Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect Watch 6/23/11


Matt Hague hit two homers tonight, giving him three in the last week.  He’s currently hitting for a .316/.367/.460 line at the AAA level, which is very similar to his career totals of .302/.369/.436.  Hague has been extremely consistent throughout his career.  His yearly totals:

2008: .322/.386/.467 in 242 AB in low-A

2009: .293/.356/.412 in 454 AB in high-A

2010: .295/.375/.442 in 509 AB in AA

2011: .302/.369/.436 in 272 AB in AAA

The combination of his strong numbers, and Lyle Overbay’s struggles in the majors, have some questioning why Hague isn’t getting the call to the majors.  That’s especially true on a day when it was announced that Chase d’Arnaud and Alex Presley would be getting the call from AAA soon, while Hague stayed behind to hit two homers.

Ironically, if I had to draw a comparison to what Hague projects as in the majors, I’d say…Lyle Overbay.  That carries a negative connotation, as Overbay has been horrible this year.  I’m talking more about Overbay’s career: the .271/.355/.441 hitting version with strong defense.  Hague has great defense at first, and his skills at the position have been referred to as some of the best in the minors at times.  He doesn’t hit for a ton of homers, but he’s got some power, and hits for a lot of doubles.  His big struggle, just like Overbay, comes against left handed pitchers.  This year Hague has an .863 OPS against right handers, compared to a .753 OPS against left handers.  The left handed numbers are elevated a bit, as his homers tonight both came off a lefty.

Hague profiles as an average starter in the majors.  He could play the bench, as he’s got experience at third base, and a strong arm that would make him ideal for right field.  However, his lack of range limits his defensive skills anywhere else on the field, and he doesn’t project to be a good enough hitter to make up for his defensive struggles at the other positions.  An average starter would be an upgrade from Overbay, although it doesn’t profile as a long term solution for the Pirates.


Top Pitcher: Colton Cain, LHP (3.04) – 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Matt Hague, 1B (.316) – 2-for-3, 2 HR, 4 RBI

Home Runs: Matt Hague 2 (7), Evan Chambers (5), Robbie Grossman (4)


Hague hit two homers tonight.

Box Score

Result: Indianapolis 5, Lehigh Valley 3

Starting Pitcher: Brian Burres, LHP (3-6, 3.75) – 5.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HR

Top Hitter: Matt Hague, 1B (.316) – 2-for-3, 2 HR, 4 RBI

Other Notable Performers

Alex Presley, RF (.338) – 4-for-5, 2B, SB

Michael Crotta, RHP (0.00) – 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

Game Notes: The two homers for Hague give him seven on the year.  Presley stole his 18th base of the year.  He will be getting the call to the majors on Tuesday.


McPherson allowed two runs in five innings.

Box Score

Result: New Hampshire 2, Altoona 0

Starting Pitcher: Kyle McPherson, RHP (1-2, 3.24) – 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 HR

Top Hitter: Starling Marte, CF (.338) – 1-for-3, 2B

Other Notable Performers

Jordy Mercer, SS (.267) – 1-for-3

Game Notes: Altoona was originally scheduled for a double header, but the second game was postponed.  Kyle McPherson has a 3.24 ERA in his first three starts at the AA level, with a 12:3 K/BB ratio in 16.2 innings.


Grossman went 2-for-5 with a homer.

Box Score

Result: Bradenton 6, Fort Myers 5

Starting Pitcher: Brett Lorin, RHP (2.88) – 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Robbie Grossman, RF (.272) – 2-for-5, HR, 2 BB, 2 RBI

Other Notable Performers

Evan Chambers, CF (.204) – 1-for-5, HR, 2 RBI

Calvin Anderson, 1B (.261) – 2-for-3, BB, RBI

Jhonthan Ramos, LHP (2.55) – 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 0 HR

Duke Welker, RHP (2.70) – 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 0 HR

Game Notes: Bradenton won in 14 innings.  The homer for Grossman was his fourth of the year.  He’s hitting for a .297/.459/.359 line in the month of June.  No typo there.  His slugging percentage is 100 points lower than his on-base percentage.  That’s mostly due to 19 walks, which is great to see.  Even better, he only has 10 strikeouts in 64 at-bats.


Cain pitched six shutout innings tonight.

Box Score

Result: West Virginia 1, Hickory 0

Starting Pitcher: Colton Cain, LHP (3.04) – 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Drew Maggi, SS (.257) – 4-for-4, SB

Other Notable Performers

Mel Rojas Jr., CF (.259) – 2-for-4, 2B

Zac Fuesser, LHP (2-2, 2.20) – 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 HR

Victor Black, RHP (1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

Game Notes: Maggi is looking great in the month of June, with a .365/.435/.486 line in 74 at-bats.  He stole his 14th base of the season tonight, although he was also thrown out for the 13th time.


State College was postponed due to rain.


Box Score

Result: Tigers 5, Pirates 4

Starting Pitcher: Jimy Hernandez, RHP (0-1, 18.00) – 2.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Alen Hanson, SS (.545) – 2-for-4, 2 2B, BB

Other Notable Performers

Jonathan Schwind, DH (.455) – 2-for-4, 3B

Brayan Almonte, RHP (0.00) – 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Isaac Sanchez, RHP (0.00) – 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Game Notes: Hernandez, Almonte and Sanchez were each making their US debuts.  David Jagoditsh made his pro debut, allowing a run in one inning.

RK: DSL Pirates (13-6)

The DSL Pirates were off today.

RK: VSL Pirates (20-13)

Box Score

Result: Mariners 12, Pirates 3

Starting Pitcher: Dan Urbina, RHP (6.28) – 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Ulises Montilla, CF (.368) – 2-for-5

Other Notable Performers

Eduardo Rangel, C (.273) – 2-for-5

Game Notes: Montilla has a .431/.500/.597 line in 72 at-bats in June.

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Lee Young

Tim…do you know if Hague’s wierd splits (for a RHB) are an aberration or has he always hit RHPs better? Otherwise, he and G Jones could make a good platoon and Hague could be a late inn def replacement?



Alex Presley, RF (.338) – 4-for-5, 2B, SB

**Can’t wait to see him in the show. 

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