Prospect Watch: Ngoepe and Mitchell Homer; Hearn Picks Up Ten Strikeouts

P2 Top 30

A look at how the current top 30 prospects did today. If a player is in the majors for an extended time, or loses his prospect eligibility, he will be removed from this list. 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 more active prospects on the list. Rankings are from the 2017 Prospect Guide, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.

1. Austin Meadows, CF, Indianapolis -[insert_php] include_once (‘./p2-stats/stats_functions.php’);
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2. Mitch Keller, RHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656605,’P’,’20170713′);
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3. Kevin Newman, SS, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20170713′);
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4. Cole Tucker, SS, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(657061,’B’,’20170713′);
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5. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(663647,’B’,’20170713′);
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6. Will Craig, 3B, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(643269,’B’,’20170713′);
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7. Taylor Hearn, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(621368,’P’,’20170713′);
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8. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656543,’P’,’20170713′);
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9. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592468,’P’,’20170713′);
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10. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20170713′);
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11. Clay Holmes, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20170713′);
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12. Braeden Ogle, LHP, Bristol – [insert_php] display_top30(669180,’P’,’20170713′);
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13. Max Kranick, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(668820,’P’,’20170713′);
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14. Elias Diaz, C, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(553869,’B’,’20170713′);
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15. Edgar Santana, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(650828,’P’,’20170713′);
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16. Luis Escobar, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(650813,’P’,’20170713′);
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17. Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(596720,’P’,’20170713′);
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18. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(650817,’P’,’20170713′);
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19. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20170713′);
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20. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20170713′);
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21. Stephen Alemais, SS, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(641301,’B’,’20170713′);
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22. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(663399,’P’,’20170713′);
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23. Travis MacGregor, RHP, Bristol – [insert_php] display_top30(669740,’P’,’20170713′);
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24. Barrett Barnes, LF, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(608627,’B’,’20170713′);
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25. Max Moroff, 2B, Pirates -[insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20170713′);
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26. Eric Wood, 3B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(607780,’B’,’20170713′);
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27. J.T. Brubaker, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(664141,’P’,’20170713′);
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28. Chris Bostick, INF/OF, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(607471,’B’,’20170713′);
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29. Connor Joe, 3B, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(656582,’B’,’20170713′);
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30. Jin-De Jhang, C, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(618085,’B’,’20170713′);
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P2 Top Performers

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Prospect-Watch-Indy

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INDIANAPOLIS — Drew Hutchison’s final pitching line looked pretty good with one exception: he wasn’t very efficient.

But other than his pitch count and some command issues, there wasn’t much to dislike.

Hutchison allowed three hits over five shutout innings in Indianapolis’ 10-0 win over Louisville on Thursday.

A majority of those command issues came in the fourth inning when Hutchison walked three consecutive batters to load the bases. He got a double play to get out of that threat, but needed 105 pitches to get through five innings.

Not his sharpest, but still good enough to maneuver through the lineup.

“He had a hard time getting into a rhythm it seemed like,” Indianapolis manager Andy Barkett said. “He was in some tough counts and had a hard time putting people away. He wasn’t as sharp as he has been, but to his credit he’s a veteran and he knows how to navigate through a lineup and he was able to do that.”

The command issues were somewhat isolated to the fourth inning, when Hutchison walked the bases loaded after an inning when he batted twice, leading off with a walk and scoring; before later grounding out to end the inning.

“That long inning kind of gave some time for the adrenaline to wear off,” Hutchison said. “I was able to get through it, but not as efficient as I need to be. Overall, I felt I did a good job of getting through it and making the big pitches when I needed to.”

Hutchison maneuvered around a walk and single in the fifth inning.

He had similar control issues in his last start, needing 101 pitches to get through 5.1 innings. He also walked four batters in that outing, but allowed six runs.

Indianapolis’ defense let Hutchison down in the second inning. Jordan Luplow allowed a double when he took a bad route on Chad Wallach’s line drive.

Luplow made what was nearly a 90-degree turn in his route as Wallach’s hit went over his head. He also ran a couple of bad routes on the team’s recent road trip.

Barkett took Luplow out of the game after the second inning, citing “a little tightness in his calf muscle,” and took him out as a precaution. Luplow went home to California during the all-star break and might get Friday off, but should not be out very long, Barkett said.

Indianapolis got all the offense it needed in the third inning, scoring four runs. Hutchison led off with a walk and later scored on a wild pitch. Danny Ortiz added a two-run double to the base of the center field wall, and Joey Terdoslavich added an RBI single.

