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Prospect Watch: Altoona Debut For Waddell, Keller Goes Seven Innings for First Time

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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, 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.

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1. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
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2. Austin Meadows, CF, Altoona – [insert_php]
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3. Josh Bell, 1B, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
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4. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
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5. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
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6. Harold Ramirez, OF, Altoona -[insert_php]
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7. Reese McGuire, C, Altoona -[insert_php]
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8. Elias Diaz, C, Pirates – Disabled List.

9. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

10. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, West Virginia -[insert_php]
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11. Kevin Newman, SS, Bradenton -[insert_php]
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12. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php]
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13. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
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 14. Stephen Tarpley, LHP, Bradenton – Extended Spring Training

15.Cole Tucker, SS, West Virginia – Disabled List

16. Chad Kuhl, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
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17. Max Moroff, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
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18. Mitch Keller, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php]
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19. Clay Holmes, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php]
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20. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
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21. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Altoona – [insert_php]
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22. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php]
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23. Barrett Barnes, OF, Altoona -[insert_php]
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25. Gage Hinsz, RHP,  – Extended Spring Training

26. Adrian Valerio, SS, – Extended Spring Training

27. Adam Frazier, INF/OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
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28. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Bradenton -[insert_php]
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29. Jordan Luplow, OF/3B, Bradenton – [insert_php]
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30. JT Brubaker, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php]
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P2 Top Performers

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Prospect-Watch-Indy

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Indianapolis faced off against Durham’s Blake Snell on Wednesday afternoon. He is one of the best prospects in baseball and made his MLB debut last month, allowing one run on two hits over five innings. Snell’s command wasn’t on for most of the game, and that got him in trouble in the third inning. After allowing back-to-back doubles to Alen Hanson and Gift Ngoepe, he struck out Max Moroff. The third strike to Moroff was a wild pitch and allowed him to reach first base. Snell then walked the next two batters, bringing home a second run. Ed Easley capped off the scoring with a sacrifice fly.

Indianapolis added another run in the seventh, as an Alen Hanson single eventually led to a Josh Bell sacrifice fly. Mel Rojas Jr. picked up an RBI in the eighth on his first double of the season. Hanson followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 6-0. Besides contributing to the offense three times, Hanson also played a brilliant game on defense. It was highlighted by a sliding catch in the opposing bullpen in the eighth inning when Durham was threatening to get on the board.

Cory Luebke threw three innings on his rehab assignment for the second time. He picked up the save by throwing shutout ball, with three hits, no walks and four strikeouts. He worked hard in this game, throwing a total of 51 pitches. Two of the hits he allowed were infield hits. Luebke didn’t have the velocity we saw earlier in the year, though that may have to do more with the mentality of knowing you’re going three innings, as opposed to airing it out for one inning at a time. He was 89-91 with the fastball, touching 92 a couple times. In ten innings with Indianapolis, he has allowed three runs on 11 hits, with two walks and 13 strikeouts. He is eligible to return from the disabled list now, but they could keep him down there until May 20th at the latest.

Wilfredo Boscan started and continued to keep up with the heralded prospects by throwing six shutout innings. He could have gone longer, finishing with an efficient 68 pitches, but he gave way to Luebke who was scheduled for three frames. Boscan has a 1.61 ERA in 28 innings.

Josh Bell’s walk in the second inning extended his season-long on base streak to 23 games. He ended last year by reaching base in 29 of his last 31 games. Willy Garcia drew two walks, continuing to show a lot more patience than usual. His two free passes in this game were more a by-product of Snell’s poor command, but Garcia is swinging at better pitches and starting to hit a little after a very slow start. Max Moroff had a single, walk and stole his first two bases of the season.

Prospect-Watch-Altoona-Curve

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Brandon Waddell made his Altoona debut and went 6.1 innings, allowing two runs on six hits and no walks, with three strikeouts. He filled up the strike zone like usual, with 64 of his 89 pitches going for strikes. Waddell got into a little trouble early, allowing a one out single in the first inning, followed by a two out double to bring home the first run. He didn’t allow the second run until the lead-off batter in the sixth slugged a home run. It was just the second homer Waddell has allowed as a pro. He had a 10:1 GO/AO ratio, well above the 1.14 mark he put up in five Bradenton starts.

Altoona won 4-2 in this one due to some timely hitting. They had two walks and eight hits in the game, all singles. Jose Osuna had three hits and scored a run. Jonathan Schwind had two hits and scored a run. Erich Weiss had a two-run single in the third inning to give Altoona a 3-1 lead at the time. Schwind and Stetson Allie drove in the other runs.

Austin Meadows went 1-for-4 and stole his second base. He is 6-for-34 in eight games. Reese McGuire went 0-for-3 to continue his slide that has pushed him down to a .210 average after a strong start. He is still getting on base though, drawing his 13th walk in 18 games, giving him a .347 OBP. McGuire has also done a good job of making contact, with seven strikeouts in 75 plate appearances. Harold Ramirez has reached base safely in 11 of his last 12 games.

Prospect-Watch-Bradenton

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Bradenton was rained out. They will make up the game as part of a doubleheader on May 27th.

Prospect-Watch-WV-Power

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Mitch Keller made his fifth start of the season on Wednesday and allowed one run on three hits and a walk over seven innings. He had six strikeouts and a 10:1 GO/AO ratio. This game proved how good his fastball really is, because the curve wasn’t working all night. That line was basically put up with one pitch, as he didn’t go to his change-up often. Keller kept going to the curve and it kept missing the zone, with no one chasing it either.

The one run he allowed came during an inning when he got three ground balls that could have all easily been double plays. It started with a soft liner that landed just over second base for a single. The next batter hit a routine ground ball right to the shortstop position, except the shortstop moved to cover on a stolen base attempt. That put runners on the corners with two soft hits. The next batter also hit what looked like a sure double play ball, but second baseman Mitchell Tolman made a very poor throw, and Carlos Munoz couldn’t scoop the ball.

Keller clearly looked frustrated during the next batter and walked him on four pitches. The next two pitches were also up in the zone, before he settled down and got the third ground ball for the double play. That stretch of six pitches after the run scored, is the only time that he has had command issues in the four games I’ve followed this season.

He was doing a great job of throwing inside and keeping the ball down, getting a lot of weak contact. Only two balls were hit hard all game, both caught by Casey Hughston near the warning track in left field. Hughston actually made a great play on the first one, then turned the easier fly ball into an adventure by turning the wrong way twice before making a leaping catch.

This was Keller’s longest outing, topping the six innings he put in during his last start. He only threw 86 pitches total, which allowed him to extend his outing. The seventh inning was dominant and quick, with two strikeouts swinging and his tenth ground ball out. He now has an 0.96 ERA in 28 innings, with 15 hits, two walks and 34 strikeouts.

West Virginia won this game 3-2 in ten innings. Ke’Bryan Hayes got them on the board early with his second homer of the season in the first inning. Hayes also drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly. He finished the game 1-for-3 with a walk. Danny Arribas scored the other Power run in the seventh inning. He walked, moved to second on a wild pitch, then scored on a Christian Kelley single.

The Power had just five hits in the game. Ryan Nagle added a double, his sixth of the season. Casey Hughston had a rough day at the plate, going 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. He is hitting .136 with 36 strikeouts in 88 at-bats. He is in a 1-for-39 streak that is reminiscent of the 1-for-43 streak at the start of his career.

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John Dreker
John Dreker
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.

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