Prospect Watch: Holmes Finishes Off Strong, Newman Off to Fast Start

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’);
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2. Austin Meadows, CF, Altoona – Disabled List

3. Josh Bell, 1B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(605137,’B’,’20160419′);
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4. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592791,’P’,’20160419′);
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5. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(593700,’B’,’20160419′);
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6. Harold Ramirez, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(623912,’B’,’20160419′);
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7. Reese McGuire, C, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(624512,’B’,’20160419′);
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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’,’20160419′);
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11. Kevin Newman, SS, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20160419′);
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12. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(650817,’P’,’20160419′);
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13. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20160419′);
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 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’,’20160419′);
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17. Max Moroff, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20160419′);
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18. Mitch Keller, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(656605,’P’,’20160419′);
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19. Clay Holmes, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20160419′);
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20. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(591994,’B’,’20160419′);
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21. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(663399,’P’,’20160419′);
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22. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20160419′);
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23. Barrett Barnes, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(608627,’B’,’20160419′);
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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’,’20160419′);
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28. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20160419′);
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29. Jordan Luplow, OF/3B, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656669,’B’,’20160419′);
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30. JT Brubaker, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(664141,’P’,’20160419′);
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P2 Top Performers

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Prospect-Watch-Indy

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INDIANAPOLIS – In his first start of the season last week, Wilfredo Boscan had strong movement on his pitches and was around 93 MPH. In his second outing on Tuesday morning, Boscan saw a lot of the same, but was done in by a tough fourth inning, in which eight hitters came to the plate and four of them crossed it.

After cruising through the first inning, Boscan allowed a pair of two-out singles in the second, but stranded the runners there.

However, he was not as fortunate in the third, as he became much more hittable. After allowing a lead off single, Boscan picked up a strikeout. This gave the look that maybe he was putting it together again to get out of the inning unharmed. But he hit the next batter and got way too much plate on a three-run home run to Chad Huffman. After the homer, he allowed a single and hit another batter before, allowing another RBI single. On the play, they were able to get an out at second base. Boscan rebounded to get a ground out to end the inning and avoid more damage.

After allowing a one-out single in the fourth, Boscan picked up back-to-back ground outs to finish the inning. He then hit his stride and retired the side in order in both the fifth, sixth, and seventh, but the damage was already done by the big inning. Boscan was efficient in throwing strikes, as 64 of his 87 pitches crossed the plate for strikes. At times, he just got a little too much in spurts and paid for it.

Alen Hanson did not attempt a stolen base in his first four games of the season. On Tuesday, for the second time in three games, he stole two bases. Additionally, Hanson is showing some of his May 2015 form, as he picked up his fourth multi-hit game of the early season.

Hanson also played third base for the first time of the young 2016 season, a position where he will see some time this season, to go along with some time at shortstop and possibly some outfield time. There have been no real glaring issues in the field this season, but he did commit a throwing error on Monday night after rushing the play.

Jason Rogers singled in a run in the fifth and now has an RBI in four of the nine games he has played this season. He also has a hit in seven of the nine and has played solid defense third and first. He acted as the DH on Tuesday.

Willy Garcia led off the sixth with a single and eventually scored on a Mel Rojas, Jr. fielder’s choice. Rojas, who has been struggling to get any playing time, also started the scoring with an RBI triple in the second. Tuesday marked only the third time in nine games this season that Garcia did not have a strikeout.

Indianapolis picked up 10 hits, but had a hard time stringing them together into runs, leaving eight runners on base. They also had eight at bats with runners in scoring position, but managed only the three runs, dropping a 5-3 decision. – Ryan Palencer

Prospect-Watch-Altoona-Curve

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Clay Holmes made his third start on Tuesday night. He gave up six runs in his opener, then rebounded with one run over six innings last time out. He started out this game by getting a lazy fly ball to left field on the fourth pitch, all fastballs. He walked the next batter on five pitches, but it looked like Holmes got squeezed on two of them. That batter stole second on the first pitch. One pitch later, Holmes got a routine grounder to shortstop for the second out. He started the next batter off strong with a 93 MPH fastball on the outside corner, followed by a 78 MPH curve for a swinging strike. However, he went 3-2 on the hitter before giving up a long two-run homer the opposite way.

