Prospect Watch: Sampson Continues Breakout Season; Gushue Hits Two Homers


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 – DNP

4. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

5. Alen Hanson, SS, Altoona – 1-for-4, 2B

6. Josh Bell, RF, Bradenton – 1-for-3, BB

7. Harold Ramirez, OF, West Virginia – DNP

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 – 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR

12. JaCoby Jones, SS, West Virginia – DNP

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 – DNP

17. Trey Supak, RHP, GCL Pirates – DNP

18. Buddy Borden, RHP, West Virginia – DNP

19. Stetson Allie, 1B, Altoona – DNP

20. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Unsigned


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Top Pitcher: Adrian Sampson, RHP – 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Taylor Gushue, C – 2-for-5, 2 HR

Home Runs: Andy Vasquez (5), Gift Ngoepe (4), Taylor Gushue 2 (4), Chase Simpson (1)



Box Score

Result: Gwinnett 2, Indianapolis 1

Starting Pitcher: A.J. Morris, RHP – 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Chase d’Arnaud, CF – 2-for-3, 2B

Other Notable Performers:

Chris McGuiness, 1B – 2-for-4

Game Notes: Though A.J. Morris did not have his best stuff and command, he still battled and only gave up a single run. The velocity of 88-90 was still there, but the early count strikes were not. While Morris only walked a pair, 33 of his 91 pitches were out of the zone. Morris’ single blemish was a home run to dead center field.

Josh Wall went two innings for Indianapolis and struck out four. However, Wall also allowed four hits and a run. Josh Kinney tossed two scoreless innings with a strikeout, while allowing just a single hit. Kinney has allowed just two earned runs since May 16.

Chris McGuiness had two hits and he is 3-for-7 over his past two games. Matt Hague picked up a hit in his third straight game. He has at least one knock in eight out of his last nine contests. Chase d’Arnaud entered the game for an injured Chris Dickerson and picked up two hits including a double. – Ryan Palencer



Box Score

Result: Altoona 4, New Hampshire 2

Starting Pitcher: Adrian Sampson, RHP – 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Gift Ngoepe, 2B – 1-for-4, HR

Other Notable Performers:

Andy Vasquez, LF – 1-for-4, HR

Alen Hanson, SS – 1-for-4, 2B

Justin Howard, DH – 2-for-4, 2B

Game Notes: Adrian Sampson continued his breakout season, tossing seven innings and giving up just one run. In his last six starts, Sampson has gone six or more innings with two or fewer runs. He has a 2.00 ERA in 76.2 innings this season, with a 61:18 K/BB ratio. Despite the strong numbers, Sampson will probably remain in Altoona. The Pirates usually give their starters about 150 innings at the level before a promotion to Triple-A. If he keeps this up, he could be a rotation option in Pittsburgh by the middle of the 2015 season. Gift Ngoepe hit his fourth homer of the season. Andy Vasquez hit his fifth of the year.



Box Score

Result: Fort Myers 4, Bradenton 2

Starting Pitcher: John Kuchno, RHP – 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Josh Bell, RF – 1-for-3, BB

Other Notable Performers:

Raul Fortunato, LF – 1-for-3

Game Notes: Josh Bell has a five game hitting streak, and hits in eight of his last nine games. He has reached base safely in nine straight games, and has a 1.278 OPS in 49 at-bats this month. John Kuchno had his fourth straight start with six or more innings and three or fewer runs. He has a 2.33 ERA in 27 innings during that span.



West Virginia was off today.



Box Score

Result: Williamsport 12, Jamestown 5

Starting Pitcher: Austin Coley, RHP – 1.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 2 HR

Top Hitter: Taylor Gushue, C – 2-for-5, 2 HR

Other Notable Performers:

Carl Anderson, CF – 2-for-4, BB

Chase Simpson, 3B – 1-for-5, HR

Game Notes: Taylor Gushue is off to a great start with Jamestown. In his first five games, he has gone 8-for-22, with hits in all five games, and four home runs. Gushue projects to have average power in the future, and while this result is impressive and encouraging, it doesn’t change his projection. As an example, Danny Collins hit four home runs in his first six games in Jamestown last year. He has hit six home runs in his next 398 at-bats, including three homers in West Virginia this year. Carl Anderson also has a hit in each of his first five games, going 10-for-21. Chase Simpson hit his first pro home run. Austin Coley struggled in his first start, giving up two home runs.

Check out the 2014 Jamestown Jammers preview here.



Box Score

Result: Mets 6, Pirates 3

Starting Pitcher: Francis Rodriguez, RHP – 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 0 HR

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

Other Notable Performers:

Jeremias Portorreal, RF – 1-for-3, 2B

Game Notes: The Pirates lost 6-3 to the Mets2 on Tuesday, dropping their record to 6-9 on the season. Francis Rodriguez made the start and allowed two earned runs over five innings. In each of his first two starts, he threw five shutout frames. He has a 2/17 BB/K ratio in 15 innings this season. The offense could muster just three hits all game, with two coming from second baseman Raul Siri. He is hitting .385 through 15 games, with 25 base hits. Siri had an RBI triple in the sixth inning, giving him 14 extra-base hits already. Jeremias Portorreal had an RBI double in the fifth inning, driving in his fourth run of the year. The Pirates had four errors in the game, including two throwing errors by catcher Mikell Granberry. He allowed three stolen bases on three attempts and he’s now 3-for-22 in throwing out runners. – 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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Tim, do you know if Gushue is projected to stay at catcher for the Pirates or do you think they will move him to a corner somewhere?

Dom DiDominic

I posted this on BD, but then thought I would place here:

Sampson was very good. Worked both sides of the plate. Consistent FB 92-93 and touched 94 quite often. Seemed to bury the curve at times. Best part of the night, he gave up a walk (in the 5th?) and threw two ground balls that were hits, but could have easily been double plays. When the bases were loaded, he got a foul pop to the catcher, then another grounder to escape. Allowed a HR around his 85th pitch.
Interestingly, he warmed up almost exclusively from the stretch. Not sure if working on something or does not get much practice in games.
Hanson did not do much, weak grounders including a broken bat roller. Really wanted to see his fielding, but he may have just one routine ball hit to him.
Gift stole the show. After telling the people I was with that Gift is a great fielder but not a strong bat, he homered. Pulled down the RF line, just fair, but this is a large ball park and went over a back fence. Probably 350. However, his defense was just awesome. Saw him go to his left in the 3rd that showed more range than I have seen since Lind. Then in the 4th another ball was hit in the same hole and I istantly thought ‘he’s not getting THAT one’, but he did and threw the batter out. Totally amazing range.

Back to see Zach Dodson tonight. Hopefully can catch Allie and Cunningham. Always have rooted for Cunningham, still think something is there.


I was at this game as well and my thoughts are pretty much in line with those above. If anyone is interested, you can check out some photos that I took at the game here:

Spa City

Thank you for the update on Gift Ngoepe. I have been following him for years, but never had a chance to see him live. If his defense is that good, he won’t need to hit too much to have value in the majors. He draws a lot of walks, and it seems like he can occasionally hit for power. His base running is good. I am surprised he does not get more respect as a major league prospect.

Dom DiDominic

One game snapshot, but great to watch. This is a great (long) article on him, written in ’09 where he was a zero prospect.


Do you know if Sampson was throwing 92-93 in the 6th and 7th innings?

Dom DiDominic

Yes he was. Consistent all game.

Ben Swogger

Great stuff, thanks for the report


Thanks for the firsthand report. It’s always great to read what another set of eyes sees in our prospects. I’m pulling for Cunningham too. Love those power bats, but it is getting late in the game for him to have some kind of big bump in his contact skills.

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