Prospect Watch: Chad Kuhl Hits 97 MPH in Latest Gem

P2 Top 30

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] include_once (‘./p2-stats/stats_functions.php’);
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2. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

3. Austin Meadows, CF, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(640457,’B’,’20150818′);
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4. Josh Bell, 1B, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(605137,’B’,’20150818′);
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5. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(593700,’B’,’20150818′);
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6. Reese McGuire, C, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(624512,’B’,’20150818′);
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7. Elias Diaz, C, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(553869,’B’,’20150818′);
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8. Harold Ramirez, OF, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(623912,’B’,’20150818′);
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9. Cole Tucker, SS, West Virginia – Disabled List

10. Kevin Newman, SS, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20150818′);
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11. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, GCL -[insert_php] display_top30(663647,’B’,’20150818′);
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12. Mitch Keller, RHP, Bristol -[insert_php] display_top30(656605,’P’,’20150818′);
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13. Clay Holmes, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20150818′);
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14. Stephen Tarpley, LHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(605501,’P’,’20150818′);
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15. Max Moroff, 2B, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20150818′);
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16. Barrett Barnes, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(608627,’B’,’20150818′);
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17. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(650817,’P’,’20150818′);
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18. Trey Supak, RHP, Bristol -[insert_php] display_top30(657022,’P’,’20150818′);
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19. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Bristol -[insert_php] display_top30(656543,’P’,’20150818′);
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20. Adam Frazier, SS, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(624428,’B’,’20150818′);
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21. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(591994,’B’,’20150818′);
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22. Steven Brault, LHP, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20150818′);
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23. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Morgantown -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20150818′);
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24. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20150818′);
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25. Adrian Valerio, SS, GCL -[insert_php] display_top30(650832,’B’,’20150818′);
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26. Connor Joe, 1B, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(656582,’B’,’20150818′);
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27. John Holdzkom, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

28. Jordan Luplow, 3B, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(656669,’B’,’20150818′);
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29. Casey Hughston, OF, Morgantown -[insert_php] display_top30(641713,’B’,’20150818′);
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30. Billy Roth, RHP, Bristol -[insert_php] display_top30(624517,’P’,’20150818′);
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P2 Top Performers

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Indianapolis Indians Prospect Watch

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P2 Game Notes

INDIANAPOLIS — For the fifth time in his last seven games, Willy Garcia picked up an extra base hit with his fourth inning double. Since the beginning of August, Garcia led the International League in total bases (45) and home runs (6) coming into the contest. He was also hitting .333 for the month with a 1.062 OPS coming into this game. For the past few games, Garcia has also been showcasing his strong arm from the outfield with an assist last night and another strong throw tonight that kept a runner from advancing.

Josh Bell picked up a double in the seventh and has been just as hot as Garcia in some regards. Bell has hits in 11 of his last 13 games, with six of those being multi-hit efforts. With his much scrutinized play at first base, Bell made a nice pick up on a hard hit bouncer, but struggled with a quick decision late in the game. On the play, Bell was caught in the middle between making a throw to second to attempt to start a double play and taking the out at first. Once he made the decision to go to the bag, the runner beat him there.

Alen Hanson picked up his first hit in four games. Hanson is now 7-for-38 in his last 11 games. In a disturbing trend, Hanson is even struggling to make solid contact with the ball. This continued on Tuesday as well, as he hit three balls on the ground and strike out once. The hit that he picked up was a conveniently placed infield single.

Josh Harrison went 0-for-3 with a walk, while Jordy Mercer went 0-for-4 in the contest, as both continue their struggles on their rehab assignments.

Wilfredo Boscan came into the game with a 13-inning scoreless streak over his past two starts. Boscan has not allowed more than three runs since June 4th, and has lowered his ERA by nearly a point and a half over that span. Boscan was just as strong on Tuesday in 6.2 innings of work, allowing just five hits and two runs, while striking out five. Much like he was doing at the beginning of the season, placement has been key to the recent success for Boscan. When he is able to locate down in the zone, he has seen much more success, like Tuesday. Toward the middle of the season, when he continued to get elevated, he was hit much harder.

