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 the 2016 prospect guide, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.
1. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
2. Austin Meadows, CF, Altoona – Disabled List
3. Josh Bell, 1B, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
4. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
5. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
6. Harold Ramirez, OF, Altoona -[insert_php]
7. Reese McGuire, C, Altoona -[insert_php]
8. Elias Diaz, C, Pirates – Disabled List.
9. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List
10. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, West Virginia -[insert_php]
11. Kevin Newman, SS, Bradenton -[insert_php]
12. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php]
13. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
14. Stephen Tarpley, LHP, Bradenton – Extended Spring Training
15.Cole Tucker, SS, West Virginia – Disabled List
16. Chad Kuhl, RHP, Indianapolis – Extended Spring Training
17. Max Moroff, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
18. Mitch Keller, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php]
19. Clay Holmes, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php]
20. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
21. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php]
22. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php]
23. Barrett Barnes, OF, Altoona -[insert_php]
25. Gage Hinsz, RHP, – Extended Spring Training
26. Adrian Valerio, SS, – Extended Spring Training
27. Adam Frazier, INF/OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
28. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Bradenton -[insert_php]
29. Jordan Luplow, OF/3B, Bradenton – [insert_php]
30. JT Brubaker, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php]
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Jameson Taillon made his first start since 2013 on Wednesday night. He was facing a Toledo lineup that had a lot of Major League experience. Cameron Maybin, Nate Schierholtz, Casey McGehee, Jordany Valdespin all have significant MLB time, and along with two other players with MLB experience, the top six spots in the lineup made for a tough challenge.
Taillon started off by getting Maybin to ground out weakly to shortstop. That was followed by Taillon loading the count to the second place hitter, who dropped a bloop hit down the right field line that Willy Garcia played into a triple. That was followed immediately by a well-hit double to the right field wall. Taillon limited the damage to the one run by getting a ground out to third base and his first strikeout. He was throwing mostly fastballs, hitting at least 94 MPH, but he did drop a couple nice curves in at the end. He threw 17 pitches total, 11 for strikes.
Taillon started the second with a nice curve that produced a soft grounder right back to him. He worked the count full to the second hitter before striking him out swinging. That was followed by a grounder to shortstop that ended the inning quickly. It was almost all fastballs this inning, as he threw 13 pitches total, nine for strikes. He hit 94 MPH again this inning (Note: the announcers weren’t giving many pitch speeds, so they are limited)
The third started with a five pitch at-bat, which ended with a ground out to third base. He threw a couple curves, one going for a strike. Taillon then battled with Maybin, before getting him to strikeout swinging at a low fastball inside. He set down the side in order for the second straight inning, getting a routine fly ball to right field. This frame was 16 pitches long, with ten going for strikes. He retired eight in a row up to this point.
Taillon started the fourth with a nice strikeout swinging. He started the second hitter (McGehee) with a 92 MPH fastball for a strike. McGehee hit a single up the middle, then tried to stretch it to a double, but he was thrown out by about 20 feet. The next hitter flew out to left field on the first pitch for another quick inning, just nine pitches, with six going for strikes. It put him at 55 pitches total.
In the fifth, Taillon dropped a nice curve in with a 2-2 count that looked like it fooled everyone, including the ump, who called it a ball. One pitch later, he got a ground out to first base for the first out. The next batter hit a routine fly to center field for the second out. After a couple foul balls on 2-2 counts, Taillon picked up his fifth strikeout on a curve.
Taillon worked into the sixth due to a low pitch count. He threw five strikes to the first batter, getting him looking on the curve. Maybin then hit a line drive on the first pitch he saw, but it was right at the left fielder. The following pitch was a bloop into right field for the fourth hit off Taillon. It looked like Taillon was beginning to wear down, as Nate Schierholtz lined the next pitch into right field for a single. Casey McGehee was up with two men on and worked the count full before lining out to center field. The last inning was shaky for Taillon, as three balls were hit well off him, but he pitched out of a jam.
