Prospect Watch: Hanson Stays Hot, Brault Labors Through Another Outing

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, 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] include_once (‘./p2-stats/stats_functions.php’);

2. Austin Meadows, CF, Altoona – Disabled List

3. Josh Bell, 1B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(605137,’B’,’20160417′);

4. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592791,’P’,’20160417′);

5. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(593700,’B’,’20160417′);

6. Harold Ramirez, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(623912,’B’,’20160417′);

7. Reese McGuire, C, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(624512,’B’,’20160417′);

8. Elias Diaz, C, Pirates – Disabled List.

9. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

10. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(663647,’B’,’20160417′);

11. Kevin Newman, SS, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20160417′);

12. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(650817,’P’,’20160417′);

13. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20160417′);

 14. Stephen Tarpley, LHP, Bradenton – Extended Spring Training

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

16. Chad Kuhl, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(641771,’P’,’20160417′);

17. Max Moroff, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20160417′);

18. Mitch Keller, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(656605,’P’,’20160417′);

19. Clay Holmes, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20160417′);

20. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(591994,’B’,’20160417′);

21. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(663399,’P’,’20160417′);

22. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20160417′);

23. Barrett Barnes, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(608627,’B’,’20160417′);

25. Gage Hinsz, RHP,  – Extended Spring Training

26. Adrian Valerio, SS, – Extended Spring Training

27. Adam Frazier, INF/OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(624428,’B’,’20160417′);

28. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20160417′);

29. Jordan Luplow, OF/3B, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656669,’B’,’20160417′);

30. JT Brubaker, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(664141,’P’,’20160417′);

P2 Top Performers

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Indianapolis went back-and-forth with Columbus on Sunday, finally losing 8-7 in 11 innings. Steven Brault started the game and had the same issues as his first game, running up his pitch count and getting pulled before he could go five full innings. Brault went 4.2 frames on Sunday and allowed just two runs, but he was at 82 pitches (51 for strikes) when he left with two runners on base. Jhondaniel Medina came on and stranded those runners, limiting the damage for Brault. In his first start, Brault left after four innings and gave up just two runs. He wasn’t doing bad on Sunday, he just couldn’t put batters away. Brault allowed five hits and a walk, while striking out two batters. The one big hit was a first inning homer.

The top of the Indianapolis order came up big in this game. Alen Hanson, Gift Ngoepe, Josh Bell and Jason Rogers combined for four RBIs and five runs scored on ten hits and two walks. Hanson tripled to start off the bottom of the 11th. After an Ngoepe strikeout, Josh Bell ripped a line drive down the third base line right into the glove of the third baseman, who was just steps away from the bag for the final out, doubling off Hanson, who had no chance to get back. Hanson had three hits, a walk and two stolen bases.

Max Moroff hit his first homer of the season in the seventh inning. It was a two-run shot with two outs and gave the Indians a 6-5 lead that quickly disappeared. The bottom of the order came up empty in this game, going 0-for-15, with three of them being replaced for pinch-hitters in the tenth inning. With two outs in the tenth, pinch-hitter Adam Frazier hit a routine grounder that went though the shortstop’s legs and Frazier ended up at second base due to nice hustle out of the box. Dan Gamache pinch-hit and brought him home with a single to tie the score.

Trey Haley has looked good at times with Indianapolis, sitting 96-97 with his fastball, but he was not on in this game, allowing runs in the tenth and 11th for the loss. All five pitchers for Indianapolis allowed at least one run.


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Altoona won 5-3 on Sunday, thanks to four runs in the top of the ninth inning. Erich Weiss had the big hit, a bases loaded triple with two outs. David Whitehead made his second start and put up good results with one-hit ball over five shutout innings. Three relievers followed, with Brett McKinney picking up the win and Montana DuRapau getting the save.

As mentioned, Whitehead had good results, but from a scouting standpoint, this was an ugly outing. He issued four walks and had four strikeouts. Of his 79 pitches, just 40 went for strikes. He also hit a batter and threw two wild pitches. Whitehead was all over the place in this game and there were some very hard hit outs. He was having a lot of trouble throwing his off-speed pitches and Reese McGuire got a workout behind the plate. After watching the outing, it definitely didn’t feel like he pitched one-hit ball over five shutout innings.

Altoona had nine hits and four walks in this game. Both Stetson Allie and Reese McGuire had two hits. Allie raised his average to .303 through 34 at-bats. Jose Osuna hit his third double of the year and Eric Wood added his first homer, a solo shot in the seventh. Barrett Barnes went 1-for-4, collecting his second hit of the season.


