Prospect Watch: Holmes Makes First Start Since 2013, Big Game From Ramirez


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 – DNP

2. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

3. Austin Meadows, CF, Bradenton – 0-for-4

4. Josh Bell, 1B, Altoona – 1-for-4, RBI

5. Reese McGuire, C, Bradenton – 2-for-3, 2 BB, RBI

6. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

7. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – Disabled List

8. Cole Tucker, SS, West Virginia – DNP

9. Elias Diaz, C, Indianapolis – DNP

10. Mitch Keller, RHP, Bristol – DNP

11. Harold Ramirez, OF, Bradenton – 3-for-5, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, SB

12. Stephen Tarpley, LHP, West Virginia – DNP

13. JaCoby Jones, SS, Bradenton – 1-for-5

14. Adrian Sampson, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

15. Trey Supak, RHP, Bristol – DNP

16. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Bristol – DNP

17. Barrett Barnes, OF, Bradenton – 1-for-3, BB, 2 R, SB

18. Clay Holmes, RHP, Bradenton – 3.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

19. Cody Dickson, LHP, Bradenton – DNP

20. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis – 1-for-3, BB

21. John Holdzkom, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

22. Jordan Luplow, 3B, West Virginia – DNP

23. Connor Joe, 1B, West Virginia – DNP

24. Wyatt Mathisen, 3B, Bradenton – 1-for-5

25. Casey Sadler, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

26. Steven Brault, LHP, Altoona – DNP

27. Tito Polo, OF, West Virginia – DNP

28. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Bradenton – DNP

29Luis Heredia, RHP, Bradenton – DNP

30. Taylor Gushue, C, West Virginia – DNP



Top Pitcher: Jayson Aquino, LHP – 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Harold Ramirez, RF – 3-for-5, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, SB

Home Runs: Brent Morel (5), Erik Lunde (1)



Box Score

Result: Gwinnett 6, Indianapolis 3

Starting Pitcher: Clayton Richard, LHP – 6.0 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Brent Morel, 3B – 2-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI

Other Notable Performers:

John Bowker, 1B – 2-for-4, 2B, RBI
Jaff Decker, LF – 1-for-4, 2B, R

Game NotesAfter struggling to keep the ball down most of the night, Clayton Richard labored through six innings. With the elevation on his fastball, Richard allowed ten hits to opposing hitters, but spread them out and allowed four runners to cross the plate. Richard was unusually wild as well, and while it only resulted in a single walk, he also had a pair of hit batters.

Bobby LaFromboise relieved Richard and picked up a strikeout in his perfect inning of work. Blake Wood continued a bit of a tough stretch for him by allowing a pair of runs and a hit, while hitting another batter. Wood has given up two runs in each of his last two outings.
Brent Morel and John Bowker continued their hot hitting, by picking up a pair of hits each. Bowker has a hit in four of his last five games now after going hitless in his first four games with Indianapolis.Ryan Palencer


Box Score

Result: Erie 4, Altoona 3

Starting Pitcher: Chad Kuhl, RHP – 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Adam Frazier, CF – 2-for-4, R, SB

Other Notable Performers:

Gift Ngoepe, SS – 2-for-4

Stetson Allie, RF – 0-for-2, BB, R

Josh Bell, 1B – 1-for-4, RBI

Game Notes: Chad Kuhl cruised through the first three innnings, only allowing a seeing eye single in the second and a full count walk. In the first inning, he worked hard the whole time, hitting 95 mph on the gun multiple times (on multiple guns). Kuhl kept the ball low and got three groundouts in the first. As the game wore on, you could tell that he was not locating as well with the low fastball and slider, as his fly ball rate increased.

Kuhl got in trouble in the 4th inning with batters having the ability to lift the ball to the gaps. His breaking pitches were hanging up, and he struggled with control in that inning. After the 4th inning and a leadoff hit in the 5th, Kuhl retired nine straight batters in a row to get through seven innings.

