Prospect Watch: Altoona Wins on Walk-Off Home Run from Mitchell Tolman

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’,’20170904′);

3. Shane Baz, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(669358,’P’,’20170904′);

4. Cole Tucker, SS, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(657061,’B’,’20170904′);

5. Kevin Newman, SS, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20170904′);

6. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(663647,’B’,’20170904′);

7. Will Craig, 1B, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(643269,’B’,’20170904′);

8. Elias Diaz, C, Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(553869,’B’,’20170904′);

9. Taylor Hearn, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(621368,’P’,’20170904′);

10. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656543,’P’,’20170904′);

11. Calvin Mitchell, OF, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(668751,’B’,’20170904′);

12. Braeden Ogle, LHP, Bristol – [insert_php] display_top30(669180,’P’,’20170904′);

13Edgar Santana, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(650828,’P’,’20170904′);

14. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20170904′);

15. Steven Brault, LHP, Pirates– [insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20170904′);

16. Clay Holmes, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20170904′);

17. Jordan Luplow, LF, Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(656669,’B’,’20170904′);

18. Luis Escobar, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(650813,’P’,’20170904′);

19. Max Kranick, RHP, Bristol – [insert_php] display_top30(668820,’P’,’20170904′);

20. Steven Jennings, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(675651,’P’,’20170904′);

21. Adrian Valerio, SS, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(650832,’B’,’20170904′);

22. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592468,’P’,’20170904′);

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

24. Max Moroff, INF, Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20170904′);

25. Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP, Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(596720,’P’,’20170904′);

26. Eric Wood, 3B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(607780,’B’,’20170904′);

27. Eduardo Vera, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(622747,’P’,’20170904′);

28. Logan Hill, LF, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(664930,’B’,’20170904′);

29.  Tyler Eppler, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20170904′);

30. Lolo Sanchez, CF, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(665975,’B’,’20170904′);

P2 Top Performers

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Indianapolis lost their final game by a 7-4 score, as they now go on to play Durham in the playoffs starting on Wednesday. Drew Hutchison saved his worst start of the season for the last day, allowing five runs over four innings, while walking four batters. He finished with a 3.56 ERA and the most innings in the system at 159.1 IP. Cody Dickson allowed two runs over two innings and Brett McKinney threw two shutout innings.

Edwin Espinal had three hits in this game, giving him a .323 average in 35 games with Indianapolis. Gift Ngoepe went 1-for-4 with a solo homer (his sixth) and Barrett Barnes hit a two-run homer, his first of the season. Barnes finished a triple short of the cycle. Jacob Stallings singled in his last at-bat to give him a .301 average. He was hitting .298 on the season when he came in to pinch-hit in the ninth.


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ALTOONA, Pa. – For the third time in franchise history, the Altoona Curve are division champions. They came into the day needing either a win or a Bowie loss at Richmond to secure the division title. In the bottom of the ninth with the score tied at four in Altoona, Richmond worked out of a bases loaded jam to defeat Bowie, 4-3. It didn’t matter anyway, because the Curve defeated Harrisburg in 12 innings this afternoon to win the division on their own terms.

It is their third division title (2004, 2010), and the Curve are the only Eastern League team to make the playoffs in each of the past three seasons. They will make their third consecutive playoff appearance beginning on Wednesday at Bowie, playing the first two games of the series their then returning home on Friday for three possible games.

JT Brubaker made his 24th start of the season for Altoona this afternoon, coming in with a 4.51 ERA.

The Curve gave Brubaker an early lead after the first inning by manufacturing two runs. Cole Tucker walked to lead things off then immediately was standing on second base after his 47th steal of the season. After a couple of singles by Jordan George and Jerrick Suiter, as well as a sacrifice fly by Jin-De Jhang, the Curve were up 2-0 after one inning.

Unfortunately, Brubaker was not able throw a shutdown inning in the second, allowing Harrisburg to get two runs. After a lead-off single, Brubaker and Jhang teamed up for a “strike-em-out, throw-em-out” which cleared the bases. Brubaker walked the next batter, then he gave up a triple and single to allow Harrisburg to tie the game. Michael Ryan has talked numerous times this season about Brubaker’s problems with shutting down their opponent after the Curve score runs, and that problem reared its ugly head again today (not only with Brubaker, but with the bullpen, as well).

The offense bailed out Brubaker in the bottom of the second, as Michael Suchy hit a lead-off home run to give the Curve back the lead, 3-2.