Jacob Stallings hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning and Terdoslavich had a two-run homer in the eighth inning. Terdoslavich was 4-for-5 with four RBI, while Erich Weiss had two hits.

Starling Marte went 1-for-4 with a walk and stolen base, playing center field for seven innings.

Edgar Santana struck out one while pitching a clean ninth inning. – Brian Peloza

Prospect-Watch-Altoona-Curve

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ALTOONA, Pa. – Following a three day break for the Eastern League All-Star Game, the Curve faced off against the team they are currently tied with at the top of the E.L. Western Division, the Bowie Baysox. Altoona couldn’t quite pull this one out, losing by the score of 4-3 and dropping to second in the division race.

JT Brubaker took the hill to face the Baysox for the first time this season, and he was coming off of arguably four of his worst starts of the year dating back to June 18th. Before then, he had his two best starts of the season, going 13 scoreless innings. Tonight was a combination of both cases, as Brubaker fought hard to get through six innings and allowed three earned runs.

Brubaker started strong in the first inning, getting weak contact on an infield single then seeing-eye grounder, but he struck out two batters to end the frame. He looked good from innings two through four with his only mistake being a second inning solo home run off the bat of third baseman Stephen Wilkerson.

In the fifth, it looked as though Brubaker was out of gas after allowing a bunt single and two walks to load the bases. Two runs did come around to score in the innings; however, I thought that Brubaker did a good job settling down and battling to get out of the inning. An innocent fly ball scored the first run, then he got consecutive ground balls. Coming back out for the sixth after a stressful inning, Brubaker worked a 1-2-3 inning to complete his outing.

“He battled out of that situation in the fifth,” Ryan said. “The walks put him into trouble, but he was able to limit the inning.”

Overall, Brubaker’s line was 6 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, and 1 HR.

“He did a good job mixing and didn’t get into any sort of pattern tonight,” Ryan said. “He just struggled getting the breaking ball over, and that was key for him. It made him a two pitch pitcher, but he battled hard.”

Casey Sadler worked two innings in relief, pitching a clean seventh inning before allowing one run in the eighth thanks to a long Mike Yastrzemski double. That run ended up being the deciding run of the game, as Sadler picked up the loss. His seventh inning work was fantastic, though, as he induced three straight ground balls. Sean Keselica struck out two batters in the ninth.

Jin-De Jhang had three hits to finally get his batting average over the Mendoza Line to .202. Since coming off of the disabled list to begin the year, it has seemed that Jhang has struggled to get a feel at the plate.

“You can tell that he’s close,” Ryan said. “His takes are good. He’s balanced and not offering at balls in the dirt. He’s starting to shoot some stuff the other way, and those are early signs that he is getting to where he should be.”

Kevin Newman singled on a line drive to right center field in the seventh, using the whole field and going the other way in the at-bat. Over his last 20 games, he is hitting .351 with ten extra base hits. When he is going the other way like he did in that at-bat, that’s when you can tell he is on.

“That’s when he is at his best – when he is going the other way,” Ryan said about Newman. “It opens up the field for him more and gets him to the point where he can get a feel for the barrel. He’s in a good spot right now.”

Elvis Escobar, Edwin Espinal, and Wyatt Mathisen all added two hits for the Curve. Pablo Reyes probably had the hardest hit for the team tonight with a double the left field in the third. -Sean McCool

Prospect-Watch-Bradenton

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Bradenton won 8-1, as Taylor Hearn set a new career high with ten strikeouts. Hearn had struck out nine in his last start, so it didn’t take long to set another new career high. Perhaps most impressive about his start tonight is that he didn’t walk any batters. That’s the first time that has occurred since his last start in April. The one big issue with this game, which included just four hits, is that he only went 4.2 innings due to his pitch count. Despite mowing down the opposition and throwing strikes, he still had 79 pitches on the night and 56 coming during his last 2.2 innings, so he wasn’t around to pick up the win. He now leads the FSL with 106 strikeouts.

Geoff Hartlieb, Bret Helton and Sam Street combined for one run over the last 4.1 innings while striking out six, giving the Marauders 16 strikeouts on the night.

Jordan George hit his sixth homer of the season, a solo shot in the fifth inning. In the sixth inning, he hit a two-run single to help break the game open. Kevin Krause, Casey Hughston and Alfredo Reyes each had two hits and the bottom of the order. Reyes also scored twice, tripled, drove in two runs and drew a walk.

