This week is headlined by a division battle between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies Low-A affiliates. In addition, it would be a good week for hitters to catch up in statistical categories.
Indianapolis Indians entered last week two games below .500. They enter this week the same after splitting a six-game series. They take on a Chicago Cubs affiliate that is headlined by 2022 deadline acquisition Ben Brown, who was a 2017 33rd round pick by the Phillies. He began the year in Double-A, but after amassing a 0.45 ERA in 20.0 IP, he moved up to Triple-A, where his ERA has nearly doubled to 0.84 in 10.2 IP. Caleb Kilian is another arm of note, who found himself on the back-end of Top 100 lists at one point, but has dropped drastically since. The team staff has the 12th highest Team ERA, but the offense has the 2nd best Team OPS. On the offensive side of things, the Iowa Cubs roster has a few more prospects who were once thought of as Top 100, but have since fallen: Brennen Davis and Miguel Amaya. Kyle Hendricks is currently on rehab assignment.
Moving on to Double-A, the Altoona Curve now find themselves under .500 after a rough week against Akron, but they are only 1.5 games back from first. They’ll face the last place Bowie Baysox. The Baysox have a poor record, but their roster still packs a punch, even with majority of their top prospects having moved on to Triple-A and the majors. Newly minted (once again) Top 100 prospect Heston Kjerstad headlines the roster. He is the only opposing Top 100 this week per Baseball America and Pipeline. It will be a fun battle of the bats between him and Henry Davis, who both have an OPS above 1.000. Sitting at ninth is Coby Mayo, who is having a fantastic bounce back year. He might find himself back on a Top 100 list at some point, as the Pipeline mid-season update has eight Orioles listed. It will be an interesting match-up, even with Bowie finding themselves near the bottom third among Team OPS and Team ERA.
Greensboro Grasshoppers find themselves in a heated battle for the North Division lead. They will take on the Asheville Tourists, who are at the bottom of the South Division. The Houston Astros affiliate isn’t a flashy roster, as their farm system has taken a hit, but it still carries eight of the Astros Top 30 prospects. The top prospect, per Pipeline, is 2022 2nd round pick Jacob Melton. The beginning of his collegiate career was riddled with injuries, but a big 2022 season pushed him into second round territory. Pipeline says the speedy outfielder has 20-20 potential.
Last but not least is the Florida State League, where the Bradenton Marauders will take on the league leading Clearwater Threshers. The Phillies affiliate boasts nine (seven healthy) of the Phillies Top 30 prospects. The headliner here being 2022 first round pick Justin Crawford, the son of Carl Crawford. Just after Crawford is 2022 third round outfielder Gabriel Rincones Jr. out of Florida Atlantic University. The Threshers currently have the second best Team OPS, and fifth best Team ERA.
Triple-A: Indianapolis Indians
Opponent: IOWA (CUBS)
Team OPS: .859 OPS
Team ERA: 5.00
ERA Rank: 12/20
Player | Position | Pipeline Ranking
- BEN BROWN | RHP | 6
- BRENNEN DAVIS | OF | 7
- ALEXANDER CANARIO (60-Day IL) | OF | 10
- MIGUEL AMAYA | C | 14
- CALEB KILIAN | RHP | 17
- JEREMIAH ESTRADA | RHP | 23
- RILEY THOMPSON | RHP | 27
DOUBLE-A: ALTOONA CURVE
Opponent: BOWIE (ORIOLES)
Team OPS: .687 OPS
Team ERA: 4.20
ERA Rank: 8/12
Player | Position | Pipeline Ranking
- HESTON KJERSTAD | OF | 5
- Pipeline Top 100: #53
- Baseball America Top 100: #96
- COBY MAYO | 3B | 9
- CADE POVICH | LHP | 12
- CESAR PRIETO | INF | 17
- CHAYCE MCDERMOTT | RHP | 18
- JOHN RHODES | OF | 20
HIGH-A: GREENSBORO GRASSHOPPERS
Opponent: ASHEVILLE (ASTROS)
Team OPS: .746 OPS
Team ERA: 6.22
ERA Rank: 12/12
Player | Position | Pipeline Ranking
- JACOB MELTON | OF | 2
- RYAN CLIFFORD | OF | 4
- MIGUEL ULLOLA | RHP | 10
- LOGAN CERNY | OF | 20
- EDINSON BATISTA | RHP | 24
- MICHAEL KNORR | RHP | 25
- MIGUEL PALMA | C/1B | 28
- ZACH DEZENZO | 3B/2B | 29
SINGLE-A: BRADENTON MARAUDERS
Opponent: CLEARWATER (PHILLIES)
Team OPS: .745 OPS
Team ERA: 3.95
ERA Rank: 5/10
Player | Position | Pipeline Ranking
- JUSTIN CRAWFORD | OF | 4
- GABRIEL RINCONES JR. | OF | 7
- ALEX MCFARLANE | RHP | 8
- EMAARION BOYD | OF | 12
- JORDAN VIARS | OF | 13
- MICAH OTTENBREIT (60-Day IL) | RHP | 19
- YHOSWAR GARCIA | OF | 22
- JAYDENN ESTANISTA | RHP | 27
- NIKAU POUAKA-GREGO (60-Day IL) | 2B/3B | 29
Song of the Day
Pirates Prospects Daily
By John Dreker
The Pirates were off yesterday. The minor leagues were off as well. We still had five articles up, including the top performers and a look at the top draft prospects. Here are the links in case you missed anything.
