Morning Report: The Pirates Will Likely Have a Crowded Dugout in September

With Dovydas Neverauskas being sent down on Monday, the Pittsburgh Pirates don’t have anyone with prospect status on the active roster for the first time all season. I was doing updates earlier in the year and there were a bunch of players, but one-by-one, they have either lost their prospect status or been sent to the minors. I bring that up because I received quite a few questions over the last couple days about players coming up in September. Most of those players were in the prospect status watch at some point throughout the season.

Some of those questions I received came from the Pirates saying that Austin Meadows won’t likely be a September call-up. The others were role related for starting pitchers, and of course, Nick Kingham pitching great in his last three starts and having no options left for the upcoming season. Here’s an early look at what September 1st might hold for the Pirates.

Here are the 15 guys on the 40-man roster, who aren’t in the majors right now.

PITCHERS

Johnny Barbato

Steven Brault

Tyler Glasnow

Clay Holmes

Drew Hutchison

Nick Kingham

Dovydas Neverauskas

Edgar Santana

CATCHERS

Elias Diaz

Jacob Stallings

INFIELDERS

Christopher Bostick

Phil Gosselin

Max Moroff

Gift Ngoepe

OUTFIELDER

Jordan Luplow

 

I’m going on the assumption that this list will stay the same over the next 24 days and everyone stays healthy, which seems highly unlikely, but you work with what you have at the moment. The Pirates will call up some of those players on September 1st. The obvious ones seem to be Elias Diaz, Max Moroff and Dovydas Neverauskas. There will be more that day, as they will at least bring up a starter who will be used in long relief. The rest will come up when needed or once the Indianapolis season ends.

Here’s the thing with the list. It’s tough to completely write anyone off at this point. There are some more unlikely than others and no team actually carries 40 players, so don’t expect that to happen. I would have said Clay Holmes is unlikely, but we just had a quote that his innings are being monitored now so he’s available for later in the Major League season. Holmes was also hitting 99 MPH as a starter this season, so that would look nice as a possible reliever.

You could argue that with Glasnow, Kingham and Brault all guarantees to come up, that Drew Hutchison wouldn’t be necessary, but he isn’t pitching bad and does have a lot of Major League experience. Stallings will likely come up after the Indianapolis season is done, just because extra catchers are always kept around.  Ngoepe isn’t hitting at all, but his upside has always been as a defensive replacement/pinch-runner type and there is always room for that on the bench.

Gosselin and Bostick are sort of a repeat of each other. They’re not really the same player, but their role if they came up in September would be similar. They would be far down the depth chart players, so I don’t think both will be up. Bostick has more positions and more speed, but Gosselin has that Major League experience going for him and sometimes that’s the deciding factor. A power bat like Luplow always has a place and he’s the only legit outfielder in this group, although Bostick has put in a lot of time. I think Luplow will get the call when Indianapolis is done.

The basic point of this is that we could see a lot of players once Indianapolis sees their season end. The group above has 13 players with Major League experience, plus one in Kingham who needs to get some time in this year before he’s out of options next year, plus a player in Holmes who was specifically mentioned as someone who might see MLB time.

** The Pirates made some transactions between Bradenton and West Virginia yesterday. The biggest news was that Gage Hinsz was placed on the disabled list. We didn’t get word of the reason, but I will note that it was back-dated four days, so he is actually eligible to come off of the DL on Thursday. So for now, we will wait to see if he returns this week. If not, we will get an update.

Outfielder Alexis Bastardo was released and replaced on the active roster by Carlos Munoz. Bastardo was struggling at Bradenton and has really never been the same player he was in the DSL and GCL since he suffered a shoulder injury that caused him to miss a lot of time. Munoz has been the DH for West Virginia for awhile now, occasionally getting time at first base when Albert Baur rests. Munoz is also a free agent at the end of the season, so this just appears to be someone filling an open roster spot. I wouldn’t look into it as Will Craig possibly moving up, but it could happen at any point this late in the minor league season.

Catcher Brent Gibbs was activated from the disabled list to take the spot of Munoz. It appears for now that the Power will go with three catcher, with one of them likely serving as the DH in most games.

PLAYOFF PUSH

The Pirates trail in their division by 4.5 games. They are nine games back for the second wild card spot. (not updated due to late Cubs start time)

Indianapolis is in first place, with a two game lead. Their season ends September 4th.

