Prospect Trends, Week Ending 6/26


All-Star games are mostly over, so it’s time to get back to the regular edition.  I’ll cover more than a week here, so some good (and bad) stretches don’t go unnoticed.  Also, the two short-season teams have opened play now.


Matt Hague, 1B (AAA): Hague has steadily hit well all year, but over the last couple weeks he’s really gone on a tear as he’s started to supply the power that’s been missing from his game.  Over his last nine games he’s hit .500, going 18-for-36 with five doubles and four HRs.  The latter are half his season’s total.  He’s now hitting 317/367/468 overall, and has been one of the toughest hitters to fan in the International League.  If there’s one unfortunate thing about his hitting, it’s the fact that, as he’s done every year so far, he’s hitting RHPs better than LHPs.  The Pirates could use a platoon partner for Lyle Overbay, with Steve Pearce out.

Gorkys Hernandez, CF (AAA): Hernandez has cooled a bit, with just one hit in his last four games, but for the month of June he’s hitting .307 and slugging .455.  The latter is especially surprising considering that he has no HRs all year.  Hernandez is already on the 40-man roster, so he could be a callup candidate if Jose Tabata misses much time, assuming the Pirates conclude that playing with 24 players for one month is enough.

Garrett Olson, LHP (AAA): OK, Olson’s 27, but the Pirates have started talking about him as a candidate to help the major league team should more roster moves be needed.  Although he struggled his last time out, since moving to the Indy rotation Olson has been outstanding, with an ERA as a starter of 1.99.  He’s allowed just twelve hits and eight walks in 22.2 IP, while fanning 20.  If he gets called up it’ll still more likely be as a reliever, but Olson has worked his way into the team’s plans, even if it’s only into the contingency plans.

Chris Leroux, RHP (AAA): When fans talk about which player has to come off the 40-man roster to make room for this or that prospect, Leroux’s name is almost always the first to come up.  Since returning from a stint in Altoona, though, he’s turned things around.  For the month of June has has an ERA of 2.18, with fourteen hits and just one walk allowed in 20.2 IP.  He’s fanned 18.  He’s probably at least saved his roster spot for now.

Jordy Mercer, SS (AA): With Chase d’Arnaud in the majors, it seems like a good time for Mercer to move up.  In June he’s hitting 312/356/636.  On the year he’s slugging .489, which is power you’re not going to find in many shortstops.

Jeff Locke, LHP (AA): After struggling much of the year, Locke may be turning things around.  He struggled in a start on June 18, but otherwise has pitched very well over his last five.  He’s allowed 21 hits and ten walks (half of them in one game) over his past 25.1 IP, with 25 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.13.

Bradenton Catchers (A+): The Marauders have a lot of hot hitters right now, but two of the hottest are catchers Ramon Cabrera and Carlos Paulino.  Cabrera is 8-for-17 (.471) with two doubles, a triple and a grand slam.  He’s now hitting .337 on the season and has struck out only fourteen times in 47 games.  Paulino is on a 13-for-31 (.419) tear, with two doubles and two HRs.  The logical thing to do might be for the two to share catching and DHing duties, but the DH is . . .

Calvin Anderson, 1B/DH (A+): Possibly the hottest hitter in the system, Anderson is hitting 389/446/681 in June.  His five HRs give him thirteen on the year, which ties him with Mercer for the organization lead.  Whether this is real is hard to say.  Anderson still has fanned in nearly 40% of his ABs, including eleven times in his last 28 ABs.  But this may be enough to get him a shot at AA at some point.

Evan Chambers, CF (A+): After completely disappearing for two months, Chambers’ bat has resurfaced.  In June he’s hitting 264/361/507, with four of his six HRs.  His strikeout rate has dropped to one in every four ABs, after he fanned in 42% of his ABs in May.

Drew Maggi, SS (A): If Anderson isn’t the system’s hottest hitter, it’s probably Maggi.  He now has a .989 OPS in June and has twelve hits in his last twenty ABs, a .600 clip.  In his last five games, he has two with four hits and one with four walks.  On the season, he has more walks (37) than whiffs (35).  He’s dragged his overall season’s average up to .260 after he hit .141 in April.