After the second inning, Brubaker settled in and pitched a good game. He went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits. He struck out six while walking two.

“Overall, I felt like I threw the ball really well and had a good fastball,” Brubaker said. “I lost it a little there during and right after the second, but [manager] Mike [Ryan] came out and calmed me down. From there on out, I was able to get that fastball in there and work the off-speed off of it.”

Brubaker was talking about Ryan making a solo coaches visit – not even including catcher Jin-De Jhang – after Brubaker walked the lead-off hitter in the third inning.

“He told me to stop chasing punch outs,” Brubaker said. “Allow my fastball to get to my off-speed, rather than my off-speed get to my fastball.”

Ryan said that he told Brubaker to trust his stuff and go attack the batters.

“I told him that he looked defeated and stop,” Ryan said. “You have to understand how good you are.”

Whatever Ryan said worked, because Brubaker looked like a new pitcher the rest of the way. He struck out four batters in the fifth and six, his last two innings of the day.

The score held until the 7th inning when Tanner Anderson, in relief of Brubaker, allowed a solo home run to Stephen Perez. Anderson had not allowed a home run in his last ten appearances before Perez tied the game at 3-3. In the bottom of the inning, Jon Schwind hammered a pinch-hit home run to left field to give Altoona back the lead, 4-3. Again, Harrisburg manufactured a run in the top of the eighth off of Luis Heredia to tied it up at four.

The game stayed tied until the 12th inning. Michael Ryan’s plan was to only use any of his bullpen arms for a maximum of one inning each, so he had to turn to catcher Tomas Morales, for the second time in a week, to pitch. Of course, like everyone would have expected, Morales pitched a scoreless top of the inning. Then, in the pitcher’s spot in the lineup, he doubled to left field.

“When I got in the box, I was thinking that I was going to hit a home run,” Morales said.

It was only a double; however, it wasn’t long after he reached base that Mitchell Tolman came to the plate. Tolman, in only his second day with the team, lined a home run over the left field fence to win it for the Curve.

“It was cool to be able to come through in the end like that,” Tolman said. “Three days ago, I was getting plans and flights to go back home. I was making off-season plans.”

Tolman and Casey Hughston were told late on Friday night (after Harrison was hit by the pitch that broke his hand) that they would be coming to Altoona, and they were on a plane Saturday morning. In his first game, Tolman came up big with a sacrifice fly, then in his second game yesterday, he had an RBI double. Today, he homered to win the game.

“My manager told me and Casey that we were going up, and I was kind of in shock for a minute,” Tolman said. “Got here, had about an hour of sleep, then had to go in and play. I’m excited to be here.”

And, of course, your winning pitcher is Tomas Morales.

“One of the best experiences that I’ve had in professional baseball,” Morales said. “I got the win, and we won the division. It’s a great feeling.”

Jordan George had three hits for the Curve. Elvis Escobar added two hits and a great running catch in the ninth while playing left field to keep the game tied at four.

The Curve will travel to Bowie tomorrow to settle in for their opening game of the Eastern League Western Divisional Championship Series on Wednesday. Mitch Keller will be on the mound for game one.

The rotation is set for the playoff series, and it will go as follows:

  • Game One in Bowie: Mitch Keller
  • Game Two in Bowie: Alex McRae
  • Game Three at home: Austin Coley
  • Game Four at home (if necessary): Brandon Waddell
  • Game Five at home (if necessary): JT Brubaker

“This is awesome,” Alex McRae said. “This is the first time the Curve have clinched in a while. It’s always fun celebrating and pouring champagne on everybody. We just know how to win. We play the game the right way and we play hard for all nine innings or more. We’re ready.”

Sean McCool


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Bradenton finished their season with a 70-62 record.


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West Virginia needed a win and a Greensboro loss to make the playoffs today. Greensboro played earlier and won around the same time that the Power reached the fifth inning, ending their playoff chances on the last day of the season. Eduardo Vera started and had another terrific outing to end his season. He went seven innings in each of his last three starts and allowed three runs and no walks. In 132.1 innings this year, he had a 3.33 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP and a 109:14 SO/BB ratio. Vera threw 63 of his 83 pitches for strikes in this game.

Pasquale Mazzoccoli allowed a run in the eighth and Julio Eusebio pitched a scoreless ninth for the save in the 3-2 win over Delmarva.

