Morning Report: Austin Meadows is About to Accomplish a Rare Feat

On Friday night in the seventh inning, Indianapolis trailed by two runs, with a man on and Austin Meadows at the plate. He connected on his third homer since joining the team, and his ninth home run of the season. That put him one home run away from an impressive accomplishment, with 17 games left in the season.

Meadows has 24 doubles, 11 triples and 13 stolen bases to go along with those nine homers. If he reaches double figures in each category, he will be the fifth player from the Pirates to reach those totals in the last 11 seasons. Only one player has reached those numbers twice over that time, Alen Hanson, who accomplished it in 2012 and 2014. The other players to reach those marks are Keon Broxton last year, Starling Marte in 2012, and Alex Presley in 2010. No one reached those numbers in the four years before Presley.

The more impressive part, assuming Meadows hits one more homer over the last 17 games, is that he will do it in 89 games or less (he has played 72 now). Hanson played 118 and 124 in his two years. Broxton played 133 games last year. Marte was the lowest with 100 games, while Presley played 136 games.

If you think about it, 72 games is exactly half a season in the upper level of the minors. No one ever plays every game, so it’s hard to say he would be on pace for 88 extra-base hits, but that’s how the numbers would play out over a full season. To put that into perspective, Jordan Luplow led all Pirates with 51 extra-base hits last season. That’s a total no one has reached yet this season with less than three weeks left.

**If you missed the Bristol recap from last night, I’ll mention the crazy thing that happened in the seventh inning. Already four pitchers into their night, Bristol brought out Juan Diaz to pitch the inning and he allowed one run. That was his first appearance this season. If you don’t know who Juan Diaz is, I won’t blame you that much. He was a non-roster invitee to big league camp and he played nine games, going 5-for-13 at the plate. He played in the Major Leagues in 2012 and has never played anything except the four infield positions in his 11 years of pro ball…until last night.

Diaz has spent the season with Indianapolis, though he has literally just been with the team. If you blinked, you missed that he was active for five days in May and never got a chance to play. So they sent him down to Bristol yesterday, where he is getting into shape, for what I am assuming will be the chance to play for Indianapolis during the last week of the season. They will likely lose multiple position players on September 1st (most of them will be benched on August 31st) and they will be working with a skeleton crew for the final few games, with the season ending September 5th.

Usually I would say that some players from Altoona will just be called up, but they are likely going to the playoffs, so it looks like Diaz will get a chance to play. I’m assuming when he signed with the Pirates over the off-season, he didn’t think his first game of the season would be as a relief pitcher for a rookie level team.

One other note and it’s the odd mix-up on MiLB. They posted that Elias Diaz was assigned to Bristol instead of Juan. As of late last night, the boxscore still says that Elias Diaz not only caught for Indianapolis, he also pitched for Bristol. When the transaction was originally listed on Thursday morning, I inquired about it and was told Juan Diaz was there working out with the team and would play, so I wasn’t fooled by the MiLB mix-up, though I did confirm afterwards that it was actually Juan Diaz who pitched the seventh.

**Keep in mind when you look at the Playoff Push section that each of the top five affiliates have about 16-17 games left, while Bristol and the GCL both end on September 1st. We will likely see some of these teams eliminated in a few days, but everyone is safe today.

PLAYOFF PUSH

The Pirates trail the second wild card spot by two games.

Indianapolis is in second place in their division, trailing by nine games. They trail by 12 games for the lone wild card spot.

Altoona leads their division by four games. The top two teams in the division go to the playoffs, with the first place team getting the home field advantage in the first round.

Bradenton won the first half title. They have home field advantage in the playoffs.

West Virginia is tied for fourth place in their division, trailing first by four games.

Morgantown is tied for fourth place in their division, trailing first place by 12 games. They are 7.5 games back for the lone wild card spot.

Bristol is in fourth place, trailing by 9.5 games. The top two teams in each division go to the playoffs.

The GCL Pirates are 2.5 games back in their division. This is the only league where you have to win your division to make the playoffs.

The DSL Pirates have been eliminated from the playoffs. Their season ends August 27th.

PIRATES GAME GRAPH


Source: FanGraphs

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 6-5 to the Marlins on Friday night. Chad Kuhl will get the ball tonight for his seventh Major League start. He has allowed two runs over six innings in each of his last two starts. Prior to that, he threw six shutout innings against the Nationals, allowing one hit. The Marlins will counter with David Phelps, who has a 2.48 ERA in 69 innings, with 86 strikeouts and a 1.14 WHIP. Phelps has made just three starts this season, to go along with 50 relief appearances. In those three starts, he has a 1.84 ERA in 14.2 innings.

In the minors, Steven Brault gets the start for Indianapolis, coming off a game in which he allowed one run over seven innings. In his prior two starts, he allowed a total of nine runs over 7.2 innings. Bradenton had their game postponed due to rain yesterday, so Stephen Tarpley will make his start today. He has a 6.35 ERA in 17 innings this month. Bristol has a noon start time with Matt Eckelman scheduled to pitch.

