Prospect Watch: Martin Ties Home Run Record; Indianapolis and Altoona are Playoff-Bound

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 Mid-Season Update, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.

1. Mitch Keller, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php] include_once (‘./p2-stats/stats_functions.php’);

2. Austin Meadows, CF, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(640457,’B’,’20170829′);

3. Shane Baz, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(669358,’P’,’20170829′);

4. Cole Tucker, SS, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(657061,’B’,’20170829′);

5. Kevin Newman, SS, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20170829′);

6. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(663647,’B’,’20170829′);

7. Will Craig, 1B, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(643269,’B’,’20170829′);

8. Elias Diaz, C, Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(553869,’B’,’20170829′);

9. Taylor Hearn, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(621368,’P’,’20170829′);

10. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656543,’P’,’20170829′);

11. Calvin Mitchell, OF, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(668751,’B’,’20170829′);

12. Braeden Ogle, LHP, Bristol – [insert_php] display_top30(669180,’P’,’20170829′);

13Edgar Santana, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(650828,’P’,’20170829′);

14. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20170829′);

15. Steven Brault, LHP, Pirates– [insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20170829′);

16. Clay Holmes, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20170829′);

17. Jordan Luplow, LF, Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(656669,’B’,’20170829′);

18. Luis Escobar, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(650813,’P’,’20170829′);

19. Max Kranick, RHP, Bristol – [insert_php] display_top30(668820,’P’,’20170829′);

20. Steven Jennings, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(675651,’P’,’20170829′);

21. Adrian Valerio, SS, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(650832,’B’,’20170829′);

22. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592468,’P’,’20170829′);

23. Conner Uselton, OF, GCL Pirates – Disabled List

24. Max Moroff, INF, Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20170829′);

25. Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP, Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(596720,’P’,’20170829′);

26. Eric Wood, 3B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(607780,’B’,’20170829′);

27. Eduardo Vera, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(622747,’P’,’20170829′);

28. Logan Hill, LF, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(664930,’B’,’20170829′);

29.  Tyler Eppler, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20170829′);

30. Lolo Sanchez, CF, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(665975,’B’,’20170829′);

P2 Top Performers

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Indianapolis clinched their division despite a 7-4 loss to Louisville. Clay Holmes started and went five innings, allowing three runs, with all of them scoring in the fifth inning.  It could have been a much worse inning for him, but Louisville ran into two outs on the bases. This is just the second time since June 16th that Holmes has allowed more than two earned runs in a game.

Holmes left with a 4-3 lead, then Casey Sadler came on and took the loss when he gave up four runs in his first inning of work. That would be all of the scoring for the game. Indianapolis had a magic number of one coming into the day and a Columbus loss sealed their playoff berth.

The offense was basically provided to the Indians on one throwing error. In the fourth inning with the bases loaded, Holmes reached on an error that scored two runs and put a runner on third, who would score on a Kevin Newman sacrifice fly. They added another run in the fifth on three straight singles, with Gift Ngoepe picking up the RBI. Christopher Bostick had three hits, including his 33rd double. Eric Wood and Ngoepe each had a pair of singles.


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Altoona clinched a playoff spot on Tuesday night with a 3-1 win. Austin Coley started and pitched a terrific game in a big spot. He threw seven shutout innings, giving up four hits and one walk. Coley struck out eight batters and had a 7:3 GO/AO ratio. Yeudy Garcia allowed a run in the ninth on two singles and a sacrifice fly, but struck out the next batter to pick up the save. Altoona still doesn’t know if they will host the first round of the playoffs or not, but they clinched their spot with six games remaining.

The Curve scored a run in three consecutive innings. In the fifth, Elvis Escobar reached on an infield single, then moved to second on a wild pitch. Cole Tucker then singled up the middle for the first run of the game. In the sixth, Anderson Feliz walked, then stole second. He scored on a Wyatt Mathisen single. In the seventh, Justin Maffei singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a single by Tucker, who had two hits on the night and stole his eighth base since joining Altoona. Pablo Reyes picked up his 21st steal.


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Bradenton lost game one of their doubleheader by a 1-0 score and picked up just one hit in the game. Bret Helton started after the club lost four straight days to rain. He took the loss and only faced two batters because (did you guess rain?) a long rain delay in the first ended his day early. Sam Street was on the mound when the game started back up. While he threw five shutout innings, he did allow an inherited run to score and that was the difference in the game.

