Prospect Watch: West Virginia Clinches Playoff Spot, Paulino Hero on First Day With Indianapolis


A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today. Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors. If a player is in the majors, he will be removed, everyone below him will be shifted up a spot, and a new player will be added to the bottom of the list. Rankings are from the mid-season rankings, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player page.

1. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis (1-1, 3.75) – DNP

2. Gregory Polanco, CF, Altoona (.268) –  0-for-3, BB

3. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, West Virginia (8-3, 2.29) – DNP

4. Alen Hanson, SS, Altoona (.246) –  3-for-4, 2 3B

5. Austin Meadows, CF, GCL Pirates (.290) – 0-for-3, BB

6. Josh Bell, RF, West Virginia (.279) –  0-for-4

7. Nick Kingham, RHP, Altoona (3-3, 2.98) – DNP

8. Luis Heredia, RHP, West Virginia Power (6-3, 2.85) – DNP

9. Reese McGuire, C, GCL Pirates (.330) – 1-for-4

10. Barrett Barnes, CF, West Virginia (.261) – Low-A DL

11. Kyle McPherson, RHP, Indianapolis (0-1, 19.29) – 60-Day DL

12. Stetson Allie, 1B, Bradenton (.227) – 2-for-5, 2 BB

13. Wyatt Mathisen, C, Jamestown (.269) – 0-for-2

14. Clay Holmes, RHP, West Virginia (5-6, 4.19) – DNP

15. Stolmy Pimentel, RHP, Indianapolis (2-6, 3.33) – DNP

16. Harold Ramirez, CF, Jamestown (.298) – 4-for-8, HR, RBI

17. Blake Taylor, LHP, GCL Pirates (0-2, 2.57) – DNP

18. Jin-De Jhang, C, Jamestown (.274) – 0-for-3

19. Elvis Escobar, OF, Jamestown (.275) – 2-for-7, 2B, 4 RBI

20. Phil Irwin, RHP, Indianapolis (1-0, 0.90) – 60-Day DL



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Top Pitcher: Zack Thornton, RHP (2-1, 2.00) – 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Harold Ramirez, CF (.298) – 4-for-8, HR, RBI

Home Runs: Jarek Cunningham (18), Mel Rojas (5), Harold Ramirez (1)



Paulino had a big first day in AAA
Paulino had a big first day in AAA

Box Score

Result: Indianapolis 3, Toledo 2 in 11 innings

Starting Pitcher: Andy Oliver, LHP (4.18) – 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Carlos Paulino, C (.600) – 3-for-5, RBI

Other Notable Performers:

Travis Snider, DH (.296) – 2-for-4, RBI, BB

Matt Hague, 1B (.288) – 2-for-5, RBI

Game Notes: Andy Oliver has his usual control issues, giving up four walks today, though he was able to limit the damage through five innings. He had eight strikeouts and gave up two runs. Toledo was unable to put another run on the board or even a hit. Brooks Brown, Ryan Reid and Eric Cordier no-hit Toledo for six innings, picking up a combined ten strikeouts. Catcher Carlos Paulino have a memorable first game for Indianapolis. Not only did he catch 18 strikeouts, he also had three hits, with the last one bringing home the third run for Indianapolis in the top of the 11th inning. Matt Hague, Travis Snider and Chase d’Arnaud all had two hits apiece. Hague now has 151 hits on the year, the most in the International League.



Box Score

Result: Altoona 4, Harrisburg 1

Starting Pitcher: Zack Thornton, RHP (2-1, 2.00) – 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Alen Hanson, SS (.246) – 3-for-4, 2 3B

Other Notable Performers:

Alex Dickerson, RF (.287) – 1-for-4, 2B

Mel Rojas, CF (.270) – 1-for-4, HR, RBI

Gregory Polanco, LF (.268) – 0-for-3, BB

Game Notes: Zack Thornton wasn’t originally scheduled to start tonight, but that didn’t stop him from having a terrific outing. In five innings, he needed only 52 pitches to get through his night, throwing an impressive 41 of those pitches for strikes. Thornton allowed just a single and struck out six batters. Alen Hanson scored a run and had three hits, including two triples, giving him five with Altoona and 13 on the season. Mel Rojas and Jarek Cunningham each hit solo homers, while Alex Dickerson hit his 36th double of the season. Gregory Polanco played four straight games in right field before moving over to left field last night, where he also played today.