Altoona is in second place, a 1/2 game behind. Their season ends September 4th.

Bradenton is in second place, 2.5 games behind. Their season ends September 3rd.

West Virginia is in fourth place, 1.5 games out of first. Their season ends September 4th.

Morgantown is in first place, a 1/2 game ahead. Their season ends September 7th.

Bristol is in last place, 18 games back. Their season ends August 31st.

The GCL Pirates are in third place, six games behind. Their season ends September 2nd.

The DSL Pirates are in third place, 3.5 games back. Their season ends August 26th.

PIRATES GAME GRAPH


Source: FanGraphs

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates won 3-0 over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night. The Pirates will send Chad Kuhl to the mound today for his 23rd start. He posted a 3.27 ERA in six July starts, then threw seven innings in his first start this month. The Tigers will counter with left-handed pitcher Matthew Boyd, who has a 5.35 ERA in 79 innings, with 59 strikeouts and a 1.65 WHIP. He has allowed at least three earned runs in each of his last 11 starts.

In the minors, Clay Holmes starts for Indianapolis tonight and he should be well rested. He made his last start on an extra day rest, and then the rains came after he faced just two batters, ending his night. A rain out on Sunday gave him an extra day rest for this start. So in the last 12 days, he has thrown 11 pitches. Casey Sadler starts for Altoona tonight, his third start of the season. He went five innings in each of the previous two outings. The DSL Pirates have off today after playing a doubleheader yesterday. Bristol plays a doubleheader today after a rain out yesterday.

MLB: Pittsburgh (55-57) vs Tigers (51-60) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Chad Kuhl (4.53 ERA, 46:90 BB/SO, 109.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (62-52) vs Buffalo (50-65) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Clay Holmes (3.43 ERA, 47:82 BB/SO, 86.2 IP)

AA: Altoona (58-54) vs Reading (59-53) 7:00 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter: Casey Sadler (3.80 ERA, 1:16 BB/SO, 21.1 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (61-49) @ Lakeland (49-57) 6:30 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter:  TBD

Low-A: West Virginia (53-57) vs Lakewood (60-54) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Stephan Meyer (5.14 ERA, 7:3 BB/SO, 7.0 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (28-19) vs Brooklyn (14-32) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD

Rookie: Bristol (9-35) vs Danville (24-20) 6:00 PM DH

GCL: Pirates (14-23) vs Phillies (21-14) 12:00 PM

DSL: Pirates (31-25) vs Cubs (29-25) 10:30 AM 8/9 (season preview)

HIGHLIGHTS

Here is Cole Tucker with an RBI single from Saturday. He’s off to a slow start at the higher level, but it’s a small sample size and he’s very young for the league.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

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.

7/31: Tony Watson traded to Los Angeles Dodgers for Oneil Cruz and Angel German

7/31: Seth McGarry traded to Philadelphia Phillies for Joaquin Benoit and cash

7/31: Brandon Waddell activated from disabled list. Miguel  Rosario assigned to Bradenton

THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY

Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus two transactions of note. We start with the trade and it’s one that helped the Pirates short-term, but really hurt long-term. On this date in 1990, the Pirates dealt Moises Alou, Willie Greene and Scott Ruskin to the Montreal Expos for pitcher Zane Smith. Pittsburgh got six wins the rest of the way from Smith and he stuck around for another four seasons, but Alou went on to become a great player, making six All-Star teams. He was considered to be a good trade piece because he was close to Major League ready, but the Pirates had no spot in the outfield for him.

On this date in 1934, the Pirates signed pitcher Burleigh Grimes, who was 40 years old at the time and nearing the end of his Hall of Fame career. This was his third and final tour with the Pirates and it didn’t go well, with a 7.24 ERA in 27.1 innings over eight appearances.

Players born on this date include:

Ross Ohlendorf, pitcher from 2008 until 2011. Will forever be remembered as the pitcher who won his arbitration case after a 1-11 season. For the record, he won just one game the next season as well.

Brett Gideon, pitcher during the 1987 season. He was traded to the Expos in a deal that worked out much better than the Moises Alou deal. The Pirates got Neal Heaton back and he spent three seasons in Pittsburgh, while Gideon pitched 5.2 innings for the Expos.

