Pirates Prospect Watch: Po-Yu Chen and The Greensboro Power Bats

I’m in Greensboro this week, covering the Pittsburgh Pirates’ High-A affiliate. You can expect the daily Prospect Watch to be heavy on reports from these games. Yesterday’s action in Greensboro featured Po-Yu Chen on the mound, plus home runs from three hitters. Elsewhere in the system, Roansy Contreras had a good start, Paul Skenes made his second appearance, and the Bradenton offense was on fire.

Player of the Day


Chen only pitched three innings last night, throwing 72 pitches. About half of those came in the first inning, which was extended after an error by Termarr Johnson. Chen walked his first batter, struck out the second, and got a double play grounder right up the middle. Johnson didn’t field the ball, allowing it to go under his glove as he charged it, putting two runners on with one out.

What I liked about Chen was what came after this. He had a wild pitch that moved the runners to scoring position, but largely pitched around cleanup hitter Willy Vasquez. The only pitches Vasquez could hit were low breaking pitches that dropped out of the zone for balls. Vasquez didn’t offer at those, and walked to load the bases. Chen walked three, but this one seemed more strategic, especially once first base came open. Chen got a sac fly to center field, with a great move by Jase Bowen to get the throw to the infield quickly after the catch.

Bowen looks to the plate as he catches the ball, simultaneously moving into position to throw to the plate with a runner at third. Photo: Tim Williams / PiratesProspects.com
Bowen got the throw to the plate almost immediately, preventing the runner from going. Photo: Tim Williams / PiratesProspects.com

Chen ended the first with a strikeout, recording five on the day. He was 88-91 MPH with his fastball, but mostly works backwards, filling up the zone, and doing a great job of changing speeds and locations. His curve is mid-to-upper 70s, the slider is low-80s, and his split changeup is his best offering, working mid-to-upper 80s.

Ten More to Follow


Roansy Contreras pitched four innings last night, allowing one run on one hit and two walks, while striking out five. The right-hander has now made two starts for Indianapolis, combining for one run on two hits and four walks in seven innings, with seven strikeouts.


Gonzales had a good night at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a walk and his 16th double with Indianapolis. Gonzales is batting .286/.444/.357 in 28 at-bats during the month of August. More importantly, he has a 16.7% strikeout rate and 19.4% walk rate since going back down to the minors. This is a great early progression from the hitter he was in Triple-A earlier this season, with a 28.6% strikeout rate and a 13.4% walk rate to go with a .257/.370/.450 line. Gonzales took those strikeout issues to the majors in a detrimental way.


The Pirates recently signed Joe Perez, a 24-year-old who can play third base and the outfield. He was assigned to Double-A, after previously batting .255/.328/.399 with ten homers in Triple-A this year. He went 4-for-5 with a homer last night for Altoona.


In his latest start for Altoona, Sullivan pitched 5.1 innings, allowing two runs on four hits, with two walks and five strikeouts. The 2021 8th round pick has a 4.07 ERA in 86.1 innings this year, elevating his numbers with a 2.08 ERA in 17.1 innings this month across three starts.


I don’t want to make a lot about Brannigan’s home run, because it looked like a foul ball. Instead, I’m going to point out what I liked about the infielder’s approach at the plate. He starts with an open stance, still, bat over the shoulder. He goes into a rhythm with his bat waggle as the pitcher gets set. He’s got a leg kick for timing as the pitcher delivers. At the end of the day, he crushed a pitch for what was ruled his ninth homer at the level. Brannigan also looked sharp in the field on two line drives, which he quickly followed up with a double play.


Sightler hit his fifth homer of the year for Greensboro last night in the first inning. The 6′ 3″ first baseman starts with a tall stance from the left side, then dips into his legs as the pitcher is delivering. The dip allowed him to get in position to lift this pitch last night way out of the park.

Josiah Sightler hits his fifth homer of the year for Greensboro. Photo: Tim Williams / PiratesProspects.com


Termarr Johnson has an interesting swing. He’s got a kind of crouched, open stance, with his head tucked in front of a high hand position over his left shoulder. When he swings, it is with authority, as seen by his home run last night, his third in the last three games. Johnson did have some issues in the field, with two balls going under his glove, including one that extended the first inning for Chen as he and Jack Brannigan got mixed up over the middle.


Linarez threw three innings for Greensboro last night, allowing no hits, one walk, and striking out six. He was throwing mostly 95-96 MPH with his fastball, working on a steep downward plane from his 6′ 5″ frame. He paired that with a slider that was 84-85 MPH, throwing the pitch to both right-handers and lefties. Linarez featured a 90 MPH changeup for the lefties. He’s dealt with control problems this year, but when his control is on like last night, he can shut down a lineup.


Skenes made his second appearance with the Pirates, throwing a single inning for the Bradenton Marauders. He walked one and struck out two, while getting his final out in a rundown that he played a big role in. His fastball was mostly 98-99, hitting 100 once, with a lot of good mid-80s sliders.


McAdoo was one of the best hitters in the lower levels last week, and it doesn’t look like he’s stopping this week. Playing left field, the 2023 13th rounder went 2-for-5 with his third homer of the year, and five RBIs. McAdoo was drafted out of the college ranks, so he’s currently playing below his level as he adjusts to pro ball.

