Prospect Watch: Josh Bell Homers, Kevin Newman Returns to Action

TOP OF THE SYSTEM

A look at how the current top 30 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. If a player is out for the season, 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 30 active prospects on the list. Rankings are from early season update, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.

1. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Altoona – DNP

2. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

3. Austin Meadows, CF, Bradenton – 1-for-4, 2B

4. Josh Bell, 1B, Altoona – 3-for-7, 2B, HR, 4 RBI

5. Reese McGuire, C, Bradenton – 3-for-4, RBI

6. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

7. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – 0-for-4

8. Cole Tucker, SS, West Virginia – 0-for-4

9. Elias Diaz, C, Indianapolis – 1-for-4

10. Mitch Keller, RHP, Bristol – DNP

11. Harold Ramirez, OF, Bradenton – Pan-Am Tournament

12. Stephen Tarpley, LHP, West Virginia – DNP

13. JaCoby Jones, SS, Bradenton – 0-for-4, 2 K

14. Adrian Sampson, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

15. Trey Supak, RHP, Bristol – DNP

16. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Bristol – DNP

17. Barrett Barnes, OF, Bradenton – DNP

18. Clay Holmes, RHP, Bradenton – DNP

19. Cody Dickson, LHP, Bradenton – DNP

20. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis – DNP

21. John Holdzkom, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

22. Jordan Luplow, 3B, West Virginia – 0-for-4

23. Connor Joe, 1B, West Virginia – 0-for-2, 2 BB

24. Wyatt Mathisen, 3B, Bradenton –  0-for-3

25. Casey Sadler, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

26. Steven Brault, LHP, Altoona  – DNP

27. Tito Polo, OF, West Virginia – Pan-Am Tournament

28. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Bradenton – DNP

29Luis Heredia, RHP, Bradenton – DNP

30. Taylor Gushue, C, West Virginia – 1-for-4, RBI

DAILY SUMMARY

Top Pitcher: Zack Dodson, LHP – 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Josh Bell, 1B – 3-for-7, 2B, HR, 4 RBI

Home Runs: Josh Bell (4), John Bowker (2), Sandy Santos (1)

AAA: INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS    

Box Score

Result: Louisville 3, Indianapolis 2

Starting Pitcher: Chris Volstad, RHP – 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: John Bowker, 1B – 1-for-4, HR, RBI

Other Notable Performers:

Gift Ngoepe, SS – 3-for-4

Elias Diaz, C – 1-for-4

Keon Broxton, CF – 1-for-4, 2B

Game Notes: Despite allowing several baserunners and working in and out of trouble most of the night, Chris Volstad still only allowed three runs, two earned to cross the plate in five innings of work. He was effective in getting down in the zone, but was just missing the plate at times. Of his 76 pitches, 46 crossed the plate for strikes, and the ones that missed resulted in three walks for Volstad.

Brad Lincoln, Josh Wall and Bobby LaFromboise each tossed scoreless innings in relief. Wall has still only allowed one run on two hits in six outings since coming off the DL in June. LaFromboise struck out a pair in his inning of work, and has an eight-game scoreless streak of his own.

Gift Ngoepe continued his strong start at Triple-A with three hits, while Keon Broxton added his sixth double of the season. John Bowker picked up his second home run of the season in the contest. – Ryan Palemcer

 

AA: ALTOONA CURVE

Game One Box Score

Result: Altoona 11, Erie 3

Starting Pitcher: Matt Benedict, RHP – 7.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Josh Bell, DH – 1-for-3, HR, 4 RBI

Other Notable Performers:

Adam Frazier, SS – 2-for-4, 3 RBI, 2 R

Mel Rojas Jr., LF – 2-for-4, 2B, RBI

Andy Vasquez, CF – 3-for-4, 2 2B, RBI, 2 R

Game Notes: In game one of the doubleheader, Josh Bell got the offense going with a three-run homer, and behind a complete game from Matt Benedict, the Curve won 11-3. Bell drove in a total of four runs, hitting a sacrifice fly for the other RBI. The homer was his fourth of the season and he now has 50 RBIs. Adam Frazier was a catalyst at the top of the order, scoring twice and driving in three runs. In a rare start for Andy Vasquez, he hit a single and two doubles, scored twice and picked up an RBI. Everyone in the lineup had at least one hit except Stetson Allie.

