Prospect Watch

Prospect Watch: Yeudy Garcia Pitches a Gem, While Nick Kingham Struggles

Nick Kingham makes his third start for Altoona tonight in game three of the playoffs. Photo Credit: Sean McCool
Prospect Watch: Yeudy Garcia Pitches a Gem, While Nick Kingham Struggles
John Dreker

P2 Top 30

A look at how the current top 30 prospects did today. If a player is in the majors and loses his prospect eligibility, 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, 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 30 active prospects on the list. Rankings are from the 2016 mid-season update, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.

We’re working on a solution for the PHP stat codes not working in the app.

1. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates –DNP

2. Austin Meadows, CF, Indianapolis – DNP

3. Josh Bell, 1B, Pirates – DNP

4. Kevin Newman, SS, Altoona – 3 for 5, 2B , 3B

5. Mitch Keller, RHP, Bradenton DNP

6. Nick Kingham, RHP, Altoona – 2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 0 HR

7.Cole Tucker, SS, Bradenton – 1 for 4

8. Will Craig, 3B, Morgantown –  DNP

9. Steven Brault, LHP, Pirates – DNP

10. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, West Virginia –DNP

11. Elias Diaz, C, Indianapolis – DNP

12. Clay Holmes, RHP, Altoona – DNP

13. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Bradenton7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 1 HR

14. Gage Hinsz, RHP, West Virginia  – DNP

15. Trevor Williams, RHP, Pirates – DNP

16. Alen Hanson, 2B, Pirates – DNP

17. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Altoona – DNP

18. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Altoona –DNP

19. Max Moroff, 2B, Indianapolis –DNP

20. Taylor Hearn, LHP, West Virginia – DNP

21. Adrian Valerio, SS – Bristol – DNP

22. Braeden Ogle, LHP, GCL Pirates – DNP

23. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Bradenton –2 for 5, 2B

24. Travis MacGregor, RHP, GCL Pirates – DNP

25. Max Kranick, RHP, GCL Pirates – DNP

26. Frank Duncan, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

27. Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

28. Connor Joe, 3B, Bradenton – 2 for 3, HR

29. Erich Weiss, 2B, Altoona – 0 for 1

30. Stephen Alemais, SS, West Virginia –  DNP

P2 Top Performers


Kevin Newman
3 for 5
Stetson Allie
2 for 4
Connor Joe
2 for 3
Kevin Kramer
2 for 5
Jonathan Schwind
2 for 3


Taylor Gushue
Connor Joe


Yeudy Garcia
Cody Dickson
Nick Kingham
Tanner Anderson
Junior Lopez

Game Score

Yeudy Garcia
Nick Kingham


Box Score

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
ALT 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 9 1
AKR 0 2 2 0 0 0 1 4 x 9 10 1

Newman SS 5 0 3 1 1 0 2 0 1 .538 .571 .923
Feliz RF 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .250 .308 .750
Barnes LF 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .273 .308 .273
Espinal, E 1B 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .077 .077 .077
Allie DH 4 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 .545 .615 1.182
Morales, T C 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .250 .250 .250
   1-Escobar, El PR-CF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Wood, E 3B 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 .375 .583 .625
Schwind CF 3 1 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 .333 .333 .333
   Jhang C 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .300 .300 .500
Diaz, C 2B 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 .000 .333 .000
   a-Weiss PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .600 .625
Kingham P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Lopez P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Dickson P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
DuRapau P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000

a-Flied out for Diaz, C in the 9th.
1-Ran for Morales, T in the 8th.

2B: Newman (3, Kaminsky); Allie (1, Hill).
3B: Newman (1, Hill).
TB: Newman 6; Allie 3; Espinal, E; Morales, T; Schwind 2.
RBI: Schwind (1); Diaz, C (1); Newman 2 (3).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Allie; Schwind; Barnes; Wood, E.
Team RISP: 2-for-10.
Team LOB: 6.

CS: Wood, E (1, 2nd base by Hill/Haase).

E: Morales, T (1, pickoff).
Outfield assists: Feliz (Allen at 1st base); Schwind (Mathias at 2nd base).
DP: (Feliz-Espinal, E).

Kingham 2.2 4 4 4 4 3 0 13.50 13.5 18
Lopez 0.1 1 0 0 0 1 0 20.25 18 9
Dickson (L, 0-1) 4.1 4 4 3 5 4 0 6.23 9 11.25
DuRapau 0.2 1 1 1 0 0 1 5.40 9 0

Game Scores: Kingham 31; Kaminsky 41.
WP: Hill.
IBB: Stamets (by Dickson).
HBP: Smith, J (by Dickson).
Pitches-strikes: Kingham 69-40; Lopez 10-7; Dickson 92-49; DuRapau 11-6; Kaminsky 74-46; Hill 42-26; Sulser 26-16.
Groundouts-flyouts: Kingham 1-1; Lopez 0-0; Dickson 6-1; DuRapau 0-2; Kaminsky 2-5; Hill 0-0; Sulser 1-1.
Batters faced: Kingham 14; Lopez 2; Dickson 23; DuRapau 3; Kaminsky 22; Hill 8; Sulser 7.
Inherited runners-scored: Lopez 1-0; DuRapau 2-2.
Umpires: HP: Mike Wiseman. 1B: Ryan Wills. 3B: John Mang.
Weather: 82 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 3 mph, In from LF.
First pitch: 7:07 PM.
T: 3:14.
Att: 4,166.
Venue: Canal Park.
September 9, 2016

AKRON, OH – The Curve essentially ran themselves out of the game tonight, recording four separate outs on the base paths against the Akron Rubberducks. After the dust settled on a sloppily played Friday night game in Akron, the Curve lost 9-4 to fall behind in the Eastern League Western Division Series, two games to one.

With multiple chances to put more runs on the board, four runners were thrown out on the base paths, with three of them happening on occasions that more than likely cost them runs.

In the fourth, Kevin Newman pulled a hard liner down the left field line. Two runs scored, but Chris Diaz was thrown out at home after an aggressive send by Joey Cora coaching third. After the play at the plate, Newman got caught between second and third, and he was thrown out trying to advance to third. It officially went as a 7-6-2-5 double play, but the Curve tied the game at 4 in the fourth.

“I was running to second, and I watched the play at home rather continuing to run to third,” Newman said. “I hesitated. It cost me a split second, and unfortunately I got thrown out at third.”

In the sixth, Eric Wood broke to second base on a ball in the dirt with Stetson Allie standing on third base. The ball didn’t get past Akron’s catcher, and Wood was thrown out fairly easily.

“In a dirt ball read, you either read it right away or you don’t go,” Manager Joey Cora said said about Wood. “He saw it, thought about it, then went. Once that happens, you have no chance. When the ball hits the dirt, it has to be automatic. He didn’t do that.”

Altogether, the Curve went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position, and the team just simply didn’t come through when they had chances.

“We had plenty of chances to get to 5-4,” Cora said. “We could’ve taken the lead, but we didn’t come through. We made a bunch of bad outs on the bases and gave them life. We kept them in the ballgame and in the end, they blew it open.”

Akron Manager Dave Wallace agreed after the game that the Curve essentially gave them life with different mistakes, and the Rubberducks took advantage of those mistakes.

“In some aspects, I consider ourselves pretty fortunate,” Wallace said. “When the other team makes some mistakes, we need to take advantage of it. That’s what we were able to do.

“We kept our cool, stayed in the game, and were able to open it up there in the end.”

Akron jumped to a quick 4-0 lead off of Nick Kingham who made his first professional playoff appearance for the Curve. He was not able to get out of the third inning after allowing four runs. He struggled with his command from the get-go, walking four and allowing four hits against the 14 batters he faced.

Pitching Coach Justin Meccage said that he saw that Kingham may not have had his best stuff before the game even started in the bullpen, and Kingham confirmed those concerns with a lead-off walk on four pitches. He came back to strikeout the second batter, Indians rehab player Yan Gomes, on a 93 MPH fastball swinging. Anderson Feliz recorded a fly out to the next batter and picked off the runner at first base after making the catch.

In the second, Kingham loaded the bases after two singles and a walk. Akron hitter Mark Mathias singled on a ground ball up the middle, scoring two runs. The third was more of the same, walking two more batters before a line drive single to right field scored both runners.

Kingham struggled with command of all his pitches. He was yanking his fastball, showing that he may have been trying to be too perfect. His breaking ball showed signs of life sporadically, but it ultimately wasn’t being located well enough to be overly effective.

Meccage said that getting back into a competitive mode after having so much time off then trying to transition right into a playoff race.

“None of his pitches were quality tonight,” Meccage said. “It’s probably that transition to competing mode and getting out of that rehab mode. He hasn’t competed in games that really matter in 16 or 18 months. These last two games that he’s pitched in, the games have mattered. He may have been trying to do a little too much and maybe trying to make too good of pitches, and it’s causing them to not be as quality as he could be.

“It’s hard enough for a guy that has pitched all year, let alone a guy that has just pitched just the past few weeks.”

Cody Dickson piggybacked off of Kingham’s start, opening the fourth inning and pitching into the eighth inning. He allowed three earned runs and four overall, with two of those runs coming from runners he allowed on base in the eighth inning. Montana DuRapau relieved Dickson and gave up a three-run shot to right field, which essentially put the game out of hand.

