Morning Report: There Have Been a Lot of Injuries Throughout the System this Year

Last month, I took a look at the injuries the Pittsburgh Pirates were having in the minors and noted that while it seemed like they were having a lot of injuries, minor injuries that didn’t require disabled list visits were clouding judgments. What I didn’t know at the time was that the players would take that as a challenge to match last year’s high injury rate and likely go beyond this year. As an update to that previous Morning Report, there have now been a lot of injuries in the system.

Let’s take a look at how it has affected the top 50 prospects first, then I’ll pile on a few more names just for effect. Our mid-season top 50 update was released last week. Here are all of the players who have missed time. I’m not going to include players like  Kevin Newman, who missed a couple days after he got beaned and was taken out in the first inning last night, which could cost him a couple games. Minor injuries happen all of the time to players, so these are just significant time missed players.

1. Mitch Keller, out with a back injury for three weeks. Also had two minor incidents that didn’t really cost him much, but makes it seem worse when added to the back injury.

2. Austin Meadows, hamstring. Just being a hamstring injury with him makes it seem worse.

4. Cole Tucker, thumb injury had him out three weeks. Actually returned weeks ahead of schedule.

9. Taylor Hearn, oblique injury a couple weeks ago may have ended his season. He hasn’t started his return yet, which will require him to build his pitch count back up, and the clock is ticking on the season.

10. Gage Hinsz, shoulder soreness caused him to miss just one start, but I’m putting him here because he was doing great right before the injury, then struggled in his return.

14. Kevin Kramer, fractured hand now has him out almost seven weeks and it will still be a little bit before he returns.

19. Max Kranick, shoulder tightness shut him down near the end of Extended Spring Training, so he did get nearly three months of throwing in before the injury, you just don’t see those innings on paper. He returns Monday.

21. Adrian Valerio, broken hand, facial injury, ankle injury. Three injuries are costing him more than half of the season.

22. Nick Kingham, ankle injury in Spring Training caused him to shut things down for a short time and then build his innings back up.

23. Conner Uselton, hamstring tear in his second pro game, ended his season.

29. Logan Hill, fractured hand on Wednesday likely has him out for the season.

31. Dario Agrazal, pec strain in his first Double-A game has him out five weeks and counting.

32. Brandon Waddell, two forearm strains cost him a lot of time. He is back now, ready to rejoin Altoona.

35. Connor Joe, dislocated finger had him out for just over three weeks

36. JT Brubaker, blister early in the season cost him a start (was out 12 days total) and limited his innings during his return.

47. Barrett Barnes, two hamstring injuries have cost him most of the season.

48. Stephen Alemais, hand injury had him out six weeks. Could be injured again after leaving Wednesday’s game early.

49. Yeudy Garcia, oblique strain cost him two weeks and led to move to bullpen.

As for the non-top 50 guys, Austin Shields had arm tightness, which probably kept him out of the top 50 because his control has been poor since returning. Jin-De Jhang missed a lot of time with an oblique injury, knocking him out of the top 50, mostly due to his struggles upon returning. Hunter Owen had an ill-timed hamstring injury, likely costing him a move to Bradenton. Jerrick Suiter had a Spring Training thumb injury that cost him the start of the season.

They also had injuries to Brent Gibbs, Raul Hernandez, Zane Chavez, Albert Baur, Victor Fernandez, Jhoan Herrera, Will Reed, Shea Murray, Nathan Trevillian (setback during return), Jesse Medrano, Michael de la Cruz, Kevin Krause, Jonathan Schwind, Michael Suchy, Eddy Vizcaino, Hector Garcia, Dan Runzler, Jason Stoffel (remember him, he’s still around), Luis Heredia, Scooter Hightower, Shane Kemp, Adam Oller, John Pomeroy, Junior Lopez and Jacob Taylor.

Some were Extended Spring Training injuries, so the missed time still hurt them, but it’s not stuff that shows up on the back of baseball cards. I didn’t even count the paper moves to put guys on the DL, which weren’t real injuries, just a way to open roster spots. There is a good chance I may have missed someone as well since this was mostly off the top of my head, and I didn’t even include DSL players or Major Leaguers. So as I was saying up top, there have been a lot of injuries, both big names and depth.

PIRATES GAME GRAPH

The Pirates were off on Thursday

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates were off on Thursday. The Pirates start a three-game series in San Diego tonight. They will send Chad Kuhl to the mound for his 21st start. He has a 3.96 ERA in ten road starts this season. Kuhl has a 3.25 ERA in five starts this month. The Padres will counter with lefty Travis Wood, who had a 6.91 ERA in 41.2 innings with the Royals this season. This is his San Diego debut.

In the minors, Indianapolis has a doubleheader today, with Drew Hutchison going in game one and Johnny Barbato getting his second spot start in the other game. Altoona starter JT Brubaker has allowed one run in each of his last two starts. Roger Santana is scheduled for the GCL Pirates and Domingo Robles will go for Bristol. Expect all of the roster movements to be made official at some point today. You can view those here. They will be added to the transactions when they are official.

