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]
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Keon Broxton continued his on base streak, remaining the hottest hitter in the organization. He had a single and walk on Tuesday, and has now been on base in 28 straight games. Before the streak started, he had a .175 batting average for Indianapolis and a .274 OBP. He has raised his average 67 points and his OPS has gone up 182 points since the start of the streak.
Willy Garcia couldn’t continue his streak, after homering in his previous three games. He did draw a walk for the second straight game, which is almost a bigger deal than him hitting a homer. He has 19 walks this season, five short of last year’s total. Garcia has cut his strikeouts down, which was one of the biggest things holding him back. He is just 80 at-bats short of last year’s total, but he’s struck out 59 less times. Garcia also picked up an outfield assist for the second straight game.
Wilfredo Boscan threw six shutout innings for the win. Bobby LaFromboise retired all six batters he faced on four strikeouts and two ground outs. Josh Bell went 0-for-4, leaving him 1-for-17 in his four AAA games. His lone hit was a walk-off single in the 13th inning of his debut. Alen Hanson had two hits, giving him a seven-game hit streak.
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The top of the order had no trouble getting on base for Altoona, but the middle of the order had their share of trouble getting those runners across home plate. The Curve didn’t score until there were two outs in the ninth and by then they were down 6-0. Adam Frazier tallied the only run after collecting two singles and two walks from the lead-off spot. Max Moroff followed him with a single and two walks, while the third place hitter Jose Osuna, had two hits, including his 23rd double of the season. Erich Weiss drove home the only run with his second hit of the night. He is 4-for-15 in four games since being promoted from Bradenton last week.
Frazier has two hits in each of his last four games. He now has a .353 average and he is creeping up on being qualified for the batting title, though he is so far out ahead of the others that he would still win the batting title if the season ended today. The league would just add at-bats to his total until he reached the sufficient amount of plate appearances, then recalculate his batting average. Moroff was near the league lead in batting, but a .214 average over his last 12 games has dropped him down into fifth place, plus he will be well behind Frazier once he starts showing up at the top.
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Yesterday I mentioned that Reese McGuire had just three walks and three strikeouts since the beginning on July, but he managed to do both in this game. It was the first time since May 19th that both have happened in the same game for him. More importantly, he also drove in two runs with a single, which was the only sign of real life from the offense. The Marauders had five hits in the game and they were down 9-1 going to the bottom of the ninth. Austin Meadows drove in the only other run on a ground out in the third inning.
Wyatt Mathisen had two hits, including his ninth double. In his last ten games, he has four multi-hit games and five games with no hits. Edwin Espinal hit his 20th double. He had 25 doubles last year for West Virginia.
Frank Duncan was throwing a lot of strikes(65 of 90 pitches), but he ran into a lot of trouble late in his outing and two runs scored after he left, saddling him with six earned runs in 6.1 innings. He had a strong month of July, working deep into all his starts, but this start wasn’t good.
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Stephen Tarpley had a rough stretch in the middle of June, giving up eight earned runs (16 total) on 25 hits in 14 innings, while striking out 12 and walking six. After that point, Tarpley settled down, and has since been on fire. Since that point, including tonight, Tarpley has a 1.85 ERA in 48.2 innings, with a 49:8 K/BB ratio.
Tarpley said after the game that he really started focusing on hammering the ball down in the zone, and that he was having problems leaving the ball up early in the season. He has since been attacking with his fastball and keeping the pitch down, which has led to fewer walks, and a spike in his ground ball ratio. Prior to June 21st, he was more of a fly ball pitcher, but since that point, he hasn’t had a GO/AO ratio below 1.28, and only one start has been below 1.31. In short, he’s turning into a ground ball pitcher with a lot of strikeouts and very few walks, which is the ideal trio for any starter.
As for the strikeouts, it helps to attack with the fastball and get ahead in the count, but one big factor is mixing up pitches and learning when to throw his off-speed stuff. Tarpley has gotten more comfortable throwing his changeup, and feels that could be a strikeout pitch when needed. He has also had success with his slider, while mixing in the curveball later in the start for a change of pace.