Holmes followed the homer with two curves for strikes, before hitting the batter on the hand with a fastball. He retired the next batter on two pitches, getting a weak grounder to third base. Holmes didn’t have the best control this inning, but the umpire didn’t do him any favors with three pitches called balls that looked to get a lot of plate. Of his 22 pitches, 11 were strikes (according to the umpire).

In the second inning, Holmes started off with a swinging strikeout on an inside fastball. He got the next hitter to ground out weakly to first base. Holmes then issued a full count walk, followed by a balk. That was followed by another hit batter, this time with a change-up. He got of the inning with another softly hit grounder, this one going to second base. Holmes was wild this inning, starting out up in the zone early, then he was missing low. He threw 23 pitches, 12 for strikes. There were no radar readings on the telecast, but the announcer mentioned one of his fastballs was 92 MPH. He started using his change-up this inning and the few curves he threw looked good.

The third inning began with a one-pitch grounder to shortstop for a quick out. He got the next hitter looking on a fastball on the inside corner. Holmes got another weak grounder, which was booted by Chris Diaz at shortstop. The next hitter dropped a perfect bunt down the third base line for a single. Holmes got the next hitter to go down swinging on an 88 MPH change-up. He also threw a couple nice curves. This was a much better inning than the first two. He got good results with all three pitches and had better command. He threw 13 pitches, with 11 going for strikes.

In the fourth, Holmes allowed a hard ground ball single right up the middle on the first pitch. The next batter sacrificed the runner over on the first pitch. That was followed by a liner to right field which dropped in for a single, but the runner decided to test Stetson Allie and was thrown out easily by a strong throw. Holmes got the third out on a slowly hit grounder in the hole that Chris Diaz made a nice play on. This was a seven pitch inning and six went for strikes, putting him at 65 pitches through four frames. Unlike the first three innings (minus the homer), Harrisburg made some good contact.

The fifth inning started with another soft grounder to shortstop for an easy out. The second hitter hit a grounder in the hole that Diaz couldn’t make the play on, though it would have been a great play if he did. The third hitter (stop me if you heard this) hit a weak grounder, this one up the middle that got into center field. The fourth batter of the inning didn’t hit a grounder, he lined a ball into center field to load the bases. Holmes got out of the jam with a 5-4-3 double play. The inning wasn’t as bad as it sounded, and if the defense was set up a step or two in the right direction, that line drive to center field would have never happened because he could have been out of the inning on three batters. That ended his day due to reaching his pitch limit.

Holmes really improved his control after the second inning. The first inning wouldn’t have looked bad if those calls went his way, so it was really just that second inning. After the second, he threw 29 of his 36 pitches for strikes. He had a lot of soft contact in this game and did a great job keeping the ball on the ground, finishing with a 10:1 GO/AO ratio. He allowed seven hits, but it definitely wasn’t as bad as that sounds. The home run was hit well, and they had a couple line drives fall in, but everything else was on the ground. It could have looked a lot different with better positioning.

Holmes had the curve working well at times, the fastball had good downward action and the few change-ups he threw looked good, minus the hit batter of course. Wasn’t a great outing, though there were definitely things to like about it and positives to take away.

Altoona lost this game 2-1, scoring their only run on a home run off the bat of Jose Osuna in the ninth. It was his second homer of the season, and he also had a single in this game. Erich Weiss had two singles to give him a .317 average through 41 at-bats.

Edwin Espinal started at third base, which was his natural position when he signed. Pirates moved him to first base because he didn’t have the range for third base and he probably still doesn’t to play the position full-time. He looks like he is in better shape than he has been in the past, which should help him in the field. Espinal has a cannon for an arm, so that part of the position isn’t lacking. He went 2-for-4 in this game, hitting his second double.

Barrett Barnes and Harold Ramirez are still struggling at the plate. Barnes is now hitting .077 (2-for-26), while Ramirez has a .163 average in 43 at-bats.

Prospect-Watch-Bradenton

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Bradenton had the bats working early, knocking out Palm Beach’s starting pitcher one out into the first inning. They led 7-0 going into the bottom of the first, and held on for the easy 11-5 victory.

