AFL Recap: Solid Start for Priester in Saguaros Victory

Surprise moved to a 4-1 record with a win on Friday. On Saturday they took on Salt River, a team with an 0-5 record. Quinn Priester made his second start. Blake Sabol was the only Pittsburgh Pirates batter in the lineup. Here’s a recap of the game.

Priester started the opener on Monday and he went three innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits, three walks and three strikeouts. He started this game with a first pitch ground out and a three-pitch strikeout. The next batter grounded out on four pitches, giving Priester a quick first with seven strikes and one ball. He hit 96.1 MPH, after topping out at 94.5 MPH in the opener. He retired the first batter in the second on two pitches, then walked the next guy on four straight balls. Priester then struck out the next batter on a slider looking, then got the third out on a swinging strikeout on the fastball. He topped out at 96.1 MPH again. He threw 17 pitches and eight strikes.

Priester faced the minimum in the third, though a caught stealing after a single helped him out. He picked up a strikeout on a five-pitch at-bat that contained only sliders. He allowed two runs in the fourth on a single and a homer, then gave up another single in the frame. Despite the three hits, he got out of the inning on 15 pitches. Priester’s final frame was eight pitches, getting a strikeout with a curve among the three outs. He finished with five innings, four hits, two runs, one walk and five strikeouts. He threw 61 pitches, with 42 strikes.

Sabol caught this game and batted seventh. He flew out to left field to start the third inning, then threw out a runner attempting to steal in the bottom of the inning. He grounded out in the sixth inning, then singled and scored a run in the eighth. He grounded into a double play in the ninth, leaving him 1-for-4 with a single and a run.

Salt River had a perfect game going through Sabol’s at-bat in the sixth, but the next batter tripled and then the entire game changed from that point on. Surprise won 6-3 to give them the best record in the league (5-1) during the first week of the season.

Here’s the boxscore

Surprise is off tomorrow. They play Monday night at 9:35 PM ET.

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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Davis with a double in his first at bat.


Salt River, where people from Yuma go to vacation.


Ortiz leap frog Priester and Peguero over at Fangraphs!


100% deservingly. Ortiz had one of the better 3 games stretches I’ve seen from a Pirate pitcher. He was mowing down and making MLB hitters look silly.

I’ve seen Priester pitch live 3 times and I’m not impressed


Not buying Ortiz…yet.


And Endy all the way up to 33rd.


Bubba Chandler is not in the same boat. Luis Ortiz literally had a 3 game stretch in The Show where he dominated hitters. Chandler had an ERA and FIP over 4 in Low A.

There’s no reasonable scenario where Chandler is in the same boat. I think you’re off a bit with your risk assessment. Fangraphs has him at medium risk and I tend to agree with that. He does he reliever traits, but we’re talking a lights out reliever When you’re throwing a sinker at 100 mph with all kinds of movement, with a plus slider, that’s one hell of a starter kit.

Is 50 too high? Maybe, but he absolutely deserves to be a top 100 prospect after what he did on the biggest baseball stage on the planet.


Saw the Fangraphs Top 100 and was waiting for your article on it. Keeping Ortiz in A for all of 2021, then AA, AAA, MLB for 29 Starts, 140 IP in 2022 is just not the best method for developing pitchers, but give the kid credit – he wants the ball.

From nowhere to No. 50 of the Top 100 of Fangraphs? We knew his capability when we ponied up that $25,000 in 2017? Great Scouting to sign him, and he is built (6’2″ 205) for handling 25-30 Starts, 150 innings. Let’s hope.


What did the Pirates do wrong with Ortiz?

In 2019 he was pushed to rookie level Princeton. He might have been the lowest profile of the starting pitchers given his age.

There was no season in 2020.

He was the least experienced arm in Low A in 2021 and also one of the best.

And in 2022 he probably had the best arm of any of the MLB starters

Last edited 3 months ago by James_Robert5

Ortiz was listed all year on Altoona roster and this site at 165 pounds, which I assume was his draft weight. First game I saw him pitch you could see he was 220+ and I asked people there if it was same guy. He obviously took well to the academy environment and the scout said when they signed him he didn’t want to leave.


Why leave, stay where the food is!


I agree with everything you wrote, I’ve watched a bunch of starts, to be honest he interested more than Priester, Nicolas, etc. I saw him dominate RH hitters and looked like an ace and then get smashed by lefties, or he just dominated for 3 innings and then was unable to get an out. He seem to get better towards the end of the season, which is what you hope for. The best we could hope for is that he dominates for 6 to 9 start in AAA next year and in the process develop the consistency that eludes him and perhaps a curve or serviceable change to eliminate the splits.


Way, way more upside than Priester.


2021, A Ball, 5-3 3.09 ERA, 19 Starts 87 IP, 11.65/2.89 K/BB/9

2022, AA, 5-9 4.64 ERA, 23 starts, 114 IP, 9.9/2.7 K/BB/9
2022, AAA, 0-0, 3.60 ERA, 2 Starts,10 IP, 10.8/3.6 K/BB/9
2022 MLB, 0-2 4.50 ERA, 4 Starts, 16 IP, 9.56/5.6 K/BB/9.

29 Starts in 2022 over the 2 highest levels of the Minors and MLB with 140 IP averaging a K/IP and VG BB/9 numbers.

These are stats you hope for out of your No.1 or Comp Round Pitcher taken in the Amateur Draft. The Pirates almost broke the bank in 2017 with the $25,000 they had to pay this kid. Great Scouting. Fangraphs has him No. 50 in their Top 100, ahead of all of our other SP Prospects, and ahead of Shane Baz – go figure.

Rob Baran

I like the shape of the Change-Up if he can control it – has a lot of potential as an out pitch IMO. Most def a work in progress. Nice to see real command of the fastball when he’s on. Nice to see his ceiling is way way up in the clouds. And nice to have “Dominant Closer” as a potential fall-back option.

Last edited 3 months ago by Rob Baran
Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Blows my mind lol

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