Morning Report: News and Notes on a Big Debut and More International Signings

Some news and notes for your morning. Includes two more international signings, a pro debut and something on Andrew McCutchen and runs scored.

* The Pittsburgh Pirates signed two pitchers from Colombia on Wednesday, getting 19-year-old right-handed pitcher Andres Arrieta and 18-year-old Yandi Vega. The Pirates signed three players from Colombia last year and the early results from them are all positive, so they appear to be scouting the area heavily the last couple years.

I’ll note that these two players signed today were available to sign last year. That could mean a few things. One is that they don’t have the upside of the three players signed last year. Another possibility is that they didn’t fit into the small budget last year or their asking price was too high. Or three is that they have made a lot of progress since last year, making them potential solid players. A fourth choice could be a combination of all three of those choices. Whatever it is, the Pirates seem to be extremely busy signing international players. If this keeps up, I wouldn’t rule out a second DSL team next year, or possibly a second GCL club, which some organizations are doing now.

* Steven Jennings makes his pro debut in Clearwater today with the GCL Pirates, where he could put in two innings of work. He will have two innings or 30 pitches to work with, whichever comes first. The 42nd overall pick in this year’s draft received a $1.9 M bonus, which was $264,500 over his slot amount. The 18-year-old right-hander hit 96 MPH this high school season and flashed a plus slider and a curve with potential.

* I meant to mention this a few days ago, but Baseball America put three Pirates on their High School All-American lists. Shane Baz made the first team, Conner Uselton was on the second team and Steven Jennings made the third team. Calvin Mitchell didn’t make any of the lists, but he did have a very slow start to his season, so you need stats to make these lists, not just prospect status.

* Andrew McCutchen passed another all-time great in an offensive category on Wednesday night. He moved into 12th place in runs scored with 770, one ahead of Bill Mazeroski. Next up on that list is Patsy Donovan with 842, who we don’t know at this point if McCutchen will have a chance to reach him. Donovan is definitely an under-appreciated player in team history. What’s interesting about his run total is that he reached that mark in 290 fewer games than McCutchen has played right now. Donovan is also fourth in team history with 312 steals, so that helped him score some of those runs, as did a .354 OBP.

Enjoy your day before the draft signing period ends. It appears the Pirates are done, but you never know if what they have left in their budget (just over $349,000) is enough to convince one of the remaining players to sign. As for MLB in general, a surprising number of high picks were left unsigned as of Wednesday.

PIRATES GAME GRAPH


Source: FanGraphs

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates won 5-2 on Wednesday night over the Philadelphia Phillies. The Pirates will now send Chad Kuhl to the mound for his 16th start. He allowed one run over six innings in his last start. Kuhl faced the Phillies on May 21st and he threw five shutout innings.The Phillies will counter with right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, who has a 4.48 ERA in 96.1 innings, with 49 strikeouts and a 1.27 WHIP

In the minors, Tyler Glasnow will make his fifth start for Indianapolis. He has 42 strikeouts in his first 23.2 innings. Bradenton starter Gage Hinsz has allowed three runs combined over his last three starts. West Virginia has to finished yesterday’s suspended game before playing the regularly scheduled game. Yesterday’s contest was called in the third inning with West Virginia trailing 6-2. Oddy Nunez will be on the mound for the second game. He has a 1.06 WHIP and a 2.33 GO/AO ratio. Ike Schlabach goes for Morgantown. He had no walks and nine strikeouts in his first two starts, then four walks and no strikeouts in his last outing. Hunter Stratton goes for Bristol today and Steven Jennings is slated for the GCL.

