Prospect Watch: Vogelsong Leaves Start Early Due to Tight Neck

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.

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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, Indianapolis – [insert_php]

9. Nick Kingham, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php]

10. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, West Virginia -[insert_php]

11. Kevin Newman, SS, Altoona – [insert_php]

12. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php]

13. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]

 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]

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23. Barrett Barnes, OF, Altoona -[insert_php]

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25. Gage Hinsz, RHP, West Virginia  – [insert_php]

26. Adrian Valerio, SS – Bristol – [insert_php]

27. Adam Frazier, INF/OF, Pirates – In the Majors

28. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Bradenton -[insert_php]

29. Jordan Luplow, OF/3B, Bradenton – [insert_php]

30. JT Brubaker, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php]

P2 Top Performers



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INDIANAPOLIS — Ryan Vogelsong thought he was close to being ready to come off the disabled list when eligible later this week.

But some bad luck may possibly change those plans. Vogelsong left his third rehab start, this one with Triple-A Indianapolis, early on Wednesday with a tight neck.

He was scheduled to throw 90-95 pitches against Lehigh Valley, but was pulled after throwing just 60 pitches in four innings.

“My neck locked up on me pretty bad,” Vogelsong said.”I don’t know if I just tweaked it warming up, but it was there the whole time. I tried to muscle through it a little bit, but it kept getting tighter so I thought it was just best to shut it down.”

Vogelsong said he felt his neck issue may have been brought on by numerous flights he’s made recently, along with staying in many different hotels. He doesn’t see it as a long-term problem, but will be traveling back to Pittsburgh to have his neck checked out on Thursday.

He is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on Saturday, and felt that would be possible before Wednesday’s start. But he still isn’t ruling out that being a possibility.

“Before this neck issue, I felt like I was on track,” Vogelsong said. “I think I need to wait and see how this thing feels tomorrow.”

Leaving his start even earlier crossed Vogelsong’s mind, but he was able to stretch his neck out between innings for a while.

“But it got to a point where I couldn’t get it to loosen up anymore,” Vogelsong said. “I figured it was best to stop before I hurt something else.”

Vogelsong still didn’t pitch bad even with his neck issue. He allowed four hits and two earned runs, striking out two and walking none. But he made one big mistake: throwing an elevated pitch that Nick Williams hit out for a no-doubt, two-run home run. J.P. Crawford reached on a bloop single to rightfield.

“I thought even with [neck issue] in play, for three innings he was still able to make pitches,” Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor said. “He got into a rhythm in the second inning. I thought he was making pitches, using all of his pitches and what he needed to do on both sides of the plate. I thought he elevated well when he wanted to.”

Treanor was fine allowing Vogelsong to pitch through the neck issue, at least until a conversation after the fourth inning.

“The thing that sealed it for me was he said he was starting to feel himself doing something different,” Treanor said. “That’s when you have to stop it because you don’t want him doing something different.”

Indianapolis struggled at the plate the entire series against Lehigh Valley, a three-game sweep by the IronPigs. Indianapolis scored one run in the three games.

On Wednesday, Jake Thompson, the second-ranked prospect in the Phillies’ organization, allowed just three hits in six shutout innings. He struck out five, but walked four.

The Indians had 12 base runners in the game — eight via a hit and four from a walk. But four double plays negated some of those opportunities. They left 21 runners on base on Wednesday.

Elias Diaz was 2-for-3, while Josh Bell, Pedro Florimon, Jose Osuna, Willy Garcia, Kelvin Marte, and Dan Gamache each had a hit.

In the eighth inning, Gamache led off with a pinch-hit single up the middle, and is 6-for-13 this season as a pinch-hitter. Diaz later hit a breaking ball through the four-hole for a single, putting runners at first and third with one out. But Max Moroff popped out to second base, and Josh Bell lined out to left field.

“I think we’re starting to press right now,” Treanor said. “I know it’s a cliche, but we’re not coming up with the big hit. We’re not executing when we need to execute.” – Brian Peloza


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Game One: Alex McRae struck out the first batter he saw but then allowed three singles to center field and a triple to right field to allow three first inning runs. McRae was extremely hittable early before getting 12 straight outs into the fifth inning. He struck out six along the way and got a lot of ground ball outs before a few grounders snuck through the infield in that fifth inning, then he allowed another run to score on a line drive single to right field . He struck out the first two batters of the sixth giving up two more hits and got lifted from the game.

