Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect Watch 4/8/10

The 2010 minor league season kicked off tonight, and thanks to everyone who stopped by for the Opening Day Live blog.  A big thanks to Jim from North Side Notch for all of the updates from the various games.  Let’s recap each performance.

INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS (AAA)

The Indians had an ugly game, losing 17-4 to the Columbus Clippers, the AAA affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.  The highlight of the night was Pedro Alvarez hitting a two run bomb to right field, putting the Indians up 3-2 at the time.  The homer came on Alvarez’s second at-bat at the AAA level.  Coincidentally, Alvarez started off the 2009 season with a homer in his third at-bat.  I love improvement.

The Indians ran in to some trouble in the fourth inning.  Brian Friday was hit by a pitch in the third inning, then was hit again in the fourth, with the pitch grazing the top of his helmet.  Friday looked mad after the second incident, and in the next half inning, Kevin Hart started off by throwing a ball behind Indians top prospect Carlos Santana.  Hart was immediately ejected, although in all fairness to Hart, he could have easily been aiming for the other side of the plate, and just missed the mark.

That’s probably not as much of a joke as it should be, as Hart pitched three innings, allowing two runs on two hits, with three walks and two strikeouts.  For reference, catcher Erik Kratz was set up outside for the pitch in question.  Santana homered off of relief pitcher Jeremy Powell after Hart was ejected.  Powell gave up five runs in an inning of work, including two homers.

Things got even uglier in the 7th, when Vinnie Chulk came in and gave up eight runs on seven hits, getting only one out in the process.  Aside from Alvarez, the only highlights were Brandon Jones going 2-for-5 with two well hit balls, and Steve Pearce going 3-for-4.  Jose Tabata went 1-for-4 with a steal and an RBI from the top of the order.

ALTOONA CURVE (AA)

Altoona recorded a 5-1 victory, led by strong pitching, with four pitchers combining for a two hitter.  Michael Crotta got the start, and went six innings, allowing one run on one hit, with the lone hit being a solo homer.  Crotta struck out four and walked just one.  Michael Dubee and Ronald Uviedo each pitched perfect innings in relief, then Daniel Moskos closed out the ninth.  Moskos walked the first two batters, but got out of the jam with two strikeouts and a flyout to center.

Chase d’Arnaud went 1-for-3 with an RBI double in his debut, although he had a few rough plays on defense in the first, including a throwing error on his first play.  He was saved on his second throw by a nice scoop from first baseman Matt Hague.  Jordy Mercer had a nice day at the plate, going 2-for-4.  The Curve defense eventually settled down, with several nice plays by Josh Harrison in the fourth inning.

BRADENTON MARAUDERS (A+)

Bradenton made a huge debut, demolishing Fort Myers 18-3, with most of the damage coming against Minnesota’s 2009 first round pick Kyle Gibson.  Jeremy Farrell, Robbie Grossman, and Quincy Latimore led the offense in their high-A debuts.

Farrell went 2-for-4 with two homers and seven RBIs.  The first was a grand slam, and Farrell followed that up with a three run homer.  Grossman went 2-for-4 with a homer and a walk, and most importantly, no strikeouts.  Latimore had a great all around game, going 3-for-3 with a homer and two walks, plus he had an outfield assist, nailing a runner at the plate.

Starling Marte and Tony Sanchez each went 2-for-4, with Marte scoring four runs, and Sanchez recording two RBIs.  The only offensive player without a hit was Calvin Anderson, who went 0-for-3, but Anderson did walk twice.

The offense overshadowed a great outing by Bryan Morris.  Morris pitched 4.2 innings, allowing seven hits and two unearned runs.  More importantly, he struck out five and walked none.  Morris did allow seven hits, but he wasn’t getting hit hard at all.  Joel Hanrahan made a rehab appearance, pitching a perfect inning with two strikeouts.  Hanrahan threw 11 pitches, nine of which were for strikes.  Brian Leach closed out the game by pitching the last three innings and allowing just one run on one hit, a solo homer, which was good enough to get Leach the win.

WEST VIRGINIA POWER (A)

West Virginia suffered a 9-3 loss to Savannah, with a rain delay interrupting the middle of the game and possibly altering their pitching arrangement.  Hunter Strickland made the start for the Power, and didn’t have the best outing, going four innings and allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits, with three strikeouts and two walks.

Jeff Inman came on to replace Strickland, and pitched a shutout inning, allowing just one hit.  After a rain delay, Phillip Irwin replaced Inman, allowing two unearned runs.  It’s possibly that Inman was scheduled to pitch more than one inning, and the rain delay could have messed those plans up.  Gabriel Alvarado closed things out by pitching the final two innings, allowing two runs on four hits, with two walks and a strikeout.

The offense wasn’t very effective, outside of Aaron Baker.  Baker went 2-for-4 with all three RBIs.  Ramon Cabrera got multiple hits from the number nine spot in the order.  Benjamin Gonzalez hit leadoff, and Jarek Cunningham hit second, with both players going 1-for-5.  Interesting note: Gonzalez played shortstop and Cunningham played second, which is the reverse of what I expected.

Evan Chambers went 0-for-3 from the number three spot, but walked twice.  

ef="http://players.buccofans.com/2010/02/wesley-freeman.html">Wes Freeman went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts and a walk, and stole a base.  He also received some credit from the opposing radio announcers, and some respect from the opposing team, for his strong arm when Savannah refused to test his arm after seeing him gun down a runner at the plate earlier in the game.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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