Top Ten Hitters and Pitchers for Week 20 of the Minor League Season

With the full-season minor league teams having every Monday off this year, we get to do weekly recaps based on the action from Tuesday to Sunday each week. Below you’ll find a list of the top hitters and pitchers for the Pittsburgh Pirates over the last week. The batters are sorted by OPS and they each had at least 20 plate appearances last week. The pitchers are sorted by ERA and they pitched at least four innings. This is the final week for this article this year.

Top Hitters

  1. Nick Gonzales, Greensboro – This wasn’t a strong overall week for hitting and I thought about lowering the minimum to 18 plate appearances, which I’ve done before. It would have added three players, but there is a small difference between 7-10 on this list now, so I left it at 20 PAs. Either way, Gonzales would have been the top hitter by a large margin with his .412/.583/.706 slash line in 24 PAs, with two doubles, a homer and seven walks. He finished the season with a .302 average and 18 homers. Greensboro still has playoff games this week, so his season isn’t over yet.
  2. Matt Fraizer, Altoona – Fraizer was a regular here for June, July and most of August before he hit a slump recently. He finishes up an outstanding season strong, with a .333/.391/.619 slash line in 23 PAs. His final season totals (Altoona and Greensboro) show a .306 average, with 26 doubles, six triples, 23 homers, 15 steals and 56 walks in 112 games.
  3. Hunter Owen, Indianapolis – Owen hit .292/.292/.708 last week in 24 PAs, with a double and three homers. He has 19 homers and a .746 OPS in 93 games with Indianapolis this season.
  4. Blake Sabol, Greensboro – Sabol finished the season strong, though he’s had strong results with both Bradenton and Greensboro all season. He held the top spot in last week’s article and now finishes fourth with a .316/.409/.579 slash line in 22 PAs, with two doubles, a homer and three walks. He posted a .957 OPS in 66 games this year.
  5. Ji-hwan Bae, Altoona – Bae hit .296/.367/.593 in 30 PAs last week. He had eight hits, including two doubles and two homers. He wasn’t listed among a large group of prospects promoted to Altoona after the season, so unless that changes, he finishes up the year with a .281/.360/.422 slash line in 85 games, with 20 stolen bases.
  6. Jared Triolo, Greensboro –  Triolo is the only other batter besides Sabol to repeat here from last week, when he finished in eighth place. He moves up two spots this week, though his weekly OPS dropped ten points. He hit .304/.385/.522 in 26 PAs, with two doubles, a homer and three walks. He finished the regular season with a .304 average, 29 doubles, 15 homers and 25 steals in 108 games.
  7. Jack Suwinski, Altoona – The bottom of this list didn’t have particularly strong weeks, more like average weeks for a group of players who had decent seasons. Suwinski hit .261/.292/.478 with two doubles and a homer. After coming over in the Adam Frazier trade, he hit .252/.359/.391 in 45 games, finishing the season (111 total games) with 19 homers and 70 walks.
  8. Aaron Shackelford, Greensboro – Shackelford hit .263/.333/.421 in 21 PAs. He didn’t have a nice week, more like a big game surrounded by not much else. He went 3-for-3 with a double and two walks on Tuesday. He was 2-for-16 with no walks during the rest of the week, though both of those hits were doubles. He finished the regular season with a .210 average and a 36:133 BB/SO ratio, which came with 22 homers, 14 of which were hit at home.
  9. Dariel Lopez, Bradenton –  Lopez hit .278/.300/.444 in 20 PAs. The 19-year-old infielder made the jump from the DSL in 2019 to Low-A in 2021, hitting .258/.341/.393 in 98 games, with 17 doubles and ten homers. His .735 OPS was 21 points above league average, despite being 2.3 years younger than the league average player.
  10. Bligh Madris, Indianapolis – Madris hit .217/.308/.435 in 23 PAs, with two doubles, a homer and three walks. He currently has a .786 OPS in 98 games for Indianapolis this season, after starting the year off in Altoona.

