The Pittsburgh Pirates return home for the start of a seven game homestand, taking on the Cincinnati Reds tonight at 6:35 PM. The Pirates played the Reds to open the season, dropping the series 2-1.
The two teams will play a four game series this weekend. Cincinnati has struggled on the road, with a 1-5 record thus far. The Pirates, meanwhile, are returning home off a 5-2 road trip, with a .500 record at PNC Park. I highlighted their road success thus far as one of three signs that they might be a good team.
PIRATES VS REDS
Game Time: 6:35 PM EST
Pirates Starter: Roansy Contreras (1-1, 6.00)
Reds Starter: Luke Weaver (0-0, 0.00)
Feels good to be home.
📺 AT&T SportsNet
📻 93.7 The Fan | The PRN#LetsGoBucs pic.twitter.com/BML7ybZ6Nf
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) April 20, 2023
Spence is back‼️
Powered by @PNCBank pic.twitter.com/hjYmPPYdQR
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) April 20, 2023
On the minor league side, J.C. Flowers bailed out Indianapolis yesterday with a few relief innings early in the game. Anthony Murphy wrote about the versatility that Flowers has shown out of the bullpen.
Pirates Prospects Daily: J.C. Flowers Showing Versatility Out of the Bullpen
INDIANAPOLIS AT MEMPHIS
Game Time: 7:45 PM EST
Projected Starter: TBA
With Ji-Man Choi expected to miss eight weeks, it’s a good time to focus on Malcom Nunez. The first base prospect has a .596 OPS on the season with Indianapolis, but does have two home runs in his last three games. The Pirates aren’t in desperate need of first base help, having Carlos Santana and Connor Joe on the roster. Still, we’ve seen how depth can be fleeting. It’s better to have Nunez hitting, just in case.
ALTOONA VS BOWIE
Game Time: 6:00 PM EST
Projected Starter: Jared Jones (0-1, 3.12)
Jared Jones has one of the best arms in the system. He’s also dealt with control problems in his young career. This makes sense, as Jones is still a raw arm. He was a two-way player out of high school, and has only been a full-time pitcher the last two seasons. This year he has a 3.12 ERA, but a 16.2% walk rate in Altoona. His stuff is so good that he will get away with control problems. This will be a key thing to watch in his game at this level.
GREENSBORO VS GREENVILLE
Game Time: 6:30 PM EST
Projected Starter: Bubba Chandler, RHP (0-0, 6.43)
When the Pirates moved Bubba Chandler to the mound full-time, they were encouraged by him filling up the strike zone more often. Chandler has a 17.6% walk rate in his first two starts in High-A, and will make his first start at home in Greensboro tonight. I mentioned above that Jared Jones has little experience as a full-time pitcher. This year is the first year ever that Chandler will be a full-time pitcher. I’d expect some rapid improvements to his game by the end of this season, with the singular focus.
BRADENTON VS DAYTONA
Game Time: 6:30 PM EST
Projected Starter: TBA
The Pirates selected Tres Gonzalez in the fifth round last year out of Georgia Tech. I am a bit surprised that the outfielder is starting the season in Bradenton. I feel that might be an early-season assignment, impacted by the trio of Hudson Head, Sammy Siani, and Jase Bowen in Greensboro. Gonzalez could move up to the next level by June if one of those three clears a spot. So far, Gonzalez is off to a great start at the plate, hitting for a .353 average with an .877 OPS.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
Is it crazy to think that Suwinksi might be someone that everyone missed on. I don’t know.. maybe sort of like Jose Ramirez. Call me crazy… I’m starting to believe
Some Jack percentile rankings from Savant (wouldn’t include today):
Avg. EV: 96
Hard Hit %: 93
Barrel %: 100
Chase Rate: 99
Sprint Speed: 89
Maybe they should let BRey make all the personnel decisions.
Wow. I know it’s a tiny sample but I also noticed his outside swing percentage is down a lot this year as well.
Imo Cherrington had a few stinker trades but it would be pretty funny to me if we got a bounty for Frazier and a longshot one year deal on Quintana.
This current slump by Reynolds is just another exhibit to me why he might not be the guy to give a long contract to. It just is not clear, even this far into his career, just what level player he is. He came out of the gate on fire, but just as quickly he is looking bad at the plate with lots of grounders and k’s.
Hitting a baseball is not easy.
