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Baseball Daily Dose

Raise The Jolly Roger – Here Come the Pirates

by David Shovein
Updated On: June 20, 2022, 10:49 am ET

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You wouldn’t think that the Pirates of all teams would be the one making the most headlines on a Sunday afternoon in mid-June, but that’s precisely what happened. First, they had a ballgame to win.

The Pirates fell behind to the Giants after Mitch Keller allowed a pair of runs (only one of them earned) in the first inning. They started to claw their way back though as Hoy Park blasted a solo homer off of Alex Cobb in the third inning to trim that deficit to 2-1. Then rookie outfielder Jack Suwinski clubbed his ninth home run of the season off of Cobb in the fourth inning to tie the game at 2-2. He wasn’t done.

In his next at-bat – against Sammy Long in the sixth inning – Suwinski clobbered a 415-foot solo homer to put the Buccos ahead 3-2. That lead would stand until the ninth inning, where Thairo Estrada smacked a solo homer off of star closer David Bednar to tie the game at 3-3.

Not to worry though, Suwinski would get another chance. The 23-year-old strolled to the dish to lead off the ninth inning against Tyler Rogers and he clobbered a 1-1 slider for a 367-foot walk-off blast – sending the Pirates home faithful into a frenzy.

According to Sarah Langs of MLB.com, it’s the first time in big league history that any rookie hitter has had three homers in a game including a walk-off home run. Pretty impressive.

Now normally for the Pirates, that would have been it, an impressive and memorable day at the ballpark and one of the highlights of their entire season, but ultimately just another victory in what has been a 26-39 season thus far. They added more excitement after the game though when manager Derek Shelton confirmed that top prospect Oneil Cruz would finally be getting the call to join the big league club on Monday.

Over the past few weeks it seems as though the Pirates have promoted every prospect that they had available in the upper minors -- all of them except Cruz who was held down for "development" purposes. Now that the Super Two deadline has passed though, it seems like the perfect time to unleash him on the National League. The 23-year-old shortstop was hitting .233/.337/.424 with nine homers, 35 RBI and 11 stolen bases (in 17 attempts) over 54 games at Triple-A. That overall line doesn’t look good, but the last month he’s hitting .301/.377/.562 with five homers, two steals and most importantly only an 18.8% strikeout rate.

He hits the ball exceptionally hard and adds a tremendous combination of power and speed to the top half of the Pirates lineup. The batting average could be a concern, and there’s plenty of swing and miss in his game, but Cruz should be a viable middle infield option in all mixed leagues for the remainder of the season.

In addition to Cruz, Shelton also announced that Bligh Madris would be promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday as well. It'll be the first trip to the big leagues for Madris, a 26-year-old outfielder who was taken in the ninth round of the 2017 draft. He was hitting .308/.390/.526 with five homers, 20 RBI and two stolen bases in 45 games at Triple-A Indianapolis. It’s unclear if he’ll find an everyday role in the Pirates outfield, but it’s unlikely that he makes a major impact from a fantasy perspective.

 

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Nick Pivetta - 7 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 10 K, W (7), 34% CSW, 12 swinging strikes

Pivetta hurled another gem in Sunday’s victory over the Cardinals, racking up 10 strikeouts over seven innings of one-run baseball. He got 12 swings and misses on 108 pitches in the ballgame – eight of those on his heater – while registering an elite 34 percent CSW. He now boasts a 3.31 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 82/29 K/BB ratio over 71 2/3 innings through his first 14 starts of the season.

Ian Anderson - 6 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 6 K, W (6), 29% CSW, 12 swinging strikes

Anderson delivered one of his best starts of the season on Sunday, hurling 6 2/3 innings of shutout baseball in a victory over the Cubs. The right-hander got 12 whiffs on 99 pitches in the game, posting a CSW of 29 percent. Prior to this start, Anderson had allowed four runs or more in four of his last five starts, so it was nice to see him get back on track here. He now holds a 4.35 ERA and 1.39 WHIP over 70 1/3 innings on the season.

