Tag Archives: Mel Rojas
Continuing to look at Pirates’ minor leaguers as we move further into spring training…. Today we’ll look at three outfielders all acquired in the 2010 amateur draft.
Mel Rojas Jr. — Bats both/ throws right, 6′ 3″, 200 lb
Rojas was the first position player the Pirates took in the 2010 draft, going in the third round. The 20-year-old, who came out of junior college in Illinois, is thought to have all the tools, plus a major league pedigree. He had enough speed to play center field in State College, and combined with base running smarts, he stole 61 bases in his college season. The steals dried up at State College, but Rojas also did not get on base nearly as much, hitting only .207 for the Spikes. He did better in July (.265) than in August (.175), but almost identically against righties vs. lefties (.207 vs. .209). Strikeouts were a big problem. Still, the Pirates seemed encouraged by Rojas’ pro debut, and also seemed to take into account the fact that he was playing with older players, who had had more college experience. They hope that he develops some power over the next few years. He will probably be assigned to West Virginia to begin the 2011 season.
Dan Grovatt – L/L, 6′ 1″, 195 lb
Grovatt was chosen in the 11th round of the draft, coming out of his junior year at University of Virginia. He’d had two strong seasons at UV, hitting .324 and .356 in those years. Grovatt slumped in his junior year, hitting .291, though his 9 homers and 60 RBI were both more than in either of his previous seasons. He attributed the slump in part to a ligament injury in his left elbow. That was also part of the reason that he signed with the Pirates at the last moment, instead of returning to UV for his senior year. Because he signed late, Grovatt got in only 3 games in his pro debut with the GCL Pirates. He went 2-for-22, and both hits were doubles, for 2 RBI. He had good strike zone judgement in college, though not a lot of power, with an unusual swing, which the Pirates may end up tinkering with. Grovatt might spend a little time at State College, but seems slated to move to West Virginia to begin 2011.
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.
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.
Losses for all of the Pirates’ affiliates on Friday night:
Reading Phillies� 9,� Altoona Curve� 4 …������� (box)
The R-Phils attacked Curve starter Jared Hughes early, and the Curve bats could not keep up.� Hughes retired the side in order in the 1st inning, but gave up 3 unearned runs on a walk, a single, and two errors in the 2nd inning — the throwing error was by Hughes.� A walk, a double, and a single added 2 more runs in the 3rd inning.� In the 4th inning, Hughes gave up another 3 runs on two singles, a triple, and a double by former Indy Indian Tagg Bozied.� Hughes was done after those 4 innings, having allowed 8 runs (5 earned) on 7 hits and 2 walks, though he struck out 6 batters.
The Curve hitters were hitless in the first 4 innings.� The only batter to get on base was CF Anthony Norman, who reached in the 3rd on Bozied’s fielding error at first.� Two home runs, one by C Kris Watts in the 5th, and one by 2B Chase d’Arnaud in the 6th, got the Indians onto the scoreboard, but they were still trailing 8-2.
Each team scored in the 7th.� Tom Boleska had relieved Hughes to begin the 5th inning, and he retired the first 7 batters he faced in order.� Then in the 7th, he walked Bozied, then gave up a single and a double, allowing Bozied to score.� In the bottom of the frame, 1B Matt Hague led off with a single, then scored on singles by Watts and Norman, to make it 9-3.� The Curve added one more run in the bottom of the 9th, when SS Jordy Mercer, Hague, and RF Miles Durham led off the inning with three consecutive singles to load the bases.� Watts’ sacrifice fly plated Mercer, but two ground outs ended the inning without any further scoring.� Bryan Morris pitched two perfect innings to wrap it up for the Curve.
The Curve have won the Eastern League’s Western Division title, and will begin the first round of playoffs on Wednesday.� None of the other playoff slots have been settled yet.� The Bowie Baysox and the Harrisburg Senators are tied for second place in the Western Division.� The Trenton Thunder are in first place in the Eastern Division, with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats 2.5 games behind, with 3 games left to play.
