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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Game One: After a rough introduction to Triple-A last season, Tyler Glasnow made his 2016 debut at the level on Sunday in the first game of the twin bill. In the contest, there were positives and negatives for Glasnow. In the box score, it looks like a strong outing. In five innings, Glasnow fanned six hitters and allowed just three hits. However, one of those three hits was a fastball that he elevated to Jesus Aguilar, who hammered a home run to left field. That was the difference in the game, as it was the only run to cross the plate.
While Glasnow started 15 of the 20 batters he faced with strikes, he still struggled at times with command and only just over half of his offerings crossed the plate for strikes. He was sitting in the 92 MPH range, but that should not be alarming with the cold weather in Columbus for the game. Command with the change and the breaking ball are key for Glasnow, and he did pick up an impressive strikeout to end his day on a sharp curveball. Even with the deep counts, he walked three hitters. That is an upgrade for some of his tougher outings at the level toward the end of last season.
Offense was not a strong point in the first game for Indianapolis, as it picked up just four knocks in game one. After a slow April last season, Alen Hanson picked up his first hit of the season on a blooper over the infield in the first game. Josh Bell reached in two of his three plate appearances with a walk and a solid struck hit the other way to left field.
Trey Haley made quick work in his inning of work in the first game, showing some life on the fastball. Haley needed just five pitches to retire the three Columbus hitters.
Game Two: The first start of the 2016 season ended all too quickly for Trevor Williams, as he left in the first inning with shoulder discomfort. After throwing a pitch in the dirt, Williams landed awkwardly and called for the trainer and left the game.
Kelvin Marte replaced Williams and allowed the first two hitters to reach in both innings he started. However, he picked up a pair of strikeouts on a solid slider and pitched away from any damage.
The third inning was the difference for the Indianapolis in the second game. With two outs, Adam Frazier coaxed a 10-pitch walk in his Triple-A debut. Max Moroff, who was 1-for-5 with a pair of free passes for the day, picked up one of his walks before Josh Bell picked up a two-run single. Bell went to third on an error by the right fielder. Jason Rogers then hammered a two-run homer down the left field line to finish off the four-run frame.
Following Marte, Curtis Partch, A.J. Schugel, Guido Knudson, Jorge Rondon, and Rob Scahill each worked scoreless frames. Scahill allowed a lead off single, but picked up a strikeout and his first save of the season. – Ryan Palencer
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ALTOONA – The Curve won their first game of the season today, thanks to a strong start from Tyler Eppler, and some good hitting from Eric Wood and Jose Osuna. Eppler went six innings, giving up two runs, while Wood picked up three hits, and Osuna hit his first homer of the year.
Eppler was extremely efficient today, needing just 64 pitches to get through his six innings, with 43 of those going for strikes. He was sitting 90-93 MPH with his fastball, and doing a great job getting ahead of opponents with the pitch. He walked two batters on the day and gave up three hits, but erased a lot of his damage with easy ground ball outs.
The ground balls were a new trend for Eppler. He’s had average rates in the past, but today he had an 11:3 groundout to air out ratio. Curve manager Joey Cora said that Eppler was doing a good job attacking an aggressive Harrisburg lineup.
“He was ahead of them,” Cora said. “He attacked them. He didn’t fall behind. He really went after them.”
Eppler credited the ground balls to his ability to keep the ball down in the zone today, along with throwing a lot of changeups to keep the opponents off-balance. He said that he has been focusing a lot lately on ground balls. On the overall performance, Eppler said it helped that he had all three of his pitches working for strikes.
“Whenever I’ve struggled, that’s kind of been the thing I’ve struggled with the most,” Eppler said on the consistency of all three pitches. “Whenever I don’t have three pitches I can throw for a strike, that’s when I start relying on one pitch more than the other, and that’s what gets me in trouble.”
One of those pitches for Eppler is his new slider, which is a slurve. He got three strikeouts on the pitch today, which he said was a good sign. The overall pitch is still inconsistent, which makes sense, as he has been throwing it for less than a year.
“It’s still a little inconsistent,” Eppler said. “I threw some that kind of just spun. But for the most part, most of them felt good. They had some good depth to it.”
On the offensive side, Eric Wood and Jose Osuna led the team. Wood picked up three hits, including a triple to the opposite field gap in right-center. That’s his second triple in two games this year. Wood has always shown good power potential, but it hasn’t translated into games. Cora mentioned that this changed at the end of Spring Training, and has carried over to the season.
“He’s swinging the bat really well,” Cora said. “At the end of Spring Training, he found something. I don’t know what it was, but he started swinging the bat with power. Hitting homers, hitting balls against the wall. He has kept that going the two games he has played.”
Osuna had two hits, including his first homer of the year, which was a solo shot in the seventh inning. He had a big off-season in the Venezuelan Winter League, along with a good Spring Training. Cora thinks that he will continue this into the season, having a bit of a breakout season in the process.