Box Score Game One

Result: Bradenton 5, Ft Myers 2

Starting Pitcher: Adrian Sampson, RHP (5-7, 5.29) – 9.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Gift Ngoepe, SS (.316) – 3-for-4, 2B, SB, 3 Runs

Other Notable Performers:

Dan Gamache, 2B (.267) – 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI

Stetson Allie, 1B (.236) – 2-for-3, BB

Game Notes: Adrian Sampson got a very rare nine inning complete game thanks to Mother Nature and some good timing. This game was originally started on August 18th and Sampson was the pitcher. It just so happened that the game was suspended and the completion was rescheduled on his day to pitch, so he finished the game as well. Gift Ngoepe had three hits and scored three runs. Dan Gamache and Willy Garcia each had two RBI’s. The double by Gamache was his 32nd of the year. Garcia has 56 RBI’s.


Box Score Game Two

Result: Ft Myers 2, Bradenton 1

Starting Pitcher: Emmanuel De Leon, RHP (3.49) – 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Jose Osuna, 1B (.247) – 1-for-3, 3B, RBI

Other Notable Performers:

Willy Garcia, RF (.256) – 1-for-3, 2B

Stetson Allie, DH (.227) – 0-for-2, BB

Game Notes: Emmanuel De Leon got the spot start today in the regularly scheduled game. He ended up going five strong innings, allowing just one run, before giving way to Orlando Castro. In De Leon’s only other start, he lasted just one inning, giving up five runs, which were all unearned. Castro gave up the go ahead run in the top of the seventh and all the Bradenton offense could manage in the game was an RBI triple by Jose Osuna that scored Stetson Allie.


Box Score

Result:  Asheville 4, West Virginia 3

Starting Pitcher: Kyle Haynes, RHP (2.38) – 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Raul Fortunato, CF (.242) – 1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI

Other Notable Performers:

Jimmy Rider, 3B (.323) – 2-for-3

Josh Bell, RF (.279) – 0-for-4

Game Notes: Kyle Haynes has been impressive since he moved to the starting rotation this year, but tonight’s outing was one he would like to forget. He gave up a four spot in the second inning, yet still managed to work through six innings without giving up another run. Haynes felt some relief once the game was over, because Hickory lost their game, putting West Virginia in the playoffs. Raul Fortunato hit his 20th double and drove home two runs, giving him 49 RBI’s on the season. He also threw out a runner at second base.



Box Score Game One

Result:  State College 9, Jamestown 8

Starting Pitcher: Cody Dickson, LHP (2.25) – 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Elvis Escobar, RF (.275) – 2-for-5, 2B, 3 RBI

Other Notable Performers:

Harold Ramirez, CF (.298) – 4-for-5, HR, RBI

Adam Frazier, SS (.333) – 1-for-3, 2B, BB

Adam Landecker, 3B (.290) – 3-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI

Game Notes: This was the completion of a game from over two months ago. The original lineup had four players in it that were replaced by players on the current roster. Cody Dickson started that day and is now credited with two earned runs over five innings of work. Due to the scoring of this game, the home run hit by Harold Ramirez actually counts as his first of the season, despite the fact he hit it today. Adam Frazier played in the game, giving him the odd distinction of making his pro debut eight days before he signed with the Pirates. The Jammers went into the ninth inning with the score tied at four apiece. They put up four runs in the top of the inning, but in the bottom of the inning, Brett McKinney and Kurt Yacko couldn’t hold the lead. State College hit two homers, then tied it on a two-out double before winning it on a walk-off single.


Box Score Game Two

Result:  State College 8, Jamestown 2

Starting Pitcher: Jackson Lodge, LHP (4-4, 4.88) – 4.0 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Edwin Espinal, 1B (.285) – 1-for-3, 2B

Other Notable Performers:

Harold Ramirez, CF (.298) – 0-for-3

Jin-De Jhang, DH (.274) – 0-for-3

Game Notes: Jamestown did a number to their playoff chances today by dropping both games to first place State College. The two teams still have four more games left this season, but the Spikes now lead by three games with a week left on the schedule. Starter Jackson Lodge gave up all eight runs tonight, though four of them were unearned. Jamestown had just three hits in the game and didn’t draw a walk. They also played poorly in the field, committing four errors, two by Adam Frazier. Elvis Escobar drove in the only run with a sacrifice fly that scored Edwin Espinal.



