Morning Report: Andrew McCutchen is Closing in on a Milestone

Andrew McCutchen is closing in on a career milestone that he could reach today with a great day. He is four hits shy of 1,000 in his career. It’s been done 32 times in team history and he will add his name to that list shortly. McCutchen is actually 34th on the team’s hit list, as shortstop Gene Alley ended his Pirates’ days with 999 hits.

Of the 32 players to reach the 1,000 hit mark with the team, 12 have been inducted in the Hall of Fame. In fact, the Pirates hold a distinction no other team can claim. Their top ten leaders in hits are all in the Hall of Fame. From Roberto Clemente at #1 with 3,000 even, down to Fred Clarke with 1,638 hits in tenth place, you have ten players in Cooperstown. The others by the way, from 2-9 are: Honus Wagner, Paul Waner, Max Carey, Pie Traynor, Lloyd Waner, Willie Stargell, Bill Mazeroski and Arky Vaughan.

McCutchen could get up to 22nd place on the hit list by the time this season is over. If he does, he would pass the last guy to reach 1,000 hits with the team, Jack Wilson. He finished with 1,158 hits, which is definitely attainable. Next up would be Carson Bigbee at 1,205 and then Patsy Donovan at 1,286, so it will be a slow climb after McCutchen passes Wilson.

Later this season, McCutchen could join Barry Bonds as the only players to reach 150 homers and 150 stolen bases with the Pirates. He is 20 homers away at this point and seven stolen bases away. The fact Bonds is the only member of that club right now may seem hard to believe, but most of the fast players in team history weren’t home run hitters and only seven players have reached the 150 homer mark. Dave Parker wasn’t too far off with 166 homers and 123 stolen bases.

One other thing I noticed with McCutchen is that he tied second baseman Johnny Ray in doubles on Monday with 202. Ray is also the first person he will pass after he reaches 1,000 hits. He finished with 1,009 hits with the Pirates. The interesting part is that McCutchen has 11 more plate appearances, so they basically got hits and doubles at the same rate. One more interesting note about the two of them. Johnny Ray led the NL in doubles in both 1983 and 1984, hitting 38 each season. Andrew McCutchen has hit 38 doubles each of the last two seasons. Just for fun, I’ll also add that Honus Wagner led the NL in doubles with 38 in 1906 and again in 1907 with 38.

Pirates Game Graph


Source: FanGraphs

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 9-8 to the Cubs last night, dropping them two games below the .500 mark.Vance Worley will make his third start of the season tonight. He had trouble in his first outing, giving up six earned runs in 6.1 innings. He then had some command issues in his second game, surrendering four walks. Both starts came against the Milwaukee Brewers.

In the minors, Tyler Glasnow makes his third start of the season. He had some control issues in his first game, even though he did throw five shutout innings. His second outing was perhaps his best outing ever, at least for his command. Glasnow didn’t issue a single walk, something he did three times total during the last two seasons. Steven Brault will make his third start for Bradenton. He has run into trouble in each of his two starts, limiting him to 8.1 innings this year. Alex McRae was pushed back from the second game of yesterday’s doubleheader to today. Please note the two early start times for today. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (6-8) vs Cubs (8-5) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Vance Worley (5.84 ERA, 6:10 BB/SO, 12.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (5-7) @ Columbus (6-6) 11:35 AM (season preview)
Probable starter: Chris Volstad (2.25 ERA, 2:4 BB/SO, 12.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (7-5) vs Harrisburg (6-7) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Glasnow (0.82 ERA, 4:13 BB/SO, 11.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (5-8) vs Charlotte (9-4) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Steven Brault (5.40 ERA, 3:5 BB/SO, 8.1 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (7-4) @ Kannapolis (5-7) 10:05 AM (season preview)
Probable starter:  Alex McRae (1.80 ERA, 1:8 BB/SO, 10.0 IP)

Highlights

Well the highlights have been a little light around the minors, so we just have one today. Pedro Florimon hit this RBI double to help give Indianapolis a 4-3 win. He is 5-for-13 in five games since joining Indianapolis after clearing waivers last week.