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BRADENTON – The Marauders benefited from some strong pitching today, getting a combined shutout from Alex McRae and Edgar Santana to win 1-0. McRae got the start, going five innings, and working through a few jams in the process. He worked up a high pitch count in the fourth inning, and the Marauders had a reliever warming up with runners at first and second. However, he got out of the jam by inducing a groundout to Kevin Newman to end the frame.

McRae was sitting 90-91 MPH with his sinker today. I’ve seen him higher than that in the past, ticking up to the 92-93 MPH range, although today’s range isn’t out of the norm. He’s usually a ground ball pitcher, working heavily off his sinker, but had more fly outs than ground outs today, and looked to be elevating the ball a bit at times.
Santana came on in the sixth inning and took over for the rest of the game, giving an over-worked Bradenton bullpen a break. It helped that Santana was so efficient, needing just 40 pitches to get through his four innings. He has averaged about ten pitches per inning so far this season through 11 shutout innings. He works low in the zone with a 94-96 MPH fastball, getting a lot of ground ball outs in the process, with a 7:2 GO/AO ratio today.

I talked with an NL scout after the game who really liked him, and wondered why he wasn’t starting. Despite the long appearance and early success, there are no current plans to stretch Santana out or use him in a piggyback role.

One thing that helped the pitching staff today was strong play from Kevin Newman and Kevin Kramer up the middle. Newman did have an error where he set up well, but tried to throw the ball before he fielded it. The combo did turn a double play in the seventh inning, erasing a base runner that Santana put on.

Kramer also made a great play in the eighth inning, helping to erase a lead-off double. He ranged far to his right on a hard grounder, and made a diving stop and a perfect turn and throw to first. The runner from second aggressively rounded third, figuring Kramer wouldn’t get the ball. Chase Simpson made a quick throw over to third, and Connor Joe was covering the bag, making the tag for the second out, rather than having the tying run at third with one out.

“Kramer played unbelievable,” Bradenton manager Michael Ryan said after the game. “He’s been playing a really good second base. He takes control in the infield. He lets everyone know where they need to be. He’s very prepared. He was prepared to make that play. He’s a good player.”

Kramer and Newman also produced on offense, combining to go 5-for-6 with a walk and a double. The lone run today came from Jeff Roy, who scored when Kramer broke up a double play ball hit by Connor Joe. The opposing shortstop was slow to feed to the second baseman, making it a close play. Kramer slid right into the bag, clipping the guy at second, and preventing the throw to first for the final out, which allowed Roy to score. It’s likely that Joe would have been safe, due to the slow feed, but Kramer’s slide removed any doubt. – Tim Williams


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CHARLESTON-On a hot Sunday afternoon, the series finale between the Lexington Legends and the West Virginia Power heated up quickly. Both teams plated a run in the first inning, which ended with a controversial out call that brought protestations from manager Brian Esposito. To start the second, starter JT Brubaker looked uncharacteristically frazzled, hitting the first batter before settling in to retire the side.

Brubaker looked far from dominant in his third start, sprinkling a career-high eight hits over five innings. He struggled to control his breaking ball at times, and his fastball had considerably less mustard on it than it has in previous starts. “I got away from the game plan,” said Brubaker after the game. “I didn’t let my off-speed play off my fastball.” Still, he managed to hold the league’s top-scoring offense to three runs and earn his first win on the season.

The tale of the tape here is not so much the Power’s offense as the Legends’ lack of defense. Over the four-game series, the Legends committed thirteen errors. To the Power’s credit, they took full advantage of those miscues. Twice today Power runners advanced to third when the Legends catcher flung the ball into centerfield; both of those runners scored.

Reliever Seth McGarry entered the game with a 4-3 lead in the sixth and quickly worked a perfect 1-2-3 inning. The Power extended their lead in the bottom of the frame, when Ryan Nagle hit a leadoff single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a looper to shallow right by Alfredo Reyes. McGarry returned in the seventh, during which he gave up one run.

Julio Eusebio took the mound in the eighth with the Power up 5-4. After getting a groundout to short to start the inning, he issued back-to-back walks. A chat with pitching coach Matt Ford got things back on track, and the inning ended quickly with a double play. Eusebio threw a much less eventful ninth as he retired the side in order to earn his second save of the season. –Abigail Miskowiec

  • Any update on Meadows? He should be ready to go soon. Also, any update on Cole Tucker and where he’ll play when he’s ready to go?

    • The Pirates will be at home during Extended Spring Training from Tuesday to Thursday, so expect some updates from there this week.

  • Does anyone else have an issue with the daily summary for each player showing up? I am trying to read it on my phone and it is just a garbled mess.

