Pirates are Really Trying to Get Gerrit Cole Comfortable with Francisco Cervelli

By Jared Lankes 

Pirates ace Gerrit Cole was caught mainly by Chris Stewart for much of the 2015 season, and it produced great results as Cole had his best season by far. However, they ran into a problem in the wildcard game when Cole was the obvious pitcher of choice for the one game. This gave the Pirates a decision of Cervelli or Stewart. They went with Cervelli and Cole ended up struggling. This led all the fans wondering what if Stewart had been the catcher that night (Answer: Arrieta still would’ve won).

Now that Cervelli will be the Bucco backstop through 2019, the team has been forced to evaluate whether they want Stewart and Cole to be an all the time tandem. So far this season, it has been an overwhelming no. Cervelli has been catching Cole more often than not this season, and it has worked out fantastically. Cole had troubles at the beginning of the year after not having much spring training, but has ironed out the kinks it seems. He has been the Gerrit of old lately.

So it seems that Stewart will not be the personal catcher of Cole, and in hindsight I think that choice is a solid one. It’s tough on an organization when you have to have a personal catcher with a pitcher. Take Jon Lester and David Ross for example. When the Cubs signed Lester, they HAD to have Ross with him, wasting a roster spot on a guy they wouldn’t have wanted otherwise. Also, Ross is retiring at the end of the year. What will Jon Lester do then? Will he start to suck because he knows no other catcher in baseball? We will see. That’s the danger of the personal catcher, and it seems the Pirates would like to avoid that with an ace pitcher.

The Pirates trying to pair their starting catcher with their ace is something that should be embraced, not ridiculed. It’s a tandem that makes sense considering they are both big parts of the organization going forward. It gets the team prepared for things down the road instead of having to make the tough choice like they had to just a season ago.

Pirates Minor League Report 5/25

By Jason Shetler

AAA: Rochester defeated Indianapolis 9-8.

Kelvin Marte made a spot start for the Indians going just three innings while giving up seven runs. (71 pitches; 40 strikes) (6.53 ERA, 1.79 WHIP, 8.5 K/9)

Josh Bell had a pair of doubles with an RBI and scored two runs. (.289 avg, .848 OPS)

Max Moroff went 3-for-4 with two RBI’s, a walk and came around to score. (.231 avg, .734 OPS) 

Jason Rogers was 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI and scored twice. (.271 avg, .763 OPS)

Gift Ngoepe goes 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and two runs scored. (.217 avg, .584 OPS) 

 

AA: Akron defeated Altoona 13-6.

Tyler Eppler surrendered nine runs in only three innings of work. (71 pitches; 53 strikes) (4.13 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 5.9 K/9)

Harold Ramirez collected three hits including his first home run of the year. (.300 avg, .787 OPS) 

Erich Weiss was 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI’s and a run scored. (.284 avg, .837 OPS) 

Eric Wood goes 2-for-4 with a double, a triple and scored a run. (.246 avg, .762 OPS) 

Jonathan Schwind had an RBI double. He also pitched a scoreless ninth inning. (.340 avg, .904 OPS)

 

High A: Jupiter defeated Bradenton 4-2.

Alex McRae pitched seven innings, allowing four runs (two earned), didn’t walk a batter and struckout four. (91 pitches; 62 strikes) (2.45 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 4.1 K/9) 

Kevin Newman had a run scoring double. (.347 avg, .855 OPS) 

Taylor Gushue goes 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. (.240 avg, .662 OPS) 

Connor Joe was 1-for-4 with a run scored. (.230 avg, .634 OPS) 

Kevin Kramer also went 1-for-4. (.294 avg, .730 OPS) 

 

Low A: West Virginia defeated Charleston 5-3. 

Dario Agrazal threw six innings, as he gave up just one run, walked two and had five strikeouts. (81 pitches; 56 strikes) (2.80 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 5.6 K/9) 

Mitchell Tolman hit his second homer of the season. (.254 avg, .681 OPS) 

Logan Hill had a two-run double. (.190 avg, .590 OPS) 

Cole Tucker went 2-for-4 with a triple and scored a run. (.255 avg, .740 OPS) 

Tito Polo was 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. (.278 avg, .801 OPS) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bucco Nation Poll Question

By Jason Shetler

Arquimedes Caminero Placed on DL; Kyle Lobstein Recalled

By Jason Shetler

The Pirates have announced that Arquimedes Caminero has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left quad strain. In a corresponding move, Kyle Lobstein is recalled from AAA Indianapolis.

