Today we take a look at the best/worst hitters in the system this month. We will look at the pitchers in tomorrow’s Morning Report.
Among all of the players on the Pittsburgh Pirates’ four full-season affiliates, the player with the highest OPS in June might surprise a lot of people. Adam Frazier has a 1.075 OPS and perhaps even more surprising, his .612 slugging percentage is the highest this month. That slugging percentage is just .004 below his OPS last season in Bradenton.
Next in OPS is Michael Suchy, which could be considered another surprise, only because he was supposed to be on the raw side when drafted and would need time to develop. The expectations this season for Suchy weren’t that high, he just needed as much playing time as possible. Last season for Jamestown he had a .664 OPS in 66 games and now he currently sits at .783 through 60 games this season. He has also raised his OPS each month, so there could be upside with him if he can continue to improve and refine his game. I wouldn’t expect him to have a better July, but if he can, then you’re talking about a legit prospect.
The next best hitter shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone because he has constantly been mentioned in our daily Prospect Watch, plus he is a top prospect in the system. Harold Ramirez only played five games in May, so his hot hitting in June is almost his entire season so far. He is hitting .366/.413/.484 this month, with the only downside being the fact he is 7-for-15 in stolen base attempts.
It worked out that the top four in OPS are on four different teams. Jaff Decker is hitting .304/.385/.519 in 24 games. He is also 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts and he has a 11:9 BB/SO ratio. Decker has a huge home/road split this season, posting a .991 OPS in Indianapolis and .685 away from home. You would think that he has probably played a lot of home games this month based on those numbers, but he has actually played 13 games on the road in June.
On the other side of things, JaCoby Jones leads the way because he has struck out 30 times this month, more than any other player in the system. In May, he led the system with 33 strikeouts. In 22 games this month, he is hitting .209/.273/.297 and he has a .705 OPS on the season.
The lowest OPS this month belongs to Tony Sanchez, who is probably having his worst month at the plate in pro ball. Sanchez is hitting .065/.249/.109 this month. He also has a huge home/road split just like Decker, which might be something I dig deeper into one day. At home, Sanchez is actually a real good hitter, posting an .840 OPS. On the road, he has a paltry .484 OPS in 29 games.
For West Virginia, Tito Polo is having a very difficult month, batting .115/.242/.115 in 17 games. Hard to believe with those numbers that he has just eight strikeouts in 64 plate appearances, so he is putting the ball in play. When he does get on base, he is making things happen, going 8-for-9 in stolen bases.
Altoona doesn’t have anyone near as bad as those three, but we might as well stick with one for each team. The worst hitter for the Curve is Eric Wood, who has a .246/.299/.328 slash line in June. He has actually been hitting at the top of the order recently, which isn’t where you normally put your worst hitter. On the season, he has .225/.293/.310 line in 55 games.
Pirates Game Graph
The Pirates trail by eight games in the division to the Cardinals. They have a two game lead for the top wild card spot.
Indianapolis is 4-6 in their last ten games. They have a 4.5 game lead in their division.
Altoona is 5-5 in their last ten games and they are now tied for the lead in their division.
Bradenton and West Virginia did not win their first half title. The second half began Thursday for both teams and the second half records will be included below in the schedule.
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates won 8-4 on Saturday night over the Braves. Jeff Locke will try to help the Pirates go for the sweep today. Earlier this month, Locke gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks in 6.1 innings against Atlanta. Alex Wood will pitched for the Braves today. He has a 3.44 ERA in 86.1 innings. On June 7th, he threw five innings against the Pirates, allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk.
In the minors, Clayton Richard goes for Indianapolis today. He allowed a season-high ten hits in his last game. He has gone at least five innings in all nine of his starts this season. Jayson Aquino has thrown seven innings in each of his last three starts. He has a 2.08 GO/AO ratio with Bradenton. Altoona and Bristol have doubleheaders today. Right now Zack Dodson and Chad Kuhl are scheduled to go for Altoona, but they may not go with two regulars in their starting rotation on the same day(see below: Kuhl was pushed back in favor of Thomas Harlan). Sixth round pick JT Brubaker has been added as the starter for Morgantown. The GCL and DSL Pirates are both off today. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.