Overall, McRae was extremely shaky to start the game and allowed three quick runs in the first, but he settled nicely for a nice, long stretch. His control was very good, as he did not walk any batters. McRae was coming off of one of the best professional starts in his career last Thursday, when he logged eight innings and gave up only one run. He worked with his two-seamer well during that last affair, and the plethora of ground balls he induced today. He has definitely shown improvement over his last two starts.

The only offense for the Curve this afternoon came off of the bat of Jon Schwind, who was recently sent back to Altoona from a short stint in Indianapolis. Eric Wood reached on an error, and Barrett Barnes walked before Schwind lined a double down the left field line, scoring both base runners. Schwind was down 1-2 in the count and worked it back full before the hit.

Otherwise, the only other hit for the Curve came from Harold Ramirez in the sixth inning on a single past the third baseman. The hit extends Harold Ramirez’s streak to 12 games, and his average is .404 during that span.

Barrett Barnes hitting streak, which mirrored Ramirez’s, ended at 11 games after going 0-for-1 on a strikeout. During the doubleheader shortened game, Barnes walked twice earlier in the game and really only had one chance to extend the streak. During the streak, barnes hit .475 (19-for-40) with an OPS of 1.125. He hit four doubles and a triple during that span, as well.

The Curve lost 4-2 and their season worst losing streak was extended to five games. -Sean McCool

Game Two: John Kuchno made his return to the Curve, after his early season promotion to Indianapolis, to make a spot start in the second game of the doubleheader on Wednesday. Kuchno’s last start came almost two years ago on August 22, 2014 as a member of the Bradenton Marauders. Kuchno had a 5.40 ERA for the Indians before being sent back to Altoona, and those numbers are inflated by four outings of 3+ runs. The most pitches he had thrown this season before today was 55 pitches; however, he had not pitched for a while before today so he was well rested and was able to stretch it out.

Kuchno game the Curve an extremely good start as a spot starter. He worked into the fifth inning without allowing a run before giving up a pinch-hit double that got him lifted from the game. Edgar Santana came in and allowed a single and a run to score, which went against Kuchno’s line.

Kuchno did well keeping the ball on the dirt, and he struck out four while throwing 46 strikes on 66 pitches. He was able to strike out the side in the fourth inning after a lead-off single.

Barrett Barnes and Anderson Feliz both doubled for the Curve. Barnes also walked for the Curve to make it three total on the day.

Montana DuRapau allowed a lead-off walk in the seventh (last inning, doubleheader) with the game tied 1-1. After a sacrifice bunt to move the runner to second then a strikeout, Hartford’s Pat Valaika hit a liner to left field and the run scored, handing Altoona their sixth straight loss. – Sean McCool


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Bradenton lost 5-2 to Clearwater on Wednesday afternoon, as starter JT Brubaker got knocked out of the game in the first inning. The only two Bradenton runs came on solo homers in the sixth inning by Tito Polo and Jerrick Suiter. For Polo, it was his 14th home run of the season, which leads all Pirate minor leaguers.

Brubaker threw 32 pitches in the first innings, allowing two runs on two hits and three walks before being removed. He recorded just two outs, both by strikeouts. He now has a 5.35 ERA in seven starts since being promoted to Bradenton.

Tate Scioneaux pitched well in relief, allowing one run over 4.1 innings. He stranded all three inherited runners in the first inning, so things could have been much worse for Brubaker. Henry Hirsch threw two shutout innings, then Colten Brewer allowed two runs over the final two innings.

Bradenton had nine hits, as Connor Joe led the way with three singles. Tito Polo and Michael Suchy each had two hits. Suchy collected his 11th double of the season. Pablo Reyes drew a walk and stole his eighth base.


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CHARLESTON, WV – After last week’s seven inning, two hit start, it seemed that Mitch Keller had returned to his early season domination. While tonight’s performance against the Charleston RiverDogs was by no means bad, it did mark the return of Keller’s control issues and tendency to give up long fly balls.

The Power offense, on the other hand, continued to rake. On their recent trip to Hickory, the Power hit six home runs, many coming from unlikely sources such as the previously ice cold Carlos Munoz and Logan Hill who had two home runs apiece. Casey Hughston and Logan Ratledge also went yard against the Crawdads.

