Prospect Watch: Big Games From Keon Broxton and Nick Buckner on a Day Filled With Strong Pitching


A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today.  Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors. 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 #1, 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 mid-season top 20 update, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.

1. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Bradenton – DNP

2. Austin Meadows, CF, West Virginia – 1-for-4

3. Reese McGuire, C, West Virginia – 1-for-4

4. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

5. Alen Hanson, SS, Altoona – 2-for-7, HR, 2 RBI

6. Josh Bell, RF, Bradenton – DNP

7. Harold Ramirez, OF, West Virginia – Disabled List (7/7 Update)

8. Cole Tucker, SS, GCL Pirates – 0-for-3

9. Luis Heredia, RHP, West Virginia – DNP

10. Mitch Keller, RHP, GCL Pirates – DNP

11. Adrian Sampson, RHP, Altoona – 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 0 HR

12. JaCoby Jones, SS, West Virginia – 0-for-3

13. Casey Sadler, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

14. Andrew Lambo, OF, Jamestown – DNP

15. Joely Rodriguez, LHP, Altoona – DNP

16. Michael De La Cruz, OF, GCL Pirates – DNP

17. Trey Supak, RHP, GCL Pirates – DNP

18. Buddy Borden, RHP, West Virginia  – 6.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 0 HR

19. Stetson Allie, 1B, Altoona – 1-for-6, BB

20. Gage Hinsz, RHP, GCL Pirates – DNP


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Top Pitcher: Buddy Borden, RHP – 6.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Keon Broxton, CF – 3-for-5, 2 2B, 5 RBI, BB

Home Runs: Alen Hanson (10), Erich Weiss (2), Carlos Munoz (1)



Game One Box Score

Result: Columbus 4, Indianapolis 3

Starting Pitcher: Rafael Perez, LHP – 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Chris McGuiness, 1B – 1-for-2, 2B, RBI, BB

Other Notable Performers:

Tony Sanchez, C – 1-for-3, RBI

Chase d’Arnaud, CF – 2-for-4, 2B, SB

Game Notes: The Pirates just signed left-handed pitcher Rafael Perez as a minor league free agent and threw him right into the starting role for the first game of a doubleheader. He stumbled a little in the first inning, then settled down and put a quality start in, giving up one earned run over six innings. Andy Oliver tried to close out of the game, but he allowed two runs and took the loss. Brent Morel, Tony Sanchez and Chris McGuiness each drove in a run. Chase d’Arnaud had the only multi-hit game for Indianapolis.

Game Two Box Score

Result: Columbus 2, Indianapolis 1

Starting Pitcher: Jhonathan Ramos, LHP – 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 2 HR

Top Hitter: Tony Sanchez, DH – 1-for-3, RBI

Other Notable Performers:

Chase d’Arnaud, CF – 1-for-4, 2B

Mel Rojas Jr., LF – 0-for-2, BB

Game Notes:  Jhonathan Ramos made his first season of the season and first career start at AAA and gave up two runs over five innings, taking the tough luck loss. Both runs he allowed came on solo homers. Tony Sanchez had a single and an RBI. He has driven in at least one run in each of his last four games. Sanchez is batting .429 in his last eight games. Indianapolis scored just one run and went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.



Game One Box Score

Result: Altoona 9, Harrisburg 1

Starting Pitcher: Adrian Sampson, RHP – 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Keon Broxton, CF – 2-for-2, 2B, 4 RBI, BB

Other Notable Performers:

Alen Hanson, SS – 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI

Stetson Allie, 1B – 1-for-3, BB

Drew Maggi, LF – 2-for-3, BB

Andy Vasquez, RF – 3-for-4, RBI

Game Notes: Altoona scored 13 runs Friday night and continued their big offensive output during game one of their doubleheader on Saturday. They scored nine runs, highlighted by a two-run homer from Alen Hanson and four RBIs from Keon Broxton. Andy Vasquez had three hits and Drew Maggi reached base three times. Adrian Sampson kept Harrisburg off the board until the sixth inning, giving up one run on four hits and three walks. He went all seven innings(minor league doubleheaders are two 7 inning games) picking up his second career complete game and first this year. Sampson has gone at least six innings in nine of his last ten starts, with the only outlier being a game that was suspended due to rain after he went three innings.


