Prospect Watch: Brandon Waddell Throws Seven Shutout Innings

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, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(640457,’B’,’20160624′);
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3. Josh Bell, 1B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(605137,’B’,’20160624′);
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4. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pirates – In the Majors

5. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(593700,’B’,’20160624′);
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6. Harold Ramirez, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(623912,’B’,’20160624′);
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7. Reese McGuire, C, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(624512,’B’,’20160624′);
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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’,’20160624′);
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11. Kevin Newman, SS, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20160624′);
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12. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(650817,’P’,’20160624′);
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13. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20160624′);
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 14. Stephen Tarpley, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(605501,’P’,’20160624′);
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15.Cole Tucker, SS, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(657061,’B’,’20160624′);
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16. Chad Kuhl, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(641771,’P’,’20160624′);
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17. Max Moroff, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20160624′);
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18. Mitch Keller, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(656605,’P’,’20160624′);
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19. Clay Holmes, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20160624′);
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20. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(591994,’B’,’20160624′);
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21. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(663399,’P’,’20160624′);
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22. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20160624′);
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23. Barrett Barnes, OF, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(608627,’B’,’20160624′);
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24. Trevor Williams, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592866,’P’,’20160624′);
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25. Gage Hinsz, RHP, West Virginia  – [insert_php] display_top30(656543,’P’,’20160624′);
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26. Adrian Valerio, SS – Bristol – [insert_php] display_top30(650832,’B’,’20160624′);
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27. Adam Frazier, INF/OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(624428,’B’,’20160624′);
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28. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20160624′);
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29. Jordan Luplow, OF/3B, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656669,’B’,’20160624′);
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30. JT Brubaker, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(664141,’P’,’20160624′);
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P2 Top Performers

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Prospect-Watch-Indy

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INDIANAPOLIS — Frank Duncan’s first five appearances this season came as a reliever in Altoona.

Now, he’s a starter in Indianapolis. And one game at a time he’s gained confidence in himself, while also instilling that feeling into manager Dean Treanor.

Duncan may not have the flashiest stuff, but has become one of the Indians’ most consistent starters. And he put together another good start on Friday against Buffalo. Duncan allowed four hits and one earned run in six innings, striking out seven and walking one.

In three of his past four starts, Duncan has allowed one run. He’s made it through five innings in all but one of his eight starts with Indianapolis. Those consistent performances are what instill confidence in Treanor.

“Very confident,” Treanor said. “Whenever he’s in trouble he seems to make key pitches and he’s been deep in the game for us. And with the state of our bullpen the way it’s been this last week, we needed that tonight. He did it the other night. That’s what he does. He gets you into that sixth or seventh inning.”

Duncan’s sinker and slider-curve mix worked well against Buffalo, with the latter pitch leading to most of his seven strikeouts. Duncan threw 57 of his 94 pitches for a strike, but seemed to have to work within a slightly smaller strike zone based on the umpire.

“I think my best attribute is that you are probably going to get the same guy every time that I step on the mound,” Duncan said. “It’s all about controlling the sinker down and getting groundballs. That’s my main focus.”

The only run Duncan allowed came in the third inning, an inning that was hindered by some slight control problems. Duncan walked Jio Mier to open the third inning. Alexi Casillas just beat out the throw and reached on a bunt single, but Duncan induced an unassisted double play on a sharp lineout to first baseman Josh Bell.

Duncan followed that by hitting Matt Dominguez with a pitch that got away from him too far inside. Jesus Montero made that mistake hurt with an RBI single for the game’s only run. With runners on the corner with two outs, Duncan got Casey Kotchman to foul out to third baseman Max Moroff.

Buffalo had runners at first and third with one out in the second inning. Duncan got out of that jam by striking out the next two batters and leaving those runners stranded.

Duncan originally came to Indianapolis to fill in for Steven Brault during his rehab from a hamstring injury. He was briefly sent back to Altoona, before rejoining Indianapolis six days later. And he’s pitched on short rest twice this season, both producing solid outings.

“He wants to start,” Treanor said. “As things work out and changes made, or somebody gets hurt, or somebody gets called up — now, he’s still here. He’s a factor in our rotation right now.”

