Category Archives: Pittsburgh Pirates Gear

Bryan Reynolds Jersey

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Bryan Reynolds had a rookie season to remember, but he will not be #ROYnolds.

It was revealed Monday that Reynolds finished fourth for the BBWAA National League Rookie of the Year award.

Mets first baseman Pete Alonso was a near unanimous pick for the award, finishing first in 29 ballots and second in one. Alonso led baseball with 53 home runs, breaking Aaron Judge’s rookie record. He drove in 120 runs and had 5 WAR. He received 148 points in the vote (five points for a first place vote, three for second, one for third).

Braves right-hander Mike Soroka received the other first place vote and finished second overall (82 points). Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr. finished third (26 points) after an abbreviated campaign.

Reynolds had one second place vote and six third place votes, giving him nine points.

Reynolds was promoted to the majors on Apr. 20 to replace the injured Starling Marte. He started his major league career with an 11 game hitting streak and did not slow down from there. He hit .314 with 16 home runs, 68 RBI and an .880 OPS over 546 plate appearances. He set a new Pirates rookie record with 37 doubles.

Baseball-Reference valued him at 3.9 WAR, sixth among major league rookies. Since 1950, the only Pirates rookies with more WAR in a season than Reynolds were Red Witt (4.0 in 1958) and Jung-Ho Kang (4.0 in 2015).

Also receiving votes were Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson (four points) and Nationals center fielder Victor Robles (one point).

Astros designated hitter and outfielder Yordan Alvarez was a unanimous pick for the American League Rookie of the Year.

Jason Martin Jersey

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The Pittsburgh Pirates had a very strong draft in 2019 with many of those prospects emerging on their Top 30 prospect lists. Checking in at number seven is their second pick from last season.
Although the Pittsburgh Pirates have let go of now former General Manager Neal Huntington, he will have somewhat of a lasting impact on the organization well down the road. This past season’s draft will mark the last one of the Huntington era. Whether it is a good thing or not remains to be seen. However, many experts are high on what Huntington brought in during the 2019 draft.

Ranking as the Pittsburgh Pirates number seven overall prospect on MLB Pipeline is outfielder Sammy Siani. The Pittsburgh Pirates used their second pick, and 37th overall, last year to take the upside prep outfielder from Philadelphia and signed him to an over-slot deal to pass on his commitment to Duke University.

Catching market starting to thin out for the Brewers

Siani is one of the most projectable players they took in last year’s draft class. He stands at 6’1” and only weighs around 190 pounds, giving him plenty of opportunity to add more muscle to his frame. Also, he will not turn 19 until the beginning of December making him one of the younger top picks in last year’s draft. As Siani continues to mature and fill into his frame he likely will turn into a solid power hitter.

After signing last year, the Pittsburgh Pirates placed Siani with their Gulf Coast affiliate. In the GCL, Siani was thrown right into the thick of things being placed at the top of the lineup for the Bucs affiliate. He saw mixed results in his début with a bit of an up and down couple months. He hit below .220 in June (only three games) and in August. However, in July he hit a solid .276 and saw his on-base percentage well over .400.

Overall, Siani finished the season with a slash line of .243/.372/.308 with no home runs. As mentioned earlier, Siani is young and still growing into his frame. Combine his attributes with the transition from high school bats to wooden bats, it makes sense why his slugging percentage was so low. As he adjusts to a wooden bat and he matures, his left-handed swing should develop some nice pop.

The part that stood out was Siani’s ability to get on base. While he only batted .243 he saw his on-base percentage be almost 130 points higher. This is mainly because of his plate discipline. Siani only struck out 41 times in 39 games, which is not outstanding, but it is still pretty solid. Meanwhile, he was able to show a great eye at the plate drawing 26 walks in those games. Hopefully, this ratio continues to stay close as he moves up in the farm system.

Siani also grades out as a plus runner. According to MLB Pipeline, Siani has a grade of 55, which for comparison is the same grade outfielder Jason Martin received. He swiped five bags in five attempts this season and showed he was capable of playing centerfield. His arm is probably his worst tool, which grades out to be average so he likely projects as a future left-fielder.

NEXT: Prospect Rewind: Ji-Hwan Bae
Sammy Siani could get an aggressive push to full-season ball in 2020. The team has typically operated this way with their high upside offensive prep picks. Obviously, things could be different once the new regime is in place. It will be interesting to see if he is able to build on his experiences from last year and continue to show his all-around skills.

