Prospect Watch: Kuhl Breezes Through Six Innings, Bell Extends On Base Streak

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’,’20160506′);
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3. Josh Bell, 1B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(605137,’B’,’20160506′);
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4. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592791,’P’,’20160506′);
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5. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(593700,’B’,’20160506′);
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6. Harold Ramirez, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(623912,’B’,’20160506′);
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7. Reese McGuire, C, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(624512,’B’,’20160506′);
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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’,’20160506′);
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11. Kevin Newman, SS, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20160506′);
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12. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(650817,’P’,’20160506′);
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13. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20160506′);
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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’,’20160506′);
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17. Max Moroff, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20160506′);
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18. Mitch Keller, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(656605,’P’,’20160506′);
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19. Clay Holmes, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20160506′);
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20. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(591994,’B’,’20160506′);
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21. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(663399,’P’,’20160506′);
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22. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20160506′);
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23. Barrett Barnes, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(608627,’B’,’20160506′);
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24. Trevor Williams, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

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’,’20160506′);
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28. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20160506′);
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29. Jordan Luplow, OF/3B, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656669,’B’,’20160506′);
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30. JT Brubaker, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(664141,’P’,’20160506′);
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P2 Top Performers

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Prospect-Watch-Indy

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Quick analysis on Chad Kuhl – Kuhl has had trouble with high pitch counts in his starts, but this outing was all about working quick and getting outs. He allowed a second inning homer to Brandon Allen, who has over 200 homers as a pro. Besides that, he was keeping the ball on the ground, with a lot of soft contact. He only threw 78 pitches over six innings. The only other hit was a one hopper right back to him in the fourth inning that hit off his hip. He waved the trainer off after walking it off and it didn’t affect him afterwards because he was still cruising through the sixth. His fastball was a tick slower, mostly sitting 92-93, with some 94’s mixed in. Usually it’s 93-95 with some 92’s mixed in. Overall, it’s the type of outing you want to see. He worked quick, kept the ball down, threw strikes and got the occasional strikeout. – John Dreker

INDIANAPOLIS – Chad Kuhl picked up right where he left off in his previous outing with Indianapolis on Friday night. However, it didn’t take long for the right-hander to do something he didn’t in the previous start…get a fly ball out. All of his outs were via the ground ball in his last start.

In the first inning, Kuhl had the sinker going strong, as he retired the side in just eight pitches with weak contact. After a lead off pop out, back-to-back ground outs retired the side.

Alen Hanson used his speed to pick off a lead-off double, his third of the early season. But he was picked off second and retired after a run down for his second caught stealing.

The second inning brought another different issue for Kuhl. Through three innings, he faced just one over the minimum. Unfortunately, that one was the second home run he’s allowed this season as he got too much plate. That was the bad, the good was the he picked up two strikeouts in the innings and another ground out.

The bottom of the second ended in a similar fashion as Willy Garcia singled with one out, but was caught stealing at second. Even though the throw was far to the first base side, Garcia was still caught easily.

In the third, Kuhl took a lot of pitches to retire the lead-off hitter, which as been one of his early season issues. After several foul balls, the hitter eventually popped out to short, but not putting them away took its toll on the pitch count. It was a moot point, as strikeout and another ground out ended the frame with Kuhl at just 35 pitches.

Kuhl allowed a lead-off single in the fourth, but stayed right at the minimum when the runner was caught stealing second. He then responded with his fourth strikeout and fifth ground out of the game to cruise smoothly through four frames. The fourth inning did cost Kuhl 17 more pitches.

Indianapolis got their first runner past second base in the bottom of the frame. Cole Figueroa picked up a one out single to right and after a fly out by Josh Bell, Garcia singled him to third. Danny Ortiz struck out swinging and the runners were stranded there.

Kuhl walked his first and only hitter in the fifth and also got two fly outs. He retired the side in the sixth as well on a fly out and back-to-back ground outs to wrap up his outing. Kuhl told me that this is his final outing limited to just six innings, despite just tossing 78 pitches. Since he was shut down in the Spring, he’s a bit behind the other starters.

Kuhl was sharp, but made just one mistake on the home run that came back to get him due to no run support by his offense until after he left. He didn’t allow a single runner in scoring position outside of the homer and just three runners for the game.

Indianapolis finally broke through in the bottom of the seventh on consecutive doubles by Danny Ortiz and Jacob Stallings to knot the game at one.

Rob Scahill and Kelvin Marte each worked a perfect inning of relief. Marte tossed a pair and struck out two.

After walking two in his inning of work, Curtis Partch wiggled out of trouble and left the game tied in the 10th. Partch rebounded and made quick work in the top of the 11th, retiring the side in order.

In another disaster outing, Trey Haley allowed five hits and five runs for the loss.

Garcia, Figueroa, and Ortiz each had two hits each. Josh Bell drew a walk in the sixth inning, giving him a season-long 24 game on base streak. – Ryan Palencer

Prospect-Watch-Altoona-Curve

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Altoona was postponed due to rain. They will play a doubleheader Saturday.

Prospect-Watch-Bradenton

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BRADENTON – Yeudy Garcia didn’t get much help from his defense tonight. He allowed two unearned runs in the second inning after an error and a missed pop up. He allowed another run in the third inning after a double that should have been a fly out. The total result led to a 3-2 loss.

The second inning saw Garcia give up a lead-off double that was just out of reach of the right fielder, Logan Hill, who was ranging back and to his right to try and catch the ball. However, this came a few pitches after the batter popped one up behind home plate, which Taylor Gushue couldn’t catch, possibly losing the easy pop-up in the sun. Garcia hit a batter, putting runners on first and second with no outs. He got a strikeout, then got a possible double play ball to Kevin Newman. However, Newman rushed to make the throw before he had the ball in his glove, and booted the grounder.

It’s possible Newman could have started a double play there, although it was a fast runner heading to first. Still, getting one out in that situation would have been huge, as it would have led to first and third with two outs, rather than the bases loaded with one out. Garcia got another strikeout before giving up a two-run single.

In the third inning, the lead-off hitter got on with another double. The box score shows this as a ground rule double at the time of this writing, but it was a bad read by Hill in right field. It was a shallow, routine fly ball that he got a bad jump on, and it ended up falling in for a hit between him and the second baseman. The runner ran it out and stretched it to a double. The next batter crushed a double to deep center field, bringing in the third run on the game. Garcia then loaded the bases with two more singles, before getting a strikeout and a double play started by Newman.

Had it not been for the error in the second, and the bad play by Hill in the third, Garcia might have gotten through the outing with no runs. He also might have pitched longer, as the long innings led him to be removed after four frames, with 79 pitches. He didn’t have the best results tonight, even outside of those two frames, giving up eight hits total. He did strike out six, getting a few key strikeouts to limit the damage, but still didn’t look like the pitcher he was last year. His velocity was in the 90-94 MPH range, sitting 92-93 most of the start.

Kevin Kramer tried to bring the Marauders back, hitting a home run in the fourth inning, his second one of the season and second this week. Kramer had two hits on the night, and looks to be heating up after poor results but solid contact early in the season. Taylor Gushue picked off a runner at third base in the fifth inning, helping Junior Lopez get out of a tough inning. Gushue also had an impressive hit, going opposite field with a single down the third base line, with the Stone Crabs defense shifting him to the right side of the infield.

Kevin Newman booted the one double play ball, but started two others. He also picked up two hits and one walk in his four plate appearances. He continues to show a professional approach to hitting, stepping up and looking for early contact, and usually placing a hard hit single where the other team isn’t fielding. His first hit of the night was on the first pitch, as he lined a single to right field. He also drew a lead-off walk and stole second base, eventually coming around to score the first run of the game.

Edgar Santana pitched two shutout innings, and continues to show nasty stuff. He was sitting 93-96 MPH, and had a nice slider that completely fooled one batter three pitches in a row. Santana looks like a reliever only, and could reach Altoona by mid-season, due to his stuff and his age. – Tim Williams

Prospect-Watch-WV-Power

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West Virginia lost 4-3 on Friday night, as JT Brubaker had an unusually poor outing. After the Power went scoreless in the top of the first, Brubaker served up a home run, a single and another homer to quickly make it 3-0. After that, he retired eight batters in a row. Then the command issues came, with three walks before his night was through. Charleston capped off the scoring with another home run in the fourth inning. Brubaker came into the game with six homers allowed in his first 20 starts as a pro. He also surpassed last year’s walk total (12) in 40.1 less innings. Brubaker has not done a good job of keeping the ball down this year. He had an 0.67 GO/AO ratio coming into the game, well below the 1.63 ratio he put up last season. On Friday, he had a 2:6 GO/AO ratio.

West Virginia put runners on base this game, but couldn’t push enough runs across. They had seven hits, three walks and two hit batters (technically one since it was Tyler Filliben both times). They went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

Tito Polo had two singles, drew a walk and scored a run. Ke’Bryan Hayes had a single and an RBI ground out, driving home Ty Moore, who doubled for the Power’s only extra-base hit. Christian Kelley had two hits and drove in a run. Casey Hughston came into the game on a 2-for-42 stretch, with one of those hits being a bunt that the third baseman lost the handle on while trying to make the throw. He picked up a hit in this contest, but he got thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. He also struck out twice, giving him 38 strikeouts in 95 at-bats this season.

