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Pirates Prospect Watch: Khristian Curtis Strikes Out Nine in Six Shutout Innings

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Khristian Curtis had the best start of his professional career on Saturday, leading the Bradenton Marauders to a 4-1 win. Curtis pitched six shutout innings, allowing three hits and one walk. He struck out nine batters, tying his career best that was previously set on May 25th this year.

The Pirates drafted Curtis in the 12th round last year out of Arizona State. He doesn’t have a lot of experience on the mound, despite entering pro ball from the college ranks. The Pirates gave him an over-slot bonus to develop in their system. While Curtis doesn’t have a lot of experience, he does have a good mix of pitches.

Curtis used all six of his pitches on Saturday, led by a slider that sat mid-80s, with nine whiffs on 14 swings. His four-seam fastball averaged 95.4 MPH, touching 96.4, and had three whiffs plus five called strikes for a 35% CSW. His curveball was thrown 11 times, with five whiffs on eight swings, and three more called strikes. The upper 78s pitch was very effective on this day. Curtis also threw a changeup seven times, a sinker six times, and a cutter twice.

Control has been the biggest issue for Curtis. His one walk in this start made this one of his best outcomes in the control department. Curtis is good enough to get results even with the walks. Last time out, he walked three in five innings, but only allowed one run, due to limiting hits. Saturday showed how good he can be when he’s pounding the strike zone.

Curtis has a 4.01 ERA in 49.1 innings this year in his pro debut. He’s struck out 53, while walking 27. He has a .215 batting average against, limiting the impact of the walks.

TRIPLE-A: INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS

INDIANAPOLIS won 6-2

  • SS Andres Alvarez: 4-for-4, BB, 2 RBI, SB
  • LF Joshua Palacios: 2-for-5, 2B, HR
  • CF Matt Gorski: 2-for-4, 2B, HR
  • RHP Luis Cessa: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
  • RHP Isaac Mattson: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K

Joshua Palacios hit his first home run in Triple-A this year, along with his second double. Palacios has spent most of the year rehabbing in the lower levels. Matt Gorski hit his tenth double and 13th home run. Luis Cessa made his debut in the system, after the 32-year-old signed with the Pirates earlier this week. Isaac Mattson followed with four scoreless innings, having one of his best control results of the year.

STATCAST HEROES

Mattson averaged 93.8 MPH on his fastball, touching 97. He had eight whiffs on the pitch against 24 swings, with seven more called strikes for a 41% CSW. Cessa worked led with a slider and a changeup that both sat around 30% CSW, due to his ability to throw the pitches for strikes.

DOUBLE-A: ALTOONA CURVE

ALTOONA won 11-8

  • RHP Bubba Chandler: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HR
  • CF Jase Bowen: 1-for-5, HR, 2 RBI
  • 3B Brennan Dixon: 2-for-5, HR, 4 RBI
  • 2B Kervin Pichardo: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI
  • C Carter Bins: 2-for-4, BB, SB

Brennan Dixon hit a three run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to walk off the win for Altoona. Earlier in the game, Jase Bowen hit his third homer to give Altoona a 3-1 lead at the time. Bubba Chandler allowed one run through three innings, but ran into issues in the fourth, allowing four runs. Carter Bins is the latest Pirates prospect to steal home on a double steal, with Yoyner Fajardo taking second on the front end. Fajardo also had the game tying RBI in the ninth inning on a 2-for-5 day.

HIGH-A: GREENSBORO GRASSHOPPERS

GREENSBORO lost 6-3

  • RHP Derek Diamond: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
  • 2B Termarr Johnson: 1-for-3, SB
  • SS Mitch Jebb: 1-for-4, 3B
  • 1B Nick Cimillo: 1-for-3, BB, RBI
  • LF P.J. Hilson: 1-for-4

Termarr Johnson has reached base safely in every game during the month of June. He has hits in ten of 12 games, and is batting .286/.426/.452 with two homers and four stolen bases. His steal on Saturday gave him ten on the season. Mitch Jebb hit his second triple of the season. Charles McAdoo went 0-for-2 with two walks, snapping his ten game hitting streak.

SINGLE-A: BRADENTON MARAUDERS

BRADENTON won 4-1, led by the six shutout innings from Khristian Curtis

  • C Omar Alfonzo: 2-for-4, HR, BB
  • DH Esmerlyn Valdez: 1-for-5, HR, 2 RBI
  • 3B Javier Rivas: 3-for-4
  • 1B Eddy Rodriguez: 1-for-3, 2B, 2 BB
  • CF Shalin Polanco: 1-for-5, 2B

Omar Alfonzo hit his fourth homer of the year, giving Bradenton a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Esmerlyn Valdez hit his eighth of the year in the eighth inning, a two run shot that led to a three run inning. He also struck out four times on a night when Bradenton combined for 16 strikeouts.

STATCAST HEROES

The home run from Valdez didn’t have a distance, but was hit at 109.4 MPH. Alfonzo’s homer was hit 96.4 MPH, traveling 360 feet. He also had a single at 104.9 MPH and a forceout at 99.1 MPH.

ROOKIE: FCL PIRATES

FCL PIRATES were suspended in the fifth inning, down 4-1 to the Orioles.

ROOKIE: DSL PIRATES BLACK vs DSL PIRATES GOLD

DSL PIRATES GOLD won 7-2

  • 1B Samuel Escudero: 1-for-4, HR
  • DH Isaias Dipre: 1-for-3, HR
  • RF Ruben Vizcaya: 2-for-4, 2 2B

Dipre hit his third homer of the year, and his second in as many days. This is his third season in the DSL, and he hit three homers combined in the first two. The other two top performers today for the Gold team are fourth year players in the DSL.

SUNDAY’S SCHEDULE

  • Triple-A: Indianapolis, 3:05 PM – TBD
  • Double-A: Altoona, 6:00 PM – TBD
  • High-A: Greensboro, 2:00 PM – LHP Hunter Barco (2-1, 3.25)
  • Single-A: Bradenton, 12:00 PM – LHP Connor Oliver (0-2, 5.28)
  • The rookie leagues are off on Sunday.
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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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