Elias Diaz to Participate in Winter Ball

By Jason Shetler

p/c: David Hague

p/c: David Hague

According to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Elias Diaz will be playing Winter Ball for Bravos de Margarita of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League in November. 

2016 was somewhat of a lost season for Diaz. During Spring Training, he dealt with an elbow injury, which required surgery. Diaz made his season debut in July on a rehab assignment for Bradenton. He also played for Altoona before then joining Indianapolis. 

Diaz was called up to Pittsburgh on July 23rd as a corresponding move for Eric Fryer being on paternity leave. He played just one game with the Pirates and was optioned back to Indianapolis a few days later following Fryer’s return. Diaz came back to Pittsburgh in September and it was announced by Pirates head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk that he had a left leg infection, which shut him down for the remainder of the season. The news of Diaz taking part in Winter Ball doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as he had just 137 plate appearances total this year, rehab games included, so he’ll able to make up for the missed playing time. 

 

 

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Bucco Nation Poll Question

By Jason Shetler

Jameson Taillon’s Long Journey to the Majors Finally Paid Off

By Jason Shetler

p/c: David Hague

p/c: David Hague

Some of the oldest sayings and cliches throughout history have been “Patience is a virtue”, Time is of the essence” and “Good things come to those who wait”. In regards to Jameson Taillon and his long road to the big leagues, all three of those sayings are certainly appropriate. 

Six years ago, the Pirates chose Taillon with the #2 overall selection in the MLB Draft. Taking high school pitchers in the first round has generally been considered risky, but GM Neal Huntington saw enough upside to sign the 6’5 right-hander for $6.5 million. After being selected with the first overall pick in the 2011 draft, Gerrit Cole made his much anticipated debut with the Pirates in 2013, and the general consensus seemed to be that Taillon would be the next pitching prospect to arrive in Pittsburgh. However, there was a huge bump that he hit on his path to the Majors.

In Spring Training of 2014, Taillon experienced discomfort in his pitching elbow, and there were reports that he would have to undergo Tommy John surgery, which would cause him to miss the entire season. He was fully recovered from the injury last year and was getting ready to pitch in Extended Spring Training where he then sustained an injury to his hernia. Taillon had a procedure done on the hernia, and was shutdown once again. 

Taillon began the 2016 season pitching for the Indianapolis Indians, the affiliate that he last pitched for in 2013 before the injuries. Despite missing two full seasons of pro ball, he was outstanding with Indianapolis, posting a 2.04 ERA along with a WHIP of 0.81 in 10 starts. 

On June 8th, Taillon finally arrived in Pittsburgh to make his Major League debut against the New York Mets. While the line score from his first start wasn’t great, the fastball and curveball combination that many scouts had raved about was definitely as advertised. Taillon faced the Mets again in his second outing at Citi Field. He was phenomenal in that start, as he tossed eight shutout innings and threw 67% of his pitches for strikes, while outdueling one of the best starters in the National League, Jacob deGrom. Although the 2016 season for the Pirates as a whole was a big disappointment, Taillon’s rookie campaign certainly provides optimism moving forward. In 18 starts with the Pirates, he posted a 3.38 ERA with an ERA+ of 124. Taillon also displayed excellent control, as his 1.5 BB/9 is the best mark among all MLB rookie starters this year with a minimum of 100 innings pitched. While the journey to the big leagues was a difficult one for Taillon, it’s a safe bet that he would say “Better late than never”. 

 

 

 

 

 

Will Craig Mentioned on Baseball America’s Top 20 NYPL List

By Jason Shetler

 

p/c: Tim Williams - Pirates Prospects

p/c: Tim Williams – Pirates Prospects

On Wednesday, Baseball America came out with their list of the Top 20 prospects that played in the New York-Penn League this season. Pirates prospect Will Craig finished in the Top 10, ranking seventh on the list. 

The Pirates selected Craig with the 22nd overall choice in this year’s draft out of Wake Forest. He became the first college third baseman to be taken in the first round by the Bucs since Pedro Alvarez in 2008. 

Craig began his pro career in Morgantown with the West Virginia Black Bears. In 274 plate appearances, he put up a .412 on base percentage, which was tied for second best in the NYPL. Craig displayed a strong knack for working the free pass, as he posted an outstanding walk rate of 15%. He should start out next season with the Bradenton Marauders. MLB Pipeline currently has Craig rated the eighth best prospect in the Pirates system. 

 

 

 

 

Pirates Acquire Chris Bostick

By Jason Shetler 

The Pirates have announced that Chris Bostick has been acquired from the Washington Nationals in exchange for minor league catcher Taylor Gushue and cash. 

Bostick was drafted by the Nationals in 2011 out of Aquinas Institute. Heading into this season, Baseball America rated him the 25th best prospect in the Nats system. Bostick began 2016 with AA Harrisburg where he hit .290 along with an .818 OPS in 71 games. He was promoted to AAA Syracuse in late June, but didn’t have the same success, as he batted just .203 with an OPS of .559 in 64 games played. Bostick split his games at second base, shortstop and left field. The Pirates added him to the 40-man roster since he’ll be Rule 5 eligible in the offseason. Bostick will likely start next season with AAA Indianapolis as a depth option in case of an injury. 

Gushue was a fourth round selection of the Pirates in the 2014 draft out of the University of Florida. The 22-year-old backstop spent the entire 2016 season with the Bradenton Marauders, hitting .226 with a .639 OPS in 90 games. Behind the plate, Gushue didn’t perform well, as he threw out 25% of basestealers, while allowing 14 passed balls. 

 

 

 

 

Bucco Nation Poll Question

By Jason Shetler

Tyler Glasnow to Start Sunday vs Nationals

By Jason Shetler

p/c: Jeff Curry - Getty Images

p/c: Jeff Curry – Getty Images

The Pirates have announced that Tyler Glasnow will get the start on Sunday against the Washington Nationals. 

Glasnow rejoined the Pirates as a September call up after being on the disabled list with shoulder discomfort following his start versus the Philadelphia Phillies on July 23rd. The 23-year-old right-hander made his big league debut on July 7th against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. 

Since returning to the Pirates in September, Glasnow has appeared in three games out of the bullpen where he’s allowed two runs in seven innings of work. General manager Neal Huntington recently said that he wouldn’t rule out Glasnow making a start before the season ended, and so he will receive one on Sunday. A couple weeks ago, Glasnow was named MLB Pipeline’s Pitcher of the Year for 2016.