Bucs Prospects Report 4/23

By Jason Shetler 

AAA: Toledo shut out Indianapolis by a final of 2-0. 

Jaff Decker went 1-for-4 (.192 avg; .518 OPS) 

Gregory Polanco was 0-for-3 (.403 avg; 1.062 OPS)

Andrew Lambo also went 0-for-3 (.315 avg; .885 OPS) 


AA: Altoona defeated Harrisburg 10-9. 

Stetson Allie had a big night going 3-for-3 including two home runs (one of which was a grand slam), a double, five RBI and drew a pair of walks (.291 avg; 1.055 OPS) 

Mel Rojas went 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk and scored a run (.286 avg; .713 OPS) 

Alen Hanson was 2-for-5 along with a stolen base and scored twice (.261 avg; .664 OPS) 

Willy Garcia goes 0-for-4 and walked (.194 avg; .669 OPS) 

Nick Kingham pitched 5.1 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits, walked one and punched out six (86 pitches; 63 strikes) (1.61 ERA; 1.25 WHIP) 


High A: Bradenton lost to Charlotte 3-2 in 14 innings. 

Jose Osuna went 2-for-6 with a triple, a double and drove in a run (.279 avg; .722 OPS) 

Eric Wood was 2-for-5 including a free pass (.333 avg; .873 OPS) 

Josh Bell went 1-for-6 with a stolen base, a run scored and had three strikeouts (.258 avg; .709 OPS) 

Jin-De Jhang goes 0-for-6 with a pair of strikeouts (.196 avg; .523 OPS) 

Adam Frazier went 0-for-7 (.246 avg; .597 OPS) 

Orlando Castro threw six innings, as he gave up two runs on five hits, walked two, struckout a pair and got seven groundball outs (2.35 ERA; 1.00 WHIP) 


Low A: Kannapolis wins 3-2 over West Virginia. 

Erich Weiss was 1-for-2 and walked twice (.351 avg; .937 OPS) 

JaCoby Jones went 1-for-3 with a walk, stole a base and came around to score (.254 avg; .675 OPS) 

Wyatt Mathisen was 0-for-3 (.222 avg; .531 OPS) 

Reese McGuire went 0-for-4 (.239 avg; .590 OPS) 

Buddy Borden pitches four scoreless innings while giving up just one hit, walked four and had five strikeouts (1.98 ERA; 1.46 WHIP) 













Brandon Cumpton Slated to Start Tomorrow’s Game For Pirates

By Jason Shetler


Sources tell 93.7 The Fan’s Dan Zangrilli that Brandon Cumpton will not make his regularly scheduled start for Indianapolis tonight, which means he will be tomorrow’s starter against the Cincinnati Reds.

Cumpton opened some eyes for the Pirates last season, as he pitched in six games (five starts) while posting a 2.05 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP, this after not competing for a spot in the rotation or being on the 40-man roster for that matter. So far this season, Cumpton has made three starts for Indianapolis with a 1.42 ERA along with a 1.05 WHIP.

With Wandy Rodriguez expected to be out for some time, Cumpton will fill his spot in the rotation for the time being. The Pirates of course will have to make a corresponding move upon Cumpton’s arrival, meaning that Jared Hughes will head back down to Indy.





Bucs Prospects Report 4/22

By Jason Shetler

AAA: Indianapolis wins 11-6 over Toledo. 

Gregory Polanco was 3-for-5 including a home run (3), four RBI and stole a base (.419 avg; 1.104 OPS)

Andrew Lambo also went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two RBI (.333 avg; .933 OPS)

Jaff Decker was 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored (.188 avg; .519 OPS)

Casey Sadler tossed seven shutout frames on four hits, walked two, struckout six and had eight groundouts (97 pitches; 64 strikes) (1.67 ERA; 0.85 WHIP)


AA: Altoona blanks Harrisburg by a score of 7-0.

Stetson Allie went 3-for-5 and homered (3) (.250 avg; .850 OPS)

Alen Hanson goes 3-for-5 with a triple, an RBI and scored three times (.250 avg; .653 OPS)

Mel Rojas was 2-for-5 and had three RBI (.271 avg; .684 OPS)

Willy Garcia went 1-for-3 and drew a walk (.207 avg; .702 OPS)

Elias Diaz was 0-for-4 (.429 avg; .955 OPS)

Adrian Sampson pitches six scoreless on four hits, walked one and had seven strikeouts (87 pitches; 61 strikes) (1.17 ERA; 0.91 WHIP)


High A: Charlotte defeated Bradenton by a final of 7-1.

Eric Wood was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk (.308 avg; .862 OPS)

Adam Frazier went 2-for-5 (.274 avg; .661 OPS)

Josh Bell was 1-for-4 along with three strikeouts (.267 avg; .746 OPS)

Jin-De Jhang goes 0-for-2 with a walk and scored a run (.225 avg; .598 OPS)

Jose Osuna was 0-for-4 and struckout three times (.273 avg; .674 OPS)


Low A: Kannapolis defeats West Virginia 8-6.