  • BallHeadWonder
    May 7, 2016 7:51 am

    Tim/John,

    Talk to me….now I know I am 90% wrong on everything I say so stay with me. Chad Kuhl is NH’s secret weapon!! This dude has been a beast not getting any pub because of Batman (JT) and Robin (Tyler Glassnow) of Indy!! But what a Shot in the arm to let these 3 come up this season and the ’17 Rotation of Cole, JT, Glassnow, Franky (As a Number 4!!!!) and Kuhl as a 5!!!! Wow!!!! Now stay with me….Kingham, Boscon and what is my man’s name that has been out for almost 2 years with shoulder issues that gave us great work in ’13 and ’14?? Anyway, that can be legitimate pitching depth with some MLB experience in AAA next season!! Wow!!!! I like our chances every nite!!! Oh and Locke, Niese and Nicasio??? Leave that to NH to find creative ways to make them useful for the organization!!! Tell me what do u think??

    • BHW: On this site I caught onto this kid when he started to separate himself from the herd in Hi A. I have continued to comment about him, even going so far as to say before the season started that I thought he could be the first guy up from AAA because of his Command and the pitches he throws.

      He is no secret – Quote from the 2016 Prospect Guide “Kuhl drew the attention of several rival scouts this year, and the Pirates showed how much they liked him by holding him back from potential trades . . . . ” When you go 24 – 10 in Hi A and AA, there is no team that does not know your name – sounds like a bite from “Cheers” so I better quit.

    • John Dreker
      May 7, 2016 2:37 pm

      The Pirates look like they are set up great for 2017 and beyond, but there is definitely a reason why they are called prospects and why you say you can never have enough pitching. A year ago, most people would have said Taillon and Kingham would be in the rotation right now.

      They aren’t the best examples, but if you look at Angel Sanchez, Brandon Cumpton and Casey Sadler, those are three pitchers who would likely be contributing at some point this season, but now the only contributions from them this season would come in the form of advice to young pitchers down at Pirate City because they are all out for the year.

  • Chad Kuhl has been a model of pitching consistency so far – 5 starts where he has given up 2, 0, 1, 0, 1 runs. He gets his share of K’s (just under 1 per IP), combines that with an excellent GB percentage (8/3 GO/FO last night), and just commands the games he pitches. He has maybe 5 more starts before June.

    That kid that just came up from AAA to the Pirates had himself a real game last night in St Louis!

    In the Power Section I think there is an error – “JT Brubaker had an usually poor outing . . . .” I think unusually was supposed to be the word, because he has done very well so far this year.

    • John Dreker
      May 7, 2016 2:28 pm

      You are correct, my mistake on the Brubaker spelling, unusually was what I meant

  • C Joe is a K king this year. What’s up with that?

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    May 6, 2016 8:38 pm

    Kevin Newman is hitting a lot better this year, than last, even though he is now in High A. He is also stealing some bases and generally getting on base. That’s the good news. The somewhat bad news is he is hitting for very little extra base power – which was the scouting report on him coming out of college. But, that isn’t a huge issue and maybe he will grow stronger and drive the ball more. The bigger concern is I noticed he has 6 errors already in less than 30 games. Considering he’s playing in Bradenton, I assume that cannot be partly blamed on a poor infield. I thought he was supposed to be a good defensive shortstop, although with limited range and arm? Are these mostly fielding or throwing errors?

    • Check my article on him from a week ago to answer defensive questions. Has to do with setting up.

    • The 6 E’s in 30 games is about where he was last year when he had 11 E’s combined in 60 games at SS and Lo A. It is a concern, and is being addressed by the Pirates; what he does from here forward will tell us what we have defensively.

      How good is Jordy Mercer? 7 E’s in 115 G in 2015; 11 E’s in 144 G in 2014. And, coming up there were very few who thought he had skills like that.

      • frank baloh
        May 7, 2016 9:01 am

        hard to compare a low level minor league field to an MLB field.

        • Not really. His point is that no one thought Mercer would be a quality major league SS when he was at the stage Newman is in the minors, so it’s premature to think Newman won’t be able to handle the position as he progresses towards the majors.

          • wtm: Thank you, sometimes I write things that I know what I am saying, and fail to make it clearer to the general audience. You were right on with where I was headed, and also trying to show how high the quality level is of the guy who is in place right now.

  • When do we find out that Garcia needs TJ surgery? So far he has not lived up to high expectations. I hope it is just an adjustment to a higher level of competition.

    • He is struggling compared to his breakout season of 2015 in Lo A, but still has a respectable ERA of around 3.50. He was getting hit last night, but, reading the summary, the defense could have been better also. His GO/FO has not been what it was last year, but an error on a GB cost him 2 unearned runs early in the game. That physical error and possibly some questionable OF play (mental error) were contributors to making it a bad game for Garcia.

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