Wednesday’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor leaguers:
The West Virginia Power have a day off today, wrapping up their All-Star break. The Altoona Curve and the New Hampshire Fisher Cats had their game postponed tonight, due to rain. They will try for a double header tomorrow, beginning at 6:05 pm.
Jordy Mercer was named the Eastern League’s Player of the Week for last week. Mercer had an RBI in each of six games he played in last week, with a total of 9 RBI. He hit 3 doubles and 2 homers last week, and earned a .381 average for the week. Mercer is hitting .267 overall for the season, with 17 doubles, 13 homers, and 48 RBI.
The Pirates have signed two more draft picks: LHP Josh Poytress (18th round) and RHP David Jagoditsch (32nd round). Both were college pitchers, and could be assigned to State College. The list of all of the Pirates’ draft picks, including who has signed, is here.
Bradenton Marauders 5, Jupiter Hammerheads 4
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The Marauders wrapped up the first half of the Florida State League season with an early afternoon win over Jupiter. Brett Sinkbeil pitched 6 innings for Bradenton and allowed one run on two hits, with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. The only run he allowed came on a solo homer to lead off the top of the 3rd. He allowed a single to begin the 2nd inning but erased the runner with a double play. The walks came in the 5th and 6th inning; one of those runners was left on base and the other was thrown out by C Carlos Paulino as he tried to steal second base.
The Marauders also began their scoring with a solo home run — by 1B Aaron Baker to lead off the bottom of the 2nd. SS Kelson Brown began the bottom of the 3rd with a triple into center field. After a walk by RF Robbie Grossman, 2B Jarek Cunningham grounded a high chopper to third, which forced out Grossman at second but allowed Brown to score. Cunningham stole second base, then both DH David Rubinstein and Baker worked back-to-back walks to load the bases. 3B Elevys Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly brought in Cunningham and CF Evan Chambers’ line drive back through the box brought in Rubinstein, giving the Marauders a 4-1 lead.
The Marauders added an unearned run in the 5th. With two outs, Elevys Gonzalez walked and stole second base. Chambers grounded to short, but a throwing error by the Jupiter shortstop let Chambers reach safely and let Gonzalez score. Paulino also had two singles in the game, in the 2nd and 6th innings, but did not score.
Jason Erickson relieved Sinkbeil to begin the 7th inning. The lead-off batter smacked a ground-rule double, but the next three batters flied out, and the runner did not leave second base. Erickson began the 8th inning with a ground out and a solo homer, then had a batter reach base on a fielding error by SS Brown. Ryan Beckman came on in relief, but he gave up a single and another ground-rule double, driving in a run. The third run of the inning scored on an RBI ground out, to bring Jupiter within a run of the Marauders, 5-4. Beckman got a strikeout to end the inning, then retired the side in order in the 9th, to hold on to the win. Beckman earned his 5th Save, and Sinkbeil earned his first win of the season.
Spring Training is underway, and it’s time to start looking at the prospects. This season, I thought we’d do it by position, and working up from the lower levels to the upper levels. We’ll begin in the outfield:
Daan Cornelissen — bats L / throws R 6’4″ 194 lbs
Cornelissen is a 19-year-old Dutch outfielder, who began his affiliation with the Pirates in the Australian Acadamy in 2009. He didn’t hit all that well (.191) in Australia, but was moved to the GCL Pirates for 2010. Cornelissen played in 32 game for the Pirates, half in the outfield, and half at first base, when regular first baseman Michaelangel Trinidad was unavailable. He did ok in the field, with only one error, which came while playing first. At the plate, though, Cornelissen still needs a lot of work. He had 10 hits in 83 at-bats (.120), with 4 doubles and 5 RBI. He also had 38 strikeouts. He hit a little better in July than in the rest of the month (.147), but he also had half of his strikeouts in that month. Cornelissen will need to return to the GCL Pirates for 2011, and he’ll need to figure out how to make more contact.
Gregory Polanco — L/L 6′ 4″ 170 lbs
Polanco is another 19-year-old, and he is from the Dominican. Like Cornelissen, Polanco is long and lean, but he has more speed than Cornelissen, so he’s been tried in center field. Polanco also made his US debut with the GCL Pirates in 2010, where he hit just .202 in 53 games, with 5 doubles, 1 triple, and 3 homers, plus 23 RBI. His speed also gave him 19 stolen bases (caught stealing twice), which was 4th in the GCL. Polanco’s best month was June, when he hit .297 in 9 games, but his batting average dropped off in July (.194) and August (.155). The speed is a plus for him, and the Pirates are hoping that Polanco develops some power as he grows over the next few years. He needs to get in a lot of outfield work, too, of course. Polanco could get started in short season State College in 2011.
Former Pirate farmhand (Altoona in 2010) Dustin Molleken signed a minor league contract with the Rockies. Another former Pirate pitcher Chris Bootcheck, who pitched in Japan in 2010, has signed a minor league contract with the Rays for 2011.
Some action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates on Wednesday…� still can’t get anything done in Bradenton this evening, though the GCL Pirates did get their game in this afternoon.
Erie SeaWolves� 3,� Altoona Curve� 1 …�� (box)
The Curve were held to just 2 hits as they lost to the SeaWolves at home.� The Curve got two walks, one of which resulted in their only run, and they also had a runner reach on a fielding error.� 1B Matt Hague had the first Curve hit, a two-out single in the 4th inning.� 2B Jordy Mercer walked in the 2nd inning, and RF Miles Durham reached on a fielding error to begin the 8th inning.� None of them got as far as second base.� Finally, in the bottom of the 9th, SS Chase d’Arnaud led off with the second walk, and then he stole second base (his 32nd steal of the season).� DH Andrew Lambo lined a double into left field, scoring d’Arnaud with the Curve’s lone run.
