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Statcast Heroes: Oneil Cruz, Rowdy Tellez, Triple-A Pitching Depth, Javier Rivas

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The Pittsburgh Pirates went 2-4 over the last week, while scoring just one run in three different games. They had some good starts from the pitchers, but the offense couldn’t match the output. Down in Triple-A, there is growing pitching depth, with that rotation having a big week.

This week’s Statcast Heroes looks at the standouts on offense in Pittsburgh, the pitching in Indianapolis, and a few high-upside prospects in Single-A.

Oneil Cruz With the Long Ball

Oneil Cruz had two monster home runs this past week. The first came on Saturday afternoon, when the shortstop hit a 445 foot shot at PNC Park, which was believed to reach the river without a bounce. The homer had a 11.6 MPH exit velocity.

Cruz then homered two days later in Cincinnati, this time hitting one further. Monday’s homer traveled 458 feet, with a 112.3 MPH exit velocity.

The homers from Cruz were two of his three hits on the week.

Rowdy Tellez is Hitting

This past week, Rowdy Tellez had three of the top exit velocities and two of the top distances on the team. The first baseman went 2-for-16, with a bit of a slump from the rest of his month.

Tellez is batting .340/.389/.500 during the month of June. He’s not hitting for a lot of power, with one homer, five doubles, and a .160 isolated power. His average is up, and he’s consistently been one of the hardest hitters on the team.

This was a good week to see him maintain consistency with hitting the ball hard, even if he only went 2-for-3 on his hardest hits. After struggling for the first two months of the year, the Pirates will need to see Tellez hitting closer to his June numbers for the remainder of the year.

The Triple-A Rotation is Growing

This week, the Indianapolis rotation had good results against the Iowa Cubs. The results really stood out in the swing and miss totals.

Domingo German got things started with 12 whiffs in his start on June 18th. He made a second start this past week, with 10 whiffs on June 23rd.

Braxton Ashcraft followed German, picking up 15 whiffs on June 19th. One day later, Jake Woodford matched Ashcraft with 15 whiffs of his own.

Luis Cessa had nine whiffs on June 21st, and Martin Perez made a rehab start with eight whiffs a day later.

The Pirates didn’t have any of these starters in Triple-A on Opening Day. German was late to start his season, after signing late. Woodford and Cessa were signed at the start of this month to boost the Triple-A rotation depth. Ashcraft was promoted from Altoona, and made his second start this past week. Perez is on a rehab assignment.

At the start of this month, the rotation depth was thin. The group is looking a lot better these days, capable of providing the Pirates with help if needed. The most immediate help with be Perez returning to the MLB rotation, which could happen by this weekend.

The rest of this post is for Pirates Prospects subscribers!

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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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