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]
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Indianapolis had their season opener postponed. They will play a doubleheader on Sunday.
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ALTOONA – Jason Creasy had a very typical outing for what we have come to expect of him in his career, as he gave up seven hits in his six innings of work while only striking out one. The night began promising for the right-hander after a seven pitch first inning where he induced two weak infield popups and a groundout. After the first, Harrisburg batters figured out Creasy, as they hit multiple deep balls and line drives with most of the damage being done in the second inning. Creasy was able to avoid disaster by inducing grounders at the right times, ending the third with a groundout, generating a double play in the fourth, and ending the fifth with another double play.
He threw 45 strikes and 32 balls, displaying decent control but still remaining a little too hittable. He worked mostly with the two-seam fastball between 87-90 MPH and was able to get more groundouts tonight than he has in the past.
Also from the pitching side, Brett McKinney pitched one inning and allowed one earned run. The difference with McKinney this year is that he mostly used a cutter between 89-92 MPH. He began using the cutter last year in Altoona because the four-seamer came in too flat around 94-96 MPH, and he was hit extremely hard last year for the Curve. He is still working on adding in a better breaking pitch to the mix, but the focus now is increasing the usage of the cutter. He was about 50% cutter in the AFL, and jumped to 75% tonight. He could push that up going forward, using it as his primary pitch.
In the field, a couple of prospects seemed to have a difficult night. Harold Ramirez didn’t have a good night in center field tonight, as he broke late and missed a deep fly ball while playing shallow, and he also collided with left fielder Justin Maffei on what looked like a miscommunication. You can tell that Ramirez has plenty of speed and arm strength in the outfield, but he just may not have been comfortable in center field tonight. I wouldn’t read too much into it, but it is something to note. Also, Jose Osuna made a bad throw to first after charging a bunt in the 8th inning, and he just looked a little off in the field. He struggled at the plate tonight, too, going 0-for-5 and leaving eight batters on base (twice out with the bases loaded).
Erich Weiss was the Curve’s best hitter tonight with three hits. He was also robbed of an RBI line drive hit in the third inning with the bases loaded. Manager Joey Cora noted that Weiss has greatly improved since the beginning of Spring Training and has impressed coaches with his bat. Stetson Allie put together a few good at-bats, as well, with a couple line drive singles (and a couple of strikeouts in there, too). Eric Wood made a few nice plays in the field and hit a deep triple to left field in the sixth inning (combined with striking out three times, too).
Overall, Curve players looked sort of sluggish and out of sorts tonight. It may have been due to the rain delay to begin the game combined with frigid weather. – Sean McCool
Barrett Barnes was hit in the head with a pitch on Sunday in Bradenton, and is currently undergoing concussion protocol. He missed tonight’s game, and will be out tomorrow, but will undergo tests to see if he can return. If he’s cleared, he will make his season debut on Saturday. I talked to Barnes after tonight’s game, and he said he was fine, and that he’s been through worse in the past with injuries, so this wasn’t a big deal. – Tim Williams
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Jordan Luplow got Bradenton off to a quick start on Thursday, giving them all the runs they would need in the first inning on a three-run homer. Starter Alex McRae and three relievers limited Ft Myers to one unearned run in the 3-1 victory. Luplow hit the first homer for any Pirate this season, as the big league club failed to hit one in their opening series. He hit 12 homers for West Virginia last year. The home run tonight came off Stephen Gonsalves, a lefty who is one of the better prospects of the Minnesota Twins. Luplow also had a double in this game. He had 36 doubles last year to lead all Pirates’ minor leaguers.
McRae threw five shutout innings, allowing four singles and he walked three batters. He threw 74 pitches, 47 for strikes, doing a good job of keeping the ball on the ground. McRae had a 7:2 GO/AO ratio, to go along with four strikeouts. Last year he had a 1.03 GO/AO ratio during the season. McRae was followed by Edgar Santana, who is a relief prospect to watch. He threw two perfect innings, striking out two batters. Santana can hit 96 with his fastball, and he has a slider he can use as a strikeout pitch. Sam Street allowed an unearned run in the eighth and Nick Neumann closed it out for the save.
First round pick Kevin Newman had a nice debut with Bradenton, collecting two hits. Jerrick Suiter singled and scored a run. Taylor Gushue had a single and a walk. Elvis Escobar added a double. Connor Joe went 0-for-4, but scored a run on the Luplow homer. Michael Suchy had a tough day with three strikeouts.
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West Virginia ended up spoiling a big day by Tito Polo in their 3-2 loss in the season opener. Polo homered in the fourth inning for the first Power run. He singled in the sixth, then stole his first base of the season. He led all Pirates last year with 46 steals. In the eighth inning, he tripled, but got thrown out at home plate on the play. Polo is small at 5’9″, yet powerfully built, though it hasn’t translated to homers yet. His season high is three homers, done twice. He’s more of a line drive hitter, with the potential to hit homers due to his strength and bat speed.
Starter JT Brubaker had a solid debut, keeping the opposition out of the hit column until the fifth inning. He finished with one run over five innings, allowing two hits and three walks, while picking up six strikeouts. Tate Scioneaux did a nice job out of the bullpen, throwing two shutout innings. In the eighth, Cesilio Pimentel picked up the loss by giving up two runs. The deciding run scored on an error by shortstop Alfredo Reyes, who was a Rule 5 pick in December during the minor league portion of the draft.
On offense, there wasn’t much after Polo, who scored both runs. Carlos Munoz had two singles, while Ke’Bryan Hayes, Casey Hughston and Danny Arribas all had one single, accounting for the only other hits. Ryan Nagle drew the only walk. Hughston singled in the first, which was good to see from the player who started his career in a 1-for-43 slump last year. Unfortunately, he was immediately thrown out trying to steal.