Jackson Tetreault - 7 IP, 0 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 2 K, W (1), 25% CSW, 5 swinging strikes

The 26-year-old right-hander rebounded from a disastrous first outing, to fire seven strong innings without allowing an earned run against the Phillies on Sunday, picking up his first career victory in the process. Tetreault generated just five swings and misses on 91 pitches in the game – four of those on his fastball – while posting an underwhelming CSW of 25 percent. It was a memorable afternoon for him, but he’s unlikely to suddenly become a mixed league asset going forward.

 

Hitters with an EDGE

Christian Walker - 2-for-4, 2 HR (18), 2 RBI, 2 R

Pretty quietly, Christian Walker has now slugged 18 homers on the season. His two solo shots on Sunday helped to power the Diamondbacks to a victory over Chris Archer and the Twins. While the power output has been nice though, Walker is hitting just .201/.297/.483 to go with his 18 bombs and 35 RBI.

Gleyber Torres - 3-for-5, HR (13), 2B, 3 RBI, R

Gleyber Torres blasted a solo homer in the second inning and added on a two-run double in the fifth, but it still wasn’t enough to lead the Yankees to victory over the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon in Toronto. With the three-hit effort, he’s now hitting .267/.314/.524 with 13 long balls and 32 RBI, though he is still looking for his first stolen base of the season.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - 2-for-3, HR (17), 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB

Guerrero Jr. reached base safely in four of his five plate appearances and belted a two-run homer as the Blue Jays rallied to eke out a one-run victory over the Yankees on Sunday afternoon. He’s now slashing .267/.355/.510 to go along with 17 long balls and 41 RBI on the season.

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EDGE Priority Pickup

Riley Greene, OF, Detroit Tigers – Available in 47% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.

This shouldn’t have to be said, but here we are. Yes, we mentioned him earlier in the month in this very same space, yet somehow, Greene is still rostered in just 53 percent of all Yahoo leagues. The Tigers top outfield prospect joined the big league club and will patrol center field at Comerica Park for the next decade. He possesses a dazzling blend of power and speed – with a plus hit tool that will make him a strong contributor in batting average as well. Five-category contributors usually can’t be found on the waiver wire in mid-June, but once again, here we are. Rush to the waiver wire and grab him now if he’s still out there.

 

Closing Time

Tanner Houck vs. Cardinals - 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K (4th save)

Red Sox skipper Alex Cora had hoped he wouldn’t need to turn to his closer after entering the ninth inning with a five-run lead, but he called upon Houck to get the final out after Juan Yepez clubbed a three-run homer to make it a two-run ballgame. He allowed Tommy Edman to reach on an infield single, but then got Brendan Donovan to strike out to preserve the victory. Houck has now converted each of the Red Sox last four saves and looks to be the preferred option in the ninth inning.

Ryan Pressly vs. White Sox - 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 BB, 1 K (13th save)

The 33-year-old hurler made things interesting with a one-run lead on Sunday, walking Josh Harrison to start the ninth inning, but then he retired the next three hitters in order to escape with his 13th save of the season. He now boasts a 2.55 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 13/6 K/BB ratio over 17 2/3 innings on the season while converting 13 of his first 15 save chances.

Devin Williams  vs. Reds - 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K (5th save)

With Josh Hader still away on paternity leave, Devin Williams once again got the job done in his absence on Friday, retiring all three hitters that he faced in the ninth inning against the Reds – two of them via the strikeout. He has been outstanding yet again this season, compiling a 2.42 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 43/14 K/BB ratio across 26 innings of work.

 

Monday’s Matchup of the Day

Gerrit Cole (NYY) vs. Shane McClanahan (TBR)

There is a plethora of star-studded matchups on the docket for Monday, but none carries more intrigue than this battle between a pair of American League Cy Young Award candidates in Tampa Bay.

Cole, the 31-year-old grizzled veteran in this matchup, has never won the Cy Young Award, though he has been the runner-up twice – including last season. He enters this start with a shiny 6-1 record, 3.33 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 91/18 K/BB ratio across 73 innings.

