Pirates Prospects http://www.piratesprospects.com Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Thu, 24 Apr 2014 15:38:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Neal Huntington on the Upcoming Amateur Draft http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/neal-huntington-on-the-upcoming-amateur-draft.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/neal-huntington-on-the-upcoming-amateur-draft.html#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 15:03:40 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=77137 Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington spoke with the media recently about the Pittsburgh Pirates approach with this upcoming draft. The Pirates are in an unfamiliar position, making their first pick with the 24th overall selection.

The team’s focus remains the same, but the amount of work going into that first pick definitely increases. There is more uncertainty the further you get from the top and it makes it tougher to get a solid prospect with that pick.

In the past, you could expect a higher priced player to drop due to bonus demands, so you had a chance to get someone with huge upside and a price tag to match, later in the first round. Now with the draft bonus pool cap in place, once a player drops past a certain point, there is no sense in wasting a first round pick on him.

We saw what could happen just two years ago when the Pirates gambled on Mark Appel and he stuck to his bonus demands. It ended up working out okay with the extra pick in 2013, but when you’re picking 24th in a strong draft class, there is no guarantee that you will get anywhere close to the same talent the following season with the compensation pick.

What that all means is that it is important to make the right selection this year for where they are picking and hopefully it’s a “problem” that the Pirates have every year in the future. Huntington broke down his thinking on the draft and the Pirates plans of attack to make sure they do make that right selection.

“It’s a lot easier when you’re pick one, two or four to have a pretty good feel for who is going to get to you, so it’s a bit more of a challenge this year picking 24, which we’ll gladly take and hopefully figure out a way to start picking 28th, 29th and 30 at some point here in the near future.”

Huntington praised the work that the scouts have already done up to this point and acknowledged the amount of work they still have to do as the draft gets closer.

“Our guys are after it, they do such a great job. They’re doing the best you can to narrow down to make sure you get deep looks at the guys you think are going to be in the mix not only at 24 but the competitive balance pick and second-round pick. Again, I just can’t say enough good things about the scouting department.”

The type of player the Pirates will likely get, won’t match the talent/reputation of the top names that Huntington has picked himself since taking over the draft in 2008. That doesn’t mean you ignore those players, but the majority of the time spent scouting them is better spent elsewhere.

“It’s a little bit mixed in that teams picking 24th aren’t taking Pedro Alvarez and they weren’t taking Gerrit Cole. You do your due diligence in case a guy falls for some unexpected reason, but you’re not wearing out a guy that’s going to go in the Top 5. So it’s a different number of looks, maybe a larger number of guys you’re trying to get good looks at, but you don’t have to wear out the guys who are going to go 1, 2, 3, 4. You do your homework and make sure you’re comfortable that if they get to you, you’re happy and you know why you’re happy and you know maybe why they got to you.”

That means that the Pirates aren’t concentrating on the players that have been at the top all season, such as Tyler Kolek, a big prep righty that has no problem throwing high 90′s and dominating lesser competition. Kolek won’t last longer than the first five picks and could very well go first overall. He has been in that general area all year. Same for Alex Jackson, a catcher out of high school in California. He has been a top five pick all year and only cemented his place with a strong performance in his senior year.

Players like prep outfielder Braxton Davidson, prep righty Scott Blewett and college lefty Sean Newcomb have been in the Pirates range all year. They are examples of players that are meeting, but not exceeding expectations. Assuming the Pirates feel the same way about those players as the general consensus does, they are being heavily scouted at every opportunity. Last year, we heard that Huntington himself went to scout Reese McGuire multiple times, so there was a good idea that the Pirates honed in on him and really liked him.

The scouts are concentrating more on a group that has been mentioned later in the draft, players that may start out as second round type picks, so if they do well, you consider them first round and if they hold ground, you have those 65th and 74th overall picks that are almost as important as that first round pick.

“It doesn’t mean we’ve gotta see more guys, we’ve got a great number of scouts out there and our area guys get after it. We’ve got a large number of national and regional supervisors that get after it, so we’ll have deep looks at, typically we get almost double-digits with guys we’ve got the supervisor looks at and not just our area guys which is a good thing for us as an organization. Different set of guys, you shift your focus a little bit.”

What he doesn’t mention, but should be pointed out, is that those players that look like they are obvious top 5-10 picks, have been seen by their scouts in the past. So while they haven’t seen a lot of them this year, they already have a good sense of what they are looking at. If there is buzz that a certain player is dropping, they will get some extra eyes on them for late looks.

