Prospect Watch: Decker Hits Walk Off, Barnes Continues Power Surge


A look at how the current top 30 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, 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 30 active prospects on the list. Rankings are from early season update, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.

1. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Altoona – Disabled List

2. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

3. Austin Meadows, CF, Bradenton – DNP

4. Josh Bell, 1B, Altoona – 1-for-4, 2 BB

5. Reese McGuire, C, Bradenton – 0-for-4

6. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

7. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – DNP

8. Cole Tucker, SS, West Virginia – 1-for-4, BB, SB

9. Elias Diaz, C, Indianapolis – 1-for-4

10. Mitch Keller, RHP, Extended Spring Training

11. Harold Ramirez, OF, Bradenton – 1-for-4

12. Stephen Tarpley, LHP, West Virginia – DNP

13. JaCoby Jones, SS, Bradenton – 0-for-5

14. Adrian Sampson, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

15. Trey Supak, RHP, Extended Spring Training

16. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Extended Spring Training

17. Barrett Barnes, OF, Bradenton – 2-for-4, HR

18. Clay Holmes, RHP, Bradenton – Disabled List

19. Cody Dickson, LHP, Bradenton – DNP

20. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis – 0-for-4

21. John Holdzkom, RHP, Indianapolis – 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

22. Jordan Luplow, 3B, West Virginia – 0-for-4, BB, SB

23. Connor Joe, 1B, West Virginia – 1-for-5

24. Wyatt Mathisen, 3B, Bradenton – 2-for-4

25. Casey Sadler, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

26. Steven Brault, LHP, Bradenton – DNP

27. Tito Polo, OF, West Virginia – 0-for-4, 2 SB

28. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Bradenton – DNP

29Luis Heredia, RHP, Bradenton – DNP

30. Taylor Gushue, C, West Virginia – 0-for-4



Top Pitcher: Chris Volstad, RHP – 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Edwin Espinal, 1B – 4-for-4, 2B

Home Runs: Barrett Barnes (4), Jaff Decker (3)



Box Score

Result: Indianapolis 3, Durham 2

Starting Pitcher: Chris Volstad, RHP – 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Jaff Decker, LF – 1-for-4, HR, BB, SB

Other Notable Performers:

Gustavo Nunez, 2B – 3-for-5, 2 SB

Radhames Liz, RHP – 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

John Holdzkom, RHP – 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Game Notes: After a tough start to the season, Chris Volstad has really come on of late and this continued into Tuesday night. Volstad tossed seven strong innings for his third straight start, and struck out a season-high seven hitters. After allowing six earned runs and ten hits on June 1st, Volstad has allowed only three runs in his last three starts. Along with the success, Volstad has also seen a slight spike in his fastball velocity from the high 80s to the low 90s.

Radhames Liz followed Volstad and worked a pair of scoreless innings, while hitting between 97 and 99 with the fastball in his second appearance since being outrighted to Indianapolis. John Holdzkom worked the 10th for his fourth scoreless inning since returning from the DL.

Gustavo Nunez added three hits and two stolen bases for Indianapolis after replacing Alen Hanson in the lineup. Hanson was a late scratch with a minor finger injury. Willy Garcia went hitless in his Indianapolis debut and had a 19-game hit streak snapped. Jaff Decker hit a walk-off home run off former Pirate farm hand Andy Oliver to end it. – Ryan Palencer



Box Score

Result: Akron 5, Altoona 4

Starting Pitcher: Jason Creasy, RHP – 5.0 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Dan Gamache, 3B – 2-for-6, 2B, BB

Other Notable Performers:

Max Moroff, 2B – 2-for-7

Mel Rojas, CF – 2-for-7

Adam Frazier, DH – 2-for-5, 3B, BB

Josh Bell, 1B – 1-for-4, 2 BB

Game Notes: Altoona lost to Akron in 14 innings. The offense didn’t do much, considering the length of the game and the lack of extra base hits. Adam Frazier picked up a triple, which was his second of the year. Dan Gamache picked up his seventh double of the year, and not has hits in eight of his last nine games. Max Moroff picked up multiple hits, extending his hitting streak to seven games. Jason Creasy was hit around, and continues giving up a decent amount of walks. Tonight it was only two in five innings, although he now has 24 walks in 69.2 innings this season, compared to 22 walks in 148.2 innings last year. He had 24 walks in 108.1 innings in 2013, which ties for this year’s total as his career worst.