Bobby LaFromboise allowed his first run in four appearances in his 0.2 innings of relief. Some of that was tough luck for LaFromboise, as a soft chopper just got over the head of third baseman Dan Gamache, who was drawn in for a bunt. Blake Wood walked three in 1.1 innings and allowed a run, while A.J. Morris got the final out for him. – Ryan Palencer

Altoona Curve Prospect Watch

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P2 Game Notes

ALTOONA — Chad Kuhl proved again tonight why he was our Pitcher of the Month in July. He went six strong innings without allowing a run and only three hits. More importantly, he was extremely efficient with his pitch count, only throwing 68 pitches with 45 of them strikes. The Curve have obviously been trying to limit his pitch count this month.

In July, Kuhl had a 0.61 ERA in 29.2 innings. He only allowed four extra base hits in the month, with all of them being doubles. During his start on August 1st, he allowed three home runs after not allowing a single home run in all of July. That start may have been a sign of fatigue for Kuhl, as the Curve decided to skip Kuhl in the rotation to give him a break. Before they skipped that start, Kuhl hadn’t missed a game all year and was in the top five in the Eastern League in innings pitched. Since skipping that start, they have limited his innings in two starts. He has only allowed one run on six hits in 11 innings.

Kuhl definitely did not look fatigued, though. He hit 97.6 MPH with his fastball in the final pitch of the 4th inning for an out. He was consistently sitting between 94-96 MPH with the fastball. His slider and changeup were located extremely well to both side of the plate, and batters did not look comfortable against him.

It sounds like a broken record, but the bats were dead again for the Curve. Adam Frazier and Erich Weiss both singled in the first inning with Frazier scoring the first run of the game, then the Curve were only able to muster up two more hits the rest of the night. Frazier is now batting .324 and would be 8 points ahead in the batting title if he qualified. He currently has 323 plate appearances on the year, and he would need 330 to qualify as of today; he should get on the leaderboard by the end of the week if he continues to play everyday.

Max Moroff drove a ball to the wall and may have been robbed of a home run in the first inning. It probably was the hardest hit ball of the night for the Curve, but it was all for naught with it being a flyout. – Sean McCool

Bradenton Marauders Prospect Watch

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P2 Game Notes

Luis Heredia had two somewhat encouraging starts heading into tonight’s contest. He had combined for three earned runs in 8.2 innings, with the most encouraging sign being his 10:2 K/BB ratio. Heredia has dealt with control issues in the past, although he has limited that in most of his outings this year. He’s also dealt with a lack of strikeouts, but has seen better results in this area over the last month.

Tonight he did have a few strikeouts, and only gave up one run in 3.2 innings, but his control was poor with four walks. The run total could have been worse, as Heredia left the bases loaded with a strikeout to end the second, and left the bases loaded once again in the third with two straight strikeouts to end the frame. The strikeouts in key situations are an encouraging sign, but you’d like to see better control from the right-hander.

Bradenton’s offense had a big third inning, scoring four of their five runs. Harold Ramirez and Austin Meadows both had multi-hit games, while Jin-De Jhang added some insurance with a solo homer in the sixth inning, his fourth of the year. Justin Maffei extended his hitting streak to eight games.

West Virginia Power Prospect Watch

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P2 Game Notes

West Virginia’s offense broke out for a big night. Kevin Newman picked up two hits, and now has at least one hit in six of his eight games with the Power. Meanwhile, Jordan Luplow’s bat isn’t cooling off at all. He has a 1.021 OPS in 175 at-bats during the second half, with 18 doubles and nine homers in that span. That includes a .371/.487/.694 line in 62 at-bats in August heading into tonight’s game.

Michael Suchy lost an 11 game hitting streak yesterday, but got back on the board today with a hit and two walks. Jerrick Suiter had his third game of the year with four or more hits. He’s been a bit of a surprise this year, hitting for a high average (.294) and getting on base a lot (.372), but not showing a lot of power (.395 SLG). Speaking of power, Pablo Reyes hit his 11th homer of the year. Coming into the game, he had a .152 ISO on the season, which is pretty solid for a second base prospect.

West Virginia Black Bears Prospect Watch

Morgantown is on their All-Star break.

