Prospect Watch: Poor Starting Pitching All Around the System


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 – 1-for-4

4. Josh Bell, 1B, Altoona – DNP

5. Reese McGuire, C, Bradenton – 0-for-3

6. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

7. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – 1-for-4, 3B, 2 RBI, BB

8. Cole Tucker, SS, West Virginia – 2-for-5

9. Elias Diaz, C, Indianapolis – 1-for-3, HR, 3 RBI, BB

10. Mitch Keller, RHP, Extended Spring Training

11. Harold Ramirez, OF, Bradenton – 1-for-3, 2B, RBI

12. Stephen Tarpley, LHP, West Virginia – DNP

13. JaCoby Jones, SS, Bradenton – 0-for-4

14. Adrian Sampson, RHP, Indianapolis – 1.2 IP, 12 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 HR

15. Trey Supak, RHP, Extended Spring Training

16. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Extended Spring Training

17. Barrett Barnes, OF, Bradenton – 0-for-2, 2 BB, SB

18. Clay Holmes, RHP, Bradenton – Disabled List

19. Cody Dickson, LHP, Bradenton – DNP

20. Willy Garcia, OF, Altoona – 1-for-4, 2 K

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

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

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

24. Wyatt Mathisen, 3B, Bradenton – 0-for-4

25. Casey Sadler, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

26. Steven Brault, LHP, Bradenton – DNP

27. Tito Polo, OF, West Virginia – 0-for-1, BB, R, SB

28. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Extended Spring Training

29Luis Heredia, RHP, Bradenton – 4.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

30. Taylor Gushue, C, West Virginia – DNP


Top Pitcher: Domingo Robles, LHP – 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Huascar Fuentes, 1B – 3-for-6, 2B, 2 3B, 4 RBI

Home Runs: Elias Diaz (3)


Box Score

Result: Gwinnett 8, Indianapolis 7

Starting Pitcher: Adrian Sampson, RHP – 1.2 IP, 12 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Elias Diaz, C – 1-for-3, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB

Other Notable Performers:

Alen Hanson, 2B – 1-for-4, 3B, R, 2 RBI, BB
Gustavo Nunez, SS – 2-for-4, 2 RBI

Game NotesAdrian Sampson had easily his worst outing of the season. Despite the fastball still sitting from 91 to 92, Sampson had a hard time locating it, making him very hitable. He was elevated much of the night and got a lot of plate too often. Coming into the start, Sampson had not allowed more than eight hits or four runs in a start this season, and had not gone less than 5.2 innings.

Collin Balester continued his strong stretch with 4.1 innings of shutout, one-hit ball, while striking out four. Bobby LaFromboise worked a perfect inning and John Holdzkom allowed a pair of hits, but pitched a scoreless eighth. Deolis Guerra worked a perfect ninth for his eight straight appearance without a run. Over the stretch, he has only allowed five hits.
Elias Diaz hit his third home run of the season, while Alen Hanson hit his seventh triple of the campaign. Gustavo Nunez and Gorkys Hernandez each had a two-hit game.

– Ryan Palencer


Box Score

Result: New Hampshire 14, Altoona 1

Starting Pitcher: Chad Kuhl, RHP – 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2 HR

Top Hitter: Edward Salcedo, 1B – 2-for-4

Other Notable Performers:

Jose Osuna, LF – 1-for-4

Stetson Allie, RF – 1-for-3

Game Notes: Altoona lost 14-1 on Friday after playing 18 innings the night before. Chad Kuhl lasted just four innings, giving up three runs. He was followed by Jeremy Bleich, who didn’t do too bad, giving up three runs(one earned) in 3.1 innings. Then things got ugly for the Curve. Brett McKinney made his debut after getting called up from Bradenton and allowed eight earned runs in 1.2 innings. Catcher Jacob Stallings had to finish out the game on the mound. Yesterday, Altoona used two position players to pitched the last 3+ innings.

The Curve had seven hits and no walks in the game. Edward Salcedo had the only multi-hit game and Gift Ngoepe’s double was the only extra-base hit. Altoona went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position. Eric Wood committed two errors, giving him ten on the season.


Box Score

Result: Ft Myers 4, Bradenton 3

Starting Pitcher: Luis Heredia, RHP – 4.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

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

Other Notable Performers:

Harold Ramirez, RF – 1-for-3, 2B, RBI

Barrett Barnes, LF – 0-for-2, 2 BB, SB

Game Notes: Luis Heredia made his sixth start of the season on Friday. In the Morning Report on Friday, we talked about how Heredia has had trouble with high pitch counts and putting batters away. One of those issues showed up during this start in every inning he pitched. He finished the game with two runs(one earned) on five hits and a walk, with two hit batters and five strikeouts.

In the first, he retired the first two batters, one by strikeout. The next hitter reached on an error, which was then followed by a hit batter. Heredia then gave up a hard hit ground rule double down the line, which scored one run. Heredia got the next batter to ground out to second base to end the inning. The run was unearned and he needed 22 pitches to get through the inning, though 14 went for strikes.

In the second inning, Heredia walked one batter and got two ground outs and a fly out to center field. Despite facing just four batters, he needed 20 pitches(10 strikes), giving him 42 pitches in his first two innings. The third inning began with a strikeout, followed by a hard hit double to the RF/CF gap. Heredia hit the next man to put two runners on. He was able to get a called strike three for his second out. The next hitter grounded out to shortstop on the first pitch. It took 17 pitches to get through the third, but he showed good control with 13 strikes.

