The Pittsburgh Pirates have moved Altoona first baseman Edwin Espinal up to Indianapolis according to Sean McCool, who was covering tonight’s game. Espinal was informed of the move after Thursday night’s loss to Trenton, which included his 15th home run of the season. More from Sean on this breaking news shortly.
Bradenton 1B/OF Jordan George has been promoted to Altoona to take Espinal’s spot. He has been the best hitter in the system over the last month, posting a 20-game hit streak, along with a .364/.440/.659 slash line in July. The 25-year-old George is a better first baseman than outfielder, but he has experience at both positions. He has hit eight homers this season after collecting only two in his first two seasons combined.
Postgame Remarks from Sean McCool on Espinal
Edwin Espinal found out after the Curve game on Thursday night that he was being promoted to Indianapolis. His manager, Michael Ryan, along with Coordinator of Minor League Operations Larry Broadway, called Espinal into his office and told him immediately following the Curve loss.
Ryan couldn’t have praised Espinal enough leading up to his promotion, even saying last week that he has been putting the bug in the Pirates’ ears about the Dominican infielder.
“I think he’s at that point where maybe trying him at Triple-A would be good for him,” Ryan said last week about Espinal. “He has earned that. Anytime I’m talking to someone in the front office who makes that decision, I’m always recommending Espinal to get a shot there. I know Kevin Riggs is doing the same thing, and I know it’s in their thoughts.”
Tonight, Ryan was definitely excited for Espinal, who hit a three-run bomb in the sixth inning tonight in what ended up being his last game at Double-A.
“He’s the heart and soul of our team,” Ryan said. “He’s very consistent. It seems like every big opportunity we had to score runs, he was at the plate. From April until right now, he’s been our main RBI guy. For him to come through in so many situations was awesome.”
Espinal, who was chosen as an Eastern League All-Star for the second season in a row, leads the team with 72 RBIs, which is second in the league. He is also second in the E.L. in doubles with 25, and his 15 home runs this season is more than double his career-high.
“I appreciate the fans,” Espinal said about what he’ll remember about his time in Double-A. “They support me a lot. I love to play here because they love me. I try to do my best for the fans here. I learned a lot while here.”
Espinal said that he feels he has improved upon his pitch selection and swing while in Double-A. His improved power numbers this season show that his improved approach has worked, as he has been able to take advantage of opposing pitchers’ mistakes.
Defensively, Espinal hasn’t made an error at first base all season. Ironically, his first error actually came tonight while playing third base on a roller up the line that eluded his glove.
“Nobody talks about his defense,” Ryan said. “He’s been unbelievable at first base. I’m glad he’s leaving and going to the next level, because it’s much deserved. He’s waited a long time for this.”
Espinal plays with a ton of heart. Honestly, he has been my favorite player to cover in my three years covering the team in Altoona. His energy and passion for the game is evident, and the fans in Indianapolis are going to love watching him play.
— Sean McCool (@NotSoMcCool) July 28, 2017