Bristol Pirates Prospect Watch1

 

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P2 Game Notes

Gage Hinsz had his best career start two weeks ago, then one-upped it tonight with a game that will be hard to top until he’s allowed to throw more than five innings. Hinsz threw five no-hit innings, giving up an unearned run due to an error by right fielder Enyel Vallejo that scored a player from first base, who had just reached on a walk. In his last four starts combined, Hinsz has allowed four runs over 19.2 innings. In his first four outings, he gave up nine earned runs over 9.2 outings.

Bristol had just three hits in the game, but got help from nine walks and some errors from the opposition. The Pirates only had two RBIs in the game, yet still won 6-2. Jordan George has been the best hitter on the team recently. In this game, he walked three times, giving him 17 walks and ten strikeouts in 23 games. Julio de la Cruz had a single, walk and an RBI. He lost a 23-game on base streak on Monday night. Carlos Munoz went 0-for-3, and he’s now 2-for-20 in his last six games. He has always had trouble finishing seasons strong and Bristol’s season wraps up on September 1st. – John Dreker

GCL Pirates Prospect Watch
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P2 Game Notes

The Pirates didn’t have good results on either side of the ball today. Nestor Oronel struggled by giving up four runs, three earned, in five innings of work. The soft tossing lefty walked two, giving him just seven walks on the season in 30.2 innings. His game is entirely command, and when he doesn’t have it, the results aren’t great. Alex Martinez and Oderman Rocha, who are both harder throwers than Oronel, each gave up a run in two innings of work in relief.

The offense also didn’t have it today, combining for three hits. One of those hits came from Ke’Bryan Hayes, who is having a fantastic pro debut. Hayes has now played 39 games, and has reached base safely in 34 of those games. He currently has a .346/.439/.392 line on the season in 130 at-bats, and the defense at third base has looked smooth this year, with good glove work and a strong arm.

DSL Pirates Prospect Watch

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P2 Game Notes

The DSL Pirates got four no-hit innings from their starter and 19 runners on base in a 9-6 win over the Brewers on Tuesday. Starter Miguel Hernandez managed to allow one unearned run, kept the opposition out of the hit column, while striking out a season-high seven batters. Adonis Pichardo followed him with two innings, giving up a run on four hits, but he picked up the victory. All-Star closer Hector Garcia got his eighth save with 1.1 scoreless innings. He has a 1.33 ERA and has given up four runs total in his 17 appearances.

The offense was led by second baseman Williams Calderon, who had two hits, including his third triple, and he drove in three runs. Catcher Gabriel Brito walked twice, hit his seventh double and drove in a run. He is hitting .310 with seven walks in his last ten games. It’s too bad that he missed time with two different injuries this year because he has looked like the best prospect on the team when he’s healthy. Melvin Jimenez has been the best rookie this year, hitting .295/.392/.370 in 64 games, playing all but four games this season. He has 32 walks and he’s 8-for-9 in stolen bases. Shortstop Cristopher Perez has had a very poor season on offense and defense, but he could be finishing up strong, which he could really use. He’s still hitting .189 on the year after going 7-for-16 in his last four games. – John Dreker

  • I am still in Luis Heredia’s corner. He has talent and I still think I will see the day he is in Pittsburgh as a starter. That is all !!!!

  • Seems like the Pirates can fix all pitchers but Heredia. What is up with him? Can he not take to coaching or is he just so mixed up that only a change of organizations will straighten him out? So sad to see him struggle when at this point I was expecting him to be number one starter option for the Bucco’s.

  • I wonder if NH has the guts to cut him, when JHay and Mercer return. Teach Florimon to shag flies and you won’t need SR.

  • Where’s the box score for the Altoona game?

    • Fixed. Accidentally deleted part of the code when pasting Sean’s report.

    • If you ever want to see the box score before Tim has it posted, try the Curve’s ( or any other team’s ) website box, it gives you all the details immediately.

      • I would but I think I actually was pointing out an error Tim wasn’t immediately aware of based on his response.

  • Kuhl = McPherson II.

    Let us hope he remains healthy, unlike McPherson I. McPherson looked to be a great mid-rotation starter. But it wasn’t meant to be.

    Kuhl may occupy Morton’s spot when Morton’s contract expires.

    • Maybe as a rough comp, but McPherson missed a lot more bats than Kuhl.

      Right now Kuhl is more Brandon Cumpton, I’d say. Good velo, good control, but no out pitch.

      Hopefully the improvements to his slider stick and it becomes a weapon.