The fastball is the bread and butter though. He’s a lefty who was sitting 91-93 MPH tonight with good downward movement, and touched as high as 97. That’s about his normal range, and he’s touched 97 in the past. That kind of velocity from a left-hander is special, especially when it comes with command and good off-speed pitches. He’s not a finished product yet, as he still has some lapses in command. He had a long second inning, but escaped with no damage. He also had a long fifth inning that led to damage when Yoan Moncada singled in a run, then scored on another hit. But for the most part, Tarpley was in command, and has stuff good enough to make up for any mistakes.
John Sever came on in relief and looked good for a lefty. He had one mistake, a solo home run, but sat in the low 90s with his fastball, pounded the strike zone, got a lot of ground balls, and worked quickly. Sever was a starter early in the year, but has moved into more of a power relief role.
The offense didn’t have it tonight. West Virginia has a great group of hitters when it comes to executing fundamentals and hitting to the big part of the field. A lot of their hits tonight were opposite field liners, although none went for extra bases. The results was that they had some success early, but couldn’t string together enough hits later to do damage after the second inning. They came close in the ninth inning, putting runners at second and third with two outs, but couldn’t get a hit from Jordan Luplow to end it. – Tim Williams
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For the second day in a row, second round pick Kevin Kramer is the big story for Morgantown. He got off to a slow start this year and even now he is only hitting .250 through 35 games, but he now has a modest four-game hit streak, which includes three hits in each off his last two contest. On Monday, he also added two walks, but Tuesday’s game included two doubles. Kramer had just three extra-base hits prior to this games(all doubles). Casey Hughston is 9-for-18 in his last five games.
Pirates eighth round pick Seth McGarry started the game and somehow made it out of the second inning. In that frame, he gave up three singles, two walks, hit a batter and made a throwing error. From then on, he retired nine of the next ten batters, with the only blemish being a hit batter in the fifth inning. McGarry ended up with six strikeouts and a 6:2 GO/AO ratio.
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Bristol benefited from seven Kingsport errors to win 10-8 in extra innings. Christopher De Leon won the Pitcher of the Week last in the Appalachian League, but he blew the save in his first game this week. He ended up getting the win when Bristol scored two unearned runs in the tenth. Carlos Munoz was the Player of the Week two weeks ago, then had a slow week, so there seems to be a pattern. That will be good for De Leon next week because Munoz had two doubles, two walks, scored twice and drove in two runs in this game. He has 18 doubles this season in 35 games. Trae Arbet had two hits, including his first triple, plus he drove in two runs. He’s batting .333, but will have trouble keeping up this pace with a 5:36 BB/SO ratio in 29 games.
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Game One: Starter Chris Plitt retired the first 12 batters he faced on Tuesday, en route to five shutout innings and his first career win. The 2015 14th round draft pick has pitched 23.2 innings this year without issuing a walk, though he is still a 20-year-old college pitcher in the GCL with a 4.18 ERA.
Michael de la Cruz had two hits and scored a first inning run that would give the GCL Pirates all they needed. He hit a lead-off single, then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Adrian Valerio. Ke’Bryan Hayes then singled, driving home de la Cruz. Edison Lantigua would bring home Hayes with the second run of the game. Victor Fernandez had the only extra-base hit for the Pirates, a fourth inning double which was also their last hit of the game. Yoel Gonzalez went 0-for-3 and he is now 0-for-28 in his last 11 games. This game was played in 86 minutes.
Game Two: In game two, the Pirates went to Shane Kemp, who was the 26th round pick of the Pirates this year. He struggled badly at Bristol and was sent to the GCL, where he still had a tough time over three innings, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks. Kemp had an 18.00 ERA and a 3.00 WHIP in five appearances with Bristol. Mister Luciano came in after Kemp and threw four strong innings, giving up just an unearned run.
After two hits in game one, Michael de la Cruz had a double and a HBP in the second game. He is having a great bounce back season, with an OPS approaching .800, although he hit a grand slam in a game that was suspended and will be completed this week, so that would put him over the .800 mark if we included it now. Ke’Bryan Hayes ended up with three hits on the day. Coming into action, his .885 OPS ranked him fourth in the league. He has played 25 games and reached base in 22 contests. In two of the other three, he had a sacrifice fly in one and a sac bunt in the other, so he has contributed on offense in almost every game he has played.
