The Pittsburgh Pirates haven’t been known for their minor league power in quite some time. There have been players here and there, but as an organization, the power has been lacking. Today I’m going to look at the power numbers for each affiliate compared to the teams in their leagues. For each of the nine affiliates, I have listed where they stand in their leagues in both homers and slugging, while looking back at where each affiliate finished last year to show any changes from last year to this season.
We start with Indianapolis, where they rank ninth out of 14 teams in the International League in home runs with 69 in 98 games. They are first in slugging (.420), due to the most doubles in the league and the highest batting average. Last year they were tenth in homers (104 in 142 games) and fourth in slugging.
Altoona ranks 11th out of 12 teams in homers, with 67 in 96 games. That seems surprising, mostly because of Will Craig, but Logan Hill and Jason Martin have also contributed their share of homers. Altoona ranks 11th with a .381 slugging percentage. The Curve finished ninth in both homers and slugging last year.
Bradenton was tied for second going into Monday’s game with 71 homers. Hunter Owen added his 13th home run of the season last night to add to that team total. The Marauders are alone in second with a .395 slugging percentage. They hit just 78 homers all of last year, but in the Florida State League, that was enough for fourth most. Their .379 had them in second place.
West Virginia ranks ninth in the 14-team South Atlantic League with 65 homers and they are tied for seventh with a .379 slugging percentage. They finished fourth last year with 92 homers, which is about the pace they are on this season. Their .381 slugging was also fourth, so the league is seeing more power this year.
Morgantown is tied for fifth with 17 homers in the 14-team NY-Penn League. They are sixth with a .358 slugging percentage. They are basically at the same pace as last year, when they finished fifth with 36 homers and fourth with a .355 slugging.
Bristol added to their home run total last night, getting two from Yondry Contreras, who had zero before that game. Going into play last night, they were sixth in the ten-team Appalachian League with 20 round trippers. The league had a pretty wide split between the top five teams and the bottom five, so last night’s homers didn’t affect anything. Pirates rank seventh with a .378 slugging. Last year they were last with 31 homers and ninth with a .362 slugging.
The GCL has 18 teams this year and Pirates rank eighth with 11 homers and ninth with a .368 slugging. They were tied for the lead with 34 homers last year thanks to Mason Martin, and they had a .374 slugging. That is only six points higher than this year, but it ranked them second last year.
The DSL Pirates1 rank tied for 17th with 13 homers. That sounds bad until you realize the league has 44 teams. The Pirates2 are tied for 15th with 14 homers. The Pirates1 are tied for seventh with a .361 slugging, while Pirates2 come in 26th with their .320 slugging. Just in case you wondered, there is a team (the only A’s affiliate) that has a .245 slugging. Pirates only had one affiliate last year and they were 12th with 20 homers and 31st (out of 40 teams) with a .310 slugging.
So you have a lot of middle of the road power as far as leagues go, with the slugging by Indianapolis ranking first in their league and Bradenton near the top of their league in overall hitting.
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates won 7-0 over the Cleveland Indians last night. Joe Musgrove will get the start today, coming off of his last outing on July 15th when he allowed five runs over 7.2 innings against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Indians will counter with right-hander Shane Bieber, who has a 3.53 ERA in 43.1 innings, with 42 strikeouts and an 1.43 WHIP. He gave up three runs over seven innings against the New York Yankees in his last start
The minor league schedule includes the second Altoona start for Luis Escobar, who gave up three runs over six innings in his Double-A debut last week. Brandon Waddell gets the start for Indianapolis today. He has allowed four runs over his last 19.1 innings. West Virginia had their game postponed yesterday. Domingo Robles goes during game one of a doubleheader today and Max Kranick gets the second game. Robles allowed five earned runs in his last start. It was the first time since May that he gave up more than two earned runs in an outing. Kranick had a career high nine strikeouts in his last outing. Bradenton starter James Marvel has thrown seven innings in each of his last four starts.