An example of a player that was dropping is shortstop Trea Turner from North Carolina State. He was ranked top five early this year, then he started hitting a lot of singles and wasn’t hitting for average. Then some scouts questioned his defensive ability. There is a huge difference between a future shortstop and future second baseman, or a third baseman not hitting for power. Turner has turned things around recently, so his fall has probably halted. The Pirates scouted Turner in high school and even drafted him in the 20th round in 2011. Since then, his NC State team has been scouted for three years, so they have a great idea of what he is as a player.

That also means that they got a look at Turner’s teammate Carlos Rodon, who was picked by many as the first overall pick this year. He has dropped a little, but not much. A late injury or real bad stretch could happen, you don’t want to get a player that way, but they already know about Rodon and it won’t matter much that they didn’t see every single start. If they feel he, or a similar player could drop to them, then there is information out there and still time to get a better look.

As the draft gets closer, we will get a better idea of who the Pirates might take. For now, as Huntington mentioned, it’s obviously a big group that has to be narrowed down into their own rankings, so as players go off the board, they can cross them off their list and go with the best player available. The key is to get their best player available and from the sounds of things, the Pirates are putting in the work to make sure that is what they get.

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Prospect Highlights: Watch Stetson Allie’s Two Home Runs http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/prospect-highlights-watch-stetson-allies-two-home-runs.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/prospect-highlights-watch-stetson-allies-two-home-runs.html#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 14:24:00 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=77280 During yesterday’s Prospect Highlights, Stetson Allie was one of the featured players for his home run and three hits. On Wednesday night, he had a career night in Altoona’s 10-9 walk-off win over Harrisburg. Allie homered twice, doubled, drove in five runs and drew two walks. Below you will find the Altoona highlight video, with both homers from Allie and the game-winner at the end. If you saw yesterday’s highlight video, you’ll notice that all three homers from Allie over the last two days went opposite field. He now has a .291/.400/.655 slash line this season, with nine walks and 13 strikeouts in 55 at-bats. Last year in 66 games for Bradenton, Allie had just four homers.

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Pirates Promote Brandon Cumpton For Today’s Start http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/pirates-promote-brandon-cumpton-for-todays-start.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/pirates-promote-brandon-cumpton-for-todays-start.html#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 14:16:38 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=77283 The Pittsburgh Pirates have recalled right-handed pitcher Brandon Cumpton from Triple-A Indianapolis for today’s start. Cumpton is replacing Wandy Rodriguez in the rotation for at least this start, and could make additional starts while Rodriguez is out. To make room on the 25-man roster, the Pirates optioned Jared Hughes to Triple-A. Hughes was called up earlier in the week when Wandy Rodriguez went on the disabled list, providing the Pirates with an extra reliever for a few days.

For more on Brandon Cumpton, check out Ryan Palencer’s article from yesterday, which talks about Cumpton’s strong start to the year, and includes his upside from an NL scout.

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First Pitch: How Ike Davis Impacts the First Base Prospects in the System http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/first-pitch-how-ike-davis-impacts-the-first-base-prospects-in-the-system.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/first-pitch-how-ike-davis-impacts-the-first-base-prospects-in-the-system.html#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 07:10:43 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=77267 Now that Ike Davis is a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, they potentially have their first base position under control for the next three years. Davis might not work out, but if he plays up to his career numbers, he’ll be a good platoon player at the least.

The Pirates didn’t have a great first base option for the long-term in the minor leagues. The best bet in the short-term was Andrew Lambo, who was a converted outfielder. Lambo had a shot of winning the job out of Spring Training, but struggled and was sent to Triple-A. Now that Davis is in the system, and with Gregory Polanco arriving in right field this summer, it’s hard to find a future spot in Pittsburgh for Lambo.

Beyond Lambo, the Pirates have a few first base prospects, but they’re all raw to various degrees and none of them can be considered the “first baseman of the future.” If you’re wondering, this was true even when Alex Dickerson was in the system. One benefit to having Davis under control through the 2016 season is that the Pirates now have three years for one of those first base prospects to emerge as a long-term starter. Here is a look at each player, ordered from least risk to most risk (which is also ordered from Triple-A to low-A).

