Morning Report: Chris Bostick and Max Moroff Have Both Hit Well Since Being Sent Down

Max Moroff and Chris Bostick were each sent down from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis at the same time last week. They switched spots with Adam Frazier and David Freese, so no one is complaining about the trade-off there, but people are calling for both players to rejoin the Pirates due to their incredible hitting since being sent down. That was on top of the strong hitting from both players before they were called up.

Both players are among the league leaders in numerous categories in the International League. Bostick is second in average, fifth in on base and fourth in slugging with his .371/.405/.565 slash line in 30 games. Moroff is second in slugging and 11th in on base with his .274/.388/.624 slash line in 30 games. He leads the league with 12 homers and he’s second with 22 walks.

Bostick has 15 hits in six games since being sent back to Indianapolis. Moroff has nine walks and seven hits, including four homers during that same time.

Since they have both played 30 games and that is just slightly more than what minor leaguers play in a month, I wanted to look at the best month from each of these players from the past to see if they have come close to this production. Moroff has a 1.012 OPS and Bostick has a .969 OPS.

Bostick started in 2011 and he actually had a crazy half month to start his career, hitting .442/.482/.654 in 14 games in the Arizona Summer League (The Arizona version of the GCL). That’s a little too short to consider and fairly far back in his career.

Bostick had a couple big months last year in Double-A, posting an .851 OPS in May and an .891 OPS in June, which got him promoted to Triple-A. He did have any huge months in 2015, though a solid start in June got him promoted from High-A ball. In July of 2014 in High-A, he had an .892 OPS, which followed a disaster named June, in which he had a .394 OPS in 24 games.

If you go back to June 2013, you find his best month ever. He put up a 1.093 OPS in 25 games. If you notice that he only season with two big months was last year, it could point to more consistency once he gets used to a level. Bostick did not hit at all in Triple-A last year, but he’s tearing the cover off the ball this season and he’s now halfway through a second solid month.

As for Moroff, we have a better track record with him and his big season was 2015 with Altoona. He also put up a .903 OPS in 24 games during the 2012 season in the GCL after he signed an over-slot deal. He had one strong month in Low-A in 2013, and around that time I had a scout tell me that he changed his scouting report on Moroff to a future Major Leaguer after giving him a lesser review earlier in the season. Moroff put a .936 OPS up in June that season, shortly after he turned 20 years old.

While we liked what we saw from Moroff in 2014 at Bradenton, it had much more to do with the potential of a 21-year-old looking solid without results in the pitcher-friendly league. His best month was a .711 OPS.

Moroff had a strong season in 2015 and it wasn’t due to one big month, it was him being consistent. His highest OPS was .853 in April, followed by .840 in May. Those are solid months for a young middle infielder in Double-A, but nothing crazy.

He had a tough overall season last year despite 90 walks and making his (brief) MLB debut. He still had an .816 OPS in April and an .860 in June. It was just that the bad months were really bad.

So for Moroff, you could say that he has never had a run like this during his five previous seasons, while Bostick seems to have peak months every year, though they appear to be happening more frequent. I’ve mentioned that Moroff has been young for each level throughout the years. Bostick is less than two months older than Moroff, so they have been on a somewhat similar age/rise through the minors.


Source: FanGraphs


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates won 6-1 over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night. Tyler Glasnow gets the nod today in an afternoon start time. He has a 6.75 ERA and a 2.25 WHIP in four home starts this season. The Nationals will counter with right-hander Tanner Roark, who has a 3.88 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in eight starts this season.

In the minors, both Indianapolis and Altoona have morning start times today. Yeudy Garcia goes for Altoona, coming off three starts in which he has allowed one earned run over 15.2 combined innings. Due to an off-day and Nick Kingham starting for Bradenton last week, Dario Agrazal had his turn skipped. He pitched a quick inning in relief instead and now returns on normal rest since that day. West Virginia goes with Luis Escobar, who has walked 12 batters in 7.1 innings over his last two starts. He is third in the South Atlantic League with 50 strikeouts. Kevin Kramer has a 32-game on base streak active. Cole Tucker currently has a 24-game on base streak.

MLB: Pittsburgh (16-23) vs Nationals (25-14) 12:35 PM
Probable starter: Tyler Glasnow (7.98 ERA, 21:31 BB/SO, 29.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (19-18) @ Columbus (17-22) 11:05 AM (season preview)
Probable starter: Drew Hutchison (3.86 ERA, 16:30 BB/SO, 39.2 IP)

AA: Altoona (22-14) @ Binghamton (19-14) 10:35 AM (season preview)
Probable starter: Yeudy Garcia (4.13 ERA, 11:26 BB/SO, 24.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (25-15) @ Daytona (22-18) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Dario Agrazal (2.68 ERA, 4:27 BB/SO, 43.2 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (18-20) @ Columbia (20-17) 7:05 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter: Luis Escobar (4.93 ERA, 18:50 BB/SO, 34.2 IP)


Here is a great catch from Sandy Santos from earlier this week.


5/17: Gregory Polanco placed on disabled list. Danny Ortiz recalled from Indianapolis.

5/16: Pirates sign Haicheng Gong.

