Pirates Sign Shendrik Apostel

By Jason Shetler

According to John Dreker of Pirates Prospects, the Pirates have signed first baseman Shendrik Apostel out of Curaçao. His older brother is Sherten Apostel, who signed with the Pirates in 2015. 

Prior to signing with the Pirates, the younger Apostel has played in many International competitions, most notably the 2012 Little League World Series. As a 12-year-old in the LLWS, Apostel was listed at 6’2, 189 lbs. Now at age 17, he is 6’5, 225 lbs. The scouting report on him is that he has a strong frame for his age, along with raw power. Apostel will take part in the Dominican Fall Instructional. 

 

 

 

 

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Pirates Name Jordan Luplow and Steven Brault MiLB Player and Pitcher of the Year

By Jason Shetler 

The Pirates have announced that Jordan Luplow and Steven Brault are the organization’s Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year for 2017.

Luplow began this season with AA Altoona, where he hit .287 and posted a .903 OPS in 73 games played. He was promoted to AAA on June 30th. Luplow batted .325, while posting an OPS of .914 in 44 games for Indianapolis. Combined with both affiliates, he clubbed 23 home runs to lead the system this year. Luplow is currently with the Pirates, and receiving a good amount of playing time in September.

Brault entered Spring Training in competition for the fifth spot in the Pirates rotation, but lost out, being optioned to the minors in the process. Most of the 2017 season for Brault was spent pitching for Indianapolis. The 25-year-old lefty registered the lowest ERA in the International League this year at 1.94, while his 1.07 WHIP was third best in the IL. He also held opponents to a batting average against of .199 in 120.1 innings pitched. Like Luplow, Brault is now with the Pirates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kevin Kramer to Play Shortstop in the AFL

By Jason Shetler

p/c: Sean McCool – Pirates Prospects

Pirates prospect Kevin Kramer has been playing shortstop in the Fall Instructional League, and will continue to get reps there during the Arizona Fall League, this according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB Pipeline.

Kramer is currently ranked as the ninth best prospect in the Pirates system by MLBP. The former UCLA standout was putting up superb numbers this year with the Altoona Curve, hitting .297 and posting an OPS of .880, before a right hand fracture in June ended his season. 

The majority of Kramer’s games in his minor league career have been at second base. He has played shortstop only four times, all of which came in his first season of pro ball in 2015. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jose Osuna to Play Third Base in Winter Ball

By Jason Shetler

p/c: Mark Alberti – Icon Sportswire

According to news and notes from MLB.com Pirates beat writer Adam Berry, Jose Osuna is expected to play third base during Winter Ball in Venezuela. Osuna told Berry that he would like to play there four or five times a week. 

It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Osuna will be playing third base in Winter Ball. He had been working out there with Pirates third base coach Joey Cora since July, and it was just a matter of when he would see live game action at the hot corner. Osuna has spent majority of his 2017 rookie season as a utility man, playing first base, right field and left field.

 

 

 

Drew Hutchison Clears Waivers; Removed from 40-Man Roster

By Jason Shetler

p/c: Adam Pintar

The Pirates have announced that Drew Hutchison cleared waivers and was outrighted to AAA Indianapolis. In the process, he has been removed from the 40-man roster. 

During the 2016 trade deadline, Hutchison was acquired by the Pirates from the Toronto Blue Jays as part of the Francisco Liriano deal. After arriving to Pittsburgh, he posted a 5.56 ERA in 11.1 innings of work. 

This past offseason, the Pirates signed Hutchison for $2.3 million to avoid arbitration. He appeared to have the inside track for the fifth spot in the rotation, but a poor showing caused him not to make the Opening Day roster. Hutchison spent the entire 2017 season with Indianapolis, posting an ERA of 3.56, while holding the opposition to a .248 average in 159.1 innings pitched. Because of his service time in the minors, he will be a minor league free agent once the World Series is over.

 

 

 

Starling Marte Says He Wants to Play Winter Ball

By Jason Shetler

p/c: David Hague

Starling Marte tells Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he would like to play Winter Ball in the Dominican Republic this offseason.

Marte was the Pirates best player in 2016, as he was named an All-Star for the first time, while capturing his second National League Gold Glove award as a left fielder. With Marte being the top defensive left fielder in the game, the Pirates made the decision to make him the center fielder, moving Andrew McCutchen to right field in the process for the 2017 season. 

In mid-April, a shocking development came about, as multiple reports had surfaced that Marte tested positive for Nandrolone, a performance-enhancing drug. He was given an 80-game suspension by MLB for the infraction. Since returning from the suspension, Marte is batting .240, along with an OPS of .634. The decision of him wanting to play Winter Ball would obviously make up for lost time, and perhaps a chance to get him back on track for next season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pirates Release 2018 Schedule

By Jason Shetler

Major League Baseball has released the 2018 schedules for all 30 teams. Here are some of the notables series the Pirates will have for next season. 

After opening this year in Boston, the Pirates open 2018 against another American League club, as they take on the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on March 29th. 

The Pirates home opener will be March 2nd, taking on the Minnesota Twins. 

As you might have guessed, the Pirates are facing AL Central opponents on their Interleague schedule. Here are the dates of those matchups.

April 24th-26th versus the Tigers in Pittsburgh. 

May 8th and 9th against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. 

They take on the White Sox again May 15th and 16th in Pittsburgh. 

July 23rd-25th versus the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. 

A two-game set against the Twins at Target Field August 14th and 15th. 

The Kansas City Royals come into Pittsburgh September 17th-19th.

The Pirates close out the 2018 season against the Reds in Cincinnati September 28th-30th.