Andrew Lambo - The only way for him to get a shot at this point is for someone to get injured. He is hitting well, with a .315/.422/.463 line in 54 at-bats, although his power is entirely from extra base hits. Lambo is playing more outfield now, so his days as a first baseman might be limited. If Ike Davis gets injured (and that has definitely been an issue in the past), then Lambo could get a shot. His value really comes from his bat, and the power he showed last year. However, he hasn’t shown much of that home run power lately, and there’s not a big enough sample size to say that he can provide value without the homers.

Chris McGuiness – One benefit that McGuiness has is that he is a first baseman, so he doesn’t have to learn the position like Lambo. He doesn’t have the power that Lambo has, but he does do a good job of getting on base. McGuiness currently has a .382 OBP and a .477 slugging percentage with Indianapolis, with most of his power coming from extra base hits. It’s hard to see him as much more than a bench bat in the majors. He could become a starter on a weak team, but he’s not the type of first baseman you want to build around for the long-term.

Stetson Allie – He has the best power in the system, and it’s starting to show up lately in Double-A. Allie hit a homer on Tuesday, and hit two more today. He now has a .291/.400/.655 line in 55 at-bats, with five homers. The best part about this is that Allie only has a 23.6% strikeout rate, and is getting on base with walks. He has had issues with strikeouts in the past, and if he can keep those at a respectable level, his upside could be huge. The more likely scenario is that he becomes a version of Pedro Alvarez at first base — hitting a lot of home runs, but having a low average, a lot of strikeouts, and a decent amount of walks.

He’s Rule 5 eligible this off-season, and if he does well in Altoona, he’ll be a guarantee to be protected. The Pirates can take their time with him, but if he does break out this year, he could arrive in Pittsburgh in the second half of 2015, or in 2016. Allie has the most upside of any first baseman in the system, but he’s going to need to continue to show that he can limit strikeouts and do more than just hit home runs. So far, that’s looking good in Altoona this year.

Jose Osuna – Osuna was once one of four promising Latin American prospects coming through the Pirates’ system. Gregory Polanco has gone on to become one of the top prospects in the game. Alen Hanson could be the shortstop of the future for the Pirates. Willy Garcia is having some success in Altoona. But Osuna has struggled in High-A, and finds himself back in Bradenton for the second straight season. When a guy repeats a level, you generally want to see him dominate at that level the second time around. That’s especially true if you’re talking about an all-bat guy like Osuna. He’s shown good power in the lower levels, and he’s got a good frame. However, he isn’t showing much of that power in Bradenton, and looks to be stalling out.

Edwin Espinal – Espinal is intriguing because of the size and the raw power potential. “Raw” is the best word to describe him, since he’s pretty much all projection and no results at this point. In 53 at-bats in West Virginia, he has a .527 OPS, no homers, and just three doubles. The good news is that he only has a 15.1% strikeout rate, so he’s not totally over-matched. Espinal is a huge guy, and definitely has raw power that hasn’t made its way into the game. There’s no guarantee that this power will ever show up. I decided to list him here because of the strikeout rate, and because a lot of scouts outside the organization and people in the Pirates’ organization mention him as a guy with some promise.

Josh Bell* – I mention Bell here with a big disclaimer. Over the off-season I talked about Bell as a guy who could be the first baseman of the future. That was largely because he’d have no spot in the majors as an outfielder, since the trio of Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco are expected to be together for several years. I don’t think the Pirates will be moving Bell to first base any time soon, as outfield is a far more valuable position for him. The only way I see him eventually moving to first base is if Allie doesn’t work out, and Bell is hitting well in the upper levels, and Ike Davis is on his way out of Pittsburgh with no other replacement to take his place.

If I had my pick for the “first baseman of the future”, I’d go with Allie. I was impressed with his approach at the plate this year during Spring Training. It was a noticeable improvement over what I saw in Bradenton last year, and led me to pick him as my breakout candidate for this year. If Davis works in Pittsburgh, then the Pirates can take their time with Allie, giving him full seasons in Altoona and Indianapolis before his jump to the majors. This would have also been true if Lambo would have worked out, since Allie has more upside than Lambo. Either way, he’s the best internal option, and having the first base position solved in Pittsburgh allows the Pirates to focus on his development without having to worry about the immediate need for him in the majors.