**On Saturday we noted that there is a clear group of five top prospects this year. Three of those players had big games last week. Plenty of video here to watch.
**Henry Davis impresses once again, while pitcher JP Massey has an outstanding start. Here’s the look at the top ten hitters and top ten pitchers for the Pirates last week.
**Mitch Keller gets some recognition from the National League for his great week.
**MLB Pipeline updated their top 100 prospects list on Monday. Three Pirates moved up, one moved down.
**Pirates Prospects Daily: Attacking Strike Zone is Key for Mitch Keller’s Recent Success
Raised in Cranberry Twp, PA, Jeff attended Kent State University and worked in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, before moving to New Orleans in September of 2012. His background is as an Engineering Designer, but he has always had a near unhealthy passion for Pittsburgh sports. Hockey and Baseball are his 1A and 1B, combined with his mathematical background, it's led to Jeff's desire in diving into analytics. Jeff is known as Bucs'N'Pucks in the comments, and began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2022 after contributing so many useful bits of information in the comment section.
It it too soon to be excited about Peguero again? K% down a pretty good bit as well.
They’re starting Delay instead of Hedges today! Hopefully a precursor to a June call up for Endy.
not related, but Shelton said on a radio show today that Oneil is still on crutches. They won’t know about his return to action date until he’s able to put weight on his foot, but they still feel good about that 4 month return to action that was initially provided
Interested to see how Kjerstad does. I remember them drafting him higher than most thought. Then he was out for a good while with myocarditis or some related illness. Hope he has a nice career.
Yep, and Heston was underslotted in order to overslot Coby Mayo in the 4th. Looked like a disaster until like a month ago, lol.
May start half arse following the Orioles and their minors. Interested in how other systems develop. Can’t imagine they have an orioles prospect site as great as this one.
Going to be kind of funny when Kjerstad makes it to the majors before Gonzales, when he missed so much time from multiple reasons, but has been mashing since coming back fully healthy.
Just looked at his stats. He def has been doing well. I don’t mind pulling for the Orioles. Tough division and I feel like they have stunk just as long as the Pirates. And I had a Bill Ripken error card back in the day. Wish I knew where it was.
I still think Davis should be learning to play first base instead of right field but no one listeners to me.😒 I guess they want to take advantage of his arm but first base skills are much more similar to catching than those needed for the outfield, and he could alternate with Endy between the two positions. Whatever.
I say bring him up for his bat and let him perfect his catching in Pittsburgh. Hedges’ bat is a total waste and his arm doesn’t look much better. What’s the point of playing Davis in the outfield if you’re trying to develop his catching skills? I know the argument that pitchers need a veteran catcher and if he struggles behind the plate it might affect his hitting or delay his development yada, yada, but he’ll have to play to get better. He’s a determined and hard working kid so the advancement might hasten his development, and I’d take a few passed balls in exchange for a catcher getting a big hit occasionally.
Just speculating, might be his hips or lack of flexibility in his mid section. It limits your catch radius and ability to stretch. (Might be why he has a 1 knee down catching approach)
Might also be he’s faster and can cover adequate ground in right while his plus plus arm becomes a weapon in right field. Again total speculation.
