The last two Morning Reports have looked at the top tools articles by Baseball America. On Wednesday, we looked at the International League’s best, where coaches and managers decided that Tyler Glasnow had the best breaking ball in the league and Elias Diaz was the best defensive catcher. The Eastern League list was covered yesterday, with Kevin Newman being named best defensive shortstop, Edwin Espinal was selected as the best defensive first baseman and Elvis Escobar was chosen for the best outfield arm. Today we look at the Florida State League, where the Pittsburgh Pirates were well-represented.
I’ll start at the top, where they have Logan Hill as the best power prospect. Nothing against Hill, I just find it hard to believe there isn’t a better prospect in the league who hits for power. I’m saying that based on what he did in the league, not the fact he’s out for the season with a fractured hand. As I have said often, Hill is country strong, so it’s not the power part that I have a problem with, it’s the fact they threw the word prospect in there too. He’s a 24-year-old corner outfielder with limited defensive abilities and below average speed. Hard to imagine that’s the best power prospect in the league.
For best baserunner, they have Cole Tucker. He still leads the league with 36 steals, and that’s despite missing three weeks with a thumb injury and he was promoted to Altoona three weeks ago.
Best pitching prospect is Mitch Keller. Like Tucker, this is one you won’t find many (any?) arguments with, although unlike Tucker, Keller didn’t earn it with dominating numbers. He did well in the FSL with a 3.14 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, a 1.72 GO/AO ratio and a .207 BAA in 77.1 innings, but he isn’t going to be winning the Pitcher of the Year award for the league. This is for the best pitching prospect and he’s considered one of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball, not just the FSL.
Best fastball went to Taylor Hearn. Keller likely got some strong consideration for this one, especially from those who saw him late in his FSL run. I’ll note that the timing of these surveys handed out by BA may have hurt Keller here. They mentioned they were done in July and it his last three starts with Bradenton, Keller hit 99 MPH numerous times and even got a 100 MPH pitch in there. Hearn is right there though, always working 94-99 and coming from a big lefty.
Ke’Bryan Hayes might be a little surprising here. He wasn’t the best defensive third baseman, but he did receive the best infield arm. I expected him to get the third base nod, but wouldn’t have guessed best infield arm. He does have a strong arm, though from what I’ve seen from his teammate Alfredo Reyes, the latter probably has the better arm. Reyes has played some outfield this year and isn’t in the lineup everyday, so I’d imagine some coaches and managers haven’t seen him throw.
** Jonathan Mayo took some questions on MLB Pipeline and two of them were Pirates related. The first question was about the new farm system ranks. Pipeline only ranked the top ten systems last week, which didn’t include the Pirates. Mayo gave his votes for the teams ranked 11-15 now. The Pirates came in at #15, losing spots because of Tyler Glasnow and Josh Bell no longer being considered prospects (they also eliminated Max Moroff and Elias Diaz based on service time, but we still include them). Mayo mentions that the Pirates have players with considerable upside from this current draft, so they could rebound back into the top ten if enough of those plays pan out.
The other question was about him being down on Austin Meadows and he noted that he wasn’t, although he dropped just slightly in the rankings (#10 down to #20) due to a recurring injury. More in the link above…don’t skip his last question either, which isn’t Pirates related.
The Pirates trail in their division by three games. They are eight games back for the second wild card spot (does not include late results last night).
Indianapolis is in first place, with a 3.5 game lead. Their season ends September 4th.
Altoona is in first place, one half game ahead. Their season ends September 4th.
Bradenton is in second place, three games behind. Their season ends September 3rd.
West Virginia is in third place, two games out of first. Their season ends September 4th.
Morgantown is in first place, one half game ahead. Their season ends September 7th.
Bristol is in last place, 19 games back. Their season ends August 31st.
The GCL Pirates are in third place, seven games behind. Their season ends September 2nd.
The DSL Pirates are in third place, 2.5 games back. Their season ends August 26th.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Detroit Tigers 7-5 on Thursday afternoon. The Pirates now travel to Toronto, where they will send Jameson Taillon to the mound today for his 17th start. He has posted a 9.64 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break. On the road this season, Taillon has a 4.88 ERA. The Blue Jays will counter with Marcus Stroman, who has a 3.17 ERA in 145 innings pitched, with 120 strikeouts and a 1.33 WHIP. He has a 2.90 ERA at home and 2.76 since the All-Star break.
In the minors, Tyler Glasnow goes for Indianapolis, trying to make his 11th start in a row without allowing more than two runs. Alex McRae goes for Altoona today after making his last appearance in relief during Mitch Keller’s Double-A debut. Pedro Vasquez goes for Bradenton, coming off an outing in which he threw five shutout innings. He ranks fifth in the FSL with a 2.91 ERA and third with a 1.14 WHIP. West Virginia starter Eduardo Vera allowed one run over seven innings in his last start. Travis MacGregor goes for Bristol, while Max Kranick makes his second GCL start.