Game Two Box Score

Result: Harrisburg 3, Altoona 2

Starting Pitcher: Joely Rodriguez, LHP – 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Dan Gamache, 2B – 2-for-3, 2B, RBI

Other Notable Performers:

Keon Broxton, CF – 1-for-3, 2B, RBI

Game Notes: Joely Rodriguez threw Altoona’s second complete game of the night, but unlike Adrian Sampson, Rodriguez came up on the wrong end of the decision. He has pitched poorly recently and his 4.44 season ERA was more like the Joely Rodriguez of the past, not the 2013 version that had a 2.70 ERA over two levels. His lowest ERA in his first four seasons was 4.21 in 2010. Keon Broxton finished the day with five RBIs



Box Score

Result: Bradenton 4, Tampa 3

Starting Pitcher: Shane Carle, RHP – 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Raul Fortunato, LF – 1-for-2, 2 RBI, BB

Other Notable Performers:

Barrett Barnes, CF – 1-for-2,2 BB, 2B, SB

Game Notes: Shane Carle made his Bradenton debut tonight after starting the year with West Virginia. He had a quality start, allowing two runs over six innings and he picked up the win. Carle recorded 11 ground ball outs. Yhonathan Barrios made his first appearance for Bradenton and got the save, though it wasn’t easy. He allowed a run on one hit and a walk, squeaking out a 4-3 victory for the Marauders. Barrett Barnes also made his Bradenton debut and had a double, two walks, scored a run and he stole a base. Raul Fortunato drove in two runs and stole his 13th base of the year.



Box Score

Result: West Virginia 6, Greensboro 0

Starting Pitcher: Buddy Borden, RHP – 6.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Erich Weiss, 2B – 3-for-3, HR, 3 RBI

Other Notable Performers:

Reese McGuire, C – 1-for-4

Austin Meadows, CF – 1-for-4

Game Notes: Austin Meadows made his West Virginia debut on Saturday, collecting one single in four at-bats. His first game was overshadowed by a one-hit performance from Buddy Borden. In 6.2 shutout innings, Borden allowed four base runners and retired 12 batters in a row at one point. In his last start, he threw five shutout innings and gave up just two hits. Felipe Gonzalez finished the game, throwing 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit. Erich Weiss had a big game, collecting three hits and driving in three runs. He hit his second homer of the season. Coming into the game, Weiss was hitting .190 with one extra-base hit in 22 games since the All-Star break.



Box Score

Result: Jamestown 3, Vermont 2

Starting Pitcher: Tyler Eppler, RHP – 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Tyler Filliben, SS – 1-for-4, 2B, RBI, SB

Other Notable Performers:

Jordan Luplow, LF – 1-for-3, BB

Kevin Ross, 1B – 2-for-4, 2B

Game Notes: Tyler Eppler continued the strong night of starting pitching, throwing five shutout innings of his own. He gave up two hits and two walks, but failed to record a strikeout. Through six starts, the 2014 sixth round draft pick has a 3.12 ERA. Shortstop Tyler Filliben had the team’s only RBI. Kevin Ross had two hits, including his fifth double. He is hitting .333 through 18 games, though he still hasn’t drawn a walk this year.



Box Score

Result: Bristol 9, Kingsport 8

Starting Pitcher: Adrian Grullon, RHP – 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Nick Buckner, RF – 3-for-5, 5 RBI

Other Notable Performers:

Carlos Ozuna, 2B – 2-for-4, BB

Jerrick Suiter, RF – 3-for-4, BB

Game Notes: Nick Buckner had a career day, collecting three hits and driving in five runs in Bristols 9-8 win over Kingston. The 2013 14th round pick of the Pirates has struggled this year, though he is still just 18 years old. Prior to tonight, he had a .568 OPS in his first 16 games, with 23 strikeouts in 62 at-bats. Jerrick Suiter had three hits, drew a walk and scored two runs. Enyel Vallejo and Eduardo Figueroa each scored two runs. Jonathan Sandfort pitched the third inning and got hit hard. The 2012 third round pick gave up three runs on five hits in one inning. He has a 12.15 ERA in 13.1 innings and he has given up 31 hits already.



