A little bit of draft news as we close in on one week remaining until the first day of the 2016 amateur draft. I have covered a lot of players since we started the draft coverage back up in late February. I tried to focus in on players ranked near the 22nd overall pick belonging to the Pirates, but I’d also mention some guys rated just below that because the Pirates also have the 41st pick. A mock draft just posted shows it’s still possible to miss some players due to late risers up the board.
D1 Baseball posted a new mock draft (subscription required) on Tuesday afternoon and they have a name mentioned often going to the Pirates in other mock drafts, shortstop Nolan Jones from Holy Ghost Prep in Pennsylvania. He is someone we have mentioned a lot here, especially lately. They also have a name I didn’t know going to the Dodgers at #32, so I better mention Ryan Rolison now before the draft comes up and he has never been covered here.
Prep Baseball Report has him ranked #24 in their top 100 high school players, so that makes him more of a possible player for the 41st pick, at least by their standards. He’s a 6’2″, 185 pound left-handed pitcher from Tennessee. Unfortunately they didn’t get any first-hand reports on him this year, but they do mention that he has a low-90s fastball (up from high 80s last year) and he knows how to pitch, meaning he’s not just a thrower. His curve has improved a lot this season and he has the makings of a solid changeup. Rolison is a little old for the draft class, turning 19 next month, so teams weigh that when considering possible upside. There will be high school pitchers in the draft over a year younger than him.
He sounds like a solid pitcher, just not someone you would take with the 22nd overall pick (at least not in this draft class), but we will see if his name comes into play when the 41st pick comes up.
** Yeudy Garcia was named the Florida State League Pitcher of the Week for his ten shutout innings over two appearances last week. He has strong results this season, but as Tim Williams pointed out, he is doing it without his best stuff. His ERA has him 19th in the league, and he’s tied for 11th in strikeouts, plus he has allowed just one home run. Those are all numbers you like to see. However, his 1.56 WHIP is the seventh worst in the league, and all those base runners means he is throwing a lot of pitches, which has limited him to just over four innings per start. The award is nice, but it doesn’t reflect the issues that have plagued him this season.
** There are three early games in the minors today, and all four games have varying degrees of importance. The spotlight will be on Tyler Glasnow, who had an outstanding curve in his last game, but the fastball was erratic and a couple MPH slower than usual, at least after the first inning. I’ll be watching and tracking everything, looking for him to use his changeup more than his last start. The low changeup total was understandable with runners on base every inning and just one lefty in the lineup. There weren’t many good spots to throw the pitch.
The other three game have Cody Dickson for Altoona, Stephen Tarpley for Bradenton, and Logan Sendelbach for West Virginia. Dickson is coming off a performance in which his stuff finally matched the results, as he went after hitters instead of trying to pitch around contact. He should be looking to continue that progress. Tarpley is just looking to get on track after missing the first month while recovering and building back up from an oblique strain. All of his starts have included an inning in which his pitch count really took a major hit. Sendelbach will try to bounce back from his second worst outing, though it did include a career-high seven strikeouts. He has had a nice season, even with two poor outings mixed in there.
It’s highly unlikely all four pitchers will have solid outings just due to the odds of that happening, but there are good reasons you would like to see them all heading in the right direction.
Bradenton is 7-3 in their last ten games. They are in first place in their division, 1.5 games ahead. The first half of the FSL season ends on June 22nd.
West Virginia is 5-5 in their last ten games. They are in fourth place in their division, trailing first place by five games. The first half of the SAL season ends on June 19th.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 3-1 on Tuesday night to the Marlins. Jon Niese gets the start tonight, his 11th of the season. In his last three games combined, he has allowed four earned runs over 19 innings. The Marlins will counter with Adam Conley, who has a 4.15 ERA in 52 innings. He went 4.1 innings against the Braves in his last start, allowing two runs on eight hits and a walk. In his previous start against the Nationals, he allowed six runs on seven hits and seven walks in 5.1 innings.
In the minors, Tyler Glasnow makes his 11th start of the season. He is eighth in the International League with a 2.25 ERA, and he ranks first in the league and first among all Pirates with 69 strikeouts. Glasnow had a 1.05 WHIP in April and it went up to 1.34 in May, mainly due to his last two starts.
Cody Dickson allowed one run over seven innings in his last start. It was the fourth time in four seasons that he made it through seven innings. Stephen Tarpley has a 4.74 ERA in four starts, though it comes with a 1.21 WHIP, a .212 BAA and nearly one strikeout per inning pitched (18 strikeouts in 19 innings). Logan Sendelbach has two games in which he allowed a total of 11 runs over eight innings. In his other eight starts combined, he has given up nine earned runs in 43 innings.