Starling Marte Jersey

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Reports are that the New York Mets are interested in trading for Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Starling Marte. What could a potential trade between the two teams look like?

As new general manager Ben Cherington prepares to embark on his first offseason on the job for the Pittsburgh Pirates one of his biggest decisions this offseason will be deciding what to do with Starling Marte. The former Gold Glove winning All-Star is the team’s best player. However, he is only under team control for two more seasons.

Right now the Pirates do not appear to be a team that will be looking to win either of the next two seasons. The right move would be for Cherington to look to rebuild and the main part of that would be trading Marte.

Over the weekend, it was reported that the New York Mets are among the teams that are interested in Marte. So, what could a potential Marte trade with the Mets look like?

When looking at a potential return for Marte one name that immediately jumps out is outfielder Brandon Nimmo. Nimmo has been the team’s regular center fielder the past few seasons, but the Mets have outfield depth with Michael Conforto, J.D. Davis, a healthy Yoenis Cespedes, and Jeff McNeil can move to the outfield as well. So, Nimmo could be expendable.

In four MLB seasons Nimmo owns a .254/.387/.440 slash line, .361 wOBA, 130 wRC+, and a 15.2% walk rate in 1,084 plate appearances. In his three full MLB seasons he has been worth an average of 2.3 fWAR per season. Nimmo remains under team control for three more seasons and could join Bryan Reynolds, Kevin Newman, Josh Bell, Mitch Keller, etc. as part of the Pirates new core.

Nimmo would be a main piece in a trade. If not Nimmo, then the Pirates could potentially target Matthew Allan – the Mets’ top pitching prospect – as the main piece of a Marte trade. The 18-year-old Allan was a 3rd round pick by the Mets last summer. In six games after being drafted Allan allowed 3 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings of work to go with 14 strikeouts. He projects as a top of the rotation starting pitcher.

As for potential secondary pieces in a trade two names that jump out are catcher Francisco Alvarez and outfielder Freddy Valdez. Alvarez, an 18-year-old catcher, is the Mets’ 5th best prospect according to MLB Pipeline. Alvarez slashed .312/.407/.510 with a 155 wRC+ in 42 games last season.

Valdez is even younger than Alvarez. The 17-year-old outfielder is also among New York’s top 20 prospects, but after slashing .274/.367/.448 last season to go with a 6-foot-3 frame Valdez looks primed to shoot up prospect rankings.

Left-handed pitching prospects David Peterson and Kevin Smith could be intriguing trade targets as well. Peterson had a strong season at the Double-A level in 2019, where he made 24 starts. In these 24 starts he posted a 4.19 ERA, 3.19 FIP, a 7.4% walk rate, and a 24.5% strikeout rate in 116 innings.

Smith started 2019 at the High-A level where he posted a 3.05 ERA, 2.63 FIP, 6.8% walk rate, and a 29.1% strikeout rate in 85 2/3 innings pitched across 17 starts. His success at the High-A level earned him a promotion to the Double-A level where he made six starts, posting a 3.45 ERA, 3.23 FIP, an 11.8% walk rate, and a 22.1% strikeout rate in 31 1/3 innings pitched.

You can never have too much pitching in baseball. Additionally, the Pirate farm system is void of any left-handed pitching prospects.

One thing Cherington needs to do is restock the Pirate minor league system. The best way to do this is to stockpile young talent. Players such as Alvarez, Valdez, Peterson, and Smith would all help in doing this.

Jose Osuna Jersey

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As he continues to hit at a high rate the Pittsburgh Pirates need to find at bats for utility man Jose Osuna
One of the stars of Spring Training 2017 and 2018 for the Pittsburgh Pirates was utility man Jose Osuna. Despite a strong Grapefruit League performance each of those seasons, Osuna struggled during the regular season.

This season the roles have been reversed. After struggling in Spring Training, he started the season at Triple-A Indianapolis. Since having been promoted to the Major League level, however, Osuna has raked.

After going 2-for-3 in Friday night’s victory, Osuna is now slashing .304/.347/.609. His ISO is a healthy .304, to go with a .392 wOBA and a 146 wRC+.

With Osuna raking at the plate, the Pirates need to find him every day at bats.

Following the team trading Corey Dickerson to Philadelphia on Wednesday, there is an opening for him to play every day. Osuna can play in right field when there is a right-handed starting pitcher on the mound. When a lefty toes the rubber and Colin Moran is on the bench, Osuna can play third base.