Yeah, sure. Why waste money on a guy who’s gonna give you 25+ HR’s, 90+ rbi’s and good defense every year? A guy who’s a good clubhouse presence and wants to stay in Pittsburgh and play. Yeah, sure. Let’s nickle and dime him and extend him an insulting offer
He’s got to 90 RBI’s once. My point is there may end up being other players that we should consider giving long term deals to. 8 years is a lot of years. What kind of player Bryan Reynolds is still up in the air. If he is a 3 WAR player then don’t give him that kind of contract. If he is a 5 WAR guy then you do. The Pirates need to be smart with their money because they don’t have as much. I just find it interesting that he cooled off quite quickly after that great start, which follows a year where he was abysmal with RISP. and batted .262 after hitting .302 the prior year.
You sign guys like Reynolds and you hope you’ve made a good decision. Players like him don’t come along often enough to quibble over $ when his ask is still below what he’d make on an open market. A franchise in the depths the Pirates have found themselves for much too long can not afford NOT to sign a player of Reynold’s worth. As much as what that signing would say to the current team it would say twice as much to the fan base, the younger players and all those in the minors who have dreams of being in Reynold’s shoes somedays. Make a statement and get him signed!
McCutchen would hit 200 for all of April. Guys go into slumps, if this lasts for over a month then I’d be worried.
Next Stop: Ten Games Over .500
A random aside, noticed the Arenado to Cardinals trade involved Montero and Gomber. Man, must have been a rough weekend for that trade considering what Pirates did to both of them. That’s an all-time stinker that makes the Glasnow trade look decent by comparison.
The Rox are the worst-run team in the sport. Bob Nutting is thankful they exist.
Oakland’s owner would like a word.
MLB left Oakland in an impossible geographical/market situation. Selig and Manfred caused their problems.
Las Vegas is calling and what goes around comes around. I’m old enough to remember when Charley Finley deserted KC for Oakland.
Huge win! Don’t think we win this game last year. Have to struggle across the finish line some nights.
Another dub in the tub.
Underwood warming up…
Well that was ugly.
Throwing a Taco Bell logo on the screen on 4/20 feels like the type of invasive advertising that should be illegal.
I’m getting a Double Down from KFC tonight. Side of mashed potatoes and gravy with a biscuit. Taco Bell almost swayed me.
I’m getting Taco Bell.
Pick me up a 3 piece and a biscuit
Upon arriving at KFC, I was informed that they no longer have the Double Down 🙁 I missed it.
Taco Bell it is. They have a $4 off $20 deal on Door Dash.
Damn, tough luck, but probably fair since Hayes did Hayes things to get it to 2 outs. Good job Roansy. Also, yes, Launch Angle Hayes would be MVP candidate.
Not sure what’s more embarrassing, the Red’s 3-4-5 hitters or the fact that Nick Senzel isn’t good enough to be higher than 8th. Another no-doubt hit-tool safe-pick college guy who has damn-near busted.
I’d like to see an analysis of the college-guy-hit-tool demographic. Not feeling much enthusiasm for it now.
Hit tool and defensive projection, little more than wild-ass guesses.
Glad I’m not a scout!
Glad I’m not the guy who put a 20 defense and speed on Jack.
Wilbur I’ve been meaning to ask(and I acknowledge that scouting is probably an incredibly cumbersome and difficult job) but how do you get consensus reports with such egregious misses such as Suwinski’s defense?
I see it in both directions. I’ve read pretty positive reports on Jordan Walker’s outfield defense and he looks like a little leaguer out there at time to me.
I got no idea. Like, weren’t stopwatches invented before last year?
Remember Corey Dickerson? Dejan said some scout told him Dickerson was a butcher in the OF. Guy earned a GG.
But, really, how do you scout an OF? I go to a lot of MiL games, but I can see a dozen or more games and not get a clear idea of an OFers’ defense because he just doesn’t get any tough plays. Scouts will be assigned to a team for maybe five days. So I can see serious blunders happening.
Metal Bats make it hard to judge who can really hit
Since the dingerz, Weaver is blowing the Pirates away. Oh, well, no mulligans.
Even the first inning, before it blew up on him, he had like 5 swings and misses on his fastball, at least three of them down the middle. Was hoping to get into their bullpen by now.
Austin Hedges enjoys Italian soccer in the offseason.
You could heard Greg struggling morally with that one.
I laughed very hard when reading this.
It was an all-time sell job. The first angle I thought the bat might have been in the way, but my man went out there and acted like he got stepped on and had to avoid getting stabbed by the bat all at once.
Fortunately, baseball doesn’t have the flop rule like basketball.
I had a note about Hayes in my coming today, where his average launch angle this season is up to 14 degrees. Three balls hit into the ground tonight. Hard hits, but only one got through the infield. This is a live lesson on how BABIP works for ground balls.
3 100mph exit velos
3 negative launch angles
I didn’t even have to look up the exit velocities to see those were hard hit. When he starts lifting the ball consistently, he’ll be an MVP.
