Prospect Notebook: Good Pitching in the Class A Games

Rodriguez allowed no earned runs and fanned four over four innings
Rodriguez allowed no earned runs and fanned four over four innings

The Pirates played host to the Yankees’ class A teams at Pirate City today, in games dominated by the pitching.  Outside of a first inning outburst by the Pirates’ high A squad, there was little offense.

The low A game finished in a 1-1 tie, as Joely Rodriguez put together a strong start.  He allowed just one unearned run on one hit and one walk over four innings, while fanning four.  The left-hander threw his fastball in the 87-90 mph range and showed a sharp slider.  Rodriguez has been up as high as 95 in the past, but he seems to be much more effective when he focuses on keeping the ball down at the expense of some velocity, as the pitch has good movement.  He got swings and misses with both the fastball and slider.

Jason Grilli pitched a quick first inning in the high A game before giving way to Adrian Sampson, who threw four scoreless innings.  Sampson’s fastball ranged from 88-91, a little slower than last year with State College, but he located it well.  His curve was his most effective pitch.  I’m not sure what the score of the high A game was as I missed a couple innings, but I the Yankees didn’t score any runs that I know of.

Position Player Notes

Low A

— Stetson Allie, playing first, faced a lot of breaking balls and seems to be adjusting better to them.  He had two singles, both off curves, and didn’t strike out in four ABs.  He also made several nice plays in the field.  He made good, although futile, efforts twice picking up throws that were too far off the bag, and he also made a nice running catch of a pop-up down the third base line that everybody else lost track of on a very windy day.

— Josh Bell, by contrast, struggled at the plate, going 0-4 with three strikeouts.  He still seems to be swinging late on a lot of pitches, which was an issue last year.

— Max Moroff showed impressive range on several plays at short.  Twice he ranged well to the first base side of the bag, although on one play his throw pulled Allie off the bag.  He also had a diving stop on a grounder up the middle with the bases loaded and two out, getting the force to end the inning.

— Dilson Herrera had a single and steal in the first and later drew a walk.  Both Pirate squads ran aggressively as the organization continues to focus much more on both sides of the running game.

— Barrett Barnes has been out the last few days with some unspecified stiffness that’s not considered serious.

High A

— Alen Hanson led off the bottom of the first with a triple.  Willy Garcia also had an opposite field triple in the inning, a drive to the fence on which the right fielder struggled with the wind.  Garcia otherwise fell prey to pitches off the plate, a continuing problem for him.

— Taylor Lewis had two hits.  He played center in place of Gregory Polanco, who was with the Pirates in Ft. Myers.

Pitcher Notes

Low A

— Clario Perez, a short (6’1″) right hander, had two good innings in the low A game.  He showed a 92-93 mph fastball and a good curve while fanning three.

— Dave Jagoditsh, a 6’7″ righty who’s had trouble staying healthy since he was drafted, had a quick inning.  His fastball came in at 91-92, but he didn’t get much chance to show anything else.

— Cesar Lopez had two quick innings with a fastball that sat at 92 and a good slider.  Bryton Trepagnier showed similar stuff in his one inning.

High A

— Pat Ludwig threw two scoreless innings, with a 92-mph fastball and big breaking curve.

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Kevin Anstrom

Tim – I hope you are feeling better.

Every time I see an article about the velocities I think of the Cardinals system.

Any idea how the Pirates stack up to the Cardinals on these metrics?

“17 pitchers in the Cardinals’ minors average 92 mph or better and touch 94 mph with their fastball, an official confirmed. ”



Could you give an update on Jimmy Rider? Was very impressed with him in college and was curious to see how he is developing.


Glad to see Ludwig throwing well. I like him as a super-deep RP sleeper after seeing him look good in SC last year.

Lee Young

“he also made a nice running catch of a pop-up down the third base line that everybody else lost track of on a very windy day.”

3rd base line??? That is some hustle play for a 1bman. 🙂 🙂


Tim: The Pirates have achieved TB Rays status in that they have two distinct waves of pitchers coming through the minors. The first is led by the guys who will enter the majors this year – Locke, Wilson, Morris, and then ending with Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon. The second wave is the guys who you referenced today that will be in Lo and Hi A. This group is even larger right now and includes Luis Heredia, Nick Kingham, Clayton Holmes, Adrian Sampson, Tyler Glasnow, Joely Rodriguez, Jake Burnette, Zack Von Rosenberg, Zach Fuesser, Robby Rowland (?), and a Closer prospect in Nathan Kilcrease who had 15 Saves last year.

Lee Young

Altho I admire your optimism and I share it, we will achieve TB status ONLY when we have youngsters on the Pirates doing well AND spread throughout our system.


Yep, still haven’t produced an in house drafted/developed MLB starting pitcher in 5+ years at the helm. Gotta get over that bar before we get too excited.


j: I think Jeff Locke has been in our system long enough to qualify, but was not drafted by the Pirates. That may fall into the lap of Justin Wilson, or will be the territory of Gerrit Cole. Kyle McPherson started 5 games last year and was our No. 14 pick – is there a minimum number of starts to qualify?

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