Mel Rojas, Jr., OF (A): Like Maggi, Rojas appeared to be dead in the water earlier this season, but he’s on a 13-for-29 (.448) run that included five straight two-hit games.  Rojas still isn’t showing much power or patience, but he has six extra base hits and seven walks in 20 June games after totaling only four extra base hits and seven walks in 58 games in April and May.

Ryan Hafner, RHP (A-): An prep pitcher signed for above-slot money a year ago, Hafner is off to a solid start, allowing no runs or walks in his first two outings, covering eight innings.  He’s given up seven hits and fanned six.

Alen Hanson and Yhonathan Barrios, IF (R): Barrios and Hanson are both off to fast starts in the GCL, which just opened play.  In five games, Hanson is 8-for-20 (.400), with all but two of those eight hits going for extra bases.  Barrios is 9-for-20 (.450) with three extra base hits.


Rudy Owens, LHP (AAA): Things are just going from bad to worse for Owens.  After a good run of starts in mid-May, he’s struggled nearly every time out.  In his last six starts, he’s allowed 23 earned runs, 39 hits and 12 walks in 29 IP, for an ERA of 7.14.  Opponents are hitting .305 against him on the season.

Tony Sanchez, C (AA): Sanchez has simply stopped hitting.  He’s in a 3-for-20 (.150) slide and hasn’t had an extra base hit in the month of June, covering twenty games.  Could Eric Fryer be the Pirates’ catcher of the future?

Jeremy Farrell, 3B (AA): Just about the entire Altoona ballclub has stopped hitting, but in Farrell’s case it’s part of a growing trend.  After posting a .910 OPS in April, he’s dropped to .760 in May and ..609 overall in June.  In his last ten games he’s hitting .156.  I could also mention Quincy Latimore, who’s on a 2-for-18 (.111) run with nine whiffs, or Brock Holt, who also has just two hits in his last 18 ABs.

Matt Curry, 1B (AA): Curry’s hit the skids after a fast start in AA.  He has one hit in his last 21 ABs (.048), with ten whiffs.  The higher level pitchers obviously have adjusted to him, which was to be expected, especially from a player making a two-level jump.  It’s up to Curry now to make his own adjustments.

Jarek Cunningham, 2B (A+): Cunningham has been in and out of the lineup lately, but when he’s been in, the pitchers seem to have had him figured out.  He’s now on a 3-for-32 (.094) slide that includes twelve strikeouts.

State College Spikes (A-): There’s almost nothing positive to report with the Spikes.  Eleven of the fifteen position players who’ve played for them this year are hitting .200 or lower.  The Spikes are last in batting and last in runs, and have just one HR.  They’re averaging barely over two runs per game.  The pitching isn’t much better; the team is next to last in the league in ERA.  The strength of a New York-Penn League team is usually the college players signed out of the recently concluded draft.  The Pirates drafted mainly prep players in the earlier rounds, though, and won’t sign top pick Gerrit Cole before the deadline, so there’s little to no help on the way.

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


Wilbur Miller joined the site in July 2010. He has long been known for his excellent Player Profiles, which he brought to the site in February 2011, combining them with the existing Pirates Prospects Player Pages. Wilbur maintains the player pages section of the site, and provides regular articles to the main portion of the site, including a weekly Prospects Trend piece, featuring the best and worst prospects from the previous week.

Daily Prospect Profile: Andrew Maggi

Next Story »

Pedro Alvarez Starting His Rehab Work Today

Latest Analysis

  • Keller Supak Hinsz

    Even With the New Draft Rules, the Pirates Are Still Loading Up on Projectable Pitchers

    3 hours ago

    From 2008-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of resources on projectable pitchers out of high school. So far, this approach has led to breakout performances from ...

    Read More
  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    1 day ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

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

    2 days 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

    4 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

    6 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

    6 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

    1 week 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

    1 week 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

    2 weeks 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

    2 weeks 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
  • Browse More Articles