The West Virginia Power have changed their roster up for Saturday’s doubleheader, dropping three players, including third round pick Casey Hughston. Here are the moves:
Casey Hughston has been sent to Extended Spring Training. He has been replaced by Logan Hill, who was demoted from Bradenton.
Ty Moore has also been sent to Extended Spring Training. He was replaced by infielder Logan Ratledge.
Reliever Eric Karch has been released. Sean Keselica takes his place in the bullpen.
Hughston is of course the big name here. He was the third round pick of the Pirates last year and he has had an awful time with strikeouts this season. In 129 at-bats, he has a .466 OPS and 51 strikeouts. He was barely any better last year with Morgantown, striking out 71 times in 219 at-bats. He has excellent speed and plays strong defense in center field, but the strikeouts will really have to decrease for him to tap into all of his raw power and reach his peak.
Hill has played well recently, but he is behind a large group of outfielders on the Bradenton roster and not receiving enough playing time, so with both Moore and Hughston leaving, that opens up some consistent playing time for him. No word yet on who will take his spot with Bradenton. It will likely be either Trace Tam Sing or Erik Lunde, as they have been with the Marauders all year as extras.
Moore got off to a slow start with a .195/.256/.260 slash line, but unlike Hughston, he hasn’t had any strikeout issues. He has 11 all year in 77 at-bats. Ratledge has switched between being the 25th and 26th man for the Power all season, seeing limited playing time.
Karch had a 5.74 ERA in 15.2 innings, with 18 strikeouts and a 1.21 WHIP. He turned 24 last October, so he was obviously a long-shot at that age in the back of a Low-A bullpen. Keselica was a 33rd round draft pick last year. The 22-year-old struggled in Morgantown’s bullpen, posting a 4.78 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP, but he also put up a strong 2.36 GO/AO ratio.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
All of these early 2016 failures at the low levels are of real concern because, as we all know, the Pirates are now drafting lower and lower due to success at the MLB level. Most anybody can get lucky drafting high with the likes of a Garret Cole. The trick now is to bring in real prospects when the cream has been picked.
If the Pirates can’t do this, it means tough times ahead. And this bears, obviously, some close watching for the remainder of the year. Guys like Michael Suchy tore up the league with the Power last year, but are not getting it done in the Florida State League.
I noticed some of these guys struggling last year and questioned where they were drafted. Some body or bodies in the scouting department will be replaced.
Agreed. Hughston is one of those I questioned when drafted and I probably suggested 2 or 3 times this year that he be sent down or sat down for “away from the field” work in the batting cage. I think it is obvious that he is not seeing the ball properly, and that is not a quick fix – reps after reps after reps trying to overcome the bad habits that caused the problem.
Too bad for Hughston – hopefully he can get straightened out in EST – he seems like he has a lot of natural abilities and is a very good athlete…
What’s up with Moore – he hit pretty well last year?
Maybe we need to re-think this recent strategy of drafting so many college bats….as it seems like so many of them cannot gain any traction even in A ball……Joe, Luplow, Hughston, Moore, Suchy, Gushue, Hill, etc., etc. This year, Newman and Kramer are the exceptions.