Prospect Watch: Rough Starting Pitching Around the System; Altoona Explodes on Offense

Prospect Watch is up early today for two early games. Indianapolis starts in the morning. Altoona has an early afternoon start time. Greensboro and Bradenton have night games. I’ll add the links to the boxscores once the games begin.


Prospect Watch: Altoona, Greensboro Break Out the Bats


Season Preview

Box Score: LINK (11:05 AM start time)

Starting Pitcher: Luis Ortiz (0-0, 1.08)

  • Final Line: 4 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO

Notable Performances:

  • Travis Swaggerty 0-for-4
  • Nick Gonzales 1-for-4
  • Tucupita Marcano 0-for-4
  • Malcom Nunez 0-for-4
  • Cal Mitchell 0-for-3
  • Cody Bolton 2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO

Game Recap:

Indianapolis lost 5-1 on Wednesday morning. This game ran through the first three innings quickly, with Luis Ortiz allowing the only runner on a single. He then ran into trouble in the fourth, ending his day with three earned runs over four innings. He allowed three hits, two walks, hit a batter and picked up six strikeouts. He threw 42 of 76 pitches for strikes.

Cody Bolton followed with one run over 2.1 innings on one hit, one walks and one strikeout. Angel Perdomo allowed a run in the seventh. Colin Selby and Yerry De Los Santos each threw shutout ball for an inning.

The offense was very quiet early on. Nick Gonzales singled for the first hit, then Chris Owings and Chavez Young each had a double later in the game. Young also had the team’s only walk. Grant Koch drove in the only run.


Season Preview

Box Score: LINK (12:35 PM)

Starting Pitcher: Kyle Nicolas (0-1, 5.79)

  • Final Line:  3.1 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO

Notable Performances:

  • Lolo Sanchez 1-for-5, HR, 3 Runs, 2 RBI, BB
  • Henry Davis 3-for-6, HR, 3 RBI
  • Liover Peguero 2-for-6, 2B, RBI
  • Mason Martin 3-for-4, 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB
  • Andres Alvarez 1-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, BB
  • Connor Scott 2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI
  • Matt Fraizer 2-for-4, 2B, HR, BB, 2 RBI

Game Recap:

Altoona had a team effort on offense to crush Erie in an early afternoon game. Henry Davis had the biggest hit with a three-run homer in the fifth, but all nine players in the lineup contributed to the win. It was the first homer of the season for Davis, who also had two singles to raise him to a .966 OPS in these very early stages. Seven Altoona players had extra-base hits, including five hitting homers.

Mason Martin had a big day, with two homers, a double and two walks. He didn’t make an out until the final at-bat for the Curve, already up 17-6 at the time. Matt Fraizer had a double and a homer, as well as a walk. Lolo Sanchez and Andres Alvarez also homered. All nine players scored runs and no one drove in more than three runs.

Kyle Nicolas did not have a good day, as he was part of the early scoring for both teams. He was done after 3.1 innings with five runs on eight hits. Travis MacGregor bailed him out by stranding two runners to end the fourth.

MacGregor got the win with 1.2 scoreless. Matt Eckelman tossed two shutout frames. Nick Dombrowski allowed a run in his inning. Tahnaj Thomas worked a scoreless ninth.


Season Preview

Box Score: LINK (6:35 PM)

Starting Pitcher: Po-Yu Chen (NR)

  • Final Line:  3.2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO

Notable Performances:

  • Tsung-Che Cheng 1-for-3, HR, RBI, BB
  • Abrahan Gutierrez 1-for-4
  • Jase Bowen 1-for-4, HR, RBI
  • Hudson Head 1-for-4, 2B, SB
  • Sammy Siani 0-for-3

Game Recap:

Po-Yu Chen had a rough season debut, allowing six earned runs on seven hits and one walk in 3.2 innings. He did a great job of pounding the strike zone, throwing 48 of 66 pitches for strikes, but too many of those pitches got hit hard. Michell Miliano had a terrific relief performance following Chen, going 2.1 scoreless innings on no hits or walks, with five strikeouts. The only runner was a hit batter.

Dante Mendoza threw a scoreless seventh, picking up two strikeouts. Eddy Yean had a walk and a strikeouts in a scoreless eighth. Greensboro lost 6-2

Tsung-Che Cheng homered for the second time this season. He also added a walk. Jase Bowen homered for the first time. Those two homers accounted for the only offense. Hudson Head had his first double of the year. He also had a stolen base and an outfield assist. 

The Grasshoppers had just two at-bats all game with runners in scoring position.


Season Preview

Box Score: LINK (6:30 PM)

Starting Pitcher: Wilber Dotel (NR)

  • Final Line: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO

Notable Performances:

  • Jesus Castillo 1-for-3, RBI, 2 BB
  • Javier Rivas 1-for-5, RBI
  • Jack Brannigan 2-for-5, 3B
  • Braylon Bishop 0-for-4, BB

Game Recap:

Bradenton starter Wilber Dotel started off strong in this game, then ran into trouble in the fourth inning. He finished up with three runs on three hits and three walks in 3.1 innings. He didn’t get any help from Yoldin De La Paz, who let both inherited runners score before he finished out the fourth inning.

Brad Case made his season debut after missing some of Spring Training with a minor setback. He allowed a run on two hits and a hit batter. Owen Kellington followed with one run on one hit and one walk in three innings. He struck out six batters. Elijah Birdsong tossed a scoreless ninth to finish off the 10-5 victory.

Despite the fact that they scored ten runs, the Marauders had just one extra-base hit. That was a Jack Brannigan triple. Their first run scored on an error. Tres Gonzalez and Jesus Castillo each picked up RBI singles in the fourth. A fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly brought home two more runs in the sixth.

Wyatt Hendrie’s bases loaded single in the eighth brought home three runs with the help of a throwing error. Javier Rivas followed with an RBI single. Geovanny Planchart got the last run in on a sacrifice fly.

Brannigan, Planchart and Gonzalez each had two hits.

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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Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I’m very interested to watch more Jesus Castillo. Kid seems to be having 0 issue with Low A pitching.


MLB app now has the MiLB games on it! Getting my first real chance to watch GBO games. So far, probably not the best night to tune in.

Wilbur Miller

Nine-pitch first for Chen. Good way to start the season.


Didn’t last. Guy is an enigma. Seems to have quality stuff, but gets banged around on a regular basis.

Wilbur Miller

Nothing in that inning was hit hard, but the hitters just seemed to have the right approach against him. Put the bat on the ball and loop it somewhere. He really hurt himself, though, when he had the bases loaded, one out and no runs in yet, he hit a guy with an 0-2 count. I think the basic issue is not enough swings and misses.

Last edited 1 month ago by Wilbur Miller

Anyone else wonder if, with Bru going down and Burrows on the shelf, there might be a thought to move Mlodzinski and/or Bolton back to the rotation? Indy starters are only averaging 4 innings a pop, it’s not like they’d be too far behind to work their way into a starters’ load.

Last edited 1 month ago by SBRO
Anthony Murphy

This Altoona game may be over just in time to flip over to the Greensboro game


Altoona blowing up with an 8 run second, Davis not contributing so far. I’ve been so underwhelmed by this guy, not only his injuries, but his terrible numbers so far in AA. It’s early so there’s hope he turns things around soon.


It’s obviously very early but some of these top guys… man it would be nice to see a few with some production here soon.


I know is early, and when I wrote that about Davis I thought about his AA numbers last year as well.


He ended up going 6-3 with a home run! Hurray!


The batted ball profile is what catches my eye.

I don’t know that we’ve seen a more extreme pull hitter come through the system, and he seems to generate a ton of pop ups and rollovers. These low BABIPs may be earned as much as they’re unlucky.

It’s unconventional, and I just don’t know how well this swing is gonna work.


Davis is very pull-heavy. Gonzales struggles with off-speed stuff. Aren’t those things that our college scouts should have picked up on? I’m concerned that our two high college picks in the Cherington era both seem to have flaws that advanced pitchers will be able to exploit.


It’s abundantly clear by now that allure of draft savings skewed perception of quality with Davis and the main risk with Gonzo from Day 1 was always understood to be the fact that his stiffest competition was the little sisters of the poor.

I think I personally would fault the dogma that says college bats are safe more than the scouts for potentially missing on these two.

You’ve gotta go to like the 7th or 8th best college hitter in NickyG’s draft year to find a guy with both health and success so far.

Torkelson, Vaughn, Bleday, Madrigal, Bart of all been recent top college bats who’ve struggled or flat-out busted.

It may be marginally safer than arms, but only fractionally so.

Wilbur Miller

Not to disagree, exactly, but I think it’s less complicated than this. This FO just can’t judge talent. Or develop it.


The simplest explanation is usually the most correct, no argument there.


Ugh… I need some good news. I’ll take anything at this point LOL.


Believe me I share your sentiment. Cherrington honeymoon is over for me. I’m hoping to start seeing some positive signs here soon.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

When Mason is on, it’s beautiful


What does it say that Swaggerty is not playing CF. not the first time either

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Probably cause at this point his only path to Pittsburgh is as a RF replacing a struggling CSN


Thanks for this I was about to ask if his 90 mph offering was a change. The location seemed to be in to lefties, which I don’t think is a good idea.


Literally just about to post this.

Over 20% usage, 70% whiff rate, and zero balls in play!

Wilbur Miller

If he develops a change . . . .

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Needs to, cause one they time up that fastball, bye-bye


Not only that, but to mitigate his lefty problem!

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Indy game is flying. 20 swings and misses combined through 2.5 innings

Last edited 1 month ago by Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)


Ortiz dealing through 3.


somebody should ask if the reduced velo is an intentional tradeoff for improved command.


Jinxed, should’ve been out of the inning….


Results? We don’t care about no stinking results.

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