Continuing to work our way up through the pitchers in the Pirates’ minor league organization:
Jhonathan Ramos – L/L, 5′ 8″, 156 lb
Ramos is a 21 year old Venezuelan native, who split the 2010 season between State College and West Virginia. After some time in extended spring training, Ramos began the season in West Virginia in June. He made two starts and five relief appearances, and at first did well, with 5 scoreless innings over his first two games. He gave up 6 hits in those two games, but after that, he just kept giving up hits and runs. In 15 innings for the Power in June, Ramos allowed 14 earned runs and 28 hits, though just 2walks, and 13 strikeouts. He earned a 0-1 record and an 8.40 ERA. Ramos was sent to State College for July and most of August, and he did well there, with a 3-1 record and a 1.62 ERA in 16 relief appearances. He threw 33.1 innings and allowed 22 hits and 4 walks, with 28 strikeouts. Ramos returned to the Power at the end of the season for 2 more games. He pitched a total of 4 scoreless innings and allowed one hit, no walks, with 5 strikeouts. Ramos spent the winter pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League for Los Bravos de Margarita. He made 18 relief appearances for 13.2 innings, and earned a 3-2 record and a 2.63 ERA. He still gave up hits (13), but only 4 earned runs and 5 walks, with 9 strikeouts. Ramos is another reliever who should be in the mix for a bullpen spot in West Virginia, but that bullpen is going to be crowded. Ramos could return to State College for a part of the season, or possibly get a try in A+ Bradenton.
Marc Baca – R/R, 6′ 2″, 220 lb
Baca was the Pirates’ 42nd round pick in the 2009 draft. He’s pitched entirely in relief for the Pirates, beginning at State College in 2009, where he made 18 appearances for 18 innings, and earned a 1-3 record and a 3.00 ERA. Baca was promoted to West Virginia for 2010, where he ran hot and cold. He began the season with a 2-0 April, with one save and a 5.59 ERA. He pitched 9.2 innings and allowed 6 earned runs with 13 hits, 4 walks, and 5 strikeouts. The next two months went very well, with a 1-1 record and 2 saves, and a 0.98 ERA. He pitched 27.2 innings and allowed 3 earned runs, with 24 hits, 10 walks, and 27 strikeouts. Baca had some tough outings in July, and allowed 16 runs on 18 hits in 8 games. He also walked 9 batters and his strikeouts dropped to 6. August/September were not a lot better. He pitched 18.2 innings in 9 games, and allowed 13 runs (6.27 ERA) on 20 hits. He walked 8 and struck out 13. Overall, Baca earned a 5-3 record and a 5.26 ERA for the season, with 4 saves. In 65 innings, he allowed 75 hits and 38 earned runs, with 31 walks and 51 strikeouts. The strikeout rate (7.1 K/ 9 innings) was better than in 2009 (5.0 K/ 9 innings), but the walk rate (4.3 walks/ 9 innings) was a little worse than in 2009 (3.0 walks/ 9 innings). Baca’s fastball velocity is in the high 80′s. At age 24, he doesn’t appear to be ready for A+, but he could get squeezed out by all of the other prospects who are also going to try to fit into the West Virginia bullpen.
Just two more games on Labor Day…� The Marauders have the day off today, then begin the first round of the playoffs tomorrow.
West Virginia Power� 7,� Hagerstown Suns� 3 ….�� (box)
The Power wrapped up their season with a win over the Suns.� Everyone finished the season with hits, as the Power posted 16 hits, and each memeber of the batting order had at least one hit.� CF Evan Chambers and SS Elevys Gonzalez had 3 hits each.
The Power threatened in the bottom of the 1st, when RF David Rubinstein led off with a double into left field, and Chambers made it runners on the corners with a single.� Chambers stole second base, but both runners were left stranded after a strikeout and a flyout.� They did get onto the scoreboard in the 4th inning.� With one out, 1B Kyle Morgan walked, and LF Rogelios Noris blasted his 15th homer of the season for 2 runs.� After the home run, C Jairo Marquez doubled, and singles by Gonzalez and Rubinstein brought in Marquez, giving the Power a 3-0 lead.
Starter Brett Lorin pitched 4 scoreless innings, allowing only a single and a walk in the 2nd, and a lead-off single in the 4th.� He was relieved by Justin Ennis, who retired the side in order in the 5th.� Ennis did give up a run in the 6th, on a triple and a single, to cut the Power lead to 3-1.� The Power came right back in the bottom of that inning, though, adding 2 runs on 4 singles:� by 3B Andy Vasquez, Gonzalez, 2B Jarek Cunningham (RBI), and Chambers (RBI).
With the score at 5-1, neither team scored in the 7th, but both teams added 2 runs in the 8th.� Marc Baca took the mound to begin the inning, and he gave up a single, followed by two stolen bases (2nd and 3rd).� Then a 2-run homer got the Suns a little closer, 5-3.� The Power answered with their two in the bottom of the 8th, with a triple by Marquez and their own 2-run homer, by Gonzalez.� Baca retired the Suns in order in the 9th, ending the game and the season.
Pitchers Gabriel Alvarado and Phillip Irwin were both promoted to the A+ Marauders, where they will assist in the Marauders’ playoff run.
The Power finished the first half of the season in 7th (last) place in the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division, 11 games back, with a 31-39 record.� They did better in the second half, finishing tied for 3rd and 8 games back, with a 34-35 record.� That gives them an overall 65-74 record for the season.
On Friday night, all of the Pirates’ minor league affiliates lost.� On Saturday night, all but State College won….
Bradenton Marauders� 4,� Charlotte Stone Crabs� 2 …���� (box)
The Marauders assured themselves at least a spot in the playoffs with this win tonight.� Nate Adcock won his 11th game of the season with 2 runs allowed in 5.2 innings of work.� He gave up a run in the bottom of the 1st, with a 2-out walk, a wild pitch, and two singles.� He surrendered another run on a walk and a double to lead off the 3rd inning.� He scattered 4 more hits, but left two stranded and erased two with double plays.� In the top of the 6th, Adcock got two outs and gave up a single, then that runner stole both second and third base.� He was relieved by Kyle McPherson, who finished that inning with a strikeout, then gave up just one hit over the next 2 innings, including 3 more strikeouts.� Noah Krol earned his league-leading 34th save of the season with a scoreless 9th inning, working around a missed catch error.
Bradenton picked up one run in the 2nd inning, when C Eric Fryer singled, then moved to second base on a groundout.� 3B Adam Davis’ RBI single brought in Fryer.� The Marauders were on the receiving end of several walks over the next few innings — one in the 3rd to SS Shelby Ford, one in the 4th to Fryer, three in the 5th to DH Jordan Newton, 2B James Skelton, and RF Robbie Grossman to load the bases — but all were left on base.� They did score again in the 6th, when LF Quincy Latimore led off with a single.� He was forced out at second on Fryer’s grounder, leaving Fryer at first.� Davis singled again, advancing Fryer to third bse, then Newton doubled in both Fryer and Davis, to take a 3-2 lead.� They added an insurance run in the 4th.� Grossman singled with one out, then scored on CF Starling Marte’s double.� The Marauders threatened again in the 8th, as Davis was hit by a pitch and Newton walked, then Skelton bunted them both into scoring position.� A strikeout and a ground out ended the inning, but it turned out to not matter, and the Marauders season is going to continue beyond the weekend.
Tuesday’s action for the Pirates’ lower minor leaguers….
Altoona Curve� 9,� Bowie Baysox� 1 ..���� (box)
The Altoona Curve clinched the Eastern League’s Western Division title tonight with a win over Bowie.� This is just the second time the Curve have won their division in their 12 years of existence, and it follows a 2009 when the Curve spent the season in the cellar.
Six different Curve batters had 2 hits in the game, and 1B Matt Hague’s two hits were both home runs.� The batters provided plenty of run support for starter Rudy Owens, who won his 12th game of the season.� Owens pitched 6 scoreless innings, and struck out 9 Bowie batters.� Owens allowing 2 singles in the 1st inning but kept the Baysox scoreless thanks to an on-target throw in from RF Miles Durham to C Hector Gimenez, to tag out the lead runner at the plate.� Owens retired the next 11 batters in order, then gave up back-to-back singles in the 5th.� A strikeout ended that inning — he struck out 3 batters in the 5th, and two more in the 6th to finish up his night.
Derek Hankins earned his 7th save with 3 innings of work.� He gave up a lead-off homer to the first batter he faced in the 7th inning, and that was Bowie’s only run of the game.� Hankins loaded the bases with three singles following the homer, but got out of the inning with a strikeout.� He allowed only one more hit over the next two innings and struck out a total of 5 batters.