Mark Ross, pitched for Pirates in 1987 and 1990. Threw 12.2 innings over nine games for the 1990 NL East champs.

Clise Dudley, pitcher for the Pirates on September 15, 1933. He recorded one out, but not before allowing five earned runs, leaving him with the highest ERA (135.00) in team history. Other pitchers have failed to record an out, while giving up runs, but they get an “inf.” next to their name for infinite. I think I’d rather have that than a 135.00 ERA.

Billy Gumbert, pitcher for the franchise in 1890 and 1892. He did something you will never see again from a Major League pitcher. He also played for Louisville for one game in 1893, so it wasn’t just a coincidence from the team he was on. Gumbert was from Pittsburgh and only pitched home games, never traveling on the road. His only game for Louisville was as a fill-in when they were playing the Pirates and needed a pitcher on short notice. The official reason from the local papers at the time, was that he had business ventures he couldn’t be away from for any amount of time.

  • BallHeadWonder
    August 8, 2017 7:07 pm

    Johnny Barbato should NEVA see PNC Park again!! If he does, it is as a paying customer!!!

  • Zane Smith pitched in one of the greatest pitchers duels every seen In Three Rivers as he and Frank Viola battled in a one to one tie for eight innings in Game 1 of the doubleheader against the Mets in September 1990.

  • don’t know the genesis for the expanding rosters
    but they play 80% of the season mixing and matching the rosters
    then september happens what a fraud it is

  • The Zane Smith trade helped them win 3 division titles in a row and they were one Chico Lind error away from the WS. Alou turned into a good/great player, but that was a great trade for the Pirates (and Expos).

    • Don’t forget the Ump not calling strike 3 also.

    • Smith was around for four more years, but he was a free agent after 1990 and tested the market before signing with the Pirates. Seems like that could have happened without the trade, since he wasn’t convinced right away to sign after just playing with them.

  • the Alou trade seemed to set the precedent for future trades by the team. Move prospects for established players with the hope that they would win now and forget the future.

  • Zane smith helped the team win. But giving up Moses was in the end cost them. It will be an interesting roster next year. Frugality is what the theme is in MLB. At least for most teams. Diaz, Newman, Meadows, Glasnow are upgrades in upside. Meadows isn’t Cutch but he can be a very good player. Kingham, Brault add to the Pen. S Rod to me is here to be that jack of all trades guy. I see J Hay with that contract on the block as well. Newman, Frazier offer much cheaper options. Osuna needs to play. Love to see him make it at 3rd.

    • Yeah Moises woulda really changed those ’93- ballclubs…. 😉

    • I’m with you on Osuna, they have to insist on him playing winter ball for someone exclusively at 3rd. With that said if Kang comes back next year this team will be a threat to Chicago.

  • Danny Ortiz and Jhan Marinez were both DFA’d on the same day. Ortiz has been outrighted to Indy. What does that mean for Marinez? Has he been completely released or has a team claimed him and we are working out a deal? I am not sure how these rules work.

  • This is my take:

    PITCHERS
    Johnny Barbato
    * Steven Brault
    * Tyler Glasnow
    Clay Holmes
    Drew Hutchison
    * Nick Kingham
    * Dovydas Neverauskas
    * Edgar Santana

    CATCHERS

    *Elias Diaz
    *Jacob Stallings

    INFIELDERS

    Christopher Bostick
    Phil Gosselin
    *Max Moroff
    *Gift Ngoepe

    OUTFIELDER
    *Jordan Luplow

    =====================
    and as Bucsws2014 said….bench (or even DFA) Hudson.

  • Did I miss the second trade of note? I see the Zane Smith deal, the Grimes signing, and that Gideon was born on this day and eventually traded, but not a second trade of note?

  • You know that video of Cutch and others sprinting to give SRod a hug on his return?

    Now picture them all running the other way upon seeing Gosselin return.

    Kingham is necessary. Players with actual defined roles would be Dovydas and Gift and Diaz. If you need a spare part for that potential 19-inning game, then Moroff is that guy. I can see giving Hutch an opportunity to showcase. Beyond that… sounds like unnecessary chaos, including Glasnow/Brault unless CH is absolutely going to bench Hudson for all September.

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