Prospect Watch: Keller Throws Shutout Ball Again, Glasnow Strikes Out Nine

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’);

2. Austin Meadows, CF, Altoona – Disabled List

3. Josh Bell, 1B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(605137,’B’,’20160416′);

4. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592791,’P’,’20160416′);

5. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(593700,’B’,’20160416′);

6. Harold Ramirez, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(623912,’B’,’20160416′);

7. Reese McGuire, C, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(624512,’B’,’20160416′);

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’,’20160416′);

11. Kevin Newman, SS, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20160416′);

12. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(650817,’P’,’20160416′);

13. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20160416′);

 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’,’20160416′);

17. Max Moroff, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20160416′);

18. Mitch Keller, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(656605,’P’,’20160416′);

19. Clay Holmes, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20160416′);

20. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(591994,’B’,’20160416′);

21. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(663399,’P’,’20160416′);

22. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20160416′);

23. Barrett Barnes, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(608627,’B’,’20160416′);

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’,’20160416′);

28. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20160416′);

29. Jordan Luplow, OF/3B, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656669,’B’,’20160416′);

30. JT Brubaker, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(664141,’P’,’20160416′);

P2 Top Performers

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Tyler Glasnow made his second start of the season on Saturday night. He started the game off with an increase in velocity over his first game, when he was sitting low-90’s instead of his usual mid-90’s. He was hitting 96-97 with three straight fastballs, before getting Michael Martinez looking on a 79 MPH curve. The next batter was Robbie Grossman and he lined a 95 MPH fastball into right field. That was followed by a full count single, which included about five pick-off throws. Glasnow started the fourth place hitter with two straight curves for strikes, getting him to strikeout swinging three pitches later on a 95 MPH fastball. He also got the next hitter to go down swinging, this time throwing four consecutive fastballs, before he chased the curve. Glasnow worked hard in this inning, throwing 24 pitches, 17 for strikes.

In the second, Glasnow started the inning with his fourth strikeout, this one on a 95 MPH fastball. The fifth out was also a strikeout, this one on a plus curve that buckled the hitter’s knees. Glasnow finished the frame with a long fly ball to right field on a full count pitch. It was a 1-2-3 inning, though he still ended up with 40 pitches after two innings. He came into the game with a limit of six innings or 90 pitches, whichever comes first.

The third inning started off with a foul out to first on the first pitch. That was followed by a two-pitch at-bat, which resulted in a grounder to shortstop. The inning ended quick on a swinging strikeout by Grossman, chasing a curve down and in. This inning really helped his pitch count, needing just seven pitches to get three outs.

Glasnow started the fourth with a long fly ball to left field on a 2-2 count. He then picked up his seventh strikeout on a 3-2 curve. He was hitting 95-96 to the next batter, who flew out to medium center field. Glasnow was now up to 11 straight batters set down. He threw 15 pitches in the inning.

The fifth inning started with his eighth strikeout, a 93 MPH fastball up in the zone. That was followed by a swinging strikeout on  curve in the dirt. Neither strikeout pitch was close to the strike zone. The third hitter stopped the string of 13 straight batters retired with a line drive into left field on a 3-0 pitch. The next hitter lined a double down the left field line to tie the score at 1-1. The inning ended with a long fly out to left field. Glasnow was getting hit hard at the end and it ran his pitch count up to 83 pitches, 53 for strikes, which ended his game.

Glasnow was dominating for most of this game. His fastball hit 97 and sat in the 92-96 range the rest of the game, with most of his pitches 95-96 MPH. His curve was devastating at times. When he threw it in the zone it was either taken for a strike or swung through. Batters were also chasing it out of the zone.

The downside to this outing was the lack of change-up usage. I saw one at it was 90 MPH in the dirt. That’s not a good separation from the fastball. He’s going to need to show that he can use his change-up more often. Except for the high pitch count in the first inning and those last three batters, he breezed through the rest of the game. No walks in this game, which is a big deal, and he never looked like he was flustered. Basically, he had good body language all game, which isn’t something we were seeing last year. All in all, it was a very good outing.

