Prospect Watch: Josh Bell Having a Monster Month, Jordan Luplow Hits First Homer


A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today.  Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors (Casey Sadler #16). 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. If a player is out for the season (Jameson Taillon #1, Clay Holmes #12), he will be removed and everyone below him will move up a spot. Removing these guys doesn’t mean they have lost prospect status. It is just an attempt to get 20 active prospects on the list. Rankings are from the mid-season top 20 update, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.

1. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Bradenton – DNP

2. Austin Meadows, CF, West Virginia – Disabled List (5/30 Update)

3. Reese McGuire, C, West Virginia – 0-for-4

4. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

5. Alen Hanson, SS, Altoona – 4-for-7, 2B

6. Josh Bell, RF, Bradenton –  3-for-4

7. Harold Ramirez, OF, West Virginia – 1-for-4

8. Cole Tucker, SS, GCL Pirates – DNP

9. Luis Heredia, RHP, West Virginia Power – DNP

10. Mitch Keller, RHP, GCL Pirates – DNP

11. Adrian Sampson, RHP, Altoona – DNP

12. JaCoby Jones, SS, West Virginia – 1-for-3

13. Casey Sadler, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

14. Andrew Lambo, OF, Indianapolis – Disabled List (5/30 Update)

15. Joely Rodriguez, LHP, Altoona – DNP

16. Michael De La Cruz, OF, GCL Pirates – 0-for-4, 2 BB, SB

17. Trey Supak, RHP, GCL Pirates – DNP

18. Buddy Borden, RHP, West Virginia – DNP

19. Stetson Allie, 1B, Altoona – Disabled List (6/20 Update)

20. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Unsigned


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Top Pitcher: Orlando Castro, LHP – 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Alen Hanson, SS – 4-for-7, 2B

Home Runs: Mikell Granberry (2), Jordan Luplow (1)



Box Score

Result: Norfolk 2, Indianapolis 1

Starting Pitcher: Jake Brigham, RHP – 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Tony Sanchez, C – 2-for-3, BB

Other Notable Performers:

Chris Dickerson, CF – 2-for-4

Jay Jackson, RHP – 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Game Notes: Jake Brigham returned from the DL, and picked up where he left off before his injury. Brigham has a 3.26 ERA in 66.1 innings this season, with a 58:23 K/BB ratio. He could emerge as a possibility for the MLB bullpen by the end of the year, especially when rosters expand in September. Because of his layoff, Brigham only went four innings in his return. Jay Jackson was originally the scheduled starter, and followed Brigham with four shutout innings. Jackson has been excellent in June, with a 2.70 ERA in 16.2 innings. That follows a 2.41 ERA in 18.2 innings in the month of May. He has a 34:13 K/BB ratio in 35.1 innings during those months.



Game One Box Score

Result: Portland 4, Altoona 2

Starting Pitcher: Adrian Sampson, RHP – 3.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Alen Hanson, SS – 2-for-4, 2B

Other Notable Performers:

Justin Howard, DH – 2-for-4

Willy Garcia, RF – 2-for-4

Game Notes: Altoona concluded a suspended game from June 11th. Adrian Sampson was the starter, but finished when the game was suspended after three innings. Yao-Hsun Yang took over and gave up two runs in 2.2 innings. Ryan Beckman closed it out, pitching the final 3.1 innings, and throwing shutout ball, with two hits and three strikeouts. Alen Hanson hit his 11th double of the season.

Game Two Box Score

Result: Portland 3, Altoona 0

Starting Pitcher: Joan Montero, RHP – 3.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Junior Sosa, CF – 2-for-3, 2B

Other Notable Performers:

Alen Hanson, SS – 2-for-3

Game Notes: Joan Montero made his second start for Altoona this season. He’s a hard thrower, but lacks control, with a 21:21 K/BB ratio in 38.1 innings this year. Montero didn’t have any control tonight, with five walks in 3.2 innings. Alen Hanson had another two hit night. He now has six multi-hit games in his last ten games.