While Osuna’s athleticism in right field leaves a good bit to be desired, he has a cannon of an arm in the outfield. At third base, however, Osuna has flashed as a plus defender. This includes multiple strong plays on Friday night.

The Pirates need to find out what role Osuna can play in the team’s future. Is it as an every day player? Or, is it as a bench bat?

If it is as a bench bat, he has seemingly mastered the art of pinch hitting. In the offseason I dove into his need to improve as pinch hitter this season, and improve he has. Osuna is slashing .370/.370/1.037 as pinch hitter this season, including a MLB leading 5 pinch hit home runs.

Osuna has also been hitting the ball with authority this season. His 36.6% hard contact rate is above league average. So is his average exit velocity of 89.9 MPH. There is certainly reason to believe Osuna has turned the corner as a hitter and is starting to figure it out.

NEXT: A Double-A Pitcher That Should Be In Triple-A
It is time for the Pirates to find out what they have in Osuna. Is he a bench bat or an every day player? Now is the time to play Osuna on an every day basis to find out.

Adam Frazier Jersey

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Adam Frazier had a fantastic year for the Pirates. He flashed a gold glove-caliber glove and his usual steadiness at the plate. But, with the Pirates in a rebuild, it may make sense to move him to a contender.

Rumors swirl this time of the year, as surely as my wife will bust out the Christmas tree after the last Trick-or-Treater leaves with a handful of chocolate. Dominoes will start to fall as the Pirates answer the bell on hiring their new GM, but we needn’t wait for that to identify some potential Pirates’ trade scenarios.

The Pirates have some big chips to be sure, Starling Marte, Chris Archer, and Josh Bell to name a few. Each of them are options to move in an effort to rebuild a roster so that the Pirates can compete in arguably the most competitive division in baseball, the NL Central.

I’d like to touch on one such member of the roster, Adam Frazier. Frazier transitioned last season from “super utility” player to everyday second baseman, he started the season as the penned-in leadoff hitter and played gold glove-caliber defense. For much of the season Frazier didn’t look comfortable at the plate. However, for a player like Adam, that adds up to a .278 average with 10 HR and a 2.7 WAR. Those numbers don’t reflect someone who was uncomfortable with a bat in his hands.

So why am I suggesting the Pirates trade Frazier? Simple, the Pirates must trade someone of value in order to expect value in return, and with Cole Tucker waiting in the wings, a replacement with potentially minimal drop off seems plausible. Players like Frazier can be spark plugs and that intangible is worth considering, but that role too is one Mr. Tucker can amply fill.

I wouldn’t happily give up on him. I’m a believer in what he brings to the table and I still think he has sneaky power that could emerge as he becomes more comfortable putting it on display. When he really gets a hold of one his bat speed creates arguably more raw power than anyone not named Bell or Marte.

During the preseason, I opined that Frazier would be in the conversation for batting champ and I still hold that as the level his potential has the capability of taking him. His compact, quick swing is perfect for a player who thrives on contact and his frame make his strike zone measurably harder to target.

The long and short of it is, Adam is an established big-league talent with a proven track record and under team control through 2022. That is very attractive to the GMs of the world and the perfect type of player to help a club right now. A trade would return some much-needed prospect depth for the Pirates organization.

As I mentioned earlier, there are several players the Pirates could consider moving but first they must identify when the window can feasibly open and who we’ll see when we look through it. Make no mistake, trading one of the only bright spots in an otherwise bleak defensive unit doesn’t leave much to spark optimism for 2020, but the Pirates need to be thinking more along the lines of being prepared for all the chips to fall into place near the arrival of players like Quinn Priester.

The way I see it, building toward an arbitrary date is useless unless you can identify several players you believe will be there when it arrives. Quinn is ahead of schedule in many ways as my colleague pointed out in his prospect update. Without pushing him, I believe 2022 is a reasonable landing spot for his debut. This would put the window somewhere in the 2022-2024 seasons. Decisions are shaded by this window, anyone who will be here due to team control and fills the role they play in a fashion the Pirates believe will contribute stays. Anyone who won’t be here, either extend them or move them. Its not a romantic way of looking at building a baseball team, but it is practical. Its also what turns “we want to win a championship” from empty words, to a real possibility.

In all likelihood the future is not now for the Pirates but moving Frazier to a contender for Single or Double A prospect pitcher could go a long way toward ensuring the future has a chance of shining bright, maybe this time the brightest the sport has to offer.