John Kuchno followed Glasnow with four innings in his Triple-A debut. He took the loss after allowing a solo homer in the eighth, but it was a solid performance otherwise. Kuchno gave up the one run on three hits, with no walks, one strikeout and a 7:2 GO/AO ratio.

Indianapolis was quiet at the plate, collecting three hits. All three were extra-base hits and two came off the bat of Danny Ortiz. He hit a solo homer in the second inning for the only run, then added a double with two outs in the ninth. Willy Garcia had the other hit, his first double of the season. Max Moroff is hitting .125 after an 0-for-2 tonight. He is getting on base though, drawing two walks in this game, giving him eight free passes already this season. Josh Bell saw his average drop to .190 after an 0-for-3 (one walk) night.



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RICHMOND – Cody Dickson made his second start for the Curve. In his first one, he couldn’t throw strikes. In this one, his control was better but not good, with 41 of 79 pitches going for strikes. His control came and went throughout, but he managed to recover repeatedly and finished with five shutout innings. When Dickson was wild, it was usually his fastball riding high, like he wasn’t getting on top of it. Dickson’s fastball sat 88-91, reaching 93 once or twice. He threw an upper 70s curve with good break, although it wasn’t as tight as, say, Jameson Taillon’s.

Dickson commanded the curve better than the fastball. He also threw an 83-84 MPH change that looked flat and got hit hard a couple times. He didn’t miss many bats, but didn’t allow much hard contact except off the change. He allowed just two singles, one a bloop by the pitcher. Dickson walked three and struck out two. He also picked off two runners, although the Curve botched one of the rundowns.

Frank Duncan followed Dickson. Duncan is being moved to the bullpen this year and just joined the Curve from extended Spring Training. He threw from a low three-quarters angle, sitting at 90-91 with his sinker in his first inning and 87-89 afterward. He also threw a slider and a change. Despite his delivery, Duncan was tougher on left-handed hitters, mainly due to the change. It had good fade and produced numerous swings and misses from lefties. In his first three innings, Duncan threw 24 of 35 pitches for strikes, but would occasionally let one get away, leading to two hit batsmen. In the ninth, he lost the strike zone and threw only seven of 20 pitches for strikes. After he issued two, two-out walks, Montana DuRapau came on to get the last out. Duncan finished with two hits and two walks allowed in three and two-thirds innings, with five strikeouts.

The Curve hitters, meanwhile, were overmatched by San Francisco’s number 18 prospect, Joan Gregorio. There were only two balls hit well during Gregorio’s six innings. The game stayed scoreless until the ninth, when Richmond brought on Ray Black. His fastball came in at 97-100, but it was all over the place. Black issued three, one-out walks on 12 pitches. He fanned Jonathan Schwind, but Stetson Allie grounded a 99-MPH fastball hard inside first for a three-run triple. Schwind and Allie each had two of the Curve’s five hits, with Eric Wood getting the other. Harold Ramirez continued his early season struggles, going 0-for-4. There’s little to say about the hitters, as there was almost nothing hit with any authority all night. – Wilbur Miller 



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BRADENTON– Austin Coley looked good through the first three innings tonight in Bradenton, giving up just two walks in the three scoreless frames. That didn’t carry over to the fourth inning, as he let six of the first seven batters reach base to start the frame, including three straight doubles, before getting pulled. Sam Street came on to pitch and let two of his inherited runners score, leading to a six-run inning overall.

Coley was working 90-92 MPH with his sinking fastball, and was relying almost primarily on the pitch the first two innings. He worked in the changeup more in the third and fourth, and started running into problems in that final frame. The Marauders got some good pitching from their bullpen after the fourth inning, with Sam Street throwing two shutout innings after the fourth, and Nick Neumann giving up one run in three innings the rest of the game. However, the offense couldn’t come back.

