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]
Indianapolis had their game postponed again on Friday. They already have a doubleheader scheduled for Sunday, so Friday’s game will be made up at a later date which hasn’t been announced yet.
ALTOONA – Clay Holmes’ night began with a four-pitch walk, and it ended with a four-pitch walk without recording an out in the fifth inning. In between, he was streaky and ultimately never looked like he got completely settled in. Starting with the good, Holmes displayed some nastiness in his curveball and changeup early in the game. In the first inning, a left-handed batter was completely fooled on his changeup, with the pitch breaking away from the batter. In the second, Holmes recorded his first, and only, strikeout with a nasty 78 MPH curveball that got the batter looking. He was also extremely efficient in the second and third innings, throwing nine pitches in the second and six in the third. In that third inning, he got three straight groundouts to quickly end the inning.
Unfortunately, Holmes was not able to repeat that success in the fourth and fifth innings, facing nine batters combined in those frames. Walks are what wrote Holmes’ story tonight, as he walked three straight batters in the fifth inning before being pulled. In the innings that he struggled, he fell behind earrly in the count often, and he was not able to recover. In the second and third, Manager Joey Cora noted that Holmes was much more aggressive and got ahead of batters for success.
He used his four-seamer throughout the game, sitting between 90-93 MPH. That is just a tick lower than it had been last week in Bradenton when Tim Williams saw him last (between 92-95 MPH). Holmes noted that his changeup was the best off-speed pitch he had tonight, as the majority of the batters’ swings and misses were with the changeup. Even though his lone strikeout was with the curveball, Holmes noted that it was most difficult to grip that pitch with the cold weather.
Personally, I’d give Holmes a few more starts before talking about velocity and performance, as it definitely seemed he struggled with the cold weather. Pitching in his first game north of Charlotte in over three years, he said it was probably the coldest weather he’s pitched in during his career.
Jin-De Jhang did well hitting at the plate tonight, but he struggled mightily from behind it. He hit the ball well, with back-to-back doubles to the deep left center gap in the second and fourth innings. The success did not translate to defense, as he was not able to keep the ball in front of him from behind the plate. In the fifth inning alone, Jhang allowed four passed balls by him, and he was not able to control multiple other balls in the dirt throughout the game.
Edwin Espinal displayed some good things at third base tonight. He made multiple strong plays with his glove, looking quick on his feet and confident in his fielding. At one point, he even took away a slow roller from shortstop Anderson Feliz (maybe ill-advised) to make a nice play getting the runner at first. Espinal has a plus arm, but is a big third baseman with speed and range questions, so tonight’s performance was encouraging.
Speaking of Feliz, he went 3-for-4 tonight with two singles and a deep double to right field. Feliz was signed in the offseason after playing in indy ball during all of 2015. Manager Joey Cora said that Feliz “had a tremendous Spring Training – probably the best player in the whole system”. Expect Feliz to be moved around to different positions this year, including the outfield. Cora said that Feliz’s difficult professional career so far, leading him to play independent ball, was in large part because of injuries (Tommy John, forearm, hip). This season, the 23-year-old is finally healthy, and the new Curve manager expects him to play well.
Stetson Allie provided the best highlight of the night, with a high and deep home run to left field in the fourth inning. He singled in the second inning, as well, and he is 4-for-9 in the first two games of the season. He hit the ball hard yesterday, too. Hopefully, this is a good sign for the once highly regarded slugger.
In the bullpen, Jhondaniel Medina relived Holmes in the fifth and was not able to hold two inherited runners. He walked three and struck out three, on a night where it seemed every Altoona pitcher struggled with command. Montana DuRapau pitched the eighth inning and struggled more than normal. He was hit pretty hard and walked a batter while giving up two unearned runs.
Note: Barrett Barnes is still going through the concussion protocol in Altoona after being hit by a pitch on Sunday. He had tests done today, but he is still not cleared to play. – Sean McCool
Bradenton got a superb performance on the mound from 2015 fifth round draft pick Brandon Waddell, who threw five shutout innings. They couldn’t hold an early 2-0 lead though, dropping a 3-2 decision to Ft Myers. Waddell was extremely efficient while reaching his early season innings limit of five frames. He needed just 54 pitches, with 39 going for strikes. He allowed just two singles and didn’t walk any batters, while ringing up four strikeouts. Miguel Rosario followed him and allowed a run in the sixth and two more in the seventh for the loss.
The Marauders were facing Twins’ prospect Kohl Stewart, who was the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft out of high school. He pitched well, with the only scoring coming from a two-run homer off the bat of Elvis Escobar. Stewart allowed just three other hits and struck out seven in his six innings. Kevin Kramer picked up a triple off Stewart, the first hit for Kramer, who is 1-for-8 in the first two games.
As for the rest of the offense, Jerrick Suiter had two hits. Connor Joe picked up his first hit, but also struck out three times. He didn’t strikeout three times in a game all of last season. Kevin Newman picked up his third hit of the season, all singles. Chase Simpson drew two walks and scored on the Escobar homer. Taylor Gushue also collected a single.
There may have been bigger prospects going on Friday night for the Pirates, but Logan Sendelbach stole the show. The 2015 tenth round draft pick retired all 15 batters he faced, getting seven ground ball outs and four strikeouts. This was definitely a surprising outing, as he struggled at Bristol last year after signing, posting a 5.23 ERA in ten starts and one relief appearance. He couldn’t get through five innings in half of those starts, so it was impressive to see him go five perfect innings(his limit at this time of year) in his first start of the season. During one of his last spring outings, Sendelbach was getting a lot of swinging strikes while working mainly with his fastball, which sat 88-92 MPH.
The game ended up tied in the ninth, after Seth McGarry couldn’t close it out. A runner reached with one out on a Mitchell Tolman error, then McGarry gave up a double to send it to extra innings. In the 12th inning, the Power loaded the bases, bringing up Tito Polo, who was 0-for-5 in the game after a huge night on Thursday. Polo doubled to clear the bases, giving him a cycle over the first two games of the season. He then scored on a double by Tolman, though I was told Polo stole third base before that happened and it’s not in the boxscore(I confirmed with Polo that he did steal third base, so it should be updated at some point).
Daniel Zamora threw three no-hit innings, striking out five batters, to pick up the win.
Mitchell Tolman had two doubles and a walk, while Casey Hughston hit a solo homer to lead-off the second inning. Ke’Bryan Hayes had two singles and a walk, making him 3-for-8 early in the season. Ryan Nagle had two hits, including a double. Ty Moore got his first start and went 1-for-3 with two sacrifice bunts.