Meanwhile, the Curve batters were steadily stacking up the runs, scoring in 6 of their 9 at-bats.� Bowie held them off in the 1st inning, despite loading the bases on singles by 3B Josh Harrison and SS Jordy Mercer, and a walk to DH Andrew Lambo. Two strikeouts strikeouts ended the inning without a run scoring.� After that, the Curve took off.� Durham singled and CF Anthony Norman tripled for one run in the 2nd inning (1).� Hague was hit by a pitch, then singles by Gimenez and 2B Jim Negrych brought in 2 runs in the 3rd (3).� Hague homered for the first time, a solo shot, in the 5th (4).� Two more runs came in during the 6th.� Norman walked, and LF Jose De Los Santos reached on a fielding error.� Harrison doubled, plating Norman (5), and Mercer’s ground out brought in De Los Santos (6).� In the 7th, Negrych singled and scored on Norman’s double (7).� Hague homered again in the 8th inning, this time with Mercer on base with a single (9).
Three Curve position players have been named to participate in the Arizona Fall League:� OF Andrew Lambo, INF Josh Harrison, and INF Jordy Mercer will be with the Mesa Solar Sox.� Joining them will be C Tony Sanchez. (Each team is allowed one A-level player.)� The Pirates are also allowed three pitchers, though those assignments have not yet been determined.� The Arizona Fall League begins play in mid-October.
Lots of action for the Pirates’ minor league affiliates on Thursday….
Richmond Flying Squirrels� 9,� Altoona Curve� 6�� (Game 1)..� (box)
This was the wrap-up of a suspended game from… awhile back.� 2B Jordy Mercer had 3 hits in the game with an RBI, and LF Jim Negrych had a single, a double, and an RBI for the Curve.� The Curve scored first, with 3 runs in the bottom of hte 1st, on a double by 3B Shelby Ford, an RBI single by Mercer, walks to both C Kris Watts and LF Brandon Jones (back when he was still on the team), and a 2-RBI single by RF Miles Durham.
Richmond came back to tie the score with 3 runs in the top of the 2nd, on four singles and a throwing error by 1B Matt Hague. Then they took the lead with another 3 runs in the top of the 3rd, on a walk and three doubles.� Starter Tim Alderson was responsible for 6 runs (5 earned) on 7 hits and a walk over 3 innings.� Dustin Molleken took over for Alderson, and retired the side in the top of the 4th inning.� The Curve began the bottom of the inning with a walk to Durham, a single by CF Anthony Norman, and a sacrifice bunt by Molleken, to put both runners into scoring position.� That was when play was halted.� When the game resumed, SS Chase d’Arnaud singled, scoring Durham.� PH/3B Josh Harrison grounded to short, which let Norman score also.� Mercer singled again, but was left on base.� The Curve had closed the gap, 6-5
Derek Hankins took over for Molleken after the restart.� He pitched 5 innings, scattering two hits and a walk over the first four of those innings.� The Curve also put runners on base in the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings, but did not score.
In the top of the 9th, Hankins gave up a single and an RBI double, then three more singles, increasing Richmond’s lead to 9-5.� The Curve got one of the runs back in the bottom of the 9th, when Hague walked, and moved to third on a fielding error that also put Watts on base.� Jim Negrych singled into left field, bringing in Hague from third.� Watts also tried to score, coming from second base, but he was out at the plate on the throw in from left field, ending the game.
Curve� 5,� Flying Squirrels� 1�� (Game 2)..� (box)
The Curve turned the tables in the second game, which was scheduled for only 7 innings.� Rudy Owens buzzed through 6 scoreless innings, allowing only 2 hits and one walk, while striking out 5 batters.� He surrendered a single in the 2nd and a double in the 4th, then a walk in the 6th.� It was Owens’ 11th win of the season.� Daniel Moskos wrapped things up in the 7th inning.� He loaded the bases with two walks and a single.� A grounder force out brought in Richmond’s only run, but then Moskos ended the game with a strikeout.
2B Jordy Mercer’s bat was still hot, as he collected another 2 hits.� He and LF Jim Negrych both singled in the 4th, then C Hector Gimenez reached on a throwing error, which brought in Negrych with the first run of the game.� A walk to 3B Josh Harrison and singles by 1B Matt Hague and Mercer scored Harrison with another run in the 5th.� SS Chase d’Arnaud added three more runs with a 3-run homer in the 6th, also plating CF Anthony Norman, who had walked, and pinch-hitter Andrew Lambo, who had singled.