Taillon finished with 85 pitches, 58 for strikes. He was working mostly fastballs this outing, but the curve was an effective out pitch. Until the sixth, he was breezing through the game, with only one ball really hit hard off him. He finished with one run on five hits and no walks in six innings, striking out six batters. Under normal circumstances, this was an impressive outing, but the fact it came off a two-year layoff and he was facing a tough lineup, makes this an outstanding performance. His control was excellent, the fastball had good downward action and the curve was very effective. He also worked quickly, ready for the sign as soon as he got the ball back and delivered the pitch, remaining in attack mode all game. – John Dreker
Quick Thoughts from Ryan Palencer – After a two-year hiatus, Jameson Taillon was as good as possibly expected. He used the curve to put hitters away that had nasty bite at times en route to six strikeouts. Taillon also has solid life on his two-seam fastball. Reports were that Taillon was consistently hitting 94 MPH on the stadium gun. It’s just one outing, but compared to Tyler Glasnow, Taillon looks like a much more polished pitcher. Very impressive performance.
Game recap (minus Taillon info): With Michael Morse being DFA’d on Wednesday, and A.J. Schugel joining the big league roster for bullpen depth, it is likely that a position player will rejoin the Pirates’ roster after a handful of games. Jason Rogers has done everything to show that he should be the choice. Again on Wednesday, Rogers did not disappoint, picking up a two-run double in the third inning. After homering on Sunday, Rogers now has a double in back-to-back days in Toledo.
After going 0-for-7 with a walk his first two games, Adam Frazier broke out in a huge way on Wednesday. Frazier picked up three hits, including a fifth inning double that he hammered to right on a high and inside offering. He also went the other way and sliced a single to left later in the contest, showing he can use all fields. Frazier played his first game back in the infield on Wednesday at shortstop, with Max Moroff sliding over to second.
Similar to Frazier, Willy Garcia entered the game 0-for-7 on the season. Also, similar to Frazier, Garcia broke out with a pair of hits. Garcia showed his defensive prowess already this season, but the offensive side is a key to Garcia this season after showcasing more power last season. Wednesday was also the first game that Garcia did not have a strikeout.
After a scoreless frame on Sunday, and a shutout inning in his first on Wednesday, Jorge Rondon allowed a run in his second inning of work. On the play, Josh Bell was not able to knock down the ball and it went down as an RBI single to right.
Trey Haley nailed down the save in the ninth, once again showing good life on the fastball and completed his second straight scoreless outing. Most importantly, Haley threw 11 of his 19 pitches for strikes. Haley could make an interesting name as a bullpen contender if the solid control continues. – Ryan Palencer
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ALTOONA – The Curve got off to a fast start, sending ten men to the plate and scoring five times in the bottom of the first. The Curve got started with two hits that probably traveled about 80 feet combined. Harold Ramirez beat out a slow roller toward third — he had two of those in going 2-5 — and Erich Weiss beat out a bunt. After that, Altoona alternated hard-hit balls with walks. Anderson Feliz, batting third, drove in a run with the first of his two doubles. He’s now batting .438. Eric Wood later added a two-run single. Starter Jason Creasy quickly gave nearly all the lead back, allowing a grand slam in the second.
The damage could have been worse; with the bases loaded and no outs, left fielder Justin Maffei made an outstanding throw to cut down a runner at the plate following a moderately deep fly ball. Reese McGuire helped with a quick pickup and tag on a close play.
Altoona gradually got the four runs back. Weiss was involved in much of the scoring, finishing 3-5 with three runs scored, a double and an RBI. Edwin Espinal and Jin-De Jhang each had two hits.
Creasy settled down after the second, allowing just two singles and no runs over the next three innings before departing, having thrown 91 pitches. Overall, he allowed seven hits and no walks. He fanned only two, both times getting Cleveland’s top prospect, Bradley Zimmer. Creasy showed a below-average fastball, generally around 88-89, although he commanded it well. His best pitch appeared to be his curve; he got better at dropping it in for strikes as the game progressed. Just the same, he was very hittable. Apart from the seven hits he gave up a number of hard-hit outs.
