With less than three weeks left in the minor league season, there are some interesting things to watch for as far as stats and players possibly leading their league. We also take a quick look at the NYPL All-Star game and playoff races in the minors.
The Florida State League batting title has probably been put out of reach for the two Bradenton players batting over .300 this season. Harold Ramirez has been one of the best hitters in the league, but he falls well short of qualifying for the batting title. Jin-De Jhang ranks fifth in the league with a .307 average and Austin Meadow’s .303 average is sixth best. Meadows leads the league with 138 hits. The league leader has a .331 average.
In the Eastern League, we have been talking about the batting race quite a bit, and it looks like Adam Frazier could take over the top spot once he finally qualifies. If he bats five times tonight, he will finally enter the leader board. He has a .324 average, which is eight points higher than the current leader. Josh Bell was in the running, but he would need the three guys ahead of him and Frazier to keep dropping in the race. Bell has enough plate appearances to remain among the leaders all year, so he will finish somewhere in the top 5-6 I’d guess. Frazier has seen his average drop 21 points in the last ten games, so he is far from a guarantee to win at this point. Max Moroff was in the race before August started, but he’s down to .297, which is still good for seventh in the league.
In the South Atlantic League, Stephen Tarpley and Yeudy Garcia will fight it out the rest of the way for the ERA crown. Tarpley finished less than an inning short or qualifying after his last game, so as long as he has a good outing next start, he will be right near the top. Garcia currently ranks third with his 2.26 ERA, while Tarpley has a 2.14 mark, which would rank second.
The New York-Penn League All-Star game took place on Tuesday night and four players from Morgantown got into the game. Ty Moore and Logan Hill started the game in the outfield, while Danny Arribas came into the game as a replacement at third base and Dario Agrazal Jr. threw a scoreless eighth in the 4-2 loss, sort of. He allowed a hit and a walk, plus there was an error, but he was able to close out the inning without giving up a run. The catch is that Agrazal actually pitched against his team because the other side ran out of pitchers. So while he was on the losing side for the first 7 1/2 innings, he also picked up a save in the game on the winning side. The three Morgantown batters combined to go 0-for-5 in the game.
You’ll notice in the playoff push, it’s been expanded a little to include more information and I’ll put more in as the seasons wind down. Right now, the West Virginia Power look like the best bet for playoff baseball, extending their division lead to seven games, with 19 games left on the schedule. Indianapolis has a 3.5 game lead in their division, while Altoona, Bradenton, Morgantown and Bristol are all within 3.5 games of the playoffs. Bristol only has 13 games left on their schedule, although a postponed game against Elizabethton could be made up during the final weekend if necessary. The over-achieving GCL Pirates are no more, as they have gone 2-7 over the last week(doubleheaders) and dropped five games back with 12 to play.
The Pirates organization is in danger of not having a 20 home run hitter this season. Stetson Allie leads with 16 and has the only real shot, except he isn’t playing everyday now and he hasn’t homered this month. He still ranks one homer behind two players tied for first in the Eastern League with 17 each. Altoona has 20 games left, with no days off the rest of the way, so it’s possible he could get on a streak and reach the total. It hasn’t been long since they didn’t reach that 20 home run mark, with Willy Garcia leading the way in 2012 with 18 homers. The last Pirates’ minor league player to reach 30 homers was Steve Pearce in 2007 with 31 round-trippers. Brad “Big Country” Eldred had 38 homers in 2004.
Pirates Game Graph
The Pirates trail by five games in the division to the Cardinals. They have a three game lead for the top wild card spot.
Indianapolis is 6-4 in their last ten games. They have a 3.5 game lead in the division.
Altoona is 5-5 in their last ten games and they are in third place, 6.5 games back of Bowie and they trail by two games in the wild card.
Bradenton is 6-4 in their last ten games. They trail Palm Beach by three games in the standings.
West Virginia is 7-3 in their last ten games and they have a seven game lead in the division.
