Morning Report: A Two-Year Streak, DSL Notes, Playoffs and a Former Prospect

Instead of one big subject, I decided to talk briefly about four different things this morning. A long streak from a reliever gets broken. The DSL prospect list will be posted within the next week. Altoona has a big series starting tonight and a former Pirates’ prospect gets a well-deserved promotion to the big leagues.

Altoona reliever Jhondaniel Medina had his incredible streak snapped on Wednesday night. The last time he allowed a regular season home run before Wednesday was on June 28, 2013. Between the homers, he made 92 appearances, threw 128.2 innings and faced 507 batters, keeping the ball in the park that entire time. Just for reference, the most innings pitched this year by a Pirates’ minor leaguer without allowing a homer is 59.1 by Radhames Liz. So there is quite a bit of difference in innings alone, not to mention appearances and the time frame.

I saw that homer back in 2013 live and it was crushed by big Art Charles. It’s possible that the ball Charles hit landed about the same time the homer was hit on Wednesday. That was the first time I saw Medina pitch in person and I would have been shocked at that point if you told me that Medina could run off a streak this long. He looked good, hitting 93 MPH consistently, but he left some pitches up in the zone after the homer, so I almost expected another that night. He did it though for over two years straight, so it’s definitely an impressive accomplishment and deserved a couple paragraphs this morning.

The DSL season ends on Saturday and I’ll be putting together all the notes I have for the season recap, which also will include the top ten players to watch list. In the past, I usually put together all the names I think could have a chance for the top ten, then slowly work my way down to just ten players. I’ve also included other names to watch and in most cases they were interesting players. I started putting together an early list this year  and came up with exactly ten names for my list. I’ve had upwards of 21 in the past and last year was 13, but only because there was a separation in talent after the 13th spot, but there were still a couple good names after that point.

The best player this year probably would have been #8 last year, so it’s definitely not a good class. Last year was strong, even if they aren’t having success as a group so far this season. A lot were first year players that moved up right away. With the 2015 group, it seems like there shouldn’t be a large number of players moving up, especially since better players last year aren’t doing well with the jump. I’ve never seen a real small class of Fall Instructional League invites, it’s usually in the 12-15 range, but this year could be one.

If Altoona is going to make the playoffs this year, then they better step up starting today. They take on first place Bowie in a three-game series on the road. The Curve don’t have to win the division to make the playoffs, second place will get them there too. However, they do have to play the best team in six of their remaining 16 games, while also trying to catch Akron in second place, a team that they are done playing this season. Altoona led the division at one point not that long ago and it seemed like the playoffs were a given, but promotions to AAA have hurt them.

I wanted to wrap this up with a former player from the Pirates doing well in the minors, though that’s nothing unusual. Matt Hague leads the International League with a .348 batting average and .909 OPS. He also leads in another Triple Crown category, 83 RBIs. He’s going to win the batting title because he has a huge lead and probably end up leading in OPS, but probably not that last category because he only has a lead of six runs batted in and he was just called up to the majors two days ago. Hague surpassed the 1,000 hit mark earlier this year and he gets a chance to add to those 16 Major League hits now.

Pirates Game Graph


Source: FanGraphs

Playoff Push

The Pirates trail by 4.5 games in the division to the Cardinals. They have a four game lead for the top wild card spot.

Indianapolis is 6-4 in their last ten games. They have a 2.5 game lead in the division.

Altoona is 4-6 in their last ten games and they are in third place, 6.5 games back of Bowie and they trail by one game in the wild card.

Bradenton is 5-5 in their last ten games. They trail Palm Beach by four games in the standings.

West Virginia is 7-3 in their last ten games and they have a six game lead in the division.

Morgantown is 5-5 in their last ten games. They are 2.5 games back in the wild card chase.

The Bristol Pirates are 6-4 in their last ten games. They are 3.5 games back in the division.

GCL Pirates are 1-9 in their last ten games. They are six games back in the standings, with ten games left on the schedule.

The DSL Pirates have been eliminated from the postseason.

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates defeated the Giants by a 4-0 score on Thursday night. Jeff Locke will be on the mound against Madison Bumgarner tonight. Locke gave up one run over 5.1 innings in his last outing. Bumgarner has a 2.98 ERA in 163.1 innings. In his last two starts combined, he has allowed one run over 18 innings, with 26 strikeouts.

In the minors, Indianapolis has a doubleheader today with Tyler Glasnow and Vance Worley scheduled to pitch. Glasnow will be making his fifth AAA start and his 19th start of the season. Between all three teams he has pitched for this season, he has 113 strikeouts in 89.1 innings. Worley has made one AAA start, giving up two runs in five innings. Yeudy Garcia is second in the SAL in ERA and third with a 1.05 WHIP. The GCL Pirates have a doubleheader today. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (72-47) vs Giants (65-56) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Jeff Locke (4.31 ERA, 50:100 BB/SO, 129.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (73-52) @ Charlotte (65-60) 6:05 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: Vance Worley (3.60 ERA, 1:2 BB/SO, 5.0 IP) and Tyler Glasnow (1.29 ERA, 13:25 BB/SO, 21.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (65-59) @ Bowie (71-52) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Zack Dodson (4.00 ERA, 30:64 BB/SO, 137.1 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (64-59, 32-21 second half) vs Ft Myers (70-55) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Frank Duncan (4.64 ERA, 16:94 BB/SO, 126.0 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (73-49, 36-17 second half) vs Lakewood (63-58) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Yeudy Garcia (2.26 ERA, 32:90 BB/SO, 103.2 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (29-29) @ Mahoning Valley (26-29) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD

Rookie: Bristol (25-26) @ Princeton (32-24) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD

GCL: Pirates (27-23) vs  Yankees1 (19-28) 10:00 AM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates (29-41) vs Marlins (24-46) 10:30 AM (season preview)

Highlights

Here is a video of Max Moroff lacing a double, though I like it more for the great camera work

Recent Transactions

8/20: Corey Hart assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

8/20: Travis Snider signed to minor league deal.

8/19: Josh Wall added to Pirates. Pedro Florimon designated for assignment.

8/18: Edwin Espinal placed on disabled list. Junior Sosa activated from Bradenton disabled list.

8/18: Adam Miller placed on disabled list. Jeremy Bleich activated from temporary inactive list.

8/16: Jose Salazar retired.

8/16: Pirates sign Frank Herrmann. Jeremy Bleich placed on temporary inactive list.

8/16: Rob Scahill sent to Indianapolis on rehab.

8/14: Edward Salcedo traded to Royals. Robert Stock assigned to Altoona.

8/13: Angel Sanchez placed on disabled list. Andy Vasquez sent to Altoona.

8/11: Rob Scahill sent to Altoona on rehab.

8/11: Wilfredo Boscan sent outright to Indianapolis. Jeff Inman placed on disabled list.

8/11: Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

8/9: Adam Miller promoted to Indianapolis.

8/9: Cole Tucker placed on disabled list. Erik Forgione sent to Morgantown.

8/8: Kevin Newman and Edgar Santana promoted to West Virginia.

8/8: Junior Sosa placed on disabled list. Isaac Sanchez activated from Bradenton disabled list.

8/7: Vance Worley sent outright to Indianapolis.

8/7: Deolis Guerra returned to Pirates from Indians and placed on disabled list. Wilfredo Boscan designated for assignment.

This Date in Pirates History

Eight former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including the Major League single-season leader for triples.

Chief Wilson was in his second season in the majors when he played on the 1909 World Series team. He hit .272 that year and played 154 games. By 1911, he hit .300 and drove in 107 runs. The next year, he clubbed 36 triples, setting an MLB record that still stands and hasn’t even been approached since, with 26 being the highest total since then. Wilson stayed around Pittsburgh until 1913 when he was part of the inexcusable Dots Miller trade to the Cardinals. Wilson had a rifle for an arm, picking up 181 assists in his nine-year career.

Jeff Clement, first baseman in 2010 and 2012. Came over from the Mariners in the Jack Wilson/Ian Snell trade.

Jesse Chavez, relief for the 2008-09 Pirates. Came over from the Rangers in a deal for Kip Wells.

Ramon Vazquez, 2009 infielder. Signed a two-year deal, but ended up lasting just one season.

Lou Collier, shortstop for the 1997-98 Pirates. Hit .246 in 110 games during the 1998 season.

Murry Dickson, pitcher from 1949 until 1953. Pirates purchased him from the Cardinals for $125,000. Won 20 games for the 1951 Pirates. Finished 66-85, 3.83 in 137 starts and 91 relief appearances during his five seasons in Pittsburgh, playing mostly for last place teams.

Cobe Jones, shortstop for the 1928-29 Pirates. Played the last game of the 1928 season and 25 games the next year.

Jim Mosolf, outfielder for the 1929-31 Pirates. Batted .462 during September of 1929. Played 40 games during the 1930 season, just six as a starter. Mosolf played even less in 1931, with 39 games total and four starts all season.

  • Locke seems to draw all the tough assignments. MadBum, Harvey, Martinez (x2), Scherzer. All since July 1.

  • Wilbur Miller
    August 21, 2015 9:49 am

    Medina DID give up a HR in the first game of the FSL playoffs last year. Glasnow had a control meltdown and walked the bases loaded, so they replaced him with Medina, whose first pitch was hit for a grand slam.

  • FREE MATT HAGUE!!!! (sorry)

    I guess the ‘Mystery of LIz’s Disappearance’ remains?

    • Yes, they didn’t play last night, so it didn’t answer any questions other than he didn’t go on the DL

  • It’s possible that the ball Charles hit landed about the same time the homer was hit on Wednesday.

    Sooooo….you’re saying the ball was crushed?? 🙂

  • John … On a serious note, what was up with Moroff’s body language? He looked like a cross between being exhausted and bored out there on second.

    • May have been some relief in there because he has been hitting the ball well recently with no results according to Sean McCool’s article two days ago

  • Haha! You got me with the camera work. I thought because it started with a really low angle, the ball was going to hit right at it. I really love how he just stays there, focusing on the right field bleachers.

Menu