Box Score

Result: Bradenton 1, Jupiter 0

Starting Pitcher: Orlando Castro, LHP – 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Josh Bell, RF – 3-for-4

Other Notable Performers:

Adam Frazier, SS – 2-for-4

Game Notes: For the second night in a row, Bradenton beat Jupiter 1-0. Orlando Castro led the way tonight, throwing six shutout innings, with four hits, no walks, and four strikeouts. Castro now has a 3.67 ERA in 76 innings this year, with a 57:10 K/BB ratio. He had two really bad starts in his last two outings, combining for 12 earned runs in 8.1 innings of work. It was good to see him bouncing back and getting on track again. Josh Bell continued his hot streak, and extended his hitting streak to eight games. He’s hitting for an amazing .441/.500/.763 line in 59 at-bats in the month of June.



Box Score

Result: West Virginia 4, Lakewood 2

Starting Pitcher: Cody Dickson, LHP – 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Edwin Espinal, 1B – 2-for-4

Other Notable Performers:

Harold Ramirez, CF – 1-for-4

Wyatt Mathisen, DH – 1-for-4, 2B

Live Report: West Virginia won for the second straight time to open the second half of the season, picking up the 4-2 victory over Lakewood. They ended the first half with a 14 game losing streak that stretched back into May.

Starter Cody Dickson has struggled all year and didn’t fare well last time he faced Lakewood, giving up nine runs in just 1.1 IP. Through the first four innings on Friday, Dickson kept Lakewood off the board and his control looked good except for hitting two batters. He did get some defensive help, with three nice plays (mentioned below) in the first four frames. In the fifth, Dickson gave up a run on three hits and Lakewood was making hard contract all inning. He was sitting 88-90 with his fastball all game, hitting 91 MPH. Dickson worked in a change-up and curve often with mixed results for each pitch. In the sixth, he got two quick outs before giving up a hard hit, then after working the count full, he got the final out on a soft liner to second base. Felipe Gonzalez followed Dickson and he was topping out at 93 MPH during his two scoreless innings.

Thursday night’s game between these two teams was an ugly game overall, but Friday night’s contest had some great defensive players by the Power. JaCoby Jones made a terrific catch leaning far into the crowd on a pop-up down the third base line. Harold Ramirez made a nice sliding catch on a sinking liner and Reese McGuire made a strong throw to pick a runner off second base after he ventured a little too far on a ball in the dirt that got a couple feet away from McGuire.

Harold Ramirez showed nice speed, beating out a slow grounder to third base, then stealing second and scoring easily on a liner by Edwin Espinal to right field. Espinal hit the ball well a couple times, resulting in two hits. Wyatt Mathisen drove a ball deep in the left-center gap for a double, which was the only extra-base hit for the Power. – John Dreker



Box Score

Result: State College 5, Jamestown 3

Starting Pitcher: Tyler Eppler, RHP – 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Jordan Luplow, LF – 2-for-4, HR, BB

Other Notable Performers:

Deybi Garcia, C – 2-for-3

Nick Neumann, RHP – 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR

Game Notes: Tyler Eppler made his second start, and continued his strong debut. He gave up one run on two hits in four innings of work. In his two starts, he has given up just that one run on two hits in seven innings, with no walks and four strikeouts. Tonight he had an 8:3 GO/AO ratio. Nick Neumann pitched in his second game, and now has one run on one hit in 5.2 innings, with two walks and one strikeout. Third round pick Jordan Luplow got a hit in his first game yesterday. He got his first home run tonight, going 2-for-4 with a walk.