Dickson, overall, allowed some hits – including some hard hit balls early in his innings of work – but he worked out of jams on a few separate occasions.

“He threw the ball well,” Meccage said. “I thought he competed hard. He was a little erratic at times, but he found ways to minimize damage, and unfortunately those runs were charged to him on the home run. He had good stuff tonight.”

His fastball reached 94 MPH, and he was effective working mostly to the outside of the plate against right-handed batters.

“That’s his best side of the plate,” Meccage said about the outer half to righties. “With the change up, curve ball, and fastball, it’s where he is most effective. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t need to go to the other side of the plate, because it will make the rest of his stuff more effective.”

The unearned run against him occurred in the seventh inning, when catcher Tomas Morales tried to back-pick the runner at first, but the throw came up short of Espinal’s glove and went into foul territory in right field. The runner who was on second base at the time came around to score.

“We’ve done it a lot of times this year,” Cora said about back-picking at first base. “I can’t blame the guys for trying it. We’ve picked off a lot of guys at first base. It just so happened that when it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t look good. We’ve done that play plenty of times this year, but it just didn’t work.”

Cora, and the Pirates in general, preach being aggressive, but it seems that it just didn’t work out in their favor tonight.

“It’s how we played all throughout the year,” Curve outfielder Jon Schwind said. “We try to push the envelope. We’re trying to trust our instincts. Sometimes our instincts are wrong. Usually they are right, but tonight they just didn’t go our way.”

Akron left fielder Mike Papi said that their team almost felt lucky that things went their way.

“It was a very wacky, unorthodox kind of game,” Papi said. “Fortunately, most of those plays were on our end. That’s the difference in a baseball game sometimes. It’s the weird plays that fall your way.

From a pure baseball performance standpoint, Kevin Newman was the Curve’s best hitter tonight, going 3-for-5 from the plate, including another first inning hit from the lead-off spot. Stetson Allie and Jon Schwind both added two hits, with Allie hitting a double before Wood was thrown out at second base.

The Curve also had numerous deep outs coming off of the bats of Eric Wood, Tomas Morales, Anderson Feliz, and Erich Weiss. On four separate occasions, Akron made good defensive plays to get back towards the wall and make the out on hard hit fly balls.

Even though the final score doesn’t show it, Joey Cora said that his team showed a lot of battle in the game.

“The score doesn’t show it, but we had plenty of chances to take the lead. We just couldn’t come through.”

Down in the series 2-1, the Curve will turn to lefty Brandon Waddell tomorrow to try to even the series. -Sean McCool


Box Score

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
TBY 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 6 0
BRA 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 4 x 8 9 1

Tucker SS 4 0 1 0 0 0 2 1 1 .214 .267 .214
Reyes, Pab CF 3 1 1 0 0 0 1 2 0 .455 .571 .545
Kramer 2B 5 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 2 .385 .429 .462
Suiter 1B 4 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 .308 .308 .308
Simpson DH 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .429 .556 .429
Joe 3B 3 2 2 0 0 1 3 0 0 .417 .385 1.000
Luplow LF 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .250 .333 .625
Gushue C 3 2 1 0 0 1 1 1 2 .200 .500 .800
Suchy RF 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .273 .333 .364
Garcia, Y P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Anderson P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000

2B: Kramer (1, Bisacca).
HR: Joe (2, 2nd inning off German, 0 on, 2 out); Gushue (1, 5th inning off German, 0 on, 0 out).
TB: Tucker; Luplow; Kramer 3; Suiter; Reyes, Pab; Joe 5; Gushue 4.
RBI: Joe 3 (4); Gushue (1); Tucker 2 (2); Suiter (3); Reyes, Pab (1).
2-out RBI: Joe; Tucker 2; Reyes, Pab.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Luplow 2; Reyes, Pab; Kramer 2.
SF: Joe.
Team RISP: 3-for-9.
Team LOB: 7.

SB: Luplow (1, 2nd base off Bisacca/Wilson, W); Tucker (1, 2nd base off Bisacca/Wilson, W).

E: Joe (1, throw).
Pickoffs: Garcia, Y (Polo at 1st base).

