Prospect Watch: Josh Bell Connects on First Homer, Eppler Has a Second Strong Outing

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’,’20160415′);
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4. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592791,’P’,’20160415′);
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5. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(593700,’B’,’20160415′);
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6. Harold Ramirez, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(623912,’B’,’20160415′);
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7. Reese McGuire, C, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(624512,’B’,’20160415′);
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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’,’20160415′);
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11. Kevin Newman, SS, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20160415′);
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12. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(650817,’P’,’20160415′);
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13. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20160415′);
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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’,’20160415′);
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17. Max Moroff, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20160415′);
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18. Mitch Keller, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(656605,’P’,’20160415′);
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19. Clay Holmes, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20160415′);
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20. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(591994,’B’,’20160415′);
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21. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(663399,’P’,’20160415′);
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22. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20160415′);
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23. Barrett Barnes, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(608627,’B’,’20160415′);
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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’,’20160415′);
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28. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20160415′);
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29. Jordan Luplow, OF/3B, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656669,’B’,’20160415′);
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30. JT Brubaker, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(664141,’P’,’20160415′);
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P2 Top Performers

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Prospect-Watch-Indy

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INDIANAPOLIS – Chad Kuhl made his season debut on Friday. He began his day by working around a lead-off, first pitch single in the first to get three ground outs. He mixed the sinker, four-seam fastball, and slider well. However the inability to put hitters away with the slider by throwing balls with it ran up his pitch count early.

After keeping the ball down and generating his typical ground balls, Kuhl started getting elevated more in the second and line drives followed. He walked the second hitter, which later cost him a run. More would have crossed the plate, but Adam Frazier made a running grab going back on a liner. The inability to put hitters away with the slider continued and he was pitching to contact.

In the third, Kuhl was back to getting ahead and throwing strong sinkers, picking up his first strikeout on a 92 MPH sinker for the second out. He also nearly got a second strikeout on a foul tip off a solid slider.

With the second hitter of the fourth, Kuhl got his slider strikeout. He ended up allowing a run in this inning, as a liner to left field fell over Frazier’s head and Columbus took a 2-0 lead.

Max Moroff led off the bottom of the fourth with a walk. After looking overwhelmed by off-speed pitches in his first at-bat, Josh Bell hammered his first homer of the season to deep right field to tie the game.

Kuhl came out for the fifth and picked up his third strikeout of the game on a 92 MPH sinker. After getting back-to-back dribblers in front of the plate without an out, Kuhl was pulled after 4.2 innings and 81 pitches. He had a 6:3 GO/AO ratio in this game.

Guido Knudson followed Kuhl and continued his strong start to the season by recording five of his seven outs via the strikeout. His stuff is far from overpowering, but he simply misses bats.

Indianapolis was only able to muster five hits in 11 innings, but they still won, as Danny Ortiz singled in Max Moroff for the walk-off.

Willy Garcia and Alen Hanson combined to go 0-for-9 with eight strikeouts on the night. Hanson made a terrific play from the shortstop position after a shift had him on the left side of second base. He caught a grounder in the whole and made a strong throw falling away from first base for the out. – Ryan Palencer

Quick analysis from John Dreker – Chad Kuhl made his season debut and had a so-so outing. He was sitting 94-96 in the first inning with his sinker, but he was quickly down in the 92-94 range, where he stayed the rest of the outing. Early on, his off-speed pitches weren’t working. In the second inning, he started throwing the slider for strikes and then he had a very quick third inning. He was keeping the ball down in the zone and got his share of ground balls. He only gave up two runs, but he threw 81 pitches in 4.2 innings, so he could have been more efficient.

I’ve seen better from him, and it will be interesting to see how he does it his second start. Back when we found out he had a minor setback in Spring Training, it sounded like this start would be his last one in Extended Spring Training. With Trevor Williams injured, they may have bumped him up to Indianapolis before he was fully stretched out.

 

Prospect-Watch-Altoona-Curve

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Tyler Eppler had a terrific outing on Friday night, but the bullpen couldn’t hold a 2-1 lead, dropping a 3-2 decision to Richmond. Eppler was strong in his first outing, allowing two runs over six innings, giving up just three hits. He did even better in this game, allowing one run on two hits and no walks. At one point in this game, he retired 14 batters in a row. Eppler threw 59 of his 85 pitches for strikes, and his only real downside was hitting two batters (technically the same batter twice). Richmond hit a few balls hard off him in the first and second, but only one dropped for a hit. He struck out six batters in this game and recorded six ground ball outs. In his first game, he had 11 ground outs.

