Jamestown hasn’t been uploading videos all year, so we didn’t notice these right away because there was no reason to look. From early last week, we have two highlights from Pirates third round pick in 2014, Jordan Luplow. In the first one, he hits his fourth homer of the year. Luplow has been on a recent slide that has seen his season stats drop, but that could be chalked up to playing a longer schedule than he is used to. Before being draft, he played 57 games for Fresno State and he is now up to 33 games with Jamestown. He has a .269/.362/.412 slash line in 119 at-bats with eight extra-base hits and four stolen bases in eight attempts.
The Pirates seemed to get a bargain with Luplow compared to what they paid to sign 39th overall pick Connor Joe, who hasn’t played a game yet due to a back strain. Luplow and Joe were closely rated prior to the draft, with both being mentioned in the late-second, to early fourth round area. It took $1.2 Mil to sign Joe, while Luplow, who is actually 13 months younger despite them both being college juniors, signed for $500K. That age difference is significant at their stage of development and Luplow is the one getting used to the grind of pro ball, which will help him next year. It’s possible he could make the jump to Bradenton next season, skipping over low-A ball.
In this second video, Luplow drives home the only run in a 7-1 loss.
When I went to see West Virginia last month in a four game series, the most impressive hitter was Edwin Espinal. The 20-year-old first baseman is listed at 6’3″, 210 pounds, but that weight hasn’t changed since he signed and he is definitely bigger than that. Espinal had the nickname “The Tank” before he signed and it fits him well, he is a large human being. So while I thought he was the best hitter I saw, watching him run(and try to slide) quickly proved he wasn’t the best athlete on the team. Espinal makes a lot of hard contact at the plate and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start hitting more homers soon. He has a .286/.328/.381 slash line in 95 games this year, with five homers and 20 doubles. Below is a video of him driving in a run, going the other way on a hanging breaking ball. He is a sleeper prospect, but due to being limited to first base, the bat is really going to have to break out for him to reach that prospect potential.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.