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 was off on Monday.
ALTOONA – Cody Dickson made his Double-A debut tonight, and it certainly did not go as he would have planned. He didn’t make it out of the fourth inning, after walking seven batters and allowing two home runs. Dickson walked the first batter on four pitches, mostly trying to work high and outside on the righty. In the first two innings, the three batters that Dickson walked were all righties, and he mostly missed away from the batter. After the second, Dickson was sporadic around the strike zone, missing inside and out to righties and lefties.
The home runs were both pitches left right down the middle of the plate to right-handed batters, who were able to turn and pull it over the left field wall. Neither of the homers were cheap, and the second was completely demolished over the left field bleachers. A third ball in the fourth inning was pulled just barely foul to the left of the left field pole, which would’ve been a third homer against Dickson.
Dickson was able to cut way back on giving up home runs last season in Bradenton, only allowing five homers in 2015 compared to 11 in 2014 with West Virginia. He even pitched 12 more innings in Bradenton compared to his time in West Virginia. Tonight was a reversal on those improvements.
John Kuchno relieved Dickson in the fourth and allowed two inherited runners to score, even though they go down as unearned because of a tough error called on Chris Diaz. Kuchno allowed two home runs, as well, in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively. Jhondaniel Medina allowed a solo home run in the ninth inning, too, totaling five home runs allowed on the night against Curve pitchers. Five homers against ties a Curve record.
Worst off, Curve pitchers have walked 31 batters in the four games that they have played so far this season. Head Coach Joey Cora was adamant after the game about what the pitchers need to do.
“They have to throw strikes. Other than Creasy and Eppler, everyone has been walk – walk – falling behind – falling behind – walk – walk,” Cora said. “Today, we paid for it because they have pretty good power. We fell behind, and they hit homers. That’s the way it goes. They have to throw strikes.”
Both Cora and pitching coach Justin Meccage made mention that it seemed that Dickson was “shying away” from batters tonight, not really attacking the plate and the batter. Meccage said that it looked as if he was trying to continually throw the perfect pitch, and he didn’t trust his stuff.
On the hitting side, the only batter to really note tonight would be Erich Weiss, who doubled in the first inning by hitting a line drive over the shortstop into the gap. Weiss also lined out to the third baseman in the seventh inning with two runners on — an unfortunate line drive right at a fielder (which would’ve scored a run). Eric Wood also doubled on a deep ball to right center field. Weiss and Wood had two of only three Curve hits tonight. – Sean McCool
Bradenton has a lineup full of prospects and interesting players, but early on this year, their offense has been almost non-existent. On Monday, they collected just four hits and struck out 15 times, with everyone but Taylor Gushue contributing at least one strikeout. Starter Austin Coley didn’t help the cause, allowing four runs over 4.2 innings, while displaying poor command.
Coley threw 80 pitches in the game, with 46 going for strikes. That led to seven hits and three walks, plus the early exit. His command is usually good, to the point that three walks ties his career-high, which he had previously done twice in 34 starts. On the other side, 2015 first round pick James Kaprielian, threw five solid innings for Tampa, allowing a run on three hits, with no walks and nine strikeouts.
Gushue led the offense for the Marauders, going 2-for-3 with a solo homer and a double. Connor Joe connected on a triple and scored a run on a sacrifice fly from Jerrick Suiter. Joe has struck out nine times already in 20 at-bats, after 34 strikeouts in 290 at-bats last year. Jordan Luplow went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, but he did add a walk and an outfield assist. Kevin Kramer singled for the only other Bradenton hit. Through five games, the Marauders are hitting .179 as a team.
Mitch Keller made his first start for West Virginia tonight and I wasn’t expecting a dominating performance from him, despite the strong reports from Spring Training. He made just six starts for Bristol last year, but still got an aggressive push to full-season ball. About two pitches into the game, I was already wide-eyed, as he threw a couple of explosive fastballs by the lead-off hitter. That look on my face didn’t leave until I realized he was done for the night, allowing just a bunt single over five shutout innings, with no walks, ten strikeouts and a TON of swing-and-misses.
Keller was throwing on a downhill plane with run towards right-handed hitters and they were helpless against him. A couple batters fouled that pitch off their foot when they did make contact, but usually they just came up empty. He would then go upstairs on them and every batter was late on the pitch. We had him hitting 96 MPH in Spring Training, and while there wasn’t any stadium radar gun being displayed, I wouldn’t be surprised if he reached that again tonight.
As great as his fastball was, Keller broke off some amazing curves that froze the hitters. For five innings he pounded the strike zone and put on as good of a pitching show as I’ve seen in a very long time. Remember to keep your expectations at a normal level when I say this, because it is his first low-A start and he’s just 20 years old, with a past history of high walk games. With a mid-90’s fastball, a plus curve and five innings worth of helpless batters, Keller pitched like Tyler Glasnow did back in 2013 with West Virginia, except he did it with excellent command. The best part of the outing was that it looked like he was getting stronger as the game went along and the fifth inning (which was his limit coming into the night) was scary good.
The Power lost the game 2-0, with Tanner Anderson allowing both runs in the sixth inning after Keller left. Greenville put six runners on in three innings after Keller left the game, with Seth McGarry tossing the final two frames. The Power hitters on the other hand, couldn’t even put six runners on all game. They had three singles and two walks. Tito Polo had a nice single the other way, moving a runner from first to third. He also drew a walk and stole a base, continuing his strong start to the season. Ryan Nagle had a nice line drive single to right field, while Christian Kelley had the only other hit.
The 3-5 hitters, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Casey Hughston and Carlos Munoz, all had rough games. They went 0-for-12 with five strikeouts and only Hughston put a good swing on a pitch, driving one to deep right field about ten feet short of the warning track.