Prospect Watch: Kevin Newman Makes His First Mistake, Chad Kuhl is a Ground Ball Machine

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.

We’re working on a solution for the PHP stat codes not working in the app.

1. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] include_once (‘./p2-stats/stats_functions.php’);
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2. Austin Meadows, CF, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(640457,’B’,’20160430′);
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3. Josh Bell, 1B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(605137,’B’,’20160430′);
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4. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592791,’P’,’20160430′);
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5. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(593700,’B’,’20160430′);
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6. Harold Ramirez, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(623912,’B’,’20160430′);
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7. Reese McGuire, C, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(624512,’B’,’20160430′);
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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’,’20160430′);
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11. Kevin Newman, SS, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20160430′);
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12. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(650817,’P’,’20160430′);
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13. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20160430′);
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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’,’20160430′);
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17. Max Moroff, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20160430′);
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18. Mitch Keller, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(656605,’P’,’20160430′);
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19. Clay Holmes, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20160430′);
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20. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(591994,’B’,’20160430′);
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21. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(663399,’P’,’20160430′);
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22. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20160430′);
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23. Barrett Barnes, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(608627,’B’,’20160430′);
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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’,’20160430′);
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28. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20160430′);
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29. Jordan Luplow, OF/3B, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656669,’B’,’20160430′);
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30. JT Brubaker, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(664141,’P’,’20160430′);
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P2 Top Performers

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Prospect-Watch-Indy

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Prior to tonight’s outing, Chad Kuhl’s ground ball rate has been down this year. His ground ball rate heading into tonight’s game was at 41.7%. That’s well below the 57.6% rate he had last year. He also had an 0.87 GO/AO ratio, which is well below his career 1.62 rate. Tonight, the classic Chad Kuhl appeared.

Kuhl had an impressive 12:0 GO/AO ratio tonight, reverting to his old ground ball machine status. He also struck out three batters in his six shutout innings, meaning that five of his six innings were covered by strikeouts or ground outs. Two more outs came on runners thrown out by Jacob Stallings, trying to steal after getting the only two hits off Kuhl tonight. The only other out was a soft liner to Willy Garcia.

This isn’t as flashy as a strikeout per inning (which Kuhl had prior to tonight), but it’s just as dominant. When Kuhl is on his game, he can be absolutely unstoppable, with nothing but weak contact. He threw 81 pitches tonight, with 52 of those going for strikes.

The Indianapolis offense couldn’t help him out, only getting one run on the night. Adam Frazier had the best night, with one hit and two walks. Jung-ho Kang went 1-for-4 in his latest rehab appearance. For more on Kang’s rehab, check out Ed Giles’ article from earlier today. Dan Gamache and Willy Garcia had the other two hits. Garcia also drew two walks. Max Moroff was hitless, but walked twice.

The Indians carried a 1-0 lead into the 9th inning, but Trey Haley couldn’t close it out. He recorded just one out, giving up five runs on three walks and three hits. John Kuchno came on for the final two outs, giving up a hit and letting one of the inherited runners to score.

Prospect-Watch-Altoona-Curve

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Clay Holmes had a rough outing today, giving up seven runs, six earned, on three walks and six hits in 2.2 innings of work. It was his worst outing of the year, falling behind his first start when he gave up six runs in four innings, with five walks. His other three games have seen him combine to give up four earned runs in 17 innings, with a 9:5 K/BB ratio.

This is the first full year back for Holmes from Tommy John, so you can probably expect some inconsistent performances early in the year. In today’s case, all of his damage came with two outs, as he didn’t allow a walk or a hit with less than two outs.

The damage in the first inning came with two outs. Holmes issued a strikeout and a ground out to start the inning, then gave up two walks and a single to bring in a run. Two more runs came in on a triple, and another run scored on a single after that.

An unearned run scored in the second, due to a fielding error by Anderson Feliz at third base. Holmes would have been out of the inning in order with three ground outs had it not been for the error. He then gave up a walk and a single with two outs.

The third inning continued the issues with two outs. Holmes started the frame with a ground out and a strikeout. He then gave up a walk, hit a batter, and an RBI single. Brett McKinney took over, and allowed one more run to score on a wild pitch, before getting the final out.