Recent Transactions

4/22: Francisco Diaz assigned to WV Black Bears roster. Kawika Emsley-Pai added to WV Power roster.

4/21: John Sever assigned to WV Black Bears roster. Jose Regalado added to West Virginia Power roster.

4/20: Justin Sellers assigned to Bradenton on rehab.

4/19: Wilkin Castillo assigned to West Virginia Black Bears

4/19: Pat Ludwig retires.

4/18: Jaff Decker activated from disabled list and optioned to Indianapolis. Adam Miller assigned to WV Black Bears.

4/18: Junior Sosa sent to Bradenton. Barrett Barnes assigned to Extended Spring Training.

4/17: Brad Lincoln assigned to Indianapolis. Andy Vasquez assigned to Altoona.

4/17: Chris Stewart activated from disabled list. Tony Sanchez optioned to Indianapolis.

4/16: Jordan Luplow added to West Virginia Power. Jose Regalado transferred to West Virginia Black Bears.

4/16: Kelson Brown transferred to West Virginia Black Bears.

4/14: Jose Regalado added to West Virginia Power. Erik Forgione assigned to West Virginia Black Bears

4/14: Collin Balester assigned to Altoona.

4/13: Pirates release Jonathan Sandfort.

4/13: Francisco Liriano reinstated from paternity list. Casey Sadler optioned to Indianapolis.

4/12: Chris Stewart assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

4/12: Justin Topa placed on Bradenton disabled list. Matt Benedict assigned to Bradenton from Altoona

4/11: Pedro Florimon clears waivers. Assigned to Indianapolis.

4/11: Stolmy Pimentel claimed off waiver by the Texas Rangers.

4/9: Chris Stewart assigned to Altoona on rehab. Jaff Decker assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

This Date in Pirates History

Two former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, and one Opening Day of note. The two former players both have longevity attached to their career. Mickey Vernon played in four different decades, starting in 1939 and ending in 1960 as a September pinch-hitter for the Pirates. He was actually the first base coach during that World Series winning season, but the Pirates activated him in September and he was used nine times. Vernon had a career that should get him Hall of Fame consideration, especially since he 2495 hits and over 1300 RBIs, yet missed two years of his career while serving in WWII. The year after he returned from service, he won the AL batting title, so there is a good chance he would have added significantly to those numbers that already look good.

The other player born on this date is Jake Pitler, an infielder for the 1917-18 Pirates. Those two seasons were his entire big league career, but he played in the minors until 1936 and managed for 17 seasons as well.

On this date in 1891, the Pittsburgh Pirates opened up their season with their new revamped lineup, but lost to Chicago in front of 5,500 fans by a 7-6 score. The Pirates had four Hall of Famers in their lineup, and another player that could still make it someday. First baseman Jake Beckley and pitcher Pud Galvin are in the HOF as players, while catcher Connie Mack and center fielder Ned Hanlon are in as managers. Left fielder Pete Browning was one of the top hitters of his day and he is the original Louisville Slugger. He has received some HOF support in the past and could get another push in the future.

A note about the 1891 season, it’s generally considered as the time the Pirates became known as the Pirates. After reading through season coverage from two local newspapers, I found out that the nickname “Pirates” wasn’t widely accepted back then, as it was used by a few of the other team’s papers, but never the Pittsburgh press. The team was actually referred to as either the Hanlon’s after manager Ned Hanlon, or still as the Alleghenys. When Hanlon was replaced by Bill McGunnigle during the summer, the team took on the nickname the “Pets” because he ran practices with a whistle. Since team nicknames weren’t official back then, changes like that weren’t out of the ordinary. The actual team name at the time(note the spelling) was “The Pittsburg Base Ball Club”.

Another interesting note, which might not be a coincidence, is the owner of the team back in 1891. His name was William Kerr and he went by Captain Kerr and had a large, raucous parrot that sat just over his shoulder in Kerr’s office. Is it just a coincidence that the Pirates name was accepted shortly after a Captain with a parrot became owner? We may never know.

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