Garcia, Y (W, 1-0) 7 6 1 1 0 6 1 1.29 7.71 0
Anderson (S, 1) 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 2.45 9 0

Game Scores: German 42; Garcia, Y 67.
WP: German.
HBP: Polo (by Garcia, Y); Mateo, J (by Anderson).
Pitches-strikes: German 77-49; Bisacca 57-38; Rivera, Ed 18-4; Garcia, Y 89-67; Anderson 25-18.
Groundouts-flyouts: German 5-2; Bisacca 3-1; Rivera, Ed 0-0; Garcia, Y 5-6; Anderson 4-0.
Batters faced: German 21; Bisacca 14; Rivera, Ed 4; Garcia, Y 26; Anderson 8.
Inherited runners-scored: Rivera, Ed 2-2.
Umpires: HP: Dave Attridge. 1B: Reid Joyner. 2B: Ronnie Whiting. 3B: Matt Snodgrass.
Weather: 90 degrees, cloudy.
Wind: 6 mph, Out to RF.
First pitch: 6:31 PM.
T: 2:36.
Att: 470.
Venue: McKechnie Field.
September 9, 2016

BRADENTON, Fla. – Tonight’s win by the Marauders against the Tampa Yankees was almost an exact repeat of their win over the St. Lucie Mets on Wednesday night. Their starting pitcher stepped up with arguably one of his best outings of the year, and the offense showed up in a big way. What made it even more comparable was that the offense started off in the same way, with Connor Joe hitting a solo homer to the opposite field in the second inning.

“Just like the other night, just staying to the opposite field,” Bradenton manager Michael Ryan said after the game. “He’s putting good swings on [the ball]. His balance is really good right now. He’s staying up the middle. Just the way he takes breaking balls, you can tell he’s very balanced. His head is staying still. It’s good, impressive.”

Equally impressive was the start from Yeudy Garcia. As I’ve written throughout the year, Garcia has run into problems this year with his command, running up high pitch counts, and leaving games after 4-5 innings, with 80-90 or more pitches in the start. He hasn’t gone deep into games as often, and his pitch usage has been poor at times, relying too much on the slider early in the year, and not working with the changeup as much. In the second half, he used the changeup more often, the slider less, and that led to him being more successful and going deeper into games.

Tonight, he went seven innings, giving up just one solo homer in the seventh inning, and striking out six batters.

“I think his mindset going into the game was really good,” Ryan said. “I think before, there were some starts where he tried to coast through the first inning. Tonight, he was absolutely ready from pitch number one. The game one start I think gave him some adrenaline.”

The night didn’t start off great, with a leadoff single allowed to speedster Jorge Mateo, who had 36 stolen bases this year, after 82 last year between Low-A and High-A. But Mateo was thrown out stealing in the next at-bat by Taylor Gushue, which got Garcia off the hook.

“[That] was huge,” Ryan said. “Got him back into a rhythm.”

Garcia was doing a good job working his fastball down in the zone, sitting around 92 MPH with the pitch, and hitting 94 a few times. His slider struggled early, and he didn’t use his changeup much. However, he rediscovered his slider late in the game, and mixed in his changeup, which led to him taking his game to the next level. He had six strikeouts on the night, and five of them came in the final two innings.

“He did a very nice job with the off-speed,” pitching coach Scott Elarton said. “Used a slider a little more early than the changeup, and the second and third time around the order, started mixing the changeup, which made the fastball more effective. The slider wasn’t great, but then it came around towards the end of the game, and ended up striking out five of the last six [outs]. Made a big statement right there.”

There was an interesting situation in the seventh inning. After giving up the solo homer to lead off the inning, Garcia struck out the next two batters. That brought up former Pirates prospect Tito Polo, who is a good friend of Garcia’s. The first pitch was inside, and got away from Garcia, hitting Polo and putting him on first.

After Polo reached base, Garcia started working on him with a few pick-off throws. The first two were unsuccessful, but Garcia tried again and picked him off first for the final out of the inning. That was apparently part of the strategy if Polo got on.

“No one’s ever picked on him three times all year,” Ryan said of Polo. “Being here, if they picked twice, he was going next pitch. That’s what we figured. Put the pick on again, use that to our advantage a bit.”

The Marauders also tested Polo’s arm every chance they got, with the right fielder allowing two runs on wild throws. The first one came on a sacrifice fly by Connor Joe in the fourth inning. Polo’s throw from shallow right took the catcher up the line. It beat the runner, but the catcher couldn’t hold onto the ball while making the tag, possibly because he had to move to get it.

The next throw came in the eighth inning on a single by Jerrick Suiter, with Kevin Kramer at second. Polo launched the ball to the plate, air-mailing it to the backstop and allowing Suiter to advance to second, scoring two batters later on a single up the middle by Joe. That was part of a big four run inning, which gave the Marauders plenty of insurance.

I asked Ryan if their strategy tonight was to test his arm.

“Yep,” Ryan said with a bit of a smile, declining to say anything else.

Tanner Anderson came on for the final two frames, showing off his big Bronson Arroyo style leg kick and sitting 92-94 MPH with his fastball. He struck out two in the first inning, and his only damage in the two frames was a hit by pitch in the eighth, and an error by Joe on a wild throw in the ninth.

The Marauders took a 1-0 series lead in the Florida State League finals. They will play Tampa tomorrow night, with Austin Coley on the mound. – Tim Williams

Prospect Watch
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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