Scottsdale took on Peoria on Monday afternoon, coming back from the Fall-Star weekend break. Dan Gamache was the only Pittsburgh Pirates player in the lineup. Josh Bell was originally in the starting lineup, but he was a late scratch. Gamache ended up going 0-for-5 with four strikeouts, as Scottsdale lost 6-5 to Peoria. With nine games left in the Arizona Fall League season, Scottsdale trails first place Salt River by six games. The AFL has a one game playoff to decide the championship, with the two division leaders facing off.
The rest of the week will have Thomas Harlan starting on Tuesday afternoon, followed by Tyler Glasnow on Thursday and Joely Rodriguez goes up against Wei-Chung Wang on Friday. Wang was take from the Pirates in the Rule V draft last December by the Milwaukee Brewers. Harlan struck out seven batters in his last start.
An interesting note on the struggles of Josh Bell at the plate in the AFL. Coming into Monday, he had a .613 OPS in 57 at-bats. It ranked him 50th in the league, which is obviously extremely low in a league that has six teams. In the same amount of at-bats, Bell’s OPS is three points ahead of Byron Buxton, who many consider the best prospect in baseball(he left the AFL recently due to a finger injury), so the small sample size of the league can be deceiving. Bell still hasn’t hit a home run in a very long time, 264 plate appearances if you count the regular season and the AFL. Even more if you count the Fall-Stars game from Saturday, the FSL All-Star game and the Futures Game, which all took place since his last homer. So the Buxton comparison gives you some hope, even if the homerless drought doesn’t.
Tyler Glasnow might have a surprising stat if you’ve been following the daily recaps. He had three straight shutout appearances, so it might be hard to believe that he has a 1.73 WHIP. Only 16 of the 74 qualified pitchers in the AFL have a worse WHIP. All four Pirates pitchers are in the bottom half in WHIP, with Adrian Sampson and Joely Rodriguez tied at 1.33 for the best mark. Glasnow and Rodriguez are tied for sixth in the league in strikeouts with 15 apiece.
Gamache’s tough day at the plate dropped his average to .191 on the season. He had just seven strikeouts coming into the game. He is 0-for-13 in his last three games.
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.