MLB: Pittsburgh (39-46) @ Phillies (28-55) 6:05 PM
Probable starter: Chad Kuhl (5.26 ERA, 29:62 BB/SO, 75.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (47-38) vs Columbus (44-40) 7:05 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Glasnow (1.90 ERA, 13:42 BB/SO, 23.2 IP)

AA: Altoona (42-40) vs Binghamton (45-35) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Alex McRae (3.97 ERA, 23:54 BB/SO, 93.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (45-35) @ Palm Beach (49-31) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Gage Hinsz (5.82 ERA, 23:43 BB/SO, 68.0 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (36-42) @ Lexington (41-40) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Oddy Nunez (3.29 ERA, 18:53 BB/SO, 63.0 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (10-6) @ Mahoning Valley (10-6) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Ike Schlabach (3.86 ERA, 4:9 BB/SO, 14.0 IP)

Rookie: Bristol (4-10) vs Kingsport (4-8) 7:00 PM

GCL: Pirates (2-7) vs Phillies (5-4) 12:00 PM

DSL: Pirates (18-10) vs Cubs1 (12-15) 10:30 AM (season preview)

HIGHLIGHTS

Here is the fourth home run of the season by Kevin Newman

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

7/5: Hunter Owen assigned to West Virginia. Nick King assigned to Morgantown.

7/5: Adonis Pichardo assigned to Bristol from GCL Pirates.

7/4. Stephen Alemais assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.

7/4: Starling Marte assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

7/4: Gift Ngoepe assigned to Morgantown on rehab.

7/4: Yeudy Garcia activated from disabled list. Casey Sadler assigned to Altoona from Indianapolis.

7/4: Pirates release Buddy Borden.

7/3: Francisco Cervelli activated from disabled list. Edgar Santana optioned to Indianapolis.

7/2: Starling Marte assigned to Bradenton on rehab.

7/2: Hunter Owen assigned to Morgantown. Nick King assigned to West Virginia.

6/30: Logan Hill promoted to Altoona. Jordan Luplow promoted to Indianapolis. Alexis Bastardo promoted to Bradenton. Julio Eusebio promoted to West Virginia.

6/30: Connor Joe placed on disabled list.

6/30: Jason Rogers released.

6/29: Yeudy Garcia assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.

6/29: Brandon Cumpton promoted to Altoona.

6/29: Mitch Keller activated from the disabled list.

6/28: Nelson Jorge and Raul Hernandez promoted to Bristol. Eumir Sepulveda and Adonis Pichardo assigned to GCL  Pirates from Bristol.

6/28: Daniel Arribas released. John Bormann assigned to Bradenton.

6/28: Angel Vasquez promoted from DSL Pirates to GCL Pirates.

6/27: Antonio Bastardo activated from disabled list. Jacob Stallings optioned to Indianapolis.

THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY

Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including one of the better Pirates’ pitchers from the 1930’s. Starting with the most recent first, we have 2001 pitcher Omar Oliveras, 1975 second baseman Willie Randolph and 1981-85 first baseman Jason Thompson. In 1983, Thompson made the All-Star team and hit .284, with 31 homers, 101 RBIs and 101 walks. Randolph has a great career that started in Pittsburgh, but they traded him away right after he made the majors, in a deal that did not work out. The Pirates got Doc Medich, while giving up Randolph, Ken Brett and Dock Ellis.

Cy Blanton pitched for the Pirates from 1934 until 1939. He won 56 games over a four-year stretch from 1935-38. Blanton led the National League with a 2.58 ERA and with four shutouts in 1935. He led the NL again with four shutouts in 1936 and his 34 starts in 1937 were the most in the league. Blanton completed 129 of his 155 starts with the Pirates.

On this date in 1980, the Pirates won the longest game ever in Three Rivers Stadium. In the 20th inning of a game that took just over 5 1/2 hours, Omar Moreno drove in Ed Ott with the winning run. That win pushed the Pirates to 42-37 on the season. You can read a recap of the game in the link above and the boxscore can be found here.

  • I know that this isn’t necessarily the prevailing line of thought, but I would consider extending Cutch. We don’t have a sure shot waiting in the wings. Becoming a consistent major league hitter is becoming tougher and tougher. He seems like he would like to remain a Pirate, and he isn’t on the downside yet. Now Cole, on the other hand, may garner more in return. Thoughts?

    • At this point, I would trade both players (as well as Harrison), which should net the Pirates at least 3 Top 100 prospects, potentially another future elite bullpen arm, and a few other pieces.

      I think it’s becoming more and more apparent that our “dream rotation” which once included Glasnow and Kingham (and possibly Holmes) won’t reach its upside for a couple years, so I say focus on building it around Taillon (rather than Cole) and then add Keller in a couple seasons with hopefully better results.

      As for Cutch, capitalize on this resurgence, and get the haul you wanted over the winter (if not more). Marte is still a legit All-star, Meadows will be fine IMO, while Polanco, Luplow, Osuna, and whoever else can battle it out for the other AB’s.

      • Joe Nastasi
        July 6, 2017 9:44 am

        I agree with you on trading both players but not your return. Cutch right now should garner 1 top 20 + 2 other top 100. Cole should return 1 top 25 + another top 100 + a solid BP arm. IMO

    • Whether we want to sign him or not really isn’t relevant because we will never give him what he likely can get on the open market so the only question is what we get for him and when we trade him (or do we let him walk and take the pick that comes with that).

      • The interesting sub-plot in McCutchen trade talks to me is if we hold onto him through the deadline, how much lower do the offers get in the off-season not just because of half a season less control but because every GM knows the Pirates’ and Huntington’s situation that he can’t be allowed to walk away in free agency without recouping some assets.

    • BuccosFanStuckinMD
      July 6, 2017 11:43 am

      I have no problem trying to see what Cole would fetch, because I don’t consider him to be a reliable, top of the rotation pitcher….his ERA is in the mid 4’s, he gives up a lot of HRs, and he consistently gets hit way too hard for someone who is supposed to have ace stuff. I also do not believe he will ever sign a new contract with the Pirates. Finally, unlike position players, the Pirates are loaded with starting pitching options and prospects. Cole could easily be replaced, with Glasnow (if he gets his act together at the ML level – and I still believe he will), Kingham, Holmes, Keller, etc. The Pirates need top end position player prospects – so if he can fetch a couple, I’d consider it.

      With all that being said, to trade him now would be trading him relatively low – as he has had a very mediocre season this far. He may still provide a good return to warrant testing the market…..

      Unless they can fleece someone who is desperate for an OF and hitter, I’d keep Cutch. This team has a hard time scoring runs as it is…..without Cutch, the hitting and run production would be abysmal. I think Bell shows enough potential to be optimistic for him, while Polanco is just a huge disappointment and question mark.

      Since I don’t see this team sniffing the playoffs this year, I would consider trading any and all of the following – if they can provide close to major league ready position player prospects – like 3B and SS especially.

      – Freese
      – Jaso
      – Watson
      – Nova
      – Mercer
      – Hudson

      • Our most underrated player – Jordy Mercer.

        • John, I could be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure Jason Thompson’s big 31 homer, 101 RBI season was in ’82.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    July 6, 2017 8:24 am

    If they were eligible to sign last year, and NO other MLB team signed them, that does not sound very encouraging about their upside – unless they all just experienced significant upticks in their physical growth, skills, etc. That is possible, but all three? Not likely….

    • Yeah it seems like a weird situation but I have a feeling that part of it is simply because they are from Colombia. There have only been 25-30 total players from Colombia to make it to MLB, though most are still playing or from recent memory, so there is potential that Colombia is a growing baseball country that is not scouted quite as heavily as other countries. If the two pitchers were Dominican or Cuban they almost assuredly would have been signed last year.

    • As others have pointed out, Columbian players are often off the radar. For example, Jose Quintana didn’t sign until Age 17. Ernesto Frieri didn’t sign until Age 19. Etc.

  • Wow Jennings looks young in that picture. Not that I should criticize I looked 9 in my HS yearbook many years ago.

Menu