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]
2. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List
3. Austin Meadows, CF, Bradenton -[insert_php]
4. Josh Bell, 1B, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
5. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
6. Reese McGuire, C, Bradenton -[insert_php]
7. Elias Diaz, C, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
8. Harold Ramirez, OF, Bradenton -[insert_php]
9. Cole Tucker, SS, West Virginia -[insert_php]
10. Kevin Newman, SS, Morgantown -[insert_php]
11. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, GCL -[insert_php]
12. Mitch Keller, RHP, Bristol -[insert_php]
13. Clay Holmes, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php]
14. Stephen Tarpley, LHP, West Virginia -[insert_php]
15. Max Moroff, 2B, Altoona -[insert_php]
16. Barrett Barnes, OF, Altoona -[insert_php]
17. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php]
18. Trey Supak, RHP, Bristol -[insert_php]
19. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Bristol -[insert_php]
20. Adam Frazier, SS, Altoona -[insert_php]
21. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
22. Steven Brault, LHP, Altoona -[insert_php]
23. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Morgantown -[insert_php]
24. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php]
25. Adrian Valerio, SS, GCL -[insert_php]
26. Connor Joe, 1B, West Virginia -[insert_php]
27. John Holdzkom, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List
28. Jordan Luplow, 3B, West Virginia -[insert_php]
29. Casey Hughston, OF, Morgantown -[insert_php]
30. Billy Roth, RHP, Bristol -[insert_php]
While it was not the three hit performance from the day before, Keon Broxton still did not disappoint. He picked up a pair of knocks, including his 12th double with Indianapolis. Broxton also reached base in three of his four times at the plate.In addition, Broxton increased his on base streak to 24 straight games. The learning curve took a bit for Broxton, but now once he’s got his timing down, the true athleticism is showing.
After enduring a recent 10-game slump, it appears that Alen Hanson is on his way out of that. He now has extra base hits in four straight games, as he added his 10th triple of the season. He now has double digits in the category each of the last four seasons. Along with Hanson, Tony Sanchez also added two hits, which included his 15th double of the campaign.
Despite Chris Volstad’s scoreless inning streak making it to 16.1, he was finally touched up in the game. Even with this, he worked seven strong innings, allowing just five hits and one run. Volstad also picked up a season-high seven strikeouts.
Jeff Inman worked a perfect two innings for the save in relief of Volstad, striking out a pair. – Ryan Palencer
On Friday night in Altoona, Tyler Glasnow was originally supposed to be the starting pitcher for the Curve, but obviously that did not take place with his promotion to Indianapolis. Like before with Glasnow’s injury, Matt Benedict took the hill in his place, but the results were not Glasnow-like. In 4.2 innings, Benedict allowed 12 earned runs on 13 hits. He was hit hard and often in his short outing. He remained around the strike zone with a 69% strike rate, but his stuff looked flat and extremely hittable. Batters were able to barrel up the ball often, resulting in multiple line drive singles. He actually only allowed two extra base hits out of the 13 – a double which got him yanked and a home run – all the rest were singles.
Erich Weiss hit a line drive single to right-center in his first at-bat at the Double-A level after being promoted today following Dan Gamache’s promotion to Indianapolis. Stetson Allie had a good night at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a walk. Allie did not strike out at all tonight, and his approach looked good at the plate. It seemed as though he was looking for more contact rather than crushing the ball with every swing, which is a good development for Allie.
Adam Frazier broke out of a 1-for-15 slump in his last four games with two hard hit singles on the night. He was able to raise his batting average back up to .347. Now that Dan Gamache has been promoted to Indianapolis, Frazier has a very good chance at getting enough plate appearances to eventually qualify for the batting title race and leading the league in batting at the end of the season. Gamache was the only other player that was close to Frazier with as many at bats as him, with Binghamton’s Gavin Cecchini the next closest player who is still in Double-A at .317. – Sean McCool
Game One Notes: With his fifth home run of the season, Austin Meadows helped lead Bradenton to victory in game one of a doubleheader. He has hits in ten of his last 11 games. Meadows, who battled injuries most of last season, is doing an excellent job of regaining his top prospect status in 2015 with a strong season. For the campaign, Meadows is hitting .306 after Friday night, with a .764 OPS.
Wyatt Mathisen also added a pair of hits in the first game of the contest. Mathisen was 0-for-6 in his past two contests, after a two-hit performance on July 26.
Tyler Eppler lasted only two innings, due to a long rain delay. He allowed three hits and two runs over that span. Andy Otamendi allowed five hits and two runs in his 3.2 innings of work. Montana DuRapau worked 1.1 scoreless innings, and allowed one hit and striking out one.