Duncan said one general aspect to his continued improvement and consistent performances at the Triple-A level is simple: more confidence. He joined a staff that included the organization’s top prospect — Tyler Glasnow — and several other top prospects, such as Jameson Taillon, Chad Kuhl, and Brault.

“All of those guys are cream of the crop prospects,” Duncan said. “They are going to go out and flash a lot of crazy numbers and be really good. Just feeling like I belong with those guys and feel like I can pitch with them. … I think I’m getting more confident each and every time out.”

Indianapolis managed just six hits, with Alen Hanson collecting three of them. But he had a bad baserunning read in the ninth inning. His one-out double in the ninth put the tying run on with just one out. Pedro Florimon, who got engaged on Friday, hit a hard single that should have been a game-tying RBI, but Hanson did not get a good read and had to be held at third despite his speed.

Max Moroff walked and had a double, reaching base safely in 21 consecutive games. – Brian Peloza

Prospect-Watch-Altoona-Curve

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On Friday night, Brandon Waddell looked like the pitcher the Pirates promoted to Altoona after just five starts this season. He came into the game with a 5.22 ERA and 1.74 WHIP in 39.2 innings with the Curve. The worst part was the 20 walks, which was 18 more than he had with Bradenton. He turned that around in this game, throwing seven shutout innings. He allowed just three hits, walked one, and had eight strikeouts. Waddell had a 10:1 GO/AO ratio and threw 55 of his 83 pitches for strikes. Until this game, he hadn’t gone further than 5.1 innings in a start since early May.

Edgar Santana finished off the game with two shutout innings. He was called up to Altoona at the same time as Waddell and has pitched well, especially for someone who was with Morgantown at this time last year. Santana has a 3.16 ERA in 25.2 innings, with 23 strikeouts, a 1.09 WHIP and a 2.33 GO/AO ratio.

The Curve won 4-0 and had a tough time with former Pirates prospect Jayson Aquino, who allowed two runs over his seven innings. Reese McGuire and Eric Wood each had two hits, with Wood belting a solo homer in the sixth inning, his eighth of the season. Edwin Espinal had an RBI double in the eighth inning, his 11th double of the season. His .327 average is tops on the team. Kevin Newman doubled to lead-off the game, his third double for Altoona.

Prospect-Watch-Bradenton

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Bradenton has been postponed due to rain. They will play a doubleheader tomorrow.

Prospect-Watch-WV-Power

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Dario Agrazal was cruising through his start in Asheville through four innings, which is tough to do because Asheville’s park is very hitter friendly. He then ran into trouble in the fifth and sixth and left with a 3-1 deficit. It was all West Virginia from the seventh inning on, as they went home with an 11-3 victory. Agrazal ended up allowing ten hits, but there were some good signs to his outing. He had a 9:0 GO/AO ratio and didn’t walk any batters, plus he threw 55 of his 78 pitches for strikes. He has given up 11 walks in 70 innings this season.

Casey Hughston had a big game, going 2-for-3 with two walks. He hit a three-run homer in the ninth and scored three runs. The homer was his third of the season. Danny Arribas had two hits, including his seventh home run of the season. Carlos Munoz collected his 14th double. Ke’Bryan Hayes had two hits and drove in three runs. He hit his first triple of the season and just the second of his career. Mitchell Tolman had two hits, a walk, an RBI and scored two runs. Everyone in the lineup reached base at least twice except Logan Hill, who hit his fourth double and scored a run.

Prospect-Watch-Morgantown

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Sixth round pick Cam Vieaux threw four no-hit innings in his second pro start, but that wasn’t enough, as Morgantown lost 4-3 to Staten Island in ten innings. Vieaux had a tough first start on Sunday, getting knocked out after 2.2 innings. His only flaws in this game were a pair of walks, but the second one was quickly erased on a double play. Danny Beddes allowed three runs in his 3.1 innings and Yunior Montero had a lot of control issues, walking five batters in his two innings. The winning run scored on a wild pitch after three walks loaded the bases.

