Prospect Watch: Big Day at the Plate For a Slick-Fielding Shortstop

P2 Top 30

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 (Nick Kingham, Jacob Taylor), 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 the mid-season update, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.

1. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] include_once (‘./p2-stats/stats_functions.php’);

2. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

3. Austin Meadows, CF, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(640457,’B’,’20150813′);

4. Josh Bell, 1B, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(605137,’B’,’20150813′);

5. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(593700,’B’,’20150813′);

6. Reese McGuire, C, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(624512,’B’,’20150813′);

7. Elias Diaz, C, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(553869,’B’,’20150813′);

8. Harold Ramirez, OF, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(623912,’B’,’20150813′);

9. Cole Tucker, SS, West Virginia – Disabled List

10. Kevin Newman, SS, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20150813′);

11. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, GCL -[insert_php] display_top30(663647,’B’,’20150813′);

12. Mitch Keller, RHP, Bristol -[insert_php] display_top30(656605,’P’,’20150813′);

13. Clay Holmes, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20150813′);

14. Stephen Tarpley, LHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(605501,’P’,’20150813′);

15. Max Moroff, 2B, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20150813′);

16. Barrett Barnes, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(608627,’B’,’20150813′);

17. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(650817,’P’,’20150813′);

18. Trey Supak, RHP, Bristol -[insert_php] display_top30(657022,’P’,’20150813′);

19. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Bristol -[insert_php] display_top30(656543,’P’,’20150813′);

20. Adam Frazier, SS, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(624428,’B’,’20150813′);

21. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(591994,’B’,’20150813′);

22. Steven Brault, LHP, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20150813′);

23. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Morgantown -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20150813′);

24. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20150813′);

25. Adrian Valerio, SS, GCL -[insert_php] display_top30(650832,’B’,’20150813′);

26. Connor Joe, 1B, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(656582,’B’,’20150813′);

27. John Holdzkom, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

28. Jordan Luplow, 3B, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(656669,’B’,’20150813′);

29. Casey Hughston, OF, Morgantown -[insert_php] display_top30(641713,’B’,’20150813′);

30. Billy Roth, RHP, Bristol -[insert_php] display_top30(624517,’P’,’20150813′);

P2 Top Performers

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Indianapolis Indians Prospect Watch

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P2 Game Notes
INDIANAPOLIS- After going 0-for-3 in his first game action in his rehab assignment on Tuesday, Jordy Mercer got back in his groove on Thursday night. In the contest, Mercer picked up a pair of sharply struck singes between the shortstop and third baseman. In his second effort on his assignment, Josh Harrison went 0-for-4 with a pair of ground outs and two fly outs.

While he has failed to make in appearance in his stints with the Pirates, the recently DFA’d Wilfredo Boscan continued his strong efforts of recent. Boscan worked seven shutout innings on Thursday night, allowing just five hits and two walks, while striking out five. In his past nine appearances, Boscan has allowed no more than two runs in any of them. Before issuing the two walks in the seventh, Boscan had gotten into a groove, retiring six hitters in a row.

Josh Bell has adjusted to Triple-A well, as he has reached base safely in eight straight games after Thursday. In the contest, Bell added a single and his third double in three games. Willy Garcia also added a multi-hit effort, including his seventh home run on the season for an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. It was Garcia’s fifth home run in 11 games in August.

After having his on base streak broken on Wednesday at 34 games, Keon Broxton picked up a sharply struck single back up the middle to start a new one.

Bobby LaFromboise picked up a pair of strikeouts in his perfect inning of work. Following nine straight scoreless innings, LaFromboise got back in the groove on Thursday after allowing a run in each of his previous two outings. After allowing three runs in an inning on August 7, Blake Wood worked his third straight scoreless inning for his 25th save in 28 opportunities. – Ryan Palencer

Altoona Curve Prospect Watch

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P2 Game Notes

ALTOONA- Matt Benedict had his second strong outing in a row, going seven strong innings and only allowing one solo home run in the sixth. After Benedict went 4.2 innings and allowed 12 runs on 13 hits on July 31st, Benedict has only allowed one run in his last 14 innings. He took a no hitter into the sixth inning tonight before allowing the leadoff solo home run. Tonight, Benedict induced 11 groundouts compared to only 3 flyouts. He also was able to work more inside-out to batters, using his breaking pitches early in the count and getting outs with the fastball.

