Morning Report: The Pirates Might Be Adding a New Prep Pitching Prospect Tonight

The MLB draft takes place over the next three days, with the event kicking off tonight. The Pirates have the tenth overall pick, and one of the top draft bonus pools overall. You should check out our draft rankings, along with our Draft Pick Signing Tracker to get prepared for everything.

We’ll be providing updates today with the final mock drafts, plus any news and notes that come along. The site is going to be primarily draft coverage the next few days, with the typical flood of articles and updates from every pick. Before we get going, let’s take a quick recap of the projected first round pick for the Pirates, which by most mock drafts is going to be a prep pitcher.

Baseball America has the Pirates taking prep right-handed pitcher Carter Stewart. They also said that the Pirates could be the highest spot for a guy like prep outfielder Jordyn Adams, who has high bonus demands and could be a tough sign if he goes lower.

Stewart has a plus curveball and a plus fastball that can hit 97-98 MPH. BA says he has some of the best stuff in the draft, rivaled by only projected first overall pick Casey Mize. Adams is one of the most athletic players in the draft, with BA saying he has 70-80 grade speed and some scouts giving him 60 power right now. He’s a two-sport athlete who plays football, and is seen as a strong wide receiver, with his baseball skills raising questions due to a raw approach at the plate.

Jonathan Mayo had a mock draft leading into the weekend where he had the Pirates taking prep right-hander Cole Winn. He’s got a fastball that has reached 96, along with a curveball and slider, with the curve being ahead of the slider. He also mentions Grayson Rodriguez as a possibility. Rodriguez is trending up, but rates 24th in BA’s rankings. He’s got a fastball that sits mid-90s and can touch 97-98.

Keith Law has prep lefty Matthew Liberatore slipping to the Pirates, but also says they’ve been linked to a lot of prep pitchers, including Stewart. Liberatore ranks second in the BA rankings, third from Law, and fourth from MLB.com.

The consensus seems to be that the Pirates will be taking a prep pitcher with their first pick. It is interesting that both BA and Mayo have the Pirates linked to a lower ranked player who has the talent to be a top guy, and is developing late. They might not get a chance to go for a guy like Adams or Rodriguez in the second round, and if they think one of those guys is good enough for the number ten pick, then they could make the selection, similar to what they did with Cole Tucker in 2014.

We’ve got draft coverage coming to you all day, with full coverage of the first day picks tonight. We’re offering a big subscription discount of 18% off from now through the draft, so that you can follow all of our updates and coverage. To get the discount, use the code MLBDRAFT for an Annual subscription, or MLBDRAFT3 for a Top Prospect Plan.

PLAYOFF PUSH

Bradenton is in third place in their division, four games behind the leader with 14 games remaining in the first half.

West Virginia is in fourth place in their division, 7.5 games behind the leader with 16 games remaining in the first half.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 5-0 to the St Louis Cardinals on Sunday. The Pirates have off today so they can return home for a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Pirates will send Joe Musgrove to the mound for his third start. He allowed one run over seven innings against the Chicago Cubs in his last start. The Dodgers will counter with right-hander Ross Stripling, who has a 1.68 ERA in 48.1 innings, with 59 strikeouts and a 1.14 WHIP. He allowed one run over seven innings against the Philadelphia Phillies in his last start.

The minor league schedule is quiet today, which I’m thankful for during the first night of the draft. Bradenton has the only game among the full-season teams and both DSL clubs are in action. Luis Escobar starts for thee Marauders, making his first appearance in 11 days due to rain outs and an off-day. In his last start he allowed two runs over six innings.

MLB: Pittsburgh (30-29) vs Dodgers (29-30) 2:15 PM 6/5
Probable starter: Joe Musgrove (0.64 ERA, 12:4 SO/BB, 14.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (27-27) @ Rochester (28-24) 7:05 PM 6/5 (season preview)
Probable starter: Brandon Waddell (27.00 ERA, 0:4 SO/BB, 1.2 IP)

AA: Altoona (26-26) vs Reading (23-31) 7:00 PM 6/5 (season preview)
Probable starter: Eduardo Vera (1.29 ERA, 3:0 SO/BB, 7.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (28-23) vs Florida (22-29) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Luis Escobar (3.94 ERA, 40:18 SO/BB, 48.0 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (26-25) vs Lexington (30-23) 7:05 PM 6/5 (season preview)
Probable starter: Max Kranick (1.74 ERA, 6:3 SO/BB, 10.1 IP)

DSL: Pirates1 (0-1) vs Cubs 10:30 AM

DSL: Pirates2 (0-1) vs Colorado 10:30 AM

HIGHLIGHTS

From Saturday night in Bradenton, Jung Ho Kang hits a grand slam.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

6/3: Cam Vieaux promoted to Altoona. Garrett Brown added to Bradenton roster.

6/3: Austin Coley placed on disabled list.

6/2: Tyler Gaffney promoted to Altoona. Mitchell Tolman assigned to Bradenton.

6/2: Reymundo Pena released.

6/1: Jung Ho Kang assigned to Bradenton

6/1: Montana DuRapau assigned to Altoona. Elvis Escobar placed on disabled list.

5/30: Brandon Waddell promoted to Indianapolis. Jerrick Suiter assigned to Morgantown.

5/30: Eduardo Vera promoted to Altoona.

5/29: Dario Agrazal placed on DL. Bryan Reynolds added to Altoona roster.

5/29: Joel Cesar activated from West Virginia DL. Blake Weiman promoted to Bradenton.

5/29: Brett McKinney released.

5/28: Ivan Nova placed on disabled list. Pirates recall Nick Kingham.

5/28: Pirates released George Kontos.

5/27: Raul Hernandez placed on disabled list. Yoel Gonzalez added to West Virginia roster.

5/26: Starling Marte activated from disabled list. Jose Osuna optioned to Indianapolis.

5/25: JT Brubaker assigned to Altoona. Austin Coley assigned to Altoona.

5/25: Jacob Taylor retired. Kevin Mahala was released.

THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY

Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a major trade of note. We start with the trade and it involved a Hall of Famer in his prime. On this date in 1953, the Pirates traded All-Star outfielder Ralph Kiner to the Chicago Cubs as part of a ten-player deal. They also sent three other players to Chicago, receiving six players and $150,000 back, which back then was a significant total. The Pirates ended up getting almost nothing from the six players they got, but didn’t lose much when Kiner hurt his back and his stats fell off quickly before retiring in 1955. What they gained was some payroll relief from Kiner’s salary, plus the ability to spend money on some young players over the next few years. While the return looked bad, it could have been much worse if Kiner remained a star.

Two of the players born on this date were significant players with the Pirates. Tony Pena caught for the Pirates from 1980 until 1986, then was traded to the Cardinals for a return that helped the Pirates to three straight NL East pennants.  He was an All-Star and a Gold Glove winner for the Pirates, hitting .286 over 801 games with the team. Before the 1987 season, he was traded for Andy Van Slyke, Mike LaValliere and pitcher Mike Dunne, who had one strong season in Pittsburgh. Van Slyke and LaValliere played big roles during the 1990-92 playoff run.

Bob Klinger pitched for the Pirates from 1938 until 1943, then served in the military for two years before returning to baseball. He won 62 games with Pittsburgh and had a 3.74 ERA, splitting him time between roles, with 129 starts and 80 relief appearances.

Others born on this date include 1974-77 pitcher Larry Demery, 1914-15 pitcher Herb Kelly, and 1901 catcher George Yeager, who played for the first pennant winner in franchise history.

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