The following is a special feature to Pirates Prospects by Scott Sypien. Scott is the creator and author of the website chasingmlbdreams.com, where he follows the minor leagues and prospects as they chase their way to the major leagues.
Growing up in Scott Twp, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Scott now makes his home in Bethel Park. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Communications Science Disorders and has always has a passion for writing. With the start of chasingmlbdreams.com he started chasing his own dream to become a professional baseball writer in the wonderful game of baseball.
The Altoona Curve defeated the New Hampshire Fisher Cats 3-2 in walk off fashion behind a strong performance on the mound by left hander Kris Johnson and the clutch hitting of Adalberto Santos, whose walk off single sent the Fisher Cats home losers.
Pitching dominated the story for the first half of the game and both Johnson and Fisher Cats pitcher Chad Jenkins made quick work of any batter who challenged them. Johnson only allowed one hit over the course of five innings. Koby Clemens (The son of Roger) crushed a Johnson offering deep into the left field stands. Johnson did not allow another hit.
Jenkins was equally as dominant for the Fisher Cats scattering seven hits over 7 1/3 innings pitched. He kept the Curve batters off-balance throughout the night and struck out six. The lone run the Curve produced off Jenkins came in his final frame when Curve first baseman Matt Curry laced a home run deep to left center field.
In the ninth inning the Curve still trailed 2-1. Oscar Tejeda beat out a lead off single. Ramon Cabrera and Jarek Cunningham both followed with sacrifice buts. On each bunt attempt the Fisher Cats attempted to throw out the lead runner. Each time they were unable too and on Cunningham’s bunt a wild throw allowed Tejeda to advance home and tie the game 2-2.
Victor Black was called upon in extra innings and pitched a quick and clean inning to earn the win. In the bottom of the inning Drew Maggi singled, stole second, and advanced to third on a ground out by DH Brock Holt. That set the stage for Adalberto Santos who hit a Sam Dyson offering down the right field line passed a diving Mike McDade.
Brock Holt was the DH today for the Curve but he was impressive at the plate going 3-5 with a double. Holt has proven that he can hit at the AA level and there really isn’t much for him to prove. With the Pirates dealing Brian Friday you have to wonder if Holt will get at least rewarded with a chance to place at the AAA level before the season is over.
Santos has hit at every level in the minor leagues and is a little older than most of the prospects on the Curve team. With the Pirates dealing Robbie Grossman, Santos will get more opportunities to play around the outfield. Santos, like Holt, seems to have proven he can hit at this level and I am interested to see how his bat will play at the AAA level.
Curry could be grouped with the two guys above and has made a strong case for getting an opportunity in AAA. In tonight’s game he played solid defense including taking a throw from Ramon Cabrera and spinning around to tag leadoff hitter Ryan Goins out. At the plate Curry crushed a home run and was one of the few players to have success against Chad Jenkins.
Farrell really struggled in all aspects of the game tonight. Not only did he go 0-4 at the plate with a strike out but he also really struggled in the field. Not only did he make two errors (one fielding and one throwing) but he also misplayed a ball in foul territory on a play that he should have made.
Cabrera had a solid game behind the plate, not only throwing out leadoff hitter Ryan Goins at first, but he also threw out 3 out of 4 base runners who attempted to steal against him. At the plate Cabrera was a solid 2-3 as well.
Others Who Played
Others who were in the started line up included Drew Maggi, Oscar Tejeda, Jarek Cunningham and Evan Chambers. None of these players did a whole lot to stand out on the night.
Tonight was not the night to be dazzled by promising pitching prospects. The Curve pitchers did however play a big role in the win tonight and a big part of that was the work of Kris Johnson. The lefty has been a jack of all trades with both the AA and AAA staffs. Tonight Johnson went five innings and only allowed one hit but he did have control problems walking five. He sat at 88 to 89 on the Curve gun with his fastball and his off-speed pitcher were in the low 80’s.
The highlight of the night as far as watching the Curve pitchers was Victor Black. He has a violent and deceiving delivery, which opposing hitters look to have a difficult time picking up his offerings. Black got up to 93 on the Curve gun, which is a few MPH slow. Black picked up the win and only needed 12 pitches getting three quick ground ball outs.