ALTOONA, PA – Saturday’s contest in Altoona sold out quickly. The chance to see first overall pick Paul Skenes for two innings of work is likely going to bring in a record crowd in Curve, PA.
I’ve asked a lot of long-time members of the Altoona press box the biggest game they recalled at the level. The games that the Pirates have played there are obvious draws, but those aren’t Double-A games. The most common “big game” mentioned has been Stephen Strasburg’s appearance.
Tomorrow, the shoe will be on the other foot. It will be Pirates fans flocking to Altoona to see a generational pitching talent in their own organization.
This will also bring a rare crowd for all of the other minor league players. Some of them have played in front of thousands before — whether in college, or select crowds on select nights in the lower levels. Greensboro, for example, can draw several thousand on a weekend Star Wars night.
That’s all a bit different from Pirates fans driving two hours specifically for baseball purposes. The non-Paul Skenes players on the team will experience an environment closer to the majors than they’ve ever felt. And that’s exactly what they signed up for.
“When you’re professional baseball player, you aspire to play in front of 40,000 people, potentially,” said Altoona manager Callix Crabbe. “I think they’ll all be excited. There’ll be a buzz, I’m sure, in the air. There’ll be high energy. They’ll feed off of it, and I expect nothing but good vibes and good play.”
I’m looking forward to watching Skenes for the first time. However, I’m really interested in seeing how the rest of the roster performs in the same sensory-overload environment.
QUICK PIRATES RECAP
PIRATES (55-68) VS Cubs
Score: Cubs 5, Pirates 4
Pittsburgh Starter: Rob Zastryzny, LHP (5.50)
–Line: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Andre Jackson, RHP (6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 HR)
- Josh Palacios, LF (1-for-5, HR, 2 RBI)
- Connor Joe, RF (2-for-2, 2 BB)
One Sentence Recap: Andre Jackson has been a great low-cost addition, which is some consolation for this loss.
DAILY VIDEO RUNDOWN
I saw Jackson Wolf last night in Altoona. Check out my report in the Prospect Watch. Here’s a look at his third inning.
Jackson Wolf last night for Altoona: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K. Here's a look at his third inning, which included the lone hit and a strikeout. The #Pirates added Wolf in the Rich Hill trade. pic.twitter.com/6yC05noYFZ
— Tim Williams (@TimWilliamsP2) August 25, 2023
DAILY ROSTER MOVES
- The Pirates optioned Yohan Ramirez to Indianapolis to make room for Rob Zastryzny.
AROUND THE SYSTEM
Last night in Altoona, I got my first look at Jackson Wolf. Check out the recap below:
Canaan Smith-Njigba hit two homers for Indianapolis last night in a 10-9 victory.
Matt Fraizer had a big night last night, hitting a triple one inning after making this catch against the wall.
Tres Gonzalez has a five game hitting streak, but more importantly, has just one game this month where he hasn’t reached base, and two games without a hit.
Lonnie White Jr. played small ball yesterday, picking up three walks and stealing two bases.
The rookie levels are both in the playoffs. The FCL Pirates lost their first game, while the DSL Pirates Gold won theirs. Check out all of the daily results in the Prospect Watch.
SONG OF THE DAY
When I get home from this long baseball road trip, I’ll have a pair of Air Jordan 38s waiting on me.
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.