Despite just one single, the team managed to have 11 hitless at-bats with runners in scoring position. They drew four walks and both Casey Hughston and Alfredo Reyes picked up stolen bases. The single was by Hughston and the ball didn’t even reach the mound. With two outs in the seventh, Logan Ratledge struck out to end the game with runners on second and third base.

Game two was rained out.


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West Virginia was rained out today. They will play a doubleheader tomorrow.


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Morgantown starter Sergio Cubilete allowed three runs in the first inning and needed 35 pitches to end the frame,  which also ended his day early. While he had a bad night, that was just the beginning of the scoring in this game. By the eighth inning, both teams had put 11 runs on the board. Morgantown ended up losing 13-11 in ten innings. That dropped them to third place and 4.5 games back of the division lead with nine games remaining. Just six days ago, they were in first place.

The Black Bears had  big game from Tristan Gray, who drove in four runs, while collecting his ninth double and sixth triple. Sandy Santos drove in three runs, as he went 2-for-3 with two walks and his third home run of the season. Bligh Madris and Julio de la Cruz each had two hits and a walk.

Hunter Owen made his second start for Morgantown and went 0-for-4 again, though he did walk twice. Jared Oliva had four strikeouts. Dylan Busby went 1-for-6 as he continued to struggle, with a .171 average and 43 strikeouts in 36 games. He has just four multi-hit games all season, topping out at two hits each time.

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Bristol lost again, going down big against Burlington, before mounting a late comeback that fell a run short. Unless he moves up to Morgantown for an extra start, this was not the ending Travis MacGregor wanted for his season. He recorded just one out, while allowing six earned runs on six hits and a walk. That gives him a 7.84 ERA in 41.1 innings over 12 starts. Among the relievers in this game, Ryan Valdes had a night that was almost as bad, allowing five runs while recording two outs. By the end of the game, infielder Melvin Jimenez, who has been the best hitter on the team for the last week or so, was asked to get the final two outs.

The Pirates actually had some offense on this night before their late rally, and they ended up with one of their best games of the season from the hitting side. They got a lot of help with 11 walks, but they also had five hits with runners in scoring position and had the winning run on base when the final out was made. Huascar Fuentes drove in four runs, while Matt Diorio homered and drove in three runs. He also had two walks and scored two runs. Shortstop/pitcher Melvin Jimenez had two hits, three walks, two runs scored and two RBIs.

Ben Bengtson had two hits and two walks, but he was up with runners on the corners and two outs in the bottom of the ninth and flew out to end the game, for the 13-12 loss.


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The GCL Pirates won 8-4 over the Braves on Tuesday, as Mason Martin tied the team single-season record with ten homers. The GCL Pirates first began play in 1968, and only one player before today reached double figures in home runs. Back in 2000, Walter Young broke a 17-year-old team record when he hit ten homers. The former Major Leaguer was tied today by the Pirates 18-year-old, 17th round draft pick, who was 14 months old back when Young was in the GCL. Martin also had a single, two walks and two runs scored in this game.

The offense wasn’t just Martin in this game. All nine players in the lineup had at least one hit. Jeremias Portorreal had a single, triple, walk, two runs scored and two RBIs. His triple was the fifth of his season, putting him one behind the league leader and tying him with Mikell Granberry for the team lead. Portorreal also picked up an outfield assist. Jesse Medrano had four singles and drove in three runs. Calvin Mitchell hit his tenth double and picked up an RBI.

On the pitching side, Roger Santana went six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits, with no walks and six strikeouts. Vince Deyzel threw two shutout innings, but his chance to finish off the game was cut short by a brief rain delay. Samuel Reyes tossed a scoreless ninth to close the victory out.


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The DSL Pirates finished with a 36-34 record.

  • This may be the most over reacted set of comments I have ever read in my life.
    I’m sure they didn’t get an offer that they liked for nicasio prior to the July 31st deadline and decide to go forward with nicasio hoping that this team had another run in them during the month of August. It didn’t happen.
    At this point, letting nicasio go makes all the sense in the world. You save money, you open up the late, tight innings to young guys, and you also give nicasio a chance to go pitch in the postseason.
    Unless Huntington passed up a good deal for nicasio in July, which I find hard to believe, then I think he did a great job handling this situation.