Kuhl did a great job recovering from a tough inning and command controls in the fourth to go into the seventh without letting up any other runs. When he is able to locate his fastball and slider low in the zone, batters have an extremely difficult time getting anything against him. He made a great play in the fifth on a bunt off of the mound towards third to field and throw to first in one motion to get the out, as well.

Adam Frazier hit leadoff and had a line drive on the first pitch of the game to center field. He also had a second line drive hit and line out to the third baseman. Lastly, he was able to lay down a sacrifice bunt to move runners over to second and third.

Otherwise, Curve hitters struggled to get timely hitting. Josh Bell hit a slow grounder to shortstop with the runner at third running on contact, which resulted in an out at home. In the 8th with the bases loaded, Manager Tom Prince replaced Dan Gamache with pinch hitter Edward Salcedo, who then struck out. Eric Wood would then strike out, as well, with two outs.

Of note, Stetson Allie came up with no outs and runners on first and second in the 8th and was called upon to lay a sacrifice bunt down to advance the runners. He was able to get the bunt down with two strikes on him. Also, Gift Ngoepe’s defense was spectacular like usual, making multiple above average fielding plays at shortstop. He also connected two more hits on the night. – Sean McCool



Box Score

Result: Bradenton 7, Charlotte 3

Starting Pitcher: Jayson Aquino, LHP – 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Harold Ramirez, RF – 3-for-5, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, SB

Other Notable Performers:

Reese McGuire, C – 2-for-3, 2 BB, RBI

Barrett Barnes, LF – 1-for-3, 2 R, BB, SB

Jin-De Jhang, DH – 2-for-4, RBI

Game Notes: The Marauders won 7-3 in ten innings in Tuesday. Harold Ramirez had three hits and drove in four runs. He had a double, triple and stole his ninth base. Reese McGuire reached base four times with two singles and two walks. Barrett Barnes had two walks and stole his tenth base. Erich Weiss also scored twice and stole two bases, giving him nine on the season.

Jayson Aquino put in seven innings and didn’t allow any runs until the seventh inning. He had six strikeouts and a 9:1 GO/AO ratio in the game. Counting his time with Dunedin earlier in the season, Aquino has a 3.33 ERA in 75.2 innings. Former Pirate farmhand Buddy Borden faced the Marauders and allowed one earned run over six innings, while striking out eight batters. He has a 2.18 ERA this season.



West Virginia is currently on their All-Star break. The AS game was played on Tuesday. Chase Simpson went 1-for-2 with a single. Elvis Escobar played the whole game in center field and went 0-for-4. Junior Lopez pitched a scoreless inning, retiring the side in order, striking out two batters. Yeudy Garcia gave up a run in his only inning. The North(the good guys) won 7-4.


Box Score

Result: Williamsport 3, Morgantown 1

Starting Pitcher: Bret Helton, RHP – 3.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Danny Arribas, DH – 2-for-3, RBI, BB

Other Notable Performers:

Kevin Newman, SS – 1-for-5, 2B

Kevin Kramer, 2B – 0-for-2, BB

Casey Hughston, CF – 0-for-5

Game Notes:  Pirates’ ninth round pick Bret Helton made his pro debut on Tuesday and went three innings, giving up two runs on five hits and a walk. He threw 45 pitches, 28 for strikes. Cesilio Pimentel followed him and gave up one run over 3.2 innings.

First round pick Kevin Newman is 3-for-17 with three errors in four games. Second round pick Kevin Kramer is 3-for-13 and has reached base once in each game. Third round pick Casey Hughston is off to a rough start, going 0-for-9 in his first two pro games. Seventh round pick Mitchell Tolman is 4-for-11 with five walks. Danny Arribas had two hits and drove in the only run, while Ty Moore walked twice and scored Morgantown’s only run.



