Pirates Prospect Watch: Paul Skenes Makes His Pro Debut

Yesterday’s minor league action in the Pittsburgh Pirates system included the debut of top prospect Paul Skenes, plus some power from the lower levels. Check out the full results below.

Player of the Day


Ross went 3-for-5 with two home runs for Greensboro, powering them to an 8-7 victory. The catcher has ten homers this year in his first pro season, after being an undrafted free agent out of Clarendon JC in Texas. The 23-year-old has spent time at second, third, and short this year, but has gotten behind the plate more consistently in the last month.

Ten More to Follow


Roansy Contreras threw three shutout innings in the first game of an Indianapolis double header. He allowed a hit and walked two. Contreras was sent down from Pittsburgh at the start of July. He made a two inning appearance for Bradenton last week.


Ashcraft has been limited to 3-4 inning appearances in his return from Tommy John surgery. Most of those have gone like last night, where he went three shutout innings, allowing one hit, hitting one batter, and striking out three. He has a 2.39 ERA in 52.2 innings this year, with 63 strikeouts and 11 walks.


Bowen has emerged as a sleeper power prospect in the lower levels. After homering last night, he has 21 homers on the season. He hit 14 homers in Single-A over each of the previous two seasons, while seeing his on-base skills improve year-over-year. The 22-year-old was promoted to High-A around this time last year, and could make it to Altoona by the end of the year.


Brannigan was the Pirates’ third round pick last year, and has impressed across both levels of A-ball in his first full pro season. He hit his seventh homer of the year in 61 at-bats for Greensboro last night, and now has a .328/.389/.754 line. In his time with Bradenton, the infielder hit .253/.398/.451. He’s got power, speed (21 steals in 24 attempts), advanced on-base skills, and the ability to play some tough defensive spots on the left side of the infield. Drafted out of Notre Dame, Brannigan will be a guy to follow when he eventually moves up to Double-A.


Chandler was on fire heading into his latest start, combining for one earned run in 22.2 innings of work. That ended on Thursday night, when he allowed two earned runs in three innings of work. He allowed three walks, which is the worst control he’s shown since July 18th. Last night wasn’t a horrible start, but it did end a dominant stretch for Chandler. This is more about acknowledging that stretch, rather than focusing on this game. I think we’ll see more of the lights out pitching from Chandler going forward. That’s almost a reverse from earlier in the season, where a start like this was the norm, and a start like his last four was the exception.


Technically, this will be White’s first full month at a single level in his pro career. That’s assuming he doesn’t hit his way out of Bradenton. The 2021 64th overall pick has a .361/.477/.833 line in 36 at-bats, with six doubles, a triple, and three homers. He added three more hits, including another double, in last night’s game.


Planchart is more of a defensive catcher, picking up hits in two of six games this month. When he’s hitting, it’s strong. Last night he went 2-for-4 with his third homer of the year. Last week, he added two doubles in a two hit game. His previous offensive game before that was another two hit game with two doubles. He’s 6-for-26 in this mini stretch since June 29th, with four doubles and a homer.


Alfonzo is a catcher who has been getting time at first base in Bradenton. He’s shown some power the last three days, adding his second and third homers of the year. Last night he went 1-for-4 with a homer and two walks. Alfonzo only has 99 at-bats this year, mostly working off the bench in A-ball.


Toledo has been a consistent hitter in the FCL, picking up four hits in yesterday’s game. He’s got a .337/.455/.528 line in 89 at-bats, with two homers on the season, and more walks (20) than strikeouts (16).


The 2023 first overall pick made his pro debut on Thursday afternoon, pitching a scoreless inning with a strikeout. The strikeout came against 2023 first rounder Walker Jenkins. Skenes was reportedly hitting his normal upper 90s and triple-digits in his single inning, getting as high as 101.

Thursday’s Home Runs

  • Shawn Ross, C, Greensboro x2 (10)
  • Jase Bowen, 1B, Greensboro (21)
  • Jack Brannigan, SS, Greensboro (7)
  • Geovanny Planchart, C, Bradenton (3)
  • Omar Alfonzo, 1B, Bradenton (3)
  • John Zorilla, SS, DSL Pirates Gold (2)
  • Richard Ramirez, C, DSL Pirates Gold (3)

Thursday’s Minor League Results

INDIANAPOLIS (50-59) VS Nashville

Game One Score: Nashville 8, Indianapolis 0
Indianapolis Starter: Roansy Contreras, RHP (0.00)
–Line: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Ji Hwan Bae, CF (1-for-3, BB, 2B)
Attendance: 6,705

Notable Performers

  • John O’Reilly, RHP (2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K)
  • Rob Zastryzny, LHP (2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K)

Score: Nashville 7, Indianapolis 1
Indianapolis Starter: Jared Jones, RHP (5.44)
–Line: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 1 HR
Player of the Game: Mason Martin, 1B (1-for-3, 2B)
Attendance: 6,705

Notable Performers

  • Duane Underwood Jr., RHP (2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K)
  • Hunter Stratton, RHP (2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K)

ALTOONA (49-53) VS Erie

Score: Erie 2, Altoona 0
Altoona Starter: Braxton Ashcraft, RHP (1.35)
–Line: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Ashcraft
Attendance: 3,623

Notable Performers

  • Omar Cruz, LHP (2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K)
  • Michell Miliano, RHP (3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR)

GREENSBORO (55-47) AT Greenville

Score: Greensboro 8, Greenville 7
Greensboro Starter: Bubba Chandler, RHP (5.11)
–Line: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Shawn Ross, C (3-for-5, 2 HR [10], 3 RBI)
Attendance: 5,346

Notable Performers

  • Tres Gonzales, CF (3-for-5, BB)
  • Jack Brannigan, SS (1-for-4, BB, HR [7], 3 RBI)
  • Jase Bowen, 1B (1-for-5, HR [21])

BRADENTON (60-44) AT Fort Myers

Score: Brandon 15, Fort Myers 8
Bradenton Starter: Dominic Perachi, LHP (4.46)
–Line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR
Player of the Game: Geovanny Planchart, C (2-for-4, HR [3], 4 RBI, BB)
Attendance: 929

Notable Performers

  • Lonnie White Jr., CF (3-for-4, 2B, BB, 2 RBI, SB)
  • Omar Alfonzo, 1B (1-for-4, 2 BB, HR [3], 2 RBI)
  • Jorge Ramos, RHP (2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K)

FCL PIRATES (28-18) VS FCL Twins

Score: Twins 4, Pirates 2
FCL Pirates Starter: Paul Skenes, RHP (0.00)
–Line: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Jeral Toledo, 2B (4-for-5)

Notable Performers

  • Keneth Quintanilla, RHP (3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K)
  • Enmanuel De Los Santos, RHP (2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K)

DSL PIRATES BLACK (15-27) VS DSL Mets Orange

Score: Mets 15, Pirates 7
Pirates Black Starter: Carlos Mateo, RHP (17.47)
–Line: 0.0 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Samuel Escudero, 1B (2-for-4, 2B, RBI)

DSL PIRATES GOLD (32-12) VS DSL Royals Blue

Score: Pirates 5, Royals 0
Pirates Gold Starter: Carlos Castillo, RHP (1.74)
–Line: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: John Zorilla, SS (1-for-2, HR[2], BB)

Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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