    • Like you Steve, I looked for good things out of McPherson after I saw him in AA. But I actually think Kuhl has a higher ceiling than McPherson had prior to his injury.

  • Christopher R
    August 19, 2015 12:44 am

    What’s Kuhl’s upside? Is his ceiling a number 3 starter, or more of a back of the rotation guy?

    • I’m wondering also. Was he projected to be a guy that could throw that hard consistent? Not complaining, but just wondering

    • Back of the rotation starter. He needs better off-speed stuff to be more than that. But he’s a heavy sinkerball guy, so that negates the lack of off-speed stuff.

      • Christopher R
        August 20, 2015 12:55 am

        Thanks Tim, I was under the assumption that was his upside, but was curious if any of his off speed stuff has the potential to improve enough to raise his ceiling.

        • I’m wondering why his upside is back of rotation then? Anyone can develop better off-speed pitches over time. With a 97 MPH fastball that sinks……I guess he could easily end up like Hughes eventually as well

  • BallHeadWonder
    August 18, 2015 11:57 pm

    Another Scoreless Frame for DuRapau in Bradenton!!! Struck out the side!!! Wanted to add that to the article since they didn’t mention it!! #AllLovePiratesProspects

    • It’ll be interesting to see how he does in AA- that is, assuming he makes it that far. I’m intrigued by both DuRapau and John Sever.

      • He has to be Promoted!!! Has an Unbelievable ERA and a Sick WHIP!!! Its a matter of WHEN they do it!! I trust the Front Office!! They drafted him!!

  • Sean Rodriguez has to be the worst hitter on the big league team….I think there are pitchers better than Sean.

    • His versatility is useless since his hitting skill is marginally better than a pitcher.

      • I am, actually, starting to think this is true. Sure, he’s good defensively at multiple positions but he has 0 offensive value…I actually think Liriano has more RBI this year than Rodriguez. Terrible. When Harrison is healthy with all the 1B options we have, Rodriguez has no real place on the team…and we gave up Borden to get him.

        • Other than Rodriguez, there is no 1B option who is good defensively. Morse is somewhat below average and Ramirez has never played the position.

        • Haha I actually looked it up earlier- Rodriguez has Liriano by 1 RBI. You may be right that his days are numbered with JHay and Mercer close to ready, but I wouldn’t be so quick to discount his contribution up to this point. He held down the fort during the injuries at least well enough that they were still winning games, and he definitely provided defensive value in late inning infield duty (when they were up at least). That error tonight was his first of the year, he’s made appearances at six positions this year.

          • His offensive value is negative WAR, defense is solid, base running is good, plays hard. I still want him on my team, I just don’t want him starting- Ever, and I don’t want him pinch hitting- Ever. Defensive replacement only or pinch runner for ARAM are the only 2 situations I want him on the field

        • Not true….but it certainly could be. Rodriguez has 8 RBI’s. I think Frankie has 3

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        August 19, 2015 8:43 am

        Normally, I rail against having guys like Rodriguez being on the roster and occupying a spot that seemingly could be easily upgraded. And I agree, long-term, we cannot afford to have Rodriquez on the same bench as Ishikawa, Stewart, and Florimon – they are all pretty weak hitters.

        However, I suspect that Rodriquez is on this team for reasons that extend beyond his stats. He is very versatile, and despite the tough error he had last night, he is a pretty good glove at multiple positions. I suspect that he is a good influence in the clubhouse – and is well liked and respected. He played on soem good teams in Tampa for a number of years, and was a key player there off the bench and spot starting. I am a little disappointed in his bat – I thought he would hit more than he has.

        Once Harrison and Mercer return, I would hope that Ishikawa and Florimon will be gone and the bench will be strengthened

    • And then there’s Florimon…

    • And he strikes out looking…great job getting the bat off your shoulder Sean. Dear god.

    • It’s not even close. He is the worst hitter. His last 418 ab a horrific 14 bb and 117 K but 4:51 this year. When he was hitting 12 HR in a much smaller park for a righty last year his numbers were ok for a util. 57 ops+. I don’t care how bad Pedro is at 1B…S-Rod needs to go when Mercer and Harrison comes back. Ishi can be the defensive replacement.

  • Just good to see Hayes hit the ground running down in Bradenton.

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