Adrian Sampson took a no-hitter into the ninth inning in his last outing

Top 10 Pitchers: Sampson, Cumpton, Glasnow, and a Pitcher You Should Learn About

Below are the pitching Game Scores* in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system from the last week. The top ten scores are highlighted in the write-up below. The rankings include every pitcher who made a start for a Pirates’ minor league affiliate, with no limitations on whether the starting pitcher has prospect eligibility.

*Game Score is a stat created by Bill James used to determine how good a pitcher’s outing really was. The formula for game score is simple: Start with 50 points, add one point for every out recorded, add two for each inning completed after the fourth, add one point for each strikeout. Subtract two points for each hit, four points for each earned run, two points for each unearned run and one point for each walk. There tends to be an advantage for pitchers who can go longer in the game, as they have more time to pile up strikeouts, while getting bonus points for extra innings beyond the fourth frame.

In terms of pitching game scores, anything that scores a 65 or better is considered a “gem”. The Pirates farm system had four “gems” this week. Here are the top performers.

1. Adrian Sampson – Adrian Sampson has been having a breakout season, and added to that with a one hitter on Friday. Sampson gave up his only hit with one out in the ninth inning, but completed the outing with 98 pitches. His game score of 86 is the highest of any Pirates prospect over the last two years, since we’ve been tracking the weekly scores.

2. Brandon Cumpton – In any other week, Cumpton’s outing would have easily been the top score. He threw eight shutout innings, giving up two hits and four walks. You know what you’re getting with Cumpton. He’ll get a lot of ground ball outs, and won’t give up a lot of hits in Triple-A. He’s good enough to be a starter in the majors, but for now is a strong depth option for the Pirates.

3. John Kuchno – And then there’s this one…

4. John Kuchno – It’s pretty amazing to have two gems in the same week. Kuchno is quietly having a nice season in Bradenton, with a 3.68 ERA in 110 innings. He dealt with control problems early in the year, but has done a better job of that, with 18 walks in his last 66.1 innings. There’s nothing flashy here. Kuchno has a low strikeout total, but an extreme ground ball rate, with a 2.55 GO/AO ratio. He’s got a 61.9% ground ball rate, and has gotten a ground out 29% of the time this year in all plate appearances. In over 80% of plate appearances against him, he is getting a groundout, a strikeout, a fly out, a single, or a walk. Basically, opposing hitters are having a difficult time getting more than one base off him. In fact, that has only happened in 5.01% of his plate appearances this year.

5. Tyler Glasnow – Glasnow ran into some trouble early in his start last week, throwing a 26 pitch first inning. He rebounded quick, and went 5.2 innings, giving up one walk in the entire outing. He’s walked just three batters in 18 innings over his last three starts. Eight of his last ten starts have seen two walks or less. He’s still having a bad start with his control every so often, but the results have gotten much better.

6. Cody Dickson – I had Dickson as a sleeper to break out at the start of the year. He’s a lefty with a good fastball that can touch mid-90s, and a good breaking pitch. He needed to work on his control, and needed a changeup. The first half wasn’t kind to Dickson, with a 4.81 ERA in April, and an ERA over 5 in May and June. Including the second half of June, he has been doing much better lately. Dickson has a 1.89 ERA in 33.1 innings over his last six starts. He’s also been cutting down on the walks, with 11 in that span. The strange thing is that Dickson has struggled against lefties this year, while putting up decent results against right-handers. He’s not breaking out yet, but he’s starting to head in the right direction.

7. Omar Basulto – Basulto has been impressive in Bristol, with a 1.59 ERA in 22.2 innings, along with a 19:5 K/BB ratio. He’s a soft tossing lefty with good control, which usually leads to success in the lower levels. Speaking of that type of pitcher…

8. Gerardo Navarro – Navarro has been decent this year, with one horrible outing blowing up his ERA. His start this week saw one run in five innings, with one walk and five strikeouts. However, he’s also a soft tossing lefty. In both cases, I wouldn’t consider these guys legit prospects until they’ve had success at the Double-A level.

9. Montana DuRapau – DuRapau has been a good story this year. He’s a 32nd round pick who was a college senior. He went to Jamestown and pitched in relief, then moved to the rotation and hasn’t looked back. He’s got a 1.67 ERA in 27 innings, with a 21:4 K/BB ratio. That has to be taken with the disclaimer that he’s a college pitcher in a college league. However, the fact that he’s starting must mean the Pirates see him as a guy who is more than just a lower level organizational filler.

10. Jake Burnette – Burnette has been recovering from shoulder surgery, and made his third rehab start this week, going three innings in the GCL. Based on the progression, his next outing could be four innings, as he gets closer to a return to the higher levels. I’d expect Burnette to go to West Virginia, which is where he started last year before the injury.

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

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, 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.

Pirates Had a Scout Watching A.J. Burnett’s Last Start

Next Story »

Prospect Watch: Big Night For West Virginia Hitters; Horrible Night For Bradenton Hitters

  • CalipariFan506

    Solid year for th Bradenton rotation with Glasnow, Kuchno, Kuhl and Creasy all looking like they’ll earn spots in Altoona next season.

  • pilbobuggins

    As a mental picture of n. Huntington sitting in his office tapping his fingers,while thinking hmm… who to trade,who to trade,goes through my head.

Latest Analysis

  • Keller Supak Hinsz

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

    2 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

    3 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

    5 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