Prospect Watch: Season Debut for Austin Meadows

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 – [insert_php] display_top30(640457,’B’,’20160425′);
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3. Josh Bell, 1B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(605137,’B’,’20160425′);
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4. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592791,’P’,’20160425′);
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5. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(593700,’B’,’20160425′);
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6. Harold Ramirez, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(623912,’B’,’20160425′);
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7. Reese McGuire, C, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(624512,’B’,’20160425′);
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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’,’20160425′);
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11. Kevin Newman, SS, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20160425′);
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12. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(650817,’P’,’20160425′);
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13. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20160425′);
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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’,’20160425′);
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17. Max Moroff, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20160425′);
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18. Mitch Keller, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(656605,’P’,’20160425′);
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19. Clay Holmes, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20160425′);
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20. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(591994,’B’,’20160425′);
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21. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(663399,’P’,’20160425′);
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22. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20160425′);
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23. Barrett Barnes, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(608627,’B’,’20160425′);
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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’,’20160425′);
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28. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20160425′);
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29. Jordan Luplow, OF/3B, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656669,’B’,’20160425′);
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30. JT Brubaker, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(664141,’P’,’20160425′);
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P2 Top Performers

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Prospect-Watch-Indy

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Chad Kuhl made his third start on Monday, coming off five shutout innings in his last game. He came out throwing strikes, giving up a couple 0-2 foul balls, before getting a strikeout on a 93 MPH fastball that painted the outside corner. Kuhl got the next hitter to fly out to right field. Jaff Decker was up next and he went down swinging on a 95 MPH fastball on the outside corner. He didn’t exactly breeze through the inning, as he needed 17 pitches, but it was impressive looking.

In the second, Kuhl started off against Richie Shaffer, who homered off Jared Hughes and Cory Luebke on Sunday. He went full count for the third straight at-bat and got a ground out to Alen Hanson at third base for the first out. Kuhl froze the next hitter on a 94 MPH fastball that broke over the plate with nice late movement. The next batter hit a long homer to left-center on a 3-1 fastball thigh-high inside. The last batter flew out to shallow center field to end the inning. Kuhl was getting behind hitters early and it led to a 20 pitch inning. Through 37 pitches, he had 22 strikes.

Kuhl started the third inning with a fly out to left field. He struck out the next batter, painting the outside corner to a lefty with a 92 MPH fastball. The next batter put down a swinging bunt, which turned into an easy out for Jacob Stallings. Kuhl looked good in this inning, pounding the strike zone, getting out of the frame on 13 pitches, nine for strikes.

Indianapolis had some long innings at the plate, so Kuhl sat a long time between taking the mound a few times. That can sometimes hurt a pitcher, while other times the opposition starts swinging more early in the count when they are down big. With an 8-1 lead, Kuhl started the fourth with a three-pitch strikeout, the last one a slider in the dirt. Jaff Decker then flew out to the warning track in left field. He threw him three straight 94 MPH pitches.

After a 2-2 pitch that looked like it got a lot of the outside corner (Kuhl actually started walking back towards the dugout), the next hitter smacked a double to the left-center gap. That was followed by a hard single from a lefty that beat the shift. Kuhl got the next hitter to fly out to medium center for the final out, but that one 2-2 call cost him an extra eight pitches. He was now at 69 through four innings, 43 for strikes.

In the fifth, the first batter got jammed and blooped one to shallow center for a lead-off single. The next batter tried to bunt for a hit and Stallings made a great play to get the lead runner. Kuhl then struck out the next batter on a slider down and in to a lefty. The last out was made on a lazy fly ball to right field after the batter fouled off a few two-strike pitches. That put him at 86 pitches and ended his night.

Kuhl’s sinker looked terrific at times in this game with a lot of late movement. Sometimes it had a little too much movement and ended up missing the zone. He was 93-95 most of the night and was doing a good job of hitting the corners. The slider was inconsistent and he mixed in a few change-ups. He did get some good results on off-speed pitches, getting a couple strikeouts on the slider and using it to set up a couple other strikeouts. He finished with one run on four hits over five innings, with no walks and six strikeouts. He really just needs to be more efficient with his pitches and that can come from experience and improvements on the slider, which did look a little better in his first two starts.

Indianapolis had the bats going in this game, putting 12 runs on the board. Cole Figueroa, Danny Ortiz and Max Moroff each had three hits. Figueroa fell a home run shy of the cycle, and he was on deck when the last out was made. Moroff and Ortiz each hit their second home run of the season. Ortiz and Figueroa each drove in three runs.

Alen Hanson had a productive game, picking up two line drive singles, one going the opposite way. He walked with the bases loaded, laying off a couple close pitches. He also dropped down a sacrifice bunt early in the game. Hanson played third base for the second time and cleanly handled the only grounder hit his way.

Josh Bell went 0-for-4, but did walk to extend his season long on-base streak to 16 games. Willy Garcia struck out three times. He is hitting .182 with 18 strikeouts in 55 at-bats.

Prospect-Watch-Altoona-Curve

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ALTOONA – Obviously, the biggest news out of Altoona tonight was the return of Austin Meadows to the lineup. It was interesting to see how Joey Cora would handle the other outfield spots, and he had Jon Schwind in right field while Harold Ramirez moved from center to left.

Meadows had four at-bats tonight, with his first of the game going as his only base hit of the night. In his first at-bat, Meadows hit a broken bat infield single to the second base, as he beat out the throw to first base. He moved to second on an Erich Weiss sacrifice bunt (which was very nicely executed by the way), but Meadows was stranded after that at-bat.

