Prospect Watch: Hanson Returns With a Bang, Brault Dominates


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 – 0-for-4

5. Reese McGuire, C, Bradenton – DNP

6. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

7. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – 3-for-4, 2 R, HR, RBI, 2 SB

8. Cole Tucker, SS, West Virginia – 4-for-5, 2B, 3 R, BB, SB

9. Elias Diaz, C, Indianapolis – 0-for-3

10. Mitch Keller, RHP, Bristol – DNP

11. Harold Ramirez, OF, Bradenton – 1-for-4, 3B, RBI

12. Stephen Tarpley, LHP, West Virginia – DNP

13. JaCoby Jones, SS, Bradenton – DNP

14. Adrian Sampson, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

15. Trey Supak, RHP, Bristol – DNP

16. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Bristol – DNP

17. Barrett Barnes, OF, Bradenton – 0-for-3, BB, R , SB

18. Clay Holmes, RHP, Bradenton – DNP

19. Cody Dickson, LHP, Bradenton – DNP

20. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis – 0-for-3

21. John Holdzkom, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

22. Jordan Luplow, 3B, West Virginia – 1-for-3, 3B, 2 BB, 2 RBI

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

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

25. Casey Sadler, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

26. Steven Brault, LHP, Altoona  – 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

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

28. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Bradenton – DNP

29Luis Heredia, RHP, Bradenton – DNP

30. Taylor Gushue, C, West Virginia – DNP



Top Pitcher: Steven Brault, LHP – 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Cole Tucker, SS – 4-for-5, 3 R, 2B, BB, SB

Home Runs: Stetson Allie (11), Chase Simpson (7), Michael Suchy (5), Alen Hanson (5)


Box Score

Result: Indianapolis 2, Columbus 1

Starting Pitcher: Radhames Liz, RHP – 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Alen Hanson, 2B – 3-for-4, 2 R, HR, RBI, 2 SB

Other Notable Performers:

Gift Ngoepe, SS – 1-for-3

Jaff Decker, CF – 0-for-2, 2 BB, RBI

Game Notes: Alen Hanson returned from missing two weeks with a hand injury and had a big game during the 2-1 Indianapolis win. He hit a third inning solo inside-the-park homer to give the Indians a 2-1 lead they would never lose. Hanson also scored the first run after he singled to lead-off the game, then stole second base. He had two steals in the game, giving him 19 on the year.

Radhames Liz made his second start and followed up four shutout innings with one run over five innings, striking out seven batters. Jeff Inman made his AAA debut and retired all four batters he faced with three ground outs and a strikeout.

Willy Garcia and Keon Broxton are really struggling with their promotion to AAA. Broxton has been around longer and has a .175 average and 34 strikeouts in 29 games. Garcia is still new to the level, but he’s hitting .152 in 13 games, with 13 strikeouts.



Box Score

Result: Altoona 2, Trenton 0

Starting Pitcher: Steven Brault, LHP – 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Stetson Allie, RF – 1-for-3, HR, RBI, BB

Other Notable Performers:

Max Moroff, SS – 2-for-4, BB

Sebastian Valle, C – 2-for-4, 2B

Eric Wood, 3B – 1-for-4, RBI, BB

Game Notes: Steven Brault started this game by retiring 12 straight batters. After a lead-off double in the fifth inning, he finished the game by retiring the last nine batters he faced. He dominated from the first pitch, throwing 84 pitches total in the game, 60 for strikes. Brault had five strikeouts and seven ground ball outs. In his last start, he threw six shutout innings, so he has apparently adapted to the jump to AA quickly.

I planned on leading the Altoona recap off with Max Moroff playing shortstop for the first time since last June, but that was before Steven Brault turned into Lefty Grove. Moroff has been the best hitter on the Curve, at least among the full-time players, because Adam Frazier has been better when he’s played. Frazier has also played shortstop the previous two games after Gift Ngoepe was promoted, so it’s interesting to see Moroff go back to his original position. He played just five games there last year with Bradenton, all in the middle of June, while Frazier saw the majority of the time at shortstop.

Stetson Allie provided the big hit of the game, his 11th home run of the season. That leads all players in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ system.



Box Score

Result: Charlotte 5, Bradenton 2

Starting Pitcher: Frank Duncan, RHP – 7.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 HR

Top Hitter: Wyatt Mathisen, 3B – 2-for-3, 2B, BB

Other Notable Performers:

Erich Weiss, 2B – 1-for-4

Harold Ramirez, RF – 1-for-4, 3B, RBI

Game Notes: This game almost wasn’t fair for the Marauders, as Charlotte used four Major League players on rehab in this game. One is a name very familiar to Pirates’ fans, Kyle McPherson, who signed a two-year minor league deal earlier this year with the Rays. He threw two scoreless innings, which followed one run over four innings for Jake Odorizzi. Charlotte also had John Jaso and James Loney batting 1-2 in the order and they combined for four hits.