Live Reports From Wilbur Miller
Chris Plitt — Started game one and threw five shutout innings. Two hits, no walks, four Ks. Standard Pirate RHP draftee, JC in this case — tall, lean, easy arm action. Throws from an almost-3/4 slot. FB sat in upper-80s, had good run so it seemed faster. Broke away from LH hitters, leading to more swings and misses than you’d expect. Occasionally got the ball up, but generally did a good job of driving it down. Showed a potentially good slider that also generated swings and misses, as well as a curve that looked a little flat. Retired the first 12 hitters with only one ball hit hard, then ran into trouble in the 5th as his command faltered. A double and single put runners on first and third with one out, but he got two weak grounders to get out of it. Before the 5th, most outs were in the air.
Jen-Li Liao — Threw two scoreless innings to follow Plitt. Listed at 6’6″, 255, but doesn’t throw hard. Mechanics looked erratic even in warmups. I didn’t see any gun readings, but I’d be surprised if FB was much above the mid-80s initially, with little movement. Left it up in the zone repeatedly in his first inning. First three hitters crushed the ball, but two nice plays in the OF saved Liao. Velocity seemed to improve a little in his second inning. Location definitely did and he had an easy inning. Showed a curve in warmups with very erratic motion, but never got to it in the game because most hitters put the first or second pitch in play.
Shane Kemp — Remarkably similar to Plitt; same build and motion. FB was 89-90 in his first two innings, 87-88 in his third. Also threw sliders and a few curves. Command was more erratic than Plitt’s. Gave up a triple and walk to the first two hitters, then got a GIDP and breezed through the 2nd inning. Had trouble in the 3rd as his velocity and command faltered. Got out of it when he speared a line drive for the third out.
Mister Luciano — Gave up one run over the last four innings, but I only saw the first one. FB sat at 90 with a lot of effort. Managed to get some swings and misses on high hard ones, but I’m not sure that’ll work against higher level hitters. Best pitch was a curve with a lot of break.
Ke’Bryan Hayes — Generally hits the ball hard. Went 3-for-6 total, but could have been 5-for-6. The Tigers’ CF (who ran all over the OF catching stuff) ran down a drive at the fence and later made a diving catch on a Hayes liner (actually trapped the ball, but the ump missed the call).
Michael De La Cruz — Continues to work the count and make good contact. Went 3-for-5 total, with a double that was actually a checked-swing bouncer that hugged the 3B line and got through. Showed good range coming in and going back on flyballs. Also made a nice, accurate throw to the plate. Attempted one steal and was out easily. Got a poor jump against a LHP.
Jhoan Herrera — Was trying to pull the ball and rolled over pitches repeatedly, grounding out weakly to second.
Raul Siri — Hasn’t hit the ball well in the roughly four games I’ve seen. Hits everything up in the air, either for popups or routine flies; may be overswinging.
Edison Lantigua — Had an outstanding diving catch in left-center to save Liao.
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The DSL Pirates lost another heart breaker in extras, dropping an 8-7 decision in 11 innings on Tuesday. Catcher Mikell Granberry hit a three-run homer, his fifth round-tripper of the season and he has now driven in 30 runs. This game included the season debut of pitcher Jherson Esqueda, who was supposed to provide a veteran presence on the young team, but he has been out all year due to an elbow injury. He didn’t enter the game until extra innings and ended up taking the loss, though the only run he allowed in two innings was unearned.
Kyle Simmons, who is one of those rare July 2nd signings who actually plays the same season he signs, returned to the lineup after missing two weeks with a right leg injury. He had only played two games before the injury and he returned as the DH in this game, going 0-for-4, with two strikeouts. He was one of two players signed out of the Bahamas, and due to his age(18), he started playing this year instead of next.
I mentioned yesterday that Jeremias Portorreal has been in a big slump, but he reached base three times in this game. He signed for $375,000 in 2013 and most players that sign for that much, only spend one season in the DSL. He really struggled last season, and while he has improved this year, the numbers(except 41 walks) are lower than you would like to see.