Hill and Hughston stayed hot in their return to West Virginia. After leading off the home half of the first with a single, Hughston scored the Power’s first run by moving himself into scoring position with a steal and crossing home on Daniel Arribas’s groundball to third. Hughston followed that up with a double in the third inning and a hard hit out to left field in the fifth. He later brought home the go-ahead run with a ground ball in the seventh, putting the Power on top 4-3.

Throughout his career, Hughston has struggled to reach outside pitches, leading to his high strikeout rate, but his double came on a fastball on the outside that he lined up the third base line.

Hill also hit the ball hard but with less success. He was thrown out trying to stretch a line drive into a double in the second and added a sharply hit single in the eighth but was again thrown out, this time while stealing. His hardest hit ball failed to fall in the fourth inning when the RiverDogs left fielder nabbed the tailing liner.

This offensive surge has been a long time coming for both batters. Hill predicted these results at the end of the last homestand.

“You got to stick with it,” said Hill. “My hard contact is definitely getting better here over the past month.”

Mitch Keller had been trending in the opposite direction. In the first two innings, Keller threw 41 pitches, 15 of which were balls. Most of his pitches were going below the strike zone, so naturally, he began to bring them up a bit to compensate.

As his pitches continued to float up through the zone, the RiverDogs began to take advantage. They scored three runs on six hits, including two doubles.

Keller also walked one and hit a batter.

Fortunately, Julio Vivas turned in an exceptional relief appearance. Although he allowed one of Keller’s runners to score, he then tossed three spotless innings and struck out five, including one to end the eighth with runners on first and second.

Seth McGarry entered in the ninth to protect the one-run lead, but he struggled mightily, walking one and allowing a runner to move to third on a wild pitch. That runner came in to score on a slow roller, tying the game. He stopped the bleeding with a strikeout to end the inning.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Power played small ball, loading the bases on two walks and an infield single. Mitchell Tolman dropped a single into right field, his second walk-off hit of the year. – Abigail Miskowiec


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Morgantown has off on Wednesday.

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Bristol got strong starting pitching from starter Nestor Oronel for five innings, then the bullpen came on and the Bluefield bats awoke for an 8-1 loss for the Pirates. Oronel allowed one unearned runs in his five frames, giving up three hits and one walk. He had just one strikeout, but he put up a 10:2 GO/AO ratio. Oronel’s longest outing in his first five starts was 4.1 innings. He now has a 3.70 ERA in 24.1 innings.

Geoff Hartlieb was first out of the bullpen, and while he was hurt by errors (one being his own), he still allowed four hits and two walks in his two innings, leading to five unearned runs. John Pomeroy finished out the game and he was extremely wild, with four walks, three wild pitches and one hit batter in two innings.

The offense left nine men on base and went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position. The only Bristol run scored when Victor Fernandez led off the fifth inning with an infield single. He moved to third base on an error, then scored on a ground out from Yoel Gonzalez. Fernandez finished with three hits, including his second triple. Raul Siri added his third double, and Michael de la Cruz had a single and a walk.


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The GCL Pirates lost 10-6 on Wednesday afternoon, as starter Miguel Hernandez had control issues and Jose Regalado had a tough rehab outing. Hernandez had been on and off with his control, though some of the bad games came in Extended Spring Training right before the GCL season started, so they don’t show up on the stat line. He has combined for 15 shutout innings in three of his starts, and now has two starts in which he has allowed seven runs and eight walks in 4.2 innings total.

Regalado left his last start with Bradenton after two shutout innings on June 29th. This was his first appearance since then and it was a disaster. He faced seven batters before being removed, allowing four runs on four hits and two hit batters.

The offense had 15 base runners, with ten hits, three walks and two hit batters, but they went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Henrry Rosario had three hits, a walk and three runs scored from the lead-off spot. He also had an RBI and a stolen base. Johan De Jesus and Felix Vinicio each had two hits. Vinicio scored twice and drove in two runs. Victor Ngoepe extended his hitting streak to six games with a single to lead-off the third inning.