On the Marauders side, Frank Duncan pitched well considering the lineup he was facing. He went seven innings and allowed three runs. Wyatt Mathisen has two hits, including his eighth double of the season, which came off McPherson. Harold Ramirez connected on his fourth triple, which plated the only run off Odorizzi. Ramirez has seen his average drop 45 points in his last six games, yet he still has a modest five-game hitting streak. He is 5-for-26 over that stretch. Barrett Barnes stole his 11th base of the year.


Box Score

Result: West Virginia 11, Kannapolis 4

Starting Pitcher: Austin Coley, RHP – 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Cole Tucker, SS – 4-for-5, 3 R, 2B, BB, SB

Other Notable Performers:

Michael Suchy, RF – 2-for-4, HR, 4 RBI, BB

Chase Simpson, DH – 1-for-5, HR, 2 RBI, BB, SB

Tito Polo, CF – 0-for-2, 4 BB, SB

Game Notes: Cole Tucker reached base five times, leading the way in West Virginia’s 11-4 win. Perhaps even more impressive than Tucker’s four hits and a walk, are the four unintentional walks drawn by Tito Polo, who never had more than 17 walks in a season prior to this game. He now has 20 this year, though this is his first full season. Polo stole his 23rd base of the season, while Tucker added his 20th.

Michael Suchy and Chase Simpson each homered, and Suchy drove in four runs. Jordan Luplow, Jerrick Suiter and Simpson each drove in two runs.

Austin Coley enjoyed all the support he got from his bats and put together a solid outing after two rocky starts. He gave up two runs over five innings. Jake Burnette followed him and continued to have trouble with his control, walking three in his only inning. John Sever threw two perfect innings, retiring four of the six batters he faced on strikeouts.



Box Score

Result: State College 5, West Virginia 2

Starting Pitcher: Dario Agrazal Jr., RHP – 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Ty Moore, LF – 2-for-3, 2B, BB

Other Notable Performers:

Danny Arribas, 3B – 2-for-4

Kevin Newman, SS – 1-for-5

Kevin Kramer, 2B – 1-for-5, RBI

Game Notes: Dario Agrazal Jr. had a rough first inning, then settled down nicely over the next five innings in Morgantown’s 5-2 loss. He got the first two outs of the game, then gave up a double, walk, wild pitch and a single that plated two runs. After that, the only run that scored against him was unearned. Agrazal didn’t have any strikeouts, but he did get 11 outs on ground balls. He has a 2.81 ERA in three starts.

Ty Moore, Albert Baur and Danny Arribas all had two hits in the game. Moore collected his fourth double and he is now hitting .385 through his first ten games. Arribas has a .333 average in nine games. Kevin Newman is 8-for-38 in his first nine games, while Kevin Kramer is 7-for-35, also in nine games.




Box Score

Result: Elizabethton 7, Bristol 4

Starting Pitcher: Billy Roth, RHP – 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Trae Arbet, 2B – 3-for-7, 2 2B

Other Notable Performers:

Carlos Munoz, 1B – 2-for-5, 2B

Jose Salazar, 3B – 2-for-6

Game Notes: In each of his first two starts, Billy Roth has gone five innings, issuing one walk and picking up six strikeouts. This time however, he gave up just two runs, after allowing three in his season debut. Roth had control issues last year, with 33 walks in 45 innings for Bristol. In this game, he had a 7:0 GO/AO ratio.

Playing just his fourth game of the season, Trae Arbet celebrated his 21st birthday with three hits, including two doubles and two runs scored. Carlos Munoz, Jose Salazar and Sandy Santos each had two hits. This game went 14 innings before the Pirates lost. The scored three runs in the top of the ninth to take a 4-3 lead, only to let Elizabethton tie it up in the bottom of the inning.


Box Score

Result: Pirates 3, Tigers 1

Starting Pitcher: Seth McGarry, RHP – 4.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B – 3-for-4, 3 R, 2B, 3B, HBP

Other Notable Performers:

Sam Kennelly, 1B – 2-for-3, 2 2B, RBI, BB

Raul Siri, 2B – 1-for-4

Victor Fernandez, RF – 1-for-4, SB

Garrett Russini, C – 2-for-2, BB

Game Notes: The Pirates had a big day on offense, although it only led to three runs in the game, all scored by Ke’Bryan Hayes. They put 12 hits on the board, plus two walks and a hit batter, but they went 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position. Hayes hit his first career double and triple, plus he added a single and a hit-by-pitch. He has reached base nine times in his first three games. Sam Kennelly had two doubles and drove in one of the runs. Jhoan Herrera picked up his seventh RBI. The opposing starter was 2015 first round pick Beau Burrows, who went the first three innings and allowed one run.

