As you can see in the Playoff Push section below, there are a lot of teams listed. As the seasons get closer to the end, some playoff scenarios will be added. That’s because some leagues take two teams from each division, while other leagues have wild cards and others are decided by first and second half winners. If as many teams remain in contention as there are now, then that will be a busy section each day and you’ll know which affiliates will continue playing after their regular season is done.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, the minor league playoffs are important to the players and they all talk about what a great experience it is to play meaningful games in the standings leading up to the playoffs. While many fans don’t care about minor league standings unless you’re a fan of a certain team, it’s always better to create a winning atmosphere in the minors. You get to see players under pressure and obviously you want to see them succeed under those conditions. I wouldn’t judge players too harshly though if they don’t succeed, otherwise Tyler Glasnow wouldn’t be the top prospect, because he has had a couple horrible playoff outings over the last two years.
I’ve been holding off on adding Bristol to the Playoff Push section, even though they are just two games out of a playoff spot. The two reasons are that they are in fifth/last place in their division and they have a 17-20 record, but if they get any closer I’ll have to add them. Besides them, the only team that isn’t listed is the DSL team and they could be eliminated from the playoffs tomorrow.
Over the last couple days, there have been some questions about promotions for certain players and it seems like many people don’t know just how little time is left in the minor league season. That’s understandable because the Pirates still has two full months left and that is what most people follow. As of today, all of the teams now have under five full weeks left in their schedule, and the number of remaining games drop the further down you go in the system, although the GCL bucks that trend due to seven doubleheaders remaining on their schedule. I have a feeling they are going to end up canceling some games, since there won’t be many opportunities to make games up if they have anymore rain. They only make up games if they face that team again during the season, otherwise the games are canceled.
So here are the ending dates for each team in the system, plus the remaining games on their schedule. They never make up games on off-days in the minors, so the remaining games listed below could end up being less.
Indianapolis Sept 7th- 34 games
Altoona Sept 7th- 33 games
West Virginia Sept 7th- 32 games
Morgantown Sept 7th- 33 games
Bradenton Sept 6th- 33 games
Bristol Sept 1st- 30 games
GCL August 29th- 29 games
DSL August 22nd- 17 games
You’ll notice the top five affiliates basically end the same day, with Bradenton ending one day earlier. Bristol ends six days earlier, so you could see some players from there go up to Morgantown. With the GCL ending close to the same time as Bristol, you might also see a couple players from the GCL go up to Morgantown for an extra week of action. If the GCL Pirates make the playoffs, then that will probably eliminate that opportunity. So that’s worth watching, because you might see Ke’Bryan Hayes get a chance to play under the lights, and perhaps the Black Bears are closer in the playoff race than they are now, so the games will be meaningful.
As I was saying with the promotions, you may have seen all there will be, not including ones that are done out of need. Altoona is a couple players shorthanded right now, so I wouldn’t rule out someone going there. Jonathan Schwind should return from rehab very soon, which would give them a full roster of position players, so it might be a pitcher from Bradenton.
The other promotions could be based on the playoff races though. If it looks like Altoona is getting in and Bradenton isn’t, then I wouldn’t rule out anyone going up, including Austin Meadows and Reese McGuire. Again, they would be going for the experience of the playoffs and the possibility of extra games that mean something. Both players did that during their first season, going to Jamestown after the GCL season ended. As mentioned, the Playoff Push section will be more detailed soon and you’ll get a good idea of which teams could see reinforcements and which teams could lose players(mostly prospects) the last week.
The Pirates trail by 5.5 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 second place, four games back of Bowie.
Bradenton is 7-3 in their last ten games. They trail Palm Beach by one game in the standings.
West Virginia is 7-3 in their last ten games and they have a five game lead in the division.
Morgantown is 6-4 in their last ten games. They trail by five games in the division.
GCL Pirates are 7-3 in their last ten games. They are tied for first place, though their winning percentage is nine points higher than the other team.
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates and Cubs had their game postponed on Monday. Pittsburgh will send J.A. Happ to the mound, making his Pirates’ debut. In his last two starts combined, he’s allowed ten runs on ten hits and five walks in five innings.
In the minors, Stephen Tarpley gets the start for West Virginia, his 14th of the season. He hasn’t quite pitched enough innings to qualify for the league lead(he’s about 13 IP short), but his 2.26 ERA would rank him tied for 2nd and his 1.20 WHIP would be tied for seventh in the league. Tarpley has allowed two earned runs or less in 11 of his starts, giving up three runs in one game and five in the other. The GCL Pirates have a doubleheader today. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.
MLB: Pittsburgh (61-43) vs Cubs (57-47) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: J.A. Happ(NR)
AAA: Indianapolis (63-47) @ Durham (53-56) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Wilfredo Boscan (3.55 ERA, 40:60 BB/SO, 88.2 IP)
AA: Altoona (58-51) @ New Britain (51-56) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Zack Dodson (3.93 ERA, 26:53 BB/SO, 121.1 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (55-51, 23-13 second half) vs Jupiter (49-59) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD
Low-A: West Virginia (63-43, 26-11 second half) vs Greenville (55-52) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Stephen Tarpley (2.26 ERA, 17:68 BB/SO, 71.2 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (23-20) vs Auburn (20-22) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Seth McGarry (4.86 ERA, 8:11 BB/SO, 16.2 IP)
Rookie: Bristol (17-20) @ Kingsport (19-20) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD
GCL: Pirates (20-11) vs Tigers (17-13) 11:00 AM DH (season preview)
DSL: Pirates (21-34) vs Yankees2 (31-24) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Here are highlights from Tyler Glasnow’s AAA debut.