Box Score

Result: Phillies 11, Pirates 2

Starting Pitcher: Jake Burnette, RHP – 2.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter:  Carlos Munoz, 1B – 1-for-2, HR, RBI, BB

Other Notable Performers:

Tito Polo, DH – 1-for-3, RBI

Cole Tucker, SS – 0-for-3

Neil Kozikowski, RHP – 2.1 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 1 HR

Game Notes: Jake Burnette got his second rehab start and gave up two runs on four hits and a walk in two innings. It obviously wasn’t a good outing, but it was much better than his debut when he allowed five runs over 1.1 innings. Carlos Munoz hit a solo homer and Tito Polo drove in the only other run. Polo is hitting .321/.415/.518 through 16 games. Cole Tucker played shortstop for the first time since last week, when he left a game after injuring his thumb. He was the DH on Friday, his first game back. Tucker is 1-for-14 in his last five games. Every player in the Pirates lineup struck out at least once. Seventh round draft pick Nelson Jorge continued his season-long battle to make contact at the plate. He has struck out 27 times in 49 at-bats, including nine straight games in which he has struck out at least twice.



Box Score

Result: Pirates 8, Blue Jays 5

Starting Pitcher: Nestor Oronel, RHP – 4.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Raul Siri, DH – 3-for-5, 2B, 3B, RBI

Other Notable Performers:

Jhoan Herrera, 3B – 1-for-3, BB

Yunelky Adames, 1B – 1-for-3, 2B, BB, RBI

Game Notes: The Pirates won 8-5 on Saturday with some help from the Blue Jays defense, which accounted for five unearned runs. The Pirates had just five hits in the game, with three of them coming from Raul Siri. He collected his fifth triple and 15th double. Yunelky Adames drove in his 29th run of the season. He came into the game with four triples and a homer, but amazingly he didn’t have a double until Saturday. Starter Nestor Oronel allowed two runs over 4.1 innings. Julian Villamar followed Oronel and gave up two runs in one inning of work, though he was still able to pick up his first career win.

You can check out the DSL Pirates week five recap here.

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John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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Lee Young

Watched the Altoona game 1 last night.

Sampson walked the first batter, and I went ‘uh-oh’. After that, he pounded the strike zone. The only run came on two seeing eye singles and a sac fly (ironically, the hardest hit ball of the game possibly). He was definitely impressive. In/out, up/down.

If Harrisburg had a good RF, Broxton’s runs scoring 2b would’ve been caught. It was tailing away, but seemed catchable to me.

Hanson has a quick bat. Elias Diaz has a nice swing and looked good behind the plate. Allie worked the count in 3 of his four ABs, with his single coming on the 2nd pitch.

R Edwards

Nick Buckner is an interesting off the radar type of prospect. Very young – I think he is still just 18-19 years old. Strikes out a ton, but appears to have some potential as a hitter with some pop.

Broxton is an enigma – Had an awful April, an absolutely incredible May, and fell off the wagon again in June. July appears to be a strong month so far for him. He is still just 24, and appears to have a lot more upside than Jaff Decker. I’d like to see him get moved up to Indy for the last month of the season, if he continues to put up good numbers in July.

R Edwards

I didn’t know all that John….interesting. Yeah, I would keep my eye on Buckner……I just have a sense he may grow into something special.

Lee Young

Broxton with more upside?

Career OPS in minors:

Jaff Decker – .850
Keon Broxton – .717

Even if Broxton was a slick fielding SS, I’d not be excited about him.

R Edwards

Well, drawing walks may be the best attribute of Decker’s game. However, he doesn’t seem to have the size or skills to be much more than he is now. I just don’t see him getting much better. Now Broxton, on the other hand, is very gifted athletically and seems to have all the physical tools….he just needs to mature in his hitting approach – like Rojas has shown this year. He may never really his potential, but I think he has a much higher ceiling because of his God given gifts.


I actually agree with this statement. Its actually well thought out, very good

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