Morning Report: The End of the Line For a 2009 Draft Pick?

As part of the update on the injuries at Indianapolis, it was announced that Jeff Inman was placed on the disabled list with an elbow injury and it didn’t sound good. Inman was taken during the 2009 draft and he’s one of three players still in the organization from that draft, with Tony Sanchez and Zack Dodson being the other two players. We really don’t talk much about Inman because he hasn’t been on the mound much. Now in his seventh, and perhaps final season since he hits minor league free agency at the end of the year, he has pitched a total of 120 games and 189 innings in his pro career.

Inman signed out of Stanford as a junior and was highly rated, but he had a shoulder injury that junior season and that caused him to drop in the draft. It didn’t do much for his price though, as it still cost the Pirates $425,000 to sign him. He signed late and only got in a couple games, but he hit 95 MPH.

In 2010, he was hitting 96 MPH in Spring Training, but he had elbow issues and kept coming back and shutting it down, never actually appearing in a regular season game. He spent a lot of time at Pirate City trying to build up to full strength so he could pitch. Inman played sparingly in 2011 and the elbow injury popped up again, limiting him to 36 innings.

One interesting note from that 2011 season and it was Inman’s complete game. He was used as a starter and went five innings before rain ended a game early. Inman picked up the win and the losing pitcher was Matt Harvey, his first pro loss. Someone call up Calvin Anderson for the Harvey game this weekend. He could probably play first base better than Alvarez and he hit a three-run homer that gave Bradenton the lead in the fifth and the win.

The 2012 season would end up being Inman’s best year for health, though he did miss some time with an ankle injury. He pitched a career-high 61.1 innings, spending most of the year with Altoona. There was a glimmer of hope for him still as a hard-throwing reliever that was finally healthy(arm-wise) for an entire year.

He looked good in early 2013 and then the elbow went south in May, this time requiring Tommy John surgery. All the progress he made in 2012, and as good as he looked early in 2013, and now he was out for at least a year.

Last year he returned in June and finally made it to Pittsburgh, sort of. The Pirates brought Inman in to pitch live batting practice to Andrew McCutchen when he was returning from his rib injury. It was a pretty good test for McCutchen, as Inman could still get it up there in the 90’s.

This season started back in Extended Spring Training and then back to Altoona for the fourth time. He pitched well enough to get promoted to Indianapolis and before the injury, he had a 2.95 ERA over 14 appearances.

It really is a shame that he has had so many health issues and now this latest setback when he was doing well in AAA. He’s obviously dedicated to baseball, spending so much of his career rehabbing from injuries, only to have another setback. It would be nice if this last one wasn’t anything serious, but as of right now, it sounds like he could finish the year on the disabled list.

The Pirates could re-sign him, they have done it before with guys that have reached minor league free agency while spending their entire career in the system. This year they signed Andy Vasquez for a second time as a minor league free agent, so I wouldn’t rule out Inman coming back. This obviously isn’t the way he wants to go out if he is done, so you would think he would want another shot with the team that signed him originally.

One final quick note on Inman and it has to do with the picture up top. He has pitched so sporadically over the years, that the only pictures we have for him are from Spring Training and Extended Spring Training.

Errors and Rain Outs

When I was looking up stats for Alen Hanson for the best defensive second baseman article, I noticed the stats for Steve Lombardozzi and it was a bit shocking. He has played 31 games between second base, third base and shortstop and made 19 errors. He may have even split some of those games, not sure, but his fielding percentage is below .900 at each spot. He has played 471 minor league games at second base and he has a .982 fielding percentage, so I’m not sure what’s going on this year, but he’s turned into Chuck Knoblauch.

Bristol is going to lose(as in not play) some games due to the weather. The last two days they have had doubleheaders scheduled and got in a total of four outs. If you didn’t read the Prospect Watch from two days ago, Trey Supak got the start and pitched in weather that went from cloudy to monsoon in about five minutes. The weather looks good for tonight, so Bristol and Johnson City(a Cardinals affiliate) will finish the suspended game, play a second game and the other three games have been canceled because the two teams don’t meet again this season.

Lost in all those rain outs is the fact that Supak, Mitch Keller and Gage Hinsz are now all in the rotation. When you throw in Billy Roth, you have four high upside right-handed pitchers and Roth is the oldest at 20 years and two months. With the rain outs and extra pitcher in the rotation, I’m not sure how the rotation will play out. Hinsz hasn’t pitched since the 5th, so he could go today. Roth only went one inning in his start on the 7th due to a long rain delay, so he could go today as well, though you probably don’t want two starters going on the same day.

Speaking of rain outs, the DSL Pirates haven’t had one all season. I don’t even think they have had a delay this year. Last year, they had three rain outs all season. They all occurred during the last four days on the schedule. In fact, each of the last three years they have had three rain outs. The DSL season ends next Saturday, so expect three rain outs over the next ten days only because I mentioned it.

Pirates Game Graph

Source: FanGraphs

Playoff Push

The Pirates trail by six games in the division to the Cardinals. They have a 2.5 game lead for the top wild card spot.

Indianapolis is 8-2 in their last ten games. They have a 4.5 game lead in the division.

Altoona is 4-6 in their last ten games and they are in third place, 5.5 games back of Bowie.

Bradenton is 6-4 in their last ten games. They trail Palm Beach by 3.5 games in the standings.

West Virginia is 6-4 in their last ten games and they have a five game lead in the division.

Morgantown is 3-7 in their last ten games. They trail by seven games in the division and they are two 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 5-5 in their last ten games. They are two games back in the standings.

The DSL Pirates have been eliminated from the postseason.

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 4-3 to the Cardinals on Tuesday night. Gerrit Cole will take the mound for the Pirates, making his 23rd start, which will set a career high. Last time he faced the Cardinals, he allowed two runs over seven innings. The mound opponent today will be Michael Wacha, who has a 2.92 ERA in 132.1 innings. He threw 6.2 shutout innings against the Pirates back on May 3rd.

In the minors, Chad Kuhl gets the start after being skipped in the rotation last time through. He gave up four runs over five innings in his previous start. He had an 0.61 ERA in 29.2 innings in July. After a rain out yesterday, Tyler Eppler makes his ninth start for Bradenton today. He has a .271 BAA and a 1.34 WHIP. Four Morgantown players will be headed to the NYPL All-Star game on August 18th. Bristol has a doubleheader scheduled for the third day in a row(see above if you skipped it). You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (65-45) vs Cardinals (72-40) 8:15 PM
Probable starter: Gerrit Cole (2.39 ERA, 32:143 BB/SO, 143.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (68-48) vs Toledo (47-69) 1:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Chris Volstad (3.06 ERA, 35:73 BB/SO, 117.2 IP)

AA: Altoona (61-55) vs Binghamton (63-51) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Chad Kuhl (2.80 ERA, 35:84 BB/SO, 122.1 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (59-54, 27-16 second half) @ Jupiter (53-62) 5:05 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Eppler (4.31 ERA, 11:29 BB/SO, 39.2 IP) and TBD

Low-A: West Virginia (68-46, 31-14 second half) vs Delmarva (55-58) 12:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Colten Brewer (5.16 ERA, 28:79 BB/SO, 89.0 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (25-26) vs Aberdeen (24-26) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD

Rookie: Bristol (20-23) @ Johnson City (21-23) 6:00 PM DH (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD

GCL: Pirates (25-16) vs  Phillies (27-14) 12:00 PM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates (23-39) vs Braves (31-31) 10:30 AM (season preview)


Here is video of Jose Osuna’s highlight reel defensive play at first base

Recent Transactions

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.

8/4: Dovydas Neverauskas promoted to Bradenton. Robert Stock sent to GCL.

8/4: Jake Burnette activated from disabled list.

8/4: Jonathan Schwind activated from Altoona disabled list. Adam Miller assigned to Altoona.

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.

This Date in Pirates History

Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including one that just became former and four players born in the 1800’s.

Jose Tabata, outfielder for the Pirates from 2010 until two week ago when he was dealt to the Dodgers for Michael Morse. His departure is so recent, it’s still in our transaction section for another two days.

Paul Carpenter, 1916 pitcher. He was signed by the Pirates in July of 1916 after his minor league team disbanded. He pitched just five games over the last 2 1/2 months, giving up one run in 7.2 innings.

Wyatt Lee, pitcher for the 1904 Pirates. Pittsburgh purchased his contract shortly before the start of the 1904 season. The Pirates tried to sign him as an amateur in 1899, but he started a bidding war between the Pirates and Reds and ended up pricing himself out of both team’s range. In 1904, he was considered a major off-season acquisition for the starting staff, but he posted an 8.74 ERA in his 22.2 innings before the Pirates got rid of him in June.

Andy Dunning, 1889 pitcher. With multiple injuries to their top two pitchers, the Alleghenys signed three young pitchers, one of them being Dunning. He lasted just two games due to poor control and the returns of Cannonball Morris and Pud Galvin.

Dan Lally, right fielder for the 1891 team. He played pro ball for 19 years, but lasted just two years in the majors, 1891 and 1897. For the Pirates, he hit .224 in 41 games.

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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Inman has taken similar career path to Adam Miller. Miller at least showing signs of hope. He would be an great story if he even threw one inning in the majors.


Him and The Little Unit, Ryan Anderson, are the only two 5+ time BA top 100 prospect to never reach the majors. I’m rooting for him to find a way.

Brian Bernard

I think the fact that Supak, Keller, and Hinsz all basically just getting to a place where they are ready to pitch and the seasons are over is one of the more frustrating things about this year in the Minors. All the hype and nothing really even to see. Roth seems to have put a little more out there this year than the rest.


Some good gets by NH the past offseason. But Lombardozzi=fail. I have to say, in the spring i didnt expect much, but he still managed to disappoint. Kinda like Hart.

Its just funny looking at the their bench depth/rotation depth in Pittsburgh and Indy on paper in Feb to now. Wow. Depth is fleeting. No $#%^.


Was that Dodson on the mound? Takes that ridiculous flip, touches the bag, and just puts his head down and walks back to the dugout?! No reaction towards Osuna at all?

What a play!


I saw that a couple of days ago…..really nice play.


I was kinda hoping that Inman would be signed (or at least brought up in Sept) since he had been pitching so well.

Injuries suck.

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