Wyatt Mathisen went 3-for-5 and drove in a pair of runs (.235 avg; .560 OPS)

Erich Weiss was 1-for-4 with a walk and came around to score twice (.345 avg; .919 OPS)

JaCoby Jones went 0-for-5 (.250 avg; .665 OPS)

Reese McGuire did not play

Shane Carle pitched five innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits, didn’t walk a batter and struckout seven (3.24 ERA; 1.26 WHIP)











Why Gregory Polanco Should Be the Pirates Leadoff Hitter Going Forward

By Jason Shetler


After a breakout first half in 2008, Nate McLouth was looking like the Pirates long term answer as their leadoff hitter. However, he struggled in the second half of that year and the first half of 2009. In June of that season, McLouth was traded to the Atlanta Braves in a move that Pirates fans seemed to really overreact on. The trade allowed Andrew McCutchen to be called up and take over the leadoff spot. Despite the good work batting leadoff, McCutchen was going to be the #3 hitter in 2010 after the Pirates acquired Aki Iwamura from the Tampa Bay Rays in an effort to give them a veteran leadoff man. The Iwamura experiment would fail miserably after just two months. The Pirates then called up Jose Tabata and would plug him into the leadoff spot where he batted .299. Tabata was projected to bat leadoff in 2011, but an injury plagued season led to him not getting on track. The Pirates gave Tabata the benefit of the doubt and was given another chance at the top of the lineup. Although he stayed healthy, Tabata completely underperformed and was eventually demoted to AAA Indianapolis. In late July of 2012, the Pirates called up Starling Marte to take over the leadoff job, but was injured and wasn’t able to perform at the level he wanted to. Marte was the Pirates leadoff man last season and gave them solid production, as he batted .280 along with a .784 OPS.  The early part of 2014 has been a struggle for Marte to this point, batting .259 with a .690 OPS. Although his walk rate has shown some improvement at 8%, the strikeout rate has been very alarming, as he’s been striking out about 33% of the time. If Marte doesn’t start to turn it around soon, the Pirates may have to take Marte out of the leadoff spot. But who would fill in for Marte at the top of the lineup? – The answer could be top prospect and midseason call up Gregory Polanco.  Let’s compare the numbers for Marte and Polanco from 2012 up until now.

Starling Marte: .270 avg, .335 OBP, 6% walk rate, 27% strikeout rate, 112 wRC+ (weighted runs created)

Gregory Polanco: . 306 avg, .355 OBP, 8% walk rate, 13% strikeout rate, 124 wRC+

Looking at the numbers for both outfielders, Polanco would seem to have the upper hand as being a potentially better leadoff hitter than Marte. It’s no surprise that Polanco has the higher batting average based on the huge strikeout comparison with Marte striking out twice as more. Polanco’s walk rate is also better, which obviously makes for a better on base percentage over Marte. Keep in mind that Marte gets hit by pitches quite a bit, so if you take away those figures, Marte’s on base would be even lower. Also, Polanco can create more runs with his ability to get on base and not make too many mistakes on the base paths.

While Marte gave the Pirates very good production at the top in 2013, it’s uncertain whether or not he can sustain that success long term with the high strikeout numbers. Polanco’s ability to get on base more consistently, as well as avoiding the strikeouts, appear to make him a better leadoff solution. I do think however that Marte would benefit from being taken out of the leadoff spot since he’s never had a track record of drawing walks and the Pirates wanting him to work deeper counts, which in turn could be leading to more strikeouts for him. Perhaps batting Marte #2 in front of McCutchen would be something to consider, this way Marte would get better pitches to hit.









Bucs Prospects Report 4/21

By Jason Shetler

AAA: Indianapolis defeats Louisville 6-5 in 11 innings.

Gregory Polanco went 2-for-5 with a stolen base and scored a run (.406 avg; 1.055 OPS)

Andrew Lambo entered the game late and was 1-for-1 (.304 avg; .863 OPS)

Jaff Decker went 0-for-4 (.200 avg; .524 OPS)


AA: Altoona rolled past Harrisburg by a final of 10-1.

Willy Garcia was 2-for-4 including a double, three RBI, and scored two runs (.200 avg; .692 OPS)

Alen Hanson goes 2-for-5 and also scored a pair of runs (.220 avg; .575 OPS)

Stetson Allie went 1-for-3 with a two-run double, a walk and a run scored (.213 avg; .753 OPS)

Mel Rojas was 1-for-5 with an RBI, a stolen base and came around to score twice (.259 avg; .674 OPS)


High A: Bradenton defeated Charlotte by a score of 2-1.

Josh Bell went 0-for-3 with an RBI and also stole his first base of the season (.268 avg; .763 OPS)

Eric Wood was 0-for-2 and walked (.200 avg; .573 OPS)

Jose Osuna went 0-for-4 (.294 avg; .725 OPS)

Adam Frazier and Jin-De Jhang both did not play

Pat Ludwig pitched six innings, as he gave up one run (unearned) on four hits, walked one, struckout five and got nine groundball outs (80 pitches; 55 strikes)  (0.50 ERA; 0.94 WHIP)


Low A: Kannapolis wins 11-4 over West Virginia.

Reese McGuire was 3-for-5 with a triple, an RBI and scored twice (.262 avg; .644 OPS)

Erich Weiss went 0-for-2 and drew a pair of walks (.353 avg; .940 OPS)

JaCoby Jones was 0-for-3 and walked (.273 avg; .723 OPS)

Wyatt Mathisen goes 0-for-4 (.191 avg; .485 OPS)







Wandy Rodriguez Placed on 15-Day DL

By Jason Shetler


The Pirates have placed Wandy Rodriguez on the 15-day disabled list with right knee inflammation. In a corresponding move, Jared Hughes has been recalled.

It’s been a struggle out of the shoot for Rodriguez his first four starts, as he’s posted a 7.65 ERA, a 1.60 WHIP and has already given up seven long balls. His fastball velocity, which sat at 89.3 mph last season, was only sitting at 88 mph, so clearly his arm isn’t at full strength. It would be fair to say that the injury is phantom since the Pirates want to find a way to give him some rest.

Rodriguez was scheduled to make his next start against the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday. With Hughes serving as an extra reliever in the bullpen, the Pirates will have decide whether to keep Hughes in the pen and move Stolmy Pimentel to the rotation, or send Hughes back down to Indy and recall Brandon Cumpton.




Bucco Nation Poll Question

By Jason Shetler