Morning Report: Some Prospects Lacking Extra-Base Hits This Year

Gustavo Nunez has played 24 games this season for Indianapolis and he has a .292 batting average. He also has a .292 slugging percentage thanks to all singles in the hit column. He has the most plate appearances with an extra-base hit, but since he has never shown power in the past, it isn’t that surprising, just unusual he hasn’t run into a double yet. Two other prospects have batted more than Nunez, they are both hitting for a decent clip and neither has hit a double, though they both have multiple triples.

When I saw the stats yesterday for our star hitters, it reminded me of Felix Fermin. He was an infielder that played briefly for the Pirates in 1987-88 and is known for getting traded to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Jay Bell. Fermin didn’t hit his first double until his 92nd game, which was 26 games after he left the Pirates. He did hit two triples during his first two years, so for awhile, he had more career triples than doubles.

This year, both Bradenton third baseman Wyatt Mathisen, and Indianapolis second baseman Alen Hanson, are still looking for their first double. Hanson has gone to the plate 130 times and he has 31 hits, which includes three triples and a homer. Mathisen has stepped up to the plate 101 times and he has two triples. Mathisen has been on fire lately, with four straight multi-hit games, which has raised his average to .281 after a .233 month of April. Hanson started off even slower, but he picked things up at the end of April. Both are hitting well, but it would be nice to see some more power and in Hanson’s case, we know he has it. He reached double figures in doubles, triples and homers in 2012 and 2014.

As for the players that have yet to hit a homer, Willy Garcia obviously stands out above everyone else since he has hit 52 homers over his last three seasons. He is 0-for-115 in that department this year and only Reese McGuire has more plate appearances(117) without going yard. McGuire only homered three times last year and he is very young for his league, so his lack of power isn’t surprising. Garcia is surprising because he swings for the fences a lot and has shown the power each of the last three seasons.

On the pitching side, Chad Kuhl has thrown the most innings(34) without allowing a homer this year. Right behind him is his teammate Jason Creasy, who has pitched 32 innings. Last year with Bradenton, Creasy gave up a career-high 13 homers. Kuhl allowed nine homers, though he went 55.1 innings without surrendering a homer as a rookie with Jamestown in 2013. Last year’s organizational leader in homerless innings was Richard Mitchell, who threw 65 frames for the Dominican Summer League team. He is in the States this year and will pitch at one of the lower levels.

Pirates Game Graph

Source: FanGraphs

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates defeated the Phillies by a 7-2 score on Tuesday night. That moved them over the .500 mark on the season. Today they face the Phillies in game three of a four game series with Francisco Liriano on the mound taking on Cole Hamels. Liriano has made three road starts this year and allowed just three earned runs over 21.1 innings.

In the minors, Clayton Richard makes his debut for Indianapolis. He pitched last week for Bradenton(season debut), throwing six innings without an earned run, giving up four hits and one walk, while striking out five batters. Thomas Harlan gets a start for Altoona in Tyler Glasnow’s spot. West Virginia is off today. They play a doubleheader on Thursday. All three games today have early start times. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (17-16) @ Phillies (11-23) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Francisco Liriano (2.79 ERA, 16:44 BB/SO, 38.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (18-15) @ Pawtucket (20-13) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Clayton Richard (NR)

AA: Altoona (19-11) vs Bowie (18-14) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Thomas Harlan (1.91 ERA, 10:18 BB/SO, 33.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (16-15) @ Brevard County (14-16) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Frank Duncan (1.80 ERA, 2:20 BB/SO, 30.0 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (18-13) @ Hagerstown (14-16) 5:05 PM DH 5/14(season preview)
Probable starter: Yeudy Garcia (2.82 ERA, 5:23 BB/SO 22.1 IP) Jose Regalado (3.05 ERA, 1:15 BB/SO 20.2 IP)


From Monday, Alen Hanson’s third triple of the season. Two days ago, we showed his first homer of the season. As noted above, all three triples and the homer have come before his first double.

Recent Transactions

5/13: Hayden Hurst placed on Voluntarily Retired List.

5/12: Indianapolis placed John Holdzkom on disabled list.

5/11: Felipe Gonzalez added to Bradenton roster. Ryan Hafner assigned to Extended Spring Training.

5/11: Charlie Leesman added to Indianapolis roster.

5/11: Antonio Bastardo placed on Paternity List. Bobby LaFromboise recalled from Indianapolis.

5/11: Connor Joe added to WV Power roster. Trace Tam Sing transferred to WV Black Bears.

5/10: Pirates acquire Jayson Aquino from Toronto Blue Jays for cash. Aquino assigned to Bradenton.

5/9: Pirates released Justin Howard.

5/8: Charlie Morton assigned to Altoona on rehab.

5/8: Nick Kingham placed on disabled list. Adam Miller added to Indianapolis roster.

5/7: Clayton Richard assigned to Bradenton. Felipe Gonzalez assigned to Extended Spring Training.

5/7: Colten Brewer added to WV Power roster. Eric Dorsch assigned to WV Black Bears

5/7: Jeff Inman added to Altoona roster. Tyler Sample sent to WV Black Bears.

5/6: Andrew Lambo placed on 15-day disabled list. Steve Lombardozzi selected from Indianapolis.

5/6: Adam Frazier activated from Altoona disabled list. Andy Vasquez assigned to Indianapolis.

5/6: Brad Lincoln added to Indianapolis roster. Charlie Leesman assigned to WV Black Bears.

5/5: Josh Wall added to Indianapolis. Brad Lincoln assigned to WV Black Bears.

5/4: Barrett Barnes assigned to Bradenton. Junior Sosa assigned to Extended Spring Training.

5/1: Jerrick Suiter placed on disabled list. Austin Coley added to WV Power roster.

5/1: Pirates sign pitcher Robert Stock.

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

This Date in Pirates History

Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus an intriguing pitching match-up from the early days of the franchise. The players born on this date include catcher Jack Shepard(1953-56), pitcher Frank Miller(1916-19) and catcher Jimmy Archer, who played for the Pirates in 1904, and then again 14 years later as a teammate of Miller.

On this date in 1892, pitcher Elmer Smith of the Pirates lost 6-1 to Cy Young, who made his debut two years earlier. This was one of the last starts for Smith, who became a full-time outfielder in 1893 and made up one of the best Pirates outfields ever that season. Smith won 34 games in 1887 as a teenager, but just three years later, he was in the minors and the Pirates gave him a chance to pitch two years after that before converting him to the outfield. With the Pirates, he hit .325/.415/466 and stole 174 bases in seven seasons. Cy Young went 3-2 against the Pirates in 1892.

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Right on cue, Hanson with double and a triple this afternoon. 🙂 Now all we need is for Garcia to rap a couple of dingers.


I’m going to tonight’s game. Liriano vs Hamels is the best matchup of the series. The Pirates have no business taking at least 3 of 4. The Bucs historically face Cole Hamels and lefties in general well so I’m confident in getting a win. In 10 hours, I’ll be in left field in my El Coffee shirt with my wife, a Yards Brawler, a hot dog, and hopefully Buccos lead. Can’t wait.


It’s a ghost town at the stadium. There was even wind and trash flying around for effect. Polanco’s arm, even if off-line yesterday, was very impressive in person. Conversely, watching Ben Revere’s arm is about the saddest thing I’ve seen in a while. All but one of my friends are Phillies fans and it’s bizarre how things have flipped from 4 years ago. Enjoy the game and try not to get upset by Franks free passes to guys hitting .200. I think they’ll win tonight.


I’m used to Franks walks by now even though most of the games I watch are on ESPN Gamecenter on my phone. I noticed the dearth of Phillies fans on the Broad Street line last night around 6:15. When I got in my car at the park & ride there were a few Bucs fans tailgating next to where I was parked. They picked a good game to catch. Every year when the Bucs hit Philly I always seem to go to the one game the Phillies win in the series. I’m hoping to talk a few of my Phillies fan friends into taking a road trip to the Burgh to catch a game at PNC. The last 2 times I was at PNC was the Padres series in ’11 and ’12 when their collapses seemed to start. I don’t see a collapse happening this year. I still think they’ll get going here and win the division.


Back in 2011 my wife convinced me to get the MLB package from Comcast. It was a very unselfish gesture. I told her 5 times that I would be yelling at the TV instead of my computer – are you sure you want me to do this? She insisted and as a result I got to see somewhat of a collapse in 2011 and a full collapse the following year. But 2013 through present on TV look great!


I had it a few years ago too. I live in Delaware and work in Philly and don’t get home til almost 8 most nights. I feel like I wouldn’t get my money’s worth out of it.


You’d still get to see the games they play in Colorado and Arizona. There’s 6 games right there.


Also for the first 5 innings it looked like the Phillies had never seen a curve ball before last night.


I was at the game last night and I have to say, if the Phillies aren’t the worst team in baseball I don’t know who is. I got a little nervous when the game was 3-2 thanks to a Polanco error. But he made up for it later and it was good to see Cutch and J Hay homer. From where I was sitting I couldn’t get a good look at Cutch turn on the pitch he hit out but when I saw highlights at home he looked like he had his legs under him.


Just be thankful for the Brewers and Phillies – we are 7-1 against those two teams, 10-15 against everyone else. The bad news is we haven’t yet played the Mets, Marlins, Nats, Dodgers, Padres, Giants.


I’ve definitely noticed they’ve looked pretty embarrassing at times against the Cubs, Reds and Cards who are by the way in our division and play 19 times a year. But I do think they’re playing better ball as of late too. The bullpen is better, the starters have regressed some but it’s not killing them because the hitting is coming around.


Cole Hamels is basically the only thing keeping them above ’09-’10 peak-teardown Pirate clubs, and I’m not even sure that’s enough to do it.


He’s going to go before the deadline along with Paps and probably Ruiz. Can’t trade Utley the way he’s hitting. It’s really sad. The Phillies are going to get worse before year end.


Not sure how much their TV contract is floating them right now, but they have to be hemorrhaging money with so little coming through the gates. Seems pretty clear that the fans won’t be back til they put a winner on the field, and that’s gonna be a long, long time without some serious free agent investments.


They announced the attendance for last nights game as 20,000 something and I turned to the person next to me and said “that’s bulls#%*!” I knew it was the paid attendance but it was still funny to see on the jumbotron. My Phillies friend (who would love this site by the way because he’s into the next level stats and mechanics of hitters and pitchers etc.) loves Cole. I told him in 2020 they can sign him and you can see him pitch every 5 days.


I wonder if any other teams out there have a site this good. I’m holding out some blind faith that come 2021 Cole and Cutch will still be Pirates. Unless Cutch falls off a cliff, you gotta think that Polanco or Marte would be expendable first. Cutch is just one of those players you overpay for to keep as the face of the franchise. Although, I always think back to the Cards and Pujols in that instance. With Cole though, if the Pirates announced tomorrow that they signed him to an 8 year, $200MM contract, I’d be okay with it. He’s been a winner since he came into the league and looks like he’s gonna be good for a long time. He’s like a more talented Jack Morris sans awesome mustache.


…or a completely rebuilt farm system.


That’s what people who really follow the team are pissed about. The prospects they traded for Halliday, Lee, Oswalt and Pence haven’t come back to haunt them so just how bad is their farm?! The Pirates trade one significant top 10-15 team prospect in Herrera and he’s taken off.


which ain’t happening any time soon.

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