State College Recap, 9/1/2010

Medlar Field - Matt Bandi/PLC

I was in attendance this evening as the State College Spikes fell to the Auburn Doubledays by a score of 1-0. The Spikes bats went silent as the team only managed two hits in the game. Here are a few of my observations from the park.

Zac Fuesser made the start and pitched well. His fastball sat around 86-88 MPH on the stadium gun, touching 91 once. The logic behind the Pirates’ fastball-heavy philosophy at the lower levels was evident tonight. Fuesser threw some decent secondary stuff, with occasional struggles commanding it, and the Auburn hitters could do little against his curveball/change repertoire. It was easy to see how a young pitcher could fall into a pattern of repeatedly flicking off-speed stuff up there and watching inexperienced hitters flail. Fuesser’s most impressive display tonight came with the glove. On two or three occasions, he darted off the mound to retire hitters on slow rollers. He looked very athletic out there.

Mitch Fienemann relieved Fuesser and threw two clean innings. His fastball sat around 85-88 MPH and touched 90. He has that tall, projectable body that makes you think he may add some velocity as he ages. Fienemann also made a nice defensive play, fielding a roller to his left and hustling to the first base bag when he realized that no one was covering.

Drew Maggi struggled with off-speed stuff all night. I counted three off-balance swings against breaking balls, one of which resulted in a strikeout. He didn’t see much action in the field. In the first, he leaped to snag a soft liner. It was one of those balls that appeared harder hit off the bat than it actually was, the kind that often leads to a mistimed jump. Maggi got a good read and was able to time his jump perfectly. I believe he only had one other opportunity in the field, on a routine ground ball. He looked smooth getting the out, for what it’s worth.



Gift Ngoepe was unimpressive at the plate. He simply doesn’t have the swing of a professional hitter, and he was overmatched on this night. That being said, he clearly has very good defensive tools. He effortlessly fielded a few routine grounders, before making a tremendous diving play on a sharply hit ball in the eighth inning. It was an MLB-caliber play that shows me that Ngoepe has a future if he can somehow figure things out on the offensive side.

Mel Rojas Jr. has a very athletic frame, with that natural ballplayer look that is evident as soon as he steps onto the field. From the few at-bats I saw, he seemed to have good bat speed and solid pitch recognition skills. I did not get much of a look at him in the field. He took a bit of a goofy route on one fly ball, but adjusted to make the catch easily. He walked in his second plate appearance, but was picked off first by the Auburn catcher. There was a runner on when he came up again, and Rojas squared to bunt on three consecutive pitches. He fouled two back to the screen before missing completely on his third attempt for the out. He was visibly disgusted as he returned to the dugout, and was removed from the game shortly after. Not a great evening for the Pirates’ third round pick in 2010.

As a whole, it was a pretty uninteresting game to watch. The Spikes did very little at the plate, outside of seven walks. Kelson Brown paced the offense with two walks and the only well struck single of the night.

A few other notes.

- Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie were behind home plate signing autographs before the game. I snapped a quick photo.



- I had a nice conversation with Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects before the game. Here is his recap. Tim was also tweeting live from the press box.


Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Matt Bandi

Matt has covered the Pirates at Wait ‘Til Next Year, Pittsburgh Lumber Co. and now Pirates Prospects. He served as Pirates team expert for Heater Magazine in 2009 and 2010 and has contributed to Graphical Player 2009, 2010 and 2011. Matt was also the editor of the 2011 and 2012 Pirates Prospects Annuals.

September Call-Ups

Next Story »

Indians’ Bats Quiet Again

Latest Analysis

  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    19 hours ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    2 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    4 days ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    5 days ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    6 days ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    7 days ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    1 week ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

    The Mental Adjustment that Led to Cody Dickson’s Dominant 2014 Second Half

    1 week ago

    Trusting his stuff and not trying to do too much — that has been the key for left-handed pitcher Cody Dickson so far in his professional baseball ...

    Read More
  • Third Base Mathisen Luplow Joe

    Who’s on Third? In the Pirates’ Farm System, It Could Be Anyone

    2 weeks ago

    If you have ever played third base in your life — professional, college, high school, slow pitch softball — then the Pittsburgh Pirates might be contacting you ...

    Read More
  • Jason Creasy

    Another Pitcher to Watch From the Pirates’ 2011 Draft

    2 weeks ago

    The 2011 draft is shaping up to be a great class for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They picked first overall that year, so naturally you’d expect good things ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles