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 (Nick Kingham, Jacob Taylor), 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 the mid-season update, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.
1. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
2. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List
3. Austin Meadows, CF, Bradenton -[insert_php]
4. Josh Bell, 1B, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
5. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
6. Reese McGuire, C, Bradenton -[insert_php]
7. Elias Diaz, C, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
8. Harold Ramirez, OF, Bradenton -[insert_php]
9. Cole Tucker, SS, West Virginia -[insert_php]
10. Kevin Newman, SS, Morgantown -[insert_php]
11. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, GCL -[insert_php]
12. Mitch Keller, RHP, Bristol -[insert_php]
13. Clay Holmes, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php]
14. Stephen Tarpley, LHP, West Virginia -[insert_php]
15. Max Moroff, 2B, Altoona -[insert_php]
16. Barrett Barnes, OF, Altoona -[insert_php]
17. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php]
18. Trey Supak, RHP, Bristol -[insert_php]
19. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Bristol -[insert_php]
20. Adam Frazier, SS, Altoona -[insert_php]
21. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
22. Steven Brault, LHP, Altoona -[insert_php]
23. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Morgantown -[insert_php]
24. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php]
25. Adrian Valerio, SS, GCL -[insert_php]
26. Connor Joe, 1B, West Virginia -[insert_php]
27. John Holdzkom, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List
28. Jordan Luplow, 3B, West Virginia -[insert_php]
29. Casey Hughston, OF, Morgantown -[insert_php]
30. Billy Roth, RHP, Bristol -[insert_php]
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In his first AAA game last week, Tyler Glasnow gave up just one run, but he allowed a career-high nine hits in 5.1 innings. He did not start off well on Thursday, walking the first two batters of the game. That was a sign of things to come. After a groundout, he gave up a single that plated a run. Glasnow settled down and struck out the next two batters to limit the damage. He threw 28 pitches in the inning, with just 13 going for strikes.
The second inning wasn’t any better for control. After a pop up, he gave up a walk and two straight stolen bases. There were also two stolen bases in the first inning. Glasnow picked up a strikeout for the second out, then gave up a four-pitch walk. He was saved from any damage by an excellent diving catch from Jaff Decker to end the inning. Glasnow threw 16 pitches in the second, with just six going for strikes.
In the third inning, Glasnow gave up a single on a curve ball to Jake Elmore, who was Pirates’ property at one time over this off-season. He then walked the next hitter on four pitches. After a fly out to center field, Glasnow picked off a runner. He got the last out on a check swing against an outside curve ball. He threw 13 pitches in the inning, seven for strikes. Glasnow was sitting 94-95 according to the Durham gun.
The control continued to get better in the fourth, though he missed badly on the only change-up he threw, which hit a lefty batter in the calf. He needed 15 pitches in the inning, getting a strikeout looking, a lazy fly ball to right field and a soft grounder to second base. It was all fastballs in the inning, besides the one change, and he was sitting 93-96 MPH. At this point, he was up to 72 pitches, 35 for strikes.
In the fifth inning, he issued another four-pitch walk. It gave him six walks in the game, a season high. Glasnow got a fly ball to right field, followed by a strikeout on a nasty 81 MPH curve. The next batter grounded out to Alen Hanson in short right field, as Indianapolis had a Pirates-like shift on a lefty. Hanson lost the grounder, popping out of his glove and it put two runners on. A wild pitch by Glasnow and a hard hit single to left field brought home two runs and ended his night.
Glasnow threw 94 pitches, with just 46 for strikes. He allowed three hits, six walks, one hit-by-pitch and struck out six batters. You could tell what a great combo his fastball/curve can be when they are on, but his fastball command was very poor in this game.
On offense, Alen Hanson extended his hit streak to nine games, but it’s a fairly empty streak due to a lot of one hit games. His .275 average at the start of the streak has actually dropped one point and in his last 12 games, he is 11-for-55(.200). Gustavo Nunez pulled off a rare feat, hitting homers in back-to-back games in August for the second straight season, after not hitting another homer all season. On August 22-23 last year he accomplished that feat, then did it yesterday and today.