Justin Wilson pitched 4 innings in his start, and gave up all three of the SeaWolves’ runs, on 6 hits and 3 walks, with 6 strikeouts.� He surrendered a run in the 2nd inning on three singles.� Another single and a double brought in one run in the 4th.� Wilson walked the next batter, then got a grounder to short for what looked like it would be an inning-ending double play.� The out was made at second, but Mercer’s throw to first was not on target, and the batter was safe, which allowed the runner who had doubled to score from second base.
Mike Colla relieved Wilson to begin the 5th inning.� He gave up a walk to former teammate Brandon Jones to lead off the 5th, then erased him in a double play.� Colla allowed only one base runner in the rest of his four innings, a double to lead off the 7th inning.� Ramon Aguero pitched a perfect top of the 9th, with one strikeout.
A few roster notes:� RHP Teddy Fallon and LHP Justin Ennis were both promoted from State College to West Virginia.� Fallon was the Pirates’ 43rd pick in the 2009 draft, and Ennis was the 33rd round pick in this year’s draft.� RHP Tom Boleska has been promoted from Bradenton to Altoona.
Altoona’s Bryan Morris has skipped a start, which the Pirates are calling just a “breather”.� He has struggled in his last few starts, but has also stacked up the innings so far this season (103) and the Pirates want him to stay below 140 innings this season.
West Virginia Power� 9,� Hagerstown Suns� 1 (box)
Phillip Irwin pitched 7 no-hit innings for the Power tonight, before he had to be relieved due to his increasing pitch count.� Irwin struck out 8 batters in his 7 innings, and he allowed 2 walks.� He got off to a strong start when he struck out the side in the 1st inning, then struck out 2 more in the 2nd.� The first walk came in the 3rd inning, but that runner was immediately erased when the next batter lined right to 1B Aaron Baker, who stepped on first base for a double play.� The next 7 batters went down in order, until the 6th, when that same batter, C Sandy Leon, walked again.� This time Leon was forced out at second on a grounder, and another ground out ended the inning.� Irwin wrapped up his amazing evening with two more strikeouts in the 7th inning.
Ryan Kelly relieved Irwin and pitched the final two innings.� He allowed one hit, but it was a solo home run.� He also walked a batter in the 9th, and struck out 2 batters.
The rest of the team was busy giving Irwin and Kelly plenty of run support.� They piled up 16 hits, with everyone in the lineup reaching base at least one time, and all but SS Benji Gonzalez picking up at least one hit (Gonzalez had a walk).� 3B Elevys Gonzalez, Aaron Baker, and LF Rogelios Noris each had 3 hits.� Baker led off the 2nd inning with a solo home run.� CF David Rubinstein followed the homer with a double, and Noris added a single to put runners on the corners.� C Jairo Marquez lined a single into center field, scoring Rubinstein to give the Power an early 2-0 lead.
They boosted that lead in the 3rd inning, as they sent 11 batters to the plate and scored 7 runs.� Six of the first seven batters reached base safely:� 2B Jarek Cunningham and RF Jose Hernandez began with back-to-back singles, and Baker’s double scored Cunningham (#1 run).� Rubinstein’s sacrifice fly brought in Hernandez (#2).� Noris and DH Kyle Morgan goth singled, and Baker scored (#3).� Marquez doubled in Noris and Morgan (#4, 5), and sent the Hagerstown pitcher to the showers.� Benji Gonzalez flied out, but Elevys Gonzalez singled, plating Marquez (#6).� A fielding error on that play moved Elevys G to second base, and a wild pitch put him on third.� Cunningham’s second single in the inning brought in Elevys G (#7), before a line out ended the inning.
The Power put at least one baserunner on in all but one of the remaining innings, but none of them were able to come around to score.
Wednesday, with games going on all afternoon and evening….
Bradenton Marauders� 3,� Tampa Yankees� 1 (box)
A 3-run 5th inning was all it took from the Marauders’ bats this afternoon.� The inning began with 3B Jose De Los Santos reaching base on a fielding error.� RF Robbie Grossman singled, moving De Los Santos to third base, and LF Quincy Latimore doubled, scoring De Los Santos.� Both Grossman and Latimore scored on 1B Erik Huber’s single into right field.� Huber stole second base, but was left there when the inning ended on a fly out. All three runs were unearned.
Those three hits were half of the Marauder’s total for the game.� Latimore and Huber also singled in the 2nd inning, and C James Skelton walked, loading the bases, but three consecutive strikeouts ended the inning with all three runners still in place.� CF Austin McClune singled to lead off the 6th, 2B Adenson Chourio reached on a fielding error, but a double play ended the inning with Chourio forced out at second.� The Marauders went down in order in the last three innings of the game.
The only run the Yankees scored was also unearned.� Bradenton starter Aaron Pribanic pitched 5 innings and scattered 4 hits.� He came back out to begin the 6th, but was relieved after giving up a single and a walk.� Tom Boleska struck out the first batter he faced, then Skelton threw out the second runner as he tried to steal second in a double steal.� When the next batter reached on a throwing error by De Los Santos, the runner (who had stolen third base) scored from third.� Boleska pitched a scoreless 7th.� Tyler Cox allowed a single and a walk in the scoreless 8th.� Diego Moreno, who has finished his organizational suspension and has been reassigned to the Marauders, pitched a scoreless 9th, allowing just one walk.
Reliever Mike Colla has been promoted from the Marauders to AA Altoona, trading spots with Moreno.