MLB: Pittsburgh (50-52) @ Padres (45-57) 10:10 PM
Probable starter: Chad Kuhl (4.92 ERA, 39:80 BB/SO, 97.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (57-47) vs Pawtucket (52-51) 5:30 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: Drew Hutchison (3.66 ERA, 39:88 BB/SO, 110.2 IP) and Johnny Barbato (3.75 ERA, 9:21 BB/SO, 24.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (53-49) vs Trenton (70-33) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: JT Brubaker (4.72 ERA, 29:77 BB/SO, 87.2 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (59-41) @ St Lucie (46-56) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Bret Helton (3.39 ERA, 23:65 BB/SO, 79.2 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (46-52) @ Hagerstown (56-44) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: James Marvel (4.04 ERA, 26:63 BB/SO, 84.2 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (23-12) @ Auburn (13-23) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Stephan Meyer (3.86 ERA, 9:27 BB/SO, 32.2 IP)

Rookie: Bristol (8-27) vs Greeneville (19-14) 7:00 PM

GCL: Pirates (10-17) vs Tigers East (8-18) 12:00 PM

DSL: Pirates (24-22) vs Indians (17-26) 10:30 AM (season preview)

HIGHLIGHTS

Here is the eighth home run of the season from Pablo Reyes, who helped win Wednesday’s game for Altoona to put them in first place.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

7/27: Logan Hill placed on disabled list. Justin Maffei assigned to Altoona.

7/27: Steven Brault optioned to Indianapolis.

7/25: Connor Joe activated from Altoona disabled list. Justin Maffei assigned to Indianapolis.

7/25: Jonathan Schwind assigned to Morgantown.

7/23: Adrian Valerio placed on disabled list. Andrew Walker assigned to West Virginia.

7/22: Gregory Polanco placed on the disabled list. Steven Brault recalled from Indianapolis.

7/22: Hector Garcia assigned to Morgantown on rehab.

7/21: Adonis Pichardo assigned to GCL Pirates from Bristol. Ryan Valdes, Hector Quinones and Will Reed promoted to Bristol.

7/20: Kevin Newman promoted to Indianapolis. Anderson Feliz and Jackson Williams assigned to Altoona.

7/20: Tomas Morales placed on disabled list.

7/20: Cole Tucker promoted to Altoona. Logan Ratledge assigned to Bradenton.

7/20: Stephen Alemais promoted to Bradenton.

7/20: Pirates release Zane Chavez

7/19: Brandon Waddell and Conner Joe assigned to Morgantown on rehab.

THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY

Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus two trades of note. We start with the players and two of them were born on this date in 1867 and they both pitched for the 1890 team, which was the worst in franchise history. Duke Esper and Bill Day couldn’t help a team that went 23-113, as they combined to go 0-8 in their eight starts. Esper also pitched for the Pirates in 1892 and went 2-0 in three starts for a much better team. The other player born on this date is Carmelo Martinez, who joined the Pirates 100 years after the other two players. He was with two pennant winners during the 1990-91 seasons He didn’t last long with the Pirates, who acquired him at the end of August 1990 and traded him away the following May.

The trades on this date include first baseman Gus Suhr for pitcher Max Butcher, which was a one-sided deal as far as career stats, with Suhr being one of the best first baseman in team history. In 1939, he was near the end of his career and the Pirates shipped him to the Phillies for Butcher. The Pirates got 67 wins out of Butcher during his time in Pittsburgh, while Suhr played just 70 games before he was released.

The other trade on this date was in 2000, when the Pirates dealt outfielder Wil Cordero to the Indians for infielder Enrique Wilson and outfielder Alex Ramirez. Wilson didn’t stay long, as he was dealt to the Yankees the following season for Damaso Marte. Ramirez struggled in his time in Pittsburgh and was sold to Japan that off-season. Between the majors, minors and Japan, he hit 505 career homers.

One game of note and it’s from the 2001 season, when the Pirates trailed 8-2 to the Astros in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and no one on base. They managed to score seven runs, capping it off with a walk-off grand slam from Brian Giles. The Pirates had five hits, a walk and a hit by pitch. Here is the boxscore from that game and a description can be found in the link above.

  • My dad and I left that game in the top of the 9th. By the we got to our car parked in the old Westinghouse building the comeback was complete. When we paid, the attendant told us that we left too early. I turned on the radio and the announcer (Greg or Lanny) was going insane. We couldn’t believe that they won and felt terrible that we left.

  • Kingham needs to separate himself now. Kuhl, Williams, Brault, other arms are there now are close to there, Glasnow. I holding out hope he does that. Has the size body and arm to do so, He is 18 months removed from his injury. Still like his upside, but only so many seats at the table gunny.

  • For a small guy with limited paying time Reyes has shown remarkable power

  • I was just thinking last night how this season has been like death from a thousand cuts when it comes to injuries. A lot of guys have gone out between a month or two but no one has blown out an elbow, shoulder or knee so far except Pomeroy, who was a marginal prospect anyhow. Long term it is better this way than the alternative but it is frustrating due to the sheer numbers of players impacted.

  • Only one memory remains from Carmelo Martinez’s short tenure as a Pirate — a deep fly ball in the 9th against Randy Myers in the 2-1 game 6 loss to the Nasty Boys in the ’90 NLCS. That ball just couldn’t walk those last few feet.

    • I met Carmelo Martinez once and asked him about that. He said with the saddest look in his eye, “I knew I didn’t get enough and I couldn’t hope it out”.
      He was a very nice guy.

  • Perhaps the training regimen needs to be looked at or overhauled? Or perhaps get a whole new staff in there?

  • There do seem to be a lot of broken bones on this list.

    But with respect to the “tightness” and “strain” injuries, it’s probably that the club is quicker to DL a guy than in the past.

  • A lot of these appear to be fluke injuries but losings Meadows with a hamstring is extremely concerning. You can almost guarantee another recurrence somewhere along the line.

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