Tomorrow is September 1st, which means that teams can add players to their active roster. The Pirates will most certainly add multiple players for a September look, though that final number on the active roster fluctuates from year-to-year. You can pencil in a third string catcher and relief help, plus 1-2 position players (besides the catcher) each year, but beyond that there are no certainties. Today we take a look at the possibilities for the roster additions.
We start with the most obvious players, and those are the ones currently on the 40-man roster and not on the injured list. That doesn’t guarantee that they will be called up, it’s just the best place to start looking. I’ll note that the Indianapolis season ends on September 2nd, so we might see just a reliever or two added tomorrow, followed by more players on Tuesday. For convenience purposes, I’m just lumping them all into one group. Here’s an alphabetical list of 40-man players at Indianapolis:
As you can see, it’s not a huge list because of six 40-man roster players being on the 10-day injured list. Only three position players, so you could definitely see all of them coming up. They could definitely add six pitchers, but my guess would be that not all of those six players join the Pirates. One factor that will play in is how quickly they expect injured players to return to action. That list includes four pitchers and they don’t need to add ten pitchers total to the bullpen.
There are some players on the Indianapolis roster and not on the 40-man roster who could see the majors in the next few days.
The most obvious one would be the third string catcher. There are only two catchers on the 40-man roster. Indianapolis has journeyman Steven Baron and 25-year-old Christian Kelley splitting catching duties. Neither hit this year, but both are strong defensive players, and honestly, a third string catcher isn’t going to play much in September, so the Pirates will either go with Baron due to his MLB experience or Kelley because he could have a better future of the two in the organization. Calling up Baron would at least look good for future minor league free agents who see that he was rewarded with MLB time, so I think he comes up. No reason to add Kelley to the 40-man roster. He has at least shown potential with the bat in the past.
The more interesting possible additions are third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes and pitcher James Marvel. Hayes wasn’t on the Arizona Fall League roster that was announced earlier this week. He missed some time during the season when he dislocated his left index finger while diving for a ball. So it seemed like the AFL would help him make up for some lost at-bats. Since he didn’t get that assignment yet (Pirates announced six players and they usually send seven), then a September call up seems possible. He needs to be protected from the Rule 5 draft this off-season anyway, so it wouldn’t hurt to give him a look. Defensively he has been ready for the majors for three years now, but the offense wasn’t great this season.
The offense is what might hold him back from not coming up this year. I don’t think he has a chance to win an Opening Day spot in 2020, so they might not want to start his service time now. If he starts off great next year, then you want him up as soon as possible and Hayes is the type of prospect who you wait for the Super 2 deadline to pass, which means late May next year with 2020 the season starting so early. If you give him four weeks in September this year, then that adds four weeks to the wait next year. I’d personally send him to the AFL to get at-bats, but he would add some excitement to the September games.
James Marvel is a different case. You don’t worry about Super 2 with him because he’s not a top prospect. He does look ready for a shot at the majors however, earning it with strong stats at two levels and noticeable improvements on the mound. He’s also someone they should be adding to the 40-man roster this off-season, so pushing that up to September wouldn’t be a bad idea. It’s also not a bad idea to get him some big league experience in case he’s needed for a bigger role than anticipated next year.
The final player of note would be JB Shuck. He’s basically a full-time pitcher now, last playing defense three weeks ago. His stats are okay as a pitcher and he’s not overpowering, but it’s also a new position to him. There is value to having someone who could play multiple roles. Might not help the Pirates in September, but a utility player like that would be good to have around if the Pirates think there’s room for him to grow on the pitching side. At worst, he’s an innings eater who can pinch-hit on his days off from pitching and occasionally fill in as an outfielder.
Indianapolis has been eliminated from the playoffs.
Altoona has been eliminated from the playoffs.
Bradenton season has ended.
Greensboro has been eliminated from the playoff race.
Morgantown has 4 games left. They trail by 1.5 games in the division and three games in the wild card. They can be eliminated as early as today from both races.
Bristol leads 1-0 in their best-of-three playoff series against Johnson City.
GCL Pirates season has ended.
DSL Pirates1 season has ended.
DSL Pirates2 trail 0-1 their best-of-three series against the DBacks2.
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates won 9-4 over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night. They will send out Joe Musgrove for his 28th start today. He is coming off of two runs over six innings against the Philadelphia Phillies in his last start. Musgrove has a 6.67 ERA in five August starts, but he has a 3.93 ERA in 71 innings on the road this season. The Rockies will counter with 29-year-old right-hander Tim Melville, who will be pitching in just his ninth Major League game. He has two starts this season, throwing five shutout innings against the Atlanta Braves five days ago, and allowing one run over seven innings in his season debut ten days ago against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The minor league schedule includes the second game of the playoffs for both Bristol and the DSL Pirates2. Bristol won their game and can win their first round series tonight with Adrian Florencio on the mound. This will be his fourth start against Johnson City. He gave up one earned run over 4.1 innings in the first game. That was followed up with six runs over 4.2 innings and four runs over three innings, so the results haven’t been positive recently.
