Welcome to this week’s edition of Pirates Breakdown’s Stock Report! We’ll take a look at the players who impressed with their performance during the April 22-28 week and those who need to pick it up as the first month of the season comes to a close.
Whose Stock is Rising
Francisco Cervelli had a great week against the Tigers and Cardinals. He collected seven hits in 14 at-bats and clubbed two home runs, giving him four on the year. He also knocked in six runs in the wild 13-10 victory over Detroit in the first game of the April 25th doubleheader, a career high. Cervelli’s career high for home runs is seven, which he achieved in his first season in Pittsburgh in 2015. At the rate he is hitting them out of the park so far this season, if Cervelli can stay healthy, which is a big if given his injury history, he could easily surpass this career high in July.
Another hitter who has put together a great string of games is Starling Marte. He collected at least one hit in each game last week, and now has an eight game hitting streak dating back to the April 20th contest in Philadelphia. However, his most memorable hit last week is without a doubt the game winning single on April 27th when he drove in the winning run in the eleventh inning to secure a win on former usher Phil Coyne’s 100th birthday, which was celebrated at the ballpark. He also swiped two bases in last week’s games, reinforcing that he is a serious threat on the basepaths.
Whose Stock is Falling
After having a somewhat decent start in Philadelphia when he allowed two runs in five and one third innings on April 16th, Steven Brault struggled against the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park on April 27th. Even though the Pirates were able to battle back and eventually win the game in extra innings, Brault lasted just four and two thirds innings against the Redbirds and coughed up five runs (four earned) including a home run, the third he has surrendered in his five starts so far this season. With Nick Kingham set to take the mound today for the first time as a Major Leaguer, Brault could be in jeopardy of losing his rotation spot to the young right hander.
While it is almost certainly a blip on the radar of the ultra talented Jameson Taillon, his most recent start against Detroit (and last week’s start in Philadelphia) have been a complete turnaround from his fantastic start to the season. After allowing just two runs (both earned) in the first 20.1 innings his threw across his first three starts in 2018, he has struggled mightily lately. After the Phillies tagged him for five runs in just one and two thirds innings on April 19th, he followed that up with another subpar start. In the first game of the April 25th doubleheader against the Tigers, Taillon had another abbreviated start, lasting three and two thirds innings while allowing seven runs to score. He’ll look to turn things around and get back on the right track Monday when he takes on the Nationals in Washington.