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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1. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
2. Austin Meadows, CF, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
3. Josh Bell, 1B, Indianapolis – In the Majors
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, Bradenton – [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, Pirates – In the Majors
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 – 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]
Trevor Williams is making a case to be the next Indianapolis pitcher up in the majors. He threw six shutout innings on Friday night, allowing three singles and a walk. He had four strikeouts and an 8:4 GO/AO ratio. In his last four starts combined, he has allowed three runs over 26 innings, with a 3:19 BB/SO ratio. After a slow start in his return to Indianapolis, he now has a 3.24 ERA in 58.1 innings, with a 1.47 GO/AO ratio. The bullpen did even better, as Curtis Partch, Kelvin Marte and Trey Haley combined to retired all nine batters they faced.
Indianapolis won this game 4-0, despite picking up just four hits and going 0-for-11 with runners scoring position. Francisco Cervelli played his second rehab game and caught seven innings for the second straight night. He had two hits in this contest, including a double. Cervelli had two hits and a walk on Thursday night. Pedro Florimon had a single, walk and scored two runs. Jason Rogers hit his 14th double. Three of the Indianapolis runs came off Homer Bailey, who is currently on a rehab assignment.
ALTOONA, PA – Ryan Vogelsong made his second rehab start for the Altoona Curve after starting the last game before the Eastern League All Star break in Erie on Sunday. In his first rehab appearance, he allowed three runs on six hits in five innings.
I decided to go through Vogelsong’s start batter-by-batter:
First Inning: Vogelsong worked quickly and efficiently, getting three straight ground balls to begin the game. He retired the leadoff batter in three pitches with a ground ball to third base. The next two batters hit slow grounders up the middle towards the second base side, but they were able to sneak through for hits. With runners on first and third, the runner at first broke to steal second, and the batter popped the ball up in foul territory to first base. Edwin Espinal made the catch, and catcher Reese McGuire broke to cover the base, only to not make it at time. With McGuire going to first, the runner at third base broke home, but Vogelsong covered the base to tag him out for the final out. (That was a first for me, I might add.) He threw eight pitches in the first inning.
Second Inning: Vogelsong walked the first batter on six pitches; however, many of them just barely missed right below the strike zone. He then got a grounder on the first pitch against a second batter for the first out of the inning. Vogelsong followed the grounder with a four-pitch strikeout, getting the batter looking on a beautiful curveball. Lastly, he induced a groundout to third base for the final out of the inning. He threw 16 pitches in the inning.
Third Inning: Vogelsong got an easy pop out to the second baseman for the first out. He then walked the second batter on four pitches. At one point, Vogelsong threw seven balls in a row before inducing an unassisted double play to the shortstop. Vogelsong threw 12 pitches in the innings, but he struggled with his control, throwing eight pitches. Vogelsong also came up to bat in his first at-bat since getting hit on May 23rd in the bottom of the inning wearing a face mask, a la Little League. He looked disinterested in the first few pitches of the at-bat, and he had a big cut in the final pitch for strike three.
Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Innings: He got three straight outs on 15 pitches in the fourth. The first batter hit an easy popup to right field for the first out. Vogelsong then induced a groundout to the shortstop followed by his second strikeout of the day on an 87 MPH slider looking. On an 11 pitch fifth inning, Vogelsong got three straight outs again. He started with an easy pop up to center field, followed by two ground outs. In his last and sixth inning, it took him 13 pitches to retire the side, with a groundout, an out on a bunt attempt, and lastly a strikeout.
The last three innings were recapped quickly because he worked very efficiently and finished his outing with ten straight outs.
Vogelsong worked with his fastball a lot early in the outing, and he slowly worked in his secondary pitches more as the game progressed. The fastball topped out at 90 MPH in the fourth inning from what I tracked, and he sat mostly between 88-89 MPH for the majority of the game. He said afterwards that his fastball isn’t quite back yet, as it feels as though he is working his way back like in Spring Training. The secondary stuff got better as it got later in the game. He froze a batter with both his curveball and slider, and batters weren’t able to get on top of the secondary stuff for the majority of the game.
The one key that I took from his outing is that his fastball velocity is not ready yet, as it was no where close to his averages in the majors this season before the injury. On top of the velocity, he did throw a lot of balls early in the game, although he did not look to get any benefit of the doubt low in the zone. He induced 11 ground balls to only four fly balls, and two of those four were infield pop ups.
The most interesting part of the game occurred when Vogelsong came up to bat in the bottom of the fifth with runners on first and second base. He squared to bunt, and the pitcher came high and in with a fastball on Vogelsong. He bailed out of the way, still somehow managing to get the sacrifice bunt down. Vogelsong was extremely upset as he left the field (understandably), and he threw his helmet as he went into the dugout. Vogelsong was pretty calm about it after the game, but I still believe the pitch was unnecessary.
— Sean McCool (@NotSoMcCool) July 15, 2016
On the offensive side for the Curve, Stetson Allie had his first three hit game of the season, with a ground ball single, a line drive, and a towering home run over the left field wall. He has slowly worked his average up to .252 on the season, a very respectable number compared to what he did last year. Also, Eric Wood blasted a home run to left field for his 12th homer of the year. He is now second to Tito Polo and Josh Bell (13) in the organizational lead in home runs this season. Wood also leads all of the current Curve players in slugging and OPS.