  • Sitting in my Bucco Man Cave (garage) a while ago listening to The Fan radio show (Pittsburgh sports talk show for those that don’t know) and Colin Dunlap was amazed that Jameson Taillon appears to be closer to moving up to the big club instead of Tyler Glasnow. Obviously he does not subscribe to Pirates Prospects or he would know better. Guess he missed all the in-depth articles discussing this subject.

    • Probably a 99% chance Dunlap has called Tim a “blogger” in a derogatory manner at least once in his life. Funny how that works.

      • Colin gave me the name “Shilliams” when I said that Gregory Polanco wasn’t ready for the majors and wouldn’t come up and fix all of the Pirates’ problems in May 2014.

        We’ll ignore the fact that FanGraphs wrote the same thing about a month later.

        We’ll also ignore the fact that Colin was extremely unprofessional in using a very big forum (93.7) to personally attack the character and integrity of a writer expressing his opinion.

        But it’s hard to ignore that Polanco came up, struggled after his first week, and rather than saying “Hey, maybe Tim was right”, he continued calling me a shill.

        This also happened back during the Hoka Hey mess, when I pointed out all of the incorrect things from that report (Polanco wasn’t seriously hurt, the Pirates actually had a highly regarded farm system, and the Navy SEAL training was exaggerated and mis-reported to make it sound more dangerous). He called me a shill for all of that too. Polanco played baseball a few days after the report, and had a huge winter league. The Pirates got high ratings for their system from that point forward. And if the SEAL training came out now, it would just sound like Crossfit (which wasn’t mainstream at the time).

        There’s a long history of Colin calling me a shill because of my opinions or just because of my pure reporting on a subject that I cover daily. Usually those examples don’t fit the latest Pittsburgh media “scandal”. And when it turns out the controversy was overblown, and I was right, he just keeps the “shill” label, and moves on to the next thing he disagrees with.

        So I’m not surprised that Colin had no clue until now that Taillon will probably arrive before Glasnow, even though I’ve been saying it constantly all spring (and was saying Taillon looked ready last summer before the hernia injury). No chance he reads here.

        • But journalism, Tim.

          Yikes, that would all be surprising if it wasn’t coming from Dunlap.

        • That hilarious, because Dejan once called me a ‘shill’ for you, Tim.

          Btw, we call Colin, “DunceCap” on the PBC blog.

        • Its sad how predictable that entire situation was considering it was Dunlap being discussed.

          • Don’t mention the Hoka Hey thing to Dejan either. He gets very perturbed. Before he went freelance and had his Trib blog, he brought it up on a Trib article. I rebutted him with some links proving him wrong.

            He politely asked me to quit responding to his articles. I guess he couldn’t delete them like he could on his blog or Twitter.

            He’s a first class writer, but as a person? No thanks.

            • Dejan upsets me mostly because of the quality of his writing, in that he’d be such a great go to place for another take on Pirates baseball if he didnt grind that axe so often.

              He cant let it go though.

        • Sooo….A discounted subscription for Colin is out?

        • I kind of feel like being a prospect centric writer probably opens you up to more criticism, not that it is necessarily warranted. I mean you have to talk about upside and potential with prospects, which have a large flameout rate, so obviously a good number of guys you write something positive about won’t amount to a hill of beans. If you were on the fan, you can just worry about what affects the big league squad and who “sucks.” Guys that never have to write about Luis Heredia who criticize you because you said he had upside once, etc. Haven’t turned on the Fan in years (I ride a bike to work,) and life is better for it.

          • Yeah, that’s definitely a criticism you get in this position. I get that more from casual readers, who claim that I say everyone is going to reach the majors and no prospect will ever bust. I point out which prospects could make the majors, and what they need to do to get there and reach their upsides. Obviously not everyone will reach that upside, which is a disclaimer that should just be assumed with any prospect writing.

            I’d say 99% of the people who make those claims aren’t subscribers of the site now. And I definitely see things like “You had Luis Heredia as a top pitching prospect back in 2011”, and that just shows a lack of understanding of the process.

            But the stuff from Dunlap tends to be MLB-focused. I don’t think he follows the minors or cares enough about the prospects to make those claims. His problems with me are always the situations where I’m not screaming “Nutting is cheap” or that the management group is incompetent.

            The one thing that sucks about it is we never get asked on The Fan, and I have a feeling it is largely due to him, since we used to get on there before he started criticizing me on his shows (about 1-2 times per season, people tell me that he spends a whole segment talking about me being a shill).