MLB: Pittsburgh (42-32) vs Braves (35-40) 1:35 PM
Probable starter: Jeff Locke (4.73 ERA, 30:59 BB/SO, 78.0 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (45-31) vs Syracuse (26-50) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Clayton Richard (2.20 ERA, 13:20 BB/SO, 49.0 IP)
AA: Altoona (42-31) @ Harrisburg (33-41) 5:00 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: Zack Dodson (3.63 ERA, 13:32 BB/SO, 79.1 IP) and Thomas Harlan
High-A: Bradenton (34-39, 2-1 second half) vs Brevard County (29-41) 1:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Jayson Aquino (3.60 ERA, 14:33 BB/SO, 50.0 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (40-32, 3-0 second half) vs Greensboro (29-43) 2:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Alex McRae (4.02 ERA, 13:47 BB/SO, 65.0 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (4-4) vs Hudson Valley (4-4) 4:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: JT Brubaker (16.87 ERA, 0:2 BB/SO, 2.2 IP)
Rookie: Bristol (1-3) vs Princeton (3-1) 5:00 PM DH (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD
GCL: Pirates (3-2) vs Yankees2 (3-3) 12:00 PM 6/29 (season preview)
DSL: Pirates (12-13) vs Rangers2 (14-11) 10:30 AM 6/29 (season preview)
Mel Rojas Jr. has looked real good since being sent back to Altoona, providing us with a few highlights already. Today’s video is him throwing out a runner at home from center field on a nice throw. If he showed off those tools a little more often, he’d still be in Indianapolis now, or possibly Pittsburgh, since it looked like he could provide outfield depth going into this season.
6/28: Jose Tabata designated for assignment. Gorkys Hernandez added to Pirates roster.
6/28: Chris Volstad designated for assignment. Steve Lombardozzi added to Pirates roster.
6/28: Clario Perez promoted to Altoona. Wes Freeman activated from disabled list.
6/28: Kawika Emsley-Pai retired.
6/28: Hunter Morris activated from Indianapolis disabled list.
6/27: Junior Lopez promoted to Bradenton. Dovydas Neverauskas activated from West Virginia disabled list.
6/26: Tyler Glasnow assigned to Altoona.
6/26: Deolis Guerra added to Pirates roster. Rob Scahill placed on disabled list.
6/26: Wilkin Castillo activated from Indianapolis disabled list.
6/25: Robert Stock added to Bradenton roster. Jordan Steranka placed on disabled list.
6/24: Casey Sadler placed on disabled list. Brad Lincoln and Josh Wall added to Indianapolis roster.
6/24: Corey Hart placed on disabled list. Chris Volstad added to Pirates roster.
6/23: Pirates sign Shane Kemp. Assigned to Bristol.
6/22: Andy Otamendi assigned to Morgantown.
6/22: Pirates sign Austin Sodders. Assigned to GCL.
6/21: Marek Minarik and Luis Paula sent to Bristol.
6/20: Pirates release Edgar Munoz
6/20: Pirates sign Garrett Russini as a non-drafted free agent.
6/19: Pirates sign Sean Keselica and Stephan Meyer. Both players assigned to Morgantown.
6/19: Collin Balester traded to Cincinnati Reds.
6/18: Steven Brault promoted to Altoona. Jin-De Jhang added to Bradenton roster.
6/17: Alen Hanson placed on disabled list. Kelson Brown added to Indianapolis roster.
6/17: Pirates sign Kevin Kramer, Tanner Anderson, Nicholas Economos and Mike Wallace. Kramer assigned to Morgantown. Anderson and Wallace assigned to Bristol. Economos assigned to GCL.
6/16: Pirates sign Ke’Bryan Hayes. Assigned to GCL Pirates.
6/15: Pirates sign Kevin Newman. Assigned to West Virginia
6/14: Angel Sanchez promoted to Indianapolis.
6/14: Tyler Eppler added to Bradenton roster. Ryan Hafner released.
This Date in Pirates History
Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a trade of note and the last game at Forbes Field. The players born on this date include 1997-98 shortstop Kevin Polcovich, catcher Orlando McFarlane(1962,1964), pitcher Mike Lynch(1904-07) and 1894 shortstop Frank Scheibeck. He played his first MLB game in 1887 and his last in 1906, but he only got into 390 games total. McFarlane was signed out of Cuba by the Pirates and was lost to the Tigers in the 1965 Rule 5 draft. Lynch was signed out of college, where he was undefeated at Brown University.
On this date in 1979, the Pirates and Giants made a six-player deal that brought Bill Madlock to Pittsburgh. After the trade, he hit .328 with 44 RBIs and 21 stolen bases in 81 games, helping the Pirates to the playoffs. In the World Series, Madlock hit .350 and drove in three runs.
On this date in 1970, the Pirates played the last two games at Forbes Field. The park opened in 1909 and saw the Pirates win three World Series titles. On the last day of the stadium, the Pirates swept the Cubs in a doubleheader in front of a sold out stadium. Al Oliver hit the final home run in the park and later scored the final run.