    • Which I get, but if you’re trying to save money and open up spaces for young guys to play, why not do the same thing for Benoit and Jaso? Both are free agents next season. Jaso’s salary is higher than Nicasio’s. We do have Luplow sitting on the bench because Jaso’s priority is higher than him.

    • I have always hated the ‘Kool Aid’ comment, but I really have to apply it here, Paul.

      Sorry….to dump Nicasio for nothing doesn’t save much ($6-800k). Are we THAT desperate? Also, as Angie says below, why not dump Jaso to free up more cash and get Luplow in the lineup more?

      • The Pirates have a road game today – I expect that Jaso will not see the Friday game. Is Benoit on the DL? If so, he needs to come off of it and then the Pirates will jettison his sorry butt. I base all of this on my belief that CH and possibly some coaches could be gone Thursday. I expect the Pirates will play Sep with Cora as the Manager and possibly a new Hitting Coach who may drive over from Altoona.

      • its not that they are desperate, but there is no upside to keeping nicasio at this point. Can you give me any good reasons as to why they should keep him for the rest of the season?
        They are out of it, Why wouldnt you save 800k if it’s not going to affect your team next year in any way.

        Im not sure why you are bringing up jaso. I’m just giving my opinion on the nicasio situation, I never mentioned Jaso.

        • Keeping Nicasio gives Hurdle greater ability to reduce Rivero’s workload down the stretch in the seemingly rare occasion the club actually needs to hold a lead.

          After running Tony Watson into the ground over four years, I’m not wild about seeing Rivero up in every save situation from here til the end of the year.

          • Think of relievers like running backs are used up in the NFL NMR. If a guy is doing well, run him till the wheels fall off. Or, bring him in till his arm falls off.

            • So true!

              I’d just rather rest this one in the 4th quarter so he has some juice left in the legs when it matters. 😉

  • “The former Major Leaguer was tied today by the Pirates 18-year-old, 17th round draft pick, who was 14 months old back when Young was in the GCL.”

    Fantastic line, John, and congrats to Mason!

  • Do we hear today that a Press Conference will be held at PNC on Thursday? Hurdle out, Cora in? One winning month in 2017 does not earn an additional year.
    Tyler Glasnow will start the home game against the Reds Friday night? Nick Kingham Sunday? Clay Holmes? Newman up, Moroff down.

  • Some days it’s hard to be a Pirates fan. This is one of them.

    • Never hard to be a Pirates fan. Very difficult to be a fan of this front office

    • Compared to many other things that have already happened this year, this was a minor blip across the screen. John hit it a few comments ahead – not able to keep him at the price he wanted and will get in FA. If picked up by a contender this is a thank you to him, sort of like starts for Ryan Vogelsong and Plate Appearances for SRod in 2016.

      • Scott Kliesen
        August 30, 2017 11:26 am

        I’m not talking about the Nicasio move. I’m talking about the complete overreaction of the Nutting is cheap portion of the fan base. They act like Nicasio was worth a prospect and they have Pirates best interest above those whose job it is to do what’s best for organization. Pisses me off!

  • next step should be to get rid of stewart so hurdle has to play diaz

    • He might just leave the spot in the lineup blank and take the out as a tribute

      • i know right. i know hurdle’s job is to win games (arguable that playing stewart does that, but i digress), but at this point in the season, player development should be first

      • John, getting a little anti-Hurdle comment in? I love it.

      • That’s a good one, but it still leaves the question – why is Clint Hurdle still managing this team?

        Congrats to Mason Martin and all of the other 18 year old prospects like SS Rodolfo Castro, CF LoLo Sanchez, OF Calvin Mitchell, 3B Sherten Apostel, and 3B Oneil Cruz. More talent and raw power than any group I can remember

    • And someone will have to kill Jaso so Hurdle has to play Luplow. Or even then, he might just play Osuna & Sean Rod.

  • piraterican21
    August 29, 2017 8:38 pm

    I guess it could be said that Cole Tucker has adjusted well to AA.

  • Nicasio and LeBlanc on waivers (irrevocable)

    • Not getting for Nicasio is a poor use of the teams assets. They were out of it by July 31. We all knew that. That was the time to get rid of him. And I have to think they would’ve gotten more than Watson got them. Trading Nicasio wouldn’t have netted them a top 100 prospect but this is horrible, horrible foresight unless I’m missing something.

