Anyone who knows me, or at least reads my articles, knows that I am an avid fan of anything Minor League Baseball; especially when it comes to the Pittsburgh Pirates Farm System. Luckily for me, almost two years ago, I was given the opportunity to write about one of my passions at the now defunct SI/Maven InsideThePirates team website; which ultimately led to the creation of this blog, by myself and my good friend Gary Morgan, that exists today.
Of course, during this time prospects have not been my only focus, but as I look back to the early days of our site I can see all of the Young Pirates I was excited to watch progress during the 2020 season; one of whom was a left reliever that had finish the previous season with the Bradenton Marauders-the Pirates High-A Affiliate at the time. His name…Braeden Ogle.
Flash forward to the days, and months, leading up to the Rule 5 Draft on December 10th, 2020, I suggested that General Manager Ben Cherington protect three eligible players, Max Kranick, Rodolfo Castro and Ogle. We know now that Ogle was the only one of the three left off the list; but he wasn’t selected, so no harm no foul.
Beginning the season in Triple-A Indianapolis with the Indians, Ogle had appeared in 24 games across 32.1innings. During this time he posted a 3.13 ERA, a1.326 WHIP and struck out 42, good for a career high 11.94 K/9. The one concerning stat was another career high; his 6.54 BB/9.
Then came July 30th (yesterday), which also happened to be Ogle’s 24th Birthday, when he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for the healthy member of the failed Tyler Anderson Trade, Abrahan Guitierrez.
After my immediate reaction that was undoubtedly frustration-having watched Ogle grow from the lanky kid out of Jensen Beach High School in 2016, to a potential piece of the Pirates bullpen in 2023 and beyond-I understood the implications of possibly leaving Ogle unprotected for the second year in a row, and risk losing him for a $100K with no player coming back in return. Guitierrez himself is also Rule 5 eligible, but is clearly at less risk of being selected and carried on a team’s 26-Man Roster for the entire season, as he has only reached High A in his career.
For the remainder of the day it looked as if Ben Cherington wouldn’t move the fairly obvious trade piece, Rich Rodriguez, up to and even a few minutes after the 4 PM cutoff. Then came the Jeff Passos tweet, followed soon after by one from Keith Law.
Cherington had made not only one, but two trades at the last minute before the closing bell sounded.
The first was a low risk high reward move for a former 26th overall pick from the Boston Red Sox, Michael Chavis, who was selected by Cherington himself in 2014. As a rookie in 2019, Chavis had batted .254 with 18 homers, but had struggled recently; seeing his average fall to .190 during the current season, where he was continuously bounced between Triple-A Worcester and the Big League Club. Assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis, the hope is that he can recapture some of the early prospect shine, and all it cost the Pirates was a reliever, acquired from the Phillies last August for a PTBNL.
The headliner of the RichRod trade has a similar pedigree to Chavis, and track record of bouncing up and down as well. Making his debut as a 20 year old in 2018, right-handed starter Bryse Wilson has been up with the Braves every year since, but just hasn’t been able to stick. With a career 5.45 ERA in 74.1 MLB innings, Atlanta’s former top 10 prospect still has the potential to be a back of the rotation starter in years to come; much like Wil Crowe and JT Brubaker.
The second piece is little bit more of a risk in my honest opinion. Currently ranked at #24 on Atlanta’s Fangraphs Top Prospects, Ricky DeVito has been on the IL with elbow soreness since June 9th off this year. He had, however, posted a 2.66 ERA, a 1.28 WHIP and struck out 27 in 20.1 innings prior to being shutdown, so if he is able to get back on track it is possible the risk could be worth the reward.
Now, with all of the moving and shaking of the past week out of the way, it is time to see how these guys perform in the Pirates System, who stays and who goes to make room in the Minors, and maybe the Majors, and what happens in Pittsburgh’s last 59 games of the season.