Links and Notes

**Brandon Cumpton Will Be Replacing Wandy Rodriguez. To prepare for his start tomorrow, check out Ryan Palencer’s article on how Cumpton avoided the first slow start of his career.

**Tyler Glasnow is Set to Make His 2014 Debut on Friday. That’s good news after all of the injuries to top prospects this year.

**Prospect Watch: Stetson Allie Crushes Two More Home Runs

**Prospect Highlights: Polanco and Allie Homer, Triple From Alen Hanson

**Minor League Schedule: Creasy Looks to Continue Scoreless Streak

**Travis Ishikawa Outrighted to Triple-A; Elects Free Agency

**Draft Prospect Watch: Derek Fisher Homers In Second Game Back

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Prospect Watch: Stetson Allie Crushes Two More Home Runs http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/prospect-watch-stetson-allie-crushes-two-more-home-runs.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/prospect-watch-stetson-allie-crushes-two-more-home-runs.html#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 05:45:17 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=77254 TOP OF THE SYSTEM

A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today.  Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors (Stolmy Pimentel #13). 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 #2, 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 2014 Prospect Guide, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.

1. Gregory Polanco, CF, Indianapolis - 0-for-3

2. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Bradenton - Disabled List (Debut Friday)

3. Austin Meadows, CF, West Virginia - Disabled List (4/22 Update)

4. Alen Hanson, SS, Altoona - 2-for-5, SB

5. Nick Kingham, RHP, Altoona - 5.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 0 HR

6. Reese McGuire, C, West Virginia - 0-for-4

7. Josh Bell, RF, Bradenton - 1-for-6, SB

8. Luis Heredia, RHP, West Virginia Power - Disabled List (4/22 Update)

9. Harold Ramirez, OF, West Virginia - Disabled List (4/14 Update)

10. Tony Sanchez, C, Indianapolis - 0-for-3

11. Andrew Lambo, OF, Indianapolis - 0-for-3

12. Joely Rodriguez, LHP, Altoona - DNP

13. Blake Taylor, LHP, Extended Spring Training - DNP

14. Cody Dickson, LHP, West Virginia - DNP

15. Barrett Barnes, CF, West Virginia - Disabled List (4/14 Update)

16. JaCoby Jones, SS, West Virginia - 1-for-3, BB, SB

17. Michael De La Cruz, OF, Extended Spring Training - DNP

18. Wyatt Mathisen, 3B, West Virginia - 0-for-3

19. Jin-De Jhang, C, Bradenton - 0-for-6

20. Brandon Cumpton, RHP, Indianapolis - In Majors



The 2014 Prospect Guide is now available, and is the perfect resource to follow the minor league system during the 2014 season. You can order your copy on the products page of the site.



Top Pitcher: Jay Jackson, RHP – 5.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Stetson Allie, 1B – 3-for-3, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB

Home Runs: Stetson Allie 2 (4, 5), Justin Howard (1)



Box Score

Result: Toledo 2, Indianapolis 0

Starting Pitcher: Jay Jackson, RHP – 5.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Matt Hague, 3B – 1-for-3

Other Notable Performers:

Andy Oliver, LHP – 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR

Game Notes: Jay Jackson got the start tonight, replacing Brandon Cumpton, who is starting tomorrow in Pittsburgh. Jackson had a good outing, giving up one run on one hit in five innings. He should be a candidate to remain in the rotation as long as Cumpton is in Pittsburgh. Andy Oliver has done a much better job lately with his control issues. In his last five outings, he has a 16:3 K/BB ratio in nine innings of work. Oliver has also been getting his innings stretched out lately, getting two innings in his last outing, and three innings in this appearance. It will be interesting to see if he’s another candidate for a rotation spot with Indianapolis.



Box Score

Result: Altoona 10, Harrisburg 9

Starting Pitcher: Nick Kingham, RHP – 5.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Stetson Allie, 1B – 3-for-3, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB

Other Notable Performers:

Alen Hanson, SS – 2-for-5, SB

Mel Rojas, CF – 2-for-4, BB

Justin Howard, LF – 2-for-2, HR

Game Notes: The Altoona offense has been on fire lately, scoring 27 runs in the last three games. A big part of that has been the performance of Stetson Allie. One day after picking up three hits and a home run, Allie returned with three more hits and two more homers. He had a perfect day at the plate, adding a double and two walks in his five plate appearances. Alen Hanson remained hot at the plate, adding two more hits and his sixth stolen base of the season. Hanson has multiple hits in four of his last five games. Nick Kingham has had some control issues this year, with nine walks in 17 innings over his first three starts. The control was better tonight, with just one walk, but he was hit harder, giving up three earned runs in 5.1 innings.



Box Score

Result: Charlotte 3, Bradenton 2

Starting Pitcher: Orlando Castro, LHP – 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Jose Osuna, 1B – 2-for-6, 2B, 3B

Other Notable Performers:

Eric Wood, 3B – 2-for-5

Jeff Roy, CF – 2-for-5

Josh Bell, RF – 1-for-6, SB

Game Notes: Bradenton lost 3-2 in 14 innings, although the loss was due to the lack of available pitching. Josh Smith and Bryton Trepagnier kept the Marauders in the game, combining for seven shutout innings in relief. Walker Gourley, a position player, came on to pitch for the second day in a row. Gourley pitched last night after the Marauders saw a lot of control problems and went through a lot of relievers. He was back tonight, giving up one run on three hits, and getting just one out in the 14th inning. Jose Osuna picked up two hits, with a double and a triple. Eric Wood had two hits, and is 6-for-18 with two doubles in his first five games.



Box Score

Result: Kannapolis 2, West Virginia 1

Starting Pitcher: Buddy Borden, RHP – 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Michael Fransoso, LF – 1-for-3, 2B

Other Notable Performers:

JaCoby Jones, SS – 1-for-3, BB, SB

Erich Weiss, 2B – 1-for-2, 2 BB

Game Notes: Buddy Borden had some control issues tonight in West Virginia, but was hard to hit, leading to four shutout innings. So far, Borden has a 1.98 ERA in 13.2 innings of work, with a 16:9 K/BB ratio. The walks are a big concern, but his stuff has been great, with a .200 BAA so far. Felipe Gonzalez went 3.2 innings in relief. He had been in the West Virginia rotation replacing Luis Heredia, and was originally the scheduled starter for Friday’s game. That starter is now listed as TBD, which means we’re likely to see a promotion to West Virginia in the next day or two, or possibly the return of Heredia if his injury isn’t that serious.

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Minor League Schedule: Creasy Looks to Continue Scoreless Streak http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/minor-league-schedule-creasy-looks-to-continue-scoreless-streak.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/minor-league-schedule-creasy-looks-to-continue-scoreless-streak.html#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 03:49:48 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=77236 All four affiliates on the schedule for Thursday night, highlighted by Bradenton’s Jason Creasy making his fifth start of the year. He has pitched 11 shutout innings over his last two games. Check out the Prospect Watch from last night. For a look at possible starters down the line, check out our Probable Starter Chart. All minor league transactions over the last month can be found at the bottom of the page.

Jason Creasy has thrown shutout ball in each of his last two starts

Jason Creasy has thrown shutout ball in each of his last two starts

AAA: Indianapolis (13-6) @ Toledo (8-12) 6:30pm 
Probable starter: Adam Wilk (2-1, 4.32)
Yesterday’s Result: Toledo 2, Indianapolis 0

Adam Wilk will make his fourth start of the season today. He has pitched a total of 16.2 innings, allowing 13 hits, two homers and five walks. Wilk has 14 strikeouts, an 0.52 GO/AO ratio and a .210 BAA. In his last start, he went five innings, allowing three runs on four hits and three walks. Wilk faced  Toledo in his second start. He gave up three runs on four hits and a walk over six innings. He struck out a season-high of seven batters in that game.

AA: Altoona (8-9) vs Harrisburg (4-13) 6:30pm
Probable starter: Tyler Sample (1-0, 1.50)
Yesterday’s Result: Altoona 10, Harrisburg 9

Tyler Sample will make his third start of the season tonight. He has also pitched once in relief. In his first start, Sample went four innings, giving up two runs on two hits and six walks. In his last start, he threw five shutout innings, allowing two hits and he walked five batters. In 12 innings, he has given up just five hits, but has walked 14 batters.

High-A: Bradenton (12-7) @ Charlotte (7-12) 6:30pm
Probable starter: Jason Creasy (1-0, 1.83)
Yesterday’s Result: Charlotte 3, Bradenton 2 in 14 innings

Jason Creasy will make his fifth start of the season tonight, the first Pirates pitcher to reach that number in the minors. Creasy has thrown shutout ball in each of his last two outings. In 19.2 innings on the season, he has allowed 17 hits, one homer and six walks. Creasy has eight strikeouts, a 1.37 GO/AO ratio and a .246 BAA. He made his season debut against Charlotte, giving up two runs over 4.2 innings.

