Willy Garcia has some of the best power in the system. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

Prospect Watch: The One Thing Holding Willy Garcia Back From Being a Top Prospect


A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today.  Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors. If a player is in the majors, he will be removed, everyone below him will be shifted up a spot, and a new player will be added to the bottom of the list. If a player is out for the season (Jameson Taillon #1, Clay Holmes #12), he will be removed and everyone below him will move up a spot. Removing these guys doesn’t mean they have lost prospect status. It is just an attempt to get 20 active prospects on the list. Rankings are from the mid-season top 20 update, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.

1. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Bradenton – 5.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 9 K, 0 HR

2. Austin Meadows, CF, West Virginia – 3-for-5

3. Reese McGuire, C, West Virginia – 1-for-4

4. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

5. Alen Hanson, SS, Altoona – 1-for-5

6. Josh Bell, RF, Altoona – 2-for-5, SB

7. Harold Ramirez, OF, West Virginia – Disabled List (7/7 Update)

8. Cole Tucker, SS, GCL Pirates – DNP

9. Luis Heredia, RHP, West Virginia – 6.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 HR

10. Mitch Keller, RHP, GCL Pirates – DNP

11. Adrian Sampson, RHP, Altoona – DNP

12. JaCoby Jones, SS, West Virginia – 1-for-4, BB

13. Casey Sadler, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

14. Andrew Lambo, OF, Indianapolis – 0-for-4

15. Joely Rodriguez, LHP, Altoona – DNP

16. Michael De La Cruz, OF, GCL Pirates – DNP

17. Trey Supak, RHP, GCL Pirates – DNP

18. Buddy Borden, RHP, West Virginia – DNP

19. Stetson Allie, 1B, Altoona – 0-for-4

20. Gage Hinsz, RHP, GCL Pirates – DNP


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Top Pitcher: Tyler Glasnow, RHP – 5.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 9 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Jose Osuna, DH – 4-for-4, 3 2B

Home Runs: Willy Garcia (14)



Box Score

Result: Rochester 6, Indianapolis 3

Starting Pitcher: Brandon Cumpton, RHP – 5.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Chase d’Arnaud, 3B – 2-for-4, SB

Other Notable Performers:

Mel Rojas, CF – 1-for-3, BB

Game Notes: Brandon Cumpton looked good through the first four innings today, then gave up four runs in the fifth inning. The Indians were going up against Kris Johnson, who was one of the best starters for Indianapolis last year, and who was traded over the off-season to get Duke Welker back from the Twins. Johnson gave up three runs in 7.2 innings of work. Chase d’Arnaud played at third base today, and stole his 21st base. He has played second, third, and all three outfield spots this year.



Box Score

Result: Altoona 6, Bowie 3

Starting Pitcher: Pat Ludwig, RHP – 6.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Willy Garcia, LF – 2-for-4, HR

Other Notable Performers:

Josh Bell, RF – 2-for-5, SB

Alen Hanson, SS – 1-for-5

Gift Ngoepe, 2B – 2-for-4

Game Notes: Willy Garcia hit his 14th homer of the year for Altoona. That total is four shy of his single season high of 18, set two years ago in West Virginia. He’s hitting for more power this year, with a .226 ISO. That’s way up from his .163 ISO two years ago, and up from his .181 ISO last year. Garcia is also trending in the right direction with his batting average (.240, .256, .271). Unfortunately, he’s going the wrong way with his walks (6.4%, 4.8%, 4.0%) and strikeouts (26.4%, 32.1%, 32.4%). The strikeouts are a bigger concern. To put them in perspective, Starling Marte only walked 3.8% of the time in Altoona, but only struck out 17.5% of the time. He also never struck out more than 23.3% of the time at any level in the minors. Even Pedro Alvarez didn’t strike out more than 24.6% of the time in his first run through the minors. Garcia has the power, speed, and defense in right field to be a starting outfielder, but that won’t happen with his strikeout totals.



Box Score

Result: Lakeland 5, Bradenton 3

Starting Pitcher: Tyler Glasnow, RHP – 5.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 9 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Jose Osuna, DH – 4-for-4, 3 2B

Other Notable Performers:

Jordan Steranka, 1B – 2-for-4, 2B

Game Notes: Tyler Glasnow got off to a good start today, giving up one walk and one hit in four innings, with eight strikeouts. He ran into trouble in the fifth, giving up two runs on two walks and two hits. In the sixth he gave up another walk and another hit, leading to a third run, with the run ultimately scoring due to an error. This was the first start where Glasnow walked more than two batters since June 30th. It was the third time this has happened since May 22nd. In the month of July, Glasnow has a 1.82 ERA in 29.2 innings, with a 40:9 K/BB ratio. That’s a 12.1 K/9 and a 2.7 BB/9, even with the four walks today. Jose Osuna extended his hitting streak to six games with a four hit day and three doubles. He has 16 doubles on the year.