Caminero was a pleasant surprise in the Pirates bullpen last season after being acquired from the Miami Marlins in a cash deal. The flamethrowing righty has really struggled however in 2016, posting a 5.19 ERA along with an extremely high WHIP of 2.13 in 19 appearances. It’s likely a “phantom injury” just to get his mechanics straightened out. In addition, Caminero is out of options, so the Pirates would probably lose him if he was DFA’d and had to clear waivers. 

Lobstein began 2016 in the Pirates bullpen. The 26-year-old southpaw posted a 4.79 ERA with a WHIP of 1.40 in nine appearances. Lobstein was optioned to Indianapolis a couple weeks ago and made a start for them last Friday.

 

 

 

 

Pirates Minor League Report 5/24

By Jason Shetler

AAA: Indianapolis defeated Rochester 4-3. 

Frank Duncan allowed two runs in 5.2 innings, walked one and had a pair of strikeouts. (68 pitches; 46 strikes) (1.91 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 8.2 K/9) 

Danny Ortiz hit his fifth home run of the year. (.262 avg, .733 OPS) 

Ed Easley hit a solo homer for his first of the season. (.242 avg, .615 OPS) 

Max Moroff was 1-for-4 with an RBI double. (.214 avg, .706 OPS) 

Josh Bell went 1-for-3 with a walk. (.277 avg, .815 OPS) 

 

AA: Akron defeated Altoona 8-3.

Brandon Waddell pitched four innings, giving up two runs, walked four and struckout four. (85 pitches; 49 strikes) (1.74 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 7.4 K/9) 

Erich Weiss had an RBI double and scored a run. (.272 avg, .825 OPS)

Edwin Espinal goes 2-for-4 with an RBI. (.269 avg, .651 OPS)

Austin Meadows went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a walk. (.215 avg, .647 OPS) 

Reese McGuire drew a pair of free passes. (.263 avg, .691 OPS)

 

High A: Bradenton defeated Jupiter 4-0.

Yeudy Garcia tossed six shutout innings, walked three and fanned six. (83 pitches; 49 strikes) (3.05 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 10.1 K/9) 

Kevin Kramer had a pair of doubles and drove in a two runs. (.296 avg, .736 OPS) 

Jeff Roy was 2-for-3 with a walk and scored twice. (.344 avg, .822 OPS) 

Trace Tam Sing goes 2-for-4 with a run scored. (.429 avg, 1.071 OPS)

 

Low A: Charleston defeated West Virginia 6-0.

Bret Helton pitches six innings, allowing just one run, didn’t walk a batter and struckout six. (78 pitches; 51 strikes) (4.73 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 6.8 K/9)

Ryan Nagle provided the only hit of the game for the Power. (.252 avg, .660 OPS) 

Mitchell Tolman walked twice. (.254 avg, .662 OPS)

 

 

 

 

 

Ryan Vogelsong Placed on DL; A.J. Schugel Recalled

By Jason Shetler 

The Pirates have announced that Ryan Vogelsong has been put on the 15-day disabled list. Taking his place on the roster will be A.J. Schugel, who was recalled from AAA Indianapolis. 

Vogelsong began this season pitching in the bullpen after losing out on the fifth starter spot to Juan Nicasio in Spring Training. After making a spot start in April versus the Milwaukee Brewers, Vogelsong made his second start in Monday’s makeup game against the Colorado Rockies. He left that game in the second inning after getting hit in the left eye by a Jordan Lyles’ fastball. Vogelsong for the season has posted a 3.74 ERA in 21.2 innings pitched. 

Schugel  joined the Pirates in mid-April as an extra pitcher for the bullpen. The 26-year-old right-hander had a 4.96 ERA with a Fielding Independent Pitching of 3.30 in 11 appearances during his first call up with the Pirates. 

 

 

 

Three Pirates Prospects Ranked in Keith Law’s Updated Top 25 List

By Jason Shetler

On Tuesday, ESPN.com’s Keith Law updated his Top 25 prospects list. The Pirates have three prospects ranked with Tyler Glasnow, Kevin Newman and Jameson Taillon. 

Glasnow was placed in the Top 5 at #4. The Pirates top prospect has been stellar again this season, posting a 2.16 ERA, an 11.3 K/9 and holding opponents to a .222 average in nine starts for AAA Indianapolis. 

Newman was ranked #19. Law has been very high on him ever since he was drafted by the Pirates 19th overall last year. Newman is currently hitting .352 and has an OPS of .863 in 36 games for High A Bradenton. 

Taillon came in at #20. The #2 overall selection of the Bucs in 2010 has experienced a tough road in getting to the big leagues, as he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014 and had a hernia procedure a year ago. Despite missing two full seasons, Taillon has been outstanding for Indianapolis in 2016, putting up an ERA of 1.82 along with a 9.3 K/9 and a batting average against of .196 in eight starts.