Prospect Highlights: Jordan Luplow Homer, Edwin Espinal Can Hit

Jamestown hasn’t been uploading videos all year, so we didn’t notice these right away because there was no reason to look. From early last week, we have two highlights from Pirates third round pick in 2014, Jordan Luplow. In the first one, he hits his fourth homer of the year. Luplow has been on a recent slide that has seen his season stats drop, but that could be chalked up to playing a longer schedule than he is used to. Before being draft, he played 57 games for Fresno State and he is now up to 33 games with Jamestown. He has a .269/.362/.412 slash line in 119 at-bats with eight extra-base hits and four stolen bases in eight attempts.

The Pirates seemed to get a bargain with Luplow compared to what they paid to sign 39th overall pick Connor Joe, who hasn’t played a game yet due to a back strain. Luplow and Joe were closely rated prior to the draft, with both being mentioned in the late-second, to early fourth round area. It took $1.2 Mil to sign Joe, while Luplow, who is actually 13 months younger despite them both being college juniors, signed for $500K. That age difference is significant at their stage of development and Luplow is the one getting used to the grind of pro ball, which will help him next year. It’s possible he could make the jump to Bradenton next season, skipping over low-A ball.

In this second video, Luplow drives home the only run in a 7-1 loss.

When I went to see West Virginia last month in a four game series, the most impressive hitter was Edwin Espinal. The 20-year-old first baseman is listed at 6’3″, 210 pounds, but that weight hasn’t changed since he signed and he is definitely bigger than that. Espinal had the nickname “The Tank” before he signed and it fits him well, he is a large human being. So while I thought he was the best hitter I saw, watching him run(and try to slide) quickly proved he wasn’t the best athlete on the team. Espinal makes a lot of hard contact at the plate and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start hitting more homers soon. He has a .286/.328/.381 slash line in 95 games this year, with five homers and 20 doubles. Below is a video of him driving in a run, going the other way on a hanging breaking ball. He is a sleeper prospect, but due to being limited to first base, the bat is really going to have to break out for him to reach that prospect potential.

John Dreker

Author: John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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  • lonleylibertarian

    John,

    Espinal certainly looks like a sleeper for 1st base in a couple of years – I saw a good bit of Osuna in the spring and thought he looked like a player – but then I am not a scout…

    Both guys seem to be a bit heavier – and perhaps an inch or two taller than listed…

    How would you compare the two – and what are the chances either of them gets to the Majors…

    • John Dreker

      At Espinal’s age, he still has plenty of time to get into ideal shape and I think that will help him if he can. His bat is solid, his approach needs a little work, he isn’t the most selective, but he’s 20, so he has time. If he gets into better shape, I think you’ll see the power start to develop more and he has a legit shot at the majors.
      Osuna looked real good when I saw him in 2012 at WV, a lot like Espinal the batter, but more athletic. He can run a little, can play outfield in a pinch, but he really hasn’t developed like you would hope. He’s a little better than last year and he’s just 21, so it’s a good age for the level. He has an 8 game hitting going and missed some time early in the season, so possibly he is just starting to come around. So his age is good for the level, he is starting to hit and hopefully keeps it going, which would give him a legit shot at the Majors. Right now though, I wouldn’t give either a legit shot to be an impact player, but both still have upside.
      Strange thing about these two and Allie, they have three of the best arms in the system, all of them have cannons, yet they are all stuck at 1B, where they will all likely stay.

      • lonleylibertarian

        Thanks so much John…

        I love to follow younger guys and see how the develop – have had Osuna bookmarked on MILB all year – added Espinal today…

        I always wondered why they did not give Allie a shot at third given his arm – could always move him to first if that did not work out. Did not know about the arms of the other two,

        • John Dreker

          Allie played third base in the Gulf Coast League in 2012 and it didn’t go so well…