Josh Bell had his second straight two-hit game and he is now 5-for-26 since joining Indianapolis. Elias Diaz had three hits, including an RBI triple. Keon Broxton had a single and two walks, extending his on base streak to 30 games. Broxton is still having issues with strikeouts, despite the streak. In his last ten games, he has 39 at-bats with 15 hits and 15 strikeouts. He leads all Pirates’ minor league players with 118 strikeouts this year.
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Adam Frazier hit two doubles in this game, giving him 16 on the season to go along with his .349 average. He is now 19 plate appearances short of qualifying for the league leaders, needing 2.7 plate appearances per team game played. If he’s in the lineup everyday, then he should show up among the leaders late next week. Barrett Barnes had a strong game, collecting three hits, including his second homer for Altoona. He was 6-for-33 in his first ten AA games coming into Thursday. Max Moroff is in a slump, going 3-for-25 in his last seven games, with at least one strikeout in every contest.
Mel Rojas Jr. has basically fallen off the prospect map at this point, when it looked like he had a chance to make his MLB debut this year. Rojas has the tools to be a good extra outfielder, with defense, some speed and he’s a switch-hitter with some decent AAA numbers during the second half of last year. Even with two doubles today, he is still scuffling with Altoona after putting up a .608 OPS for Indianapolis during the first half of this season.
Matt Benedict has been a utility pitcher this year, making starts for Indianapolis, Altoona and Bradenton, while also pitching in relief for the latter two clubs. Understandably with all that moving and different roles, including spots starts on short notice, Benedict has had a tough season. He had two things going for him coming into this start, a low walk rate(16 in 105.1 innings) and a 1.47 GO/AO ratio. On Thursday afternoon, he used both strengths to throw seven shutout innings. Benedict threw 55 of his 82 pitches for strikes and got nine ground ball outs.
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Bradenton had a tough time with the opposing starter, but with the game out of hand, they touched up a reliever for two runs and seven hits over the last three innings to make this game look closer than it actually was. Austin Meadows had a hit and drove in a run. The hit was his 122nd of the season, which leads the Florida State League. Harold Ramirez had two hits to help break a mini-slump that saw his season average drop 21 points since July 31st. Edwin Espinal is in a 3-for-26 slump over his last eight games.
Bradenton had to get 7.1 innings out of their bullpen after starter Felipe Gonzalez needed 52 pitches to pick up just five outs. The four pitchers for the Marauders combined to allow 15 hits, three walks and they hit two batters. Catcher Jin-De Jhang was 1-for-6 in throwing out runners.
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Starter Alex McRae has had some tough outings this year, but nothing like Thursday night. The 2014 tenth round pick gave up a career high in both earned runs(nine) and walks(six). He had some poor outings last year, giving up eight earned runs in two of his games, so we have seen this side of him before, just never this bad. McRae threw 78 pitches in the game, 43 for strikes. He also surrendered seven hits and hit a batter during his 4.1 innings.
Reliever Sam Street took over for McRae in the fifth inning. Street came into the game with a 1.87 ERA and just one earned run allowed over his previous 20.2 innings. He also had just nine walks in 67.1 innings this year. On Thursday, Street gave up three earned runs and walked four batters, watching his ERA go up 35 points.
On offense, Jordan Luplow had the best night, with his 31st double and ninth homer among his four hits. He drove in two runs and scored three times. Luplow has quietly had a strong season, as his low average(which is now up to .262) overshadowed the fact he was collecting extra-base hits and drawing his share of walks. With a month left in the season, Luplow has equaled last year’s leader in doubles(Chris McGuiness) throughout the system.
All nine batters in the lineup had hits. Michael Suchy collected his 25th double and also picked up an outfield assist. Elvis Escobar had a hit and a walk, but was also caught stealing for the 20th time. That would be acceptable if he had about 60 stolen bases, but he’s been successful nine times this year. It is the highest caught stealing total in the Pirates’ system since Jose de los Santos went 28-for-48 in 2008. Connor Joe had two singles, giving him five multi-hit contests in his last nine games.