Everyone in the Bradenton lineup except Pablo Reyes had at least one hit, with Kevin Newman, Michael Suchy, Taylor Gushue and Jordan Luplow collecting two hits apiece. Luplow had two walks, Newman had one, while Suchy drove in four runs and Gushue had three RBIs.

Through 12 games, Newman has a .370 average, with three doubles, four walks and only four strikeouts. He has at least one hit in 11 of those 12 contests. Gushue is also having an excellent start to his season, hitting .355 through nine games.

Connor Joe went 1-for-5 in this game, with a strikeout and two errors. The offense has been poor for him this season and his 50:34 BB/SO ratio from last year, while striking out every ten plate appearances, has seen a drop early. He’s hitting .163, with four walks and 12 strikeouts in 43 at-bats. Bradenton has hit well as a team recently, but they still had four hitters at the end of the day batting under .200, with Elvis Escobar, Jerrick Suiter and Michael Suchy all looking up at the Mendoza line.

Colten Brewer pitched well enough for the win, and allowed just one earned run, though he wasn’t sharp in this game. He gave up four runs on eight hits and three walks, with five strikeouts. That nearly matched the amount of runners he allowed in his first two games combined. He has a 2.40 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP in 15 innings this season.

Prospect-Watch-WV-Power

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CHARLESTON – The longest win streak in professional baseball continues in the most unlikely fashion. Bret Helton can wave goodbye to those pretty zeros. The owner of a 0.00 ERA going into his third start, Helton completely lost control of his breaking ball and put his team in a 6-0 hole before leaving after an inning and two-thirds. At that point the Power bullpen, already depleted due to last night’s 16-inning marathon, took over.

Julio Vivas, who was assigned to the team this morning, struggled to find the strike zone at first but settled in for the later innings. Vivas pitched with West Virginia for much of last season and has an unusual delivery. He seems to whip his arm around his body, making his breaking ball especially difficult to pick up. His fastball clocked in at 90-91 most of the night, and he showed confidence in both his curve and his changeup. In a slugfest, Vivas pitched relatively well, striking out three, issuing two walks and allowing two runs.

At the plate, Daniel Arribas shook off yesterday’s 0-for-7 performance, falling just a triple short of the cycle. This is only his second multi-hit game of the season, but the Power are platooning him at first/DH with Carlos Munoz so let’s hope this is a sign of things to come. Arribas’s sole out of the night came on an ugly strikeout in the midst of a seventh inning rally.

Over the course of the seventh and eighth innings, the Power plated eight runs, scorched four doubles, earned three walks, and benefited from a costly error. The team worked back from a 8-2 deficit to take the lead 10-9 in the top of the ninth. Carlos Munoz drove in four runs on the night, and Ryan Nagle reached base five times.

Jake Burnette earned the win with three innings of relief. Burnette succeeded when he kept the ball on the ground, getting double plays to close out the seventh and eighth innings, but when the ball floated up in the zone, the Kannapolis batters took advantage. He allowed a homer to lead off the eighth and a deep fly to left shortly thereafter.
Abigail Miskowiec

  • My buddy and I watched Altoona last night. Here is our synopsis.

    Holmes never got above 91 on the radar gun in the two innings that we watched specifically for that.
    We didn’t think he was squeezed. He just seemed all over the place and hit or near-hit four guys.
    He used his non-FB pitches a lot and it seemed those were his best pitches.
    He battled, but we wondered if the 4th would’ve done him in if not for Allie’s throw?

    Neverauskas was throwing cheese, hitting 95-96 repeatedly and just blew away the Harrisburg hitters in the 2 innings he pitched.

    Jin De Jhang hit the balls on the screws but had nothing to show for it.

    Barnes and Ramirez look lost currently at the plate. Hopefully, they break out soon.

    Weiss has a nice stroke.

    The Spot Dogs, as always, were excellent.

    • He obviously got above 91, since those readings came from the same gun you were watching. He definitely got squeezed in the first inning, but I didn’t mention it once after that. In his last four innings, there was one pitch that looked like a strike, but there was also one that didn’t that got called a strike, so they evened out.