Albert Baur had three hits on the final day, including his 31st double. Hunter Owen hit his 21st double, walked twice and drove in two runs. Victor Fernandez had two hits, an RBI and his eighth stolen base. Andrew Walker walked twice and scored a run.


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Morgantown had small playoff hopes going into Monday with four games left in the season. They won 3-1, but lost those hopes when first place Mahoning Valley also won. Ike Schlabach capped off his strong season with one run over five innings. That gives him a 2.83 ERA in 70 innings this year, a nice step up from the 5.22 ERA he had with Bristol last year, albeit in the much more pitcher-friendly league this season. Schlabach made 14 starts this season and nine of them resulted in shutout ball or one run allowed.

Reliever Yoandy Fernandez might still have an appearance left in the tank over the final three days. If not, he finished strong with three shutout innings today. He has a 2.95 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 36.2 innings. Joel Cesar pitched a scoreless ninth for his seventh save.

Jared Oliva had a single and his ninth double, while scoring two runs. Raul Siri had two hits and scored a run. Tristan Gray hit his 12th double. Deon Stafford, Bligh Madris and Jose Barraza each drove in a run.

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Bristol finished their season with a 17-49 record.


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The GCL Pirates finished their season with a 26-34 record


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The DSL Pirates finished with a 36-34 record.

  • Sean McCool @NotSoMcCool

    The @AltoonaCurve are the 2017 @EasternLeague Western Division Champions!

    It’s their third division championship in franchise history.

  • This just in from John Sickels…this is for Kevin (assuming that he hasn’t taken my advice and blocked me). His take, as of today, on the 2016 draft

    Will Craig, 1B, Pittsburgh Pirates

    The Pirates took the ACC Player of the Year and two-way star Will Craig who went right to the New York/Penn League and played nothing but third base. His numbers there weren’t bad but at the same time hardly impressive for a former ACC star, especially the .362 slugging percentage for a guy drafted as a power bat.

    Things have gone further downhill this year as not only has the slugging percentage barely improved to .375 in Low A, but he’s made the full time move to first base. Similar to Thaiss he’s got decent enough numbers, a total slash line of .274/.375/.375, but he’s a first baseman with no power as he’s hit eight homers in 810 career plate appearances between his two seasons.

    For a small market team who has needed to draft and develop well to be successful, picks like this can be very costly. Not to say Craig can’t have a long big league career, but he doesn’t have the look of a big league starter.

    • Not that the concerns aren’t warranted, but it’s hard to take Sickels seriously when he refers to Bradenton as Low A. Plus, all he’s doing is scouting the stat sheet, which you or I could do just as well.

      • I wouldn’t normally have posted that for the very reasons you cited, but because I was castigated for replying to one of many negative Will Craig comments, esp by Kevin the Great, I did. But, apparently, I am the only one who criticizes him.

        It showed up in my Twitter box today and I couldn’t resist.

        • Thanks Mr. Foo – I am disheartened by the performance of some of these draftees.

          • I’m warning you BW….you’re next on the hit list. 🙂

            This is it for me with ‘he who shall not be criticized’. You’re going to have to carry the torch.

            Are you man enough for the job?

    • Negative Nancy

    • No, I didn’t block you nor will I. I generally like your posts whether I agree
      with them or not. I merely brought up your seeming fetish with Nolan Jones.
      I didn’t like the Craig choice, either but since he’s on my team. I prefer to
      actually, you know, ROOT FOR HIM.

      My original post on the subject wasn’t even aimed at you. It was aimed at
      the other guy in the thread, a constant complainer. Re-read it yourself.

      Nevertheless, your tone seems to have gotten darker. I mean “Kevin the
      Great”? How old are you? If you really want to have at it… lets go, Sport!
      I’ll be happy to chase you all over the internet.

      But I’m sure you’ll take the coward’s way out and block me.

      Oh and one more thing. John Dreker knows a hell of a lot moreabout Craig than John Sickels does. He actually sees him!

    • Oh, and one more thing, Mr. Foo. You might want to check your sources
      before vomiting your propaganda. The article was NOT written by Sickels,
      but rather by Matt Powers, a Braves blog writer. Wonder how many times
      HE has seen Craig. So in your great haste to take a shot at me, you have
      once again sat upon the Sequoia.

  • Altoona is up 3-2 in the 5th
    Bowie is tied 2-2 in the 5th

    Greensboro 0-0 in 1st
    WV starts at 2:05