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Saturday, December 3, 2022

Prospect Watch: Catchers on the Mend as Cervelli and Diaz Look Solid in Rehab Games

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.

We’re working on a solution for the PHP stat codes not working in the app.

1. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
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2. Austin Meadows, CF, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
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3. Josh Bell, 1B, Indianapolis – In the Majors

4. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pirates – In the Majors

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, Bradenton – [insert_php]
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9. Nick Kingham, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php]
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10. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, West Virginia -[insert_php]
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11. Kevin Newman, SS, Altoona – [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 – [insert_php]
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15.Cole Tucker, SS, Bradenton – [insert_php]
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16. Chad Kuhl, RHP, Pirates – In the Majors

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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24. Trevor Williams, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
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25. Gage Hinsz, RHP, West Virginia  – [insert_php]
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26. Adrian Valerio, SS – Bristol – [insert_php]
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27. Adam Frazier, INF/OF, Pirates – In the Majors

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, Bradenton -[insert_php]
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P2 Top Performers

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Prospect-Watch-Indy

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Indianapolis lost a tough one on Thursday night, but the big news was the return of Francisco Cervelli, who joined the team earlier in the day for a rehab assignment. Cervelli caught seven inning and batted in the top of the eighth before being replaced behind the plate by Jacob Stallings.

His first at-bat didn’t start off well, as Cervelli fouled the second pitch off his foot. After that, he had strong game, going 2-for-4 with two singles and a walk. He struck out looking and fouled out to first base in his other at-bats. Neither of the singles were hit hard. One was a grounder that went between the third baseman and shortstop, while the other one was hit right down the line, bouncing off the third baseman’s glove. Cervelli looked fine behind the plate, with nothing too exciting happening.

The Indians lost 9-8, giving up three runs in the bottom of the ninth. Jorge Rondon started the inning and allowed two singles and a double before being removed. Dovydas Neverauskas returned from his appearance at the Futures Game and intentionally walked the first batter with first base open. He then gave up an infield single, which ended up scoring the winning run when Max Moroff threw the ball away.

In the top of the ninth, Danny Ortiz hit his 11th home run to extend the lead. He also had a walk and a single. Pedro Florimon hit a home run to lead-off the game. He had a big night, also adding a double, a walk and a sacrifice fly. Gift Ngoepe scored twice and had two hits, including his 17th double. Max Moroff drove in two runs with his fourth triple of the season.

Prospect-Watch-Altoona-Curve

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ALTOONA, PA – Alex McRae has been anything but consistent in his time so far at Double-A. In his first two starts, he gave up 15 earned runs in 7.1 innings while opponents hit .487 against him. In his next two starts, he picked up two wins for Altoona by limiting the opponent to four earned runs in 12.2 innings. Lastly, in his last two starts before tonight, he allowed 11 earned runs in 6.1 innings with a .472 BAA.

Tonight, McRae swung the pendulum back the other direction again for his longest career professional start. McRae went eight innings deep and only allowed one run. The eight inning outing is also the longest of any Curve starter this season.

Harrisburg batters hit 15 ground balls compared to ten fly balls; however, three of those fly balls were infield pop outs. Overall, he threw 98 pitches with 61 of those for strikes, and he only walked one batter.

McRae’s fastball was very efficient early in his outing, sitting around 93-94 MPH in the first few innings. As the game progressed, his secondary pitches improved, and he was able to use them more often. He has been throwing more four-seam fastballs than two-seamers in his most recent starts for Altoona, and he worked back tonight to more of a 70-30 split using the two-seam fastball more often, hence the groundouts and weak contact.

“He attacked hitters much better than he has recently,” Pitching Coach Justin Meccage said after the game. “I think he was tired of getting his butt kicked.”

Reese McGuire stood out offensively tonight for Altoona, going 2-for-4 with a double. On one of his outs, he lined a ball to center field and was robbed by a sprawling Andrew Stevenson for the Senators. His first inning double was lined off of the top of a leaping second baseman’s glove and went into right-center field. He hustled around first as the outfield got to the ball slowly, which also allowed a runner to score from first base.

