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Pirates Prospect Watch: Indianapolis is Regaining Depth For Pittsburgh

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As I mentioned in last week’s recap, we’re entering the time of the season where the most consistent performers should start getting moved up. That has already started taking place, with Braxton Ashcraft making his Triple-A debut this past week.

Indianapolis has a few depth options who stood out this week, after the Pirates made some moves to add to the group. The pitching in Altoona and Bradenton excelled, while the hitting in Greensboro saw the best power results of the week.

Below are the top performers in the Pittsburgh Pirates system from 6/11-6/17.

INDIANAPOLIS

TOP HITTERS

  • Joshua Palacios, OF – .316/.381/.526, 1 HR, 21 PA
  • Matt Gorski, OF – .235/.316/.647, 2 HR, 19 PA
  • Andres Alvarez, INF – .400/.550/.400, 20 PA

Joshua Palacios returned for his first full week at Triple-A since early April. In five games played, he hit .316, with a double and a home run. He had three multi-hit games. If the Pirates need outfield help in the majors, Palacios could be a depth option off the bench. Matt Gorski continues hitting for power, adding two homers this week for 13 on the season. Gorski wasn’t hitting for average, and will likely need to maintain well-rounded consistency at the plate before being an option for the majors. Andres Alvarez had six hits and four walks for a high on-base week.

TOP PITCHERS

  • Braxton Ashcraft, RHP – 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
  • Jake Woodford, RHP – 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K
  • Isaac Mattson, RHP – 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K

Braxton Ashcraft made his Triple-A debut, allowing one run on three hits, while preventing walks. He’s the top rotation depth option in Triple-A for the Pirates, in terms of talent. Jake Woodford was just added to the system, and made a good debut this week. He would likely be the best depth option if the Pirates want a short-term guy, while allowing Ashcraft to further develop. Isaac Mattson has been performing well out of the bullpen, and showed improved control this past week.

ALTOONA

TOP HITTERS

  • Kervin Pichardo, INF – .333/.429/.444, 18 PA
  • Yoyner Fajardo, OF – .333/.381/.389, 21 PA
  • Sammy Siani, OF – .211/.250/.474, 19 PA

Altoona didn’t have a great offensive week, with two of their top hitters below an .800 OPS. Kervin Pichardo had the best week, with an OBP-fueled stat line in 18 plate appearances. Yoyner Fajardo was recently reacquired, after going to the Twins last year in the Rule 5 draft. Fajardo did well in Double-A last year, but was struggling in Triple-A. He’s been hitting well since returning to Double-A with the Pirates, batting .323/.371/.355 in 35 plate appearances since returning. Sammy Siani hit a double and two triples this past week.

TOP PITCHERS

  • Thomas Harrington, RHP – 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K
  • Eddy Yean, RHP – 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K
  • Drake Fellows, RHP – 5.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K

Thomas Harrington had one of the best starts in the system this week, throwing five shutout innings with just one hit allowed. Drake Fellows returned to Double-A, after struggling in a brief appearance in Triple-A. He continues pitching well in Altoona, after missing a lot of time with injuries the last several years. Eddy Yean has been pitching great out of the Altoona bullpen, and had two extended scoreless appearances this week.

GREENSBORO

TOP HITTERS

  • Shawn Ross, C – .462/.650/1.385, 4 HR, 20 PA
  • Charles McAdoo, 3B – .440/.533/.800, 1 HR, 30 PA
  • Nick Cimillo, 1B – .333/.474/.733, 2 HR, 19 PA

Shawn Ross brought the power this week for Greensboro, hitting four home runs to give him 12 homers on the season. Ross hit 14 homers last year in 216 plate appearances at the level, after signing as an undrafted free agent. This year he’s getting on base more, with more power in 157 plate appearances. He’s not hitting for average, batting .192. Nick Cimillo hit two homers, giving him ten on the season. He also was in High-A last year, and has greatly improved his numbers this time around. Cimillo is batting .318/.411/.618 in 130 plate appearances, and looks like a promotion candidate to Double-A. The most deserving of a promotion is Charles McAdoo. After another week as one of the leading hitters in Greensboro, McAdoo is batting .344/.423/.576 in 246 plate appearances at the level, with nine home runs.

TOP PITCHERS

  • Wilber Dotel, RHP – 5.1 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K
  • Patrick Reilly, RHP – 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K
  • Elijah Birdsong, RHP – 3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K

Wilber Dotel had one of his best starts in over a month. He still struggled with control, but managed to allow one run in 5.1 innings. Patrick Reilly also worked through control issues to hold opponents to one run in 4.1 innings of work. Reliever Elijah Birdsong pitched 3.1 scoreless innings across two appearances.

BRADENTON

TOP HITTERS

  • Keiner Delgado, INF – .375/.546/.625, 22 PA
  • Javier Rivas, 3B – .389/.476/.611, 1 HR, 22 PA
  • Omar Alfonzo, C – .350/.435/.650, 2 HR, 23 PA

Omar Alfonzo has been the most consistent hard hitter in Single-A for the Pirates, adding his third and fourth homers this week. He’s batting .258/.382/.390 in 220 plate appearances in Single-A this year, which is slightly lower than his numbers at the level last year. Javier Rivas doesn’t have the season numbers to show for it, but he also hits the ball hard in a consistent way. Rivas turned that into hits this past week. Keiner Delgado, acquired earlier this year for JT Brubaker, reached base over 50% of the time this week.