I just really wanted to drop a Talking Heads gif. 😉
I know the Reds don’t remind anybody of the 27 Yankees, but this is quite an impressive outing by Contreras. He seems in total control.
Did a little parlay with Cutch and BRey to homer. Jack and Joe, damn. Lots of innings left!
Okay, raise your hand if you said two weeks ago that Reynolds and Suwinski would have the same number of HR.s on April 20.
Suwinski spits on lower off speed stuff that he used to chase and now justs sits there and waits for a pitch. Imagine him as a legit 40 HR force in the lineup
I love the shot of Cutch standing proud, arms crossed at the top of the dugout steps, watching Suwinski round the bases.
I caught that one too. Even pointed it out to the wife. Like the Captain of the Ship!
Saw that and thought the same thing. Almost like a , “huh, we might have a little something here.”
Another fast start. I could get used to this.
WE CANNOT BE STOPPED
To everyone whom said that Connor Joe should go to Indy or be released, and that Santana was washed up, I am going to give you one chance to just comment below and say that you were wrong, and that they were decent pickups. No matter how the rest of the season goes, you can see they can both play. Pretty much everyone but Choi has worked out, and Cutch has been fantastic. No more bitching about veteran dumpster diving, i’m serious.
There’s a guy on one of our Facebook Pirate groups who is the biggest Debbie Downer fan there is. He posted that Santana is a POS and just collecting a paycheck about seven games into the season. It’s been fun keeping that comment thread alive the last two weeks! Good times.
Anything else you don’t want people to do that annoys you?
Expect Contreras curveball usage to take a big jump, the Hill effect! First Oviedo, now Contreras!
The fun thing about today is that I’m writing the game recap.
Happy holiday to all of my fellow stoners out there! Got a fat preroll waiting for me to get home from the card shop tonight 🙂
I just saw the lineup for tonight’s game and I thought I like this lineup which led me to wonder when was the last time I ever said that about a Pirates lineup.
a rarity during the Shelton years to be sure.
My uncle’s father hated the Reds, called them communists. Of course, this was the ’60’s.
I too hate the Reds
anybody want to try Bumgarner in the bullpen? we have a roster spot open with Choi going to the dl
Speaking of, what’s Jake Arrietta up to these days.
Looked to see when he last pitched. He finished with the Padres in 2021. 4 starts 12.1 innings 18 hits 5 BB 3HR…….how the heck did he strike out 9? Lol!
First off he’d have to agree to go to the pen which I doubt he would and secondly and more importantly I think he’s done.
I would at least be looking at him if I were the front office. I remember thinking the same thing a few weeks back when I read someone’s compilation of each team’s worst current contracts, they listed him for AZ. I wondered at the time if he is really and truly done, or if a change of scenery would do anything.
A guy with some fire and competitiveness, with a contract that another team would be willing to eat most of just to clear him, gave me shares of AJB. But maybe totally different dudes/stories, idk
I kinda want him to go be a player coach in Greesboro and teach Solo a thing or two
could go straight up for the rights to Sabol so they can sending Blake to the minors if they want
Small detail, how will the Bucs get the rights to Sabol back from San Fran again to trade him anywhere?
We would never trade for Mad Bum as it is. Is owed too much on his current contract. He will be a FA as I don’t think anyone will be crazy enough to claim that contract.
Sabol for MadBum and SF eats all his salary
MadBum is with……Arizona……….Sabol already is with San Francisco and already own his rights…….
oops – thanks for setting me straight
You did have me wondering if I missed where somehow the Giants offered Sabol back to the Pirates 🙂
Lets Go Bucs!
I hope Roansy is on his game tonight. The Pirate hitters are probably going to be a little tired after running wild at elevation for three straight days and a long flight back to PNC.
Hoping that his last start where he gave up runs in the 1st then was lights out ends up being like Oviedo and kickstarts him going forward.
Happy Ro Day Y’all !!!!
I was pleased to see the Bucs sweep of a terrible Colorado team the last few days, now let’s see them keep up the pressure and take care of the pretty bad and banged up Reds. It’s still early and the jury is out if this is going to actually be a good team overall or a mirage like 2011 and 2012. Good teams take care of business against bad teams! Let’s Go Bucs!
In case you missed the second amended statement from yesterday like I did, there was a one-word mistake in the team issued statement on Rob Zastryzny’s injury that makes a HUGE difference in his possible return time https://piratesprospects.com/2023/04/injury-updates-ji-man-choi-expected-to-miss-eight-weeks.html
Wonder if the Zman was listening and passed out when Tomczyk misspoke?