Tuesday’s Home Runs

  • Joe Perez, RF, Altoona (1)
  • Jack Brannigan, SS, Greensboro (9)
  • Josiah Sightler, 1B, Greensboro (5)
  • Termarr Johnson, 2B, Greensboro (3)
  • Deivis Nadal, CF, Bradenton (7)
  • Charles McAdoo, LF, Bradenton (3)
  • Carlson Caro, 2B, DSL Pirates Gold (5)
  • Eduardo Oviedo, CF, DSL Pirates Gold (5)

Tuesday’s Minor League Results

INDIANAPOLIS (53-60) AT St. Paul

Score: Indianapolis 8, St. Paul 5
Indianapolis Starter: Roansy Contreras, RHP (1.29)
–Line: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Nick Gonzales, 2B (3-for-5, 2B, BB, 2 RBI)
Attendance: 7,262

Notable Performers

  • Ji Hwan Bae, CF (3-for-5, BB, 2B)
  • Miguel Andujar, RF (2-for-4, BB, 3 RBI)
  • Canaan Smith-Njigba, LF (3-for-5, 2 RBI)
  • Mason Martin, 1B (2-for-4, 2B, BB)

ALTOONA (51-55) AT Bowie

Score: Altoona 8, Bowie 4
Altoona Starter: Sean Sullivan, RHP (4.07)
–Line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Joe Perez, RF (4-for-5, 2B, HR [1], 2 RBI)
Attendance: 1,566

Notable Performers

  • Noe Toribio, RHP (2.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 0 HR)
  • Tsung-Che Cheng, SS (2-for-3, SB, 2 RBI)

GREENSBORO (57-49) VS Bowling Green

Score: Greensboro 5, Bowling Green 1
Greensboro Starter: Po-Yu Chen, RHP (3.71)
–Line: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Jack Brannigan, SS (2-for-4, HR [9])
Attendance: 4,119

Notable Performers

  • Valentin Linarez, RHP (3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 0 HR)
  • Tres Gonzales, RF (2-for-3, BB)
  • Josiah Sightler, 1B (1-for-4, HR [5])
  • Termarr Johnson, 2B (2-for-4, HR [3])

BRADENTON (62-46) VS Lakeland

Score: Bradenton 14, Lakeland 13
Bradenton Starter: Paul Skenes, RHP (0.00)
–Line: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Charles McAdoo, LF (2-for-5, HR [3], 5 RBI)
Attendance: 1,617

Notable Performers

  • Deivis Nadal, CF (2-for-5, HR [7], 4 RBI)
  • Mitch Jebb, 2B (2-for-5, 2B, 3B)

FCL PIRATES (29-21) VS FCL Red Sox

Score: Red Sox 3, Pirates 2
FCL Pirates Starter: Michael Kennedy, LHP (2.13)
–Line: 4.2 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Kennedy

Notable Performers

  • Javier Rivas, SS (1-for-3)


Game One Score: Pirates 2, Cubs 1
Pirates Black Starter: Dariel Francia, RHP (3.34)
–Line: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Francia

Game Two Score: Pirates 7, Cubs 3
Pirates Black Starter: Janderson Linares, LHP (4.60)
–Line: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Cristian Jauregui, CF (1-for-3, BB)

DSL PIRATES GOLD (37-12) VS DSL Tigers 2

Score: Pirates 11, Tigers 9
Pirates Gold Starter: Pitterson Rosa, RHP (6.21)
–Line: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Carlos Caro, 2B (1-for-2, 2 BB, HR [5])

+ posts

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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Priester needs to go to the Chen school of pitching.


I; glad to see Nick Gonzales doing better. I think after his first week in Pittsburgh, he started worrying about strike outs, therefore he quit walking and quit hitting the ball hard. He was a wreck and hopefully he starts hitting the ball hard again.
Here are some current strike-out percentages for guys time in the majors for the Pirates.
Peguero(35%), Suwinski(34%), A Williams(31%), Triolo(31%), Rivas(30%), E Rodriguez(29%), Castro(28%), N Gonzales(28%),Joe(27%),H Davis(22%),McCutchen(22%), Reynolds(20%), Hayes(20%), Palacios(16%), Andujar(15%).


Until Cruz gets back, he should be with the Pirates playing second with Peguero at short. He will never get another chance if not for now. Alika Williams has no pop. They act like he’s Ozzie Smith out there.


Not to beat a dead horse, but I feel the same with Andujar in right and Henry Davis catching.


I try to curb my enthusiasm until players succeed at at least the AA level, but there’s a lot of players to keep an eye on in Greensboro at the moment.

I also think Joe Perez could be a sneaky good pickup. Battled through injuries and is still somewhat young. The door at 1st is wide open for someone like him or Sightler to take over long term.


I didn’t realize Joe Perez was a second round pick by the Astros back in 2017 as a hitter. Last year MLB listed him as their #9 prospect. I guess he was a pitcher in high school that threw 98 mph before his shoulder surgery. He is rated above average at power. So at age 24, I like your prediction as him being a sleeper.


How capable is Termarr at 2B. I know defense isn’t his calling card. Just read Kiley’s top 50 prospect lists, and he has Termarr at 29 due to the bat, but commented that his defense is fringe even at 2B and he’s a below average runner (which we knew). Carrying a dynamic power bat at 2B is enough to add tremendous value, but is the guy going to be a liability defensively? If we run out a future middle infield of Cruz and Termarr how much defense are sacrificing up the middle? It still might be more than worth it to get the offense, its just a little concerning


Interesting that Skenes pitches from different ends of rubber to LH or RH batters


He pitches from the side to face the batter, some pitch from the side to be behind the batter. Any comparisons?


Off subject
Maybe I’ve overlooked an article, have you done one in why the Pirates didn’t spend their draft pool allotment, it go over 5 % as they have done in the past.


I’m a Gamecock openly rooting for Sightler to be The Answer at 1B.

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