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 – [insert_php]
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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Chad Kuhl made his second start on Wednesday afternoon. He got two quick outs in the first and his slider/sinker combo looked great. He got ahead of the third batter only to lose him on a nine-pitch walk. The inning ended quickly after that, on a grounder to shortstop off the bat of Casey McGehee. Kuhl threw 21 pitches, 11 for strikes.
The second began with an opposite field line drive to Alen Hanson out in left field for a single. Kuhl was down a little in velocity early, sitting 92-93 MPH, but he kicked it up this inning. He picked-off the runner after throwing over at least five times, then struck out the hitter one pitch later on a 95 MPH fastball. That was followed by another strikeout on a 95 MPH pitch. Kuhl threw ten of his 16 pitches for strikes.
The third started with Kuhl getting a batter out in front on an 85 MPH change-up, popping out to second base. He then hit the next batter with a 93 MPH pitch. That batter ran on the first pitch and was thrown out on a nice throw by Jacob Stallings. The next pitch was sent down to third base, where Jung-ho Kang made a diving grab and throw to first base for a nice play. Kuhl got out of the inning on ten pitches.
Kuhl struck out the first batter in the fourth on three straight strikes. The next batter grounded out to third base on the first pitch. McGehee drove a 94 MPH pitch into right field for a two-out single. One pitch later, Kuhl got out of the inning on a liner to right field. Two balls were hit well this inning, but he got out of it on nine pitches.
In the fifth, the first batter chased a 94 MPH pitch up in the zone for a strikeout. Kuhl battled the next hitter before getting him to go down swinging. He battled the next hitter too before getting a bloop just over second base that Max Moroff made a nice diving grab on. Kuhl looked real good in this inning despite batters fouling off some tough pitches. His fastball and slider were both sharp. He threw 20 pitches due to a lot of weakly hit foul balls.
That ended his day with 77 pitches. Kuhl looked great in this game, attacking hitters with his fastball, sinker and slider, as well as a couple change-ups. He battled some hitters and that ran up his pitch count, but he also put away five hitters with strikeouts and constantly had two strikes on batters. A lot of soft contact off him. It was an impressive outing in which Kuhl threw two-hit ball over five shutout innings.
Jared Hughes came on and walked the first batter on six pitches, all sinkers in the 90-92 range. Hughes hit the next hitter on a 1-2 pitch. The next batter grounded into a broken bat 5-4-3 double play on the third pitch. Hughes finished it with a grounder to shortstop for the final out. He threw 16 pitches, all sinkers and his command was spotty. Nearly hit a second batter. Sat 90-92 the whole time. Hughes discussed his outing here.
Jung-ho Kang has looked rusty at the plate in his first two rehab games. He has looked good in the field, making a couple nice diving plays, as well as the routine plays. At the plate though, he is 0-for-7 with four strikeouts and a walk. Today’s game included two strikeouts and two ground outs. He has been fooled on some off-speed pitches and swung through some fastballs. The important part from this game is that he played all nine innings
As for the rest of the game, Alen Hanson was in left field for the first time since 2010 when he was a rookie in the Dominican Summer League. It’s hard to say how he did today, since he had just one putout. There were some other balls hit out to left field, but he didn’t have any chance to catch them. Hanson crushed a line drive in the first inning that was caught by the third baseman. In his next two at-bats, he hit weak grounders to third base for infield hits. While the first one looked like a sure double down in the corner, possibly a triple with his speed, I’m positive he will take the two hits that went about 120 feet total in exchange from the baseball gods.
In the eighth inning, Jason Rogers and Josh Bell went back-to-back with solo homers, giving Indianapolis a 7-2 lead. It was the second home run for both players. Max Moroff had a bases clearing double in the second inning to give them an early 5-0 lead. Jacob Stallings also drove in two runs.
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Tyler Eppler came into Wednesday with a 2.25 ERA in two starts, going six innings each time. In this game, he was facing Harrisburg for the second time this season. Eppler got a pop out to left field on the first pitch. The next batter struck out on a slurve in the dirt. The third batter got jammed on the first pitch and hit a bloop right to second base for the final out. He needed just six pitches this inning.
In the second, Eppler gave up a double in the gap, though it should have been a single, as Justin Maffei dove well short of the ball and it hit his glove, allowing the runner an extra base. He threw just as many pitches to this batter, as he did in the entire first inning. That was followed by a five-pitch walk, putting Eppler in early trouble. The third batter crushed a line drive to left field, which was caught by Maffei running towards the wall. A grounder to second base moved both runners into scoring position with two outs.
Eppler then got unlucky on a great pitch, giving up a two-run double down the left field line. He threw a slurve down and in with two strikes that clearly fooled the hitter, who put an awkward one-handed swing on it for the big hit. The inning ended a few pitches later with a bloop to second base, much like the one that ended the first inning. Eppler found out this inning how baseball tends to even things out. He left a fastball up that got crushed for an out in deep left field, then makes a great pitch and gives up a two-run double. He worked hard this inning, throwing 26 pitches.
In the third inning, Eppler got a high chopper to second base on a 3-2 count for the first out. The second batter sent a grounder between third base and shortstop for a single. On another 3-2 count, Eppler got a pop out to third base for the second out. He couldn’t get out of the inning clean though, as the next hitter just missed putting one out to straight away center field. The inning ended on a soft grounder to first base. This was another tough inning, as Eppler threw 18 pitches due to some command issues. All three outs were soft contact and the single wasn’t hit hard either, just well placed. However, he ran up his pitch count to 50 through three innings and the near home run was crushed.
