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Morning Report: The Early Season All-Stars


With each team playing between 35 and 39 games, I thought I’d take a look at the early All-Star team from around the Pittsburgh Pirates’ system. This has nothing to do with being a prospect, just the players performing the best at each position. For pitchers, I picked two starters and one reliever.

At catcher, the prospects haven’t really been playing well, so I went with Sebastian Valle, who has a .780 OPS in 20 games(see video below). Elias Diaz is close and has played more, but he has actually caught less games, with 12 of his starts coming as a DH.

At first base, it’s a pretty easy choice for Josh Bell, although there is a similar situation to catcher. Chase Simpson has a higher OPS, but he has 13 less starts at first base. Bell has a .323/.396/.449 slash line through 30 games.

Second base has been the most consistent position this year, with each team having a player that has played at least 30 games at the position. Max Moroff was running away with this spot a week ago, then a 3-for-25 slump happened, but he still gets the nod due to his .313/.393/.450 slash line.

At shortstop, someone that isn’t on Altoona. JaCoby Jones has a .766 OPS and has been a big part of his team’s offense with 23 runs scored and 24 RBIs.

Over to third base to complete the infield and we have Deibinson Romero as an easy choice. He has a .943 OPS and has driven in 24 runs. He’s been the best hitter in the system for most of this year.

For the outfielders, I’m just going with the top three regardless of position. Steve Lombardozzi has hit the best among outfielders, but he’s played some infield and spent some time with the Pirates, so he falls short in the at-bats. That leaves Jose Tabata, Austin Meadows and Jose Osuna as the choices.

Osuna probably won his spot with a strong game on Monday night, as that pushed him over some others. He has a .798 OPS and has driven in 22 runs, while scoring 18 times. Meadows has an .800 OPS and has scored 23 runs out of the lead-off spot, doing all that as one of the youngest players in the league. He is third in the FSL in hits(44), which leads the Pirates’ system. Tabata has a .352 batting average and an .817 OPS in 28 games.

For pitchers, Zack Dodson has been incredible except for one bad inning. His 1.75 ERA is best among starters and he has an 0.89 WHIP. For the second best starter, you could probably make a case for 5-6 other players. I’m going with Wilfredo Boscan, because just like Dodson, his numbers are skewed by one bad inning. Six of his ten earned runs came during that one inning in which he got just one out. Other than that, he’s been a solid starter the rest of the time, going six innings or more in five of six starts.

For the reliever, the best so far would be Blake Wood, who has ten saves, a 1.17 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 15.1 innings.

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates were off yesterday. They start a two-game series against the Minnesota Twins tonight, with former Twin Francisco Liriano on the mound. In his last start, he gave up three runs on seven hits and three walks over seven innings. His opponent will be Ricky Nolasco, who has a 6.38 ERA in four starts this season.

In the minors, Charlie Morton will make his third rehab start and second for Indianapolis. He has gone seven innings in both games, allowing a total of one run, though the games were totally different. In his Altoona start, Morton allowed just two hits and one was a generous scoring for the batter. In his Indianapolis start, he gave up 11 hits. This will be his last rehab start. Yeudy Garcia will make his second start this season. He was pitching in long relief previously. Garcia has thrown 15 shutout innings over his last four appearances. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (18-20) vs Twins (21-17) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Francisco Liriano (2.96 ERA, 19:50 BB/SO, 45.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (22-17) vs Pawtucket (22-17) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Charlie Morton (1.29 ERA, 0:8 BB/SO, 7.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (22-13) @ Portland (15-22) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Angel Sanchez (2.09 ERA, 10:23 BB/SO, 38.2 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (19-19) @ Ft Myers (18-20) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Steven Brault (4.40 ERA, 9:22 BB/SO, 30.2 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (20-16) @ Hickory (26-9) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Yeudy Garcia (2.30 ERA, 5:26 BB/SO 27.1 IP)


From Saturday, Sebastian Valle hits and RBI double, his fifth double of the year. He is hitting .304/.360/.420 this season in 20 games.

Recent Transactions

5/17: Jeff Roy placed on disabled list. Trace Tam Sing added to WV Power roster

5/17: Bradenton adds Julio Eusebio, Cesilio Pimentel and Ryan Hafner to roster. Henry Hirsch, Felipe Gonzalez and Brett McKinney assigned to Extended Spring Training.

5/16: Luis Heredia added to Bradenton roster. Matt Benedict promoted to Indianapolis.

5/16: Wilfredo Boscan added to 40-man roster and promoted to Majors. Steve Lombardozzi sent to Indianapolis.

5/16: Brandon Cumpton transferred to 60-day disabled list.

5/15: Charlie Leesman placed on Indianapolis disabled list.

5/15: Antonio Bastardo activated from Paternity List. Bobby LaFromboise optioned to Indianapolis.

5/14: Charlie Morton assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

5/14: Pirates sign catcher Paul Brands.

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.


This Date in Pirates History

Two former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a look at a very bad day for the city of Pittsburgh. The players born on this date include pitcher Ed Whitson and pitcher Bud Culloton. Both of them played for a Pirates team that won the World Series. Whitson played with the club from 1977 until he was traded away during the 1979 season, while Culloton played for the 1925 WS champs. You can read more about each of them in the link above.

On this date in 1890, the Pirates(then called the Alleghenys) lost 18-2, while the Pittsburgh Burghers lost 16-3 that same day. The Burghers were a member of the Player’s League, a Major League which existed for just the 1890 season. Many of the players from that team, were members of the NL team before and after 1890. The Alleghenys/Pirates were 8-10 before that game and went 15-103 the rest of the way. It was the worst season in franchise history.

John Dreker
John Dreker
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball. When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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