In Altoona, Domingo Robles has a chance to put together a huge week and a strong finish to his season. On Monday, he tossed nine shutout innings. In his previous start, he gave up one run over seven innings and struck out nine batters. Indianapolis is sending out Cody Ponce, who will be headed to the Arizona Fall League in mid-September. Ponce allowed two runs over four innings in his last start. Greensboro doesn’t have a starter listed, but it should be the final start for Will Kobos, who struck out a career high ten batters in his last outing. His prior start was five no-hit innings on three walks and eight strikeouts. Morgantown has a doubleheader today. I’ll add the starters if I get them later this morning. (UPDATE: Domingo Gonzalez and Jesus Valles have been named Morgantown starters. It’s the NYPL debut for Gonzalez, who began the season in the DSL. Valles has a 3.54 ERA in 61 innings)
MLB: Pittsburgh (58-77) @ Rockies (59-77) 8:10 PM
Probable starter: Joe Musgrove (4.67 ERA, 131:34 SO/BB, 148.1 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (65-72) vs Columbus (78-59) 6:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Cody Ponce (4.15 ERA, 17:3 SO/BB, 13.0 IP)
AA: Altoona (69-68) @ Harrisburg (73-63) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Domingo Robles (4.13 ERA, 71:21 SO/BB, 98.0 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (73-62) (season preview)
Low-A: Greensboro (78-57) @ West Virginia (67-69) 6:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Will Kobos (2.17 ERA, 35:16 SO/BB, 29.0 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (38-34) @ Mahoning Valley (35-37) 5:05 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD
Rookie: Bristol (34-33) vs Johnson City (35-33) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Adrian Florencio (4.75 ERA, 38:24 SO/BB, 47.1 IP)
GCL: Pirates (18-36) (season preview)
DSL: Pirates1 (34-36) (season preview)
DSL: Pirates2 (56-16) vs DBacks2 (44-26) 10:30 AM (season preview)
From Indianapolis on Thursday, people have asked if Will Craig can play outfield. Well…it looks like he is getting better and you want to see progress with more experience
.@WCraigers22, professional right fielder. #RollTribe | #LoveIndy pic.twitter.com/FyDTACayz6
— Indianapolis Indians (@indyindians) August 30, 2019
We are now a Will Craig highlights account.
Also, we scored again. Trail 7-2 in the 7th.#RollTribe | #LoveIndy pic.twitter.com/ySIlq6mTqt
— Indianapolis Indians (@indyindians) August 30, 2019
8/30: Pirates recall Geoff Hartlieb. Montana DuRapau optioned to Indianapolis.
8/29: Pirates place Yefry Ramirez and Chris Stratton on injured list. Recall Montana DuRapau and Parker Markel.
8/29: Matt Eckelman promoted to Indianapolis. Shea Murray promoted to Altoona.
8/28: Connor Kaiser placed on Greensboro injured list. Andres Alvarez added to Greensboro roster.
8/28: Domingo Gonzalez added to Morgantown roster.
8/27: Pirates recall Yefry Ramirez. Parker Markel optioned to Indianapolis.
8/25: Matt Eardensohn promoted to Morgantown.
8/22: Darnell Sweeney placed on Indianapolis injured list.
8/22: Blake Cederlind promoted to Indianapolis. Kevin Kramer activated from Indianapolis injured list.
8/22: Osvaldo Bido activated from injured list. Ryan Valdes placed on Bradenton injured list.
8/22: Quinn Priester promoted to Greensboro.
8/21: Chris Archer and Clay Holmes placed on injured list. Pirates recall Dario Agrazal and Parker Markel.
8/21: Michael Flynn assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Eight former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus six trades of note. Everything was covered in the link at the beginning here, so with a lot to mention, I’ll just list all the transactions and players and you can view the link if you so choose.
2011: Outfield Matt Diaz sent to Braves for Eliecer Cardenas.
1997: Shortstop Shawon Dunston acquired from the Cubs.
1985: Bill Madlock sent to Dodgers for R.J. Reynolds, Sid Bream and Cecil Espy.
1981: Pirates acquired second baseman Johnny Ray and two players to be named later from the Astros for Phil Garner. The Pirates would later acquire Randy Niemann and Kevin Houston to complete the trade.
1968: Relief pitcher Elroy Face sold to Detroit Tigers. He also played his last game with the Pirates on this same date.
1953: Johnny Lindell sold to Philadelphia Phillies. He was mentioned in yesterday’s Morning Report because he was born on August 30th.
Players born on this date:
Morris Madden, 1988-89 pitcher.
Ramon Hernandez, lefty reliever from 1971 until 1976. He allowed one run over 12.1 innings during the 1971 season. Didn’t pitch in the postseason that year, but made appearances during the 1972, 1974 and 1975 playoffs.
Roy Berres, catcher from 1937 until 1940.
Syd Smith, 1914-15 catcher.
Wally Rehg, 1912 outfielder.
Monte Cross, 1894-95 shortstop.
Red Ehret, 1892-94 pitcher. Red was involved in one of the most colorful baseball trades of all-time when he was sent to the Browns for pitcher Pink Hawley.
Duke Farrell, 1892 OF/3B.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.