First round pick Will Craig went 1-for-4 with an RBI in this game and committed his first error. He is hitting .190 through six games. Ty Moore, Kevin Krause and Chris Harvey each had two hits. Harvey’s double was the only extra-base hit for the Black Bears. Moore picked up his third stolen base. Jordan George had two walks, scored a run and stole a base. Morgantown has lost two in a run since winning their first six games.

Prospect-Watch-Bristol

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Bristol opened their season yesterday and got in three scoreless innings before rain suspended the game. When they returned on Friday night, they got hit hard in a 9-4 loss. Nestor Oronel started yesterday and threw three shutout frames. When they started today, they went with a couple late round picks from the 2015 draft and they got smacked around for nine runs. Mike Wallace gave up six of those runs and Shane Kemp surrendered the last three, though he also allowed all three inherited runners to score in the seventh inning.

The offense was led by Victor Fernandez, who hit two doubles and scored a run. Raul Siri had a double before the rain came Thursday. Garrett Brown had an RBI single and an outfield assist. Top prospect Adrian Valerio had a walk and a stolen base.

Game Two – Bristol split the doubleheader on Friday night, winning game two by a 4-2 score. The offense was led by an unlikely source. Yoel Gonzalez has hit one home run in each of his first three seasons, his rookie year in the DSL and his last two in the GCL. Last year, that homer ended up being his only extra-base hit. He homered in his first at-bat this season, then added a double in his second trip to the plate, surpassing last year’s extra-base hit total in two swings. Bristol also got a home run from Adrian Valerio, who went 1-for-3 in the game. Julio de la Cruz had a double, while Michael de la Cruz had a single, walk and a stolen base.

Nicholas Economos started and went three innings, allowing two runs. He struck out four batters. The bullpen picked him up with two shutout innings from Geoff Hartlieb, followed by a scoreless inning each from Nick Hutchings and John Pomeroy, who got the save by striking out the side in the seventh.

Prospect-Watch-GCL

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The GCL Pirates won their season opener 3-1 over the Tigers East (they have a West team too). Starter Brian Sousa allowed one run on one hit and a walk in his five innings. He had four strikeouts and a 9:2 GO/AO ratio. He retired ten batters in a row at one point. Sousa was one of the top signings during the 2014-15 international signing period, but two shoulder injuries limited him to five starts last year and some poor results as he tried to pitch through the injury at first.

Ivan Cespedes pitched his first game as a pro despite signing in February 2013. He had to have Tommy John surgery before he got into his first game in the DSL. The recovery time carried over into last year and caused him to miss his second full season. It was a strong debut, as he went two shutout innings, with no hits and one walk. Cespedes was followed by Francis Rodriguez, who missed all of last year with an ACL tear. He threw two shutout innings for the save.

On offense, the team was led by Edison Lantigua, who went 3-for-4 with a triple and run scored. The Pirates had 11 hits total, ten went for singles. Felix Vinicio had two hits and scored a run. Henrry Rosario had a single, walk and scored a run.

Gift Ngoepe’s younger brother made his pro debut and it was a successful one. Victor Ngoepe went 1-for-3 with a HBP and had some nice plays on defense I was told. The 18-year-old also answered a question I always wondered about. Do players at the lower levels get to keep the ball from their first hit? He said he did get to keep the ball, and when asked about any nerves from his first game, Ngoepe replied “I felt really good here, felt like I belonged”.

Check out the season preview here with information on the top ten prospects, as well as a few other players of interest on the team.

Prospect-Watch-DSL

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The DSL Pirates won 6-3 on Friday, as the bullpen provided them with 4.1 shutout innings in the comeback win. The Pirates were down 3-0 at one point, as starter Yeudry Manzanillo allowed three runs in his 4.2 innings. He was followed by Eumir Sepulveda, who had a nice bounce back from his last outing when he gave up five runs in one inning. He threw 3.1 scoreless innings in this game, picking up the win. Jose Delgado finished off the game for the save.

