Pittsburgh Pirates — as of April 30, 2017

2017/05/02

Up:

     Adam Frazier, IF, OF: April 30 – Adam Frazier is not a regular in the Pirates’ lineup but he was putting pressure on some of the starters before his April 23 injury. He had started in 11 of the team’s 18 games to that point including 5 in the OF, 3 at 2B and 1 each at DH, SS and 3B. It will be interesting to see how the Pirates use him when he returns to action in a few days, especially given Starling Marte’s recent suspension and David Freese’s absence due to a strained hamstring. Frazier could see a fair bit of time in both LF and 3B. If he can maintain his .306 Batting Average, he could make an impact.

     John Jaso, 1B, OF: April 30 — With Starling Marte suspended on April 18 and Adam Frazier sent to the DL on April 23, John Jaso and Jose Osuna have been splitting the RF duties while Andrew McCutcheon patrols CF. So far, they’ve started there 5 times each although Jaso has been starting against RHP. He also has 2 starts at 1B.

     Jose Osuna, OF, 1B: April 30 — With Starling Marte suspended on April 18 and Adam Frazier sent to the DL on April 23, Jose Osuna and John Jaso have shared RF duties while Andrew McCutcheon patrols CF. So far, they’ve started there 5 times each although Osuna has been starting against LHP only.

     Josh Bell, 1B: April 30 – Since the suspension of Starling Marte, three Pirates – Josh Bell, Jody Mercer and Josh Harrison –  have been covering his #2 spot in the batting order. However, Bell has been starting against RHP and, thus, has probably gained a little bit of value. Prior to that, he had primarily seen action toward the bottom of the batting order (although he had also started 2 games at #2 and 3 at #5.

     Josh Harrison, 2B, OF: April 30 – In 100 of the last 11 games, Josh Harrison has hit at the top of the order, with 4 at #2 and 6 at #1 (including the last 5 in a row). Whether he stays there when Adam Frazier returns in a few days is anyone’s guess.

     Francisco Cervelli, C: April 30 – With David Freese on the DL since April 25, Francisco Cervelli has moved up from his normal $6 slot to see more action at #5. He’s started 4 of the past 5 games there, in addition to 2 games there earlier in the year.

     Felipe Rivero, Setup, RP: April 30 – Felipe Rivero appears to be moving up on the Pirates’ bullpen depth chart and for all intents and purposes is sharing Setup duties with Daniel Hudson. And although they both have 7 Holds, Rivero’s stat line is much better than Hudson’s. Rivero has allowed only 1 Earned Run in 14.7 Innings for an 0.61 ERA. He also has a 1.02 WHIP, along with 13 Ks and a 4.33 K/BB ratio.

Down:

     Gregory Polanco, OF: April 30 – Gregory Polanco has dropped a bit in value thanks to a slow start to the season and a sore right groin that limited his appearances for almost a week and forced him to miss 3 starts. Prior to Starling Marte’s suspension, Polanco had started only 9 of the team’s 15 games. However, he’s started every game since Marte was forced out for 80 games.

Perhaps surprisingly, though, he’s still batting cleanup despite hitting only .247 with 0 HRs, just 4 RBI and a .338 Slugging Percentage.

     Daniel Hudson, Setup, RP: April 30 – It looks like Daniel Hudson will soon lose the Setup role to Felipe Rivero. They both have 7 Holds but Hudson has a 9.90 ERA and a 2.000 WHIP. His others stats aren’t too bad, however, as he’s struck out 10 batters in 10 Innings and compiled a 3.33 K/BB ratio.

In:

     Jose Osuna, OF, 1B: Apr 18 – 4:05 PM (Rotoworld) — Pirates recalled 1B/OF Jose Osuna from Triple-A Indianapolis.

Starling Marte got hit with an 80-game PED suspension on Tuesday, so Osuna gets the call to help out in LF. He can also play some 1B.

     Johnny Barbato, RP: Apr 25 – 3:34 PM (Rotoworld) — Pirates recalled RHP Johnny Barbato from Triple-A Indianapolis.

Barbato was just acquired from the Yankees last week and will replace Antonio Bastardo (quad) in the Pirates’ bullpen. The 24-year-old had a rough 7.62 ERA in 13 appearances with the Yankees last season and figures to operate in middle relief.

     Gift Ngoepe, IF: Apr 26 – 3:32 PM (Rotoworld) — Pirates recalled IF Gift Ngoepe from Triple-A Indianapolis.

Ngoepe is the first African-born player to make it to the major league level. The 27-year-old was batting just .241/.308/.379 in 66 plate appearances this season at Triple-A and holds no fantasy relevance.

He’s taking the roster spot of RHP Dovydas Neverauskas who has been sent back down to the minors. Neverauskas was taking the place of the injured Adam Frazier.

     John Bormann, C: Apr 30 – 1:22 PM (Rotoworld) — Pirates purchased the contract of C John Bormann from High-A Bradenton.