Oneil Cruz Jersey

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PITTSBURGH – Ben Cherington made his first official roster moves as Pirates general manager on Wednesday, adding five prospects to Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster to protect them from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.

Facing Wednesday night’s deadline to set their roster, the Pirates selected the contracts of third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, shortstop Oneil Cruz, first baseman Will Craig and right-handers Blake Cederlind and Cody Ponce.

• Pirates Top 30 Prospects

To make room for those additions, the Bucs designated four pitchers for assignment: Dario Agrazal, Montana DuRapau, Luis Escobar and Williams Jerez. Pittsburgh ended the day with a full 40-man roster as Cherington’s real work begins.

The annual Rule 5 Draft will take place at the Winter Meetings in San Diego on Dec. 12.

What makes a prospect eligible for the Rule 5 Draft? Players signed at age 18 must be added to the 40-man roster within five seasons or they become eligible if left unprotected. Players signed at 19 or older must be protected within four seasons. This year, that generally meant international signings or high school Draft picks in 2015 had to be protected along with college players taken in the ’16 MLB Draft.

There was no doubt the Pirates would add Hayes and Cruz, two of their top three prospects. Craig, Cederlind and Ponce were also at risk of being selected if left unprotected.

Hayes, the 32nd overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, is the Pirates’ No. 2 prospect and the No. 36 overall prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. The slick-fielding third baseman is coming off an uninspiring offensive season for Triple-A Indianapolis. After a solid showing in Double-A Altoona, Hayes hit .265/.336/.415 with 10 homers and 53 RBIs in 110 games for Indianapolis this year. The 22-year-old could be ready for the Majors soon, but Pittsburgh might prefer to have him prove himself offensively back in Triple-A to start the year.

Pirates’ Top 5 prospects
Nov 21st, 2019 · 1:00
Pirates’ Top 5 prospects
Cruz, acquired from the Dodgers as part of the Tony Watson trade in 2017, is the Bucs’ No. 3 prospect and ranked 57th overall, according to MLB Pipeline. The 21-year-old is a fascinating prospect, from his size (6-foot-7) to his defensive future (currently a shortstop, though most evaluators expect that to change in time) and the tantalizing tools that allowed him to hit .298/.356/.475 with eight homers and 11 steals in 73 games this past season. Cruz began the year in Class A Advanced Bradenton and finished with Altoona, where he’ll likely return to start next year.

Craig, the Pirates’ first-round pick in 2016, is now only a call away from the Majors. The Pirates’ No. 10 prospect has shown more home run power while playing improved defense over the last two years, but he still has questions to answer about his overall offensive profile. This year, the 25-year-old slugged 23 homers and drove in 78 runs in Triple-A but hit just .249 with a .326 on-base percentage and 146 strikeouts in 556 plate appearances.

Cederlind, a fifth-round pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, climbed from Class A Advanced Bradenton to Triple-A Indianapolis this year. The hard-throwing reliever was particularly dominant in Double-A, posting a 1.77 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with 42 strikeouts in 45 2/3 innings over 31 appearances. The 23-year-old could make his Major League debut at some point next season.

The Pirates acquired Ponce, 25, from the Brewers in exchange for starter Jordan Lyles before this year’s Trade Deadline. The right-hander moved to the bullpen in 2018 but spent some time as a starter after joining Pittsburgh. Ponce finished the year in Triple-A, then put together an encouraging stint in the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League, posting a 2.35 ERA with 27 strikeouts and only three walks in 23 innings over five starts.

Only one eligible prospect on the Pirates’ Top 30 list was left unprotected: outfielder Lolo Sanchez. Despite his upside, Pittsburgh’s No. 15 prospect is unlikely to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft after finishing this past season in Bradenton.

Escobar, who was designated for assignment, was the Pirates’ 14th-ranked prospect, but his stock fell with a move to the bullpen and consistently high walk rates. Agrazal made 14 starts for the Pirates this year but struggled after an encouraging start, ending the season with a 4.91 ERA and only 41 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings. DuRapau, a 32nd-round Draft pick in 2014, reached the Majors in May but wasn’t recalled when rosters expanded in September.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Josh Bell Jersey

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The Pirates have narrowed their search to replace Clint Hurdle as manager.

As first reported by MLB.com, their final two candidates are Minnesota Twins bench coach Derek Shelton and Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro, team sources confirmed to the Post-Gazette.