Will Craig had a walk, run scored and an RBI. Cole Tucker was 1-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI.

Prospect-Watch-WV-Power

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CHARLESTON, WV – Oddy Nunez ran into trouble in the sixth, and the Power offense foundered for the second night in a row as the team dropped their second straight to the Augusta GreenJackets.

West Virginia had chances in almost every inning. The team left eight runners in scoring position and wasted four extra-base hits. Strikeouts quickly became an issue. Carlos Munoz, Clark Eagan, and Victor Fernandez were the only Power players who did not fall victim to the strikeout.

“It’s a home field thing,” Wyatt Toregas dolefully commented. “You can get quality at-bats and wear their pitcher down, or you can take big cuts and strikeout.”

The Power did go through six Augusta pitchers, though it wasn’t because of quality at-bats. The GreenJackets starter left the game after five innings with apparent tightness in his back. The bullpen suppressed the Power bats enough to hold on to the win.

It took a triple by Adrian Valerio in the fifth to push the first Power run across the plate.

For the fourth consecutive game, Hunter Owen hit a double. Albert Baur also picked up a double, which almost left the park.

Baur is starting to make consistent contact, and he swing looks really nice. His two hits (a double and a single) were solidly hit line drives.

Oddy Nunez kept the game close through the first five innings. He had his typical downward movement working for him early. He finished his 5.2 innings with a 8:4 GO:AO ratio.

Late in his start, Nunez started to elevate his pitches, particularly his curve, and the GreenJackets, who had been hitting him hard all night, took full advantage. Four of the first five batters Nunez faced in the sixth reached base, and three of those runners would score.

Hunter Owen bailed out reliever Jordan Jess with a nifty diving catch to end the inning with the Power trailing 4-1. Jess would give up a two-run shot in the seventh.

The Power narrowed the gap in the seventh when Fernandez and Garrett Brown got on to lead off the inning. Baur and Owen drove in a run each with a single and a sacrifice fly, respectively. Carlos Munoz smacked a double up the right field line to score Baur, bringing the score to 6-4.

West Virginia went three up-three down on strikes to end the game. Ultimately the team struck out 11 times. –  Abigail Miskowiec

Prospect-Watch-Morgantown

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Morgantown lost 2-1 to Hudson Valley, one day after beating them by a 2-1 score. The Black Bears sent Sergio Cubilete to the mound to start. He went five innings, allowing one run on five hits, three walks and a hit batter. He had just one strikeout, but put up a nice 10:3 GO/AO ratio. Cubilete gave way to tenth round pick Beau Sulser and he took the loss with one run over two innings. Joel Cesar finished the pitching with a scoreless inning. He has given up just one run on two hits in eight innings this year.

The offense obviously didn’t do much on a night they scored one run, but the good part is that many of the top draft picks weren’t in the lineup. Dylan Busby, Deon Stafford, Chris Sharpe, Jared Oliva and Tristan Gray all had the night off. Michael de la Cruz had a single, walk and a run scored. Lucas Tancas had two hits and the only RBI. Bligh Madris went 1-for-4 with a single and a caught stealing.

Prospect-Watch-Bristol
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Bristol had the bats ready from the start on Thursday night, putting 16 runs on the board in a win over Johnson City. The Pirates went 9-for-19 with runners in scoring position and they had six extra-base hits, as well as eight walks. They started the scoring early with four runs in the first, then had a fourth inning in which each of the first eight batters in the inning reached base and came around to score. Bristol was actually outscored over the final five innings of the game.

Domingo Robles started and continued to look like a better pitcher than what we saw last year. The reports from Spring Training were that he was showing improved control over all three of his pitches, while also taking his fastball from 88-90 MPH last year, to sitting 90-91 this season. Robles went seven innings for the first time in his career and allowed three runs on eight hits and three walks, with five strikeouts. The 19-year-old lefty posted a 12:2 GO/AO ratio and now has a 3.64 ERA after five starts.

Everyone except for Kyle Watson had at least one hit, and he drew a walk and scored a run. Edison Lantigua scored four runs on two walks and two hits, including his first triple of the season. Yondry Contreras had a single, walk, RBI and two runs scored. Ryan Peurifoy and Ben Bengtson each had three hits, including a double. Peurifoy drove in four runs, Bengtson had a pair of RBIs and Matt Diorio brought home three runs. Diorio now has seven doubles.