Clario Perez came into the game with a 1.59 ERA in 22.2 innings at Altoona. He ended up hitting a batter and allowing five singles to give up four runs in the inning. It raised his ERA to 3.04.

Max Moroff played third base for the second time this season (last night was the first). In the second, he pulled Hunter Morris off of first base for a throwing error then made a tough play going towards the line to get the lead runner at second. Moroff made his second error in as many nights, but he has only played the position twice. They are playing Moroff at third base in order to give him more positional flexibility, like many of the players on the Curve roster.

Moroff also went 2-for-4 from the plate, with a solo home run and a 2-run single in the 8th. He also almost hit one out in the first inning where the left fielder made a nice catch on the warning track. Moroff went 3-for-32 in his last nine games for a .094 average before tonight, as his batting average dropped below .300 for the first time since June 11th. When his average dropped below .300 on that date, Moroff followed the slump by going on a tear with 6 multi-hit games in a row. After tonight’s game, his average is back to .300 on the dot.

Adam Frazier ripped a few balls only to have them caught on a line multiple times. He was able to get one hit on the night. Mel Rojas Jr. added a solo home run in the fifth inning for his first home run of 2015.

The Curve committed two errors on the night (Moroff and Frazier) to add to their Eastern League leading 141 errors. Frazier has 9 errors and a .948 fielding percentage from shortstop this year. He has shown decent range at times, but he has also had a few mishaps. – Sean McCool

Bradenton Marauders Prospect Watch

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P2 Game Notes


Luis Heredia continued his poor season, although this game had the makings of a decent start until the fifth inning. He ended up allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk in 4.2 innings, getting some help from Henry Hirsch, who stranded two inherited runners. In his 17 starts, Heredia’s game score average is 42.5, with 50 being considered an average start and anything under is below average. As you can see by the 46 score he got from this game, an average of 42.5 is pretty low.

Austin Meadows drove in three runs in this game, connecting on his 19th double. Harold Ramirez had two hits, including his tenth double and he stole his 19th base. He is hitting .358 this season, though he is well short in plate appearances of qualifying for the league leaders. Jin-De Jhang went 1-for-4 in this game to give him a .307 average, which is the best among qualified players on the team. Chris Diaz had three hits and scored two runs. With two shutout innings in this game, Dovydas Neverauskas hasn’t allowed an earned run in 7.1 innings since being promoted to Bradenton.

West Virginia Power Prospect Watch


West Virginia has off on Thursday.

West Virginia Black Bears Prospect Watch

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P2 Game Notes


Dario Agrazal Jr. is going to the NYPL All-Star game on Monday because he has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the league. On Thursday, he allowed three runs over five innings, giving him 11 starts this season without giving up more than three earned runs. His 2.90 ERA ranks fifth in the league and he leads with 59 innings pitched.

Kevin Kramer returned to action in this game after missing a week due to soreness, which was the result of a collision of the field. He went 0-for-2 in this game, but drew a walk, drove in a run and stole his fifth base. He was on a 7-for-11 streak before the injury.

Morgantown had just four hits in this game and they committed three errors. Casey Hughston’s double was the only extra-base hit and Christian Kelley scored the only run on a sacrifice fly from Kramer. Three outfielders left this game(Ty Moore, Logan Hill and Maximo Rivera) and it didn’t look like there were any injuries based on the timing of their removal, so that will be something to watch.


Bristol Pirates Prospect Watch1


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P2 Game Notes


Billy Roth had a tough outing, but it did come with one surprising stat. He went 6.2 innings, allowing five runs(three earned) on ten hits and a walk. Roth only had one strikeout, but he ended up with 15 ground ball outs. His stats this year have improved over last year with Bristol due to better control and keeping the ball on the ground. He still has work to do, but Roth just turned 20 in June and he has huge upside. Neil Kozikowski followed Roth with 2.1 shutout innings. He gave up just one hit and struck out five batters. He threw five shutout innings in his last outing. Roth took the loss, leaving him 0-11 in his three-year career.

Sandy Santos hit his fifth homer of the season. Trae Arbet had two hits, giving him a .333 average this year, though his 5:41 BB/SO ratio in 35 games leaves a lot to be desired and he’s not adjusting well to the necessary move from shortstop to second base. Arbet hit his 15th double of the year. Julio de la Cruz had a single to extend his hit streak to 13 games and his on base streak to 22 games. He has at least one hit in 21 of those contests.

GCL Pirates Prospect Watch
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P2 Game Notes


Shortstop Adrian Valerio had one of the best games of his young career. After slumping for three weeks straight, a stretch in which he hit .091 in 20 games, Valerio has now had hits in seven straight games and this one was the best day. He went 3-for-5 with two doubles and drove in four runs, as the Pirates took a 7-3 decision. Valerio is just 18 years old, so the expectations aren’t high with his offense yet. When he signed in 2013, he was described as a contact hitter from both sides of the plate, but he was also raw. He has been as advertised, with 23 strikeouts in 143 at-bats.

His calling card is his defense, which is well above average for his age. He has now played 21 straight games without an error, which is pretty amazing considering he’s in the GCL. The fields aren’t as good, the players around him aren’t as good and it seems like half the time recently it’s been raining. Two of his errors earlier this year came when he threw away two straight grounders on a rainy day. If he can continue to hit well, he’s going to be a top ten prospect in this system at some point down the line.

Ke’Bryan Hayes had two hits in this game, putting him back in the top spot for the batting race. He has a .359 average, and fell into second place for a day after going 0-for-4 yesterday. Hayes also drew a walk and he now has a .454 OBP. Michael de la Cruz led off the game with his second homer of the season. He has 13 extra-base hits this year after one all of last season. Sam Kennelly had two hits in this game, one day after he reached base in all four plate appearances. Catcher Garrett Russini had three hits and scored two runs.

Starter Nicholas Economos allowed three earned runs for the first time in eight appearances. He had some strong stats coming into this game, with a 2.79 ERA, an 0.97 WHIP, 20 strikeouts in 19.1 innings and a .215 BAA. He gave up four hits, including a double and triple, plus he walked two batters. Economos hasn’t fit the Pirates’ mold of ground ball pitchers, with a 4:8 GO/AO ratio in this game and 0.67 coming into Thursday.

DSL Pirates Prospect Watch

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P2 Game Notes

The DSL Pirates lost their 40th game on Thursday, getting hit around by the Braves in a 13-5 game. Yerry De Los Santos made his 13th start and gave up seven runs on ten hits in three innings, though only three runs were earned. Adonis Pichardo made his longest appearance since being shutdown with arm fatigue. He allowed three runs on six hits in 3.1 innings. Three Pirates’ pitchers combined to allow 19 hits, but they didn’t walk a single batter.

Eddy Vizcaino had three hits and stole his eighth base of the season. He scored once and had an RBI. This was the first three-hit game of his 46 game career. Yondry Contreras continued to disappoint with four strikeouts, giving him 75 on the season. That tied the team record going back to the 2006 season when stats are first available for the DSL. No one during the Pirates’ time in the VSL had more strikeouts either. There are eight games left in the season and he has struck out at least once in each of his last eight games, so unless he sits the rest of the way, he will own that record outright. Contreras was the top signing in last year’s July 2nd signing class.

  • Both Bell and Garcia are starting to hit very well. The Bucs are gonna have alot of depth options next year. Hopefully, they can be like the Cardinals where an injury happens and a guy like Piscotty or Grichuk comes in and doesn’t miss a beat. I don’t if it’s their scouting or development or both but their ability to develop homegrown talent is amazing.

  • “Three Pirates’ pitchers combined to allow 19 hits, but they didn’t walk a single batter.”
    That is the ultimate “pitch to contact” 🙂

    On a separate note, would it be possible if every game recap at least gave either the score, or if the team won or lost, thereby eliminating having to open the box score just to see who won? At least 3 of the recaps didn’t give you a clue as to who won the game without opening the box score.