Box Score

Result: West Virginia 5, Rome 4

Starting Pitcher: Luis Heredia, RHP – 6.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Edwin Espinal, DH – 3-for-4, BB

Other Notable Performers:

Austin Meadows, CF – 3-for-5

JaCoby Jones, SS – 1-for-4, BB

Erich Weiss, 2B – 2-for-5

Wyatt Mathisen, 3B – 2-for-4, 2B

Game Notes: Austin Meadows picked up three hits, and now has hits in nine of his last ten games, while reaching base safely in ten straight games. He has just one game out of 12 with West Virginia where he hasn’t reached base safely. The power hasn’t arrived yet, but it’s there and will eventually start to show up in the stat lines. The encouraging thing in the early part of his campaign with West Virginia is that his strikeout problems from the GCL last year aren’t an issue through his first 51 at-bats. Wyatt Mathisen returned from the disabled list today after missing a month of action. He picked up two hits, with his 11th double of the year. Luis Heredia has a 4.86 ERA in 53.2 innings, with a 22:26 K/BB ratio.



Box Score

Result: Auburn 3, Jamestown 1

Starting Pitcher: Jake Brigham, RHP – 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Taylor Gushue, C – 1-for-4, HR

Other Notable Performers:

Jordan Luplow, RF – 1-for-4

Trace Tam Sing, SS – 1-for-3, 2B

Marek Minarik, RHP – 4.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Game Notes: Jake Brigham made his first rehab start, throwing three shutout innings with just one walk allowed. He had success with Indianapolis this year, posting a 4.05 ERA in 73.1 innings, with a 63:25 K/BB ratio. Brigham doesn’t have much of a future with the Pirates as a starter, but could be valuable as a reliever later in the season when rosters expand. Taylor Gushue hit his fifth homer of the year. Trace Tam Sing, who recently signed with the Pirates, made his debut and had a double.



Box Score

Result: Greeneville 7, Bristol 3

Starting Pitcher: Omar Basulto, LHP – 3.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Jose Salazar, 1B – 3-for-4, 2 2B

Other Notable Performers:

Edgardo Munoz, 3B – 2-for-4

Enyel Vallejo, LF – 1-for-5, 3B

Game Notes: Enyel Vallejo picked up his third triple of the year. He has been hot lately, with an .898 OPS in 70 at-bats during the month of July. It was about a year ago that Vallejo got his first real opportunity as a starter in the GCL, and he ended up posting a .793 OPS in 111 at-bats. So far this year in Bristol he has an .823 OPS in 96 at-bats. He only has two walks, which raises concern about whether he’ll be able to have success at higher levels. However, as we’ve seen with other Latin American hitters, you don’t necessarily need a high walk rate to move to higher levels and have success.



The GCL Pirates were off today.



The DSL Pirates were off today.

You can check out the DSL Pirates week eight recap here.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Chris Chatham

    I’d bet if he can bounce back next start with two walks or less we’ll probably see a promotion to Altoona.

    • Steve Williams

      Very doubtful, if you mean an immediate promotion. Maybe near the end of the season if he pitches well.

      • Chris Chatham

        After his next start in Bradenton, there will only be about 4 weeks left in the season. I’d think if they were going to promote him to AA they’d want him to try and get 4 or 5 starts there or else they’ll just wait until next season.

  • Kenny Moore

    What is the deal with Heredia? Is this kid just lazy or what. I don’t think he is in our top 15 prospects much less top 10. Not ready to call him a bust because he is so young but come on, he has to start putting strings of good starts together.

    • meatygettingsaucy

      let’s try to avoid calling the kid lazy. By all accounts he came into camp in good shape but, it appears, injuries are taking its tool on the young man. It is a shame but I have a small hope he can regain his stuff and become the guy we envisioned him to be when we signed him as a 16 year old

    • http://batman-news.com NMR

      I don’t think anything is “wrong” with Luis Heredia. Velocity typically peaks early, and Heredia was unquestionably an early developer as a 16 yo. Looks like there’s a good chance that he simply did not have any arm strength projection remaining. As for the rest of his game, baseball is hard, man.

  • ElGaupo77

    You need to note that Garcia is one of the youngest players in all AA

  • glassers

    I really really like Willy since I had a chance to see him play at Pirates City . Hopefully they can get him to improve his strike out percentage but as they say ” that ain’t easy to do ” .

  • Lee Young

    Wily Garcia meet Ruben Mateo.

    • RichardJarzynka

      Willy sounds like a trade deadline candidate.