Thursday’s action for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:
West Virginia Power� 3,� Rome Braves� 0 …��� (box)
On July 24th, Power starter Phillip Irwin pitched 7 hitless and scoreless innings.� Tonight, he again threw 7 scoreless innings, though this time he scattered 3 hits.� Last time, he walked two batters, and tonight he did not walk any.� Both times, Irwin struck out 8 opponents.� Irwin’s toughest inning tonight was the 4th, when he gave up a double and a single, and hit a batter.� Luckily, the first runner was doubled off second base in a line-out double play.� The other two runners pulled off a double steal, but a strikeout ended the inning with them both still in scoring position.� Irwin retired the next 9 batters in order to finish his evening and earn his 6th win.� Zach Foster earned his 6th save with two scoreless innings of relief, allowing only a walk.
The Power were held to just 5 hits, but they also took advantage of three Rome errors in one inning.� In the 2nd, 1B Aaron Baker began the inning by reaching base on a fielding error.� He moved to second base on a passed ball, but was out at third when RF Andy Vasquez reached on a fielder’s choice.� Vasquez stole second base, and scored on LF Rogelios Noris’ RBI single.� Noris advanced to third base when the Rome pitcher made a throwing error on a pick-off attempt, then scored on C Jairo Marquez’s double, which was also complicated by a fielding error.� Marquez added another run in the 5th, with a solo home run, his second of the season.� Vasquez singled in the 4th inning, but was thrown out trying to steal second base.� SS Benji Gonzalez doubled to lead off the 8th inning, but was left stranded.
The West Virginia Power had their last late-morning game of the season today.� The rest of the Pirates’ lower minor affiliates play this evening.
West Virginia Power� 12,� Rome Braves� 4 …��� (box)
The Power hammered away at the Braves, scoring in every inning after the 1st, doubling up the Braves in hits.� Jarek Cunningham and LF Rogelios Noris led the way with 3 hits each.� 2B Rome got off to a good start with a solo home run to begin the 2nd inning.� The Power came right back in the bottom of the inning, when 1B Aaron Baker walked and scored on RF Jose Hernandez’s double off the right field wall.� A ground out pushed Hernandez to third base, and he scored on Noris’ line drive single inot left field.� 3B Elevys Gonzalez added another run with a lead-off homer on the first pitch of the 3rd inning (his 4th of the season).� Noris crushed a ball off the top of the left field wall with one out in the 4th inning, cruising into third base for a stand-up triple.� He scored moments later on SS Benji Gonzalez’s first home run of the season.
Power starter Brett Lorin had allowed that homer in the 2nd, and gave up singles in the 1st and 3rd, plus two walks in the 4th.� The Braves got to him in the top of the 5th, though.� With two outs, Lorin hit a batter, then gave up a double and a 3-run homer.� That brought Rome within one run of the Power, 5-4. But that was all the scoring the Power pitchers intended to let the Braves do.� Maurice Bankston relieved Lorin to pitch 2 scoreless innings, allowing only a single in the 7th.� Jhonathan Ramos, just promoted from State College, celebrated his return to the Power with two perfect innings, including 3 strikeouts.
The Power added some insurance runs in the bottom of the 5th inning.�� Jarek Cunningham led off with a single, and he advanced to second base on a wild pitch.� CF Evan Chambers walked, then when the Braves changed pitchers, Cunningham and Chambers greeted the new hurler by pulling off a double steal.� Hernandez lined a single into right field, scoring Cunningham, and C Ramon Cabrera’s sacrifice fly brought in Chambers.� Noris lined into center field, and when Hernandez tried to make it to third base, the throw in from the outfield got past the Rome third baseman.� Hernandez scrambled for the plate, but the third baseman recovered the ball quickly, and Hernandez was out at the plate.� Noris was credited with only a single on the play, and the Power had a 7-4 lead.
