Morning Report: A Looks at How the Opening Day Rotations Have Fared This Season

Shortly after the minor league season started, I took a look at how the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired all of their starting pitchers for the four full-season affiliates. Today I wanted to look at how those rotations have changed over the last four months. I copied the lists from that article and posted it below, then gave brief updates on how the season has gone for each pitcher. I’ll note that Indianapolis had six pitchers during the first week, while (at the time) Pedro Vasquez and Gage Hinsz were expected back soon and supposed to start for the teams listed, so they were on the list.


Tyler Eppler – He started off strong for the entire first half of the season, but recent results have been below average. Had a 3.06 ERA before the All-Star break and 5.49 since.

Clay Holmes – Has had a few stints with the Pirates this year, totaling 17 innings pitched. Was our Pitcher of the Month in June.

Nick Kingham – Went on a nice run early in the season, earning a spot with the Pirates and for the most part was very good until the last couple of outings. Has allowed 13 runs and 23 hits in 13 innings since returning to minors.

Austin Coley – Had a tough time in Triple-A, then went to Altoona and has been injured recently. Has only pitched 50.2 innings this year.

Alex McRae – Hasn’t pitched well in Triple-A, but great timing got him to the majors twice for two relief appearances.

Casey Sadler – Made eight starts, pitched in short relief and long relief, made it briefly to the majors and has been designated for assignment. So there have been a lot of twists to his season.


Mitch Keller – Got off to a somewhat rocky start, rebounded very nicely. Got promoted to Indianapolis.  Got off to a very rocky start, but has been much better in his last three outings.

Dario Agrazal – Right shoulder strain caused him to miss two months, but he’s been very good when he’s healthy, albeit with a very low strikeout rate.

Taylor Hearn – Was pitching great before he was traded away to Texas at the trade deadline. In case you’re wondering, he had one strong start with Texas and two poor starts since.

Pedro Vasquez – Missed time with illness and an arm injury. Got demoted to Bradenton and has struggled for most of the season.

JT Brubaker – Didn’t last long in Altoona. Pitched great, moved up to Indianapolis, where it took him some time to adjust, but he has been the best pitcher in the system lately.

Brandon Waddell – Pitched strong in Altoona, then moved up after Brubaker. Started off poorly in Triple-A, rebounded for an outstanding July that earned him our Pitcher of the Month, but he has struggled in August.


Gage Hinsz – Has been out all season due to open heart surgery. Is expected back next year and has been down at Pirate City recently.

Oddy Nunez – Had some great outings this year (remember the no-hitter?), mixed with lower velocity and control issues. That has caused him to be demoted to West Virginia, where he has pitched well so far.

Luis Escobar – Control issues and a lower strikeout rate were an issue in Bradenton, yet he got promoted anyway. He didn’t look ready for the level and still doesn’t, but the pure stuff is there still.

Eduardo Vera – Was the best pitcher on the team early on and got promoted to Altoona at the end of May. Has had two poor outings with the Curve and a third where he got hit with a line drive on his forearm by the second batter of the game, but otherwise has been strong in his 12 other outings.

Cam Vieaux – Pitched average in Bradenton, got promoted to Altoona and started great there through five games. Has a 5.32 ERA in eight games since then.

James Marvel – Put in decent results and a lot of innings with Bradenton. That recently led to a promotion to Altoona, where he has had three nice starts.

West Virginia

Sergio Cubilete – Was only briefly in the rotation at first because he got hit in the face with a line drive. He’s made some starts recently with mediocre overall results this season.

Domingo Robles – Then only one in this West Virginia group that didn’t miss time due to injury. The 20-year-old southpaw pitched well and got a promotion to Bradenton for three starts so far.

Braeden Ogle – Was looking good until shoulder inflammation shut him down in late April. His rehab kept having setbacks, so it’s basically been a lost season since then.

