Morning Report: Final Day of the Minor League Regular Season

There are four games left on the regular season schedule for the minors. One of them is a game I sort of touched on in yesterday’s Morning Report. Altoona lost last night twice. They lost the game and they lost first place in their division. They go into today with a chance to have home field in the playoffs, a chance to finish second place and still make the playoffs, or they could also totally miss the playoffs. If you want to follow along with their playoff chance, you could follow their game here, as the Prospect Watch will go up for first pitch at 12:05 PM. If they lose, then you’ll want to check the Harrisburg score. Their game starts at 1:30 PM and the boxscore can be found here. If Altoona loses and Harrisburg wins, then Altoona misses the playoffs.

As far as prospects, the interesting game is in Morgantown, where Jacob Taylor will start the final game of the season. Taylor was the fourth round draft pick of the Pirates last year, who needed Tommy John surgery after pitching just two innings. He returned to the GCL this season and made four starts, getting up to four innings in his last outing. He had a .182 BAA and nine strikeouts in 9.1 innings, but also walked six batters, hit two others, and gave up three homers. So there were some good signs and bad from his return. Just in general, his return was a nice sight, as the timing of his surgery could have resulted in him not pitching this year if it took him until the top-end of his estimated return to come back.

Tim Williams got to see Taylor’s last GCL start back on August 25th and wrote about that here. A week earlier, he talked to Taylor about his command issues in his return. We got reports that Taylor was sitting 95-96 MPH in his first game back, which was a little higher than his other starts, though it was a shorter outing and there could have been a little extra adrenaline going on in that game. Today’s game will be on, so I’ll get a chance to watch that (sorry, Altoona) and expand on his outing in the Prospect Watch.

Nothing really exciting is going on with Indianapolis or West Virginia, though I will point out something odd with their records and the records of the teams they are playing. Indianapolis has a 70-73 record and they are playing Louisville, a team with a 70-73 record. So those two clubs are playing for second place in their division. West Virginia and Greenville both have 70-68 records. They’re not in the same division though, so they’re not really playing for a spot in the standings. Just whoever wins today will end up with the better overall record.

Bradenton begins their playoffs on the road on Tuesday, and they will send JT Brubaker to the mound. That likely means that Mitch Keller will start game two in Bradenton, which will be covered live by Tim Williams.


The Pirates trail the second wild card spot by a 3.5 games.

Indianapolis has been eliminated from the playoffs. Their season ends today.

Altoona trails in their division by a 1/2 game. 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 begins the playoffs tomorrow.

West Virginia has been eliminated from the playoffs. Their season ends today.

Morgantown has been eliminated from the playoffs. Their season ends today.

Bristol’s season has ended.

The GCL season has ended.

The DSL season has ended.


Source: FanGraphs


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 10-0 to the Brewers on Sunday. They now take on the St Louis Cardinals for three games, starting this afternoon with Chad Kuhl on the mound. He gave up three runs over five innings in his last start, which was against the Cubs. Prior to that, he went at least six innings, while giving up two earned runs or less, in five straight starts. He has not faced the Cardinals yet. St Louis will counter with Adam Wainwright, who has a 4.53 ERA in 163 innings, with 129 strikeouts and a 1.34 WHIP. He has faced the Pirates three times this season, allowing a total of seven runs over 19.1 innings. Wainwright had a 6.10 ERA over 31 innings during the month of August.

In the minors, all four remaining teams finish up their schedule today. As mentioned above, the most interesting starting pitcher is Jacob Taylor, but the best prospect going is Tyler Eppler. He has a chance to lead the Eastern League in innings pitched. Eppler currently sits in third place with 156.1 innings. He is 5.2 behind the leader, who pitched on Sunday, and 2.2 behind the second place pitcher, who pitched on Friday. With one strikeout, he will reach the century mark. Will Craig looks to end his season with a 37-game on base streak, which I’ll have to try to remember when next year starts if he can reach base safely today.

Bradenton begins the playoffs tomorrow. The DSL season ended last Saturday, while Bristol and the GCL Pirates had their season end Thursday.

MLB: Pittsburgh (67-67) vs Cardinals (71-64) 4:05 PM
Probable starter: Chad Kuhl (3.70 ERA, 13:32 BB/SO, 48.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (70-73) @ Louisville (70-73) 1:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: John Kuchno (5.63 ERA, 20:22 BB/SO, 54.1 IP)

AA: Altoona (75-64) @ Richmond (62-78) 12:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Eppler (4.14 ERA, 29:99 BB/SO, 156.1 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (0-0) @ St Lucie (0-0) 6:30 PM 9/6 (season preview)
Probable starter:  JT Brubaker (5.32 ERA, 22:43 BB/SO, 67.2 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (70-68) vs Greenville (70-68) 1:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Dario Agrazal (4.44 ERA, 18:83 BB/SO, 142.0 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (38-37) vs Mahoning Valley (36-38) 1:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Jacob Taylor (NR)

Rookie: Bristol (25-43) (season preview)

GCL: Pirates (22-34) (season preview)

DSL: Pirates (27-42) (season preview)


Here is an RBI double from Willy Garcia. He didn’t have a strong season in 2016, but he did manage to set a career-high with 30 doubles, including two on Saturday to break his previous high, and then another on Sunday.