Box Score

Result: Greeneville 7, Bristol 6

Starting Pitcher: Neil Kozikowski, RHP – 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Erik Lunde, C – 2-for-4, HR, RBI, BB, 2 R

Other Notable Performers:

Carlos Munoz, 1B – 2-for-5, 2 2B

Trae Arbet, 2B – 2-for-4, 2 2B

Game Notes: The Pirates sent 2013 eighth round draft choice Neil Kozikowski out to get Bristol’s opening day start, which was notable since the 6′ 4″, 180-pound right-hander made only three starts before being moved to the bullpen last year in the Gulf Coast League. Kozikowski was not overpowering, but effective in moving his pitches inside and out against the Greeneville Astros, giving up his earned runs on pitches hit to the opposite field that could have used more velocity. All in all, however, the Connecticut native threw 66 pitches, 43 for strikes, to begin his third professional season.

Shortstop Logan Ratledge showed remarkable range by diving for a grounder just in front of the second base in the first inning to turn a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Astros third-place hitter Kevin Martir. But he also committed two errors, the first throwing and the second a regular boot that led to Greeneville’s third run in a 7-5 Astros triumph. He finished the game 0-for-5 at the plate.

Right fielder Nick Buckner will chase anything from his spot in the left-handed batters box. I mean anything. Though he did collect a bases loaded walk in the fifth inning, he went after pitches out of the zone with different velocities to fan in his first two at bats. – Marky Billson

You can view the Bristol season preview here.


Box Score

Game Notes: The game was suspended in the seventh inning with the score tied 3-3. Clay Holmes pitched his first real game since 2013 and threw 55 pitches over 3.2 innings. He allowed two runs on four hits, no walks, two strikeouts and two hit batters. Holmes threw 36 strikes and had six ground ball outs. He also threw two wild pitches, so while there were no walks, there were some control issues, which obviously isn’t a big deal after missing so much time.

You can view the GCL season preview here.


Box Score

Result: Pirates 5, Mets2 4

Starting Pitcher: Raymond Rodriguez, RHP – 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 0 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Mikell Granberry, DH – 2-for-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI

Other Notable Performers:

Yondry Contreras, CF – 1-for-3, HBP, R

Christopher Perez, SS – 1-for-4, RBI

Eliezer Ramirez, RF – 1-for-3, R

Game Notes: The DSL pitchers showed some good velocity today, although both guys lacked control. Left-hander Raymond Rodriguez sat in the low-90s and touched 94 MPH, but walked four in three innings of work. Meanwhile, the stats would make it look like right-hander Argenis Romano had good control, but he was also a bit wild, missing big at times with his fastball by sailing it high and outside. Romano was sitting 89-91.

The most productive hitter the last two days has been Mikell Granberry, who went 2-for-4 with two doubles today. He looks like he has a patient approach at the plate, and he makes good contact, which are two skills that usually lead to a guy making the jump to the US and getting a good shot in the higher levels. Cristopher Perez has struggled at the plate this year, although he’s very raw. On the field he shows some good tools, but plays all-out and sometimes that can lead to him throwing wild because he’s trying to throw 100 MPH to second base on a relay, or missing a play because he doesn’t take the time to set up. He was ruled with an error today. There was a chance I missed the error, but it was most likely a play where he ranged to his right, fielded the ball, then slipped on the turf and couldn’t make the play (it had rained early in the morning and a lot the night before, thus the turf field). There’s not a lot that he could have done in that situation, although he hasn’t been setting up properly for a few balls hit his way, and improvements there could help a bit.

Yonder Contreras is easily the loudest person I’ve heard on a baseball field. After every pitch, he shouts out support from center field to his pitcher, which is part of the chatter that you often hear on the field. He has struggled at the plate this year, although he went 1-for-3 with no strikeouts today. He definitely knows that he has been struggling offensively, as he told me after the game his yelling of so much support is to try and play a part on the team, since he’s not doing that at the plate right now.

In classic DSL fashion, the game ended on a pick off. To make matters worse, the Mets had a runner on second base with two outs and down by a run, with their best hitter at the plate. Carlos Bustamante, the Pirates’ closer, caught the runner on second — the speedy leadoff hitter who would easily score from second on a single — breaking from the bag too early, picked him off, and caught him in a rundown for the final out of the game. It’s a totally different game down here. – Tim Williams

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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joe s

guess no one will see this but Montana DeRapau needs to go to AAA. He has great command of this pitches and can place them where he wants. Only thing keeping him back seems to be the lack of Velo. Lets see what he can do with a another move up the alphabet.


Shhhhhh…..Don’t want to jinx this dude, but he is bucking the odds in Bradenton!! Can’t wait to get up to see him!! Montana DuRapau. Another W last night!! He is nose to the grind!!

Patrick Kelly

Any velo readings on Kozikowski and/or Holmes? NK was a guy I had high hopes for when the drafted him. Unknown from the Northeast, yadda yadda.

Also good to see Arbet get off to a good start with the 2 doubles.


Tim – I know he is 23, but how as Fuentes looked in the DSL? His production has been incredible to date – what does the rest of his skill set look like? Could he be a legitimate late bloomer?

Granberry looks like a hitter – I’ve been noticing him for a couple of years now.


I thought Barnes would be a strong candidate for a promotion to Altoona by about now, but he has really slumped. Disappointing, and hope he gets it turned around soon. Ditto for the entire Bradenton lineup other than Ramirez and the Taiwanese catcher…Ramirez is awfully young for a promotion to Altoona just yet – I would wait until mid-late July and move him up then if he is still doing well.

Meadows has been big disappointment thus far this season – average dipping and not much power yet. McGuire is what we kind of knew him to be – a singles hitter with great defense. Jones is mired in a bad slump as well.


Your comments on Meadows starts a good discussion.

“Big” disappointment is going way overboard, but I can understand if the guy he’s turning into isn’t the guy you wanted. I just wonder if the Pirates would agree?

Meadows is walking more and has made great improvement in contact, while sacrificing power. Much like another top prospect, Josh Bell. I’m not going to make any judgement on three months of baseball, but this does seem to follow an organizational trend.


How would you compare his and McGuire’s performance to date with JP Crawford, for example? I think the Pirates thought they were getting more than a singles hitter with Meadows?


Pshh, there is no comparison to McGuire. Not even in the same league, literally and figuratively, and you’re looking at McGuire needing to improve leaps and bounds at the plate to get there, even with the plus defense. Doesn’t mean McGuire is bad, per-se, but Crawford is an absolute stud.

I most certainly wouldn’t classify Meadows as a “singles hitter”. Not even close.


Slumped? Barnes has posted a wRC+ of 152 over the past two weeks and 142 for the season.


The last time I looked, his average was around .260 after being well in the .300s….


It’s almost like batting average isn’t the only offensive statistic one should look at or something. 😉


When a batter loses 40 points in average in 2 weeks, I think most people would consider that a slump….


“Most people” still consider batting average a measure of offensive productivity, so I agree.


Ramirez hitting tool has been describe as tops on another site I read (not as good as this one of corse) my question is, Is J. Tabata a good comp for Ramirez. By that I mean jose’s minor league career and promised he showed that first season


Tim will likely disagree, and I respect that, but *minor league* Tabata through the same level Ramirez is at now is absolutely a good comp.

Good, not perfect.


Great response. How many players actually wear the big league uniform. Tabata is probably a success story in his family. I know he would be in mine. Seems a lot of posters must have 3 or 4 big leaguers living on their street.

Steve Zielinski

Question: What has caused Austin Meadows to go belly up at the plate?


It’s early but Newman doesn’t look good, in the field or at the plate. Ramirez needs promoted. McGuire apparently can only hit singles.


Certainly doesn’t look like it’s much of a challenge for hI’m offensively.

Luke S

Yeah, might wanna wait a bit more than 5 games to start the doubt train on the kid adjusting to professional baseball. He hasnt been good, but he also likely crapped his pants a few times when realizing he plays professional baseball.


He started slow defensively at Arizona, too, mostly having issues with throwing errors as a freshman, but as he adjusted, the errors became rare. I’m sure nerves and the adjustment have a lot to do with it based on that history.


“He hasn’t been good”…that was my only point. I even said it was early

Luke S

Just illustrating how much of an understatement “its early” is on the guy with 5 pro games under his belt.

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