Will Injuries Force Pittsburgh Pirates to Call Up Pitching Prospects?
After struggling to start the season, the Pittsburgh Pirates have placed James McDonald on the disabled list with discomfort in his pitching shoulder. The move was made only hours before the start of Tuesday night’s interleague matchup against the Seattle Mariners.
Jeanmar Gomez replaced McDonald on Tuesday night, tossing five scoreless innings with five strikeouts on his way to his second win of the season. Gomez pitched well enough to fill-in for McDonald during his absence, but will the Pirates think about calling up one of their two top pitching prospects?
Jameson Tallion would be an option after his success in the World Baseball Classic, but he recently suffered a left shin contusion during a Altoona Curve game this past week.
The real option for the Pirates would be calling up former No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 June Amateur Draft, Gerrit Cole. The 22-year-old has posted a 2-1 record with a 2.45 ERA for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians this season. Cole has the ability to fit into the rotation right now, and Pirates fans would be extremely happy to see their future ace up finally in the big leagues.
Although Cole is a great option, it is likely they will continue to hold out on bringing their young pitching the major leagues. The Pirates have veteran options in Francisco Liriano, Charlie Morton and Jeff Karstens to fill the gap left by McDonald’s DL stint.
The true question is, how long can the Pirates hold outstanding pitching talent down in the minor leagues before their fans get annoyed?
Bring up Cole now, let him shine and make fans flock to PNC Park to see him pitch.