McGuire also picked off a Harrisburg runner at first base in the fourth inning, snapping the ball down the line very effectively after he saw the runner leaning.

Joining McGuire with two hits apiece were Curve outfielders Harold Ramirez and Barrett Barnes. Barnes snuck a slow grounder through the middle in the first inning, but he was assured of his second hit in the fifth, blasting a shot over the center fielders head towards the wall. Barnes is now on a modest seven game hitting streak where he is 12-for-24 (.500).

Erich Weiss tripled in the eighth inning to lead all active Double-A hitters in triples this season.

Defensively, Eric Wood looked very sharp at third base, as he tracked multiple foul popups towards the stands/dugout to record the out. Wood was 1-for-2 with a sacrifice fly and three RBIs, and he currently leads the team in slugging and OPS (.802).

Interestingly, this Curve team has outscored its opponents 98-46 in the eighth inning or later this season, as they again put runs on the board late in the game. (Josh Smith did allow two runs to score in the ninth tonight, though.) -Sean McCool

Prospect-Watch-Bradenton

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Bradenton won a battle of the bullpens on Thursday night, coming back late for a 10-7 win. Buddy Borden got knocked out of the game after 4.1 innings and the Marauders put six runs on the board against Sean Reid-Foley, who was recently rated the top pitching prospect in the Florida State League. Henry Hirsch and Sam Street combined for 4.2 shutout innings, while Bradenton put four runs up against Dunedin’s bullpen for the win.

Elias Diaz had his second big game on offense and he also caught nine innings for the first time this season. Diaz went 3-for-4 with his first home run. He drove in four runs, walked, and scored twice. In his last game, Diaz collected four hits. Wyatt Mathisen had two doubles and drove in three runs. His second double came with the bases loaded and brought in all three runs, making it a 9-7 score. Cole Tucker had a double, a walk, a stolen base, two runs scored and an RBI. Elvis Escobar had three hits and scored two runs. Jordan Luplow had a single, two walks, a run scored and an RBI.

Prospect-Watch-WV-Power

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CHARLESTON, WV – For the first time since becoming the West Virginia Power, the team has tossed three consecutive shutouts. The scoreless streak has reached 35.1 innings, and the games have featured every Power bullpen pitcher as well as three starters: Gage Hinsz, Mitch Keller, and Dario Agrazal.

Agrazal, tonight’s starter, stayed true to his groundball pitching nature, recording nine ground outs against seven fly outs. He consistently worked low in the zone and bounced back from the four hits he gave up.

“He trusted the defense,” pitching coach Matt Ford said after the game. “The defense deserves as much recognition as the pitchers.”

They rightly do. Tonight, the Power defense turned three double plays, and Logan Ratledge preserved the scoreless streak after a sharply hit single to the left field corner by hitting the cutoff man, Alfredo Reyes, who threw the runner out at home.

The Power offense finally awoke from their two-game slumber, banging out seven runs against Augusta starter Domenic Mazza.

At first, the offense came from the least expected places. Ratledge started things off with a home run to left, and newcomer Jordan George, who arrived from the Black Bears today, scored after doubling in the second inning.

The fifth inning featured a two-out rally that put the game out of reach. Alfredo Reyes singled and scored on Casey Hughston’s two-run inside-the-park home run. Ratledge followed with a single of his own and moved to third on a Mitchell Tolman double, and Daniel Arribas banged out a triple to score them both. Arribas was the last to score on a line drive single by Logan Hill. Hill and George, who also hit a single, were stranded when Tyler Filliben struck out for the second time that inning.

Yunior Montero closed out the series sweep, stranding a runner on third. Montero, whom the Power recently called up, had mixed success. He walked the first batter and then allowed him to move to second on a wild pitch. Montero battled back for a strikeout and two groundouts to end the game.

The Power take their scoreless streak on the road tomorrow against Hickory.- Abigail Miskowiec

Prospect-Watch-Morgantown

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Morgantown put up five runs in the fifth inning and that’s all they would need in a 5-3 victory. James Marvel started and looked great through five innings, running into trouble in the sixth. He allowed two runs on four hits and a walk, while posting an impressive 14:2 GO/AO ratio. He now has a 3.95 ERA in 27.1 innings. Neil Kozikowski followed him with two innings and allowed the third run for Auburn. Brandon Bingel closed it out for the save.