At least in terms of the 1-knee catching, that’s mostly just become the norm with catchers. I’ll add that JJ Cooper has done some research, and it’s had basically no effect on WP’s or PB’s
It does seem almost every catcher is on one knee.
WE WANT MOAR DINGERZ TOO!!!!
From The Athletic:
Zach Buchanan says that Davis’ bat is probably ready, while his catching defense is still a year away. Says that he could probably come up and play RF in Pgh.
Rob Beer Temple says Michael Kennedy is like an open book on that he’s never had real pitch coaching. Says that his fastball move 18” in the zone. Even my wiffle ball fb didn’t move that much.
He also says that Priester’s fb velocity is down because they’re trying to get spew ration between the two seam and 4 seam. I have NO idea what that means, lol.
Scouts are like Massey and Herrington.
The unrepentant lack of humility in these types continuing to confidently presume hitters are ready straight from AA against the inarguably reality that nearly every one of them fails. Very often followed by developmental regression when inevitably demoted (hey there Jordan Walker and your 60 wRC+).
But other than that…
It’s the same with pitchers. That is why we have the term ‘AAAA’.
We’ll know whether he’s ready for the majors the same way we’ve known with every other hitter . . . like . . . ever. He’ll be in the majors hitting the ball.
The idea that a player reaches some idyllic state where he’s definitively ready for MLB is and always has been a fantasy.
And we also know that in nearly all cases the player that is rushed will little to no upper level experience will fail.
You’re saying we won’t know for sure if we can pay the mortgage by hitting the lottery.
I’m saying we know that saving the money we’d spend on the lottery in order to ensure we can pay the mortgage later has infinitely higher probability of success.
Your first sentence is provably incorrect.
You people are completely delusional, my observation is the most banal, easily proven statement you can make.
It’s the only real way to find out. Assuming, of course, that the Sheltie will play them more than once or twice a week.
Because that worked so well last year.
Actually, it did. While you were yelling and screaming that Cruz wasn’t ready, they stuck with him and it worked out well.
After 2 1/2 months of upper level development!
You are completely full of shit. Just making stuff up.
I was the one calling Cruz’s handling the biggest developmental *success* of the year while the rest of you were butthurt they didn’t roster him opening day.
Their treatment of Cruz is exactly what I’m asking for.
‘Seperation’, not spew ration, lol.
Is spew ration how much room you have in a barf bag before having to pass it to the next spewer?
How much a pitcher spits while delivering a pitch.
Change the chorus to this song and we have officially rode this typo to long. Or not?
I like that one.
Taking the advice of Eddie Harris 😁
That makes much more sense lol I though maybe “spin” ration? whatever that would be as well
Well, gee, I would HOPE it makes more sense. I’d be worried about you if it didn’t. 😂😂🤣
I think it was a BA article the other day that had strong reports on Harrington. He shouldn’t be in FSL.
Now that we’re in full season, it’s looking like the Pirates grabbed a handful of really intriguing arms last draft. Massey and Kennedy as you mention, then even though he’s been primarily late inning reliever, Cy Nielson in Greensboro has looked very interesting.
I can actually see the sense in Harrington being in the FSL . . . for now. He didn’t exactly go to a major program. And I wasn’t all that impressed with him the first two times I saw him. He looked like a college guy who relied on getting low level hitters to chase. Lots of three ball counts.
His last game he was pounding the zone. Def seemed like a step forward. Another game like that and he probably shouldn’t be here any more.
I’m curious whether he can ratchet the velocity up a bit. A friend said he was sitting 95 in camp.
Harrington should be in Greensboro yesterday, honestly kinda expected him to be Greensboro -> Altoona this year
I could see him moving up to take someone like Valentin Linarez’s spot. He’s probably on the Florencio/Florez path of getting his shot at remaining in rotation in Greensboro, but it isn’t panning out so far. Harrington being “held back” probably had more to do with they had a handful of guys whose natural progression was going to Greensboro: Solo, Bubba, Chen, Jimenez (whenever he’s healthy), Linarez, and Ashcraft returning. I imagine we’ll start to see some movement in the coming weeks with FCL set to begin June 5th.
Anyone else ready to see Endy have one of those Endy of 2022 type weeks?
Also, it would be a great week for Termarr Johnson to put up a WOW type performance.
Works for me. By Memorial Day, we’ll be talking about their awesome two weeks of hitting!