MLB: Pittsburgh (52-49) @ Indians (54-45) 7:10 PM
Probable starter: Joe Musgrove (4.08 ERA, 50:16 SO/BB, 53.0 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (52-46) vs Rochester (44-53) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Brandon Waddell (4.95 ERA, 32:16 SO/BB, 40.0 IP)
AA: Altoona (51-45) @ Akron (60-40) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Luis Escobar (4.50 ERA, 3:2 SO/BB, 6.0 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (47-49) @ Tampa (49-51) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: James Marvel (3.73 ERA, 88:25 SO/BB, 115.2 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (50-44) @ Kannapolis (53-43) 5:05 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: Domingo Robles (3.38 ERA, 79:21 SO/BB, 96.0 IP) and Max Kranick (3.86 ERA, 42:14 SO/BB, 46.2 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (14-22) vs Aberdeen (13-21) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD (0.00 ERA, 0:0 SO/BB, 0.0 IP)
Rookie: Bristol (14-17) @ Bluefield (22-10) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Oliver Garcia (9.00 ERA, 14:18 SO/BB, 18.0 IP)
GCL: Pirates (12-14) vs Yankees West 12:00 PM (season preview)
DSL: Pirates1 (21-22) vs Cubs1 10:30 AM (season preview)
DSL: Pirates2 (17-25) vs Tigers2 10:30 AM (season preview)
From Altoona on Sunday, Taylor Hearn tossed six shutout innings and picked up nine strikeouts. Here’s the final pitch of his day.
7/23: Cody Bolton placed on disabled list. Oddy Nunez demoted to West Virginia.
7/23: Pirates select contract of Casey Sadler. Max Moroff optioned to Indianapolis. Josh Smoker designated for assignment.
7/23: Nick Burdi assigned to Altoona on rehab.
7/23: Jacob Webb promoted to Bristol. Juan Henriquez assigned to GCL Pirates from Morgantown.
7/23: Will Gardner promoted to Morgantown.
7/22: Bralin Jackson placed on Altoona disabled list.
7/21: Christopher Bostick activated from Indianapolis disabled list. Alfredo Reyes assigned to Altoona.
7/20: Sean Rodriguez activated from disabled list. Tanner Anderson optioned to Indianapolis.
7/19: Pirates release Johan De Jesus and Adonis Pichardo.
7/19: Chris Sharpe placed on West Virginia DL. Robbie Glendinning promoted from Morgantown.
7/16: Nick Burdi assigned to Bradenton on rehab.
7/16: Eric Wood placed on disabled list. Alfredo Reyes promoted to Indianapolis.
7/16: Pedro Vasquez placed on disabled list. Luis Escobar promoted to Altoona.
7/16: Jake Brentz activated from Bradenton disabled list.
7/16: Christopher Bostick assigned to GCL on rehab.
7/15: Pirates sign Alexander Mojica
7/15: Austin Meadows optioned to Indianapolis. Pirates recall Tanner Anderson
7/15: Clay Holmes optioned to Indianapolis
7/14: Austin Coley activated from Altoona disabled list.
7/14: Bo Schultz placed on Indianapolis disabled list. Jackson Williams activated from DL.
7/14: Pirates place Francisco Cervelli on DL. Recall Jacob Stallings and Clay Holmes.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a game of note from the 1901 season. Besides Barry Bonds, who has a bio linked above, there have been three other Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date.
Joe Oliver caught for the 1999 Pirates. He was mentioned here yesterday, when the Pirates traded away Jose Guillen as part of a four-player deal to acquire Oliver from the Devil Rays. The trade was made necessary by the season-ending injury to Jason Kendall. In 45 games for the Pirates, Oliver hit .201 and drove in 13 runs.
Preston Ward was a utility player for the Pirates from 1953 until 1956. He played first base, third base and right field while in Pittsburgh, hitting .240 in 305 games. Ward came to the Pirates from the Cubs in the ten-player deal that sent Ralph Kiner to Chicago, which is one of the biggest deals in team history.
Joe Schultz Sr, infielder for the 1916 Pirates. He hit .260 in 77 games for the Pirates and saw playing time at five different positions. Schultz is one of the rare father-son combos in team history, as his son played for Pittsburgh from 1939 until 1941. You can make his family connection with the Pirates even more rare, as his cousin was outfielder Hans Lobert, who was the member of the 1903 NL champs. Schultz Sr also had another cousin named Frank Lobert, who played in the majors and lived in Pittsburgh, but never played for his hometown team.
Finally, we have something from the 1901 season that you rarely see. The Pirates that year won their first NL pennant and on July 24th, they beat the Reds by an 11-2 score at home. What was interesting about that game was the fact the Pirates scored all eight innings they came to the plate. You can read a recap of the game in the link above.