Tuesday was the Fourth of July, and we saw plenty of offensive fireworks between the four full season teams, as they averaged 7.5 runs each per game.
Lonnie White Jr. made his Bradenton debut, among even more transactions throughout the day and picked up his first hit, as well as a pair of walks and even an outfield assist. It was a little more on the rougher side of things for Yordany De Los Santos, as he struck out three times.
With both of the Dominican teams getting rained out, four of the five teams in the system that did play won, with Altoona being the lone loss.
Indianapolis, Greensboro, and Bradenton all will look to get one step closer to series victories, while Altoona will look to get in the win column this week.
Anthony Murphy: Matt Gorski, OF Altoona (AA)
Tuesday might have been the quintessential game that sums up Matt Gorski as a player. There is no doubting his raw skill set, but he just can’t hit enough to really start making progress in the right direction.
He went down and hit a breaking ball fading away from him to right center for a home run, a brilliant display of power, before hitting another one later on in the game, giving him 12 now on the season.
Gorski might have some of the best raw power in the system, and he was able to flash it in the first inning going the other way.
Defensively, after a ball dropped in front of him in center field he picked it up and fired it to third to throw out the runner trying to advance.
But then he also struck out twice in the game as well.
The skill is there, and he’s cutting back on the strikeouts in his second run at Double-A, but he’s also seen his walk rate drop as well and turns 26 in December.
TIM WILLIAMS: Liover Peguero, SS, Indianapolis (AAA)
A week ago, with an off day on a Tuesday, Liover Peguero drove over to Pittsburgh to take in a game at PNC Park. I haven’t talked with Peguero about this, but I have it on good authority that Peguero moved up closer from his original seat. An usher actually recognized him as a minor leaguer with the organization, and let him through to sit behind the plate. He was videoed reaching into the dugout and talking with Andrew McCutchen before the game, and interviewed by Robby Incmikoski in his new seat during the game. What stood out to me in watching that interview was how he was looking ahead to his future on that field — almost the personification of the childhood dream that we watch play out each night.
This is a player who was hitting .295/.367/.545 during the month of June with the Double-A Altoona Curve, prior to catching a big league game on a day off. He had five home runs in 21 games that month, and his hitting started long before that. I saw him in early May and he looked good, despite getting one hit in three games. That was a home run off a swingman reliever who shut the offense down for the next four innings after the homer. His approach was comfortable, and it has not surprised me that Peguero hasn’t stopped hitting since that home run. That hitting led up to the Pirates game last Tuesday. He returned to Altoona and hit two home runs the very next night. After the two homer night a week ago, he went 1-for-22 with two walks to follow that up in his next five games. The Pirates promoted him to the next level anyway.
The whole situation with Peguero highlights the humanity in this industry. Peguero is 22-years-old. He’s already spent three days in the majors, last year, and played one game. That wouldn’t make him feel like a Major Leaguer, but would give him a glimpse that the majors are only subtly different than Double-A — in a way the individuals control. Despite Peguero being in Double-A, in Pittsburgh he’s recognized as a professional baseball player, only slightly different than the ones on the field. I don’t think that slight difference is understood. Peguero is a similar hitter as Nick Gonzales from a skill standpoint. They’re both fueled by quick hand/eye coordination that allows them to quickly get the bat around and make contact with the most difficult pitches thrown in the world. They can sit back and wait on breaking stuff, while still being aggressive on fastballs in a way that most hitters couldn’t. They have the ability of a dual-attack at the plate, like a pitcher with two strong pitches trying to develop a third for consistency.
Peguero ultimately has the ability to get himself back to Pittsburgh, without buying a ticket for the game or being promoted by an usher. When he gets comfortable with his ability — in a way that Nick Gonzales seems to be doing now, and also in a way that I think is progressing with Cal Mitchell — Peguero will find Miguel Perez telling him he’s been promoted to the next level. Gonzales, Davis, and even Mitchell have shown that the Pirates will give a player a chance when they’re showing positive signs and an opportunity in the majors is available.