McClanahan meanwhile, is certainly considered the front-runner for the award so far this season. The 25-year-old southpaw has dazzled with a 7-3 record, 1.84 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 105/15 K/BB ratio over 78 1/3 innings. He leads the league in ERA, WHIP and strikeouts. Mighty impressive. He’ll have his work cut out for him on Monday though, batting the vaunted Yankees lineup.

American League Quick Hits: Jose Ramirez missed his second straight game due to soreness in his right thumb. … Yordan Alvarez was held out of the Astros lineup due to a hand issue, he’s considered day-to-day. … Jordan Lyles was scratched from Sunday’s scheduled start against the Rays due to a stomach virus. … Trey Mancini was held out of the Orioles lineup due to soreness in his right hand. … Stephen Piscotty (calf) will begin a minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday… Jeimer Candelario (shoulder) is expected to return from the injured list on Monday. … Tim Anderson (groin) will return from the injured list on Monday. … Eloy Jimenez (hamstring) is expected to resume his minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday. … Garrett Whitlock (hip) will throw a bullpen session on Tuesday and as long as all goes well, he’ll be cleared to return to the Red Sox rotation. … Liam Hendriks (forearm) is expected to resume throwing on Monday.

Anthony Santander went 2-for-2 and clubbed his 12th home run as the Orioles topped the Rays. … Robbie Grossman homered for the second consecutive game as the Tigers defeated the Rangers. … Christian Vazquez swatted a three-run homer as the Red Sox beat the Guardians. … Lourdes Gurriel clubbed a grand slam as the Blue Jays rallied to beat the Yankees. … Jordan Romano recorded the final five outs against the Yankees to tally his first save since May 17. … Sean Murphy blasted a three-run homer as the Athletics bested the Royals. … Shane Bieber struck out nine while allowing two earned runs over 6 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Dodgers. … Mike Trout walloped a two-run homer as the Angels beat the Mariners.

National League Quick Hits: The Dodgers officially placed Mookie Betts on the 10-day IL with a cracked rib. Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts told reporters Sunday that he’s optimistic Betts will be able to return in around two weeks. Zach McKinstry was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take his place on the active roster. … Manny Machado was pulled from Sunday’s game with a right ankle sprain. C.J. Abrams is expected to be promoted from Triple-A El Paso to take his place if he winds up going on the injured list. … Bryce Harper sat out his third straight game due to a blister on his left hand. He’s still considered day-to-day… Seiya Suzuki (finger) will continue his rehab at the Cubs spring training facility in Arizona this week. … The Reds placed Alexis Diaz on the 15-day IL with biceps tendinitis. … Donovan Solano (hamstring) could return from the injured list on Tuesday. … Nick Lodolo (back) will make at least one additional rehab start before rejoining the Reds rotation. … Austin Gomber was banished to the Rockies bullpen with Ryan Feltner taking his spot in the starting rotation. … Yoshi Tsutsugo (back) and Josh VanMeter (finger) are expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment this week. … The Nationals released Dee Strange-GordonDaulton Varsho missed Sunday’s game due to a sore heel. He’s considered day-to-day. … Ketel Marte (hamstring) is expected to return to the Diamondbacks lineup during their upcoming series against the Padres.

Juan Soto clubbed a three-run homer in a victory over the Phillies. … Juan Yepez socked a pinch-hit three-run dinger in a losing effort against the Red Sox. … Sandy Alcantara hurled eight innings of two-run ball in a victory over the Mets. … Jerar Encarnacion blasted a go-ahead grand slam off of Seth Lugo to make that victory over the Mets possible. … Michael Harris II smacked his third homer as the Braves topped the Cubs. … Tyler O’Neill was removed from Sunday’s game in the ninth inning due to left hamstring tightness. He’s considered day-to-day. … Andrew Heaney allowed just one earned run and struck out seven over five innings in a no-decision against the Guardians in his return from the injured list.