Pittsburgh Pirates News: Two Players Place on the Injured List

(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Prior to the start of Thursday’s double header against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Pirates placed two key players on the injured list.

The bad news continues for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Prior to the start of their Thursday afternoon double header against the St. Louis Cardinals, the team placed two key players on the injured list. These two players are first baseman/third baseman Colin Moran and closer Keone Kela.

This comes as tough news for both players, especially Moran who appeared to be in the midst of a breakout season. Moran has hit for a .259/.326/.531 slash line to go with a .272 ISO, 129 wRC+ and a team high 6 home runs. He ranks in the 87th percentile of baseball in hard hit rate, 92nd percentile in barrel percentage and 95th percentile in exit velocity.

Concussions are always tricky and can be difficult to come back from. Hopefully, Moran will make a full recovery and be able to pick up where he left off at pre-injury.

As for Kela, he was arguably the team’s best trade chip. However, after missing the start of the season due to testing positive for COVID-19, Kela has not pitched much this season. Last Friday, he exited just his third outing for the season after facing just two batters. Now that he is on the IL, there is essentially zero chance the Pittsburgh Pirates will be able to trade him.

To replace Moran and Kela on the roster, the team promoted INF Will Craig and pitcher Nick Mears from their alternate training site in Altoona. However, these are not the two players who should have been added. Instead, it should have been top prospect Ke’Bryan Hayes, as well as relief pitching prospect Blake Cederlind.

With Moran out, there is zero reason for Hayes to not be the team’s every day third baseman. Hell, even pre-Moran injury Hayes should have been there with Moran at first and Josh Bell serving as the team’s primary DH.

Hayes is the best defensive third base prospect in all of baseball, and would already be one of the best defensive third baseman in MLB. Throw in the improved exit velocity/hard hit rates he had last season, as well as the improvement in launch angle and decrease in ground balls he worked to achieve in the off-season and was showing in spring training, and Hayes might be their best offensive option at third base, too.

As for Mears and Cederlind, both will play a large role in the future of the Pirate bullpen. However, Mears has proven he is not ready for the bigs just yet. In 3.1 innings of work, Mears has walked seven batters.

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Cederlind, who possesses a power fastball and a plus slider, does not have the track record of control issues that Mears does. Additionally, unlike Mears, Cederlind pitched at the Triple-A level last season and is further along in his development. At this point, the Pittsburgh Pirates are doing both Cederlind and Hayes, as well as their team a disservice by not having these two players on the active roster. But that’s a topic for another day.