Travis MacGregor – He’s been injured twice, once with a deltoid issue and now a forearm problem. He made 17 starts this season, though two were limited due to the injuries and two were rehab, so he didn’t quite get in an inning total you would like to see. If he’s healthy in a month, maybe he gets some added innings during fall instructs.

Gavin Wallace – He put up decent numbers and got a promotion to Bradenton last month. Strikeouts have been up recently, which is a good sign.


The Pirates are in fourth place in their division, trailing by 9.5 games with 35 games left on the schedule. They trail the second wild card team by 6.5 games.

Indianapolis is tied for first place with 13 games left in their schedule.

Altoona is in second place and trails by a 1/2 game with 14 games left in their schedule. They lead the race for the second playoff spot by six games.

Bradenton is in sixth place and trails by 13 games with 13 games left in their schedule.

West Virginia is in fourth place and trails by ten games with 12 games left in their schedule. They trail the second place team in the overall standings by 3.5 games and could make the playoffs if Lakewood wins the second half title and the Power finishes second.

Morgantown is in sixth place and they trail by ten games with 13 games left in their schedule.

Bristol is tied for second place and trails by 4.5 games with nine games left in their schedule. They are tied for second place with tonight’s opponent. The second place team also gets a playoff spot.

The GCL Pirates have been eliminated from the playoff race.

The DSL Pirates1 have been eliminated from the playoff race.

The DSL Pirates2 have been eliminated from the playoff race.


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 6-1 to the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night. Trevor Williams will get the start today, coming off of his outing on August 17th when he gave up one run over seven innings against the Chicago Cubs. The Braves will counter with right-hander Julio Teheran, who has a 4.24 ERA in 133.2 innings, with 124 strikeouts and a 1.22 WHIP. He has allowed three earned runs over 13 innings in his last two starts combined.

The minor league schedule includes Brandon Waddell going for Indianapolis. After being named as our Pitcher of the Month for July, he has a 5.87 ERA in August. Altoona’s Luis Escobar has not lasted more than five innings in any of his last four starts. Morgantown’s Osvaldo Bido has allowed one run over 12 innings, while striking out 16 batters, in his last two starts combined. Bristol has a doubleheader today after a rain out yesterday. Colin Selby will start one of the games. West Virginia has off today. The GCL/DSL seasons wrap up on Saturday.

MLB: Pittsburgh (63-64) vs Braves (70-55) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Trevor Williams (3.53 ERA, 86:43 SO/BB, 130.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (68-59) vs Columbus (68-59) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Brandon Waddell (4.70 ERA, 48:30 SO/BB, 67.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (69-55) vs Harrisburg (63-61) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Luis Escobar (4.91 ERA, 21:20 SO/BB, 29.1 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (54-65) vs Charlotte (67-56) 6:30 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter: Pedro Vasquez (7.16 ERA, 5:2 SO/BB, 8.1 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (63-58) @ Rome (65-59) 7:00 PM 8/23 (season preview)
Probable starter: Oddy Nunez (2.37 ERA, 9:2 SO/BB, 19.0 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (25-38) vs Batavia (28-34) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Osvaldo Bido (4.17 ERA, 46:14 SO/BB, 58.1 IP)

Rookie: Bristol (29-30) @ Kingsport (29-30) 4:00 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: Colin Selby (4.42 ERA, 35:12 SO/BB, 36.2 IP) and TBD

GCL: Pirates (25-24) vs Tigers West 12:00 PM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates1 (32-36) vs Dodgers Guerrero 10:30 AM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates2 (26-42) vs Giants 10:30 AM (season preview)


From Altoona, Will Craig crushes his 20th homer. From the highlights we’ve seen of his homers, there aren’t many cheap homers. Most are no doubt shots

Also from the previous Altoona game, Cole Tucker collects a two-run double.


8/21: Pirates recall Clay Holmes. Jordan Luplow optioned to Indianapolis.

8/21: Casey Sadler sent outright to Indianapolis.

