Prospect Watch: Waddell Has Another Great Start, Tito Polo Hits a Grand Slam

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.

We’re working on a solution for the PHP stat codes not working in the app.

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’,’20160429′);
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3. Josh Bell, 1B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(605137,’B’,’20160429′);
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4. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592791,’P’,’20160429′);
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5. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(593700,’B’,’20160429′);
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6. Harold Ramirez, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(623912,’B’,’20160429′);
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7. Reese McGuire, C, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(624512,’B’,’20160429′);
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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’,’20160429′);
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11. Kevin Newman, SS, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20160429′);
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12. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(650817,’P’,’20160429′);
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13. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20160429′);
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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’,’20160429′);
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17. Max Moroff, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20160429′);
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18. Mitch Keller, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(656605,’P’,’20160429′);
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19. Clay Holmes, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20160429′);
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20. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(591994,’B’,’20160429′);
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21. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(663399,’P’,’20160429′);
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22. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20160429′);
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23. Barrett Barnes, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(608627,’B’,’20160429′);
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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’,’20160429′);
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28. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20160429′);
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29. Jordan Luplow, OF/3B, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656669,’B’,’20160429′);
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30. JT Brubaker, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(664141,’P’,’20160429′);
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P2 Top Performers

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Prospect-Watch-Indy

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INDIANAPOLIS – With all of the hype surrounding the Indianapolis rotation, and rightfully so, Wilfredo Boscan can become a forgotten man. After getting into trouble early, the 2015 Indianapolis a Pitcher of the Year got out of it and was strong until leaving the contest after five innings, helping Indianapolis to a 3-0 win.

Boscan allowed two of the first three batters to reach on hits. He then forced an around the horn double play to end first and get out of trouble.

Retiring the next nine batters before another hit, Boscan was working down in the zone with a fastball in the low 90s and a 79-80 MPH curve. He also threw strikes and got ahead in the counts, making quick work of opponent hitters.

After 71 pitches, Boscan gave way to the rehabbing Cory Luebke, who picked up a quick ground out. However, Luebke got into trouble after allowing two singles and a walk to load the bases with two outs. He was able to find the control again and make a quality pitch to get the final out on a liner to center.

Luebke’s second and third frames of work were much more efficient. While working with a 90 to 91 MPH fastball and a strong curve in the low 80s, Luebke induced two ground balls and a strikeout in the seventh. In the eighth, he struck out the side with a hit batter mixed in.

Adam Frazier led off with a triple in the first, going the other way into the left field corner. Jung-Ho Kang, who had struggled at times on his rehab, picked up an RBI on a solidly struck fly ball to center for a sac fly. Josh Bell added a double to right on a down and over the plate pitch. After earning International League Player of the Week last week, Bell has continued his hot streak this week, picking up a pair of hits Friday night.

In his second at-bat in the third inning, Frazier went the other way again. This time was for an infield single. On first base, Frazier used his speed to swipe second base easily, his eighth steal already.

Indianapolis was not able to break through again until the seventh, but added two more insurance runs in the inning. Cole Figueroa and Willy Garcia each started the inning with singles, before Danny Ortiz singled in Figueroa. Ed Easley then grounded into a double play, with Garcia scoring on the play.

Frazier finished 2-for-3 on the night and raised his average to .323 after a slow start. Though Kang drove in the run, he finished 0-for-3 again and is just 3-for-28 on the rehab assignment. He did make a nice diving stab going toward the line in the field, but committed a throwing error. For the most part, Kang has been good in the field, but still adjusting at the plate.

Curtis Partch nailed down the ninth and Indianapolis took the first game of their longest homestand of the season. – Ryan Palencer

Prospect-Watch-Altoona-Curve

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Altoona lost 6-2 on Friday, as Austin Meadows probably had the worst game of his career. He went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts and also committed a throwing error that cost the team a run. He did have one other 0-for-5, four strikeout game in his career, coming on July 31, 2014 while with West Virginia. That game didn’t include an error though. Meadows is 3-for-17 with a double and two walks in four games since joining Altoona.

