P2Daily: Altoona Rotation’s Early Series Struggles Continue

The last thing any starting pitcher wants to do is get off to a bad start. It puts your team behind, and potentially forces you out the game early and puts added pressure to the bullpen.

Every now and again is fine, but when it consistently happens that becomes a problem.

For Altoona, they’ve had their fair share of strong pitching performances. Quinn Priester was solid all of July, Mike Burrows was outstanding during his time in Altoona. Even Kyle Nicolas and Luis Ortiz had their moments.

Oddly, though, since the start of July it’s been rough sailings for the start during the first game of their week-long series. In those five games, I counted the brief three game set out the All-Star break as well, Curve starters have allowed 22 hits, 15 runs, while walking 10 batters and striking out 16 in 14 1/3 innings.

That’s a 9.41 ERA and 2.23 WHIP in those games. Carmen Mlodzinski pitched in those three games, and with his struggles lately it shouldn’t be too much a surprise. He failed to get out of the first inning once, and logged just a lone frame in another.

Ortiz allowed seven hits and three earned runs back on July 22. Last night, Aaron Shortridge fell victim, allowing four runs while walking five in just 2 2/3 innings. Ironically enough Mlodzinski came out of the bullpen, and allowed just one run in two innings pitched.

Rule 5 Relievers

Speaking of the Altoona bullpen having to pick up slack, they did just that, allowing just one run the rest of the way out. J.C. Flowers struck out five in three one-hit innings to close out the game.

Flowers, Tahnaj Thomas, and Colin Selby are three relievers in particular to watch. The Pirates added some bullpen depth at the major league level at the deadline, but all three of Flowers, Thomas and Selby are eligible for the Rule 5 draft in the off-season (Thomas and Selby for the second time technically). I’d expect all three to pitch in Indianapolis at some point this year and all three are starting to feel like potential options out the bullpen in the majors some time this year.

Thomas made seven scoreless appearances in July, striking out 13 in 10 innings pitched.

The Other Side of Development

A cruel reminder about the two-sides of development, for as good as Dariel Lopez has been this year offensively, Tuesday was a perfect reminder the hesitation some have with him. An odd case, Lopez committed over 30 errors last year but the Low-A Southeast managers voted him the best defensive third baseman.

This year, Lopez has 24 on the season now after committing four on Tuesday. He’s 20-years-old playing in High-A, so there’s plenty of time, but absolutely something to watch.

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Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

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looks like yoshi is gone. huzzah


Is this too good to be true?


It’s Christmas in August.


I’m not one to complain about lack of promotions, but if there were ever a type to push it would be 23/24 yo AA relievers. Big fan of Flowers, Selby, and Samaniego.


I hope we get to see Thomas out of the pen in September to get a better idea on whether he needs to be protected in the Rule 5 Draft. Of course that comes with the risk of losing him before the Rule 5 if we add him to the 40-man only to DFA him to open a spot for someone else. But with his frame, stuff, and progress this year (11:10 K:BB ratio in April and May to a 27:5 K:BB ratio in June and July), I think it’s likely that a team will take a flyer on him if he’s exposed to the draft.


Hes dialed way back on velo right? Not sure if he will be as appealing as when he was hitting 100 but i could be wrong


My big question as well.

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