Three more runs scored in the 6th.� Benji Gonzalez singled and stole second base, and Cunningham tripled off the center field wall to bring him in.� Chambers walked and also stole second base, then Baker doubled, plating both Cunningham and Chambers.� DH Andy Vasquez added a solo home run in the 7th inning.� Then the Power loaded the bases in the 8th on a walk to Cunningham, Chambers being hit by a pitch, and a single by Baker.� A sacrifice fly by Hernandez brought Cunningham across the plate for the Power’s 12th run of the game.
The South Atlantic League announced their post-season All-Star Team today, but no Power players were named to the team.
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.
Sunday in the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates… as usual for a Sunday, the GCL Pirates have a scheduled day off.
The Bradenton Marauders and the Fort Myer Miracle got just an inning and a half of baseball in before they had to stop.� C Eric Fryer was the only Bradenton batter to reach base, with a double in the top of the 2nd.� Marauders’ starter Nate Adcock had retired the side in order in the bottom of the 1st.� The suspended game will be resumed on Monday evening as part of a double header, weather permitting.
Altoona Curve� 9,� Binghamton Mets� 5 (box)
Two big innings boosted the Curve over the Mets, as starter Tony Watson pitched 6 scoreless innings, allowing 4 hits, while striking out 8 Mets.� Watson retired the first 9 batters he faced, then gave up a single and a walk in the 3rd.� He set down the next 6 batters, then gave up a lone double in the 5th.� Watson faced his biggest threat in the 6th,when he gave up a single and a double, putting two runners in scoring position.� But Watson got out of the jam with a strikeout and a ground out to finish the inning.
C Hector Gimenez led the Curve bats with 3 hits and 3 RBI.� He opened the scoring with a solo home run (his 16th of the season) in the 2nd inning.� He singled again in the 4th inning but was left on base, then reached on a fielding error in the 5th inning rally, and doubled in the 7th inning rally.
The 5th inning began with a solo home run by CF Anthony Norman. Watson worked a walk, then singles by 2B Chase d’Arnaud and 3B Josh Harrison loaded the bases.� A sharp line-out to third by LF Jim Negrych forced the base runners to freeze in place, but a grounder force out by 1B Matt Hague brought in Watson, with Harrison out at second base.� SS Jordy Mercer’s single plated d’Arnaud, and a fielding error on Gimenez’s ball to center field brought in both Hague and Mercer.� The Curve had a 6-0 lead.
They added 3 more runs in the 7th.� With one out, Hague singled, and Mercer reached on an error.� Gimenez’s double brought in both of them, then after a single by RF Miles Durham, Gimenez scored on a sacrifice fly by Norman.
The Curve were leading 9-0 going into the bottom of the 7th, when Derek Hankins relieved Watson.� Hankins gave up 2 runs on a double, two singles, and two wild pitches.� He retired the side in the 8th, but gave up a 3-run homer in the bottom of the 9th.� Hankins still earned his 6th save of the game, because he’d pitched 3 innings.� Watson’s win was his 5th of the season for the Curve.
A busy Friday for the Pirates’ minor league affiliates:
Bradenton Marauders� 5,� Jupiter Hammerheads� 3 (box)
The Marauders posted 14 hits, with each member of the line-up collecting at least one.� C Eric Fryer had a perfect 4-for-4 night, with all four hits singles.� SS Greg Picart had 2 singles, and LF Quincy Latimore doubled and homered.� They scored only 5 runs on those 14 hits, though, leaving 13 runners on base.
Bradenton began scoring in the 2nd inning, on Fryer’s first single and an RBI double by 1B Calvin Anderson. Latimore’s double and a single by DH Jeremy Farrell to score Latimore added another run in the 3rd.� Latimore’s home run over the left field wall made it 3-0 in the 5th inning.� The Marauders took advantage of an error by the Hammerheads to score agin in the 6th.� With one out, Greg Picart singled and 2B Shelby Ford reached on a fielding error in left field, which let the speedy Picart score from first base.� Ford went to third base on the error, and he scored on RF Robbie Grossman’s RBI single.