After Eppler’s first start, he mentioned that he’s been working on a slurve and it’s still inconsistent.  I was able to watch a few innings of this game and the pitch looked good and was getting strong results, both called strikes in the zone and batters chasing it out of the zone.

Jared Lakind went two innings following Eppler, allowing a run in the eighth to tie it. In the ninth, Brett McKinney allowed a walk and three hits for the walk-off loss.

On offense, the Curve had seven hits in the game, all singles. They drew just one walk and struck out 11 times. They wasted some scoring chances, going 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Chris Diaz had the only multi-hit game, plus he stole his first base of the year. Jose Osuna scored one of the runs and drove in the other. Harold Ramirez singled and scored the other run. He is 6-for-30 with a .517 OPS. Reese McGuire went 0-for-3 with a walk, lowering his average to .235 in 17 at-bats. He has however, walked seven times already, with just one strikeout. McGuire made a nice throw from his knees to catch a runner stealing to end the sixth.

 

Prospect-Watch-Bradenton

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BRADENTON – Coming into tonight’s game, the Marauders had been getting good starting pitching, but saw the offense struggling. Tonight was the opposite. The bats woke up, with 11 hits on the evening, although that only led to two runs. Jordan Luplow, Chase Simpson, and Tomas Morales all led the team with doubles.

Marauders manager Michael Ryan credited the offense to the team being more aggressive, not taking many fastballs, and using a good two strike approach.

Yeudy Garcia was the starter tonight, and normally that means the pitching is going to be solid. That wasn’t the case tonight. Garcia wasn’t getting ahead with his fastball, falling behind in a lot of counts. He issued a one out walk in the first, followed by a home run with two outs. A wild pitch in the second put a runner at third, and he allowed the third run of the game on a single in the next at-bat. So far on the season, Garcia has five walks in 7.2 innings, which is not what he showed last year.

“He’s fallen behind right off the get-go,” Ryan said. “Don’t know the number right now. I don’t know how many batters he faced, but I know it was less than 50% getting first pitch strikes. You’re going to struggle when you do that. He was just a little bit late on his delivery and getting the ball out. It’s something that he can fix. Tried to go to his slider to fix it, and it just didn’t work tonight.”

Garcia’s slider looked good tonight when he was ahead in the count. It led to six strikeouts in three innings, with Garcia doing a good job of burying it in the dirt in two strike counts. However, he couldn’t use the pitch to battle back in counts when he fell behind with the fastball.

“It’s a good pitch, obviously,” Ryan said of the slider. “He likes it because he goes to it when he needs something. It’s only the second start I’ve seen of him. His slider is going to get better. We’ll just have to see. I think he throws it a little bit too much. Also, being behind in the count, trying to trick hitters too might be his thought. It’s a good slider.”

Garcia threw 73 pitches in three innings, with only 45 strikes. He gave up three runs on five hits and two walks in three innings, with six strikeouts. He didn’t have his usual velocity, sitting 91-92 MPH and touching as high as 94.

Henry Hirsch came on and gave up three runs in three innings. Junior Lopez gave up two runs in two innings of work. The only clean outing of the night was from Luis Heredia, who pitched a perfect inning in relief, striking out one. His fastball was sitting 94-95 MPH with good downward movement, pounding the inner half of the plate against lefties. He got the strikeout on a fastball, and also got an easy ground ball with a hitter swinging over the fastball.

“He’s keeping the ball down,” Ryan said. “It’s coming out really good. It looks good coming out of his hand. He’s a big, physical kid. He’s not going to wear out coming out of the pen. I liked what I saw tonight.”

The Marauders will take on Lakeland tomorrow, with Austin Coley on the mound.- Tim Williams

Prospect-Watch-WV-Power

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CHARLESTON– Yesterday, Casey Hughston had struck out in nine consecutive at-bats; today, he plays the hero. As Ryan Nagle’s dying quail popped out of the sliding right fielder’s glove in the bottom of the tenth inning, Hughston crossed the plate as the winning run against the Lexington Legends.