 

Game Two Box Score

Result: Altoona 4, Erie 2

Starting Pitcher: Zack Dodson, LHP – 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Jose Osuna, LF – 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, R

Other Notable Performers:

Josh Bell, 1B – 2-for-4, 2B

Dan Gamache, DH – 2-for-4, RBI

Sebastian Valle, C – 2-for-3

Game Notes: Altoona took both games of the doubleheader, though this game was much closer. Zack Dodson was strong over five innings, allowing one run. He threw 53 of his 78 pitches for strikes and has been filling the strike zone all season, with 16 walks in 96.1 innings.

Josh Bell followed his big first game with a single and his 13th double. Jose Osuna also had a single and a double, driving in one run. Adam Frazier hit his ninth double of the season, finishing with a 3-for-8 day, which actually lowered his average. He now has a ten-game hit streak and has reached base in 13 straight games. Stetson Allie saw his average dip below .200 with an 0-for-6 day. He leads the system with 12 homers, but he isn’t taking as many walks as in the past and his strikeouts continue to be an issue.

A+: BRADENTON MARAUDERS   

Box Score

Result: Palm Beach 2, Bradenton 1

Starting Pitcher: Jayson Aquino, LHP – 4.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Reese McGuire, C – 3-for-4, RBI

Other Notable Performers:

Austin Meadows, DH – 1-for-4, 2B

Erich Weiss, 2B – 2-for-4, SB

Game Notes: Reese McGuire was receiving regular playing time during the month of June, getting two or three starts in a row on a regular basis before taking a game off in favor of Jin-De Jhang. So far this month he has played in just three games, today included, with Jhang starting the other five games. When asked why he was out, Bradenton manager Michael Ryan said it was a “coach’s decision”, and didn’t offer any specifics on why McGuire was out, although it doesn’t sound like it’s injury related. “Sometimes you’ve got to take care of yourself off the field to be able to be out there more often,” Ryan said, while also saying that this was all he’d say on the subject. McGuire didn’t comment, saying only that he didn’t make the lineup card.

This is the second time this season that McGuire has seen his playing time cut down over a short period. The other time was when he failed to run out a ground ball, which led to him being benched for a few games. McGuire is seen as a good kid, and is well liked by members of the organization, Ryan included, so I wouldn’t draw any grand conclusions here about his character. It is concerning that he’s had two issues in one season, but it could also be chalked up to youth, since McGuire is only 20 years old. He did well today in his return after his most recent two games off, picking up three hits, framing a few pitches for key strikes, and making a nice sliding catch on a bunt that was fouled behind home plate near the visitor’s dugout.

Jayson Aquino struggled in his start today, with Ryan noting that he was having issues with the heat, and letting the morning start distract him. The Pirates have been working on keeping Aquino focused during his starts, rather than letting outside factors interfere with his game.

Montana DuRapau came on for two innings of relief, and was automatic. He was sitting his usual 90-93 MPH, and throwing all of his pitches for strikes, with 16 strikes in 19 pitches in his two perfect frames. DuRapau has been lights out with the Marauders since his promotion from West Virginia, which might be a bit surprising considering he was a 32nd round pick last year. But one person who isn’t surprised by his success was Ryan. “I’m not surprised at all,” Ryan said. “There’s guys in the organization that love him. I see why.” A big factor for his success is that he has been using his cutter as a weapon, throwing it to lefties and right-handers, both inside and out. He pounds the strike zone with his pitches, but generates a lot of weak contact and ground ball outs due to the location and command of his offerings.

