Morning Report: Power is Lacking Throughout the System

A few days ago, we talked about the lack of homers from Josh Bell, but it has actually been a problem throughout the Pirates minor league system. The four teams have combined for 33 homers this season. When you break it down per team, you see that it is a problem with all four teams.

Indianapolis has eight homers this season, four by Deibinson Romero. No one else on the team has more than one. The real shocker might be that the outfielders have combined to hit one homer, which came off the bat of Gorkys Hernandez. It’s not really surprising based on the players they have out there. Jose Tabata, Mel Rojas Jr., Hernandez, Steven Lombardozzi and Jaff Decker aren’t home run hitters, but most teams get a good amount of their power from the outfield.

Altoona has Josh Bell, Willy Garcia and Stetson Allie in the middle of their lineup, so you’d probably expect more than six homers from the team. Allie has two of those home runs and four other players have one each. None of those other four players are Bell or Garcia.

The Marauders are the clean-up hitters of the system with their ten home runs. JaCoby Jones has three round trippers, Edwin Espinal and Jordan Steranka each have two, and three players have hit one homer. This club has the same problem as Indianapolis, with one homer coming from the outfielders. That was a homer by Austin Meadows back on April 12th.

West Virginia has nine homers this season, with three apiece coming from Chase Simpson and Pablo Reyes(pictured at the top). Care to guess how many homers they have from their outfielders? If you guessed one, you would be correct and that one was hit by Michael Suchy in their last game. Altogether, Pirates outfielders in the minors have accounted for six home runs and Stetson Allie is the leader with two blasts.

The home run totals are low, but they could actually be worse. Indianapolis isn’t last in their league in homers. Three International League teams have less than eight this year. The same goes for Altoona, who have hit more homers than three clubs in the Eastern League. Bradenton actually ranks sixth in the 12-team Florida State League. West Virginia is tied with two teams and three teams have less. That tells you that power is missing all around baseball.

One more note on the low totals and it’s the players that aren’t playing right now.It’s possible that Connor Joe, Harold Ramirez or Barrett Barnes may have helped the totals if they were healthy, but none of them are considered true home run hitters. The only one that really could have helped is catcher Kevin Krause, who has some real pop in his bat, but he will likely be out at least another month with an elbow injury. None of the players in Extended Spring Training, that are set for short-season ball, are considered power hitters either.

So not only is the system currently lacking power, but not much is on the way. The best bet is that Altoona breaks out with the middle of their lineup. You have three guys with power potential and they are all repeating the level. Sure, Bell has a line drive swing and the other two swing and miss a lot, but the homers should eventually come. There’s always the draft next month and a chance to stock up on some power. We obviously haven’t seen the Pirates do that recently, but it might not be a bad idea this time around.

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates defeated the Cubs by an 8-1 score on Wednesday night, avoiding a sweep. They are 4-2 so far on their current road trip. The Pirates were off yesterday, as they traveled to St Louis for a three-game weekend series with the Cardinals, which begins tonight with A.J. Burnett on the mound. Burnett has given up one run in each of his last three outings.

In the minors, Tyler Glasnow will make his fourth start of the season. He has 17 strikeouts this season, which ties him for the third highest total in the organization. He trails Nick Kingham and Adrian Sampson, who also makes a start tonight for Indianapolis. Sampson allowed three earned runs over six innings in his last game. He threw 100 pitches. Indianapolis has lost all four of his starts. West Virginia’s Austin Coley has won his first three games by holding batters to a .173 BAA, while posting an 0.73 WHIP and a 2.00 GO/AO ratio. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (12-10) @ Cardinals (15-6) 8:05 PM
Probable starter: A.J. Burnett (1.80 ERA, 7:20 BB/SO, 25.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (12-10) vs Lehigh Valley (6-16) 7:15 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Adrian Sampson (3.22 ERA, 9:24 BB/SO, 22.1 IP)

AA: Altoona (11-6) vs Erie (6-13) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Glasnow (1.08 ERA, 6:17 BB/SO, 16.2 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (10-11) vs St Lucie (11-10) 6:30 PM(season preview)
Probable starter: Felipe Gonzalez (3.32 ERA, 8:9 BB/SO, 19.0 IP

Low-A: West Virginia (13-7) @ Greensboro (9-10) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Austin Coley (1.80 ERA, 2:11 BB/SO, 15.0 IP)

Highlights

From Wednesday, we have an RBI double by Edward Salcedo. Acquired in the off-season for pitcher Bryton Trepagnier, Salcedo is hitting .200/.313/.300 in 14 games. He has hit four doubles and has a respectable 6:7 BB/SO ratio. He has played seven games at third base and two in right field.

Recent Transactions

4/29: Jaff Decker placed on disabled list. Wilkin Castillo added to Indianapolis roster.

4/27: Jeremy Bleich promoted to Altoona

4/26: John Sever added to WV Power roster. Austin Coley transferred to WV Black Bears roster.

4/25: Jonathan Schwind placed on disabled list.

4/25: Justin Sellers transferred from Bradenton to Indianapolis on rehab.

4/25: Jeremy Bleich added to Bradenton roster.

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.

 

This Date in Pirates History

Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a trade of note. The most recognizable player born on this date is second baseman Jose Lind, who was a member of the three NL East championship teams from 1990-92. He played 779 games over six seasons and won a Gold Glove in 1992. Lind hit homers during the 1990 and 1992 NLCS series, driving in a total of ten runs over the three years of playoffs.

One interesting set of players born on this date are Bill White and Tom Forster. They shared a birthday and a position during their only year with the team. Both played shortstop for Pittsburgh in 1884 when they were called the Alleghenys and they were still in the American Association, a rival Major League to the National League. Forster was born one year earlier.

Others born on this date include: Second baseman Johnny Berardino(1950,52), pitcher Heinie Meine(1929-34), catcher Billy Kelly(1911-13) and pitcher George McQuillan(1913-15). More on all of them in the link above.

On this date in 1957, the Pirates traded first baseman Dale Long and outfielder Lee Walls to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for first baseman Dee Fondy and infielder Gene Baker. By the end of the year, Fondy would be dealt to the Cincinnati Reds for slugging first baseman Ted Kluszewski. Baker was a backup during the 1960 season, when the Pirates won their third World Series title.

  • The Pirates seem to put a premium on athleticism (speed) for their outfielders given the dimensions of PNC, hence the lack of prototypical power hitting outfielders. Where would a guy like Greg Luzinski play on the Pirates? You certainly couldn’t stick him out in left field. Allie switching to the outfield is interesting, but will only be real interesting if he can get his batting average up. Likely he is being prepped to be traded as he’s unlikely ever to challenge Polanco or Marte.

  • Not worried. 3/4 minor league teams have played in a lot of colder weather.

    Things will warm up.

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