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]
2. Austin Meadows, CF, Altoona – [insert_php]
3. Josh Bell, 1B, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
4. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pirates – In the Majors
5. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
6. Harold Ramirez, OF, Altoona -[insert_php]
7. Reese McGuire, C, Altoona -[insert_php]
8. Elias Diaz, C, Pirates – Disabled List.
9. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List
10. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, West Virginia -[insert_php]
11. Kevin Newman, SS, Bradenton – Disabled List
12. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php]
13. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List
14. Stephen Tarpley, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php]
15.Cole Tucker, SS, Bradenton – [insert_php]
16. Chad Kuhl, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
17. Max Moroff, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
18. Mitch Keller, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php]
19. Clay Holmes, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php]
20. Willy Garcia, OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
21. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Altoona – [insert_php]
22. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php]
23. Barrett Barnes, OF, Altoona -[insert_php]
24. Trevor Williams, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
25. Gage Hinsz, RHP , West Virginia – [insert_php]
26. Adrian Valerio, SS – Extended Spring Training
27. Adam Frazier, INF/OF, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
28. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Bradenton -[insert_php]
29. Jordan Luplow, OF/3B, Bradenton – [insert_php]
30. JT Brubaker, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php]
INDIANAPOLIS — Frank Duncan keeps secrets well.
Speculation on whether Jameson Taillon would be promoted to make his second start for the Pirates swirled into Tuesday afternoon. But internally, the decision was known for a while.
Duncan started against Pawtucket on Tuesday, one day earlier than originally scheduled due to Taillon’s promotion. But Duncan said that he knew “for a couple of days,” of the situation.
Due to a day off for the Indians on Monday, Duncan was still able to throw on four days rest, but his bullpen was just one day prior to his start instead of his normal two.
And none of the scheduling changes seemed to matter much, as Duncan turned in one of his better outings of the season: He went six innings, allowing one run on four hits. He walked one, hit one batter, and struck out five. He threw 81 pitches, 54 for a strike.
Duncan retired the side in order in the first and second innings. He induced two groundouts and had a strikeout on 11 pitches in the first inning.
“The key to my outings is keeping the ball on the ground and getting a lot of groundballs,” Duncan said. “I think I was able to set the tone early. I got a lot of [first-pitch strikes] using my sinker. … I think anytime that can be the focus of my outings I think that’s when I pitch well.”
Duncan’s 81 pitches on Tuesday are the highest amount he has thrown in his six Triple-A starts.
His previous high pitch count was 74 pitches against Columbus on May 18; but he did throw 84 pitches with Altoona earlier this month.
“We’re just trying to build him up and be conservative with him,” said Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor, noting Duncan had nine groundouts and one flyout. “His breaking ball plays at this level … we just want him to get the ball on the ground.”
Duncan had a little trouble in the fifth inning. Henry Ramos opened with a single, and Dan Butler followed that with a hard lineout to left fielder Alen Hanson. Deven Marrero hits a single to where Moroff would normally be in a traditional second base position, but he was standing pretty much on second due to a shift. Jose Vinicio had an RBI groundout to Moroff at second base. Duncan got a flyout to end the inning.
The leadoff batter also reached in the sixth inning, when Duncan hit Justin Maxwell with a pitch. But Duncan settled down and struck out Bryce Brentz and Jantzen White, before inducing a soft groundout to Josh Bell at first base to end the inning.
“When he got into trouble I thought he got careless,” Treanor said. “A couple of pitches got away from him and now he’s in trouble. He never should have been in that. But then he dials it up with two strikeouts and he gets out of that. But that can’t happen. But overall, yeah, a very good outing.”
Duncan felt he was able to use his changeup better in the sixth inning compared to the rest of his outing, which helped him get out of that jam. As for the outing as a whole, Duncan simply wanted to sharpen his pitches and find more consistency.
“The sinker is always big,” Duncan said. “If I can locate the sinker down early that will get me deep into the game. That’s probably the focus from pitch one.”