  • John,
    Is there a chance that Valerio could move to the Morgantown team next year? His age would still be appropriate for that league and of course personally I’d love to see this kid.

    • I think he does. I don’t see anyone blocking him from Bristol, but it’s ultimately up to him and how he is performing next spring and into June.

  • Richard Belle
    August 14, 2015 8:13 am

    How is Bell’s defense coming along? Is he looking more comfortable there?

  • I can’t see the comments at the bottom because of the advertisement on the right with links to articles. This is the same issue previously with cutting off some box scores. I am using on an iPhone and iPad. Can you please narrow the advertisement? I am already a subscriber.

  • John: I liked the comments on Valerio. He is “enduring/enjoying” his first exposure to life in the US, and doing very well all things considered. As you said, only 18 years old, and only 7 E’s in his 43 games played in the GCL. Of his 35 hits, 13 are XBH (10 doubles). Combined with 2014 First Round draft pick Cole Tucker, who is only 19, the Pirates have two of the best young prospect Shortstops in the game. Both are switchhitters and have the size and range to get even better as they mature.

    The Pirates went heavy on college Shortstops in the draft this year and I hope these two kids are not held back in any way as a result.

    • Glad to see the kids selected for the Best Tools Teams. But, one of the kids on the best tools list just makes me shake my head. When the Pirates were looking for a college bat and had a need for a LH hitting 1B, they passed on one of only two first Basemen drafted in the Top 100. Casey Gillaspie was already gone at No. 20, but left on the board when the Pirates drafted at No. 39 was AJ Reed, a Pitcher and 1B for Kentucky, who was the 5th best hitter in the SEC in batting average and led the SEC with 23 HR and 73 RBI. And, he had just turned 21, so very young for a 3 year college player. We picked Connor Joe and 2 picks later the Astro’s picked AJ Reed.

      Joe is in SS and Reed is in Hi A and was selected as the Best Batting Prospect, Best Power Prospect, and Best Strike-zone Judgement. He leads the Hi A Cali League with a slash of .346/.449/.638/1.088 with 23 HR’s, 81 RBI’s, and a W/K of 59/73. Wow!

      • There’s an awful lot of hindsight talking here, emjay.

        Reed is a 1B-only player that had serious question, and still has serious questions, about whether or not college bat would translate.

        Joe is/was twice the athlete who was drafted with the intent of moving around the diamond even as far as catcher which obviously would’ve made him far more valuable all around. It’s incredibly disingenuous to conveniently forget pointing out that Joe just so happened to miss about a year and a half of game action due to a back injury the Pirates obviously couldn’t have predicted.

        • And we all have opinions. Yes, it is terrible that Joe never had a chance to show why he was drafted so high, but it does not change the numbers as they appear today, nor have any bearing on Reed showing a lot of teams that they overlooked him. But, no team needed a 1B any more than the Pittsburgh Pirates. “disingenuous” – good word.

  • A bit off topic but I remember you providing a list of our prospects who will be Rule 5 eligible—-can you help me find that again? thanks

  • The DSL is making me nervous that we are missing out or something. Is the league bad all around this year or is the Pirates team just that awful?

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    August 13, 2015 8:53 pm

    It is great to see Hayes hitting for such a high average, and his strikeout numbers are impressively low. My only “concern” is I believe he has around 40 hits so far, yet only 5 extra base hits. Earlier this month, Tim made a comment that Julio de la Cruz’s average was “empty”, because he did not have many extra base hits. Well, JDLC has a lot more extra base hits than Hayes.

    They are both still teenagers and they both have good size, so maybe its no big deal at this point?

    • I’d like to see a few more as well but like you, there’s a reason I’d put “concern” in quotation marks.

      Compared to de la Cruz, he’s showing far better plate discipline which is key. I’m sure getting out of the power-oppressing GCL next year will help his power, too. Hard to not call Hayes the best looking of the Bucs draft picks this year even if you think – as I do – that Newman’s had some rotten luck at the plate so far.