First Pitch: Minor League Promotions Could be Limited

The Pirates promoted Kyle McPherson and Brock Holt to Triple-A today — well, technically the moves aren’t official yet, but I’d expect an official announcement tomorrow or Wednesday, with corresponding moves to come. The move was expected for McPherson at some point, as he would have started in Indianapolis had he not been injured in Spring Training. I’m surprised it took so long to move Brock Holt up, but it’s good to see him finally get the deserved promotion.

With one month to go in the minor league season, I’m not sure we’ll see a ton of promotions throughout the system. At this point I don’t think a promotion will really accomplish much. For example, if Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco get promoted to Bradenton tomorrow, they’re still very likely to start next year in Bradenton. But the bigger thing is that almost every team in the system is in a playoff race, which means playing in meaningful games could be more valuable than moving up to the next level one month earlier.

The players who are most likely to move up are hitters. In the lower levels, the Gulf Coast League players probably won’t move up to State College until the end of the GCL season. The GCL Pirates are 2.5 games back in the wild card race, and it’s hard to replace guys on that roster once you start moving players up.

I don’t see any of the State College players moving up to West Virginia. State College is in a playoff race, currently 3.5 games out of first, which means their meaningful games are more valuable than a similar talent level in West Virginia.

The Power are currently in first place in the SAL Northern division. They have a one game lead, so they’re not exactly running away with things. But because of their standings, I could see players sticking around at the level all year, or until they fall out of the race. Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco are deserving of promotions, and so is Dan Gamache. But as I mentioned before, those players aren’t going to skip over high-A next year because of one month at the level this year.

Bradenton is also in a second half pennant race. The Marauders are half a game out of first place. The big promotion candidate here is Alex Dickerson. But the combination of Bradenton contending, and Matt Curry playing first base in Altoona could keep Dickerson from moving up. It wouldn’t make sense to put him in Altoona and watch his season end in early September, while Bradenton potentially continues their season with a playoff run.

Altoona is the only team right now that isn’t in a playoff race. That works out well for the Pirates. Indianapolis looks like a lock to make the playoffs in Triple-A. However, the Pirates will need a few of the guys from Indy for September callups. Altoona can send some players up and make up for the loss. They just sent two of the most deserving players up a level. Other candidates between now and the International League playoffs could be Adalberto Santos, Matt Curry, Stefan Welch, Phil Irwin, and Victor Black.

As for Indianapolis, I talked about them in my Prospect Notebook.

Playoff races at pretty much every level will probably restrict roster movement. There might be a few smaller chain reactions, but I’d be surprised if there was massive roster turnover during the final month of the season.

Links and Notes

**One Day FREE Fantasy Contest – $350 in cash prizes.

**The Pirates beat the Diamondbacks 4-0.

**Pirates Notebook: Early Season Bedard Shows Up in Pirates Win.

**Prospect Watch: Leroux and Irwin Pitch Well, Big Day of Rehab For Lambo.

**Leroux Goes Seven Shutout Innings, But Indians Lose 1-0.

**Prospect Notebook: September Callup Candidates.

**A.J. Burnett Named NL Player of the Week.

**Kyle McPherson and Brock Holt Promoted to Indianapolis.

**Andrew McCutchen Has the Second Most Team Friendly Deal in Baseball.

**Jeff Locke and Jameson Taillon Post the Top Pitching Performances of the Week.

**Prospect Trends — Week Ending 8/5.

**Minor League Schedule: 8/7/12.

About Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He is a credentialed media member with every team in the Pirates’ system, including the Pirates themselves. He’s a regular guest on Extra Innings on 104.7, and makes regular appearances on ESPN 970, 93.7 The Fan, and TribLIVE Radio in Pittsburgh, as well as ESPN 1430 in Altoona and ESPN 1450 in State College.
  • salempirate

    Stefan Welch, hasn’t he been described at times, as an organizational player? At any rate, good for him.
    Lambo’s big night will be something for him to remember when he’s out of the game, which most likely will not be far away.
    It’s a nice reward for deserving players to see them called up or playing towards playoff games.
    Tony Sanchez, is this a critical month for him? He hasn’t been impressive offensively at all at the higher levels. I know he’s on all the prospect lists, but should he stay there?

  • http://twitter.com/oaklandzoo10 mike & rachel

    I didn’t know at 30 that Sanchez was still a prospect? Lol however Barajas is hitting a Buc something for the summer so I guess Sanchez is still in play for the Bucs

    • http://twitter.com/oaklandzoo10 mike & rachel

      Cut Barajas next year, make mckenry and Sanchez platoon with Mckenry being the primary

    • Lee Young

      Sanchez isn’t 30 (either in rankings or age)…not sure what you mean by that.

  • st1300b

    You mention some good candidates to move up to Indy for the playoffs, but you left off the biggest name. Gerrit Cole.