      • leowalter

        Why? Or,why not a Harold Ramirez type, who might be considered more desirable ?

    • leowalter

      For perspective Lee, Joey Gallo,the top power prospect in all of baseball, has seen his SO percentage jump from around 26.5 at A+ to almost 42 % since his promotion to AA. However,his walk % is still between 12 and 13 %. By the way,he is in his age 20 year,much like Garcia, young for that level. Kris Bryant,the Cub’s power prospect is also striking out at a rate well over 30 % in AA and AAA, but he is several years older than both Garcia and Gallo.

      • http://batman-news.com NMR

        FWIW, I do think Gallo, Bryant, and especially Baez are a bit overhyped because of their individual swing and miss tendencies, but those guys also have 7-8 grade power. Right now, not in the future. Willy Garcia isn’t even close to that.

        • leowalter

          I didn’t say he was comparable to those guys of you if read closely. That comment was just tp point out that young prospects sometimes have big swing and miss issues. But I guarantee you that he has a lot more power than you think he has, and his arm from the outfield is at least a 70 if not higher on the scouting scale. And further more,if you don’t think 32 and 41.5 % SO rates at AA and AAA are going to be a problem when translated to MLB, you are looking at some metrics a lot of people aren’t.

          • http://batman-news.com NMR

            Dude, I literally said those prospects are over hyped because of their swing and miss issues. And which MLB team do you work for again?

            • leowalter

              ” Dude “??? Dude was the Big Lebowski,and I am not him,so try again. Why so damned defensive ? Because most of the time you are guessing about prospects ?

              • http://batman-news.com NMR

                Do you get off an being an internet tough guy? Sweet life, buddy.

                • leowalter

                  Not any more than you do.

  • freddylang

    Willy Garcia is an anomaly for sure. As the season has gone on and especially lately he has seemed to hit better the worse his plate discipline has gotten. not sustainable at higher levels for sure. I have not seen him up close but he has to have rare hit tools to do what he is doing at his age at that level with barely a semblance of an approach.

    • freddylang

      I am hoping a trip to fall league and then a dominant start next year for Garcia but he will probably be back at Altoona. The Pirates seem to have a lot of candidates for fall league this year: Garcia, Hanson. Josh Bell, Gamache potentially because of his injury but only if they see him as any type of prospect. Maybe even Barrett Barnes because of all his time missed…but he may not have enough time under his belt to be ready for the fall league.

  • freddylang

    I was looking at Heredia last night and he has something like 1K and 8 walks over his last 4 starts. You never know what a kid is working on or being told to do but that is showing a total inability to fool or dominate any batters. Zach Von Rosenburg had issues like this too at times before he dropped off the prospect list and I would put Tim Alderson in there too. All different players but it is always worrisome when you see no ability to show any sort of dominance. Heredia is still very young, but that is the only tool he is showing right now.

  • deacs

    I almost hate to even type these words but I was looking at trade proposals on ESPN.com for the Pirates and one was Bell for DJ Peterson which is a lot better than the “their time is now – Polanco and Taillon for Price!!” type deals. So I quickly looked up his stats and I think I’d be on board. I would think this would be a deal that would go down when both players get to AAA (admittedly I don’t know if Peterson is blocked). I’ve heard people say wait til Bell is ready and then trade Marte for a stash of players but I’m not sure I want to get rid of Marte at all, even if he is underachieving some. I would bet Bell has a higher ceiling and more value in RF than Peterson at a corner but the thought of fixing a corner problem next year with an advanced bat had me salivating. Maybe they’ll just move Bell to first and that’ll be that but that might not be until 2016.

    • R Edwards

      Marte and Taillon for Price, and I might do that trade – but only if it includes and extension for Price which may be impossible.

      • deacs

        That was really just an example. ESPN is always saying the Pirates have this imaginary window and they include 2 or 3 of our top five prospects. At this point they’d probably swap Taillon with Glasnow and Marte with Polanco. They’d add a Kingham for good measure. Some of the trade suggestions for Rios and Ramirez last year were a little out there.

        • R Edwards

          I would trade Taillon long before I would agree to trade Glasnow….same with Marte and Polanco.

    • st1300b

      I’ve often wondered why more teams don’t do prospect for prospect deals to fill needs. Not evaluating this at all

      • deacs

        I would love for the Pirates to do this now that they really have some guys they can move without killing their farm and have fewer holes as the years go by. But I think the reason you don’t see more prospect for prospect deals is because I think teams place more internal value on their own prospects since they grow them, put the time in to make adjustments, etc. Just my theory.

        • leowalter

          Mostly because it would be like you and I going into separate stores to buy a lottery ticket,then coming out and trading them with each other.

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