Box Score

Result: Tampa 2, Bradenton 1

Starting Pitcher: Jayson Aquino, LHP – 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Edwin Espinal, 1B – 4-for-4, 2B

Other Notable Performers:

Barrett Barnes, LF – 2-for-4, HR

Erich Weiss, DH – 2-for-4

Wyatt Mathisen, 3B – 2-for-4

Game Notes: Barrett Barnes hit his fourth homer of the year, and now has a .192 ISO in the Florida State League, which is a very pitcher friendly park. Barnes might have had a few more home runs in another league and environment, as a lot of his 12 doubles so far have been hit hard and deep. Edwin Espinal had a nice night with four hits. Wyatt Mathisen had his second straight multi-hit game. Jayson Aquino has posted a 3.77 ERA in 43 innings since joining the Pirates’ organization, with a 27:11 K/BB ratio and a 2.06 GO/AO ratio.



Box Score

Result: West Virginia 5, Charleston 4

Starting Pitcher: Alex McRae, RHP – 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Jerrick Suiter, RF – 2-for-4, 2B, BB, SB

Other Notable Performers:

Pablo Reyes, 2B – 2-for-5, 2B

Cole Tucker, SS – 1-for-4, BB, SB

Tito Polo, CF – 0-for-4, 2 SB

Game Notes: West Virginia picked up just two extra base hits and six hits total on the evening, but they made the most of their time on base, going 6-for-7 in stolen base attempts. Tito Polo stole two bases, giving him 19 on the season. Cole Tucker added one for his 17th of the year. Pablo Reyes and Jerrick Suiter added the extra base hits. For Reyes, it was his 13th double of the year. Cole Tucker had a rough night defensively, committing two errors to give him eight on the season.



Box Score

Result: Pirates 3, Cubs 2

Starting Pitcher: Adonis Pichardo, RHP – 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Melvin Jimenez, SS – 3-for-4, 2B

Other Notable Performers:

Felix Vinicio, LF – 2-for-3, BB

Raul Hernandez, C – 1-for-4, 2B

Game Notes: The Pirates won 3-2 over the Cubs on Tuesday, but the may have lost one of their best pitchers. Starter Adonis Pichardo, who was one of the top signings last July, left this game after three shutout innings because his velocity was down about 8-10 MPH. He was in the middle of his best start, though he did walk three batters and hit another. The move to take him out was precautionary, but a sharp decrease in velocity is never a good sign.

Melvin Jimenez had three hits for the Pirates, giving him 25 hits in his first 15 career game. He is hitting .391 with five doubles. The big signing from last year was Yondy Contreras and he has cooled off since a great start. In his last nine games, he is 6-for-34 with 15 strikeouts. He also hasn’t drawn a walk in his last seven games. Contreras had nine hits in his first five games. Left fielder Felix Vinicio is hitting .378 after a 2-for-3 day. He has an .868 OPS and four strikeouts in 45 at-bats. – John Dreker

  • No Pirate prospect has improved his stock more than Barrett Barnes this year, and it isn’t even close. 3rd best ISO and 4th best overall hitter in the FSL while posting above average walk and strikeout numbers. Wouldn’t mind seeing him get around the league twice, but otherwise there’s no reason for him not to finish out the year with 100 or so AB’s against AA pitching.

    Willy Garcia may have more upside, but I’ll take Barrett Barnes as an overall better prospect any day.

    • Barnes has been fantastic. And the thing about the FSL games is that every night around game time it gets really humid and the air gets thick, which makes it harder for the ball to travel. There have been a few that he has absolutely crushed that only went for a double because they didn’t carry over the wall. Defensively he’s a center fielder playing in left field due to Meadows being on the same team. I still cringe every time he makes a diving play, or slides hard into a base. If he can stay healthy, he’s got the all around tools to be a starter in the majors.

      • Nice. Thanks, Tim. The FSL sounds like my own personal hell, fwiw. 😉

        • I’d say it’s something you get used to, but that would be a lie.

          Then again, it beats the GCL in July. Noon games when it’s 95 degrees and humid. Barely any shade, and you’re standing on blacktop while watching the game. And then every afternoon at the end of the game a big storm rolls through the area. I don’t know how anyone performs in that league.