MLB: Pittsburgh (62-57) vs Marlins (63-59) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Chad Kuhl (3.73 ERA, 9:22 BB/SO, 31.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (64-63) @ Louisville (61-66) 6:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Steven Brault (3.05 ERA, 31:74 BB/SO, 65.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (68-56) @ New Hampshire (60-65) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: John Kuchno (3.94 ERA, 7:13 BB/SO, 16.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (63-59) @ Charlotte (61-60) 4:35 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: Stephen Tarpley (4.60 ERA, 35:81 BB/SO, 88.0 IP) and Buddy Borden (7.82 ERA, 20:22 BB/SO, 38.0 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (62-61) @ Kannapolis (53-71) 7:05 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter: Dario Agrazal (4.57 ERA, 15:72 BB/SO, 124.0 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (27-32) @ Batavia (15-42) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Stephan Meyer (4.81 ERA, 19:35 BB/SO, 58.0 IP)

Rookie: Bristol (22-32) vs Johnson City (32-23) 12:00 PM (season preview)

GCL: Pirates (20-27) vs Blue Jays (35-12) 10:00 AM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates (26-39) vs Cubs1 (25-40) 10:30 AM (season preview)

HIGHLIGHTS

Here is the eighth home run of the season from Mitchell Tolman. He didn’t hit any last year in 63 games with Morgantown.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

8/20: Stephen Alemais promoted to West Virginia. Alfredo Reyes placed on disabled list.

8/18: Pirates release Josh Outman.

8/18: Juan Diaz assigned to Bristol.

8/18: Jeremias Portorreal and Gabriel Brito promoted to GCL Pirates.

8/17: Josh Smith assigned to Indianapolis.

8/15: Yeudy Garcia and Chase Simpson placed on disabled list.

8/15: Hector Garcia assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.

8/15: Nick Kingham and Justin Topa assigned to Bradenton.

8/14: Tyler Glasnow assigned to Altoona on rehab.

8/14: Jason Creasy assigned to Altoona.

8/12: Chris Stewart assigned to Altoona on rehab.

8/10: Christian Kelley promoted to Bradenton. Raul Hernandez assigned to West Virginia.

8/10: John Kuchno assigned to Altoona.

8/9: Chad Kuhl promoted to Pirates. Curtis Partch optioned to Indianapolis.

8/9: Erik Lunde retired.

8/9: Kyle Lobstein placed on disabled list. Kelvin Marte activated from disabled list.

8/9: Raul Hernandez assigned to Bradenton.

8/8: Delvin Hiciano assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.

8/8: Josh Outman assigned to Indianapolis.

8/7: Austin Meadows activated from Indianapolis disabled list.

THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY

Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus two trades of note. We start with the trades and the first happened in 1913, involving two key members from the 1909 club. The Pirates traded away third baseman Bobby Byrne and pitcher Howie Camnitz for third baseman Cozy Dolan and cash. Before 1913, Camnitz had a 110-67 record for the Pirates, but he was 6-17 at the time of the trade. Byrne was covered yesterday, when he was acquired almost exactly four years before he was traded away. This deal was more of a financial deal for the Pirates, who got rid of two higher salaries and got money back. Dolan hit .203 in 35 games for the Pirates, then was traded away over the off-season.

On this date in 1981, the Pirates and Expos swapped first baseman, with John Milner going to Montreal and Willie Montanez coming back to Pittsburgh. The Pirates ended up getting Milner back in 1982, after they released Montanez, and Milner was released by Montreal.

Former players born on this date include:

Al Lopez, Hall of Fame manager, who was also an All-Star catcher. He played seven seasons in Pittsburgh from 1940 until 1946, making the All-Star team in 1941. Lopez is better known for his managerial career, but his 52.2% caught stealing rate behind the plate is the fourth best all-time. His 1,918 games caught stood as a record for over 40 years.

Matt Hague, The Hit Collector collected 16 hits for the 2012 Pirates and none for the 2014 squad.

Bull Smith, outfielder for the 1904 Pirates. Played 13 late season games as a rookie for the Pirates that 1904 season, then played just two more Major League games in his career, one in 1906 and another five years later.

Robert Gibson, pitcher for the 1890 Alleghenys. He was 0-3, 17.25 in three starts for the team. In one game, he couldn’t finish the outing even with the Alleghenys putting 17 runs on the board for him. They ended up losing 23-17 that day.

  • Meadows will, in my estimation, be something special if his hammies don’t become chronic.

    • His hammies are his Achilles.

    • HartHighPirate
      August 20, 2016 5:04 pm

      foo you once said I didn’t play baseball. You are dead wrong. I was 2B on the first Hart High Varsity championship team, played JC and UCLA baseball, graduate of UCLA

      As far as ‘hammies’ I attended Bob Walk’s games in Candlestick and Dodger stadium. Warming up the team took the field doing stretching exercises. The exception was Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla in the outfield sulking about their arbitration losses. (another story).