The Marauders had a lot of hard hit balls tonight, which is what I saw from them last night. Jordan Luplow crushed a double to the 400 foot sign in center field, which would have easily been a homer had a strong wind not been blowing in, or if it would have gone to any other part of the park. Luplow has been hitting the ball hard, even with his outs. Kevin Newman had three hits, working the middle-away approach. He had two singles to center, and a line drive to right, spraying easy hits to the big part of the field.

Luplow and Newman had five of the ten hits tonight, but a few other players stood out. Pablo Reyes crushed a home run, pulling it to left field with no doubt that it was gone. Michael Suchy hit a hard double to the left-center field gap, but was thrown out trying to stretch it to a triple. Kevin Kramer had a hard shot up the middle for a single. Connor Joe actually had a hard hit that would have gone for a single up the middle, had it not been for a great play by the second baseman. The next at-bat saw Joe picking up an infield single on a very weak hit that died in the infield grass as it rolled to third. So it all evened out.

One thing that has stood out to me the last two games is the defense from Jerrick Suiter. He’s played a good first base, and might be the best defensive first base prospect in the system. This has all been a continuation of what I’ve seen from him during Spring Training as well, so it’s not just the two games. It’s not difficult to be the best defensive first baseman in this system, but Suiter definitely has the skills with the glove. Offensively, he has more of a contact/OBP approach. He’s got a wide stance at the plate which works well for his game, but prevents him from generating a lot of power from the lower half. So, despite a big frame, he doesn’t put up the power numbers you’d expect from a corner player. The average/OBP approach can work, but Suiter will need to show that he can do that well enough in higher levels before becoming a serious prospect. – Tim Williams


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Mitch Keller was on the mound Saturday afternoon for his second start. He went five shutout innings in his first game, allowing just a bunt single, with no walks and ten strikeouts. He wasn’t as dominant as the first time out, but that’s the type of game you rarely see in the low minors, especially on limited pitch counts. Keller was filling the strike zone in this game and getting a lot of quick outs instead of racking up strikeouts.

Through four innings, he threw just 32 pitches total, 26 for strikes. He still had three strikeouts at this point, getting one of them on a curve. Keller gave up three hits over the first four innings. One was on a bunt and another was just a grounder that found a hole. The other hit was a line drive to center field for a single. Lexington hit another hard liner to center field that Casey Hughston caught, so they did make some decent contact early.

The bottom of the fourth was a long inning, with the Power putting four runs on the board. It seemed to affect Keller, who went to his first full count on the next hitter, eventually getting a foul out to first base. He got a soft grounder to third base for the second out, then Lexington recorded another bunt single. Keller got the third out on a grounder back to him, jamming the hitter in the process. He wasn’t as sharp as his first four innings, but a long layoff between innings sometimes affects young pitchers.

Keller is on a five inning limit at this point, so while he was still just shy of 50 total pitches, that fifth inning ended his day. He matched the five shutout innings from his first start. He allowed four hits, but only one was hit hard. Three of the five hits he has allowed this year have been on bunts. Keller had three strikeouts on Saturday and still hasn’t walked a batter this season. His fastball was sitting 92-96 MPH this game.

Just like in his last start, as soon as Keller left the game, the opposition woke up on offense. Jake Burnette allowed a run in the sixth and seventh, and Lexington loaded the bases in the ninth off Daniel Zamora, but he got out of the jam.

The Power won 7-2, led on offense by Casey Hughston and Christian Kelley, who each drove in two runs. Hughston had hit well in two straight games now, after putting up very poor stats in his first seven games. He had two hits in this game, scored twice, stole two bases, drew a walk and belted his second homer of the season. Carlos Munoz had a double, two walks and scored two runs.

