First Baseman Edwin Espinal Promoted to Indianapolis; Jordan George to Altoona

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.

 

  • If Espinal hits AAA pitching well, perhaps he moves up to the Bucs by Sept?

    Interesting that a 25 year old (George) gets a promotion over a first round pick (Craig)?

    • BuccosFanStuckinMD
      July 28, 2017 8:52 am

      Hill outperformed Craig as well and was promoted a month ago

    • There’s no rush on getting Craig to the majors obviously, while George earned the promotion, but in reality, he’s even too old for Double-A. I’m sure the Pirates could have promoted Craig weeks ago. He is 4th in the league in doubles, 5th in OBP, ninth in OPS and his play at first base has been better than many anticipated. He’s clearly not blocking anyone at WV and since his position is first base, you hope there isn’t a need for him in Pittsburgh for awhile with Bell there. Don’t see the harm in keeping him at Bradenton this year, Altoona next year, even if he is one of the better hitters in the league.

  • I saw him play at Altoona one game this year vs. Hartford Yard Goats, and he was a pleasure to watch out there. Notably, when the pitcher throws over to first, he fires that ball back to the pitcher. And when they’re doing infield warm-ups, same thing. He whips that ball around. If somehow he could draw more walks, it would be nice.

  • hope they work him at 3rd…i mean bell should be our 1st baseman for a long long time!!!!

  • Well…good for George, I suppose…but I’m sure Craig would be putting up monster numbers in A+ if he was still there at 25.

    The two guesses I have as to why JG got the promotion are that he’s either on the fast track to be sitting next to Moroff on the bench or the Pirates are fluffing his resume and Craig will be promoted minutes after George is included as padding in a trade for a reliever.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    July 27, 2017 11:02 pm

    Its about time – should have happened 1-2 months ago….

  • Happy that Espinal is having a good season & earned this. Craig is the logical promotion, but I’d like to see George move up. He’s always drawn a ton of walks and had a decent average, and recently started getting the ball over the wall. But, he’s always been old for his level. I’d like to see if he has a chance at becoming a prospect. Craig could still move up later depending on playoff scenarios. Tough call as to Baur or Munoz then moving up. Both need to get moving out of WV to prove if they have any prospect value at all.

    • Munoz is a free agent at the end of the season. At this point, he is gone. He’s there to help them win and because he isn’t blocking anyone else. He has been the DH most of the time recently.

  • Cards just keep bringing in position players, De Jong, Piscotty, Grechek from the minors who immediately contribute and hit for power. This doesn’t seem to happen with the Pirates as much, we get Frazier, Moroff, Hanson- utility infielders with no power. Maybe the Pirates should explore the “launch angle” approach with some of their minor league players so we can get more power bats in the majors considering we are dead last in HRs in NL.

  • WillyMoGarcia33
    July 27, 2017 10:29 pm

    So…. Craig next?

  • About time!
    On a different note: I am curious to know whether players at these levels receive any kind of salary increase when promoted?

    • WillyMoGarcia33
      July 27, 2017 10:30 pm

      Yeah. I’m not exactly sure on the numbers though.

    • Yes, he is getting about a $350 per month increase by going up a level

      • And the chance to be a Sep call-up, and that is worth it all for a kid who has worked very hard to get to this point. I guess this means that Jose Osuna is going to remain a part of the active roster of the Pirates for the foreseeable future? Terdoslavich-DFA?

        If so, that is some solid decision-making by the Pirates.

        • Need to be on the 40 man roster to be dfa’d. It would be outright release for Terdoslavich.

          • Thank you, that will do also. Now to start with our gold mine of AAA/AAAA MI’s.

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