Top Pitchers

  1. Miguel Yajure, Indianapolis – He had the best week, going six shutout innings in his start, with four hits, one walk and six strikeouts. This was his first shutout performance since his second start with the Pirates back on May 14th. Indianapolis still has two weeks left, so it will be interesting to see if he finishes the season in the minors or gets 1-2 starts with the Pirates.
  2. Cam Alldred, Indianapolis – In 5.1 innings, he allowed one unearned run on six hits, one walk and six strikeouts. We got good reports on him just prior to this week and he’s pitched very well since being promoted to Indianapolis. So far this season he has a 2.37 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP in 60.2 innings.
  3. Domingo Gonzalez, Greensboro – Gonzalez pitched five shutout innings in relief and had a bit of an odd start. He only allowed three hits, but that came with four walks, a hit batter and just one strikeout. Despite this strong final start, he did much better with Bradenton (3.72 ERA) this season compared to Greensboro (6.46).
  4. Noe Toribio, Altoona – Toribio has had a tough season, twice missing time due to injury. He hasn’t pitched well when healthy, which could be explained by the injury. Whatever the case, he finished the season strong, especially his last outing, which was four hitless/shutout innings on one walk and seven strikeouts. He didn’t allow an earned run over his final four outings, covering 10.2 innings, which included just two hits.
  5. Garrett Leonard, Greensboro – He tossed four shutout frames in relief during his only appearance, with three hits, one walk and three strikeouts. He had one other outing this year of four shutout innings. He finished with a rough 5.81 ERA in 62 innings, but his worst outing of the year out of 29 appearances added over a full run (1.02) to that mark.
  6. Will Gardner, Altoona – Gardner has had a very rough season, so the ending was nice to see, with four shutout frames on one hit, one walk and five strikeouts over two appearances. His 5.40 ERA in September was easily his best monthly mark this season, so unlike Leonard, there wasn’t one particular bad outing. If you’re looking for a bright side, his .239 BAA isn’t bad, and he averaged just over one strikeout per inning.
  7. Luis Ortiz, Bradenton – Sorting players by ERA seems to work well here, but some cases obviously don’t compare well to others. Ortiz allowed three runs last week, which limited him to four innings, but they were all unearned. He gave up three hits, one walk and struck out five batters. He finished the season with a 3.09 ERA in 87.1 innings, with a 1.26 WHIP and 113 strikeouts.
  8. Steven Jennings, Greensboro – After being demoted from Altoona, his first appearance back in High-A was a drubbing, with seven runs on ten hits in 4.1 innings. Then he came back with four shutout innings on one hit, no walks and six strikeouts last week. Those were his worst and best outings of the whole season, and they came back-to-back to finish the year.
  9. Travis MacGregor, Altoona – I figured that MacGregor needed to be shut down due to his innings total as he returns from two full years off from pitching, plus some missed time in 2018. He was having some poor results over and over, but he finished up with one run over 6.1 innings on three hits, no walks and eight strikeouts. He ended the season with a 6.25 ERA in 90.2 innings, with 88 strikeouts.
  10. Trey McGough, Altoona – McGough has had a solid season out of nowhere really, posting an overall 3.19 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP in 113 innings. His finish to the season was particularly impressive, going six innings with one run and eight strikeouts last week, while coming into the game with 11 shutout innings in his last two games. He’s the only pitching repeat from last week’s article.
  11. Bear Bellomy, Greensboro – Bellomy had two impressive relief outings, piling up 14 strikeouts in six innings of work, while allowing one run. He had 71 strikeouts in 61 innings coming into this week, so it didn’t completely come out of nowhere, but that’s quite a total to finish out the season.
  12. Brad Case, Altoona – I extended the list to 12 spots to add the final two players here because they both had strong weeks and would have made it almost any other week. Notice there’s a lot of Altoona pitchers here, but it should also be noted that four of their starters didn’t come close to making this list. Case made two relief appearances and both went well, with 2.2 shutout innings earlier in the week, then one run on one hit over three innings on Sunday. He finished with a 5.24 ERA in 67 innings, with a 21:57 BB/SO ratio.
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