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For the second night in a row, Morgantown battled back in the ninth inning to tie the score, but left the winning run stranded on third. And for the second night in a row, they lost in the tenth inning. This time around it came on a questionable call, after a ball was bounced down the third base line and appeared to go foul. It was ruled fair, and the go-ahead run scored. Manager Wyatt Toregas argued the call, and then continued arguing the call after the game, escorting the umpires all the way to their locker room in the process.
Bret Helton struggled tonight early, giving up six runs, four earned, on 11 hits. He throws a two-seam fastball that sits 88-91 MPH, and mixes in a curveball and a changeup. The curveball was decent, but it wasn’t effective as Helton couldn’t command the fastball tonight. He was missing his spots a lot, and ended up getting hit pretty hard throughout the evening.
The West Virginia offense was led by Kevin Newman and Casey Hughston, who each had three hits on the night. Both guys started off slow this year, but have really picked up their hitting in the last few weeks. As I noted last night, Hughston has issues going opposite field, instead showing a tendency to pull the ball. Newman was working the middle of the field, hitting to both gaps, including a double in the tenth inning that was created mostly by his speed.
The Pirates have been working with Hughston and Newman on seeing the ball deeper in the zone and going opposite field. They haven’t been doing the same with Ryan Nagle, who had two hits and a walk tonight. He already does a good job of working middle-away, with two hits tonight going right back up the middle. The hardest hit ball of the evening for the Black Bears was from Mitchell Tolman, who crushed a triple to deep center field as one of his two hits on the evening.
Kevin Kramer was out tonight after being involved in a collision last night. Kramer covered first base and caught a high throw, followed by the base runner colliding with him and flipping him over. He landed hard on the ground after going head over feet, but Toregas said he was fine after last night’s game. He did note that Kramer might be held out a few games just to be safe, so he could miss more games beyond tonight’s outing.
Brandon Waddell threw a sim game earlier this week, and will be making his pro debut soon. There is no exact date set, although I did confirm that it won’t be tomorrow, which is unfortunate, as that is my last day here. – Tim Williams
Bristol was rained out on Thursday.
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Rob Scahill got the start for the GCL Pirates and recorded three quick outs on grounders in the first inning. He was so efficient with his pitches that he was able to come out for the second inning, in which he got a strike out, followed by two more ground outs. This was his first appearance since pitching for the Pirates on June 25th. The following day, he was placed on the disabled list with right forearm tightness.
Nestor Oronel threw 4.2 innings after Scahill and gave up just one earned run, but a few errors behind him led to two unearned runs. Cristian Mota took the loss after Nelson Jorge’s second error on a grounder allowed the winning run to score from second in the bottom of the tenth inning. Jorge’s first error led to the Braves’ first run of the game in the sixth inning.
On offense, Ke’Bryan Hayes drew three walks and scored a run. He now has a 14:13 BB/SO ratio. Hayes scored the first run of the game on an RBI double from Sam Kennelly, who is quietly having a solid season. His .754 OPS coming into this game was fourth best on the team, and he moved up to third today with his double and walk. The Pirates had just three hits, with a double from Victor Fernandez and a single by Yoel Gonzalez accounting for the other hits. Adrian Valerio has been in a horrible slump, though he has still made a lot of contact during this slide. Since July 9th, he is 4-for-53, but has struck out six times in his last 14 games.
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The DSL Pirates avoided a losing season for at least one day, with some help from their bullpen. After going up 4-0 early, starter Miguel Hernandez allowed four earned runs in the fourth inning, which knocked him out of the game. Three relievers combined on five shutout innings and the Pirates pushed two runs across the plate for a 6-4 victory. They are now 22-36 on the season with 14 games left.
Jeremias Portorreal, Ramy Perez, Gabriel Brito and Rudy Guzman all had two hits apiece. Felix Vinicio had a double as part of the 11 hit attack, which accounted for the only extra-base hit for the Pirates. Huascar Fuentes had two walks and scored two runs, while Brito drove in two runs. The 17-year-old catcher(Brito) has now driven in 17 runs in 22 games. He has reached base in eight straight games, though before tonight he had six games with one hit and two games with a walk during that streak