“Obviously he brought all of the confidence from playing winter ball into the year,” Cora said. “He had a great Spring Training. The first two nights, he was a little anxious. You could tell that he wanted to be the man. But today he slowed things down, and you can see even the outs were hard, and loud. That’s what you can expect from him. He won’t be under the radar after this year. That’s my call.”
Harold Ramirez also picked up a double today with a shot to the left-center gap. He then stole third base with no throw after getting a good jump. Reese McGuire had a hard hit single and drew a walk, going 1-for-3 today. Montana DuRapau came on in the ninth inning for a quick save, striking out one in a perfect inning to complete the 6-3 victory.
Barrett Barnes, who was out the first two games while undergoing the concussion protocol, was cleared to play this morning. He entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning, drawing a walk and stealing second base on the first pitch. He will start tomorrow night in left field. – Tim Williams
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BRADENTON – Yeudy Garcia was the breakout pitcher in the Pirates’ system last year with West Virginia and on Sunday, he made his debut with Bradenton. In 2015, Garcia never allowed more than seven hits in a game, but his first game in 2016 ended with a nine spot in the hit column and he couldn’t get through five innings before reaching his pitch count. The hit total isn’t as bad as it sounds though, as three of the hits were infield hits and another three to left field should have been caught. Jeff Roy had a terrible time out there in his first game of the season, getting two bad jumps and taking two bad routes on fly balls. He also completely lost a routine fly ball in the sun that ended up as a single.
Garcia had six hits that were either not hit hard or a better left fielder would have caught. That being said, he didn’t have great command of his fastball in this game and there were some hard hit balls right at outfielders not named Jeff Roy. In 4.2 innings, Garcia allowed two runs, three walks and he struck out four batters. He got some swing-and-misses and worked out of a couple jams, but overall this wasn’t a strong outing. Top Twins’ prospect Nick Gordon had three doubles to the opposite field off of Garcia that were all hit well. One should have been caught by Roy, but it was still hit well. Garcia finished with 83 pitches, 44 for strikes.
Bradenton went 5.2 innings without a hit before Kevin Newman broke up the no-hitter with a line drive single up the middle. One batter later, Kevin Kramer brought him home with an opposite field double to the gap. Elvis Escobar brought home the second run with an infield ground out, though it looked like he beat out the play. Newman would later double down the third base line for just the fourth Marauder hit. He went 2-for-5 in the game and grounded out to shortstop two at-bats, hitting the ball hard once.
In the ninth, Chase Simpson got a triple on a ball the right fielder couldn’t catch on the warning track (was catchable, but would have been a nice play). He scored when the throw to third base went into the crowd. That tied the game. Michael Suchy followed with an infield single, but the game remained tied through nine innings.
In the tenth, Newman reached second base on a sinking liner to right field that was called an error. Kramer followed him with a check-swing infield single after fouling off about five straight pitches. Connor Joe then hit one into right field with the outfielders playing in and it dropped for a long single to win the game. Kramer showed great patience at the plate, working the count well. He finished 2-for-4 with a walk. Newman and Kramer teamed up on a real nice double play to end the seventh inning and Newman made a nice play on a ball up the middle to end the tenth.
Connor Joe had another tough game at the plate before the walk-off hit, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout. The walk-off hit probably would have been caught if the outfield was normal depth, but it counts just the same and was easily the best hit ball by Joe of the short two-game series. He did manage to hit two hard grounders, which was an improvement over his two straight three strikeout games. He had a much better game in the field, though he wasn’t that busy, it’s just that Saturday was a real bad game. Joe made a nice diving stop to his left in the tenth and threw out a quick runner. He had three other plays, though a normal third baseman wouldn’t have had a chance on two of them, just well placed infield hits. The other was a routine grounder right to him.
Edgar Santana pitched two scoreless frames to keep the game at 3-2 through nine innings, dominating his outing with a mid-90s fastball and a plus slider. He struck out three batters. He remained in the game in the tenth and after hitting the lead-off batter, got three ground outs to end the frame. He picked up the win after the Marauders walked it off in the bottom of the inning. – John Dreker
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West Virginia starters had a strong opening week, allowing just one run over 20 innings. All of them were limited to five innings, so they each completed their maximum innings for the first start of the year. The best part about that is that the top pitching prospect on the team, Mitch Keller, didn’t make his start yet. Dario Agrazal was the pitcher on Sunday, and he allowed just four singles and a walk. He only picked up one strikeout, but when he is on, he pitches to contact by keeping the ball down and getting a lot of quick ground balls, keeping his pitch count low in the process. Agrazal had an 8:6 GO/AO ratio in this game.
Agrazal was followed by Cesilio Pimentel, who threw two scoreless innings, and Tate Scioneaux, who allowed one run over two innings for the save.
On offense, Ty Moore had the big hit, a two-run double in the fourth inning with two outs, which gave the Power all they would need. They scored an insurance run in the fifth, with Mitchell Tolman hitting an RBI single to drive in Tyler Filliben, who reached on a lead-off double. Casey Hughston has picked up one hit in each of the first four games. Moore was the only player with two hits for the Power in this game. Logan Ratledge went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, but he stole two bases after being hit by a pitch.