Shelton, 49, was hitting coach with the Cleveland Indians from 2005 to 2009, then had the same position with the Rays from 2010 to 2016 before the Twins brought him on as bench coach in 2017.

Quatraro, 46, played in the Rays’ minor league system and became a coach in 2004. He worked at various positions with Tampa from 2004 to 2013 before he joining Terry Francona’s staff with the Indians from 2014 to 2017 as an assistant hitting coach. Quatraro returned to the Rays for the 2018 season as third base coach and became bench coach for 2019.

Pirates pitcher Dario Agrazal pitches against the Cubs in the first inning Wednesday, Sept. 25 2019, at PNC Park.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pirates trade Dario Agrazal to Tigers for cash
Both men are highly respected in baseball circles and have experience winning in small markets.

The decision to focus on Quatraro and Shelton eliminates internal candidates such as third base coach Joey Cora and special assistant Jeff Banister.

According to sources, the Pirates are hoping to finalize a decision by the end of the week. Whomever the manager is will have to work quickly to build his staff.

The Pirates still need to hire a bench coach and a pitching coach. The manager, along with general manager Ben Cherington, will also have to decide the fates of the remaining staff members like Cora, hitting coach Rick Eckstein, and first base coach Kimera Bartee.

Rock the vote

Major League Baseball is rolling out a new kind of award — the 2019 All-MLB Team — and Pirates fans can vote for Josh Bell until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

Unlike the All-Star Game, this particular honor is designed to incorporate the entire season. It will include two separate teams, regardless of league. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, Dec. 10, at the Winter Meetings in San Diego.

Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Matt Quatraro stands on the field during a game against the Baltimore Orioles, Friday, May 11, 2018, in Baltimore.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Breaking down the Pirates’ next manager: Derek Shelton vs. Matt Quatraro
Fans can vote once every 24 hours at MLB.com. Winners will be determined by fan vote and a panel of media members, broadcasters, former players and other officials throughout the game.

There will be three outfielders selected — regardless of position — along with a normal infield, a designated hitter, five starting pitchers and two relief pitchers.

Bell ranks third among eligible first baseman with 37 home runs. He’s fourth in RBIs (116) and third in OPS (.936).

Elias Diaz Jersey

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have some house keeping to take care of before the offseason gets underway. However, the market is already beginning to take shape.
One of the biggest needs, if not the biggest need, for the Pittsburgh Pirates this offseason is to find a productive catcher. The team went from having one of the best catching situations in baseball back in 2018 to see the position completely regress this past year.

The team saw Francisco Cervelli suffer another injury plagued season which led him to be cut by the team. Then catcher Elias Diaz, who somewhat broke out in 2018, took a complete step backwards. He saw his power drop off completely and looked very bad behind the plate. Jacob Stallings did turn some heads during the second half of the season, and should be viewed as the only secure catcher on the roster for next season. Nothing against Stallings, but he was out on waivers last season. This is very telling of how much went wrong with the team’s catcher’s in 2019.

Last month we did an article breaking down some of the catchers that would be on the free agent market. After this weekends option deadline, a new and very intriguing name became available. The Washington Nationals declined their $9 million option on veteran catcher Yan Gomes.

Gomes is a veteran catcher who has established himself as a good all around catcher in his career. Many likely remember him when he was with the Cleveland Indians, where he spent six seasons. He actually started in the Toronto Blue Jays organization and debuted for them back in 2012. The Jays traded the Brazilian native, along with Mikes Aviles, to the Cleveland Indians for pitcher Esmil Rogers.

Gomes put together a solid career with the Indians, showing a decent offensive skill set along with a strong defensive profile. Gomes is a career .245 hitter with an average of 14 home runs hit over his last five seasons. This is not a great offensive profile, but it is definitely more productive than what Elias Diaz provided last year. Furthermore, Gomes owns a career .175 ISO, showing that when he does hit, he hits for some power.

Where Gomes’ real value lies is his work behind the plate. In his career Gomes has averaged out to be a plus pitch framer, although saw himself around league average last year at -0.3 framing runs. With that being said, Elias Diaz rated as one of the worst pitch framers in baseball at -13.1 runs. Gomes also rated very well in terms of defensive runs saved, putting up five for the season. Once again, Diaz posted -23, one of the worst in baseball.

Jacob Stallings meanwhile posted strong numbers behind the dish, with six framing runs and 13 defensive runs saved. The question about Stallings has always been if he could be an everyday player.