Prospect-Watch-GCL

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The GCL Pirates were outhit by the Tigers East on Thursday and they committed five errors, but an eight-run seventh inning helped give them an 11-7 win. The two heroes of the game were the younger brothers of infield prospects for the Pirates.

The Pirates had a ton of runners in this game, picking up 12 hits and ten walks. They came up big with seven hits with runners in scoring position. The big hit was a three-run homer from Victor Ngoepe, his first career home run in 192 at-bats. That was followed one batter later by Calvin Mitchell’s second career homer. The 50th overall pick from this year’s draft also had a single and two walks. Ngoepe said afterwards that he thought he got enough of the ball to go out, but he wasn’t 100% sure off the bat. He also got the ball back, in case you were wondering.

Lolo Sanchez had a single, a walk and drove in two runs. Jeremais Portorreal had a single and a walk. Mason Martin went 0-for-3 to give him a 1-for-13 start, but he still had a good game, with two walks, a run scored and an RBI. Eddy Vizcaino had two hits, including his second triple in two games. Quite impressive for someone who missed the last three months with a major leg injury and wasn’t due back until August. Cristopher Perez had three hits and drove in a pair.

Roger Santana was bailed out by his offense after allowed four runs in his five innings. Brian Sousa allowed three runs in his two innings of work and Samuel Reyes was the unsung hero in this game. After the Pirates took the lead, Sousa faced five batters in the eighth inning and all five reached base, with two scoring. Reyes came on with the bases loaded and no outs, holding a 9-7 lead and kept it right there, stranding all three runners. Jose Delgado threw a scoreless ninth to finish off the game.

Prospect-Watch-DSL

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The DSL Pirates lost 9-1 on a tough day for the pitching and hitting. Starter Santiago Florez allowed four runs on six hits and three walks in five innings. Relievers Randy Jimenez and Kleiner Machado combined to allowed five runs over three innings, with four hits and three walks.

The offense collected just three hits, with the run scoring on a solo homer from Carlos Garcia, his second of the season. Despite batting .184, he has shown one huge improvement this season, cutting his strikeout rate in half compared to last year. Jean Eusebio and Francisco Acuna both singled, accounting for the only other hits. Acuna also walked and stole his 11th base. Sherten Apostel walked three times in a nice show of respect after his five home in four days last week. Backup infielder Ivan Rosario went 0-for-3, dropping him to 1-for-23 to start his career.

  • Nuke Laloosh
    July 14, 2017 11:37 am

    Calvin Mitchell is a player!

  • Marte not looking so hot.

  • Was Clint Hurdle the guest Manager for Morgantown tonight? Lots of talent out of the lineup in one game.

    The GCL Pirates win AGAIN – the O has come alive.

    Just for comparison Hearn in 4.2 IP threw 79 pitches and Hutchison in 5.0 IP threw 105 pitches. Different strokes for different folks. Hearn is already at 87 IP, 42 more than he threw in 2016 – would 120 IP be a reasonable amount of innings for him this year?

    • Hearn threw 51.2 innings last year. He was also pitching in Extended Spring Training and the Fall Instructional League. I would say 120 should be reachable, but could go a little higher. He might have ten starts left, maybe they skip one or put him in relief, but you’re probably talking 45-50 innings left.

  • Eusebio’s a bust. Time to cut him loose. 🙂

    • They are thinking about it, but my sources say they will put it off until he turns 17, giving him another five weeks to turn things around.

  • Taylor Hearn!! Nice to see!!

  • Is Hearn on a pitch limit tonight?

    • John Dreker
      July 13, 2017 8:45 pm

      Not sure what this question means. Pitchers are always on some sort of pitch limit. Are you asking why he was taken out with 80 pitches while still going in the 5th inning?

      • Yes

        • John Dreker
          July 13, 2017 8:51 pm

          That’s about normal for him. Anytime he has thrown more than 90 pitches in has been through six innings. He threw 17 pitches in that 5th inning and they probably figured that was enough for a short outing.

      • Also he pitched about 50 innings each of the last two years. When do you think they cut his innings and maybe send him to the pen?

        • John Dreker
          July 13, 2017 9:03 pm

          His innings have been somewhat limited. They used him in relief once, he’s gone extra days between starts, but he also had extended spring innings last year and pitched in the Fall Instructional League. So I wouldn’t look at those 51 innings as the building block number.

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