Game Two Notes: While Bradenton was not able to get as many knocks as in the first game, they got them when they mattered. Harold Ramirez picked up his ninth double of the season and scored a pair of runs, continuing his strong season. Ramirez has hit .371, with 17 extra base hits. He also stole his 17th base of the season, though he has been caught 11 times.
Meadows also picked up two hits in the second game and scored a run. Jin-De Jhang picked up two RBI in the second game for his 23rd and 24th of the season.
Felipe Gonzalez worked five strong innings, allowing four hits and a run. Miguel Rosario had a tough inning of work, allowing three hits, a walk, and a run. Robert Stock allowed a hit, but finished off the game with a scoreless seventh.
Friday night’s game for West Virginia had a bit of everything on the good side for the squad. Offensively, the team picked up 18 hits, including seven players with multi-hit efforts. Jordan Luplow is one of those, as he continued his strong 2015 campaign. Luplow picked up his 29th double of the season and drove in his 49th and 50th runs of the season in the contest.
Tyler Filliben picked up three hits in the game, including his 6th and 7th doubles of the season. Connor Joe only had one hit, but it counted, as it was his first home run of the season.
Yeudy Garcia worked five strong innings, without surrendering a hit and fanning five. The only blemish for Garcia was a lone walk that he allowed. He now has a 2.00 ERA, which ranks him first in the South Atlantic League.
Julio Vivas allowed two unearned runs on three hits, but Jared Lakind and Jose Regalado each worked scoreless innings to wrap the game up.
While his first professional season has not been perfect for Kevin Newman, he has still shown flashes of what got him drafted in the first round. Friday night was one of those flashes, as he picked up two hits, including his second home run of the season. The strong game breaks an 0-for-7, two-game slump.
Albert Baur has been on a similar cold spell, going 2-for-17 in has past two games. However, he also broke out on Friday night. Baur picked up a pair of knocks, including his sixth double. Ty Moore picked up collected two hits, with his second triple of the campaign. Moore also drove in three runs and is now up to 27 RBI already this season.
Jonathan Brubaker worked five scoreless innings, allowing just four hits while striking out four. Sean Keselica broke a two-game scoreless streak by allowing a run in his two innings of work. Keselica did strike out three hitters, however. Edgar Santana finished off the game with two strikeouts of his own in his two innings of work.
Bristol has some really interesting starting pitching prospects. There’s the big trio of 2014 prep picks in Mitch Keller, Trey Supak, and Gage Hinsz. Then there’s 2013 over-slot picks Neil Kozikowski and Billy Roth. I was unable to see Kozikowski on this trip due to a scheduling issue, and didn’t see Supak or Keller due to their rehab work from minor arm injuries. Hinsz was the best pitching prospect I was going to see. But the guy I was looking forward to the most was Billy Roth.
I got to see all of these guys pitch at least once in Spring Training and/or extended Spring Training. And the guy who made the biggest strides was Roth. He was highly touted as a middle round pick in 2013, but had a horrible season last year in Bristol with some pretty serious control problems. He was slated to return to the level again this year, but this time around the results looked much better.
Roth was showing off a 93-96 MPH fastball in extended Spring Training, and was holding that velocity into the fifth inning. That’s rare for a guy his age, and what made it even better was that his control was improved. It wasn’t perfect, but it was better than last year. So as you can imagine, I wanted to see how he looked in-season, after looking so good this Spring.
There have been some inconsistencies this year, with two horrible outings where Roth gave up eight runs in 3.2 innings, along with eight walks. He was coming off one of those outings last Sunday where he walked four and recorded just two outs. Tonight was the exact opposite.
Roth pitched seven innings, giving up one run on five hits, with two walks and four strikeouts. The seven innings was a bit surprising, as very few short-season guys go that long. Bristol manager Edgar Varela got special permission to give Roth an extra inning from coordinator Tom Filer, who was in town. The permission was granted because Roth was extremely efficient. He had 56 pitches through five innings, and was at 64 through six. The plan was six innings and 90 pitches. He ended up with 82 through seven.
The lone run from Roth came due to a bad route in center field by Sandy Santos, who got turned around on a straightaway shot to the wall, then misplayed it off the wall and let it roll away for a triple. The run might not have scored if Santos keeps it to a double. Overall, Roth had much better fastball command tonight than he’s had in the past, while also showing confidence in his circle changeup, throwing it nine times and getting good results. He was able to put a few guys away with his curveball, but lacked command with the pitch.