    • Colin Dunlap has bashed this site several times on the radio. He is also at the top of my leader board for most annoying sports personality in Pittsburgh. He strikes me as a guy that watches ESPN and takes it as truth.

      • Juvenile or not I must admit when I hear Dunlap the first thing that crosses my mind is punching him in the mouth. He’s a first class POS. I actually find madden less annoying if that tells you anything.

      • If you could bottle his voice it could be potent weapon to counter terrorism. Just hearing him leaves me miserable and disoriented.

    • send an email out to Colin, he should get more educated on the Bucco’s

  • Dear Abby?

  • Now I know that protestation is actually a word.

  • DrStrangeglove
    April 17, 2016 10:17 pm

    FWIW, I like Ryan’s assessment of Kramer. If the bat plays up to the spring training hype, he could be a keeper.

  • John, do you have any opportunity to watch extended Spring workouts? How is Adrian Valerio looking?

    • Tim has been on the road (Pittsburgh, Altoona, Pittsburgh) since April 1st up until a few days ago and he’s been at the Bradenton games everyday since he got back. I believe he is going to Pirate City this week whenever they play at home, especially since the Marauders go out on the road on Tuesday

  • soo if hanson continues to hit, where will he fit it in? can j-hay play SS everyday? soo it would like kang at 3b j-hay at ss and hanson at 2d? idk just spitballing

    • Hanson comes up as either starting 2B or utility IF depending on why he comes up. If Pirates think he’s a better option as starting 2B than JHay, than JHay moves back to Super Utility role.

      No way either Harrison or Hanson move to regular SS. Both would be a liability defensively.

      • Well stated, and with the way that Jordy and Josh have picked it up, there is no reason to make any move at this point, regardless of what is happening at AAA. I like Hanson a lot, but the team has started to click – time to sit back and hope it continues.

      • yeah thats what i thought…harrison was struggling in the first week but seems to have picked things up

  • BallHeadWonder
    April 17, 2016 7:05 pm

    Rogers gets the call up for me!!! Much better bat than P-Flo!!

    • I assume you’re responding to the other comment. He was asking who would take the place of Rogers in AAA, not whether Florimon would possibly get a spot on the Pirates bench over Rogers.

  • Newman seems to be off to a hot start with the bat. What’s the difference between this season and his time in pro ball at the end of last year? SSS? Comfot level? luck?

  • Brault’s early troubles: Classic soft tossing LHP getting hit the higher he climbs in the org? The “he couldn’t put anyone away” line seems damning?

    • Could be, but it’s two starts, so way too early to make any real judgment. Brault may not throw as hard as the others, but he has a lot of movement and good command of multiple pitches. You have to remember that he improved at Altoona over Bradenton, so he doesn’t really fit that mold of doing worse the higher he goes. Double-A is usually the separating level for the soft-tossing lefties and he dominated there.

      • I hope your optimism is rewarded. 🙂

        • I prefer to call it patience and recognition of small sample sizes.

        • The pitch count was too high per inning, but the result of 2 runs, 5 hits, 1W/2K is fairly decent. Lots of foul balls rather than getting squared up?

          I did not see any numbers for velocity for Brault – there was a thought in the P2 Guide that he may be able to continue at 93 where he was in the AFL last Fall – any indications?.

          • Brault mainly relies on his sinker, which was sitting 87-90 in this game. He doesn’t throw the fastball too often, so you’re not going to see him hitting 91-93 too often if you watch. He hit 91 four times on Sunday and 92 once, plus he was hitting 90 a lot, so I think some of those 90’s were fastballs because they were up in the zone. It wasn’t a bad outing really, he just wasn’t getting any 1-2 pitch at-bats.

  • If Rogers is the one to get the call-up once the roster settles down, who is most likely to be in line to take his place at AAA?

    Florimon, a promotion from AA, or someone from outside?

    Though it’s still very early in the season, I’m wondering if Allie might have the inside track…

    • Probably just be Florimon taking Rogers’ spot unless he gets called up soon. It will be interesting to see how long Kang stays at AAA, since he starts tomorrow. That may affect whether Rogers even comes up at this point.

      With the day off, they may send down Schugel or Scahill and call up Rogers. If that happened, I don’t think anyone would come up from Altoona right away because Indy wouldn’t be short-handed with Kang there.

      I believe Juan Diaz is still around as well, so if they need a player while waiting for Florimon, he can just be added to the active roster.

      • From the words and tone of Neal Huntington on today’s weekly pre-Sunday game ‘Neal Huntington Show’ on the Pirates radio network, it seemed pretty certain that Jason Rogers is going to get the call.
        Brownie asked him directly who it would be and Huntington only talked about Rogers and nobody else.