Seth McGarry started the game for the Pirates. The 8th round pick was making his second start and he threw four no-hit innings, allowing just a walk. The performance does come with the asterisk that he is 21 years old in a league where the average age is under 20 and most players are just out of high school or just over from the DSL/VSL. Not many college pitchers start in the GCL. McGarry is from Bradenton and so is Garrett Russini, his batterymate in this game. Russini had two hits, a walk and put down a sacrifice bunt.

Raul Siri had a single in four trips to the plate, giving him a season-long nine game hit streak.



Box Score

Result: Braves 7, Pirates 2

Starting Pitcher: Miguel Hernandez, RHP – 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

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

Other Notable Performers:

Felix Vinicio, LF – 1-for-4, RBI

Jeremias Portorreal, RF – 1-for-2

Game Notes: The DSL Pirates lost 7-2 on Wednesday, dropping their sixth straight game. Miguel Hernandez has been one of the better pitchers on the team, allowing just four earned runs over his last four starts, which have all gone five innings(maximum allowed for Pirates’ pitchers in the DSL). Despite his strong pitching, he still has an 0-3 record, which points to the trouble that the bullpen and offense have had this season. That was evident in this game, as the Pirates scored twice and the bullpen allowed five runs. The Pirates used four pitchers in this game and all of them hit at least one batter.

Melvin Jimenez was the only batter to collect two hits in the game and his double was the only extra-base hit. Right fielder Eliecer Ramirez left with an injury in the seventh inning that occurred in the field. Center fielder Eddy Vizcaino also left the game at the same time, though I’m told that there was no collision on the play and he is fine. His removal was for an earlier mental error on the basepaths.

  • Neither Moroff or Frazier are MLB-caliber SS’s (fielding-wise), so whatever experience they can get at other positions will be valuable?

  • I had always thought Kyle Mc was still out rehabbing.

    Personally, I would’ve liked to have seen him back with us. I hope we don’t regret it.

    • John Dreker
      July 2, 2015 4:32 pm

      He hit minor league free agency in November, but he was basically gone when he got injured at the end of April last year because he wasn’t going to be back until 2015. I can’t imagine there would be any regret at this point, the regret was probably re-signing him last year, but he has now pitched 10.2 innings since the end of 2012, or 13.2 if you count him getting hurt in winter ball in December 2012. So you’re talking a lot of rust from someone that was a fringe prospect three years ago

  • Good day of pitching at almost every level. Is there anything into which to read with Liz starring in Indy?

    • Kett: Not only starting, but being very strong and efficient in his 2 starts of 4 innings and then 5 innings. Stretching him out to possibly add in August or September? His stretching out process began at about the same time that Taillon experienced a setback in his rehab – possibly planning to move beyond the hope for Taillon in 2015. Liz is pitching for his baseball life, and sometimes that incentive alone can move a player/pitcher into a “zone”.

  • I’m delighted to see McPherson’s name again. Could be another great value move by Rays. Always liked Kyle more than Locke when the two were coming up. Hope he makes it all the way back. Kid has had some tough breaks.

    Inside the parker for Hanson… while he’s certainly fast, was this aided by a bad OF wall read or weird bounce? And chance of vid on this for those of us not subscribed to MiLB?

  • John: I looked at that lineup for Charlotte and was amazed at the talent level. In addition to Jaso, Loney, Odorizzi, and McPherson, they also have Willy Adames at SS, and Casey Gillaspie at 3B/DH. With only a few adds (Sousa, Longoria), that team could be better than the one TB is presently fielding. I am glad to see Kyle McPherson back on the mound – the Pirates moved beyond him while he was injured the past 2 years, but he helped us develop.

  • Moroccan is better hitter than Josh Bell? Is that really true?

    • John Dreker
      July 2, 2015 4:22 pm

      I’m not 100% sure what you’re saying here, but if the question “has Moroff really been a better hitter than Bell this year?” then the answer is yes. I broke down where they ranked among the league leaders in the Eastern League All-Star announcement yesterday and Moroff was better at that point. Then Moroff had a big day last night and Bell went 0-for-4, so it obviously remained true. If Bell has a couple HUGE games tonight and tomorrow and Moroff goes 0-for-8, then Bell would probably take the lead or they would be tied at least.

      • Scott Kliesen
        July 2, 2015 10:42 pm

        That was my question. Obviously Apple doesn’t know who Moroff is. Thanks John.