Low-A: West Virginia (7-11) vs Hagerstown (14-5) 7:05pm  
Probable starter: Cody Dickson (2-1, 4.02)
Yesterday’s Result: Kannapolis 2, West Virginia 1

Cody Dickson will make his fourth start of the season tonight. He has had two strong outings and one poor showing. He threw five shutout innings in his season debut, striking out seven batters. Dickson didn’t walk any batters in either of his first two starts. He has pitched a total of 15.2 innings, giving up 19 hits, two homers and two walks. Dickson has 12 strikeouts, a 1.42 GO/AO ratio and a .322 BAA.

Recent Transactions

4/23: Tyler Waldron promoted to Altoona. Brandon Mann sent to Bradenton.

4/22: Zack Dodson placed on DL. Kenn Kasparek added to Altoona roster.

4/22: Brent Morel placed on Bereavement List. Cody Eppley added to Indianapolis roster.

4/21: Phil Hughes recalled to majors. Jay Jackson added to Indianapolis roster.

4/20: Carlos Paulino assigned from Indianapolis to Altoona roster. Ralph Henriquez assigned to Jamestown roster.

4/19: Chris Stewart activated from disabled list. Tony Sanchez sent to Indianapolis.

4/18: Quinton Miller added to Altoona roster. Kelson Brown placed on disabled list.

4/17: Jovany Lopez loaned to Rojos del Aguila of the Veracruz League(Mexico)

4/17: Eric Wood activated from disabled list and added to Bradenton roster. D.J. Crumlich reassigned to minor league camp.

4/16: Collin Balester activated from disabled list and assigned to Bradenton.

4/16: Adalberto Santos assigned to Indianapolis. Jay Jackson transferred to Jamestown roster.

4/14: Luis Heredia placed on disabled list. Brett McKinney added to West Virginia roster.

4/13: Adalberto Santos transferred from Indianapolis to Jamestown roster.

4/12: Vin Mazzaro assigned to Indianapolis. Josh Kinney transferred to Jamestown roster.

4/11: Chris Stewart transferred from Bradenton to Indianapolis.

4/11: Jeff Locke activated from disabled list. Assigned to Indianapolis.

4/7: Barrett Barnes and Harold Ramirez placed on disabled list. Adam Landecker and Justin Maffei added to West Virginia roster.

4/6: Chris Stewart assigned to Bradenton on rehab.

4/5: Robert Andino placed on disabled list. Blake Davis added to Indianapolis roster.

4/4: Stetson Allie added to Altoona roster. Junior Sosa transferred to Jamestown roster.

4:4 Kenn Kasparek and Quinton Miller placed on disabled list. Brandon Mann added to Altoona roster.

3/29: Quincy Latimore and Erick Fernandez released.

3/27: Traded a player to be named later in exchange for Keon Broxton.

3/25: Acquired Vance Worley in exchange for cash.

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Travis Ishikawa Outrighted to Triple-A; Elects Free Agency http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/travis-ishikawa-outrighted-to-triple-a-and-likely-to-elect-free-agency.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/travis-ishikawa-outrighted-to-triple-a-and-likely-to-elect-free-agency.html#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 23:10:18 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=77206 Travis Ishikawa has been outrighted to Triple-A by the Pittsburgh Pirates after clearing waivers, Chris Cotillo reports.

Cotillo says that Ishikawa is likely to elect free agency. He can elect free agency since he currently has more than six years of service time in the majors. It also makes sense that he would elect free agency, since he’s not going to get much of a chance at first base with Indianapolis and it’s obvious he’s no longer in the organization’s plans at first base after the Ike Davis trade.

UPDATE 7:10 PM: Ishikawa has elected free agency. Since he has less than five years of service time, he won’t receive the full $1 M salary from the Pirates. It is my understanding that he would only receive money for the time he was in the organization, which is up until today. That means his hit on the payroll is a little less than $150,000.

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Draft Prospect Watch: Derek Fisher Homers In Second Game Back http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/draft-prospect-watch-derek-fisher-homers-in-second-game-back.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/draft-prospect-watch-derek-fisher-homers-in-second-game-back.html#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 20:00:12 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=77225 Some mid-week draft news and notes. Baseball America has two draft features from this week that are worth checking out, plus a couple other links of note. Below that, you will find some college recaps from the first two days this week.

First up is their draft podcast with John Manuel and Clint Longenecker. If you have the time to listen to it, you should. They have great info on the prep pitchers that are establishing themselves as first round pick, including Scott Blewett, who has been mentioned here often. Blewett is a tall, projectable righty from upstate New York and he has been mentioned in the Pirates range often. They also talk about Spencer Adams, a right-handed prep pitcher out of Ohio that has made great strides this year. BA ranked him 26th in their updated rankings earlier this month.

To go along with the podcast, BA also did a draft chat that was hosted by John Manuel on Wednesday afternoon. Tons of info here on top prep players.

BA also has an update from college baseball that includes some information on Central Florida pitcher Eric Skoglund and Wichita State first baseman Casey Gillaspie. Skoglund was drafted by the Pirates in the 16th round in 2011 and has established himself as a player that will go much earlier this year. Gillaspie could sneak into the first round and be an option for the Pirates. More on him below.

One final BA update. On Monday, they posted the weekly stats for the top college players in this draft. There is also a video of Florida State pitcher Luke Weaver and a recap of some of the better pitchers in the country.

Early Week College Results

Oregon State played two games against Sacramento State this week. On Monday, outfielder Michael Conforto had a big game. He went 4-for-4 with a walk, three RBIs, a home run and a stolen base. He is going to be a first round draft pick, with many rating him mid-round. His outfield partner Dylan Davis, who will also be a high draft pick, had a game on Monday that was as bad as Conforto’s was good. Davis was 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. On Tuesday, the two players switched roles. Davis was 2-for-5 with a homer and he drove in four runs, while Conforto was 0-for-2 with three walks and a run scored.

Casey Gillaspie had a nice game against Missouri on Tuesday. He went 4-for-5 with a stolen base and run scored. All four hits were singles.

Catcher Max Pentecost helped Kennesaw State defeat Georgia on Tuesday. He was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, a double and a walk in the 3-1 win.

Sunday marked the return of outfielder Derek Fisher from Virginia. He was a player mentioned often early on in the Pirates range. Then he broke his hamate and missed over a month of action. In his game back, he went 0-for-3 against North Carolina. On Tuesday, Fisher was 2-for-4 with a homer and was hit by a pitch. The homer is especially impressive because hamate injuries are known to sap power from players for up to a year. Fisher’s teammate Mike Papi was getting some first round mentions recently, but he went 0-for-2 on Tuesday and he is now 0-for-11 in his last four games.

Stanford third baseman Alex Blandino went 2-for-5 with a double and three runs scored against Santa Clara on Tuesday. He has got some first round mention throughout the year, but will likely end up in the 30-40 range. He is hitting .303/.392/.467 through 33 games.

San Francisco outfielder Bradley Zimmer went 0-for-3 on Tuesday against Nevada, but still had an impact in the game. He walked twice, stole three bases and scored two runs. He has been mentioned often recently as the top college bat and he could sneak into the top ten picks.

On Tuesday, North Carolina State lost to Campbell by a 9-0 score. Shortstop Trea Turner went 1-for-3 with a single and walk. The 2011 pick of the Pirates has dropped from a high of top five early, down to mid-first range. Right now it’s doubtful he could fall to the Pirates, but just a couple months ago, he was consistently 10-15 spots higher for everyone, so I wouldn’t rule it out.

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Brandon Cumpton avoids first slow start of career http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/brandon-cumpton-avoids-first-slow-start-of-career.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/brandon-cumpton-avoids-first-slow-start-of-career.html#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:08:53 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=77160 Brandon Cumpton is off to a staggeringly strong start this season. However, that is not something that he is generally accustomed to.

This is a trend that holds up statistically as well, as 2014 is the only successful April that Cumpton has compiled in professional baseball. In 2013, Cumpton allowed 16 earned runs in 28 innings with Altoona and Indianapolis. In 2012, he allowed 10 earned runs in 25 innings with Altoona. But the most astounding is the 21 earned runs in 13 innings that he allowed with West Virginia in 2011.

This season, Cumpton got the early season woes out of his system in his first three Spring Training starts. In those games, he allowed seven runs (only three earned) in nine innings. In his final two games of the spring, he allowed just one earned run on five hits in 9.2 innings.

“I have kind of noticed that I come out the gates a little slow and need to get adjusted to stuff,” Cumpton said. “I came out and got hit around a little bit and it kind of put me back to the drawing board to figure some things out. I feel like I finished really strong in Spring Training and so far it has carried over into the season.”

Cumpton has allowed 20 base runners in 19 innings, with only three runs over the span. He has struck out 11, while only walking three. The success at the end of last season was another source that Cumpton credits for his early season success, but he still has a goal to accomplish soon.

“I want to be the guy who can get out there and go deep, go six or seven innings,” he said. “I haven’t gotten to 100 pitches yet, so I am kind of looking forward to that. Hopefully in the next outing, I should be able to get to 100 pitches. I am really just continuing what I have been working on for the last year or two, which is going deep into games.”

In order to go deep in games, Cumpton sets up hitters by establishing the fastball early and then working off of it with the off speed pitches that he possesses. With this, Cumpton looks to get ahead of hitters with the fastball and get them to put the ball in play on the ground within the first three pitches of the at bat. This season, his groundball to flyball ratio is 1.4:1. Though the ratio in 2012 was over 2:1, he figures to be around the 1.3 to 1.5 range.

Indianapolis pitching coach Tom Filer said that part of the game plan is for Cumpton to be a little more fastball dominant, due to “him having a good one.” He said that of 80 pitches in a game, it is expected for about 60 of them to be fastballs, which Cumpton hits in the low to mid 90s.

“He has a lot of confidence in it and it has a little bit of a second gear to it,” Filer said. “It has a different look. It has a little more kick and a little more run to it. He has a lot of life to his stuff.”

Along with the fastball, Cumpton possesses a slider and change-up, which he stated that he is working to further develop.

“As a big sinker ball guy, I am looking to refine those secondary pitches,” Cumpton said. “I need to be able to throw them in there when I am behind in the count or to throw them early in the count to help complement my fastball.”

With his accompaniment of pitches, one National League scout projects Cumpton as a four to five starter in the Major Leagues.

“He clearly knows how to pitch,” the scout said. “He has good mound presence. He is not dominant like a top of the rotation guy, but he has good stuff and shows the ability of a fourth.”

Though the scout admitted that Cumpton does not have dominant, overpowering stuff, he said that all of Cumpton’s pitches are “at least average.”

Filer also mentioned Cumpton’s competitiveness as another perk. He pointed to Cumpton’s last start as a prime example.

“I did not think that he was very good in his first couple innings, yet he was still affective because he is a tenacious competitor,” Filer said. “He competes against both himself and the other team. (In that start), I thought that his last three to four innings were his best this year. He’s learning as we go and I think that he is learning what he can and can’t do.”

It is a combination of each of those attributes that makes Cumpton the expected starter to replace Wandy Rodriguez in Thursday’s start against the Reds. Cumpton’s early season success mixed with some momentum that he built in Pittsburgh last season allows me to believe that he will be there to stay this year.

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Prospect Highlights: Polanco and Allie Homer, Triple From Alen Hanson http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/prospect-highlights-polanco-and-allie-homer-triple-from-alen-hanson.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/prospect-highlights-polanco-and-allie-homer-triple-from-alen-hanson.html#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:57:07 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=77191 Three big name players from the Pirates farm system had big hits in yesterday’s games. As you will see, three was the common theme for all of them. Starting with the top prospect in the system, Gregory Polanco had three hits for Indianapolis yesterday, including his third homer of the season in the seventh inning. He also picked up his third stolen base.

The 7-0 shutout from Altoona on Tuesday had some great pitching from Adrian Sampson and the bullpen. The highlights of the game though, were big nights from two hitters that have started the season slow. Alen Hanson showed off his bat and speed, then two batters later, Stetson Allie did what he does best.

Stetson Allie shows off his tremendous power by hitting an opposite field homer. It doesn’t even look like he squared the ball up good, but he was able to muscle it over the right field fence for his third home run of the season. Allie finished Tuesday night’s game with three hits.

Alen Hanson also had three hits and scored three runs on Tuesday. After two singles in his first two at-bats, Hanson triples to the left-center field gap to lead off the fourth inning. He scored one batter later on a Gift Ngoepe sacrifice fly. The triple was his third of the season.

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