If the Pittsburgh Pirates are able to bring Yan Gomes in and pair him with Stallings, the Bucs could get back to having a strong tandem behind the plate. Furthermore, Gomes’ veteran experience could help mold Jacob Stallings into an even better catcher, but also help develop some of the young arms in the system.

Gomes is coming off a down year and while he did hit 12 home runs, he posted one of the worst batting averages of his career. Still, he is a big defensive upgrade over Elias Diaz, who looked lost behind the plate at times this season. Gomes should fit into the Bucs financial range on a short-term bounce back contract. Gomes is just one season removed from an all-star game and a WAR over 2.0, so he definitely would be a worthy gamble.

Chris Stratton Jersey

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Since joining the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chris Stratton has been a pleasant surprise out of the bullpen
There was a time when Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Chris Stratton was one of the best, if not the best, pitching prospect in the San Francisco Giants minor league system. After three inconsistent seasons with the Giants, Stratton was traded to the Los Angeles Angels on Anaheim in March of this year.

On May 7th, the Angels designated Stratton for assignment after he struggled to the tune of a 8.59 ERA, 6.20 FIP, 1.84 HR/9, a 12.5% walk rate, and 15.3% strikeout rate in 29 1/3 innings pitched. On May 11th, the Pirates swung a trade with the Angels after claiming him off waivers. Since joining the team, quietly, Stratton has been one of the team’s best relievers.

Stratton has logged 17 1/3 innings since joining the Pirates. He has posted a 3.12 ERA, 3.32 FIP, just two home runs, and a 15:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio (21.7% strikeout rate, 2.9% walk rate) since joining the club.

Most of the damage done against Stratton came in one inning. In the 8th inning of a blowout loss against the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 15th, his second outing as a Pirate, Stratton took the hill in the 8th inning after having already pitched 3 innings. Stratton looked gassed, but was just trying to help get the Pirates to the end of a blowout loss while saving the bullpen.

In the bottom of the 8th inning that day Stratton allowed four of the six runs he’s surrender as a Pirate and both home runs. Outside of this one inning, Stratton has been fantastic with Pittsburgh.

A big reason for Stratton’s success has been the spin rate on his pitches. According to Baseball Savant, the spin rate on his fastball this season is in the 91st percentile. His curveball spin rate has been even better falling in the 99th percentile.

These two pitches have turned Stratton into a strong bullpen option for the Pirates. He also brings value to the Pirate ‘pen because he can pitch multiple inning outings in addition to your tradition 1 inning outings.

NEXT: Pirate Mailbag: July 10th, 2019
Since joining the Pirates, Stratton’s ERA has dropped to 6.56 and his FIP to 5.13. If he continues to pitch the way he has, these numbers will continue to trend in the right direction. He will also continue to be a strong bullpen option for the Pirates.

Cody Ponce Jersey

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Cody Ponce, who was acquired by the Pirates via trade this year, is pitching for Team USA in the Premier 12 tournament.

The 2019 World Baseball Softball Confederation Premier 12 tournament is underway. The tournament is serving as a qualifier for the 2020 Olympics with one spot available to the top finisher in the Americas and another to the best of Asia/Oceania. Cody Ponce, a Pirates’ AAA pitcher, started team USA off right Saturday – leading the team to a 9-0 win over the Netherlands.

Ponce started the game and went five innings – allowing only three base runners and no runs. He also struck out five. None of three base runners allowed made it beyond second base as Ponce made short work of the Dutch lineup.

Ponce has had a pretty busy fall as he has just finished up playing for the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League. He pitched well there too – 23 innings while allowing 26 hits and walks. He struck out 27 and posted a very respectable 2.35 ERA.

A newcomer to the Pirates, Cody Ponce has rebounded nicely in the fall following a pretty disappointing start in the Pirate organization after being acquired via a trade before the July 31 deadline in exchange for Jordan Lyles. Ponce pitched 18.2 innings for the Indianapolis Indians – posting a 5.30 ERA.

While with the Brewers, Ponce was used almost exclusively as a reliever. However, the majority of his appearances since the trade, both during the minor league season and the fall league, have been as a starter.

One thing I really like about Ponce is his strikeout rate. He average 10 Ks per nine innings in 2019, and that number has been getting better as Ponce has gotten older.

Cody Ponce’s time pitching for team USA will be something to watch as we get into the winter. We will provide some periodic updates.