The Morgantown scoring started with an infield single by Ty Moore in the fifth. After an out, two more singles loaded the bases for Sandy Santos, who walked for the first run. Clark Eagan then singled to center field and it cleared the bases, with Santos scoring from first base. Eagan would score the final run on a Kevin Krause single.

Five players for the Black Bears collected two hits in the game, as the team had a total of 11 hits. Eagan, Krause, Moore, Erik Forgione and Albert Baur all had multi-hit games. Baur had a double, while Forgione hit a triple. Will Craig had the night off.

Prospect-Watch-Bristol
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Bristol won 11-5 over Kingsport on Thursday behind a big day from Alexis Bastardo. He had two hits, two walks, scored three runs, drove in three runs and stole three bases. Victor Fernandez had two hits, two runs, stole his fifth base and picked up an outfield assist. Michael de la Cruz joined in on the action with two singles, two stolen bases, a walk, a run scored and an RBI. The team went 6-for-6 in stolen bases, with these three players accounting for all of those steals. Julio de la Cruz hit his second home run of the season, a two-run shot in the ninth inning to put the game out of reach.

On the pitching side, Matt Eckelman made his second start, coming off five shutout innings in that first start. He looked great for four innings, allowing just a single. Things fell apart in the fifth and he ended up surrendering four runs without getting out of the inning. Adam Oller was the fifth starter before Eckelman took his spot. He came on in the sixth and threw four shutout innings, striking out seven batters.

Prospect-Watch-GCL

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The GCL Pirates won 4-1 on Thursday over the Yankees East team, getting five shutout innings from starter Miguel Hernandez. In his first four starts, Hernandez has a 1.76 ERA in 15.1 innings, which includes three games in which he has thrown five shutout innings, and one game in which he allowed three runs without making it out of the first inning. At the end of Extended Spring Training, Hernandez  had more bad outings than good ones, so while we rated him in our GCL top ten prospects because he had the potential to be this good, there is still the chance we could see some very poor outings from him in the near future.

The big hit of the game was a two-run homer from catcher Raul Hernandez in the sixth inning, his first of the season and first of his career, which began last year in the DSL. The Pirates got on the board first in this game with a single from Henrry Rosario in the fourth inning. He moved to second base on a sac bunt, then stole third and scored on a wild pitch. They added a run in a similar way in the ninth. Andrew Walker walked, then stole second, moved to third base on a wild pitch and scored on a Victor Ngoepe single. Ngoepe had two hits and his third stolen base.

Prospect-Watch-DSL

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The DSL Pirates held on for a 5-4 win on Thursday over the Cubs1. The Pirates scored two runs in the second inning on three straight hits and then a sacrifice fly. Larry Alcime started in with a single, which was followed by an RBI double from Eddy Vizcaino and a single by Francisco Mepris. Williams Calderon brought home the second run with the sacrifice fly.

In the seventh inning down 3-2, Jeremias Portorreal hit a lead-off double. Mepris walked, then both players scored on a Calderon triple. Calderon would score on a Kevin Sanchez ground out. Samuel Inoa had a double and a triple in this game, equaling the amount of extra-base hits he had in his first 21 games as a pro.

Starter Sergio Cubilete allowed three runs (one earned) over four innings. He gave up two hits and walked four batters. Wilmer Contreras picked up the win with two shutout innings. Former catcher/third baseman Julio Gonzalez got the save and stranded the tying run by striking out the final batter of the game. He has thrown 3.1 scoreless innings over four appearances since becoming a pitcher.

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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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rohabi

Any reason why MDLC is down so low in the lineup?

Blaine Huff

I’ve been wondering for awhile now…are Luplow and Joe really two different players? They are rarely in the line up together and seem to put up the same sad numbers. I’m calling a conspiracy on this one.

Bobby L

This is likely an unfair criticism, but what was the attraction of drafting Joe so high?

Blaine Huff

True…but he’s only a hair above Kramer and there really wasn’t an ML-projectable hitter on the team outside of Newman.