Box Score

Result: Pirates 1, Phillies 0

Starting Pitcher: Miguel Rosario, RHP (3.61) – 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Ulises Montilla, 2B (.290) – 2-for-4, RBI

Other Notable Performers:

Austin Meadows, CF (.294) – 0-for-3, BB

Reese McGuire, C (.330) – 1-for-4

Game Notes: Miguel Rosario and three relievers combined for a three hit shutout in the last game of the GCL season today. The Pirates will now go on to play the best team in the league, the Nationals, in a one game playoff to try to advance to the finals. Josh Smith pitched for the first time since he went down with an early season injury while pitching for West Virginia. He allowed a hit and walk and picked up a strikeout in one inning of work. Enyel Vallejo had his hitting streak end at 14 games today. Austin Meadows finished .006 behind the league leader in OPS and Reese McGuire finished third in the batting race.

  • deacs : don’t freak about Polanco’s average. I am pretty sure Andrew M. wasn’t hitting much higher than that when they moved him to AAA. It would have more to do with other aspects of his game that only their evaluators could point out to us. Hand load,leg load,something on defense like routes etc…could be any number of issues like that.

    • Good info. There’s a lot you can’t tell by just reading the box score. I knew that Polanco fit the bill of the 5 tool player and that he’s pretty polished for his age so the “what to work on list” was probably short. The thought did cross my mind though – would they rush Polanco because of the RF hole in 2014. Considering the track record of the Pirates I’m guessing no.

      • The recent track record of the Pirates I mean. I was almost too young to appreciate the Jose Guillen jump from A ball to the majors. If I’m remembering that right.

      • I’m sure people will say they are only keeping him down due to Super Two status at some point next year, but I think his schedule to the majors will just happen to coincide with him being ready around the All-Star break. You want to see him hit for a little more power before the majors. I think he could step in right now and hold his own, definitely could defensively and his approach at the plate would play well, but there are better current options, which won’t likely be something you can say next July

        • I’m sure some would dissagree with me but unless Polanco (or anyone for that matter) is so out of place in AAA that it’s obvious he belongs in the majors I don’t really have a problem holding someone down a few extra weeks to save millions. Neal has shown he can use the money wisely.

          • The player they will be defending that idea with next year will be Taillon. He already has five AAA starts with some success in the last three and he will probably start two more times depending on the playoffs, plus he will be in big league camp again next year. If he starts off well, it’s going to be tough holding him back until July unless the rotation has five legit starters doing well

            • Yeah I could see that. If he gets off to 2 or 3 good starts people will start screaming. I would figure though between Liriano, Locke, Cole, Morton and one of Wandy or AJ we might not have a shouting match until someone gets hurt. Which of course will be in late April/early May.

  • Any chance Polanco starts out 2014 in AA instead of AAA? Not freaking out about a .268 average considering his obvious gifts. I just wonder what they consider enough time in AA before promoting him. I suppose same question on Kingham if anyone wants to take a stab at this.

    • I could see Polanco starting there before Kingham, but I think they will both be at AAA for Opening Day. Polanco may have a low average, but he has drawn 36 walks in 67 games, a big increase from his Bradenton numbers earlier in the season. His defense is already major league ready, he makes good contact and has shown excellent patience in his time at AA. The power will get better as he gets older and he has great speed on the bases. I think we will see him mid-season in Pittsburgh next year. Kingham has pitched well in AA, he has tired a little down the stretch, but I see that more as the extra work and him building up innings. He could be on the same path as Polanco to the majors, although Polanco could probably step right in sooner

      • John : as someone who has watched Polanco a lot since his promotion to AA,I would completely agree with you. I was amazed at his pitch recognition and discipline almost immediately.

  • Tim…do you know the reason Sadler didn’t start last night?



  • I’m surprised it was Phil Irwin who made it to the Top 20.



    • The rankings we use are the mid-season rankings, so when Herrera and Black left, the next two stepped in, Escobar and Irwin.

      • Didn’t know Phil was ranked that high, esp after being out all year. Thx

        Btw, John, how are you surviving AD? (After Dilson) 🙂



        • I don’t think the extent of his injury was known at the time we did the re-rankings, otherwise he probably would have been lower, just like McPherson.
          As for Herrera, I wish him the best, but hope he doesn’t become the player I think he can be unless the Pirates do something in the playoffs. Right now I don’t see that. On June 30th, they had the best record in baseball. Since then(52 games) they have the 16th best record.

  • That first game for Jamestown is one for the ages. Two players performed feats “before their time”, so to speak. Then, the bullpen gave up two home runs and seemingly 7 runs in the bottom of the ninth (or was it the 7th??).

    • I also liked the Sampson complete game. Some weird ‘goings on’ in our system last night.


    • It was the ninth inning, Jamestown scored four runs and then gave up five. In the minors, they play seven innings each when it is two full games. When they complete a suspended game first, they play nine innings, then the regular game becomes a seven inning game.