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Morning Report: A Pair of Players in Their Final Season Before Minor League Free Agency


We had our first in-season minor league trip to the disabled list yesterday. West Virginia outfielder Victor Fernandez was placed on the 7-day DL and first baseman Carlos Munoz was added to the roster. Fernandez left Sunday’s game after running the bases in the eighth inning. No immediate word on his injury, but we will get an update soon (possibly tonight). It’s an unfortunate time for him to get hurt because West Virginia doesn’t have much of note in their lineup and he’s at least a sleeper prospect. His injury, depending on the length of his absence, could give one last chance to a former sleeper prospect.

Carlos Munoz is repeating the level and it’s important to note that it’s his last season before minor league free agency. The original guess was that the Pirates would start him at first base in Bradenton and give him a chance to show what he has, and see if he’s worth keeping. Once Spring Training started, we knew that wasn’t the case because Will Craig was at first base with the Bradenton group and Munoz was playing a level lower.

It’s not a huge surprise that Munoz has fallen out of favor despite strong plate patience skills. He was given an off-season conditioning program and once again, weight has been an issue for him. He also put up very poor numbers this winter in Mexico. It’s tough to find a spot for a first baseman whose fielding is average at best, his speed is below average and he doesn’t hit for power. The ability to get on base is great, but when that’s your only tool at a high offense position and you haven’t had much success in A-ball, then it’s tough to see a future. He could get the chance to play until Fernandez is back, but it’s going to take a lot of success in a hurry to get him anywhere with the Pirates.

It seems like Danny Arribas with Bradenton is also out of time in his last year before free agency. He platooned with Munoz at first base for West Virginia last year and has been on the bench for three of five games already this season. Just like Munoz, Arribas may get a chance to play more due to injury, although that might be a bit premature on my part. Jordan George left last night’s game after one at-bat as the DH and Arribas replaced him.

There is a big difference between Arribas and Munoz, though at the plate their value is probably the same. Arribas is a very athletic player, who can move all around the field, including catching, while Munoz is anchored at first base. If you were going to pick between the two for who had the better chance of sticking around, I think Arribas is the safe choice. Both seem to be in tough spots now, with limited time to make the most of their opportunities.

I’ll take this chance to put a note that I hope people see and remember. We wait until a player is out for more than two days before we ask about a possible injury, unless of course they’re put on the disabled list. I mentioned Jordan George possibly being out, but it’s not something we will look into until Bradenton returns home at the end of the week. He could return before then or he might go on the disabled list. If a top 50 prospect is put on the disabled list, there will be an article about it.

We get a lot of questions after players miss two games in a row and that could be anything. Three days usually means something. The Pirates like to double up on off-days for regulars, so it happens to stars occasionally. They could also be putting in extra pre-game work on certain aspects and while they have two days off on paper, they put in just as much work as normal. I know not everyone will see this or remember, but I’m just hoping to cut down on the amount of times people ask per season. Please give it three games before asking, and in almost all cases of at least three days, we notice it too and have already asked.


Source: FanGraphs


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 7-1 to the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night. Jameson Taillon gets his second start of the season, trying to follow up on seven shutout innings last week against the Red Sox. The Reds will counter with 23-year-old righty Rookie Davis. In the minors, Steven Brault will make his second start of the season. He lasted just four innings in his debut due to a high pitch count. Yeudy Garcia makes his Altoona debut and Matt Anderson starts for West Virginia. They are the last two minor league starters to make their first start of the season, though Anderson did pitch an inning in relief on Friday.

MLB: Pittsburgh (3-3) vs Reds (5-2) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Jameson Taillon (0.00 ERA, 3:6 BB/SO, 7.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (2-3) vs Columbus (3-2) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Steven Brault (4.50 ERA, 2:2 BB/SO, 4.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (3-2) @ Richmond (2-3) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Yeudy Garcia (NR)

High-A: Bradenton (5-0) @ St Lucie (2-3) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Dario Agrazal (3.86 ERA, 1:2 BB/SO, 4.2 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (0-5) vs Asheville (3-2) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Matt Anderson (27.00 ERA, 0:0 BB/SO, 1.0 IP)


Max Moroff’s third homer of the season from Saturday night. No one uploaded any videos from Sunday, so Moroff gets featured here for the third time.


4/11: Albert Baur placed on disabled list. Ty Moore added to West Virginia roster

4/11: Cam Vieaux assigned to Extended Spring Training. Mike Wallace added to West Virginia roster

4/10: Victor Fernandez placed on West Virginia disabled list. Carlos Munoz added to active roster

4/7: Junior Lopez suspended 25 games

4/4: Pirates sign pitcher Yoandy Fernandez

4/4: Pirates release Francis Rodriguez, Adrian Grullon, Robbie Coursel and Nestor Oronel

3/29: Pirates release Jason Creasy and Justin Topa

3/29: Pirates release Jared Hughes


There have been four former Pirates born on this date, including the famous wall-crasher Turner Ward (see video below). He turns 52 today. The other players include:

Hank Schenz, infielder for the 1950-51 Pirates. Schenz served in WWII before he made his Major League debut. He played six years in the majors and hit .222 in 83 games for the Pirates.

Red Smith, 1917-18 catcher. Hit .156 in 26 games for the Pirates, his only Major League experience. His minor league career spanned from 1910 until 1928. There have been four players in Major League history, who were known by the name Red Smith.

Pop Corkhill, 1891-92 outfielder. He was a star outfielder for the Reds before coming to Pittsburgh. He hit just .200 with the Pirates, ending his ten-year career in the Steel City.

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John Dreker
John Dreker
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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