Morning Report: A Look at How the Pirates Acquired Their 40-Man Roster

Over the last two days, I took a look at how the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired their minor league starting pitchers and the position players for their four full-season affiliates. Today we jump to the big league roster, looking at how the Pirates put together their 40-man roster.

There are obviously some players who were on the minor league lists over the last two days, and also on the 40-man roster. For this exercise, I’m including Chad Kuhl and Edgar Santana, who were both placed on the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster. After I show a breakdown of the 40-man roster, you’ll also see how many players are left from previous seasons, showing how long the Pirates have had these players.

Two notes on players. Nick Burdi is a Rule 5 player, but he was acquired via trade, so that’s how he is listed below. Jung Ho Kang is listed as a free agent because he doesn’t fall in the standard international player group. Different rules apply to professional players from overseas.

Here are the 42 players broken down into their categories:

Draft: Jameson Taillon, Josh Bell, Jacob Stallings, Chad Kuhl, Kevin Newman, Adam Frazier, Kevin Kramer, Cole Tucker, Mitch Keller, JT Brubaker, Clay Holmes, Nick Kingham

International: Elias Diaz, Gregory Polanco, Jose Osuna, Dovydas Neverauskas, Starling Marte, Pablo Reyes, Edgar Santana, Luis Escobar

Trade: Chris Archer, Nick Burdi, Francisco Cervelli, Keone Kela, Jason Martin, Joe Musgrove, Michael Feliz, Colin Moran, Trevor Williams, Felipe Vazquez, Kyle Crick, Steven Brault, Erik Gonzalez, Corey Dickerson

Free Agent: Melky Cabrera, JB Shuck, Francisco Liriano, Richard Rodriguez, Jordan Lyles, Lonnie Chisenhall, Jung Ho Kang

Waivers: Jesus Liranzo

As you can see from the list, more than half of the players (22 of 42) were not homegrown players. The flip side to having a roster that isn’t as homegrown as you like to see, is that the Pirates needed to trade a total 11 draft picks/international signings to get all of those players that they trade for who are currently on the 40-man roster.

Now here’s a look at the players remaining from previous seasons. This is just guys who were in the majors during that year. The first number below is the remaining players, even if they are currently in the minors. The second number is the total players used by the Pirates during that season. Francisco Liriano isn’t counted during the earlier years because he came back via free agency.

2018: 31 of 48

2017: 16 of 47

2016: 13 of 55

2015: 5 of 46

2014: 2 of 45 (Polanco and Marte)

Starling Marte is the only player remaining from before 2014. He debuted in 2012. Some of the turnover happens during the season, but it’s interesting to note that only 1/3 of the players from the 2017 team are still around two years later. There has also been a lot of change since that great team that won 98 games in 2015.


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 3-2 to the Washington Nationals on Saturday. They will now send Jameson Taillon to the mound to face right-hander Max Scherzer. Taillon is coming off of a two-inning outing against the Chicago Cubs, where he allowed six runs, though none of them were earned. He gave up one run over seven innings in his previous start. Scherzer is also making his fourth start. He has a 3.32 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and 28 strikeouts in 19 innings this season.

The minor league schedule includes the second starts for Braeden Ogle and Rookie Davis, and the third starts for James Marvel and Domingo Robles. Davis lasted just 3.1 innings in his debut for Indianapolis, allowing five runs on four hits and four walks. Marvel has had two vastly different starts, throwing six shutout innings with one hit and nine strikeouts on Opening Day, then following it up with four runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings. Domingo Robles threw six shutout innings in his debut, then had five no-hit innings in his next start, before allowing three runs in the sixth. Braeden Ogle allowed one run over five innings in his debut for Greensboro.

The full 2019 Pirates Prospects Prospect Guide is now available, up to date as of April 3rd, with every player in the minor league system. Includes full reports on the top 50 prospects, reports on over 150 other players, as well as looks back at the recent drafts and international signing classes.

MLB: Pittsburgh (7-6) @ Washington (7-6) 1:35 PM
Probable starter: Jameson Taillon (3.00 ERA, 13:4 SO/BB, 15.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (6-3) vs Charlotte (6-4) 1:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Rookie Davis (13.50 ERA, 3:4 SO/BB, 3.1 IP)

AA: Altoona (6-4) vs Akron (3-7) 2:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: James Marvel (3.09 ERA, 12:2 SO/BB, 11.2 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (7-3) @ Dunedin (6-4) 1:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Domingo Robles (2.25 ERA, 7:1 SO/BB, 12.0 IP)

Low-A: Greensboro (5-5) @ Charleston (5-5) 5:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Braeden Ogle (1.80 ERA, 5:1 SO/BB, 5.0 IP)


From Indianapolis, Trayvon Robinson had back-to-back four-hit nights, including two doubles and two triples on Friday. Here’s one of those triples

Here is Will Craig stealing home…because you needed proof that it happened


4/13: John Bormann placed on injured list. Dean Lockery added to Bradenton roster.

4/11: Ji-Hwan Bae and Zac Susi added to Greensboro roster. Raul Siri and Steven Jennings assigned to Extended Spring Training

4/11: Kevin Newman placed on injured list. Pirates recalled Kevin Kramer

4/11: Alfredo Reyes promoted from Altoona to Indianapolis. Stephen Alemais added to Altoona roster

4/10: Ryan Haug placed on injured list. Raul Siri added to Greensboro roster.

4/9: Pirates release John Pomeroy and Jake Mielock

4/9: Elias Diaz assigned to Indianapolis on rehab. Rookie Davis added to Indianapolis roster

4/8: Jonah Davis and Braeden Ogle added to Greensboro roster. Zac Susi and Raul Siri assigned to Morgantown

4/8: Sean Keselica assigned to Altoona from Indianapolis

4/7: Gage Hinsz placed on injured list.

4/6: Eduardo Vera promoted to Indianapolis. Beau Sulser promoted to Altoona

4/5: Jared Oliva placed on injured list. Ryan Peurifoy added to Altoona roster

4/5: Kyle Crick placed on disabled list. Jason Martin recalled from Indianapolis.

4/4: Corey Dickerson placed on injured list. Jordan Lyles activated from IL

4/4: Jake Barrett claimed off waivers by New York Yankees

4/4: Rookie Davis and Stephen Alemais assigned to Extended Spring Training


There have been five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including an outfielder/pitcher for three straight NL pennant winners. George Merritt is one of the more obscure Pirates players, but he played for the team during the best three-year run in franchise history. Merritt started three games on the mound in 1901 and all three were complete game victories. The next two years, he was an outfielder, pitching just once. Over those three seasons, he played a total of 15 games, which represents his entire big league career. His minor league career consisted of 15 seasons, where he also split his time between pitching and playing outfield.

John Van Benschoten was born on this date in 1980. He was the first round draft pick of the Pirates in 2001, known as one of the better two-way players in college. He hit 31 homers during his junior season, but the Pirates drafted him as a pitcher. Three shoulder surgeries derailed his career and he ended up winning just two games in the majors, while posting a 9.20 ERA in 90 innings.

Other players born on this date are Chris Leroux, Kyle Farnsworth and Bill Luhrsen, all pitchers. Luhrsen had the nickname “Wild Bill” and he walked 16 batters in his 29 Major League innings.

On this date in 1925, the Pirates opened up their second World Series winning season by losing 8-2 to Hall of Fame pitcher Grover Alexander. The Pirates lineup that day included three future Hall of Famers, Pie Traynor, Max Carey and Kiki Cuyler. That season, Pittsburgh began the year with a 3-8 record. You can see the boxscore here.




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