Austin Meadows has been hot lately, and picked up a double today in the DH role. He has been getting a few breaks here and there to keep him fresh, including opportunities like today where he can get at-bats as the DH, while taking a break from the field. That all started when he got a ten day break around the All-Star break. Since that time, he has hit for a .328/.384/.448 line in 75 plate appearances, not counting today’s game. – Tim Williams

 

A: WEST VIRGINIA POWER

Box Score

Result: West Virginia 3, Greensboro 2

Starting Pitcher: Alex McRae, RHP – 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Chase Simpson, dh – 3-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI

Other Notable Performers:

Jerrick Suiter, LF – 2-for-4, 2B

Elvis Escobar, CF – 1-for-4, 2 R

Game Notes: West Virginia got strong pitching from starter Alex McRae and two relievers to beat Greensboro by a 3-2 score. McRae wasn’t dominating, getting just one strikeout and a 6:5 GO/AO ratio, but he allowed just four hits, a walk and a HBP over his five innings. Jose Regalado threw two scoreless innings for the win, striking out four batters.

The middle of the order led the offense. While the top four hitters combined to go 0-for-14, Jerrick Suiter, Chase Simpson, Elvis Escobar and Taylor Gushue accounted for the three runs and all seven hits. Simpson drove in two and Gushue picked up one RBI. Escobar scored two runs. Pablo Reyes had a tough game in the nine hole, picking up three of the Power’s five strikeouts.

A: WEST VIRGINIA BLACK BEARS

Box Score

Result: Lowell 4, Morgantown 1

Starting Pitcher: Hector Garcia, LHP – 4.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Logan Hill, RF – 1-for-3, 2B, BB, SB

Other Notable Performers:

Kevin Newman, SS – 1-for-4, R

Ty Moore, LF – 1-for-4

Danny Arribas, DH – 1-for-4

Game Notes: First round pick Kevin Newman returned to action for the first time since last Thursday when he fouled a ball of his foot in his first at-bat. He played shortstop and had a single and scored a run in four trips to the plate. Morgantown didn’t do much on offense, getting no-hit for the first five innings by starter Jake Cosart. They picked up three singles, a double and their only run after he left the game.

Starter Hector Garcia allowed three runs in 4.1 innings before reaching his pitch count limit. He threw 49 of his 78 pitches for strikes. The 19-year-old Garcia threw eight shutout innings over his first two starts, but in the three outings since, he has given up 11 earned runs in 6.1 innings. This game today was much better than the last two games, but we have seen a lot better from him in the past.

RK: BRISTOL PIRATES

Box Score

Result: Burlington 6, Bristol 5

Starting Pitcher: Billy Roth, RHP – 3.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Tomas Morales, C – 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI

Other Notable Performers:

Sandy Santos, CF – 2-for-4, 2B, HR, RBI

Jordan George, DH – 2-for-3, 2B, RBI, BB

Game Recap: Billy Roth made his third start of the season and really struggled this game. In his first two starts combined, he allowed seven hits over ten innings, while posting a 2:12 BB/SO ratio and a 6.50 GO/AO ratio. We got great reports on him during Extended Spring Training, with improved velocity and better command, which carried over into his first two games. This night however, he lasted just three innings and walked four batters, while giving up four earned runs. He also didn’t get any ground ball outs, so this was really a lost start. He had some control issues last year, so while a repeat of that shouldn’t be unexpected from time to time, this start does take some luster off those first two performances.

RK: GCL PIRATES

Game One Box Score

Result: Blue Jays 4, Pirates 3

Starting Pitcher: Clay Holmes, RHP – 3.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Raul Siri, 2B – 3-for-6, 2B, BB, 2 R

Other Notable Performers:

Michael De La Cruz, CF – 2-for-7

Jhoan Herrera, 1B – 2-for-7, 2B, RBI

Edison Lantigua, RF – 2-for-4

Adrian Valerio, SS – 2-for-7

Game Notes: This game began on June 23rd and it was the second game of the season. It was suspended in the seventh inning, with a 3-3 score. Clay Holmes was the starter, but he has now been added to the Bradenton roster and Wes Freeman was also in the starting lineup, before he was added to Bradenton last week. After play resumed, the Pirates went with Yunior Montero on the mound. He pitched the last inning before play was suspended and gave up a run that day. On Wednesday, he pitched three shutout innings. The game ended up going 15 innings, with Richard Mitchell taking the loss, as he allowed one run in 2.1 innings. Pirates’ pitchers had a total of 17 strikeouts in the game.

