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]
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INDIANAPOLIS – Speed can be a huge difference maker in the game, and Alen Hanson has just that. In the bottom of the third, Hanson dropped down a picture perfect bunt and used that speed to beat the throw to first.
He is not the only Indianapolis player who used their speed to make a difference on Thursday. On the bunt play by Hanson, Gift Ngoepe moved from second to third, and then scored after the Columbus defense fell asleep and he broke for the plate.
Two innings later, the duo struck again. After an Ngoepe single, Hanson split the right center field gap for a stand up triple. Hanson then scored on a shallow sac fly to center that wasn’t even close at the plate.
Ngoepe added another RBI double to left in the sixth to break the game open. Ngoepe is generally better know for his defense, and he made several rangy plays on the night, but the offense took the forefront on Thursday night.
It will also be interesting to see if the two-hit night keeps the traditionally slow starting Hanson going in the first month, as he is hitting over .450 early on.
Wilfredo Boscan was solid last season in the rotation for Indianapolis and carried that over to his first start of the season on Thursday. Boscan gave a heavy dose of his fastball, sitting 91-92, but touching 94. However, the rare occurrences that he used the curve and the change, they were very effective.
Boscan was efficient through six innings, with 80 pitches. Of those, 50 were strikes and it felt like he was in control all night and didn’t face many deep counts.
Dan Gamache reached all four times at the plate with a pair of walks, a double, and a single.
Chad Kuhl has rejoined Indianapolis and will get the start tomorrow – Ryan Palencer
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Clay Holmes made his second start of the season on Thursday night, coming off a game in which he allowed six earned runs on five hits and five walks over four innings. Holmes looked good in the first inning of this game, hitting 93-94 MPH with his fastball and the command was good, which led to two strikeouts. In the second, Richmond had a couple singles that were hit well, but they couldn’t push across a run, as Holmes recorded three outs on grounders. The command was a little off this inning and he was having trouble throwing his curve, which was also an issue in his first outing. He threw 28 pitches total in the first two innings, 18 for strikes.
The third inning was real nice for Holmes, with two strikeouts and a weak grounder right back to him. He finally started to get the curve over for strikes with the last hitter, using it twice effectively. Holmes needed 12 pitches this inning, with nine going for strikes.
In the fourth, the inning started with a single up the middle, which wasn’t hit that hard, it just found a hole. That was followed by a five-pitch walk. Holmes had a great sequence to the next hitter, dropping in a curve for strike one, followed by a 92 MPH fastball down in the zone for the second strike. He then got a grounder to third base for a 5-4-3 double play. Holmes started the next batter with a change-up at 87 MPH called a strike. He then got a weak grounder to first base for the final out, working out of the jam. After a bad start to the frame, he got out of it on just 12 pitches.
Holmes started the fifth with a ground out to third base. He then gave up a double to left field and started the next batter with two pitches that missed bad. He settled down to get a strikeout, using two fastballs and a change-up, all down in the zone. Holmes then allowed another double to right field, which brought home a run. He got a grounder for the third out, limiting the damage.
One thing to note with this inning was that the top of the fifth took a long time. There were a few long at-bats, Altoona scored a run and Richmond changed pitchers mid-inning. Holmes didn’t look as sharp in this inning and the time spent sitting around may have had something to do with it. He threw 18 pitches in the inning. That gave him 70 pitches, 46 for strikes.
Holmes came out for the sixth and started with a ground out to second base. The next pitch was also grounded out to second base for a second quick out. Holmes worked the count full to the third hitter, before getting a line drive to center field for the final out. The announcers mentioned that it was quickly getting cooler there and Holmes looked like he was having trouble with his grip, as he kept going to his mouth. That also may have affected him the previous inning, but it was more noticeable in the sixth.
That ended the game for Holmes and it was a very impressive outing. He threw a lot of strikes, putting 51 of 79 pitches in the zone. He kept the ball down all game, and after the first few innings, he had all three pitches working well. The curve took a little bit of time to get right, but once he started throwing it for strikes, it was consistently in the zone. I didn’t see many change-ups, though the ones he threw were very effective. He was working quickly all game as well. Since that last out was recorded as a line drive (which it was), Holmes finished the game with a 11:0 GO/AO ratio. He only gave up a few balls that were hit well.
Altoona dropped this game 2-1, with Josh Smith taking the loss. The Curve collected just four hits in the game. Harold Ramirez and Reese McGuire each picked up a double. It was the first extra-base hit of the season for McGuire, who is hitting .286 in 14 at-bats, with six walks and no strikeouts. Barrett Barnes has started off 1-for-10 with six strikeouts after missing the first couple games due to a concussion. Stetson Allie went 5-for-13 in his first three games, and has followed it up with an 0-for-8 over his last three contests, though he has walked four times.
