Monday, May 14, 2018

Holy Moly, Another Day Off! How Will the Roster Shake Out & Monday Notes

There's gonna be a little shaking and baking of the roster in the next few days. Nick Kingham will be up Friday for what is likely a one-and-done spot start, and they'll have to clear an active roster spot for him. J-Hay is likely to be back by next week and Joe Musgrove is a start or two away from beginning his spin in the Bucco rotation. Soooo goodbye, somebodies. We're assuming that the Pirates will return to their eight-man pen, four-man bench concept when the DL empties; that seems to provide a comfort zone for the skipper who likes to use his mid-game arms sparingly but his position players often.

S-Rod, Freeser and Eli are etched in stone as calvarymen, leaving Joey O, Max Moroff and maybe Fraze on the bubble. Mad Max is pretty much a bye-bye boy; he sees the fewest at bats, seems to have the least Clint love of the trio and is likeliest to lose out when Kingham arrives. The Pirates, by all accounts, think highly of  Osuna's bat while Fraze has been struggling. If Frazier goes, Rodriguez becomes the number one middle infield/outfield back-up, though they can toss Jose into right if push comes to shove. It would also leave the pine gang w/o a lefty stick. So it will come down to a decision based on a bat or balance.

Is Max gonna make the cut? (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

The pitching is also a poser now that a fifth starter is again in play. The powers want Tyler Glasnow to learn at the MLB level, while Steven Brault has looked solid from the pen and gives it a lefty/long man for some extra versatility. Richard Rodriguez and Edgar Santana solidified a shaky middle crew while Michael Feliz and Felipe Vazquez have been money. Kyle Crick has also shown that he belongs, which leaves the recently-rocked George Kontos the only guy who's been taking on water. But Clint likes vet guys and may just rearrange deck chairs for Kontos while Crick does have an we'll see.

  • J-Hay is beginning his rehab at Altoona and could be back in a blink. The Pirates said yesterday that he'll be plugged into leadoff again when he returns, so for those of you happy to see Cervy at the top spot, curb your enthusiasm.
Josh is a hop, skip and a jump away from action (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
  • It's Nick Kingham day at Altoona; after this start, he's expected to be recalled and get the May 19th outing against the Padres at PNC Park.
  • Indy IF Kevin Newman of was named the AAA International League Player of the Week. He hit .519 (14 for 27) with one home run, four doubles, two RBI, seven runs scored and two stolen bases.
  • And double the pleasure: Altoona CF Jason Martin was selected as the AA Eastern League Player of the Week. He put up a .522 BA with seven runs scored and eight chased home w/two homers, a double and a swiped sack.
  • Anthony Castrovince has early season storylines on the divisional races; for ours, it's "NL Central: Have the Pirates created a four-team race?"
  • Need another way to separate yourself from your money? The Supreme Court knocked down a federal law that outlawed sports betting in the states; look for PA to milk that cash cow quickly. The state has legislation approved, pending a favorable SC decision, and it may kick in by the next budget on July 1st. The link is to the story by Mike Axisa of CBS Sports with a spin toward baseball betting issues.


WilliamJPellas said...

Moroff does have some pop, which is a definite plus for a middle infielder. I don't know that he will ever hit for a very high average, but I'm intrigued enough to wonder what he might do if he got 300 or 400 at bats. I could live with a .250-ish 2B or utility guy who would hit 15 HR as long as his glovework was good. Not sure why Clint apparently doesn't like him, but that's consistent with Hurdle's M.O.. He has "His Guys" and that's it as far as he is concerned.

Ron Ieraci said...

Clint will take a vet over a pup any day. In Max's case, more at-bats would be nice, but he's in a spot where he has to earn them, and 15 K in 30 AB doesn't get ya much rope. Newman/Kramer are much more prominent in the 2019 crystal ball, so that hurts Maxie too.

WilliamJPellas said...

Agreed that he is behind Newman and Kramer in the organization's eyes, but: is Josh Harrison going to be around that much longer in Pittsburgh, and S-Rod isn't getting any younger. In short, while Newman and Kramer both probably project as starters, I wouldn't say they are slamdunks, nor would I say there is no future for Moroff. I could see him as the fallback option at second base if Newman fails there (that's assuming Kramer has passed Newman as the heir apparent at shortstop), or as the prime infield utility guy if some combination of Mercer-Harrison-SRod move on.

Agreed that Moroff's high K rate is worrisome, but he also hasn't had that many big league at-bats, and he's never gotten them in enough consistency to get comfortable. I'll say again that his power intrigues me.

Ron Ieraci said...

He's got Josh and Frazier ahead of him and a pack of yapping pups behind him, Will. The toughest transition in baseball is from everyday minor leaguer to bench big leaguer, and he's not making a very compelling case for PT. Personally, I would have given him a shot when J-Hay went down, but the Pirates prefer Frazier. I'm not at all sold on him except as a bench piece; his peripherals - GB%, walks - are pretty bad. But Clint and the FO are comfortable with him, and they make the lineup. Max looks like a short-timer in the org to me.