In the fourth, Eppler started with a great sequence to the first hitter. He got a strike on a 93 MPH fastball, followed by two straight breaking balls for strikes, the last getting a check swing on 78 MPH. The second hitter dropped down a nice bunt for a single, but was picked-off before a pitch was thrown. The third hitter grounded out to second base on the first pitch, giving Eppler a very easy seven pitch inning. According to the announcer, Eppler was sitting 90-93, hitting 94 MPH.
The fifth started off with the pitcher hitting a single on a 1-2 pitch that followed a called ball that looked like a clear strike. It was followed by a pop up just behind the second base bag for the first out, then a lazy fly to left field for the second out. Eppler threw a terrific 84 MPH change-up in this at-bat. The fourth hitter reached on a Baltimore chop, that third baseman Eric Wood couldn’t get. Eppler ended the inning two pitches later on a routine grounder to shortstop. Through five innings, he had 76 pitches, 50 for strikes.
Eppler started the sixth by going 3-0 on the first batter, before coming back to get him swinging on a change-up. Chris Diaz cost Eppler a quick second out by taking his time on a grounder and not putting anything on the throw, which allowed a hustling infield single. It should have been scored an error, but it was more a mental error than physical. Eppler struck out the next hitter looking for the second out. He then picked up his third strikeout, this one on an off-speed pitch in the dirt.
That ended his day with 92 pitches, 61 for strikes. Eppler had five strikeouts and a 5:2 GO/AO ratio. He bounced back nicely from two tough innings in the second and third. I didn’t expect him to go six innings again, but he settled down nicely. The last three innings were terrific, as he used all three of his pitches well.
Altoona lost 4-2 in this one, with their runs coming off a solo homer by Jose Osuna in the first and an RBI single by Reese McGuire in the sixth. For Osuna, it is his third homer of the season. There wasn’t much else on offense, with Anderson Feliz collecting two hits, and Jonathan Schwind picking up a single and a walk. Feliz is hitting .323 in 11 games. McGuire has a .300 average early.
Harold Ramirez went 0-for-4, dropping him to a .149 average. He is 1-for-17 in his last four games, and has a .418 OPS. He picked up an outfield assist in this game and unleashed a nice throw in Tuesday’s game, which held a runner at third base.
Jared Lakind pitched the last two innings for Altoona, allowing a run on three hits and two walks.
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Yeudy Garcia came into Wednesday’s game with a 5.78 ERA, 2.48 WHIP and .400 BAA in his first two starts. His command in each game was poor and he ran his pitch count up each game, getting in a total of 7.2 innings. His velocity has also been a little lower than last year, sitting 91-94 instead of 93-95 MPH. In this game, he still had some command issues, but he was much more effective. He went 5.1 innings, allowing two runs on three hits and four walks, with six strikeouts. Both runs scored after Garcia left, with Sam Street allowing a walk, hit batter and a double, which put Bradenton down 3-0 after six innings.
Garcia was very efficient early, needing 34 pitches to get through three innings. He finished with 86 pitches, 50 for strikes. This was a little closer to the Garcia we saw dominate in West Virginia last year. According to the Marauders’ announcer, the fastball and slider both looked their best this season, so we will see during his next start at home if his velocity has returned (**Updated to add that he was topping out at 94 in this game as well).
Bradenton ended up losing by a 3-0 score, with all the runs coming in that sixth inning off Sam Street. The Marauders had a total of six hits in the game and drew two walks. Kevin Newman was the key piece to their hitting, as he had two singles and a walk in four trips to the plate. The most impressive part was the work he made the opposing pitchers do. He saw a total of 25 pitches this game. His only blemish was getting thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double. By the sound of it, he wasn’t even close to being safe, so his constant hustle cost him an out on this occasion. Newman is now hitting .388/.446/.449 through 13 games. He was the DH in this game, as Pablo Reyes took a turn at shortstop.
Jordan Luplow had the only extra-base hit, his fifth double of the season. He’s only hitting .233 this season, but seven walks combined with the extra-base hits has him at a .759 OPS.
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Dario Agrazal had a typical outing for him, throwing strikes, working quickly and pitching to contact down in the zone. Over six shutout innings, he needed just 62 pitches to get through his day, 44 of them went for strikes. He gave up four hits, one walk and struck out four batters. Agrazal finished with a 6:3 GO/AO ratio. He pitched just as well in his first outing, but gave up five runs over five innings in his second outing, so this was a nice bounce back.
Agrazal was in trouble twice in this game and worked out of it nicely each time. In the third, he allowed two line drive singles, the second one with two outs. He got a strikeout to end the inning. In the fourth, he gave up a long fly ball that bounced off the wall away from Tito Polo for a one out triple. Agrazal got a shallow fly to left field and a pop out to second base to end the inning. He retired the last eight batters he faced.
There wasn’t much going on in this game on offense. The Power lost 1-0 after Seth McGarry allowed an eighth inning run. West Virginia had four hits and a walk, going 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. This game snapped an eight-game win streak by the Power.
Ke’Bryan Hayes went 1-for-4, finishing the day with a .400 average through 11 games. Tito Polo had his ten-game hit streak snapped. Alfredo Reyes had two of the four hits, including a third inning double for the only extra-base hit.