WILBUR MILLER: Wilber Dotel, RHP, Bradenton (A)
The Pirates signed Dotel in October 2020. He was not a big bonus guy, but he had good size and some projection. He threw as hard as 95 mph then, but now he’s sometimes up to 97-98 and sits above 94. He throws a lot of sliders and, according to StatCast (which I don’t trust a whole lot) also throws an occasional cutter and curve. The slider doesn’t have a high spin rate, but it gets swings and misses at a decent rate, as do his four-seamer and sinker (again, assuming these are really two different pitches).
When Dotel has trouble, it’s almost always his control. Opponents don’t elevate the ball against him much; in his three seasons so far, his opponents’ slugging average has been .259, .261 and .295. His mechanics don’t seem very consistent, which may account for the control issues as well as the fact that his velocity can vary a lot within each game.
Dotel got very good results in the DSL in 2021 and FCL in 2022. At Bradenton this year, he had a very rough time in his first couple games, then went on the injured list for about six weeks. In his last three outings, though, he’s allowed just two runs and six hits over 14 innings. His last game, against Clearwater, which is by far the FSL’s best hitting team, he had a pretty characteristic outing: five shutout innings, one hit and four walks. Dotel is worth watching and could profile as a late-inning reliever if moving to the bullpen helped him keep his velocity in the upper-90s.
Yesterday’s Top Performers
- Miguel Andujar (AAA): 3-for-5, HR (9), 2B, 5 RBI
- Jack Brannigan (A): 4-for-5, 3 R, RBI, BB, 3 2B
- Matt Gorski (AA): 2-for-5, 2 HR (12), 3 RBI, 2 Run, OF Assist
- Josiah Sightler (A): 3-for-4, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 2B
- Ernie Ordonez (A+): 2-for-3, 2 R, 2 RBI
- Po-Yu Chen (A+): 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
- Jase Bowen (A+): 2-for-4, 2 R, 2B
- Check out yesterday’s full minor league results here.
Daily Video Rundown
Good things come in threes!
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 5, 2023
Nick Gonzales has taken no time in adjusting to major league pitching, showing a very impressive ability to work the count in his favor in order to get a good pitch to hit. He picked up three hits on Tuesday, including two doubles.
— Altoona Curve (@AltoonaCurve) July 4, 2023
This was an impressive piece of hitting by Gorski, who went down and hit the breaking ball where it was thrown to him, and sending it over the right center field fence for a home run. Gorski had himself quite the day, as highlighted above.
Deepest part of the ballpark?
— Indianapolis Indians (@indyindians) July 5, 2023
It might be a shock, but there may be no hitter as hot in the Pirates’ system as Miguel Andujar. He’s on a tear since rejoining Indianapolis, and hit another home run on Tuesday.
Today’s Minor League Results
By John Dreker
INDIANAPOLIS (38-43) VS Memphis
Game Time: 7 pm ET
Indianapolis Starter: Kyle Nicolas (0-1, 12.27 ERA)
–Line: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 1 SO
Final Score: Memphis 4, Indianapolis 1
Player of the Game: Cody Bolton 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO
Kyle Nicolas has had a very rough time since being promoted to Indianapolis. He had fairly average results with Altoona this year, but things have been much worse since then. He actually lowered his ERA by giving up two runs over 1.2 innings. He walked five batters, leading to him throwing 48 pitches in his short outing. He has a 12.08 ERA and a 2.45 WHIP in 12.2 innings over four games.
The bullpen did a solid job of covering the final 7.1 innings. Cody Bolton had 2.2 scoreless. Chase De Jong tossed two shutout frames. Duane Underwood Jr allowed two runs in his one inning.
Indianapolis got their only run on a second inning sacrifice fly by Aaron Shackelford. The Indians had three hits and three walks in the game, with all of the hits being singles.
Miguel Andujar was the only player to reach base twice, collecting a hit and a walk to give him a 1.001 OPS.
Liover Peguero played second base in his first Triple-A game, going 0-for-3 with a walk, run scored and stolen base.
Endy Rodriguez went 0-for-4
Ji-Man Choi went 0-for-3 with a walk.