The 24-year-old is jumping three levels to the majors to serve as the Pirates’ third catcher. Bormann, 24, has hit just .232/.282/.310 in the minors but he has a good glove. The addition of Bormann suggests that Francisco Cervelli might not be healthy. Cervelli is not playing Sunday.

Out:

     Starling Marte, OF: Apr 18 – 2:53 PM (Rotoworld) — MLB announced today that Starling Marte has been suspended 80 games for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

Marte tested positive for Nandrolone. It’s a shocker for Pittsburgh, who is 6-7 to begin the season. The 28-year-old Marte was batting .241/.288/.370 with two homers and two steals over 13 games to begin the year. Andrew McCutchen figures to return to center field while Marte is away. The suspension could open the door for top prospect Austin Meadows to be called up but Adam Frazier will likely take on a everyday role in the short-term.

     David Freese, 3B, 1B: Apr 29 – 7:02 PM (Rotoworld) — Pirates placed 3B David Freese on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to April 25, with a strained right hamstring.

Freese hasn’t played since straining his hamstring in the April 24 game against the Cubs. The Pirates finally realized his leg wasn’t healing fast enough to avoid placing him on the DL. Freese has been one of the club’s best hitters in the early going, batting .321/.418/.536 with three home runs and 10 RBI. Outfielder Danny Ortiz was called up from Triple-A to take Freese’s place on the roster.

     Apr 28 – 3:26 PM (Rotoworld) — David Freese (hamstring) remained out of the Pirates’ lineup today.

Freese still felt something in his right hamstring while taking swings in the cage earlier today. He hasn’t played since Monday, April 24. The disabled list will be in play if Freese doesn’t improve in a hurry but the Pirates are still listing him as day-to-day for now and he’ll try to field some grounders in today’s pre-game. Josh Harrison is at 3B and Gift Ngoepe at 2B.

     Apr 25 – 10:07 PM (Rotoworld) — David Freese was unavailable today due to right hamstring soreness.

Josh Harrison drew the start at 3B against the Cubs, with Alen Hanson starting at 2B. This could be a multi-day absence for Freese, who’s off to a great start offensively in 2017.

     Jung Ho Kang, 3B: Apr 17 – 8:46 PM (Yonhap News/Rotoworld) — Yonhap News reports that Jung Ho Kang’s appeals hearing has been set for May 25.

Kang previously received an eight-month term for his third DUI arrest, although the sentence was suspended for two years. The Pirates IF was denied a United States work visa last month but has been training on his own in his native South Korea and hopes to eventually obtain a visa. His status is obviously very much up in the air.

     Mar 24 – 8:42 AM (Rotoworld) — According to reports out of Korea, Jung Ho Kang has been denied a work visa to enter the United States.

The report also states that there is suspicion Kang was convicted of drunk driving in a third country other than Korea and the United States. Kang was given an eight-month suspended sentence earlier this month as a result of his third DUI arrest in Korea. With this latest news, Kang’s chances of playing for the Pirates this season are “cloudy.” The Pirates should have an update on the 3B later today. David Freese will be the club’s regular at the hot corner for as long as Kang is away.

     Adam Frazier, IF, OF: Apr 26 – 10:48 PM (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/Rotoworld) — Adam Frazier (hamstring) received a platelet rich plasma injection on Monday, April 24.

That was the day he was placed on the disabled list with a strained hamstring. Frazier has already shown improvement and will be re-evaluated on Friday, April 28. The Pirates could certainly use him as they scramble to replace Starling Marte, who is serving an 80-game suspension for PEDs.

     Apr 24 – 7:00 PM (Rotoworld) — Pirates placed IF/OF Adam Frazier on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to April 23, with a left hamstring strain.

It’s unclear when Frazier suffered the injury but he’ll now be out of commission until at least the end of the month. It leaves the Pirates thin in the OF after they lost Starling Marte last week. Jose Osuna and John Jaso will see some starts for now but the club figures to get some help from outside the organization.

     Antonio Bastardo, RP: Apr 25 – 3:31 PM (Rotoworld) — Pirates placed LHP Antonio Bastardo on the 10-day disabled list with a left quad strain.

Bastardo has been flat-out awful this season, allowing 12 runs on 15 hits and seven walks over 6 2/3 innings. An injury would provide some context to his struggles, though this move could be designed to simply give him a break and get him back on track.

     Dovydas Neverauskas, RP: Apr 26 – 3:30 PM (Rotoworld) — Pirates optioned RHP Dovydas Neverauskas to Triple-A Indianapolis.

Neverauskas became the first native of Lithuania to appear in a major league game on Monday night against the Cubs but he yielded a run on two hits in two innings of work. The 24-year-old RHP should get another shot soon.

     Apr 24 – 7:01 PM (Rotoworld) — Pirates recalled RHP Dovydas Neverauskas from Triple-A Indianapolis.

Neverauskas hadn’t allowed an earned run in his first five relief appearances at Indy this season. The 24-year-old will be making his major league debut when he gets into a game.

He’s replacing the injured Adam Frazier on the Pirates’ roster.

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