He struck out looking on four pitches in the third inning, followed by two ground outs to the right side in the 6th and 8th innings. He did say that wearing the glasses at the plate was difficult tonight, as they kept fogging up on him. He did not say specifically that it affected his performance at the plate, but that he needs to look into ways that it doesn’t keep happening. He does not know how long he will have to wear the face guard and glasses, as that hasn’t been determined by the Pirates.

Defensively, Meadows flashed his speed and range in the top of the 9th inning on a deep fly ball to his right where he made the catch then ran into the wall. Compared to Harold Ramirez, Meadows played more shallow in center field, possibly showing a little more confidence in being able to turn and go backwards for a ball.

Other than the hype of Austin Meadows’ return, the Curve did absolutely nothing on this beautiful spring night in Altoona, as no hitter got any further on the base paths than Meadows at second base in the first inning. Chris Diaz is the only Curve player to have multiple hits on the night, but neither ball left the infield (bunt single and infield single to shortstop). Jose Osuna drew two walks to accompany his ground ball single. Harold Ramirez struck out twice and failed to get a hit.

Tyler Eppler scattered 11 hits throughout his outing, but none of them came back to haunt him until a 6th inning home run by Erie’s Dean Green to almost the roller coaster in right center field. He allowed a double and single in the 7th before being pulled in favor of Jared Lakind, who immediately gave up a double to the next batter which scored both runs.

Eppler’s fastball looked to sit between 93 – 95 MPH when I was watching the gun, and his curve dropped to 77 MPH on multiple occasions. The changeup looked to have good movement as it sat in the mid-80s. He did not have too many two-strike counts, but he was able to get three strikeouts on the day. Pitching Coach Justin Meccage told me yesterday that they wanted to focus on his curve/slurve tonight, and he told me after the game that they were pleased with how it looked.

Eppler’s fastball began to elevate as the game progress, allowing Erie hitters to touch him up a little bit. Otherwise, his coaches were happy with how he moved the pitch inside and out then use to changeup to compliment it. Although he scattered the 11 hits, he was able to take the game into the 7th inning by only allowing one run to that point. – Sean McCool

Prospect-Watch-Bradenton

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Bradenton is off today

Prospect-Watch-WV-Power

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West Virginia is off today.

  • Feeling more and more like the Pirates missed an opportunity to get some value out of Willy Garcia, although it always take two.

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  • What’s up with Kang? I believe he has not played the last two games.

  • Another excellent outing by Chad Kuhl – 3 starts averaging 5 IP each with a 2-0, 1.89 ERA? He is noticeably not getting the GB’s as he has the past 2 years where his GO/AO was 1.6 +. He is down around 0.87 in 2016 – difference in types of pitches, or is he just leaving the ball up?

    • He had a 6:3 GO/AO ratio in his first start and 4:1 in his second, so it’s just a small sample size skewing the results. Also I think MiLB has something wrong for him because his season split is 13:10 GO/AO, so I’m not sure how they came up with 0.87

    • MLBfarm has him at only 41 balls in play thus far, which means we’re still really only talking about the difference of three or four flies turning into grounders to get him back above 50% GB.

  • Let’s get out the pitchforks…Locke can’t throw a strike to save his life and the most recent guy who pitched at AAA should take his spot.

  • Hanson playing 3rd again?

    I assume this is just to get Moroff in the lineup in the IF and not Kang related?

  • piraterican21
    April 25, 2016 7:35 pm

    I haven’t seen Jhang name lately, is he healthy?

    • He’s fine. They have been playing a lot of NL teams early, so no DH spot. McGuire is the starting catcher, so that doesn’t leave a spot for Jhang. That will change as they start to play AL teams. He started Saturday

      • well he still needs to catch as well……last time i checked there is no DH spot in the national league. DH’ing a catcher doesn’t do much for his development.

        • He’s the backup catcher. He has started five games and played another off the bench. Backup catchers play about 40-45 games behind the plate in the minors and that’s what he will do, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be used as a DH too

          • most backup catchers are not prospects John, which makes your point fairly irrelevant.

            • Where do you expect him to play then? and why wouldn’t you get him at-bats at the DH spot when he isn’t playing behind the plate? You do know that when catchers don’t start, they still catch that day. They do bullpens before and during games. They catch between inning warmups when the other catcher needs to put his equipment back on. So even when catchers don’t start games, they are still catching. He also caught during Spring Training regularly, showing up in early February with the other catchers. Plus he will catch during the Instructional League. Plus Jhang plays winter ball in his home country. Basically, he does a lot of catching that doesn’t show up in the boxscore. In fact, I’ll guarantee that if he backs up McGuire the entire year, he will put in MORE catching that doesn’t show up in boxscores. That still doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t DH when he isn’t starting behind the plate.

              • you are totally missing my point, nevermind

                • I know what you’re trying to say, which is why I asked where they should play him. They aren’t going to start him over McGuire and what good would it be leaving him in Bradenton for a third season. I also pointed out how much actual catching he does to back up your comment that he needs to catch. Jhang does a lot of catching spread out over the year. It all counts.

  • I watched the first four innings for Eppler. Lots of hard contact, three of them resulting in outs. He hit 95 with the fastball, getting good results with the slurve and the change looks terrific. He’s basically facing a Triple-A quality lineup, Erie is an old team full of minor league veterans and one MLB vet, so this isn’t your normal opponent for him. Bad camera work (focused on side view of batter or Eppler for 6-7 pitches, three put in play) and the fact I’m switching over to Kuhl makes it hard to post a better analysis. Basically off-speed looked great, fastball gave up some hard hit balls, but no damage through four. He also had some weak hit grounders and one hit was a bunt against the shift.

  • Good to see Meadows back and playing!

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