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 the 2016 prospect guide, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.
1. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
2. Austin Meadows, CF, Altoona – Disabled List
3. Josh Bell, 1B, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
4. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
5. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
6. Harold Ramirez, OF, Altoona -[insert_php]
7. Reese McGuire, C, Altoona -[insert_php]
8. Elias Diaz, C, Pirates – Disabled List.
9. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List
10. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, West Virginia -[insert_php]
11. Kevin Newman, SS, Bradenton -[insert_php]
12. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php]
13. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
14. Stephen Tarpley, LHP, Bradenton – Extended Spring Training
15.Cole Tucker, SS, West Virginia – Disabled List
16. Chad Kuhl, RHP, Indianapolis – Extended Spring Training
17. Max Moroff, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
18. Mitch Keller, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php]
19. Clay Holmes, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php]
20. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
21. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php]
22. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php]
23. Barrett Barnes, OF, Altoona -[insert_php]
25. Gage Hinsz, RHP, – Extended Spring Training
26. Adrian Valerio, SS, – Extended Spring Training
27. Adam Frazier, INF/OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
28. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Bradenton -[insert_php]
29. Jordan Luplow, OF/3B, Bradenton – [insert_php]
30. JT Brubaker, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php]
Steven Brault made his first start of the season and didn’t have the best command, leading to a high pitch count and a shortened outing. Two points to make before I get into his outing and that’s the long layoff he had due to three postponed games, and the Toledo lineup had some strong hitters, including Cameron Maybin on rehab. Brault was originally scheduled to go Saturday, but his first start was pushed back three days.
Brault allowed two runs over four innings, giving up four hits and two walks, while striking out three batters. He threw 83 pitches, 50 for strikes. That’s not a bad total, but the command was off because he left a lot of pitches in the middle of the plate. Brault was hurt by two errors, though he got some help when the third base coach sent a runner home from second on a hard hit into right field with Willy Garcia playing shallow and charging the ball. Garcia has the best arm in the system, so it wouldn’t have been a good idea with him playing normal depth, and the play wasn’t close at the plate. That throw paid off later when the same coach held the runner on a hit to medium right field and Garcia’s throw was strong, but well off target.
Brault wasn’t getting many swing-and-misses in the game and he worked hard in the first three innings. He got through the fourth clean and picked up his first swinging strikeout, yet had to come out of the game due to his pitch count. One of the runs he allowed scored on a straight steal of home plate. The other scored on a single to left field, where Adam Frazier was playing. It looked like he would have a play at the plate because he was playing shallow and charging in, but his throw home had nothing on it. I’ve seen him make a few outfield throws now and they have all been below average.
The Indianapolis offense had trouble with Michael Fulmer, a top prospect for the Tigers. They picked up six hits in the game and got shutout 3-0. Alen Hanson had two singles in the lead-off spot, while Jason Rogers had a single and a double. The other two hits were singles from Danny Ortiz and Jacob Stallings. Indianapolis hitters struck out 12 times in the game and everyone had at least one strikeout. Gift Ngoepe, Willy Garcia and Adam Frazier are all still looking for their first hit.
ALTOONA – David Whitehead only got through four innings tonight, allowing five runs and three walks. Whitehead did work around the zone most of the night, but he was taken for three walks. The walks drawn against him were much different than yesterday against Cody Dickson, as he was just missing trying to paint the corners in the third and fourth innings. He was well above his career norms in strikeouts today, and four of the six strikeouts were swinging.
A sinker ball pitcher, Whitehead was able to work the two-seam low and inside to right-handed batters. Problems arose when he was not able to keep the ball down in the zone, with his slider staying more towards the heart of the plate and the fastball elevating. Manager Joey Cora mentioned that Whitehead was beginning to look a little too predictable with his patterns, too. Whitehead had a 5:7 ground ball to fly ball ratio, opposite of where a sinker pitcher would like to be. It was a welcome sight to see a pitcher work around the strike zone compared to the last few games that I have seen in Altoona, but batters took advantage of Whitehead not being able to keep the fastball down and missing with his breaking pitches.