Jhondaniel Medina and Montana DuRapau each threw two innings after Creasy left. The two are fairly similar pitchers, relying on changing speeds constantly. Medina was throwing harder, with a fastball about 89-94 to DuRapau’s 88-91. DuRapau had the better control, although Medina could probably be called “effectively wild.” He didn’t actually walk anybody and fanned four in his two innings. Both pitchers got some pitches up. Medina didn’t pay for it, but DuRapau gave up a drive to the fence to the first hitter in the eighth and allowed a home run to the first hitter in the ninth, bringing the final score to 9-5. He allowed only the one runner and fanned three.
**Altoona’s best hitter so far has been Anderson Feliz, a former Yankees prospect whom the Pirates signed as a minor league free agent. He also had an impressive spring. Felix is nearly 24 and getting his first shot at AA. He’s relatively inexperienced, though, as he’s averaged fewer than 50 games played per season in his career. Some of this is due to several significant injuries and some of it maybe to the Yankees pegging him as an organizational player early on. He had two well hit doubles in this game, although he also booted a grounder.
**Despite getting the two hits, Ramirez didn’t hit anything hard in five at-bats. He’s slumping so far after an impressive showing in spring training.
**Jhang, who’s very hard to strike out, didn’t seem to be picking up the ball well and swung and missed probably more than any other Curve hitter. He did, however, still manage two seeing-eye singles and he fanned only once. – Wilbur Miller
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Bradenton got another strong start from Brandon Waddell, and the the bats had a good night, as the Marauders won 4-1 on Wednesday. Waddell threw five shutout innings in his first start, which was his inning limit for the game. He was able to expand it to six innings in this game and kept his scoreless streak going at 11 innings. After giving up two hits and no walks last week, he wasn’t much worse in this game, limiting Tampa to three singles and a walk. Waddell is an efficient strike-thrower, needing just 63 pitches in this game, 41 for strikes. He had a 7:5 GO/AO ratio.
Waddell was followed by Edgar Santana, who threw two shutout innings. In seven innings this year, the hard-throwing reliever has allowed two hits, no walks or runs, and he has five strikeouts. Nick Neumann pitched the ninth for the save.
The Bradenton offense came into the game with the lowest average in the league. Even after nine hits on Wednesday, they still have a .192 average this season. They were facing a good pitcher in Ian Clarkin (2013, first round pick), who allowed one run over five innings in his first start. The Marauders were able to put four runs on the board off him, knocking Clarkin out of the game during the sixth inning. Taylor Gushue and Pablo Reyes each had two hits, including a double. Reyes has back-to-back multi-hit games after starting just once in the first five games. Gushue leads the team early on with a .381 average.
Kevin Newman had a single, scored a run, and drove in a run on a sacrifice fly. Connor Joe had a double and a walk. Jordan Luplow singled and drove in his fourth run. At the end of the game, Bradenton had six players in the lineup batting .200 or less.
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Logan Sendelbach threw five perfect innings in his debut, so the results in this game felt like a letdown, though they are more in line from what you should expect from him. He went 4.2 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks, with one strikeout. Sendelbach allowed more runs in this game than the starters from the first six games combined. Power starters allowed just one run over 31 innings through the opening six games. In fact, they combined to allow just 11 hits. Jake Burnette and Tate Scioneaux finished the game off with 4.1 scoreless innings. Burnette won his second game, while Scioneaux got his second save.
On offense, Tito Polo and Ke’Bryan Hayes remained hot early on. Polo had two hits, including his fourth double. That gives him six extra-base hits in his first six games. He also picked up an outfield assist in this game, his third of the season. Hayes had two doubles on Tuesday and followed that up with a single and his third double of the season in this game. He also drove in two runs. He is 9-for-24 (.375) in his first six games. John Bormann had a single, double and scored twice.
On the downside, Casey Hughston is struggling with his average, going 4-for-25 in his first six games. He’s also experiencing the same problem as last year when he didn’t take many walks and struck out too much for Morgantown. The 2015 third round pick has no walks and nine strikeouts this year. That gives him 13 walks and 80 strikeouts in 244 at-bats as a pro.
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.