Nate Baker earned his 2nd win with the Marauders, going 6 shutout innings and allowing only 2 hits, with 4 walks and 5 strikeouts.� Three of those walks came in the bottom of the 1st inning, but Baker got out of that bases-loaded jam with a pop out and two fly outs.� He had two more runners in scoring position in the 2nd, with a walk and a double, but got out of that jam too.� The other single he allowed came with two outs in the 3rd.� After that single, Baker retired the next 10 batters he faced, to finish his night.
Craig Hansen came on in relief of Baker to begin the 7th.� He kept Jupiter from scoring in the 7th, despite two runners in scoring position from a hit batter, a single, and a wild pitch.� The Hammerheads’ only runs came in the 8th, and only one of the three runs was earned.� A double and two walks loaded the bases, and a sacrifice fly brought in the earned run.� After a second out, Hansen was relieved by Duke Welker. The first batter Welker faced took a ball into center field, but an error by CF Starling Marte caused two unearned runs to score.� Welker finished that inning with a line out to short.
Noah Krol earned his 30th save of the season with a perfect 9th inning.� He leads the Florida State League in saves — #2 has 28 saves and #3 has 21 saves.� How many saves do you need to have before you get promoted?
Early and late action for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:
Portland Sea Dogs� 9,� Altoona Curve� 8 (box)
Two home runs by 3B Josh Harrison and an early lead from a 5-run 2nd inning were washed away by the Sea Dogs’ 6-run 7th inning this afternoon.� Harrison, the second batter of the game, put the Curve onto the scoreboard minutes after the game began with his solo home run over the left field wall.� He added the second home run (his 3rd of the season) in the next inning.� That rally began with back-to-back walks by RF Miles Durham and C Kris Watts. CF Anthony Norman was hit by a pitch to load the bases for LF Jose De Los Santos. A line drive single by De Los Santos brought in Durham, then a wild pitch let Watts score.� 2B Chase d’Arnaud lifted a sacrifice fly, which plated Norman.� That left De Los Santos on base for Harrison, who blasted his second home run, also over the left field wall, for a 2-run homer, giving the Curve a 6-0 lead.
Bryan Morris began his afternoon’s work by allowing only a walk and a single over the first three innings.� In the 4th, he gave up a single just over the head of SS Jordy Mercer and into left field, then a home run on a rising line drive, cutting the Curve’s lead to 6-2.� Those were the only runs Morris allowed, on 3 hits and a walk, with 4 strikeouts in 5 innings.
Morris was relieved by Tom Boleska to begin the 6th.� Boleska gave up a solo homer, to 1B Anthony Rizzo, inching the Sea Dogs closer, 6-3.� But the real trouble came in the 7th, when Boleska could not retire any of the 4 batters he faced.� The first blasted a solo home run, then the next three all singled.� Derek Hankins replaced Boleska with the bases loaded and no outs.� He got one out on the infield fly rule, then got former Curve Ray Chang to strike out.� That brought Rizzo to the plate again — and he smashed a grand slam over the center field wall, and Portland had a 7-6 lead.� The grand slam was immediately followed by another solo home run, the third homer of the inning, for an 8-6 lead.� Five of those runs were charged to Boleska, and the other two to Hankins.
The Curve put one runner on base in each of the 4th through 7th innings, but could not get any of them around to score.� They rallied again in the 8th, starting with a single by 1B Matt� Hague and a double by Jordy Mercer, moving Hague to third base.� Miles Durham’s sacrifice fly brought in Hague, and Kris Watts’ double scored Mercer.� Norman was hit by a pitch and De Los Santos singled to deep short to load the bases.� But a grounder force out ended the inning with the Curve still one run short.� They went down in order in the 9th, and the Sea Dogs had the come-from-behind win.� Morris did not figure into the decision, but Boleska took the loss.