Edison Lantigua took the place of Freeman in the lineup and picked up his first two hits of the season. Lantigua was out with an undisclosed injury before making his debut on Monday, although this game will now make it look like he played one game early in the season, then missed two weeks. More on Lantigua below. Adrian Valerio, Michael de la Cruz, Jhoan Herrera and Luis Perez all had two hits. Raul Siri had three hits and a walk, scoring two of the three runs.

Game Two Box Score

Result: Pirates 4, Blue Jays 3

Starting Pitcher: Chris Plitt, RHP – 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Michael de la Cruz, CF – 3-for-6, 2B, RBI

Other Notable Performers:

Ke’Bryan Hayes, DH – 2-for-5, 2B, BB

Justin Seller, SS – 1-for-2

Victor Fernandez, RF – 1-for-3, RBI, 2 BB, 2 SB

Sam Kennelly, 1B – 1-for-3, 2B, 2 BB

Mister Luciano, RHP – 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0 HR

Game NotesToday was my first chance to see 14th round pick Chris Plitt. The right-hander was sitting 86-88 MPH through the first three innings, with loose arm action and an effortless delivery from a high three quarters arm slot. He was working mostly with fastballs, with good downward movement and good command of the pitch.

The lack of velocity means that the fastball is nothing special right now, although Plitt is tall and skinny, with a very projectable frame. If he can add some weight, combined with the easy delivery, there’s a good chance he could add velocity in the future. He’s already done that recently, as reports in 2013 had him working in the low-80s. He did drop to the 84-86 MPH range in the fourth inning, and started flattening a few balls out, including one that was hit for an inside the park home run off the right field wall. The home run was aided by the fact that Victor Fernandez ran into the wall after losing track of where he was when running back to try and make a catch.

Ke’Bryan Hayes has been outstanding at the plate so far. Today he had two hits, including a double that was hit well to the left-center gap. Even some of his outs are hit hard, with his gap power showing up early in his pro career.

Edison Lantigua, who missed the first week of the season with a minor injury, left today’s game with a hand injury. Lantigua was one of the Pirates’ top international signings in 2013, receiving $275,000. – Tim Williams

 

RK: DSL PIRATES

Box Score

Result: Pirates 6, Cubs 5

Starting Pitcher: Yerry De Los Santos, RHP – 3.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Raul Hernandez, DH – 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI

Other Notable Performers:

Jeremias Portorreal, RF – 1-for-3, 3B, BB

Eddy Vizcaino, CF – 1-for-2, BB

Game Recap: The Pirates won 6-5 on Wednesday over the Cubs in ten innings to move to 14-20 on the season. It’s just their second win in the last 12 games and it wasn’t pretty. The two teams combined for 13 errors, including seven by the Pirates. Starter Yerry De Los Santos gave up three runs(two earned) over 3.2 innings. Shortstop Melvin Jimenez scored two runs and DH Raul Hernandez had two hits and drove in two runs. Felix Vinicio and Huascar Fuentes each added an RBI. Jeremias Portorreal hit his fifth triple and drew his 23rd walk of the season. He has walked 13 times in his last 11 games. The seven errors by the Pirates were made by seven different players.

 

  • Tim or John, Last year wasn’t there another De La Cruz who outperformed Michael? And if so where is he this year??

  • I hope Newman can get some traction soon…with his college record I thought he’d be heading to full season A ball by now. I’m sure he will catch fire before this season ends if he stays healthy.

  • Montana!!!!!!