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Bradenton had a big game on offense on Wednesday, so it looked like they could be breaking out of an early season slump that had them last in the league in average. That wasn’t the case though, as the Marauders had just four hits on Thursday, with Chase Simpson collecting two of them. Backup catcher Tomas Morales had an RBI single in the ninth, which scored Simpson to make it 5-3 with two outs. That’s where the scoring ended, as Elvis Escobar grounded out to finish the game.
Colten Brewer started this game and immediately ran into trouble, allowing two runs in both the first and second innings. He was able to settle and got through five innings, allowing just two earned runs. At one point he retired eight batters in a row. He finished with 79 pitches, 45 going for strikes. Sam Street followed with two scoreless innings and Miguel Rosario allowed a hit and two walks in a scoreless bottom of the eighth.
Kevin Newman got the night off with Pablo Reyes playing shortstop and batting in the lead-off spot in his place. Connor Joe also got his first night off. Kevin Kramer went 1-for-4, giving him a .207 average through 29 at-bats. Michael Suchy walked twice, though his 0-for-2 left him with a .125 average. Jordan Luplow had a walk and an RBI. Bradenton is hitting .189 as a team.
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Bret Helton has his second straight outing in which he went five scoreless innings, as West Virginia took their opener by a 5-0 score. After allowing three hits and two walks in his first game, Helton improved on that on Thursday by giving up just one hit and one walk. He also picked up five strikeouts. Power starters have allowed three earned runs this season in 40.2 total innings. If you take out Logan Sendelbach’s performance on Wednesday, then they have allowed just one run on 12 hits in 36 innings.
On offense, Ke’Bryan Hayes collected two more hits, including his fourth double of the season. He has a .393 average in 28 at-bats. Tito Polo had a single, scored a run and stole his third base of the season. Carlos Munoz had an RBI single and a walk. Christian Kelley drove home two runs with a second inning double. Alfredo Reyes followed that Kelley hit with a run scoring triple.
Casey Hughston continued his awful time of making contact. Lexington pitchers combined for five strikeouts in this game and Hughston struck out in all four of his at-bats. He is hitting .136 so far, with 13 strikeouts in 29 at-bats.
CHARLESTON – Coming into tonight’s contest, the West Virginia Power sported Minor League Baseball’s lowest team ERA at 1.13. Bret Helton’s five innings of one-hit ball against the Lexington Legends certainly did nothing to mar that. Supported by tight defense and an unusually lively offense, Helton took home his first win of the 2016 season with a final score of 5-0.
Helton worked his fastball inside, brushing several Legends off the plate early in the count. Hovering in the low 90s, the two-seamer was far from overpowering, but it set up Helton’s biting curve nicely. Helton mixed his pitches well, producing five strikeouts on the night – two on the fastball, three on the curve.
With such a dramatic out pitch, Helton traditionally produces ground balls, but tonight, the Power outfield saw the bulk of the work. In the third, fourth, and fifth innings, Legends batters tattooed shots to the warning track, only to see them corralled by the speedy outfielders. In fact, Helton induced a mere three ground balls over the course of the night.
Eric Karch, making his season debut, pitched two perfect innings of relief. Karch only pitched in five games as a West Virginia Black Bear last season before aggravating an existing elbow injury. Tonight Karch looked fully healthy, eliciting a pair of infield ground outs and one swinging strikeout. Reliever Julio Eusebio shut down the Lexington bats in the eighth, and Seth McGarry took the mound in the ninth. McGarry, with one blow save so far this year, allowed three straight singles before striking out two and getting a ground out to second to end the game.
Pitching coach Matt Ford, who coached all four of tonight’s pitchers in Morgantown last year, praised the team’s cohesiveness. Ford cited the group’s close-knit nature as a key to the consistency so far this year. “The pitchers hang out with the position players,” said Ford. “I’ve never been part of a team where that happens. Usually, it’s pitchers eating with pitchers, position players with position players.”
The Power batters feasted on Lexington starting pitcher Corey Ray’s offerings. Tito Polo extended his hit streak to seven games with a first inning single; he would later steal second and score on a Mitchell Tolman RBI single. The bottom of the lineup, Christian Kelley and Alfredo Reyes, who previously had been quiet, contributed a double and a triple, respectively.
Casey Hughston’s struggles at the plate continued, as he wore the golden sombrero for the evening. Hughston, a third-round pick in the 2015 draft, has nine strikeouts in the past three games and thirteen on the season. Earning four putouts on long fly balls, Hughston’s defense in left field continues to be a bright spot. – Abigail Miskowiec