ALTOONA (36-39) VS Erie
Game Time: 6 pm ET
Altoona Starter: Nick Dombkowski (2-2, 3.73 ERA)
–Line: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO
Final Score: Altoona 7, Erie 6
Player of the Game: Matt Gorski 1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB
Altoona won 7-6 in 11 innings over Erie. Starter Nick Dombkowski began the game with five perfect innings. He allowed two runs in the sixth before being removed. Omar Cruz and Oliver Garcia followed by retiring the next seven batters.
Tyler Samaniego allowed three runs over two innings. Grant Ford got the win in the 11th, after he allowed one run in the top of the inning, which was the free runner in extra innings.
Altoona had some strong games on offense. Matt Gorski hit his 13th homer in the tenth inning to tie the game. He also had two walks, two runs scored and two RBIs. His homer was Altoona’s only extra-base hits.
Tsung-Che Cheng had two hits, a walk and two runs scored, while stealing four bases in four attempts.
Mason Martin had three singles and he drove in two runs.
Matt Fraizer stole his 13th base.
GREENSBORO (38-36) VS Aberdeen
Game Time: 6:30 pm ET
Greensboro Starter: Jaycob Deese (2-1, 4.87 ERA)
–Line: 2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO
Final Score: Aberdeen 16, Greensboro 14
Player of the Game: Will Matthiessen 4-for-5, 2B, HR, 5 RBI
Greensboro trailed 14-5 near the end of this game. A comeback came up just short, as they lost 16-14, with the last out coming in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded.
Will Matthiessen had himself a day. He had four hits, four runs and five RBIs. He hit his eighth double and eighth homer.
Jase Bowen also drove in five runs. He had two hits, including his 16th homer of the season. He has 60 RBIs in 65 games this year.
Francisco Acuna had three hits and three runs in his first game since being promoted to Greensboro.
Eli Wilson and Brendan Dixon each drove in two runs. Ernny Ordonez and Tres Gonzalez each had two hits.
As you can imagine, the pitching was rough. Starter Jaycob Deese and reliever Mitchell Miller each allowed four runs in limited work. Logan Hofmann served up six earned in 1.1 innings.
Valentin Linarez managed to throw two scoreless, before Jack Carey allowed two runs in his 1.1 innings.
BRADENTON (41-34) AT Daytona
Game Time: 6:35 pm ET
Bradenton Starter: Owen Kellington (0-2, 4.57)
–Line: 4 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO
Final Score: Bradenton 8, Daytona 5
Player of the Game: Rodolfo Nolasco 2-for-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB
Bradenton won 8-5 over Daytona on Wednesday night. Owen Kellington got the start. He allowed three runs over four innings, on four hits, two walks and five strikeouts.
Julian Bosnic gave up an unearned run in his two innings. Carlos Lomeli allowed five hits in two innings, yet he kept Daytona off of the board. Owen Sharts gave up a ninth inning run.
The Marauders scored first on a two-run single by Jesus Castillo in the second inning.
Rodolfo Nolasco homered in the third inning to tie the game 3-3.
Jack Brannigan had an RBI double in the fifth, which was followed by a two-run single by Shalin Polanco.
Nolasco hit a two-run homer in the seventh to cap the scoring for Bradenton. He has ten homers on the season. He also stole his eighth base.
Termarr Johnson went 0-for-3 with two walks and a stolen base.
Yordany De Los Santos went 2-for-5 with a run scored in his second game for Bradenton.
Brannigan stole his 17th base. Polanco stole his 16th base. Deivis Nadal stole his 19th base. Omar Alfonzo drew three walks.
Prospect Watch Player Archives
7/4: Esmerlyn Valdez, Joshua Loeschorn, Andres Silvera
7/3: Jared Jones, Derek Diamond, Josiah Sightler
7/2: Endy Rodriguez, Ryan Harbin, Jonathan Rivero
6/30: Owen Kellington, Alika Williams, Jackson Grounds
6/28: Lonnie White Jr., Kelvin Diaz, Yojeiry Osoria
6/25: Quinn Priester, Canaan Smith-Njigba, Jhonson Pena
6/24: Nick Gonzales, Jared Triolo, Adolfo Oviedo
The Prospect Watch runs every day at noon, featuring three players from the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system.