  • If Big John and Liz can continue to throw strikes, they can help us at the big league level.

    • Liz was not throwing 97-99 with us was he? I don’t recall seeing him above 95ish

      • I would have to check FanGraphs.

      • Darkstone42
        June 17, 2015 9:59 am

        Yeah, though he threw harder in his first couple outings. I wonder if he was struggling with control, so he started taking something off it in the Majors to try to hit his spots better. Maybe now he’s just cutting it loose again.

      • PITCHf/x has him maxed at 98mph or higher in 9 of 11 appearances; averaged 96mph or higher in 6 of 11.

        He actually was throwing harder as the season progress, as well.

        I truly think his biggest issue was going from starter to reliever. Just didn’t understand the differences and couldn’t adjust to being used so infrequently.

        • I have to admit, normally when he was in the game, there wasn’t much reason to care about the game at that point other than his extra inning outings

  • Bring up Decker and DFA Hart.

    • Agreed. It’s time.

    • Or just DFA Hart period and bring up anyone.

      • Brent Morel? 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Decker, Lombardozzi, Hernandez or Sanchez.
        (one of the above – now sure of the order of preference)
        Each brings skills that could be helpful to the team.

        We think we know what we get with Decker.

        The wildcard is Hernandez. Need a stolen base?
        He probably has it. Need to rest an outfielder with
        another speedy one, he can cover. Need some
        experience in a tight race. He helps out.

        Question on Lombardozzi is can he fill in once
        in a while at 1st base? He can fill in just about

    • Agreed with this forever. I wonder what the Lambo camp is saying with Sean Rodriguez being the go to guy? “Oh Lambo hit 20 HR’S in the PCL”

  • It looks like Holdzkom is rounding into form. Is there a read on his velocity and I wonder what has to happen to get him back in his role with the big club that worked so well last year. Put another way, who can he replace barring injury?

    • I don’t care what his velocity is if he isn’t walking people. I would have said Scahill, but Scahill has started pitching well again as has Caminero after a few weeks period where they were both lost in the woods. Because of our flexibility with fielders, you could actually DFA Hart and bring up Holdzkom without losing anything. Hart serves no purpose at all, Morton is swinging better

      • infact- don’t DFA Hart, just release him, let’s not beat around the bush

        • I said in ST that it was a mistake to give him a major league contract.

          (I ain’t right often, so when I am, I make sure everyone knows) 🙂 🙂 🙂

          • well, i still disagree with you. It wasn’t a mistake to give him a contract. It becomes a mistake when you don’t realize the bet was wrong and keep him around when its time to move on

      • Hart does look like he is in pain at the plate and in the field. I like the idea of releasing Hart, I would also make every attempt to move Tabata again. I don’t care what his average is…………..I’m sick of watching him goof around in the dugout. Hart and Tabata out………….Decker and Big John Holdzkom up.

        • meatygettingsaucy
          June 17, 2015 10:33 am

          You are sick of watching him goof around in the dugout? How dare the players stay lose and have fun while playing a children’s game and how dare Jose put together solid numbers while filling in for an injured player. My rage is irrepressible

          • How many times has Tabata been put on waivers and been passed on by all the other clubs? His package of skills, personality and salary is clearly finding no takers.

            • meatygettingsaucy
              June 17, 2015 7:14 pm

              His “personality” has nothing to do with why teams pass on him. It is almost entirely his salary. When signed, the deal looked like a steal, it has since backfired and the Pirates are left with paying the salary. The only way Tabata will be out of Pittsburgh is if the Pirates cut ways with him entirely or trade him while paying a majority of his salary. Neither is a viable option since you are still on the hook for his salary. He is a more than capable 4th OF, if only too expensive. Seriously, is it that hard to figure this out?

              • I wonder if Tabatha could be included in a trade for someone like Hamels and offset the cash that would have to come our way to make the Hamels contract palatable.

        • I don’t understand why we don’t just DL Hart for no other reason than to send him down to AAA for some rehab at bats after 2 weeks- maybe some 6-7 games of ab’s could help, and if not, we could just cut him loose. We simply cant allow him to get in synch here because of how awful he is, but if you aren’t going to release him, you need to figure out another way to get him on track