TOP PITCHERS

  • Khristian Curtis, RHP – 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K
  • Antwone Kelly, RHP – 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
  • Carlson Reed, RHP – 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K

Bradenton had some of the best pitching this week. Khristian Curtis had the best start of his pro career, throwing six shutout innings with nine strikeouts. Curtis has a 4.01 ERA in 49.1 innings, with 53 strikeouts and 27 walks. Carlson Reed also had one of his best starts, striking out eight in five shutout innings. He’s got a 1.99 ERA in 49.2 innings, with 64 strikeouts and 28 walks. Antwone Kelly continues pitching with improved control and electric stuff, allowing two runs, one earned, while striking out eight in six innings. Kelly has a 2.34 ERA in 34.2 innings since the start of May, with a 38:13 K/BB. He’s got 15 strikeouts and two walks in 11.2 innings over his two starts this month, continuing his improvement.

FCL PIRATES

TOP HITTERS

  • Yordany De Los Santos, SS – .385/.429/.539, 14 PA
  • Miguel Sosa, OF – .462/.462/.462, 13 PA
  • Carlos Caro, 2B – .400/.500/.600, 12 PA

Yordany De Los Santos has been the best hitter at this level this year. He was sent to Single-A last year, where he struggled at the plate before being sent to the FCL. He’s hitting better in the FCL this year, and is looking like a candidate for another chance in Single-A. Miguel Sosa and Carlos Caro had high on-base ability in a week with limited playing time.

TOP PITCHERS

  • Zander Mueth, RHP – 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K
  • Carlos Mateo, RHP – 3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 6 K
  • Carlos Castillo, RHP – 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K

Zander Mueth had his best pro start after being drafted in Competitive Round B last year out of high school. The 19-year-old has a 2.38 ERA in 22.2 innings of work, striking out 25 and walking 15. Carlos Mateo is making his jump to the US this year, in his second pro season. The 18-year-old has a 9.45 ERA in 13.1 innings, with his best start happening this week. Carlos Castillo is another 18-year-old making the jump to the US in his second season. He has a 2.86 ERA in 22 innings, with 19 strikeouts and 11 walks.

DSL PIRATES

TOP HITTERS

  • Isaias Dipre, OF – .417/.579/1.167, 3 HR, 19 PA
  • Cristian Jauregui, OF – .444/.688/.444, 16 PA
  • Angel Rodriguez, OF – .357/.471/.643, HR, 18 PA

Dipre is in his third season in the DSL since 2021. He missed all of last year. This year he’s shown his best power of his pro career, hitting four homers, including three over the last week. Dipre hit three homers in 271 plate appearances in his previous DSL time. He has four in 38 plate appearances this year. Cristian Jauregui has been one of the best hitters at the level so far this year, batting .296/.513/.407. Angel Rodriguez hit his first homer of the season this week in his third year in the DSL.

TOP PITCHERS

  • Jonawel Valdez, RHP – 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K
  • Janderson Linares, LHP – 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
  • Brandison Polanco, RHP – 3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K

Janderson Linares is in his second season in the DSL. He had a 4.60 ERA in 29.1 innings last year, but has started with an 0.96 ERA in 9.1 innings this year. Jonawel Valdez is also doing better in his second season. He had a 5.56 ERA in 34 innings last year, and has thrown eight shutout innings in his first two starts this year, striking out 16 and walking two. Brandison Polanco is in his third season at the level, with 7.2 shutout innings in his first four appearances.

MONDAY ROOKIE BALL RECAP

The FCL Pirates lost 5-2.

Mike Burrows started his rehab work, pitching 1.1 innings and allowing three runs on a hit and two walks. Burrows is returning from Tommy John surgery last year. Aaron Shortridge also began his rehab after an injury during Spring Training. He threw two shutout innings, allowing one hit, no walks, and striking out four.

Carlos Castillo pitched three shutout innings in relief, allowing one hit, one walk, and striking out three. David Matoma pitched the final two innings, allowing one run on three hits, with no walks and two strikeouts. Carlos Caro went 3-for-4 with a triple and two stolen bases at the plate.

The DSL Pirates Black won 6-1.

Janderson Linarez pitched four innings, allowing one run. This is the second DSL season for Linarez, who signed out of Venezuela last January. He has an 0.96 ERA in 9.1 innings this year, after a 4.60 ERA in 29.1 innings in his debut last year. The offense stole six bases in nine attempts, while picking up twice as many walks (8) as hits (4).

The DSL Pirates Gold won 8-7 in 11 innings.

Isaias Dipre hit his fourth homer of the year, also picking up a single and a walk on the day. This was the third homer of the week for Dipre, who is in his third season in the DSL.

TUESDAY’S SCHEDULE

  • Triple-A: Indianapolis, 7:05 PM – RHP Domingo German (0-4, 6.93)
  • Double-A: Altoona, 6:35 PM – RHP Po-Yu Chen (1-5, 4.81)
  • High-A: Greensboro, 6:30 PM – RHP Patrick Reilly (2-4, 4.26)
  • Single-A: Bradenton, 5:30 PM – RHP Antwone Kelly (1-5, 4.25)
  • Rookie: FCL Pirates, 6:05 PM – TBD
  • Rookie: DSL Pirates Black, 11:00 AM – TBD
  • Rookie: DSL Pirates Gold, 11:00 AM – TBD
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Tim Williams
Tim Williams
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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