      He was all over the place in the second and missed badly on a few pitches in the first, but it wasn’t as bad as 22 pitches- 11 strikes sounds. There was a big difference in his control in the first and second innings, but they basically ended up the same in ball/strike ratios. MiLB.tv has an archive of the game if you want to watch from the center field cam for proof. You only need to watch the first 15 pitches to see them.

      • How did he obviously get above 91? I’m not following you. We checked in the 2nd and 3rd innings and the highest he got was 91. And, there was nothing wrong with the gun as DN was smoking at 96.

        We watched the game from behind home plate, so I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on the ‘squeeze’. 🙂

        • He obviously got above 91 because I was getting the same readings you were getting. The announcers don’t carry their own radar guns, they use the stadium gun you saw and they said 93 once and 92 twice. Those were the only readings they gave. It’s all in the recap above. I wouldn’t make up random pitch speeds.

    • It looks like it will be a long year for the Curve if they have to depend upon pitching. Bradenton is OK, but the best in the system are at AAA Indianapolis and Lo A West Virginia.

  • I know it is early but the Pirates pitchers lead baseball in walks. Is this a flaw in the pitching strategy or just poor command? Liriano and Locke specifically seem to be very stubborn about trying to get batters to chase balls low and out of the zone. Teams and batters seem to have adjusted to the pirate approach and are taking rather than chasing

    • It’s because they re-signed Sean Hurdle and because Osuna gets no love from Tim & co.

      • Troll

      • SeanRod’s .571 ISO through 10 games…sustainable or no? I’ll hang up and listen.

        • Of course not, but he’s not the pile of shit that Bruce tries to make him out to be.

          • I thought we were making jokes.

          • My issue with S-Rod was more the salary than the player…
            Had they signed him for ML minimum up to $1M I wouldn’t have said a thing.

            He’ll sign him with an icentive based deal that topped out at 2.5M I would have been fine – probably would have scoffed at his chances of getting close to 2.5 – but it would have made sense.

            But based on his performance the last TWO years -0.2 WAR with Negative defense he looked pretty much love like a pile of shit

            Show me a dumber off season signing by ANY TEAM

  • You folks do such great, detailed game notes; have you considered highlighting how the opposing team’s top prospects do against the Pirates? Maybe just me, but I’d like to see how Holmes fared against Keiboom and Difo, for instance.

    Unrelated, bless all 5,198 souls in attendance for that 11:05am Tuesday morning first pitch in Toledo, OH. That’s amazing.

  • My ignorant thoughts on tonight’s results…

    Small sample size, I know…I know…but Joe with a .467 OPS?…

    Jhang is my super secret prospect crush…

    I’m also excited about Gushue…if only because I hope his name is pronounced: “Goo-shoo”, but, with an OPS nearing 1.000, he can be called whatever he wants.

    Who’s this Osuna who homered? I haven’t seen him on any lists…anyone have info on this guy?

    Allie? Come on big man…get thyself to AAA.

    Rogers? Come on bigger man…the Pirates bench is calling!

    Rojas? You’re stealing Allie’s AB’s…

    Newman? Damn, son…you’re ruining my argument that NH is making lousy 1st round picks…now, hurry up and get to Altoona.

    Barrett Barnes? Your OPS is lower than Clay Holmes OBP.

  • First Pirates game I was able to watch All season and it is a tire fire. On the bright side they should have given up about 10 runs by now. 10 walks…after a bunch the other day. It’s ugly.

    • After all of the pre-season concern about our 3, 4, 5 guys in the Rotation, our 1 and 2 start 1-3 in 5 combined starts, and 4.00+ ERA. After pulling it together to take the last two from the Brewers, this team needed a strong performance on the mound to start the road trip and did not get one. Still searching for an identity.

  • peanutbutterguts
    April 19, 2016 10:09 pm

    Obviously early but what’s the earliest Newman will head to AA?

    • For players like him, it’s usually around the All-Star break for the league the player is in.

      • Where/when is Tucker slated to start?

        Thoughts on whether he is slipped into A+ as Newman is bumped to AA?

        • We will actually have a better idea of this later today, Tim will be posting something today or tomorrow about it. Tucker seems like he is getting semi-close to returning, so we might see him go to WV first, then to Bradenton when Newman moves up

  • I am looking forward to both watching Holmes tonight AND counting the number of change ups he throws. 🙂

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