8/4: Dovydas Neverauskas promoted to Bradenton. Robert Stock sent to GCL.
8/4: Jake Burnette activated from disabled list.
8/3: Michael Morse added to active roster. Jaff Decker optioned to Indianapolis.
8/2: Shane Kemp sent from Bristol to GCL.
8/2: Josh Smith activated from Altoona disabled list.
8/1: J.A. Happ added to active roster. Bobby LaFromboise sent to Indianapolis.
8/1: Josh Bell and Jeremy Bleich promoted to Indianapolis.
8/1: John Holdzkom placed on disabled list. Hunter Morris sent to Altoona.
7/31: Pirates trade Adrian Sampson to Mariners for J.A. Happ.
7/31: Pirates trade Jose Tabata to Dodgers for Michael Morse and cash.
7/31: A.J. Burnett placed on disabled list. Bobby LaFromboise recalled from Indianapolis.
7/31: Deolis Guerra designated for assignment.
7/31: Dan Gamache promoted to Indianapolis. Erich Weiss promoted to Altoona. Trace Tam Sing promoted to Bradenton.
7/30: Pirates trade JaCoby Jones to Detroit Tigers for Joakim Soria
7/30: Vance Worley designated for assignment.
7/30: Justin Seller traded to Chicago White Sox for a player to be named later, or cash.
7/30: Pirates sent Gorkys Hernandez outright to Indianapolis
7/30: Logan Ratledge promoted to Morgantown. Erik Forgione promoted to West Virginia
7/30: Pirates acquire Joe Blanton for cash considerations.
7/29: Pirates trade Jayson Aquino to Indians for cash considerations.
7/28: Gift Ngoepe placed on disabled list.
7/28: Pirates release Ulises Montilla.
7/28: Brent Morel refuses outright assignment to Indianapolis.
7/28: Miguel Ferreras retires. Mervin Del Rosario promoted to Bristol.
7/27: JaCoby Jones promoted to Altoona. Josh Smith placed on disabled list.
7/27: Steve Lombardozzi sent outright to Indianapolis. Andy Vasquez placed on disabled list.
7/27: Jordan Steranka activated from Bradenton disabled list. Isaac Sanchez placed on disabled list.
7/27: Junior Sosa added to Bradenton roster.
7/27: John Holdzkom activated from Indianapolis disabled list.
7/26: Jonathan Schwind assigned to Bristol on rehab.
7/25: Pirates designate Brent Morel for assignment.
7/25: Justin Sellers sent outright to Indianapolis
7/25: Adam Miller assigned to GCL on rehab
7/24: Robert Stock activated from disabled list.
7/23: Pirates traded Yhonathan Barrios to Milwaukee Brewers for Aramis Ramirez and cash.
7/23: Steve Lombardozzi designated for assignment.
7/23: John Holdzkom assigned to Morgantown on rehab.
7/23: Hunter Morris activated from Indianapolis disabled list.
7/23: Wes Freeman released. Andy Otamendi assigned to Bradenton.
7/23: Mervin Del Rosario assigned to GCL Pirates.
7/22: Pirates purchase contract of Pedro Florimon. Wilfredo Boscan optioned to Indianapolis. Jayson Aquino designated for assignment.
7/22: Barrett Barnes promoted to Altoona. Andy Vasquez promoted to Indianapolis.
7/22: Gorkys Hernandez assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.
7/21: Jonathan Schwind and Andrew Lambo assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.
7/21: Harold Ramirez activated from temporary inactive list. Robert Stock placed on disabled list.
This Date in Pirates History
Eight former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus an unfortunate transaction of note. On this date in 1917, the Pirates put first baseman George Kelly on waivers, losing him to the Giants. He did not do good for the Pittsburgh, but the Pirates weren’t good back then, so they would have been better off holding onto Kelly. By 1920, he led the league in RBIs and averaged over 100 from 1920-25, leading the league again in 1924. During that streak, the Giants played in four straight World Series. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1973.
Former players born on this date include:
Steve Bieser, 1998 outfielder.
Ruben Rodriguez, caught two games in both the 1986 and 1988 season, his only Major League experience. Pirates signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 1981.
Bill Schuster, shortstop for the 1937 Pirates. Made his debut as pinch runner during a late season call-up, then played both games of a doubleheader at shortstop during his brief time with Pirates.
Homer Blankenship, 1928 pitcher. Had a 5.82 ERA in 21.2 innings for Pirates. Pitched with his older brother Ted on the 1922 White Sox.
Cliff Lee, catching during the 1919-20 seasons. Pirates put him on waivers prior to the 1921 season and he ended up hitting .322 with 17 homers for the Phillies that year.
Paddy O’Connor, catcher for the 1909 champs. He played for the team from 1908-10, backing up George Gibson.
Lew Moren, pitcher for the 1903-04 teams. Late season call-up for 1903 World Series team, did not pitch in series.
Jake Beckley, Hall of Fame first base, played for team in 1888-89, then again from 1891 until 1896. For the Pirates, he was a .300 hitter in 950 games, driving in 664 runs and scoring 701 times. He is fourth all-time in triples. You can read a full bio for Beckley here.