5/16: JT Brubaker activated from Altoona disabled list. Chris Diaz assigned to Morgantown.

5/15: Nick Kingham promoted to Indianapolis.

5/15: Casey Sadler and Pedro Vasquez assigned to Bradenton. Sam Street assigned to Extended Spring Training.

5/15: James Marvel placed on West Virginia disabled list. Chris Harvey assigned to West Virginia.

5/14: Cam Vieaux placed on West Virginia disabled list. Adrian Valerio added to West Virginia roster.

5/14: Barrett Barnes added to Indianapolis roster. Anderson Feliz assigned to Morgantown.

5/12: Pirates active Adam Frazier and David Freese from disabled list. Chris Bostick and Max Moroff optioned to Indianapolis.

5/12: Justin Maffei assigned to Morgantown.

5/12: Zane Chavez added to Altoona roster. Tomas Morales assigned to Morgantown.

5/11: Chris Harvey assigned to Morgantown. Brent Gibbs assigned to West Virginia.

5/11: Nick Kingham assigned to Bradenton. Pedro Vasquez assigned to Extended Spring Training.

5/10: Albert Baur activated from West Virginia disabled list.

5/9: Jackson Williams assigned to Altoona from Indianapolis. Zane Chavez assigned to Morgantown.


Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including Pirates great Babe Adams, who won 194 games over his 18 season in Pittsburgh. During the 1909 season as a rookie, he went 12-3, 1.11 in 130 innings during the regular season and then won three games during the World Series. Adams won a career-high 22 games during the 1911 season and was the only player from the 1909 team who was still around during the 1925 season when the Pirates won their second WS title. You can read his full bio here.

Other former Pirates players born on this date:

Nelson Figueroa, 2003-04 pitcher. He had a 4.38 ERA in 63.2 innings with the Pirates, making six starts and 16 relief appearances.

Ken Hamlin, shortstop in 1957 and 1959. Played just four games over his two seasons with the Pirates, going 1-for-9 at the plate.

Bill Batsch, pinch-hitter on September 9, 1916. Walked in his only career plate appearance.

On this date in 1909, Honus Wagner hit a tenth inning two-run triple to help give the Pirates an 8-5 victory over Brooklyn. Hall of Famer Vic Willis started the game for the Pirates and reliever Sam Leever picked up the victory. That gave the Pirates a 1.5 game lead in the standings over the Cubs, the team that won the NL pennant each of the previous three seasons.

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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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The Pirates went for OBP over power and got neither.
They went for competitive over championship caliber and got neither.
Complain about small market, but make boatloads of cash. All while expecting the fan base to be jolly Rogers


Over the winter, I kept bashing the Pirates for protecting yet another utility infielder (Bostick) over other prospects (Wood). You stated that because of his pedigree and his relative youth, he deserved a shot.
I eventually looked up his stats and saw what you mentioned – he takes a while to adjust and then he performs realtively well. And it looked like he was getting better as he advanced.
I feel for these types of players because I am not sure that they always get the chance to adjust that one last time. If they are struggling in the majors, they either get benched or demoted – then the pressure to succeed comes into play. It makes you wonder, how many potential careers are derailed at the last step.

Bobby L

Moroff and Bostick, 2 guys knocking the cover off the ball. They certainly won’t hit that well at the MLB level, but one or the other should have the opportunity especially with Hanson’s very limited use.


Especially over Gift.


Hanson is being treated like a Rule V draft pick.

Robert J

Sad but true.


Thank you. I find this to be insane as well. Hanson will never be the player we thought he would be. But like you said – Ngoepe is what he is. Why is Hanson even on this team? When Frazier and Freese went down that was the perfect time to find out what Hanson at least MIGHT offer. And he plays so sporadically that he has no chance to get into a rhythm.


I feel that organizationally we need to have a better approach for these players. They knew last August that he needed to remain on the 25-man roster this year but CH didn’t play him. Now, NH doesn’t want to risk losing him and CH still doesn’t want to play him – which means we’re kind of playing with a 24-man roster.

I feel they need to get on the same page – play him (he’s not going to prove anything on the bench) or release him. If teams agree with CH, he’ll slip through waivers. If they don’t, we don’t lose anything because he wasn’t playing anyway.

john fluharty

I agree. Hansen needs to play. IMO, he needs to play both short and second. If he cannot play short, then we don’t need him. He has the range, hands, but maybe not the head.


And like Tim has mentioned Hanson in particular will come up and swing for the fences in hopes to stay at the major league level or as soon as he gets back to Indy to get back to Pittsburgh. If you’re not going to give Hanson any real shot to play then trade him. They moved him all over the field in AAA. A little at 3rd, mostly 2nd, some time in LF. Freese and Frazier go down. Kang and Marte aren’t around. Polanco gets hurt and they still won’t find a place for him. It’s like they wanted to get his bat in the line up by increasing his options in the field and then they went out of their way to keep him on the bench. Makes no sense.


BTW … I am disappointed that NH can’t find a Keon Broxton-type of OFer to trade Hanson for – talented but questionable prospects of the same level but different positions of need. You would think teams would value a middle infielder more highly than an OFer, too.

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