The Altoona offense didn’t do much today. Chris Diaz led the team with two hits, while Feliz and Jose Osuna both had a hit each. They were able to stack most of the offense up in the third inning, combining two hits and an error, plus a sacrifice fly from Osuna, to score two of their runs. Montana DuRapau had a rough outing, giving up back-to-back home runs to lead off the 8th inning, followed by two singles and a walk with two outs. Right fielder Jon Schwind came on to pitch and get the final out.

Prospect-Watch-Bradenton

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Earlier in the week, I wrote an article about Kevin Newman’s approach to hitting, and how he sacrifices power in order to hit for a higher average. In the article, Neal Huntington was quoted as saying if Newman hits a home run, it’s usually a mistake. Tonight, for Bradenton, Newman made his first mistake of the year at the plate.

Newman had a multi-hit game, which has become typical for him. In fact, today was his ninth multi-hit game of the season in just 19 games. But the first hit this evening was a big one, hitting a three run homer in the seventh inning, following back-to-back singles from Michael Suchy and Elvis Escobar to lead off the inning. It was the third career homer for Newman, with the other two coming last year in Morgantown. Newman also singled in the ninth inning with two outs, trying to start a rally, but the Marauders fell short.

Bradenton ended up losing 6-3, fueled by a big first inning. Colten Brewer started off the game with three singles in a row, and a one out walk with the bases loaded. A grounder scored another run, and an error by Logan Hill extended the inning and brought in the fourth run. Brewer settled down after that, pitching four shutout innings, with the only other batters reaching coming as a result of two wild third strikes.

Edgar Santana came on in relief and had his worst outing of the year, giving up two runs in his second inning of work. Santana had yet to give up a run in 16.1 innings prior to this. He also hadn’t given up a walk prior to tonight.

The offense had another good night in terms of hitting. Along with Newman, Jerrick Suiter, Taylor Gushue, and Elvis Escobar had multi-hit games. Newman’s homer was the only extra-base hit, which might be why the team only managed the three runs that came on his homer. They ended up with twice as many hits as Jupiter, but only half the runs, with Jupiter benefiting from multiple errors.

Prospect-Watch-WV-Power

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West Virginia was postponed due to rain. They will play a seven inning double-header tomorrow.

  • I’ve read that Kuhl, effective as he is, has only two pitches in his arsenal, which if true means he is eventually slated for the bullpen. If so, why haven’t they moved him to the bullpen by now? If not true that he’s targetted for the bullpen, how effective can he be at the MLB level without a solid third pitch?

    • coylerj: You need to get a copy of the 2016 Pirates Prospect Guide where it goes into detail the pitches that Kuhl throws. First, his best pitch is a 91-93 mph sinking fastball, and he also has a 96-97 mph 4 seam fastball. In 2015 he worked hard developing a Slider as an out pitch. He did the same with a Change-up in 2014. So, he does have multiple pitches, and the ability to command what he throws is the true reason he has separated himself from the pack.

      Pretty damn good scouting to inspire the Pirates to draft him in the 9th Round out of the U of Delaware.

      • I’m glad to hear that. So if my previous information is not correct, then he is a starting pitcher candidate, it looks like.

  • Chad Kuhl got a late start to the season, but has established himself as one of the most consistent SP’s in the loaded AAA Rotation. A 6 inning shutout giving up only 2 hits and a 12/0 GB/FO ratio is exactly the type of game the Pirates want from their pitchers. And, he must have a fairly quick delivery to the plate from the stretch for the Catcher to have 2 CS.

    Nice to see a HR from Newman and the 3 RBI’s. On the downside, he had his 5th error last night – is there any concern with his fielding?

    • John Dreker
      May 1, 2016 8:08 am

      The link in the recap for Newman talks about the issues on defense and what they are doing about them

  • BallHeadWonder
    April 30, 2016 9:27 pm

    Tough nite for my man DuRapau!!!! Looking to see how he bounces back!! Tough nite for the Farm overall!!!

  • peanutbutterguts
    April 30, 2016 7:40 pm

    Newman with some power!

  • Oh no Durapau!

  • Holmes did not have a good start, to say the least. Ugh.

    • Very elementary deduction Watson? 🙂

    • piraterican21
      April 30, 2016 4:59 pm

      So are you saying that a game score of 20 is bad?

    • I wouldn’t get too worried about him. He threw 36 innings over the last two years and still moved up a level this season. The stuff is there for success, he’s just far behind on experience, so there is bound to be some bumps. I think Jameson Taillon’s performance so far is giving people a false sense of what to expect when someone misses so much time.

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