The Curve won the first game of the doubleheader by a score of 5-0. – Sean McCool
Over Clay Holmes’ last four starts going into tonight’s game, he was 3-0 with a 1.20 ERA and 30 strikeouts. Tonight, Holmes labored through five innings, yet he was still able to get through five innings only allowing two runs.
Holmes threw 28 pitches in the first inning to only five batters, going deep in the count multiple times and not being able to throw an effective out pitch. He got the first two batters out but then walked the next guy on seven pitches and allowed a single. It then took him another six pitches to finally get out of the inning at 28 pitches.
Holmes ran into trouble in the fourth inning after a lead-off line drive single, then a passed ball. He got one out before allowing another hit, HBP, and line drive single. He was able to bounce back with a strikeout and groundout to end the inning, but that wasn’t before he allowed two runs, which would ultimately hand him the loss in the game.
Overall, he did induce nine ground balls to six fly balls, but he never looked extremely comfortable throughout the game. The first inning looked to take a toll on him, as he was trying to make too perfect of a pitch instead of trusting his stuff. His fastball command was not consistent tonight, and it definitely was not as good as he has been in recent starts. His breaking ball was inconsistent throughout the game, but his change-up was good and got better as the game went on.
“He’s just trying to be too perfect at times,” Pitching Coach Justin Meccage said after the game. “He’s trying to execute the perfect pitch rather than trusting what he has. He has a really good sinker, and he’s only been throwing it for two months now, so he is probably still learning to trust it.”
Meccage said that he would like to see Holmes eventually get to using the two-seamer more regularly that the four-seam, but he doesn’t think that will come this season as Holmes is trying to break-in the pitch.
Ultimately, Holmes dug a deep hole in the first inning that climbing out of it was difficult because of his pitch count, even though he didn’t allow any runs.
“Two runs in five innings isn’t a bad line, but he’s better than that,” Meccage said.
Positively, though, he did end strongly with a groundout-strikeout-groundout sequence and showed good battle and poise at the end of his outing.
The Curve bats were quiet for the majority of the game until an Erich Weiss blast off of the center field wall in the sixth inning. Stetson Allie singled before the Weiss hit, but he had to hold up on the base path in case Harrisburg’s center fielder caught up to the ball. Weiss would’ve easily walked into third for a lead leaguing tenth triple, but he had to settle for a double. He did hit it to the deepest part of the ballpark at the 405 ft mark.
In that inning, it looked as though the Curve were robbed of a run when Harold Ramirez seemingly beat out a throw to first but was adamantly called out on the play. Ramirez was shocked by the call, as was everyone else around me in the press box, and a run would’ve scored.
Finally, Reese McGuire had a bunt single and a long double to left-center field in the seventh (and final) inning before an Eric Wood blast over the left-center wall. Wood’s home run was his 13th of the season (his 12th came in game one), which ties him for the minor league Pirates organizational lead with Josh Bell and Tito Polo.
The Curve lost game two of the doubleheader by the score of 3-2, which makes the Ramirez play at first base even more difficult to swallow. -Sean McCool
Bradenton won 9-4 on Friday night behind 13 hits and six walks from the offense, with everyone in the lineup reaching base at least once. Cole Tucker, Kevin Kramer, Connor Joe, Taylor Gushue and Elvis Escobar each had two hits in the game. Gushue drove in three runs, while Joe and Escobar each knocked in a pair. Escobar also reached twice on walks and he stole his seventh base of the season. Tucker, Kramer, Gushue and Chase Simpson each scored two runs. Simpson also had an RBI and walked four times. Kramer collected his 18th double.
JT Brubaker got the start and had a great game if you don’t look at the fourth inning. He threw seven innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks, with five strikeouts. Five of the seven base runners and all of the runs he allowed came in the fourth inning. Colten Brewer made his first appearance since serving a team suspension and he threw a scoreless eighth inning. Junior Lopez threw the ninth to close out the game.
West Virginia won 8-1 over Hickory on Friday night, as Logan Sendelbach allowed one run over five innings and Logan Hill homered. Logan Ratledge also had a run scored and an RBI to complete the Logan’s Heroes trifecta.
Sendelbach had a nice line with three hits and one walk, though he ran up his pitch count early, leading to him leaving with 88 pitches over five innings. He had two strikeouts and a 6:3 GO/AO ratio. Sendelbach now has a 3.31 ERA in 18 starts. Julio Vivas followed him and pitched well over three innings, with one hit, no walks, three strikeouts and a 5:1 GO/AO ratio. Julio Eusebio finished out the game with a scoreless ninth.
Logan Hill completed the third Dave Parker hat trick of the season from a Pirates minor leaguer. He hit a two-run homer in the seventh, stole his tenth base in the fourth inning, and got the outfield assist to end the third inning. Austin Meadows and Henrry Rosario are the other players to collect a home run, a stolen base and an outfield assist in the same game, something that previously didn’t happen for at least the last four seasons.
Danny Arribas had two hits and drove in three runs on the night. Ryan Nagle had two hits and a walk. John Bormann scored two runs and picked up an RBI.
Morgantown won 5-2 behind some strong pitching from starter Danny Beddes. The 2016 15th round pick allowed one run on six hits and one walk over six innings. He had five strikeouts and a 7:4 GO/AO ratio. The offense put runs on the board early with three in the bottom of the second inning, then capped off the scoring with two more in the fifth inning.
In the second, they scored the runs on four straight hits to begin the inning. