Last week, we started a new feature on Sunday night, recapping all of the top prospect features from the previous week. We started this feature simply because we have too much content on the Pirates. We’ve posted 45 articles since the last version of this post went up, which is an average of just over six articles per day. For that reason, things easily get lost in the mix, and we never want that happening with the top stories.
Here are the top stories from this past week, with a lot of analysis on some of the top prospects in the system, along with some looks at a few guys who were ranked lower at the start of the year:
10. Luis Heredia is having success out of the bullpen this year, after looking like he completely lost any chance of being a prospect or making the majors coming into the year. His chances are still low, but he’s emerging as a potential middle relief option in the future. I wrote about why that’s the case, detailing a few changes he made to his style of pitching.
9. The Pirates went over-slot to sign Erich Weiss in the 11th round of the 2013 draft, and have been playing him at second base ever since. Their decision to go over-slot might be starting to pay off, as Weiss is off to a hot start in Altoona. Sean McCool details what is working for him this year.
8. Nick Kingham is returning from Tommy John surgery, and took the next step in his rehab on Friday, facing live hitters for the first time. I talked to Kingham after his outing, detailing his future progression in his rehab, and how things are going so far.
7. Stephen Tarpley will make his 2016 debut with Bradenton on Tuesday, after missing the start of the season with an oblique injury. The left-handed starter is one of the best pitching prospects at the level this year, and looks to carry over his success from West Virginia last season. I talked with Tarpley, previewing his season ahead of his first start.
6. Continuing with the injury updates to top prospects, Cole Tucker made his return on Sunday and went 1-for-4 with West Virginia. I’d expect him to be at the level until Kevin Newman gets promoted to Altoona. At that point, I think he moves up. Before he left for West Virginia, I talked with him about his rehab, and his impressively quick return from labrum surgery.
5. Brandon Waddell made his Double-A debut this week, and while it wasn’t as dominating as his outings in Bradenton, he did get off to a good start. As for those starts in Bradenton, I talked to Marauders manager Michael Ryan, who said that it looked like Waddell was bored in High-A, and needed a new challenge.
4. Speaking of Waddell, our monthly awards came out at the start of the week, with Waddell winning Pitcher of the Month award over some tough competition. He was also the Pitcher of the Month for the Florida State League. Josh Bell won our Player of the Month award, and I detailed how he’s doing much better from the right side this year, while also hitting for power.
3. Switching over to MLB coverage, we had two big features this week. James Santelli had a special feature on Jake Arrieta, looking at what led to Arrieta going from being a struggling prospect to one of the best pitchers in baseball, and how this all applies to the pitching prospects in Indianapolis. Ed Giles took a look at what was leading to the struggles from Jon Niese, going into detail with his pitches.
2. Ke’Bryan Hayes has been one of the better stories in the lower levels so far this year. I saw him over four games in West Virginia recently, and talked with him about his offensive success so far, and some of the changes he is working on with his swing in order to maintain consistency. I also looked at his baseball family, and how that helps him in his pro career.
1. Tyler Glasnow is going to be one of the biggest topics each week, especially if he continues pitching well. He did just that on Saturday, striking out 11 batters in seven shutout innings. Ryan Palencer was at the start, and broke down what was working for Glasnow, while also discussing his focus on the changeup and the running game.
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