MLB: Pittsburgh (57-58) @ Blue Jays (54-60) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Jameson Taillon (4.60 ERA, 28:84 BB/SO, 86.0 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (64-53) vs Syracuse (45-73) 7:15 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Glasnow (4.00 ERA, 25:71 BB/SO, 81.0 IP)
AA: Altoona (60-55) vs Trenton (76-39) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Alex McRae (3.45 ERA, 29:74 BB/SO, 128.0 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (62-51) vs Charlotte (55-58) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Pedro Vasquez (2.91 ERA, 27:92 BB/SO, 117.2 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (55-58) @ Hagerstown (64-50) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Eduardo Vera (3.13 ERA, 11:85 BB/SO, 100.2 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (30-20) @ Aberdeen (28-22) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD
Rookie: Bristol (10-38) vs Johnson City (26-22) 7:00 PM
GCL: Pirates (14-26) vs Braves (21-19) 12:00 PM
DSL: Pirates (32-26) vs Rays2 (31-24) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Here is Jordan Luplow’s 22nd home run of the season. That’s best in the system.
8/10: Nick King assigned to GCL Pirates.
8/9: Joey Terdoslavich placed on Indianapolis disabled list.
8/8: Matt Anderson placed on West Virginia disabled list. Blake Cederlind activated from disabled list.
8/8: Jerrick Suiter activated from Temporary Inactive List. Jake Brentz assigned to Bradenton.
8/7: Dovydas Neverauskas optioned to Indianapolis. George Kontos added to active roster.
8/7: Danny Ortiz sent outright to Indianapolis.
8/7: Gage Hinsz placed on disabled list. Alexis Bastardo released.
8/7: Carlos Munoz promoted to Bradenton. Brent Gibbs activated from West Virginia disabled list.
8/7: Austin Meadows assigned to Morgantown on rehab.
8/6: Max Moroff optioned to Indianapolis. Sean Rodriguez added to active roster.
8/5: Pirates claim George Kontos off waivers. Designate Jhan Marinez and Danny Ortiz for assignment.
8/5: Pirates acquire Sean Rodriguez from Atlanta Braves for Connor Joe.
8/5: Wade LeBlanc reinstated from bereavement list.
8/4: Mitch Keller promoted to Altoona. Jerrick Suiter placed on the temporarily inactive list.
8/4: Michael de la Cruz assigned to GCL Pirates
8/4: James Marvel promoted to Bradenton. Oddy Nunez activated from West Virginia disabled list.
8/3: Angel German and Oneil Cruz added to West Virginia roster. Jordan Jess promoted to Bradenton. Nick King assigned to Morgantown.
8/3: Eury Perez traded to Miami Marlins for cash.
8/2: Gregory Polanco activated from disabled list. Jordan Luplow optioned to Indianapolis.
8/2: Wade LeBlanc placed on Bereavement List. Dovydas Neverauskas recalled from Indianapolis.
8/1: Oddy Nunez and Blake Cederlind placed on disabled list. Oneil Cruz and Angel German assigned to West Virginia.
8/1: Adrian Valerio activated from disabled list.
8/1: Stephan Meyer assigned to West Virginia. Hector Quinones assigned to Bristol.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including a player who held a Major League record for 33 years. Starting with outfielder Woody Jensen, who spent his entire nine-year Major League career with the Pirates from 1931 until 1939. He played 738 games with the team, and in 1936 he had 696 at-bats, which stood as an MLB record until the Pirates Matty Alou had two more at-bats during the 1969 season. Jensen had trouble cracking the outfield for the Pirates early in his career because the team had three Hall of Famers at one point, Paul and Lloyd Waner, as well as Freddie Lindstrom. Jensen hit .285 during his career and struck out just 100 times in 2,869 plate appearances.
Others players born on this date include:
Al Pedrique, 1987-88 shortstop. It took him nine years to make the majors after he signed. He hit .301 for the Pirates in 1987. then struggled the next year and was released after the season.
Dorn Taylor, pitcher in 1987 and 1989. The Pirates signed him as a non-drafted free agent, one of those rare success stories from that route. He made the Opening Day roster in 1989.
Walter Barbare, 1919-20 infielder. Prior to the 1921 season, he was part of a famous trade that involved two future Hall of Famers, with the Pirates getting back shortstop Rabbit Maranville from Boston(Braves) and Billy Southworth going to other way, along with cash and another player. At the time, it was considered a blockbuster deal.