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The DSL Pirates turned a lot of walks into runs on Wednesday in their 8-5 win over the Indians. Batting 1-2 in the lineup, Francisco Mepris and Cristopher Perez scored five runs without picking up a hit. Mepris walked twice, and Perez walked twice and was hit by a pitch. Batting third, Samuel Inoa drove in three runs with two hits, though he was thrown out stealing both times he reached base. Eddy Vizcaino had two doubles, a walk and drove in a run, while Sherten Apostel hit his fourth double, walked and had an RBI.

Sergio Cubilete started and lasted 4.1 innings, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks. He has a 4.32 ERA in nine starts, and he has walked 23 batters in 33.1 innings. Wilmer Contreras followed him and pitched strong for 3.2 innings, allowing one run on three hits, while picking up six strikeouts. Jose Delgado picked up the tough save, coming on in the ninth with one out and the bases loaded, stranding all three runners.

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.

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Hughston is over .200 !!!!!


Props to Pirates Prospects for now being credited as a news source by traditional media outlets and television broadcasts. You know you’ve made it big in Pittsburgh when a) Greg Brown references your site and b) Edgar Snyder rips off your logo.

Kidding aside, keep up the good work guys!

Bruce Humbert

Just an interesting FYI
Pedro – .250 BA 11 HR 0.3 fWAR 209 PA $5.8M
Cutch – .242 BA 14 HR 0.7 fWAR 397 PA $13M

Draw your own conclusions

Bill W

Cutch can still catch a baseball.


Even in a down year so far for McCutchen, he’s still better than Pedro?


WAR is cumulative, so with the same # of PAs, Pedro would be 0.6 fWAR, or just 0.1 WAR behind Cutch, for $7.2 million less. Thus it would be argued that Pedro had an excess value of about 1 WAR.


The only conclusion I can draw is that you can’t find anything productive to do with your time.


Is there any chance (or point) in promoting a player like Rosario? He is old for the league and past any chance of being labeled a prospect, but what would it hurt to see if he could hold his own at Bristol or with the Black Bears? I doubt he would block anyone.


Keep him there, he helps those young pitchers get a win everyone and then.


Will Hanson ever get a hit again?

Bobby L

Now 0 for 26 the last 7 games.


I think every time someone gets called up, he presses.


Looks like Tito Polo is starting to acclimate himself at high A.


Why isn’t Hayes playing in WVA..last game July 10th….injured?

Abigail Miskowiec

I spoke with Brian Esposito, and he confirmed that there is no injury. He said that they’re being “proactive” considering how young Hayes is and the fact that has never played a full season of pro ball. They’re giving him “time to recover and work on some things” including making solid contact more regularly since his strikeout rate has been creeping up. He didn’t give me a timeframe for a return, but he likes what he’s seen from Logan Ratledge in the meantime.

Robert A Bishop

CONNOR JOE is en fuego.


So is Barrett Barnes.


A very so-so performance today by Vogelsong. I sure hope the Pirates do not consider him an option for the rotation. Assuming he would be considered for a bullpen spot, who’s does he replace – Hughes, Caminero, Schugel, Niese?


I’d have no issues giving Vogey a start. There’s nothing in his previous two starts that indicates he couldn’t have been better than Locke or Niese to begin with. Certainly one could go back to previous history, which isn’t always the best guide (using recent years as a guide, Niese and Locke should’ve both better better), but his limited performances this year were fine.

He was a questionable signing, had a crappy ST, but before breaking his face, in his two starts comprising 7 IP, he had a WHIP of 1, an ERA of 1.29 and a K/BB ratio of 7:0. What’s wrong with that?

Glasnow is gonna Glasnow. Brault still needs an out pitch. I’m not sold on Kuhl yet – I think he’s getting away with mistakes a la recent Hughes, and until I see him working low consistently, I’m not buying it.

Would I be upset if the KGB rookies were all put in the rotation? No. But at this point, I think the hue and cry over giving Vogey a shot at the spot starter role is a bit overblown.


Vogelsong replaces the cotton candy guy at the stadium!

Trade for cash considerations is my prediction. He was never going to make his incentives so he will be a 2 million price tag. The Pirates were getting rid of him anyway around this time so I’m sure they would outright release him if need be. He would’ve been gone already if he wasn’t hit in the face. Sympathy card played.


I’d consider him for another team.

Or DFA him and if he clears waivers, put him in Indy?

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