The minor league season began yesterday for three of the four full-season affiliates of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Indianapolis Indians open up their season tonight with Nick Kingham on the mound and a roster full of top 50 prospects. I wanted to use this space to show where the top prospects in the system are right now.
I broke this down into three groups, so you can see both the strength and the depth for each club. I’m going to list how many top ten prospects are with each club first. Then the top 30, followed by the top 50 prospects. The prospects are in one of six places right now. Either they are with one of the four full-season affiliates, with the Pirates, or in Extended Spring Training.
If you have our 2018 Prospect Guide, then you have the top 50 list available. I made a slight adjustments to that list to take off Tristan Gray (traded to Rays) and Jordan Milbrath (returned to Indians). In their place, I’m using the players who were our #51 and #52 ranked prospects, Ike Schlabach and Jacob Stallings.
Pirates – 1
Indianapolis – 2
Altoona – 5
Bradenton – 0
West Virginia – 1
EST – 1
Pirates – 4
Indianapolis – 7
Altoona – 11
Bradenton – 2
West Virginia – 4
EST – 2
Pirates – 4
Indianapolis – 11
Altoona – 15
Bradenton – 5
West Virginia – 9
EST – 6
As you can see, it’s a fairly top heavy system, but the draft should help even that out in the mid-season rankings. Plus there are a few players in Extended Spring Training who could move up quickly when they get ranked for the first time, like Ji-Hwan Bae, Jean Eusebio and Sherten Apostel. You would also have some upper level players who lose their prospect status by then, such as Dovydas Neverauskas, Edgar Santana, Colin Moran and possibly Max Moroff, Jordan Luplow and Kyle Crick, who all have some decent MLB time in already, but not enough to lose prospect status yet.
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates won 5-2 over the Cincinnati Reds. Trevor Williams gets the start for the Pirates tonight. He threw six shutout/no-hit innings in his debut. He’s starting against 25-year-old right-hander Luis Castillo, who allowed six runs over five innings in his debut.
The minor league schedule began yesterday with three games, and tonight all four full-season affiliates are in action. Top 30 prospects Nick Kingham and Dario Agrazal get the starts for the upper two levels, while James Marvel and Travis MacGregor get the other starts. MacGregor showed some nice improvements this spring, so he could be one to watch.
MLB: Pittsburgh (5-1) vs Reds (1-4) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Trevor Williams (0.00 ERA, 1:5 SO/BB, 6.0 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (0-0) vs Columbus (0-0) 7:15 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Nick Kingham (NR)
AA: Altoona (1-0) vs Akron (0-1) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Dario Agrazal (NR)
High-A: Bradenton (0-1) @ St Lucie (1-0) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: James Marvel (NR)
Low-A: West Virginia (0-1) vs Greenville (1-0) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Travis MacGregor (NR)
From Wednesday’s Pirates game, Josh Bell’s home run. We should be able to start using minor league highlights most of the time, starting tomorrow.
4/2: Pirates place Joe Musgrove on DL; Recall Clay Holmes
3/31: Pirates release Clark Eagan
3/29: Pirates placed AJ Schugel on disabled list.
3/28: Pirates release seven minor league players, including Barrett Barnes and Cody Dickson
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Pirates pitcher and Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven was born on this date in 1951. He pitched three seasons for the Pirates from 1978 until 1980. Blyleven posted a 34-28, 3.47 record with the Pirates in 697.2 innings. That includes 12 wins during the 1979 season, when he helped the Pirates to their fifth World Series title. During his career, he won 287 games and struck out 3,701 batters, which ranks fifth all-time. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2011.
Pirates third baseman Sonny Senerchia was also born on this date, twenty years before Blyleven. His entire big league career consisted of 29 games for the 1952 Pirates.
On this date in 1971, the Pirates opened up their fourth World Series winning season with a 4-2 win over the Phillies. The lineup had three Hall of Famers that day: