2011 Prospect Watching: Brown, Maggie, Ngoepe, And Santos

Continuing to look at the middle infielders in the Pirates’ minor league organization:

Kelson Brown  –  R/R,  6′ 3″,  170 lb
Brown was the Pirates’ 34th round draft pick in 2010, coming off some surprising success as a senior at Linfield College (.443 average, 9 homers).  Brown reported to State College, where he was a little “old” for the level.  He jumped out to a big start, hitting .348 with 6 RBI in June.  That dropped to .247 in July, though his RBI bumped up to 12.  He settled out to .298 with 7 RBI in August.  The overall average for the season was .293, with 12 doubles  and 26 RBI.  Despite being listed as a shortstop, Brown played most of his games (40) at third base, where he did well — just 3 errors.  He also played 11 games at second base and 3 at short.  He’s said to have a strong arm, and that’s probably why he played so much at third.  the 23-year-old Brown should be moved up to West Virginia for 2011.  It will be interesting to see if his hitting continues.

Drew Maggi  – R/R,  6′ 0″,  175 lb
Maggi was chosen in the 15th round of the 2010 draft.  He signed late, so did not get to State College until August, and got into only 18 games for the Spikes.  All of those games were played at shortstop, where Maggi made 8 errors.  He struggled at the plate, too, hitting just .156, with 3 doubles and 2 RBI.  He struck out 15 times in 18 games (23.4%), though he also walked 8 times (11.8%).  He stole 5 bases, and has good speed.  The tough start to his pro career could be just a fluke, or just getting used to the pro life (and wooden bats) and a layoff after finishing the college season.  The Pirates think highly of him, and it’s likely that he’ll be promoted to West Virginia anyway.  Maggi will turn 22 years old in May.

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Marauders Win Second Half Title; Walk-Off Homer For Gonzalez

Sunday’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates… this is the season finale for the Spikes, and the regular season finale for the Marauders.

West Virginia Power� 4,� Hagerstown Suns� 3 ….��� (box)

Elevys Gonzalez was the hero in the bottom of the 10th inning with a blast over the right-center field wall for a walk-off homer.� The Suns had scored first with a solo home run off Power starter Eliecer Navarro to lead off the 2nd inning and another solo blast to begin the 4th inning.� Navarro scattered 5 more hits over the rest of the first 5 innings without allowing a run to score.� He began the 6th inning by giving up a walk, then an RBI double to give the Suns their third run.� Maurice Bankston relieved Navarro to finish the 6th inning, then went on to pitch 2 scoreless innings.

The Power got one run back in the bottom of the 4th, with the help of 3 consecutive walks.� CF Evan Chambers walked first, but was caught stealing second base.� Walks to 1B Aaron Baker and DH Jose Hernandez put two runners on base, then C Ramon Cabrera skipped a ground-rule double over the left-center field wall, scoring Baker.� A pop out ended the inning without any further scoring.

The bottom of the 7th began with the Power trailing 3-1.� Cabrera led off with a line drive single up the middle, then LF Rogelios Noris doubled, and 3B Andy Vasquez tripled, tying the score as both Cabrera and Noris scored.� Vasquez was cut down after rounding third base, on the throw in from the outfield.

Bankston hit a batter with a pitch in the bottom of the 8th, but left him stranded.� Jhonathan Ramos pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th.� The Power went down in order in ther 8th.� Noris singled and stole second base in the bottom of the 9th, but could not come around to score, and the game went into extra innings.� Ramos gave up a one-out single in the top of the 10th, but then struck out the next two batters.� That set up the bottom of the 10th, when Elevys Gonzalez greeted the new Suns’ reliever with the game-winning homer.

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Curve Shut Out; Power Over-powering

Monday’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates….

Bowie Baysox� 2,� Altoona Curve� 0 ..� (box)

The Curve out-hit the Baysox 7-5, but were still shutout in Bowie.� 3B Josh Harrison and RF Miles Durham each had two hits, including a double for Harrison, while 2B Chase d’Arnaud, 1B Matt Hague, and LF Jim Negrych had one hit each.� Harrison’s double was the only extra-base hit for the Curve.� In addition, Negrych walked three times, and two Curve batters, C Kris Watts and pinch-hitter Jose De Los Santos, were hit by pitches.� That all adds up to 10 Curve batters left on base.

The Curve had two runners on in the 3rd inning, when d’Arnaud singled and Harrison doubled, sending d’Arnaud to third with two outs.� A strikeout ended that inning.� Two Curve were on base in the 4th also, when Negrych walked for the second time and Durham singled, but Negrych was picked off second base.� In the 8th, Hague singled and Negrych walked for the third time, but again a strikeout ended the inning.� The Curve’s best chance at scoring came in the 7th inning, when they loaded the bases on back-to-back singles by Negrych and Durham, and then Watts was hit by a pitch.� A strikeout and a fly out ended that inning with all three runners still on base.

Justin Wilson suffered the loss.� He threw 5 innings and allowed 2 runs on 4 hits, but with 5 walks and 4 strikeouts.� Bowie scored their first run in the bottom of the 1st without needing a hit:� a walk, a ground out, a stolen base, and a sacrifice fly.� A single and a double brought in their second run in the 3rd.� Mike Colla pitched the last 3 innings for the Curve.� He gave up only one hit, a double in the 7th, and retired the other 9 batters he faced, including 3 strikeouts.

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Curve and Spikes Fall Short

Just two late games on Sunday, with one week to go …� The Bradenton Marauders and the West Virginia Power both have a scheduled day off today.

Richmond Flying Squirrels� 5,� Altoona Curve� 4 ..�� (box)

Richmond broke a 4-4 tie with a run in the top of the 9th, and the Curve could not answer back.� With Ramon Aguero on the mound to begin the 9th, a walk and a single put Richmond runners on the corners with no outs.� Aguero got a strikeout, then gave up an RBI single to first.� A double play, 2B Jordy Mercer to SS Chase d’Arnaud to 1B Matt Hague, ended the inning without the Squirrels scoring again.� The Curve got one runner on base in the 9th, when pinch-hitter Jim Negrych singled to lead off the inning.� CF Jose De Los Santos’ sacrifice bunt moved Negrych to second base, but a fly out and a ground out ended the inning before Negrych could get any further.

The Curve had cracked the scoreboard first, with a run in the bottom of the 1st.� D’Arnaud led off with a single, but was out at second on 3B Josh Harrison’s grounder force out.� Harrison stole both second and third base, then scored on C Hector Gimenez’s RBI single.

Richmond took a 2-1 lead in the 2nd, with a lead-off homer.� A fielding error by d’Arnaud, and a single put two runners on base.� Another 4-6-3 double play moved the lead runner to third, and an RBI single drove in the run.� Curve starter Jared Hughes gave up two more runs in the 3rd inning, with a hit batter, a triple, and a double.

The Curve tied the score in the 5th with a walk by Hughes, then back-to-back home runs by Chase d’Arnaud and Josh Harrison.� It was d’Arnaud’s 5th homer of the season, and Harrison’s 4th blast.

Hughes pitched 6 innings and allowed those 4 runs (3 earned) on 6 hits and a walk.� He also struck out 2 batters.� Bryan Morris, in the bullpen to keep his inning count down for the remainder of the season, pitched 2 scoreless innings, allowing a lone single in each and striking out a batter in each.

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Mercer Gets 4 Hits And Walk-Off; Cunningham Homers In The 12th

Less action than planned on Tuesday for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates, mostly due to rain in the Bradenton area.� The Marauders’ game against the St. Lucie Mets was postponed.� They will try for two tomorrow.� Yesterday’s game between the Fort Myer Miracle and the Marauders was also rained out, as well as the game that they tried to start on Sunday (but only got into the second inning).� Those games will not be made up.� The GCL Braves at GCL Pirates games were washed out yesterday.� They tried to play two today, but only got one of the games in.

GCL Braves� 5,� GCL Pirates� 1 ..� (box)

Each team had 6 hits this afternoon, but the one that counted was the Braves’ walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 7th.� The Pirates began the scoring with a run in the 3rd inning.� SS Kevin Mort led off with a double, then advanced to third base on DH Justin Howard’s single into right field.� The two pulled off a double steal, with Mort scoring on the steal of home.� The Braves tied the score in the bottom of the 4th with a solo home run.

The Pirates loaded the bases in the 5th, on singles by Howard and CF Junior Sosa, and a walk by 2B Jorge Bishop. A strikeout ended that threat.� Sosa also singled in the 1st inning and stole second base.� LF Exicardo Cayonez also singled in the 4th, but was thrown out trying to steal second.� 1B Jared Lakind made his pro debut, but went 0-for-3 at the plate.

Joely Rodriguez pitched 5 innings in his start, and scattered 3 hits, no walks.� One of those hits was the solo homer in the 4th.� Ryan Hafner also made his pro debut, pitching the 6th inning.� He gave up a lead-off single in the 6th, then got a grounder force out and struck out the next two batters to end the inning and continue the tie.� Hafner began the 7th inning with a single and a walk.� Fraylin Campos relieved Hafner, but he hit the first batter he faced to load the bases.� That set up Braves’ 3B Brandon Drury for the game-winning grand slam.

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