On offense, Cristopher Perez raised his average to .333 with three hits. He drove in a pair and scored a run. Top prospect Kevin Sanchez had a strong game to raise his average to .290, going 2-for-4 with a walk and his first double. Kyle Simmons came into the game late and was still able to collect a single, a walk, and score two runs, as well as swipe his third base of the season. Shortstop Rodolfo Castro broke a string of four consecutive hitless games by going 1-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored.

  • Nice to see Waddell get back on track, and excellent games by Duncan and Sousa also.

    Good to see Casey Hughston respond to the month he spent off the field going back to the basics of hitting. Since coming back he is hitting .391, and the switch from #4 in the lineup to being the leadoff batter made a lot of sense for his skill set. W/K of 3/8 is much better than before. Hopefully he will continue to build on a solid foundation.

  • John or Tim, have either of you heard anything recent on any other draft picks being close to signing? Especially the status of Nick Lodolo?

    • John Dreker
      June 25, 2016 1:20 am

      Nothing other than Lodolo is negotiating with the team and Kranick and anyone else who wants over slot probably has to wait to see how it plays out.

      • With a month left before the signing deadline, it is gamesmanship. If Lodolo or his advisor quoted a number to the teams who took the time to ask (Pirates not being one of those teams), then maybe it is not their intent to honor that number for the Pirates. If so, the Pirates have painted themselves into a corner, and they may have to give up any hope of signing both Lodolo and Kranick. I hope that is not the case, but it looks like somebody really dropped the ball on this one.

  • gosteelers69
    June 25, 2016 12:47 am

    This Frank Duncan guy really has me intrigued. Could we now be looking at a sleeper starter for the backend of the Pirates rotation? I know we need massive help in the bullpen right now, so they will more than likely keep him on that path. But his stats and success thus far are really intriguing. I’d love to hear more thoughts on his potential.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    June 24, 2016 10:59 pm

    On a different topic…..AJ Reed, the stud, power hitting first baseman who the Pirates passed on to instead make the curious pick of Connor Joe, was just called up to the Astros…he’s been hitting at a very high level aver since he was drafted….

    • But we have so many more years of control with Joe – that is what matters to the BMTIBB

    • There’s plenty of quirky, illogical, or downright terrible issues pertaining to the business side of all major sports but for my money the worst has to be that the MLB draft is set up in such as way as to dissuade teams from taking the most talented player available in order to ensure the ability to sign the majority of a team’s draft class. If the Bucs took AJ Reed, who knows which other picks wouldn’t have signed because there wasn’t enough money to go around (Eppler, Hinsz, Duncan, Durapau?).

      • You are highlighting an issue that does not get enough attention. There is often no direct correlation between talent and draft position in the MLB draft.
        Signability over talent equates to draft position. On top of that the clubs are contacting the players before the draft to negotiate price and draft position.

  • Go little Gift.

  • Nice to see Waddell get back on track.

  • I really wish Newman would stop being a stud at every level…it really messes up my narrative that prospects need to struggle because the adversity makes them better.

    • I guess you must like watching Taillion pitch.

      • Bah! You win this round! 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • That little guy reminds me of Chris Duffy ( Frazier)

          • Got his first hit out of the way quick! Hopefully it’s the first of many. Looks like Waddell got back to where he started the year. Nice to see.

          • Duffy had the skill set; Frazier is not physically gifted, but he gives everything he has. Remember David Eckstein?

            Taillon has struggled, but I do not get frustrated watching him. When they bring in experienced MLB relievers who perform like Hughes and Lobstein did last night, that’s throw something at the TV frustrating to watch.

            • Frazier and Eckstein comps; similar types. Good pickup. Eck was an annoying type, but I imagine if you had him, you loved him.
              And…Hurdle didn’t bury him on the bench, let him actually play. Makes me wonder with this sudden influx of youngsters if the F.O. is posturing for the trade deadline.

          • Hopefully he lasts a little longer than Duffy did. The Bucs had a string of centerfielders look awesome for half a season and then fade away the next. Tike Redman, Adrian Brown… and Chris Duffy.

            • Chris Duffy’s career was destroyed by the Pirates’ hitting coach at the time. They tried to change him from a line drive hitter to the next Matty Alou, and it messed him up.

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