MLB: Pittsburgh (29-22) @ Marlins (27-25) 7:10 PM
Probable starter: Jon Niese (4.42 ERA, 19:41 BB/SO, 59.0 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (26-24) vs Rochester (29-23) 1:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Glasnow (2.25 ERA, 25:69 BB/SO, 56.0 IP)
AA: Altoona (28-22) @ Akron (36-15) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Cody Dickson (4.40 ERA, 32:27 BB/SO, 45.0 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (28-23) vs Palm Beach (25-27) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Probable starter: Stephen Tarpley (4.74 ERA, 9:18 BB/SO, 19.0 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (27-24) vs Lakewood (20-31) 12:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Logan Sendelbach (3.53 ERA, 13:32 BB/SO, 51.0 IP)
Here is the first home run of the season from Harold Ramirez.
5/29: Justin Masterson assigned to Bradenton.
5/29: Jhondaniel Medina assigned to Altoona.
5/28: Tony Watson reinstated from paternity list. Kyle Lobstein optioned to Indianapolis.
5/28: Cole Tucker promoted to Bradenton. Jess Amedee added to West Virginia roster.
5/27: Trevor Williams and Jim Fuller assigned to Indianapolis.
5/27: Kevin Newman placed on disabled list. Colten Brewer added to Bradenton roster.
5/27: Logan Sendelbach added to West Virginia roster. Jess Amedee assigned to Extended Spring Training.
5/26: Jhondaniel Medina promoted to Indianapolis.
5/25: Pirates place Tony Watson on paternity list. Recall Rob Scahill.
5/25: Pirates place Arquimedes Caminero on disabled list. Recall Kyle Lobstein.
5/24: Pirates place Ryan Vogelsong on disabled list. A.J. Schugel recalled from Indianapolis.
5/23: Logan Sendelbach assigned to Extended Spring Training. Jess Amedee added to West Virginia.
5/22: Trevor Williams assigned to Bradenton. Colten Brewer sent to Extended Spring Training.
5/22: Trace Tam Sing added to Bradenton roster.
5/21: West Virginia assigns Ty Moore and Casey Hughston to Extended Spring Training. Logan Ratledge and Sean Keselica added to West Virginia roster.
5/21: Logan Hill demoted from Bradenton to West Virginia.
5/21: Pirates release Eric Karch.
5/21: Juan Diaz assigned to Extended Spring Training
5/20: John Kuchno assigned to Indianapolis. Guido Knudson assigned to Extended Spring Training.
5/19: Starling Marte activated from paternity list. Alen Hanson optioned to Indianapolis.
5/19: Elias Diaz placed on 60-day disabled list.
5/19: Wilfredo Boscan added to 40-man roster and promoted to Pittsburgh. Cory Luebke optioned to Indianapolis.
5/17: John Kuchno assigned to Extended Spring Training.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Six former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including one who played for the best team in franchise history. The most recent player born on this date is infielder Chance Sanford, who played for the 1998 club. He was drafted by the Pirates in the tenth round in 1991 and didn’t sign. One year later, they signed him out of the 27th round. Darnell Coles played right field for the Pirates in 1987-88. He was part of two notable trades, coming to the Pirates in exchange for third baseman Jim Morrison and going from the Pirates to the Mariners for outfielder Glenn Wilson.
Also born on this date, Jeff Schulz, who was a minor member of the 1991 NL East champs. During his only season with the Pirates, he went 0-for-3 as a pinch-hitter. Infielder Gene Michael, who is well-known for his time with the Yankees, was signed by the Pirates as an amateur in 1959 and played for the 1966 club. The Pirates traded him to the Dodgers for Maury Wills. Tom Leahy, who played 24 games for the 1897 Pirates in a utility role, would be 147 today if modern medicine didn’t fail us.
Finally, Jack O’Connor, who caught 21 years in the big leagues, was born on this date in 1866. He was a member of two of the better clubs in franchise history, joining the team in 1900 and sticking around three years. His time with Pittsburgh did not end well. While the 1902 Pirates were winning their second straight NL title and putting together the best season in team history, O’Connor was released at the end of the year when the club found out he was trying to convince teammates to make the jump with him to the American League. You can read more on each player in the link above.
Pitcher Bob Friend had a nice little run of success on June 1st. On this date in 1956, he out-dueled Warren Spahn in a 4-1 win. Two years later, he beat the Braves again, this time by a 5-1 score, moving him to 8-3 on the season. Then two years after that, he shutout former teammate Bob Purkey and the Reds by a 5-0 score. In 1963, he threw a complete game in a 10-1 win over the Mets, allowing just two hits and the run was unearned.
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.