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Prospect Watch: Solid Start from Mitch Keller; Reynolds and Vera Lead Altoona to Victory


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 (Colin Moran, Nick Kingham, Edgar Santana, Kyle Crick, Max Moroff and Dovydas Neverauskas), 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 our updated 2018 Mid-Season Prospect Guide, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.

1. Mitch Keller, RHP, Indianapolis – 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO

2. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Altoona – DNP

3. Cole Tucker, SS, Altoona – 0-for-5

4. Oneil Cruz, SS, West Virginia – DNP

5. Travis Swaggerty, CF, West Virginia – 0-for-5

6. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Indianapolis – 0-for-5

7. Kevin Newman, SS, Pirates – In Majors

8. Calvin Mitchell, OF, West Virginia – 2-for-5, 2B, RBI

9. Luis Escobar, RHP, Altoona – DNP

10. Clay Holmes, RHP, Pirates – In Majors

11. Bryan Reynolds, OF, Altoona – 4-for-5, 2B, HR, RBI

12. Jordan Luplow, LF, Indianapolis – DNP

13. Jason Martin, OF, Indianapolis – 1-for-3, BB

14. Will Craig, 1B, Altoona – 1-for-5, 2B, RBI

15. Nick Burdi, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

16. Braxton Ashcraft, RHP, GCL Pirates – DNP

17. Travis MacGregor, RHP, West Virginia – DNP

18. Braeden Ogle, LHP, West Virginia – DNP

19. Lolo Sanchez, CF, West Virginia – 1-for-3, 2 SB

20. JT Brubaker, RHP, Indianapolis –  DNP

21. Jared Oliva, CF, Bradenton – DNP

22. Ji-Hwan Bae, SS, GCL Pirates – DNP

23. Cody Bolton, RHP, West Virginia – DNP

24. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Indianapolis – DNP

25. Dario Agrazal, RHP, Altoona – DNP

26. Stephen Alemais, 2B/SS, Altoona – 1-for-5

27. Max Kranick, RHP, West Virginia – DNP

28. Mason Martin, 1B, Bristol – DNP

29. Steven Jennings, RHP, Bristol – DNP

30. Aaron Shortridge, RHP, Morgantown – DNP


Indianapolis lost 4-3 to Columbus.

Mitch Keller got the start on Tuesday night. While he wasn’t sharp in this game, he got the desired results. Keller went five innings, allowing one unearned run on two hits and three walks. He was removed due to throwing 91 pitches.

Keller had to get an extra out and throw some extra pitches in the first inning due to a ridiculous call, although I’m not 100% sure what it was because the announcers were told something different from the boxscore. A pop up was hit to Max Moroff at shortstop. He caught the ball, then dropped it as he pulled it out of his glove. It was clearly a catch, but the umpires all missed it, possibly because his back was to the infield, but the time it took for it to drop should have made it clear. The announcers were told a short time later that it was catcher interference and if that’s true, it would have been an even worse call because Jacob Stallings didn’t come within a foot of touching the bat or batter. Either way, a really bad call was made and that ate up some pitches.

Keller was his own worst enemy with the high pitch count, including three walks and plenty of deep counts. He had just two strikeouts, with one of them being a batter who couldn’t get a bunt down with two strikes. The other one was a swinging strikeout on a changeup to a right-handed hitter. There was also some hard outs, a few of which showed off how much progress Jason Martin has made as a center fielder. It was a better outing on paper than live view, but no earned runs in five innings against the team one game behind you for the playoffs is what you want to see from a prospect.

AJ Schugel was out next, continuing his rehab. He couldn’t get out of the sixth, allowing one run on three hits, while recording two outs. Alex McRae followed with four inning, serving up two runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk. Damien Magnifico recorded the final out of the tenth, stranding two inherited runners. This loss put Indianapolis into a first place tie with Columbus.

On offense, Jose Osuna had three hits and drove in a run, though he also got thrown out on the bases twice. Pablo Reyes hit an RBI double, which was followed by an RBI single from Max Moroff. Jason Martin and Jerrick Suiter each had a single, walk and a run scored. Suiter also added an outfield assist.

Here is the boxscore from the MiLB site.

You can view the season preview here.


Altoona won 9-2 over Binghamton.

Eduardo Vera got the start and put together an outstanding performance. Not only did this game have playoff implications for the Curve, but Vera is pitching for a job next year as an upcoming minor league free agent. He can add this one to his resume. He went seven innings, giving up one run on three hits and a walk, with seven strikeouts. He threw 66 of 97 pitches for strikes. Vera now has the second most innings pitched in the system (141.1) behind James Marvel, who is up to 154.1 IP. Scooter Hightower threw a scoreless eighth and Yeudy Garcia allowed a run in the ninth.

Bryan Reynolds had four hits in this game, including his 17th double and his seventh homer. He had one RBI and scored three runs. Will Craig drove in his 97th run with his 27th double. Jin-De Jhang drove in three runs. Logan Hill hit his 16th homer. Alfredo Reyes stole his tenth base for Altoona, leaving him 34-for-37 in steals.

I asked about Ke’Bryan Hayes, who fell hard on his shoulder the other day after he stepped on his bat while going to run down to first base. Hayes never left the team for any medical checkup, so that’s immediately a good sign. If there was even a thought it was a serious injury, he would have been visiting Pittsburgh. They don’t know when he will be back yet, but expect to see him again before the season ends and playoffs start.

Here is the boxscore from the MiLB site.

You can view the season preview here.