The interesting thing is that Roth was only sitting 91-92 MPH tonight, touching 93. That’s down from extended Spring Training, although I heard he had the same velocity early in the season, including a few starts ago when he was hitting 94 MPH in the fourth inning. Roth didn’t know what led to the velocity loss, suggesting that it could have been due to the workload this year. That wouldn’t be unusual. I thought he was taking some off to focus on command, and while Roth said he wasn’t actively doing that, he also said that the command focus was the most important thing for him. He throws from an overhand arm slot, and has trouble repeating his delivery at times, although that didn’t happen as much tonight. He does a good job of getting the ball down in the zone, which he did show tonight.
Overall, I didn’t see the velocity, but I saw the location and command that makes Roth an interesting guy to follow. I think the velocity is there, and it might stick around longer in the year when the tall, skinny right hander adds muscle to his frame in the future. Until then, the consistently improved command is a great sign.
On the offensive side, Carlos Munoz hit two doubles, wrapping up an outstanding month of July with 13 doubles and seven home runs. He doubled to lead off the bottom of the 13th inning, then scored when Edgar Figueroa hit a walk off two run homer. Jonathan Schwind played nine innings of rehab for the first time. He is recovering from surgery to remove his spleen after it burst in an on-field collision earlier this year. He may still have one more full game to go before being sent back to Altoona. – Tim Williams
The GCL Pirates took a rained shortened affair 2-1 on Friday night. While they were only able to muster three hits, they came at the right times and led to runs being plated. Ke’Bryan Hayes did not add one of the hits, but walked and scored one of the runs in the contest. Michael De La Cruz and Jhoan Herrera picked up knocks in the game and Herrera scored the other run.
Adam Miller got the rehab start and allowed two hits in two shutout innings. Yunior Montero worked the other five and allowed three hits, a walk, and a run. However, Montero also struck out six hitters in the contest. It marks the third time this season that Montero has fanned at least five hitters.
Reports from Wilbur Miller:
Michael De La Cruz — Continued to show very patient approach. I saw him a good deal last year, between camp and a couple GCL games, and I never saw him hit a ball hard. He looks very different now, with several hard-hit balls over the two and a fraction games I’ve seen. He’s still slightly built and isn’t a power hitter, but could continue getting stronger.
Ke’Bryan Hayes — Doesn’t take any bad swings. Swing definitely seems geared now to hitting line drives rather than driving the ball. Runs decently — scored from first on a double — but has a large lower half, so that may not last long.
Jhoan Herrera — Has shown good pop. In his first AB today, he was facing a pitcher who threw a lot of off-speed stuff. Herrera didn’t seem to be picking any of it up and struck out. Next time up he waited on the pitch and lined a double to left-center (he hits LH). Last time up he was fooled and didn’t get a good swing, but still hit a flyball to the track in right-center.
Sam Kennelly and Yoel Gonzalez — Both struggled pretty badly with the off speed stuff they were seeing. Gonzalez looked to be a very good receiver, with good hands and agility behind the plate, and a good idea of pitch-framing.
Adam Miller — Threw two rehab innings in game one. Was hitting only 89-90 on the gun.
Yunior Montero — Relieved Miller and threw the last five innings, allowing just one run and fanning six. Showed a four-pitch mix, with none looking outstanding but all looking usable at times, especially his curve and slider. FB sat at 87 some times and 91 others — I expect he was throwing both two- and four-seamers. High-effort delivery, seemed to try to reach back for more when he was in trouble, which sometimes led to pitches riding high. His mechanics were inconsistent, especially in the 5th (his third inning). He fell behind and seemed to be forcing his pitches, and got hit hard repeatedly. He escaped due to a bases-loaded line drive DP. But he then settled down and mostly breezed through the 6th and 7th.
The DSL Pirates couldn’t touch the Marlins’ starter on Friday, as he threw six shutout innings, leaving with a 5-0 lead. Once the bullpen came in, the Pirates’ bats woke up, and with a little help from the opposing defense, they put seven runs on the road. This game had a total of seven errors, which resulted in three unearned runs on each side. After Pirates’ starter Miguel Hernandez allowed four runs (one earned) over three innings, relievers Oddy Nunez and Luis Brun combined to allow one hit over the final six innings.
In the ninth inning, Christopher Perez drew his seventh walk of the season, then moved to third base on the seventh double of the year from Yondry Contreras. After a wild pitch scored Perez with the tying run, Mikell Granberry drove home Contreras with the game-winner. Granberry is 9-for-27 with four walks in his last eight games. Jeremias Portorreal had two hits in this game. Last year, he had 34 hits in 204 at-bat, the same numbers of hits he had coming into this game, except he had 49 less at-bats this year. Portorreal has also surpassed his walk total from last year, so despite the low average, he is showing improvements. He got a $375,000 bonus in 2013, the second highest the Pirates gave out that signing period. – John Dreker