Barrett Barnes had a strong game, going 3-for-4 with a double to get his average to .255 this season. He is 11-for-25 in his last seven games. Erich Weiss had three walks in this game, but along with Meadows, Jose Osuna and Reese McGuire, the top of the lineup went 0-for-16. Harold Ramirez reached base three times on a walk, single and HBP. Stetson Allie had two hits and scored a run.

Jason Creasy only allowed two hits and did a good job of getting ground balls, but his control did him in on Friday. In four innings, he allowed four runs (three earned) and issued three walks. He had a 6:3 GO/AO ratio and two strikes. Creasy threw 77 pitches in his abbreviated outing, with 42 going for strikes. He has a 4.85 ERA this season in 26 innings this season. Coming into Friday, he had issued just four walks.

Dovydas Neverauskas followed with two scoreless innings, while Josh Smith gave up two runs in two innings. Dating back to last July, Smith had a 2+ month streak without allowing an earned run going until April 22nd. He has now given up runs in three of his last four games. – John Dreker

Prospect-Watch-Bradenton

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The Marauders got great performances on both sides of the ball tonight, winning 10-0 against Jupiter after another strong start from Brandon Waddell, and a big day from the offense.

Waddell is having an impressive year, now lowering his ERA down to 0.93 in 29 innings of work through five starts, along with a 26:2 K/BB ratio. I got a chance to see him about a week ago, and he did an impressive job staying ahead of hitters, pounding the strike zone, and mixing up his pitches. He did that again tonight, throwing 80 pitches, with 50 strikes, and striking out seven, with no walks.

Probably the most impressive thing so far is that Waddell has only allowed 13 hits in his 29 innings. Add in the two walks, and he’s giving up about one base runner every two innings, while striking out almost a batter per inning. That’s a recipe for success at any level.

The Pirates aggressively push one college starter per year to Bradenton, and that starter usually spends most of the season at the level. Waddell doesn’t look challenged at the level at all, and if starts like tonight continue being the norm, he could make it to Altoona by the middle of the season.

Waddell’s performance has become common this year. The Bradenton offense putting up a huge night hasn’t been common, especially with their best hitter, Kevin Newman, getting a night off. They did it without getting any triples or home runs. Connor Joe had two doubles, while Pablo Reyes and Jerrick Suiter added a double each. Chase Simpson also added three hits on the night.

Luis Heredia pitched two shutout innings in relief. He’s looked a lot better out of the bullpen this year than he looked in the rotation last year. He still has some control issues, but they’ve been much better than the past. He’s also getting a lot of ground outs with his new two-seam fastball. Tonight he threw 36 pitches, with 24 strikes, and had a 3:2 GO/AO ratio.

Prospect-Watch-WV-Power

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CHARLESTON, WV – The Power lost on Thursday night due to one big inning. They won on Friday night thanks to the same thing. The offense exploded in the fourth inning for seven runs, giving them enough to win 7-3 tonight, with a grand slam by Tito Polo being the difference. For an offense that had lost their last five games, and scored a combined seven runs in their last four games, this outburst was a welcome sight.

“We really talked a whole lot today about conviction and what we’re doing, and the guys went out there and they played great,” West Virginia Manager Brian Esposito said after the game.

The inning looked like it might be over before they could do any damage, down 1-0 at the time. Ke’Bryan Hayes and Casey Hughston both hit one out singles, but Carlos Munoz popped out, putting the inning at risk. The Power then had four straight two-out hits, capped off by Polo’s grand slam. I’d break it down, but Esposito did a much better job explaining what went right.

“I think the at-bats prior to the grand slam was what made the difference,” Esposito said. “[Christian] Kelley had a huge at-bat where he was down in the count and battled back, draws a walk. [Danny] Arribas with a big two-strike hit. [Tyler] Filliben puts the ball in play with two strikes, gets a hit out of it. [Alfredo] Reyes comes up, ready to hit. After the trip to the mound, he gets on a first pitch fastball, puts a runner in. And then Tito comes up with some conviction, ready to hit, gets a good pitch to hit, and drives it out of the ballpark.”

Arribas and Filliben both had two strike hits following Munoz, bringing in two runs. Kelley walked to load the bases, and they stayed loaded after a trip to the mound when Reyes hit a single to bring in a third run. That’s when Polo came up big.

“The first thing I was thinking about was put a good swing on it, make solid contact,” Polo said, through translator Danny Arribas. “I knew the pitcher from the previous at-bat. I picked up his release point, and I was just thinking load early and drive the ball. I connected, and helped the team get ahead even more. I’m very happy about that.”

The Power had some great pitching tonight, with Logan Sendelbach going 6.1 innings, giving up an unearned run on six hits, with no walks and two strikeouts. He used his sinking fastball to get ahead of hitters, generating a lot of ground balls, and a lot of weak contact.

“He set the tone for the series,” Esposito said. “He went out there, he used his fastball, he used his breaking ball when he needed to. He pitched well. Attacked the inner half, and he set things up for everyone else. He went out there, had a huge shut-down inning. We put up seven runs, and he went up there and had a huge 1-2-3 inning, and shut them down, take the wind out of their sails.”

I’ve seen Sendelbach a few times in the past, and there are two different pitchers that show up. Both versions work primarily off the fastball, trying to get grounders and weak contact. He has success when he has good velocity (90-93) and throws strikes, which was the case tonight. When the velocity is lower, and when he’s nibbling around the zone, he can’t set up his secondary stuff. He’s avoided that for the most part this year.

“He’s really been going out there and executing his fastball,” Esposito said. “He’s getting a lot of swings, a lot of ground balls with his sinker. When you have guys looking on that inner half, it opens up the door on the outer half for him to use his weapons. The slider is playing for him because he’s doing such a good job commanding his sinker.”

Tomorrow will be my final game covering West Virginia during this trip, with Bret Helton taking the mound, assuming the rain holds off. – Tim Williams

  • Tim: Casey Hughston broke out of his 0 for 23 funk – it must have been you, Tim. He is and has been the WV Power #4 hitter since the beginning of the season and is now up to .156/.226/.247/.473 OPS. Keeping him in that “premier” spot in the order could be the Manager trying to show confidence in him, but at the same time, staying in that “premier” spot in the order in light of that slash line has to be adding a lot of pressure.

    Time for a 2 or 3 day break, review all the video and go back to the absolute basics of hitting, and then come back into the lineup at #6 or #7 and see if that helps in any way.

    The Pirates took that approach of dropping Connor Joe in the order at Hi A from #3 to #6, and he seems to be hitting better, and raising his average.

    • Tim, John, Ryan, Anybody? Would really like to know what`s going on with Kang. We know he`s 3 for 28, but is he totally struggling or making a fair amount of hard contact and hitting in bad luck? A scouting report on him would be really nice. Thanks in advance as he is obviously a very important piece to the puzzle at the major league level, David Freese or no David Freese.

      • I’ve included a few reports about him in the recaps the last week. The first ones said his timing looked off, out in front of breaking balls, swinging through fastballs. Then I mentioned that he started making better contact, but didn’t have anything to show for it and his timing was better. Also noted his fielding has looked good from day one. If you check the prospect watch articles since he arrived, you can see the progress, usually near the end of the reports because I went in depth on the pitchers

        • Thanks John. So do you think its just a matter of getting his timing back? I`m certainly no expert, but I would think the thing least affected by the injury in the long run would be the hitting.

          • I think he will be fine. He was already facing live pitching and playing full games down in Extended Spring Training before he joined Indianapolis. He’s actually faced a lot of pitching so I’m a little surprised he struggled at all with contact. The good news is one strikeout in his last 19 plate appearances, so along with his fielding looking good since day one, he should be fine when he comes back next week…he’s coming back next week regardless because rehab stints are 20 days max for position players and today is day 13.

  • I have to say Tito Polo sure looks like a guy with more confidence at the plate. I know there’s never really only one thing but have to think that day he filled in for McCutchen in pro game (Spring Training) was a huge mental boost for him.

  • I never thought I’d read “Tito Polo” and “Grand Slam” in the same sentence.

    Go Marco, go. er ah, Tito…my bad.

  • Dovydas Neverauskas seems to have found a home in the bullpen???

    He really brings it. 95+

    • He has always had the ability to throw hard, hitting 95 numerous times in the past. He has never done it with control though and doesn’t have secondary pitches to fall back on. He has a 6.30 ERA and 1.50 WHIP right now, so no reason to get anymore excited on him than in the past.

    • He’s been hitting 95 since he came in the system. He’s also had a trend where he looks really good one outing, but is massively inconsistent and mostly struggles. It seems that’s continuing this year.

  • Is it a misprint????

    Attendance for the games tonight…

    @ Indy: 6,523
    @ Akron: 5,050
    @ WVA: 2,447
    @ Jupiter: 379?????

    Please tell me that was a mistake and Marlins High A affiliate in Florida can draw more than 400 in a game.

    • Considering the Marlins Major League affiliate can’t draw much more…

    • The entire Florida State League draws poorly. The weather isn’t good for games between the rain and heat. There are a ton of teams in a small general area, so people can go wherever they want. Most of the teams are owned by their own affiliates as well, so they don’t exactly go all out to draw crowds, they just take advantage of having a team play at their Spring Training home. Playing at the same place as MLB players use for five weeks doesn’t help either with the huge drop in quality of play

  • #FreeHeredia !!

  • piraterican21
    April 29, 2016 9:30 pm

    I’m starting to worry a bit about kang, I keep telling myself that he absolutely sucked during last year spring training games, but I still have a bad feeling.

    • Here is what I will say…I am a little concerned as well. He struggled last year in ST and then during his MLB regular season adjustment period. However, I agree he really is not producing right now and that is worrisome but what I love is the fact that we have an incredible insurance policy in David Freese.

      • How can you guys not get that Kang had a “catastrophic” knee injury worse than an ACL? Huntington has come right out and said nobody in MLB has had this injury before, and Kang is way way ahead of his rehab schedule.

        He will not be the same this year, or maybe ever. To expect him to come back this season and perform as he did in the months before the injury is short sighted.

        With Kang, it’s all about next year. I will be really encouraged to see him play 4 games a week, and OPS 750, and stay healthy.

        Thank the PBC management that we got Freese so cheap, and that we have 3 solid infielders ready for MLB by next season.

      • He’s working on his change up.

    • Everyone relax about Kang. He will be alright he needs time.

    • Worry more about Cutch than a guy who is rehabbing from an awful knee injury.
      28 ABs and you guys are panicking?

  • Waddell seems to make things look easy at this level. I do not think he’s challenged at all. I love his experience and his make-up. I hated watching him do my Commodores dirty last year, but he’s got a great mentality on the mound and good stuff as a lefty. I think he profiles as a #3 starter and #5 starter at worst. He’s got good command and a good repertoire of pitches to get guys out and is not afraid to attack hitters.

    • After Newman and Hayes, this was probably my favorite pick in last year’s draft. I don’t know why, I just have a good feeling about him.

      • After watching him against Dansby Swanson and company last year you had to be impressed with his make-up and his willingness to challenge hitters. He is a competitor and is not afraid to pound the strike-zone with “stuff” that gets outs and generates swings and misses.

    • Another very strong outing tonight. He definitely has what it takes to succeed, Sendelbach also.

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