Morgantown is 4-6 in their last ten games. They are 3.5 games back in the wild card chase.
The Bristol Pirates are 6-4 in their last ten games. They are three games back in the division.
GCL Pirates are 2-8 in their last ten games. They are five games back in the standings, with 12 games left on the schedule.
The DSL Pirates have been eliminated from the postseason.
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates defeated the Diamondbacks by a 9-8 score in 15 innings on Tuesday night. J.A. Happ will be on the mound tonight for the Pirates. He went 5.1 innings in his last start, allowing one run on seven hits and a walk against the Mets. Robbie Ray starts for Arizona. He has a 3.29 ERA in 82 innings. In his last three starts combined, he has given up ten runs on 18 hits and eight walks in 15.1 innings.
In the minors, Austin Coley starts for West Virginia. He had a 1.80 ERA in April and every month since then it’s been over 4.00, including a 5.06 in August. Cody Dickson has been the opposite of Coley, with one bad month and four months in which his ERA has been under 4.00, including 3.63 so far in August. Matt Benedict has throw 14 innings in his last two starts combined, allowing just one earned run. Indianapolis and Bristol are both off today. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.
MLB: Pittsburgh (70-47) vs Diamondbacks (58-60) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: J.A. Happ (4.66 ERA, 3:13 BB/SO, 9.2 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (73-52) @ Charlotte (65-60) 7:05 PM 8/20 (season preview)
Probable starter: Radhames Liz (1.52 ERA, 24:65 BB/SO, 59.1 IP)
AA: Altoona (64-58) vs Portland (45-77) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Matt Benedict (5.20 ERA, 14:34 BB/SO, 81.1 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (64-57, 32-19 second half) vs St Lucie (60-61) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Cody Dickson (3.95 ERA, 46:80 BB/SO, 120.2 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (72-48, 35-16 second half) @ Lexington (50-69) 1:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Austin Coley (4.14 ERA, 20:95 BB/SO, 121.2 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (27-29) vs Auburn (26-28) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD
Rookie: Bristol (25-25) @ Princeton (31-24) 7:05 PM 8/20 (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD
GCL: Pirates (27-21) vs Tigers (28-19) 12:00 PM (season preview)
DSL: Pirates (27-41) vs Cubs (42-26) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Here is an RBI single from Dan Gamache. In his first 15 games since being sent to AAA, he is hitting .306/.352/.367, with three doubles and four walks.
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.
8/6: Rob Scahill assigned to GCL on rehab.
8/5: Indians claim Deolis Guerra off waivers.
8/5: Isaac Sanchez assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab. Stephan Meyer assigned to GCL from Morgantown.
This Date in Pirates History
Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus three trades of note. Starting with the transactions, we have one that helped the 1909 World Series team. The Pirates gave up infielders Alan Storke and Jap Barbeau for third baseman Bobby Byrne. The Pirates got Byrne for his strong defense at third base, but he was also a better hitter than either player they gave up. He scored five runs during the World Series and stuck around in Pittsburgh until 1913.
In 1983, the Pirates traded catcher Steve Nicosia to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for catcher Milt May, who was a former Pirates’ player. Nicosia asked for a trade because he wasn’t happy about the limited playing time he was getting behind Tony Pena.
In 1988, the Pirates traded 1B/OF Mike Diaz for outfielder Gary Redus, who played on all three pennant winners from 1990-1992, spending most of his time at first base.
Players born on this date include:
Britt Reames, 2006 pitcher. Spent most of the season in the minors, getting in six games in August.
Terry Harper, 1987 outfielder. Was acquired in late June from the Detroit Tigers for two minor league players. Hit .288 in 36 games, seeing time at both corner outfield spots.
Ike McAuley, 1914-16 shortstop. Played a total of 24 games during his three seasons, occasionally taking the place of Honus Wagner, while Wagner also played third base a few times with McAuley in the lineup.