    She is one heckuva, er ah…………………….

  • Tim: Hector Garcia had that one game where he gave up 7 ER in 1.1 innings. Other than that, his numbers have been pretty good for a 19 year old LHSP who throws in the 90’s already with pretty good command. The Hightower kid we got out of JUCO this year looks like a find off of his first few games as a reliever.

    McGuire went 3 for 4 and maybe now he has his head in the right place? I agree – ’nuff said.

    • John Dreker
      July 9, 2015 10:28 am

      In his prior start before the 7 ER, he allowed four walks and reached his single inning pitch limit in the first inning, so that was a bad start too. With a little help from the bullpen, he got out with one earned run, but he wasn’t around long enough, or throwing enough strikes, to give up 7 ER.

      Nothing against Hightower, but it is way too soon to get excited about someone nearing 22 years of age in the Appalachian League

  • Nice to see bell coming into his own, seems to me he is going to be a good mlber before to long. Hayes is already looking like he is going to be a star, it’s going to be real interesting following his development the next few years(or less)

    • The Pirates have established themselves as a very talented and deep team and that is great for the city and the fans, but does not bode well for kids making their way through the minors looking to join the MLB team.

      • Competition is always good for the organization. I’d be surprised if Bell and Hanson aren’t both starting on right side of IF at some point next season given Alvarez and Walker’s pending FA status.

        • Hanson at least…he is further along.

        • Seems like best case scenario for Bell is hitting against LHP next year at 1B for Walker/Pedro. Not sure the organization will want to do that.

          • Especially considering Bell isn’t going to be very good at all hitting LHP.

            • Right, its unlikely going forward Bell is above average in that regard. All things considered, letting him continue getting reps at 1B and working on that seems wise.

          • Scott Kliesen
            July 10, 2015 8:00 am

            Not sure organization will want to pay Walker and/or Pedro next season what they are slated to earn in arbitration. Foolish to think they’re both secure in their positions next year. Unless one or both play significantly better for remainder of season, their future with Pirates is very much in doubt.

            • But they wont move both. One, almost for sure. but moving both means starting 2 rookies, one of which hasnt played AAA and continues to adapt to a new position. Bell isnt going to start out of ST.

  • Hey, John (or Tim, or anybody), are there any updates as to the unsigned draft picks and whether they are returning to college or sticking to their commitments? I know McCarthy is going to Virginia and White is returning to Clemson, but have you heard any news on Waddell (I know the CWS complicated things), Schlabach, and Spillane specifically (and even Riley Smith/Cole Irvin)? Thanks!

    • John Dreker
      July 9, 2015 1:29 am

      Still too soon to worry about Waddell. Irvin said he was 80% sure he was returning to school and Costello said he was 100% sure. Besides McCarthy and White, I haven’t heard any others backing out. Schlabach supposedly has a reasonable price and is willing to sign, but they probably have to wait to see what Waddell gets before they can do anymore over-slot deals.

      I’d probably also say Austin Sodders is a no go, since he seemed to have a change of heart after signing the first time. I’m not exactly sure what the rules are there, but I believe he was officially signed at one point since the Pirates changed his status to signed, posted it in their transactions and MiLB added a page for him and assigned him to a team. That only happens after they get the transaction from MLB.

      I’m going to have something in the morning on one of the other unsigned picks, so stay tuned for that. It’s the subject of the Morning Report, so I’m not holding anything back other than I don’t want to spoil the article.

  • piraterican21
    July 9, 2015 12:28 am

    I’ve been impressed by the performance of most of the former DSL players that made the jump, is easy to get the sense that at least two will follow on the foot steps of Ramirez, Polanco, Marte , etc. on the other hand, the so called college advance bats of the last to draft are hardly worth reading about, so far.

  • BallHeadWonder
    July 8, 2015 11:55 pm

    Starting to sound like his Hype Man…..But Montana is a Beast!!! We got a STEAL in the true sense of the word!! Starting my Hashtag…#AltoonaMontana

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