      Hart High grad LHP Mike Montgomery is starting tonight for the Cubs in Colorado in place of John Lackey taking time off for rest with shoulder strain.

      Cubs traded for Mike from the Mariners. Cubs also got Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees. Both Montgomery and Chapman are boosting their bull pen. Cubs now (77-44) headed to the World Series.

      If they win WS, Montgomery will be the second Hart High grad to get a WS ring. Bob Walk, my relative, was the first to win a ring, Philadelphia over Kansas City 1980. Walk started the first game of the series, the first rookie in 30 years. He was 1-0.

      That said, I doubt you will read this but I was not happy when you said I never played baseball. I did. Wooden bats. Hit .464 my senior year at shortstop (my arm got stronger :-).

      Never swung a metallic ping bat until slow pitch softball.

  • Based on the caption I thought you were going to report that he was going to play 3 consecutive games without being hurt again.
    Good accomplishment for the Pirate’s future right fielder.

  • Given how little most seem to think of Alen Hanson at this point, the accomplisment for Meadows is not all that impressive. I expect more. Sorry, just my opinion

    • I think you need to consider how many more games it took Hanson to reach those numbers, and the explosive speed with which Hanson plays. If Hanson squared the ball up as consistently as Meadows, with Hanson’s speed he would be a beast.

      • I think you are missing something Phil- that’s my entire point………people using Meadows lack of games as an excuse. He didn’t play in more games because he can’t stay healthy, that’s not a good thing. I want to see him actually play 130 games, that’s the only thing that’s going to impress me at this point, everyone knows the kids got talent, but i’m not drooling over pedestrian numbers from a kid whom was a top #10 draft pick just because he put them up in half the games he could have if he actually could ever stay healthy. He isnt going to be much value replacing cutch if he hits. .325 with 10 homers in half the season every year, is he?

    • 44 XBH’s in 72 games is not all that impressive for a 21-year old in AA/AAA? You, sir, have not a single clue about baseball if you truly believe that to be true.

      • scott k, its no more impressive than Hansen doing it………..and its certainly not impressive that he’s missed almost half the season because of injury…..again. I expect him to condition and train well enough to not constantly be fighting off injury, and put up those numbers over a whole season so that they are actually impressive………but that…….no, not impressive at all. Especially when another guy that did it twice…….isn’t even a top 100 prospect, and wasn’t ever the type of talent meadows is supposed to be. And if you don’t understand my point, then it is you that don’t have a single clue about baseball……..

        • Scott Kliesen
          August 22, 2016 5:39 am

          How exactly does one train to avoid getting injured by a bad hop that hits you in the eye?

          And you do realize he did stay healthy the whole season last year, right?

          • Barrett Barnes had hammy issues for a few years. So far this year his hammies have held up. I’m sure the Bucs put him on a specific training program to help him strengthen his hamstrings, so one would think that Meadows should be able to conquer his issues as well.

          • Did I specifically say anything about that “one” injury ….or are you saying that everytime he’s been hurt it was because of an orbital fracture?
            -anytime you want to stop being a smart ass and realize you aren’t the only person whom understands baseball….feel free.

    • I assume you are joking. But if not, you need to seriously rethink your opinion. He has 48 extra base hits in 72 games! And he is younger than every pitcher he is facing. Just my opinion.

      • so was hansen when he did it at least once…..so i don’t see your point. and i’m not joking- 48 extra base hits in 72 games isn’t that impressive when the rest of time he’s been on a trainers table. At the end of the day, he isn’t helping the team if he’s playing anymore than if he’s playing and no matter than replacement level. It’s really 48 extra base hits………in a whole season. Not that impressive.

        • Don’t disagree, the kid needs to stay on the field more. Some injuries have been flukey and I would write off to small sample sizes, but hamstring injuries are a concern. I expect Meadows and his trainers to figure it out so it won’t be a long standing issue, but time will tell.

  • I know many are only focused on the prospect players,
    but its great to see the Pirates have teams who are
    going to make the playoffs at their levels. I would think
    this gives players some “playoff experience”,
    creates increased interest in the affiliates cities,
    puts fans in the stands, helps out the financial
    status of the teams and their hourly employees.
    Hey, and maybe the players make a few more
    bucks as well. Sounds like it is all good to me.

    • The players do get extra pay for the playoffs, but they don’t get playoff shares like in the majors, just a continuation of their monthly pay

  • A quad-double means instant offense, and it is possible to have Marte, Hanson, and Meadows all in the same lineup shortly.

    48 Extra Base Hits in only 72 games is a tremendous accomplishment, especially when considering he has done that at the upper levels of the minors.

  • Wilbur Miller
    August 20, 2016 2:51 am

    They released Josh Outman?! How could I have missed it??!!

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