      • That’s basically what most people thought. Why sort of act like you have a shot at the playoffs. He should have been gone on July 31st. Now all they get is savings, although I do like the idea of more innings opening up in September, especially after they made it sound like there weren’t going to be innings for everyone.

        We all know Hurdle, Nicasio would have been out there every other day in hopes of winning 75 instead of 73-74. Put Santana and Neverauskas in those innings and let them fail/succeed/learn/gain experience. Doesn’t replace the fact he should have been gone earlier, but it would help cover up part of the mistake.

        • So I’m guessing that they are looking for a couple 40 man spots to add players before September 1st? Not sure who they’d want to add.

          • That I don’t know. It’s possible they could want to look at a player in the majors, but I don’t think it would be someone of note, or someone who could just be added in the off-season when spots open up on their own due to free agency. I was think more along the lines of getting innings for Kingham because he’s out of options. On Sunday, it made it sound like either he wouldn’t be up, or it wouldn’t be until after the playoffs are over in Indy. If it’s not calling him up, that makes no sense…but maybe moving Nicasio and possibly LeBlanc makes that possible.

        • This is really disappointing. NH’s argument I believe was there were offers on the table but they didn’t want to get 50 or 60 cents on the dollar. So…….they took the savings instead? Why trade Watson and not Nicasio? Really basic stuff. Unless you’re trying to resign him.

          • If he’s on waivers, then the only way they re-sign him now is if this move allows him to play for a contender. I can’t imagine a non-contender would pick him up, so maybe he appreciates the gesture. I have to assume that either they looked into an extension already, or they just didn’t want him back. The first one seems more likely because he has pitched well, although the second one might come with an asterisk that is for not wanting him back at what he would cost.

            I see no problem in getting rid of Nicasio now for nothing, but I can imagine that I will have a problem with how they utilize the extra innings that open up. That’s just based on recent history.

            • So how about this – if you can’t resign him by July 31, then you trade him? Maybe it’s not as simple as this but it sure as hell seems logical.

              • This is deeply disappointing. The FO is backing themselves as far into the corner as they can fit.

                • Unless something comes out later that I’m not aware of this is really frustrating. If they can’t get the simple decisions right I’m not sure how much faith you can have in them to make the shrewder, more difficult ones in the future.

                  • I feel like my optimism in the team has been betrayed and probably represents the outer reach of that spectrum. Its going to be hard for this regime to have credibility with anyone.

              • Yeah, that obviously looks like the right move now to them (much sooner to many others), but at this point, if no one is willing to trade for him, then you have to let him go. Keeping him accomplishes nothing

                • Letting him go if for no other reason than to give Brault, Neverauskas, Santana, Glasnow (insert AAA arm here) innings I get. But if you can’t resign him by the 7/31 deadline then you move him. Even for 50 cents on the dollar. Realizing 29 days later that you can’t resign him is quite simply 29 days too late.

                  • I don’t think that’s the issue in July. I think they still thought they could compete a month ago, but now it should be clear to them (hopefully) that they can’t compete this season. I think they were willing to sell for the right price and no one came close. At least you hope they were willing to sell on anyone for the right price.

                    The trade deadline was a bust and I like what they got back in the Watson deal, plus getting Kontos and Rodriguez for next year, but those should have been just part of the moves. The Benoit deal looked bad from the start and actually turned out worse.

                    • The only hope I have from this move is that we would see Kingham. If not, I have no idea what the hell they’re doing.

                      I’m fine with this move since we aren’t contending – though it’s pretty stupid we couldn’t gain anything out of Nicasio – but I don’t get why Jaso and Benoit stays with us. Both are free agents next season just like Nicasio is. We’d save more from dumping Jaso. Just don’t get it.

                • It’s a 600k salary dump. That’s ALL this is about.

                  • They didnt even show Hurdle’s scheduled post-game news conference – think this was leaked by someone in the front-office who thought the move was bullshit….huntington could be fired by this time tomorrow and nutting is going to be really under the screws to explain this away – very terrible night for a bucco fan 🙁

          • Heck I would have taken the guy Toronto got for Liriano in a heartbeat. Don’t tell me he had more value than Nicasio.

        • You are very kind with Hurdle’s ability to manage a winning team.