But what I was really joking about was that he and Joe don’t seem to spend a lot of time in the line-up together and BA/OPS-wise, they’re not far off.

Mike G

Haven’t heard a good evil twin story in a while, please go on.

Blaine Huff

Bah! 🙂

An evil twin implies a good twin!

Zach H

The West Virginia pitchers are just trying to one-up each other at this point. Agrazal throws 7 shutout innings tonight on just 72 pitches.

Zach H

Also Casey Hughston is starting to show off some of that power now with another homer. But still had 2 more K’s on the night….

mike367

I can see the day when Hughston shows up in the “Daily Top Performers” under the “K’s”.

michael t

This level of detail in response is getting a little scary. I better not get a subscription fee increase next month.

Blaine Huff

I am highly unimpressed. His still hitting .195 at A- with a K:PA of 1:3 as a 22 year old.

I’m not crossing him off my personal list just yet…but he hasn’t done enough to make it to Bradenton next season, so I think that window is closing very, very quickly.

Zach H

Is he really hitting that bad? Wow. I just looked at the HR number. I guess that’s what happens though when you strikeout 30% of the time.

Bruce Humbert

The Padres just shipped Pomerantz to the Red Sox – couple of questions for Tim/John…
1. Where would Pomerantz slot into the Pirate rotation?
2. What would it have taken to beat the Red Sox offer?

Joshuatree

I’ll guess this.
1.#3
2. Tyler Glasnow

Bruce Humbert

Glasnow seems high – I was thinking Keller might get it done

Joshuatree

You SAID beat them in a trade! Espinosa is a TOP 20 MLB PROSPECT. Keller isn’t even close! Not in the 100. Maybe not even in the TOP 200.

J Nader

The pitcher the Red Sox sent was a top 15 prospect in all of baseball. It would have taken Glasnow

Blaine Huff

Nah, I’d disagree.

The kid may have a lot of upside, but he’s 3ish years away from the majors and, if he’s lucky, 4 seasons from being an impact player. There’s a helluva lot more risk in that acquisition that a deal for Glasnow would have entailed. TG would have been a severe overpay considering what the Sox gave up….regardless of prospect rankings.

Scott K

He may be 3-4 years away in Pirates system, but not every team moves prospects through the system at the Pirates (snails) pace.

Joshuatree

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Do you think we are the only ones that go by the prospect rankings? GM’S are on top of the list! The consensus of the trade deadline is a majority of trades ARE OVERPAYS esp when a team is competing w a dozen other teams for Drew Pomeranz. Brault, Kuhl or Williams would’ve needed another prospect or two.

Jonathan C

It’s crazy to think a 18 year old in low-A (and is not pitching all that well) is that high a ranked prospect.

Luke S

He’s 18, so for perspective he would have just been drafted if he were in this years draft as his age would indicate.

So rather than an 18 year old with 0 experience, he’s an 18 year old with over 15 starts at high A with non awful numbers…..

and he throws 94-96 with his FB, with an advanced curve and change for his age. Long way to go, but he’s about the best you can ask for from a kid his age.

I love Keller, and Keller aint on this other kids level.

jedwar05

He’s throwing really really well. 72 strikeouts in 76 innings, good per 9 ratios. And the stuff is filthy. Can hit triple digits with the fastball and the hammer is exceptional. He’s four years younger than the average age player in the league and more than holding his own.

Matthew R

Starting pitching is expensive. The kid Boston parted with was rated a lot higher than Keller.

bucsws2014

Mildly confused about Glasnow being optioned today as opposed to earlier in the week. Was Tyler given a choice as to whether he wanted to start the AAA ASG or collect major league money for a couple days?

Edward C

I thought he was optioned on 7/8 which would mean he could come back up on 7/18. Although i dont know where he actually is at the moment.

escilade18

He was optioned to make room for Josh Bell back on the 8th, however I keep hearing on the radio that he was optioned down today. Any clarification would be appreciated.

Edward C

The pirates web site has the transaction on the 8th. Is something coming out of Indy causing the confusion?

jimmyz

It was announced today that he’s pitching in Indy on Monday ending speculation he might open the second half in Pittsburgh which probably created some confusion.

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