The fourth inning saw an infield single, which was a good stop in the hole by JaCoby Jones. The second batter collected Ft Myers’ third double, which brought home a run. Heredia got a pop up for the first out. After a bunt base hit that put runners on the corners, he picked up his fourth strikeout(three by Jasob Kanzler). Heredia ended the inning with his fifth strikeout. He needed 26 pitches this inning, giving him 85 in just four innings, 57 strikes.

On offense, Edwin Espinal had two hits and drove in his 25th run. Harold Ramirez had the only extra-base hit for Bradenton, his third double of the season. Barrett Barnes walked twice and stole his seventh base. Erich Weiss scored two runs.


Box Score

Result:  Augusta 5, West Virginia 4

Starting Pitcher: Colten Brewer, RHP – 6.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Jerrick Suiter, DH – 2-for-3, 2 RBI, BB

Other Notable Performers:

Cole Tucker, SS – 2-for-5

Elvis Escobar, CF – 1-for-5, 2B

Game Notes:  Colten Brewer came into this game with five walks in his first six starts, but control issues hurt him on Friday night. He gave up four runs on four hits, four walks and two hit batters. He now has a 4.91 ERA in 36.2 innings. That inning total is significant because he was only able to put in 38.2 innings combined in his first four seasons in the Pirates’ system.

Cole Tucker returned to the lineup after missing seven games due to an undisclosed reason. He had two singles in five trips to the plate. Michael Suchy reached on a fielder’s choice in the first inning and had to be removed from the game. Tito Polo replaced him and stole his team-leading 16th base of the year. Elvis Escobar collected his 14th double of the year, but was also thrown out stealing for the tenth time in 14 tries.


Box Score

Result: Pirates 7, Tigers 4

Starting Pitcher: Domingo Robles, LHP – 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Huascar Fuentes, 1B – 3-for-6, 2B, 2 3B, 4 RBI

Other Notable Performers:

Melvin Jimenez, SS – 3-for-6, 3 R

Yondry Contreras, CF – 2-for-6, 2 R

Felix Vinicio, LF – 3-for-5, RBI, BB

Game Notes: Yesterday we mentioned that Adonis Pichardo had the best outing for any DSL Pirates pitcher this season, when he gave up one run over five innings. One day later, lefty Domingo Robles topped that start by throwing five shutout innings.  Robles was one of the top pitchers signed back in July and after a tough debut, he has looked real good in his last two starts. It helped that the Pirates’ offense gave him 18 runs of support.

On offense, the Pirates had 17 hits and seven walks. They collected five doubles and first baseman Huascar Fuentes hit two triples, giving him five on the season. Fuentes had three hits, scored three times and drove in four runs. Melvin Jimenez continued his hot streak, raising his average to .404 with three singles and three runs scored. He has hit safely in all 12 games this season, his first year of pro ball. Catcher Ramy Perez had two doubles and drove in three runs. All nine position players had at least one hit and one run, and seven of them scored more than once.


  • Has anyone done a comprehensive look of big money (could be defined at various cut points) over 5-8 year time frame on amateur Latin American signings?

    That would be an interesting research piece, maybe it has been done and I just haven’t seen it.

  • Overall, some of our kids who had been doing well, dumped. But I liked the performances of LHP Domingo Robles in the DSL, Colten Brewer (rehabbing and always an adventure), and thought that Heredia did slightly better than what we have been seeing.

    My question is how can we have 4 of our Top 20 Prospects – #3 Meadows, #5 McGuire, #11 Ramirez, and #19 Jones, all hitters in the Bradenton lineup and be unable to score runs? Second question is why is Meadows, who supposedly was someone with power potential, hitting leadoff.

    BTW, the Pirates made Correia look like a Cy Young candidate. 11 runs in the last 6 games?

    • McGwire didn’t hit last year and moved up a level this year… So I wouldn’t assume he would add much to the lineup. He is still potential at this point. Ramirez hasn’t played a full season up to
      this point. Jones is a high strikeout guy with power so he is hit or miss on adding runs to the lineup. Meadows is solid this year, especially for his age.

      Meadows is batting leadoff to make up for at bats missed last year.

      • Sounds reasonable with Meadows. They are 7 under .500 with decent pitching, and the other guys in the order not in the Top 20 are guys like Weiss, Barnes, Espinal, and Mathison – all well thought of by the Pirates. I thought they would have a big year in 2015, but I guess potential only goes so far.

    • To add on to the answer from tom2125, Meadows, McGuire and Ramirez are all 20 years old in High-A and among the youngest players in the league. Those usually aren’t the types that dominate a league that is considered pitcher-friendly. Jones is 2nd in the league in RBIs, tied for third in runs, so not sure how much more you could expect from his as far as run production. Bradenton is second in team runs scored, two behind the leader and they have played 61 games, so you’re talking about a .03 run per game difference. I’d say that’s a good offense.

  • The PP jinx strikes big time with the minor league pitching.

  • Ugh…what happened to Sampson? Someone cut his hair? (ouch….sorry).

    • BuccosFanStuckinMD
      June 13, 2015 8:06 am

      If King Felix can get tagged for 8 runs in less than 2 innings last night, I guess that can happen to Sampson as well. Bad night for pitching throughout the system, except in Pittsburgh.

  • Was is you Tim that had an article showing Pittsburgh “4 Aces” about 4-5 years ago…I am trying to locate it, and can’t.

  • Heredia hurts. Hoped he’d be at least at AA right now.

    Can’t pick winners every time, I suppose.

    • looking like a minor league FA wannabe at this point. Very disappointing. Was it mostly a head case too young to handle it all? One must wonder.

    • it’s a crapshoot. 🙂

      • Agreed. Tough to see it when it happens though…almost rather spend $200,000 each on 15 guys and hope a couple pan out than put all the eggs in one basket.

        Of course, I’m fully in favor of the Bucs backing the money truck up for Vlad Jr.