McPherson, Curve Stifle Bowie

Altoona won its second in a row over Bowie tonight, 4-2, behind five shutout innings from Kyle McPherson. He allowed just one hit and one walk, while striking out three. Tony Sanchez reached base all four times up with a double, two singles and a hit batsman.

McPherson relied mainly on a fastball that sat at 92-93. His velocity stayed the same through all five innings and he commanded the fastball well. He also threw a fairly effective curve and just a few changeups. Unlike Aaron Pribanic, who pitched last night, McPherson is mainly a flyball pitcher and that was true tonight, although only a couple of balls were hit well. He didn’t throw many pitches before coming out, so it’s likely that the Pirates want to limit his innings with the season winding down.

Matt McSwain, an organizational pitcher, threw two scoreless innings after McPherson and was followed by Bryan Morris, who went one and a third. Morris sat at 93-94, topping out at 95, in his first inning and lost just a little velocity in his second. As a starter he threw a curve, but I didn’t see that pitch tonight. Instead he threw what I think was a hard slider that was generally 88-89. His command was not on the same level as McPherson’s. Morris got into some trouble in the ninth on a pair of looping, opposite-field hits that brought in one run. With the 4-1 score making it a save situation, the Curve brought in Noah Krol, an organizational pitcher who serves as their closer. He got the last two outs for the cheap save, although he let Morris’ second runner score in the process.

As an aside here, I’ve often wondered why the Pirates, along with many other teams, prefer to use organizational pitchers as closers throughout the minors. Not that I want them to convert prospects to relief so they can close in the minors, but I don’t see why, if a team already has a prospect pitching out of the bullpen, you’d go out of your way to avoid using that prospect to close games out. The Pirates go to some lengths to have players get experience in situations they may face in the majors. For that reason, their minor league affiliates always attempt bunts and steals excessively. In fact, tonight they even had firstbaseman Matt Curry bunt with runners on first and second, which he did perfectly. If Curry becomes a power-hitting firstbaseman in the majors, is he ever likely to bunt? (Well, OK, if he plays for Clint Hurdle . . . .) The Pirates also try to get playoff experience for their prospects whenever possible. So why don’t they want prospects getting the final outs of close games? Are they likely to wet the bed and lose all confidence? What’s up with that?

Anyway, of the hitters, Sanchez had the most interesting game. All three of his hits were lasers; whatever has been ailing his bat all year didn’t surface tonight. I also got a clearer idea of why scouts like his glovework so much. Pribanic and McPherson didn’t present a big challenge to his receiving skills, but McSwain and Krol were a different story. McSwain throws from a three-quarters angle and features a sweeping 10-4 curve and a fastball with a lot of run inside on right-handed hitters, so he gets a great deal of horizontal movement. Krol throws from a low sidearm slot and also features a sweeping curve. Sanchez gets out from behind the plate very quickly and blocks pitches well, better than any catcher the Pirates have had in the majors that I can remember.

Share This Article

WTM

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.

Ciriaco’s Walk-Off Single Gives Indians The Win In The 12th

Next Story »

Indians Sweep Toledo; Locke Strikes Out 8

  • Anonymous

    Good point about the roles given to these players. I agree that the Pirates should use quality prospects to close games. No reason not to, and it prepares them for pressure situations they will face later, hopefully in the big leagues. I am also a bit dissapointed that they have such strict innings limits. I think there are several organizations that are moving toward extending these younger arms so they are prepared to go 7-9 innings at the big league level. Finally, it would be nice to see some movement of players for the last couple of weeks of the season to get their feet wet for the following year.

  • Lee Young

    I also agree that the Pirates should use quality prospects to close games.

    As for Sanchez, does he do a better job behind the plate than McFort? If so, that IS high praise, indeed.

  • Lee Young

    I also agree that the Pirates should use quality prospects to close games.

    As for Sanchez, does he do a better job behind the plate than McFort? If so, that IS high praise, indeed.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6KK2M5GPHYK3ZQYP5DNQ4U6DGQ eric

    Good to hear that McPherson maintained his velocity through five. I was a bit worried by the last PP report that had him losing quite a bit of velo in the middle innings, as that was a big knock against him prior to this year.

Latest Analysis

  • Connor Joe 2

    Meet Connor Joe: The First Round Pick You Know Nothing About

    20 mins ago

    This site is now in its seventh year of existence. For the last four years, I’ve been doing this full-time, allowing me to see every affiliate throughout the year, along ...

    Read More
  • (Photo Credit: David Hague)

    What is the Difference Between Mel Rojas and Keon Broxton?

    16 hours ago

    Mel Rojas Jr. was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the third round of the 2010 MLB draft. The son of the former big league closer had ...

    Read More
  • Jose Tabata

    The Details of Jose Tabata’s New Swing

    2 days ago

    On Friday I wrote about how Jose Tabata talked to Marlon Byrd over the off-season, aimed at changing his swing to add some leverage, lift the ball, ...

    Read More
  • (Photo Credit: David Hague)

    What Led to Keon Broxton’s Breakout Year in Altoona?

    3 days ago

    Keon Broxton used to be one of the top prospects in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ farm system. Baseball America ranked him as high as tenth in the system ...

    Read More
  • Adrian Sampson

    Don’t Forget About This Pitcher When Creating Your Pirates Dream Rotation

    4 days ago

    If you’re setting up a dream rotation for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the not-too-distant future, then you’re going to be throwing out names like Tyler Glasnow, Gerrit ...

    Read More
  • (Photo Credit: David Hague)

    Jose Tabata Changed His Swing After Talking With Marlon Byrd

    5 days ago

    Yesterday, Jose Tabata put one on the roof of the batting cages over the left-field fence at Pirate City. Today, he added two more. By that pattern, ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles

    More

    Advertisement