Box Score

Result: Bristol 2, Princeton 1

Starting Pitcher: Adrian Grullon, RHP – 3.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Ulises Montilla, 3B – 1-for-3, 2B, BB

Other Notable Performers:

Daniel Arribas, C – 1-for-3, BB

Dan Urbina, RHP – 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR

Cesilio Pimentel, LHP – 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

Game Notes: Yesterday, the Bristol Pirates lost their first game on a walk off homer in the ninth inning. Today they won their first game of the season in the 11th inning. Bristol got strong pitching from Adrian Grullon, Dan Urbina, and Cesilio Pimentel. Grullon is a big sleeper of the group, and one of the top ten prospects at the level. He’s a big pitcher who usually sits in the low-90s with his fastball, and has room in his frame to add muscle and add velocity. Ulises Montilla added another hit, and is 3-for-7 with a double and a walk in his first two games. He went 2-for-7 with a double and a walk in two games with Jamestown.

Check out the Bristol Pirates season preview.



Box Score

Result: Yankees 4, Pirates 3

Starting Pitcher: Gerardo Navarro, LHP – 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Carlos Munoz, 1B – 2-for-5, 2B

Other Notable Performers:

Julio de la Cruz, 3B – 2-for-5

Michael de la Cruz, CF – 0-for-4, 2 BB, SB

Live Report: The GCL Pirates lost their opener in 13 innings. They came back in the ninth inning when Tito Polo lined a two out single off the pitcher. Had the ball gone past the pitcher, it would have been a walk off winner, as the runner from second would have most likely scored if the ball went to the outfield. Gerardo Navarro is a lefty who was throwing 85-89 MPH with his fastball today, showing good command of the pitch. That hasn’t always been the case with him in the DSL in the past. He also throws a low-70s curveball, which has nice break. His changeup doesn’t have much difference in velocity, ranging from 81-89, and sometimes just looking like a different fastball. Michael de la Cruz didn’t get a hit, but walked twice, and showed off his speed with a stolen base. He almost beat out an infield hit to first base, and made a nice over-the-shoulder catch in deep left-center field, showing off his defensive skills.



Box Score

Result: Cubs 5, Pirates 2

Starting Pitcher: Yeudy Garcia, RHP – 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Raul Siri, 2B – 3-for-4, 2B, BB

Other Notable Performers:

Mikell Granberry, C – 1-for-4, HR

Game Notes: The DSL Pirates lost four the fourth straight time on Friday, dropping a 5-2 decision to the Cubs. Starting pitcher Yeudy Garcia had a terrific outing, giving up three hits and no walks in five shutout innings. He had six strikeouts and nine ground ball outs. Garcia is the hardest throwing starting pitcher on the Pirates, topping out at 95 MPH. It was his second appearance this year in which he threw five shutout innings without allowing a walk.

The offense was led by Raul Siri, who had three hits, a double and a walk. The double was his ninth of the season, tops on the team. Shortstop Adrian Valerio had a hit and two walks, breaking an 0-for-11 streak in his previous three games. Catcher Mikell Granberry hit his second homer of the season, but his woes behind the plate continued. Runners went 3-for-3 in steals against him and they are now 29-for-33 in only nine games. The other two Pirates catchers have thrown out six of 18 runners. Jeremias Portorreal extended his hit streak to six games with a second inning single. – John Dreker

You can check out the DSL Pirates week two recap here.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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Could Bell be in the major by this time next year? He is putting up better numbers at High A than Polanco at the same age with less Professional at-bats. If the Pirates promoted Polanco with 218 at High A and Bell is at 258 with a OPS. Almost 100 points higher why would we see him at Altoona in the next two weeks.
If he get 200 at-bats at Altoona this year, he could be in Indy the start of next year.

John Dreker

I don’t think you could base what Bell does on what happened with Polanco. Bell hasn’t played any Winter ball, while Polanco put in a lot of time there the last two years. Polanco also is a five tool player, while Bell is all bat and he struggles at times with his swing from the right side. They are two totally different players. That being said, Bell should end up at Altoona soon and depending on how he does there, that will dictate where he goes in 2015. He may start back at AA like Alen Hanson, or he may go to AAA. So it is possible he will be up mid-season next year, I just wouldn’t base his timetable on that of Polanco, they are a different class of player

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