Jared Lakind relived Whitehead in the fifth inning, and he went two relatively strong innings for the Curve, only allowing one hit (a double to his first batter). Lakind walked three batters, and Manager Joey Cora was ejected after the third for arguing balls and strikes on the outside corner. Lakind was tagged for two runs in two innings last Friday, but he looked much better tonight minus the walks. Lakind was aggressively pushed to Double-A this season because of his age and service time, even though he has only pitched 44 innings above the Low-A level. Overall, Curve pitchers walked another nine batters tonight, totally 40 walks in their first five games. Cora continues to be persistent that their team can only go as far as their pitching staff can take them.
“We had another nine of those tonight,” Cora said as he circled the nine under BB on the scoresheet. “We have to cut down on the walks. We can’t be walking nine games every game – it just can’t happen. You compound that with the errors that we had, it’s way too many opportunities for [Akron] to score runs. We’re lucky we only gave up seven.”
Offensively, the Curve couldn’t do anything until the sixth and seventh innings, with Anderson Feliz providing the only offense up to that point with a leadoff single and double to left in the 3rd. In the sixth, Jon Schwind hit a line drive to left field which the outfielder tried to charge; however, it got by his glove scoring two runs. Schwind later came around to score on a wild pitch.
In the seventh, Erich Weiss and Jose Osuna hit a triple and double, both to right field respectively, followed by a Jin De Jhang single up the middle and Edwin Espinal double to deep left center field. Unfortunately, with no outs, Jon Schwind came up and lined a hard hit ball to the right fielder with two baserunners on the move, and Akron turned the old-fashioned 9-6-3 triple play to end the threat.
Schwind ended the night with the “Little League triple” and another hard hit ball for the Curve, while Feliz and Jhang both added two hits. Other than his double down the right field line, Jose Osuna struggled tonight with three strikeouts. Harold Ramirez got the night off, while Barrett Barnes went 0-for-3 and has yet to get a hit this season since returning from the concussion. – Sean McCool
Bradenton lost 9-4 on Tuesday, with five runs scoring off reliever Junior Lopez to provide the difference in the game. The Marauders have had trouble at the plate this year, even after six hits tonight, they are hitting .181 as a team. They made the most of their hits on Tuesday, with Pablo Reyes collecting two in his first start since the opening game. Taylor Gushue has been the hottest bat early on and it continued in this game, as he drove in two runs with his second double, giving him a .333 average.
Elvis Escobar, Kevin Newman and Connor Joe each had a single in this game. Newman reached base three times, picking up a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Jordan Luplow had two walks and scored a run. Every batter in the Bradenton lineup reached base at least once. That same lineup included five batters who are hitting .160 or less after six games, including all three outfielders.
Alex McRae made his second start of the season and gave up four runs over five innings. Despite allowing seven base runners, he needed just 67 pitches to get through his outing. Luis Heredia finished the game for Bradenton, throwing two shutout innings. He gave up three hits, had three strikeouts and threw a wild pitch.
West Virginia has been getting tremendous pitching from their starters so far this season. In six games, they have combined to allow one run on 11 hits in 31 innings. JT Brubaker allowed that only run in his first start, so he made up for that by allowing one hit over six shutout innings on Tuesday. He walked two batters, but was pounding the strike zone in this game, throwing 50 of his 73 pitches for strikes. He had six strikeouts.
Ke’Bryan Hayes had two doubles in this game, his first two extra-base hits of the season. He is 7-for-20 through five games. Tito Polo continued to run the offense from the top spot in the batting order. He doubled off the wall in the eighth inning and scored the first run of the game on the second double from Hayes. Polo also had a walk and picked up an outfield assist. He has five extra-base hits already. Carlos Munoz drove in his first run of the year, bringing home Hayes on a single in the eighth to make it 2-0, which is where the game ended. Ryan Nagle has a five-game hitting streak. Ty Moore picked up his second double of the season.
Daniel Zamora went 2.1 scoreless innings, needing help from Julio Eusebio to finish the game. Greenville had the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth before Eusebio got a ground out to shortstop to end the game.