Pittsburgh Pirates: Ngoepe Sent Down, Hanson Waived

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Pirates made a couple of roster moves after today’s game.  They sent one player back to Triple-A, while another was designated for assignment. Here is more on the news:

The Pittsburgh Pirates lost in the 14th inning to the Arizona Diamondbacks early today.  They burned through every bench player and bullpen arm while trying to win the game.  A few hours after the game, Rob Biertempfel reported that the Bucs were making a few roster moves.  First was that Gift Ngoepe was sent to Triple-A.  Which is not really shocking.  However, Biertempfel also reported that the Pittsburgh Pirates designated Alen Hanson for assignment.  This move places Hanson on waivers, opening up an opportunity for any team to take Hanson from the Pirates for nothing.  If he is not claimed he will go to Triple-A.

Alen Hanson Waived

Now in a way, this should not be a surprise.  Hanson has really struggled in his first year with the club.  So far for the Pittsburgh Pirates, he has batted .193/.220/.263. The switch-hitter has struck out nine times while only walking twice. He has accumulated 59 plate appearances in 36 games.  In those games, he has accumulated a WAR of -0.4.  So all in all, he has not been a very productive player.  So yes, this should have been expected.

However, Hanson at one time was one of the most promising prospects in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system.  Also, one could say that he has not really been given a consistent chance to show what he can do.  Regardless, the Pittsburgh Pirates coaching staff and organization must have a reason for not giving him a larger sample size, and it likely is because they expect more of the same from him even if he were given more of a chance.

Gift Ngoepe Demoted

The other news is that Gift Ngoepe has been sent down.  Ngoepe is sort of in the same boat as Hanson, where he has really struggled lately.  Ngoepe’s story is great, he is the first player born in Africa to make it to the bigs.  In addition to that, he collected his first big league hit in his debut game.  Ngoepe had a pretty solid first two weeks, but his true self started to come around.

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He is a fantastic defender, but he has always been weak with the bat.  The glove first player is a career .232 hitter in the minors.  Ngoepe finishes his first taste of the big leagues with a slash line of .222/.323/.296.  This likely will not be the last time Ngoepe comes to the majors.  The Bucs kept him up here for a pretty lengthy period of time.  However, right now they are looking to add some fresh offense off the bench.

Potential Moves

Some potential middle infielders that could be called up are Max Moroff and Chris Bostick.  Both spent time up with the Pittsburgh Pirates earlier this season. Moroff currently leads the Indianapolis Indians with 13 home runs.  Meanwhile, Bostick leads the team with a .318 batting average.  Interestingly enough, Moroff is not in Triple-A’s lineup tonight. Phil Gosselin also could be considered, however after his performance earlier this year, that seems unlikely.

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The Bucs may also look to call up a pen arm after burning through the bullpen.  One option could be Dovydas Neverauskas who was brought up earlier this year.  Angel Sanchez could also be considered, as he is a former starter turned reliever.  Sanchez would be able to give the Pittsburgh Pirates multiple innings if need be.  A.J. Schugel also should be up for consideration being he has big league experience.  Edgar Santana would bring the biggest upside, but being it is pre Super Two, and the Bucs having other options, it is unlikely. Stay tuned for updates on the corresponding moves.