8/20: Mariano Dotel, Braham Rosario and Jose Maldonado promoted from DSL to GCL Pirates. Yerry De Los Santos and Lizardy Dicent promoted from the GCL to Bristol.

8/20: Travis MacGregor placed on disabled list. Logan Stoelke promoted to West Virginia.

8/20: Pirates recall Steven Brault. Option Buddy Boshers to Indianapolis.

8/19: Bligh Madris activated from Bradenton disabled list. Justin Harrer returned to GCL Pirates

8/18: Stephen Alemais activated from the disabled list. Logan Ratledge placed on Altoona disabled list.

8/18: Manny Bejerano promoted to Morgantown.

8/18: Pat Dorrian promoted  to Bristol.

8/17: Pirates sign Carlos Canache.

8/17: Sherten Apostel sent to Texas Rangers as the PTBNL in the Keone Kela trade.

8/16: Pirates recall Kevin Newman and Jordan Luplow. Jacob Stallings optioned to Indianapolis.

8/16: Jordy Mercer placed on disabled list.

8/16: Casey Sadler designated for assignment.

8/16: Brad Case promoted to Bristol.

8/15: Travis Swaggerty, Luke Mangieri and Connor Kaiser promoted to West Virginia.

8/15: Dylan Busby activated from West Virginia disabled list. Oneil Cruz placed on disabled list.

8/15: Montana DuRapau placed on disabled list.

8/15: Nick Burdi assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

8/14: Pirates sign Johan Montero.

8/14: West Virginia assigns Ben Bengtson, Fabricio Macias and Kyle Watson to Morgantown.

8/14: Bligh Madris placed on disabled list. Justin Harrer promoted to Bradenton.

8/14: Shane Baz traded as the player to be named later to the Rays.

8/13: AJ Schugel assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

8/13: Jackson Williams activated from Indianapolis disabled list.

8/12: Miami Marlins acquire Christopher Bostick for cash.

8/12: Pirates recall Jacob Stallings. Option Jordan Luplow.

8/12: Stephen Alemais placed on the DL. Jin-De Jhang added to Altoona roster.


Six former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus one of the longest games in Major League history.

Doug Bair, 1976 and 1989-90 pitcher. Bair has the longest period between appearances with the Pirates. He was a 2nd round pick of the Pirates in 1971 and he pitched 584 games in the majors.

Wally Hebert, 1943 pitcher. Before the Pirates took him in the Rule 5 draft after the 1942 season, the last time Hebert played Major League ball was in 1933 for the St Louis Browns. After throwing 184 innings in his only season in Pittsburgh, he retired from baseball.

Lyle Bigbee, 1921 pitcher. His brother Carson played 11 season for the Pirates, while the older Bigbee got in five relief appearances during his time in Pittsburgh.

Harry Swacina, 1907-08 first baseman. Pirates paid $3,000 to purchase his contract from the minors. He .200 in 26 September games in 1907 and .216 in 53 games in 1908 before he was released.

Ned Hanlon, Hall of Fame manager, who played outfielder and managed for Pittsburgh in 1889 and 1891. You can read a bio for Hanlon here, covering his time in Pittsburgh.

Howie Camnitz. Pitched nine seasons in Pittsburgh, winning 116 games. In 1909 when the Pirates won their first World Series, he won 25 games, which hasn’t been topped by a Pirates’ pitcher since. Camnitz had a 1.56 ERA in 1908 and 1.62 in 1909, giving him the second and third best season ERA’s in franchise history. He threw a five inning no-hitter during the 1907 season. His brother Harry pitched for the 1909 team. A full bio for Camnitz can be found here.

On this date in 1917, the Pirates and the Brooklyn Robins played 22 innings at Ebbets Field. Reliever Elmer Jacobs took the loss despite allowing one run in 16.2 innings. Carson Bigbee had six hits. You can view the boxscore here. The Pirates had already played extra innings in three straight games before this one.




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