Indianapolis hit three home runs in the game. Josh Bell crushed a home run to lead off the second inning, hitting over the short stands in left field. He followed that up with a sharp single to center field in his next at-bat. Bell has eight home runs and 39 RBIs this season, and he’s hitting .312.
Danny Ortiz hit his eighth home run in the fourth inning, while Gift Ngoepe hit his third home run of the season in the fifth inning. Pedro Florimon was 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
Justin Masterson pitched the final two innings in relief. He retired the side in the eighth inning on a groundout, flyout, and popout.
But in the ninth inning, Masterson struggled. He allowed a walk and double to open the inning. Masterson struck out the next batter before allowing an RBI groundout. He then got a fly out to end the game.
“To be honest, disappointing ninth inning,” Treanor said. “We have a five run lead and he has to go out there and finish that, especially with his experience. I’m not sure what that was.”
Treanor didn’t think Masterson should have been throwing as much off-speed offerings to the first two batters of the ninth inning.
“He’s got the stuff to get these hitters out at Triple-A,” Treanor said. “Without talking to him a part of it is he wants to work on his stuff. But when we run you out there in that situation, just get it over with.”
Chad Kuhl will start for Indianapolis on Tuesday, while Wilfredo Boscan will start on Wednesday. – Brian Peloza
ALTOONA – Tyler Eppler was cruising right along four innings at only 37 pitches before he simply could not get out of the fifth inning – throwing 34 pitches in the inning before being removed with two outs. Eppler came into tonight after a couple good outings – going at least seven innings in his last two starts – and it looked like he was on his way to that again tonight before that fifth. Eppler’s fastball had a lot of late break, and his slurve was causing some weak contact early in the game. As I watched from behind the plate, both his fastball and breaking balls looked impressive.
The fifth inning began with a line drive double to center field, then Eppler allowed a single to right that Stetson Allie misplayed trying to make a quick throw to the plate. The run scored and batter moved to second on the error. Eppler then got a couple of outs before a hard hit ball to first base that was ruled an error on Jose Osuna. Osuna looked to try swipe at rather than getting in front of the ball. A walk, a single, and a 33-pitch inning later, and Eppler’s night was done.
“He ran into some bad luck,” Pitching Coach Justin Meccage said. “There were some plays that could of been made, and he ran into a 12-pitch at-bat [which ended in a walk].”
Meccage said after the game that he thought Eppler had the best total package he’s had all year tonight, and that it was just unfortunate how that inning transpired. Eppler located the fastball inside extremely well in those early innings, and the breaking ball had some swings-and-misses. Meccage also agreed with me when we talked about the late movement on Eppler’s fastball tonight. Eppler threw 51 strikes on 70 pitches.
Jared Lakind relieved Eppler in the fifth inning and recorded the final out of the inning. Lakind went on to record seven straight outs, giving him a scoreless streak of 23.2 innings. Lakind tied the Altoona Curve single season franchise record for scoreless innings with the outing. He induced four ground balls, two strikeouts, and a lone flyout in 2.1 innings pitched.
The Curve collectively got their sticks out tonight, with 16 hits, eight of them extra-base hits. The team’s 16 hits is a season-high. They hit six doubles and two home runs, and they almost had a third home run when Jose Osuna was robbed at the 405ft mark in the second inning.
Most significantly, Austin Meadows doubled in the bottom of the seventh inning to extended his hitting streak to 22 games, which is an Altoona Curve franchise record. The hit also extended his on-base streak to 27 games. Meadows protected the plate on a nasty two-seam fastball on the hit (which broke his bat) to drive it the other way down the left field line. The hard hit ground ball double put runners on second and third, and both runners ended up scoring.
In addition to Meadows extending the hitting streak, he started at a position other than center field for the first time in his professional career (not including the Arizona Fall League). Curve coaches want to be sure he is prepared in all outfield positions.