Bradenton won 3-2 over Charlotte.

Domingo Robles got the start, trying to build on his seven shutout innings that followed nine runs over 3.1 innings in his High-A debut. He allowed a run right away, but quickly settled down to go six innings, with two runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out seven batters. It’s his highest strikeout game since he punched out eight batters back on June 11th. Adam Oller followed with two scoreless innings and then Jordan Jess retired the side in order in the ninth.

The Marauders had ten hits, with the big one being a walk-off homer from Bligh Madris in the ninth. It was his ninth home run of the season. Madris, Hunter Owen, Raul Siri and Jason Delay each had two hits. Owen hit his 20th double and Delay connected on his first triple. Bradenton did not draw a single walk in the game.

Here is the boxscore from the MiLB site.

You can view the season preview here.


West Virginia lost 3-2 to Charleston.

Hunter Stratton got the start and went six innings, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks, with five strikeouts. The last time that he allowed more than two earned runs was on July 6th. John Pomeroy and Logan Stoelke each retired all three batters they faced while picking up two strikeouts. Beau Sulser retired the side in order in the ninth, then Elvis Escobar allowed an unearned run in the tenth for the loss.

Calvin Mitchell went 2-for-5, with a single, his 24th double and an RBI. Lolo Sanchez went 1-for-3 with a run scored and two steals, giving him 27 steals on the season. Connor Kaiser had a single, walk and a run scored.

Here is the boxscore from the MiLB site.

You can view the season preview here.


Morgantown won 9-2 over Batavia.

Mike LoPresti got the start and went five innings, allowing one run on four hits and a walk, with five strikeouts. It’s the fourth time that he has allowed one run over five innings, but the bad have outweighed the good so far. He has a 5.32 ERA through 44 innings, allowing 22 earned runs over 24 innings in his other seven appearances combined. Cody Smith followed with three innings, allowing just an unearned run, while striking out six batters. Alec Rennard quickly finished the game off in the ninth.

Fabricio Macias was hitting well when he was sent down to Morgantown last week (he was in The 21 just a day earlier for his big week). That has carried over at the lower level. He’s hitting .355 now after going 3-for-5 with two doubles and a triple. He drove in three runs. Zack Kone also drove in three runs, though he did it on one swing of the bat in the first inning, smacking his first pro home run. Kone walked in his other three plate appearances. Daniel Amaral had a single, walk, two runs scored, two RBIs and his 20th stolen base. Brett Kinneman hit his first triple and drove in his 34th run.

Here is the boxscore from the MiLB site.

You can view the season preview here.


Bristol had their game postponed due to rain. They will play a doubleheader tomorrow.

Here is the boxscore from the MiLB site.

You can view the season preview here.


The GCL Pirates lost 5-2 to the Yankees West.

Braham Rosario came over from the DSL and got the start today. He went four innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits, with no walks and three strikeouts. Saul de la Cruz handled the final three innings of the seven inning contest, allowing two runs, while striking out five batters.

There wasn’t much offense with just five hits and a walk. Samuel Inoa had a double and a run scored. Francisco Acuna had two singles and a run scored. Nick Patten hit an RBI double and Mason Fishback got the tough RBI, getting plunked with the bases loaded, which caused him to leave the game.

Here is the boxscore from the MiLB site.

Before the regularly scheduled game, the Pirates finished off a suspended game. Michael Burrows threw three no-hit innings before the rain. Luis Arrieta allowed two runs in 3.1 innings, while Juan Henriquez blew the save, but got the win in the 5-3 victory. This game was originally seven innings, but it took eight to get a winner.

Francisco Acuna drove in two runs. Fernando Villegas had two hits, two runs and an RBI. Samuel Inoa scored two runs. Justin Morris had an RBI single in the eighth.

Jack Herman had a tough combined day, going 0-for-7 (he was already 0-for-2 in this game before today), which dropped him to third place in the GCL batting race and second place for the OPS title. He still has a .354/.442/.508 slash line in 34 games.

Here’s the boxscore.

You can view the season preview here.


The DSL Pirates1 won 7-2 over the Indians/Brewers.

Arlinthon De Dios threw four shutout innings on three hits, three walks and three strikeouts. Jesus Valles followed with two runs over three innings. Joelvis Del Rosario handled the final two innings.

Emilson Rosado had three of the Pirates four RBIs. He had two singles and a run scored. Yoyner Fajardo had a walk, run scored and his 15th stolen base. Randy Romero had a walk, single, RBI and he scored a run on a steal of home, his 12th stolen base. Germin Lopez had a single, two walks, a run scored and his 13th stolen base. Norkis Marcos walked twice, stole his 13th base and scored a run. Juan Pie stole his seventh base, to go along with a walk and run scored.

Here is the boxscore from the MiLB site.

The DSL Pirates2 won 3-1 over the Royals2.

Mario Garcia got the start and pitched great for six shutout innings, allowing five hits and no walks. He ended up facing just one batter over the minimum after four runners were thrown out on the bases. Yeison Santos then retired all six batters he faced, three by strikeouts. Carlos Campos came out for the save, but he ended up walking three batters in a row and Migel Diaz had to bail him out.

Fleury Nova played a role in all three runs. He had a single, double, walk, two runs scored and an RBI. He also picked up his 14th steal of the season. Edgar Barrios stole his 15th base and drove in a run. Tilsaimy Melfor had the other RBI.  Mario Jerez walked twice. Juan Mena had a single and a walk.

Here is the boxscore from the MiLB site.

You can view the season preview for both teams here.

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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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