        • John Dreker
          July 3, 2015 10:24 am

          That’s funny. I had no idea if that was a nickname and if it was, what did it mean. Moroff ended up with the better game last night too, so Bell fell further behind

  • With all the talk of what a trade chip Hanson is…no.

    Walker needs to be dealt in the off-season. Kang and Mercer can hold down the 4/6 spots until the Super Two deadline passes, and Alen can step in for the least effective after that.

    • Blaine: Hanson is Mr. instant offense from the leadoff spot in the order. Always an excellent number of extra base hits, RBI’s, and especially HR’s make him one of the most productive hitters we have in the minors. I think the Pirates weighed the trade possibilities of he and Dilson Herrera a few years ago when Herrera went to the Mets for Marlon Byrd. I agree with your timeline, but I think Pedro will be going and Neil Walker may be our 1B going into 2016. Tucker, Hanson, Bell in 2017?

      • JoseGuillensArm
        July 2, 2015 8:13 am

        Can you please stop the incessant Neil to 1B pleas on every board? It’s not happening

        • Plus, his OPS would make him a below avg 1bman.

          • foo: Below average on what team? Remember, this is the Pirates – we made the playoffs in 2013 and 2014 with below average 1B –
            2015 – Walker .748, Alvarez .779
            2014 – Walker .809, Davis .721, Sanchez .679
            2013 – Walker .757, Jones .708, Sanchez .762

            When you toss in his glove, where he averages a .991 fielding percentage over 2013 and 2014 (only 12 errors in 2 years) at a much tougher position, it looks like a big improvement to me. You win with pitching and defense and I think he may just be a much better defender at 1B than he already is at 2B, and buys us 2016 to allow Bell to develop the techniques necessary to grow into the position.

        • Scott Kliesen
          July 2, 2015 10:46 pm

          How can you seriously make such a defiant statement? It’s certainly in the realm of possible.

      • The Pirates have never indicated that they want to move Walker to 1B. Until they do assuming they will is a gigantic leap and mere speculation. I will say, though, that Hanson is the better fit for this lineup…a true terror at the top.

        • Jared: They cannot make that indication. If the Pirates indicate they have plans for Walker at 1B, it becomes an indication they will be willing to accept less for Pedro. NH is too good of a poker player to give away that tell.

      • Scott Kliesen
        July 2, 2015 10:45 pm

        Agree Pirates bet on Hanson over Herrera years ago. Disagree Tucker will be up in 17.

      • Walker already turned down an extension on his contract and I doubt he will be in Pittsburgh next year. Besides, he is a very good second baseman.

    • Given the Bucs’ slow starts the last two years, maybe it’s time Neal starts paying the Super Two premium for selected players. Hanson could/should be one of them, assuming he’s ready out of ST and Walker has found a new home, either with another team or at 1b. Save Taillon for the Super Two deadline. Besides, by time Hanson is in his 4th year of arb, Bucs should have a new TV contract and more $$$ attached to that.

      • We should have Taillon and Glasnow ready at the Super Two deadline next year. How’s that gonna work? I still feel like with Taillon delayed timeline that the Bucs shouldn’t worry about super two at this point with him and just bring him up as soon as he’s ready.

        • Highly doubtful Glasnow is up here next June, IMO.

          Taillon has 37 IP at AAA so far. I don’t know what he’ll get rest of this year – maybe 60-75? I’d say he won’t be ready out of ST.

          • I don’t disagree. Wishful thinking I guess. Who knows how long Taillon will be out. I think Glasnow begins next season in AAA. He’ll be up at some point next year.

        • The team would be potentially throwing away a large sum of money by doing that. I get the want to do it, but if he turns into even a decent middle rotation starter and we dont sign an extension prior to arb, by his last 2 years in arb he’s making a lot of money.

          For Pit, i think they plan for best case of him being a TOR arm and do what they have to to avoid paying him that in arb. Nature of the business for teams with a budget.

  • piraterican21
    July 2, 2015 12:53 am

    “Moroff has been the best hitter on the Curves” reaction…… I used to listen to lots of cheesy sport talk. Amazing hitting night by infielders on every level, hope tha Wyatt stays hot

  • Get out the way ol’ cole tucker your to late ta get your supper! There’s gonna be another cole train in the big leagues before to long.

    • pb: Tucker is only 19 but hitting very well at Lo A and very few errors for such a young player at SS. I know his age is a consideration, but given the relative lack of a projectable SS at Hi A, he could fit right in with the two 20 year olds at Hi A (Meadows and McGuire). I think he and Hanson lead the MI’s with SB’s – both around 20 and very efficient SB/CS ratio’s as well.