws low-90’s, hitting 94 MPH when I saw him in person last year. The 21-year-old righty is listed at 5’11”, 158 pounds. The age and velocity are both strong points, the size and small frame limits him to a relief role. He started during his first three seasons, but has been exclusively a reliever since joining the Pirates and the results have really improved.

What really holds him back from being an elite reliever is his control. Medina had 29 walks this year and 32 in 46 innings last year. He dropped from 6.3 BB/9 last year, down to 5.2 this year, but that is still higher than you like to see. Usually as pitchers with control issues move up, the numbers get worse because the hitters become better at laying off bad pitches. His strikeout rate this year saw a huge decline, down to 8.5 SO/9 IP from 13.3 last year. That is still a strong total, ranking him second on Bradenton behind Tyler Glasnow. It might also be hard to believe if you know the Pirates teaching of pitching inside, plus his control issues, that Medina hit just one batter all year.

Medina works mostly with his fastball and he doesn’t have the best command with it. His secondary stuff needs work still, so despite the great stretch this season, he has more flaws than the streak would suggest. His velocity is strong and he is 21 years old, which means he has the time to improve on his weaknesses. Right now his upside seems like middle reliever in the Majors and with better command without sacrificing velocity, plus improving his slider, he could exceed those expectations. Medina has gone 16-for-16 in save opportunities during his time with the Pirates, so he’s performed well in late game situations. On the other hand, he could also top out in the minors without improvements, so there is still a big range for his future, but middle reliever seems like the safest bet at this time.

Pirates Game Graph


Source: FanGraphs

Playoff Push

Pittsburgh: The Pirates are two games behind St. Louis and Milwaukee for the second Wild Card spot and the NL Central lead. They are three games behind San Francisco for the first spot.

Bradenton: The Marauders won the second half title and will take on the first half champions, Ft Myers. The two teams will play a best-of-three series, with the winner going on to face the winner of the Daytona/Dunedin series. The playoffs start on Tuesday.

Today’s Schedule

Minor League Starter of the Day:  Today is the last day of the minor league regular season. 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. West Virginia was rained out yesterday and the game was canceled. Jamestown was rained out. They will finish up with a doubleheader today. Bradenton’s season ended yesterday. They will begin the playoffs on Tuesday against Fort Myers.  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 (71-65) @ Cardinals (73-63) 2:15 PM
Probable starter: Gerrit Cole (3.65 ERA, 93:34 K/BB, 98.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (73-70) vs Columbus (78-65) 1:05 PM
Probable starter: Rafael Perez (1.59 ERA, 32:12 K/BB, 51 IP)

AA: Altoona (60-81) @ Bowie (71-69) 2:05 PM
Probable starter: Joely Rodriguez (4.75 ERA, 70:43 K/BB, 127 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (78-61, 43-27 2nd half) vs Ft Myers (82-57) 7:05 PM 9/2
Probable starter: TBD

Low-A: West Virginia (54-80, 34-32 2nd half) vs Asheville (88-49) 1:05 PM
Probable starter: Cody Dickson (3.96 ERA, 103:58 K/BB, 127.1 IP)

Short-Season A: Jamestown (34-39) @ Williamsport (33-41) 1:05 PM DH
Probable Starter: Montana DuRapau (2.21 ERA, 52:7 K/BB, 57 IP) and TBD

RK: Bristol (22-46)

GCL: Pirates (20-40)

DSL: Pirates (34-36)

Highlights

Gregory Polanco lines an RBI single to RF during Saturday night’s game. He is 4-for-24 in six games since being sent down. On Saturday, Polanco was named the team MVP. He did that despite finishing eighth on the team in at-bats. The Indians have a 42-28 record with Polanco on the team and 31-42 when he was with the Pirates.

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.

This Date in Pirates History

Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players have been born on this date, including Vic Barnhart, shortstop for the Bucs from 1944-46. His dad was Clyde Barnhart, who played nine seasons for the Pirates during the 1920’s. At 92 years old, Vic Barnhart is the sixth oldest living former Pirates player and he is the only living Pirates player that played before 1946.

Also born on this date is catcher Sam Brenegan, who caught one inning for the Pirates on April 24,1914 and there was a very good reason he didn’t last longer. Find out why, plus check the bios of Barnhart and three other Pirates players here. Also included is a doubleheader recap from the 1965 season

  • Medina shows me that he at least has a good head on his shoulders, he has to be in trouble once in a while and he has to be getting out of trouble, you need a good head to do that. I also like the fact that he gives up a few walks, shows me he is pitching not throwing, meaning he is not throwing the ball down the middle of the plate. If I were in his position, I would rather walk some hitters by nibbling on the corners than watching balls fly over the fence. IMO, this walk thing is not taken the right way, not giving in to hitters is what Medina should be doing.

    • As started it the last paragraph, which was from a recent scouting report, his problem is command. When he misses, he can miss bad at times. He had a 13.3 K/9 last year, so he has no problem going right after hitters when his command is on. He’s still 21, so he still has time

      • 4 HR allowed in 262 career IP. Unbelievable, especially for a short guy to keep the ball down that well. Only 1 HR in 85 IP as a Pirate. He had a little better control numbers before last year so hopefully he can find that level again.

  • I think his ability to keep this streak going despite pretty high walk numbers implies that his stuff can be really nasty and his secondary stuff may have improved, he has been pretty lucky, and he probably has well above average mound presence and mental toughness that allows him to bear down and get through tough situations. No one can accomplish what he did on just ability and luck…it takes some balls to do it…especially deeper into the streak as you become more aware of it.

    • The recent scouting reports I got are in the last paragraph, he’s still wild at times and works mostly fastballs due to below average secondary stuff. The streak is amazing and he’s done well in save situations, so he does have great mound presence and mental toughness as you said. As I said though, the higher you get, the better your command and secondary stuff have to be for you to be successful

  • I am hoping Montana ends his season on a high note.

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