“I felt amazing,” said Hughston moments after the dog pile. “I’m getting my confidence back.” With a 3-for-5 night that included an RBI and two runs scored, there’s no wonder Hughston is feeling poised. On a night when both teams hit the ball hard, Hughston played stellar defense in center field, making two over-the-shoulder catches on deep balls.

Daniel Arribas also decided to snap out of their long hitless streaks in the nick of time. Arribas went 2-for-3 with a walk and three runs scored, all driven in by Ty Moore.

Starting pitcher Dario Agrazal struggled throughout his five innings, allowing five runs on six hits. Agrazal, usually a controlled pitcher, left a breaking ball over the plate for a solo home run in the second. He located his fastball well, but his velocity dipped from 92 mph in the first inning to 87 in the fifth.

In the sixth, with the Power trailing 5-4, Tanner Anderson entered the game and showcased a strong curve and a fastball with pop. Anderson worked three scoreless innings in relief and struck out two Legends looking with low fastballs. Anderson flashed the leather as well, recording two assists and one putout.

After the Power knotted the game at 5-5, Tate Scioneaux took the mound in the ninth and tenth and retired the Legends in order. With four strikeouts on the night, Scioneaux now leads the team with fourteen. –Abigail Miskowiec

  • Yeudy not off to a good start?

  • Hanson whiffing in half his plate appearances, and he doesn’t have a walk, not good.

  • John: If I am not mistaken, Connor Joe has been out of the lineup the past two games – injury?

  • Can anyone come and pitch in the majors who can throw strikes and get men out? This pitching staff is scary…

    • Agreed the bullpen is scary right now. When Liriano goes back in the rotation, one of the starters will head to the bullpen. That would be either Vogelsong or Nicasio. We also have an extra pitcher in the bullpen so someone like Schugel will be sent down soon. Jared Hughes will also take someone else’s place in the bullpen. Finally when Glasnow and Taillon are ready, they will move 2 more starters to the bullpen. It is just painful watching the bullpen at this point.

      • They need to start by getting Lobstein out of here. Then get Nicasio & Vogelsong back into the bullpen. They can’t get Taillon/Glasnow/Kuhl/Brault/Eppler up to the majors fast enough.
        I wonder what it would take to urge A.J. Burnett out of retirement?

        • Lobstein definitely needs to go. I am not even convinced that we need another lefty. Just have guys that throw strikes from either side and get men out. The pen looks scary quite honestly and we need at least 2 starters and boy does June seem FAR away!

      • Yes, missing Hughes has likely been big…but where is the depth? If last season was a great offseason then this year’s offseason has to be one of the more questionable under Huntington. No pitching depth…didn’t bring back some players who would have made a lot of sense. Give me Bastardo and Blanton in this pen and I’m much more comfortable even with Hughes out. And I hated Charlie Morton…but why did we give him up for nothing and then not have any depth behind him in case an injury or problems at beginning of the year.

        Here we are in April and below .500 again.

  • Still early in the season but no one is truly standing out.

    • Ke’Bryan Hayes is hitting .393
      Brandon Waddell has thrown 11 shutout innings
      Mitch Keller’s only start was phenomenal

      • Hayes really seems to be the Stud prospect. If the system wasn’t jammed with talent you wonder if he would be a fast track type player?

        • Pirate don’t like to move young players like him in their first year of full-season ball. They would rather they play the entire year at one level, getting used to the grind of a full season, then if they deserve a promotion the next season, they will move him up

          • What’s his ceiling? All he seems to do is Ke’Hittin’…(i’m coining this term).

      • John: Lots of others doing very well and Tyler Eppler’s start at AA this season is very encouraging. Kuhl has had better outings, but first time out after an extended ST, I am happy with the results. Once he gets into a rhythm, I think he will do much better.

        Nice write-up on the Power. Good to see Hughston make contact again. Tate Scioneaux is racking up some impressive numbers as the Closer. Quick tidbits – during 2014 in the Cape Cod League Scioneaux was 4-2, 2.78 for Hyannis; Kevin Newman was hitting .380 for Falmouth; Mitchell Tolman was hitting .272 for Orleans; and Seth McGarry was 0-1, 3.72 for Harwich. And if you are like me, Scioneaux is pronounced See – a – no.

    • Taillon, Hanson, Polo … maybe it’s just hard to stand out among so many strong performers to date.

    • And Austin Meadows is not playing…

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