9/3: Jacob Taylor assigned to Morgantown.

9/2: Pirates recall Jameson Taillon, Steven Brault, Jason Rogers and Adam Frazier. Chris Stewart activated from disabled list.

9/1: Jung Ho Kang sent to Indianapolis on rehab.

9/1: Pirates receive Jake Brentz and Pedro Vasquez from Mariners to complete earlier trade for Arquimedes Caminero.

8/31: Pirates trade Kyle Lobstein to Baltimore Orioles for Zach Phillips.

8/31: Logan Ratledge promoted to Bradenton. Alfredo Reyes activated from West Virginia disabled list.

8/31: Pirates release Raymond Rodriguez, Ramy Perez and Ramon Garcia.

8/31: David Whitehead assigned to Morgantown.

8/30: Tito Polo and Stephen Tarpley sent to New York Yankees as part of Ivan Nova trade from August 1st.

8/30: Jason Creasy and Jhondaniel Medina promoted to Indianapolis.

8/30: Justin Maffei and Trace Tam Sing assigned to Indianapolis.

8/30: Henry Hirsch and Junior Lopez promoted to Altoona

8/30: Nick Neumann activated from Bradenton disabled list.

8/30: Alen Hanson promoted to Pirates. Jameson Taillon and Steven Brault assigned to Bristol.

8/30: Pirates purchased contract of Kelvin Marte. Kyle Lobstein designated for assignment.

8/30: Mitch Keller and Sean Keselica promoted to Bradenton. Scooter Hightower and Matt Frawley promoted to West Virginia

8/30: Mike Wallace promoted to Morgantown.

8/29: Pirates recall Steven Brault. Gerrit Cole placed on disabled list.

8/28: A.J. Schugel recalled from Indianapolis. Adam Frazier optioned to Bristol.

8/28: Pirates activate Tyler Glasnow from disabled list. Optioned to Indianapolis.

8/28: Justin Topa placed on disabled list. Henry Hirsch activated from temporary inactive list.

8/27: John Kuchno promoted to Indianapolis.

8/25: Nick Kingham assigned to Altoona. Chase Simpson activated from disabled list.


Six former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including a Hall of Famer everyone loves (except Yankees fans) and the pitcher who threw the first no-hitter in team history. We get the others out of the way quickly first, starting with catcher Rod Barajas, who hit .206 with 11 homers in 104 game during the 2012 season. Andy Barkett played 17 games for the 2001 club, his only Major League experience. He hit .304, splitting his time between first base and outfield. Barkett is now the Assistant Hitting Coordinator for the Pirates. Chris Green, lefty pitcher for 1984 Pirates and fourth round pick in the 1979 draft. Gave up two runs in three innings over four appearances. Jimmy Knowles, 1884 first baseman for Alleghenys. Hit .231 in 46 games, scoring 19 runs.

Lefty Leifield, pitcher for the Pirates from 1905 until 1912. Before the Pirates brought him to the majors in September 1905, he pitched 616 innings for the 1904-05 Des Moines Prohibitionists of the Western League. He won five games for the Pirates that season, giving him 31 wins that year. In his first full season, Leifield had 18 wins and a 1.87 ERA. On September 26th of that season, he threw a six inning no-hitter against the Phillies, which was the first no-hitter in 25 seasons for the franchise.

Leifield won 20 games during the 1907 season and another 19 in 1909 when the Pirates won their first World Series title. He started and lost game four of the series. The Pirates traded him to the Cubs during the 1912 season and he went on to play until 1920. During his time in Pittsburgh, he had a 109-84, 2.38 record, completing 125 of 191 starts.

Also born on this date 80 years ago, Hall of Fame second baseman Bill Mazeroski. You can read a full bio for him here. Known most for his amazing defense and his walk-off homer that ended the 1960 World Series, Mazeroski ended up with some decent offensive numbers during his career. He played in ten All-Star games and won eight Gold Gloves. He still holds the career record with 1,706 double plays turned by a second baseman. Mazeroski had 2,016 hits during his career and drove in 853 runs.

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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joe s

Sorry to see the collapse of?


John, tell me about the pitching that Will Craig has seen all season?? I know he hasn’t dominated in Rookie Ball, but wanted your opinion moving forward about how he will project with the Power next season?? Plus I see he doesn’t miss a meal, i also feel he could push away from the table to help his cause!!


Not saying Barkett would have been good but … I am always curious how a guy comes up and in his debut does well (in Barkett’s case – 51 plate appearances and an OPS of .786 for a team half way through two decades of losing) and then gets cut at the end of the season.

Matthew R

Watching the Bucs get decimated by the Brewers yesterday, I was reminded of a game in August ’92 at Three Rivers when Glavine and the Braves beat the Pirates 15-0. That season was certainly not lost at that point, nor is the Pirate season lost now. But it’s hard to avoid those late summer days when the malaise kicks in, the counterpart to that spring training surge of optimism.


I never heard of this Maz guy.


Eight Gold Gloves and 1,706 double plays! Sounds like he could have made the HOF on his defense alone

Mike G

The pride of Rush Run.


Andy is the assistant hitting coach? So, is it he or Jeff that’s to blame for our offensive swoon?


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