“You never know what can happen,” Curve manager Joey Cora said on Meadows. “A guy that talented – when an opportunity opens at the next two levels, he might be in right, he might be in left, and we know he can play center. A bat like that and a player like that – it’s my job to get him ready in other positions.”
Erich Weiss led the team with three hits tonight, though they were all on the ground hitting holes in the infield. Otherwise, Harold Ramirez, Jose Osuna, Reese McGuire, Eric Wood, and Stetson Allie all had two hits.
Eric Wood had a significant night all around, starting with a straight away home run over 405 ft long in the second inning. Wood came back in the fourth with a hard hit RBI single to left field. Then in the top of the next inning, Wood snagged an extremely hard hit ball going down the line to his right with a backhand play. He proceeded to hold a runner at second base and record the out at first. The ball was smoked, and Wood made a great play on it. – Sean McCool
Bradenton got Kevin Newman back in the lineup earlier than expected, but that wasn’t enough to avoid a 2-1 loss. Newman went 1-for-4, sending a bloop single in the first inning just over the glove of second baseman Scott Kingery, who was his double play partner in college. Newman missed a total of 19 days after being hit in the eye with a pitch last month.
Austin Coley made the start and while his pitching line was decent, this was a tough game. In 5.1 innings, he allowed two runs on eight hits and no walks, with three strikeouts. He also hit three batters, threw two wild pitches and had a 2:6 GO/AO ratio. Coley tossed 91 pitches, 56 for strikes.
Sam Street pitched his first game since last April and thanks to a double play in relief of Coley, he actually recorded more outs (eight) than batters faced (seven). In 2.2 perfect innings, Street needed just 17 pitches, 16 for strikes.
Jordan Luplow continued his terrific June, picking up two hits. He has a 1.073 OPS this month. Connor Joe collected his 12th double, while Chase Simpsons hit his tenth double.
Gage Hinsz pitched well on Tuesday night despite pitching in the rain most of the game. West Virginia won 7-3 in a game that included five hit batters, including Hinsz hitting one batter in the mouth, who had to be helped off the field. It was a tough start to the game for Hinsz, with two hits to begin the game that didn’t even reach the infield dirt. Those hits were followed by a line drive single to right field to load the bases, but he got out of the inning without allowing a run. In the second inning, he worked around a single, striking out three batters.
Lexington had the bases loaded in the third as well, with two singles surrounding the hit-by-pitch in the mouth. Hinsz worked out of that innings as well. In the fourth, he retired the side in order. The fifth saw two runs score, though one came after Christian Kelley threw a ball into center field on a steal, with the runner going to third, then coming home on a wild pitch. Hinsz gave up a solo homer in the sixth for the third run allowed. He finished with six innings, no walks and nine strikeouts, setting a new career high in that last category.
On offense, Christian Kelley went 1-for-3 with a walk, a run scored, and he drove in two runs. Tito Polo had an RBI on a sacrifice fly, and scored a run after one of his two hit-by-pitches. He also stole his 19th base of the season. Ryan Nagle had a single and scored two runs. Mitchell Tolman hit his 12th double and walked twice. Carlos Munoz hit his 12th double. Logan Hill went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, giving him 36 strikeouts in 80 at-bats with West Virginia.
The DSL Pirates won 2-0 on Tuesday behind some terrific pitching from starter Leandro Pina and two relievers. Pina allowed three hits over five shutout innings, while Wilmer Contreras followed with three perfect innings and Ramon Garcia closed it out for his second save. Contreras had five strikeouts and three ground outs. There were no walks from any of the three Pirates.
On offense, the Pirates scored once in the sixth and once in the seventh. Rodolfo Castro doubled the begin the sixth. He moved to third on an infield single by Johan De Jesus, then scored on a ground out. In the seventh, the Indians gave the Pirates some help. Francisco Mepris reached on an infield single and moved to second base on the throw. He then moved to third base on a balk and scored on a fielding error. Castro had two hits, including his fourth double and his first triple. He is batting .455 and has collected a hit in each game he’s played. De Jesus had two hits and a walk.