Tito Polo had two hits and an RBI in this game, while also reaching via hit-by-pitch. His first single should have been a home run though according to the Power announcers, who both claimed the ball hit off the foul pole and came back into play. I asked Polo after the game if he thought the ball was fair and he said he didn’t know, but he knew he got a good hold of the ball and was running hard out of the box. Polo is hitting .364 through eight games.

Ryan Nagle had two hits in this game and scored twice, but he actually picked up three hits since last night’s game ended. Nagle ended last night’s contest by hitting a liner to right field that was dropped, allowing the walk-off run to score. It was originally scored an error, but it was discussed later on by the Lexington manager and official scorer, who then changed it to an RBI single.

  • Keller and Glasnow both dominant…but still concern about the lack of a 3rd pitch for Glasnow. He just doesn’t seem to get it–that he needs to develop another pitch even if that means poor results for a while–or does not care.

    • HartHighPirate
      April 17, 2016 1:29 am

      Often times, a commenters’ glass is empty. The longer you hold the empty glass your arm gets tired. Your “or does not care” comment is worthless. At age 22 pitching in AAA, he sure as hell must care.

      Today 9 strike outs NO WALKS. To quote John Dreker “All in all it was a very good outing”

    • a changeup is not that easy to throw well. he might just have needed a good performance to get some swagger back to go back at the changeup again next time. OR…..maybe it is time to can the changeup and teach him a different third pitch. Not everyone can throw a change…..

  • Keller 37 pitches through 5 innings and 30 strikes.


    • Those numbers aren’t accurate. He had 32 through the first four innings and the first batter in the fifth saw six pitches. The final total was about 46-48, which is still great. He didn’t throw anymore than 12 balls all game.

      • LOL! Wait a minute…he got through 5 innings of shutout ball and didn’t even throw 50 pitches? A DAMN good outing…impressive as hell.

        • They were putting the ball in play early, and one inning he needed just four pitches, so that helped a lot. He was at 23 pitches through three innings, so he actually threw more in the last two innings than previous three.

  • So you’re saying that long Power 4th inning was almost “hell on Keller”?

    (I will leave now).

  • Can’t wait for the breakdown to see if the performance was as strong as the line, but, damn:

    5 IP, 4 BR, 0 ER, 3 K.

    That puts him at 10/5/0/13 for the season. Still early in the year, but that is amazing.

    • Unfortunately it wasn’t televised like last time, but I listened along and got some insight from the WV announcer once Keller was done. Another unfortunate part was that the pitch count stopped after the fourth inning, so I’m not 100% sure how many he threw in the fifth. It was about 15 in the inning, maybe a couple less.

      • So, Keller has allowed 5 base runners and three of them got on base by bunts. Are they bunting because he is so dominant or is he not in good position following the pitch?

        • Bunts happen a lot more in low-A ball than the upper levels. I saw one he allowed and it was just a real good bunt. One from today sounded well-placed. They actually tried to bunt three other times today.

          Part of the reason could be his domination. I’ve noticed the better the pitcher, the more bunt attempts. Not every time, but guys aren’t bunting off the bad pitchers unless it’s a sacrifice attempt.

      • John: Gotta feel good for the kid and for NH who made the decision to go with guys like Keller and Supak in the 2nd Round, Eppler in the 6th Round, and Hinsz in the 11th Round in 2014.

        • Keller and Eppler have got off to a great start this year. I’ve had a chance to watch both of them and I liked what I saw.

          • Supak was traded to get Rogers – question on Rogers’ MLB Service. He was called up probably in June last year and played through the end of last season with only .163 years of service. Since he was sent down to the minors and will not be recalled until after the 172 day limit passes (I think it passed yesterday), does he get still another .171 or less and wind up playing 9 months of MLB with only .334 years of service to show for it?

            • The service time goes up to 172 days. Once you’re in the majors for 173 days over two seasons, you have 1.001 service time, meaning one year and one day. If he had 334 days, it would be 1.162 and he would be ten days short of having two full years of service time.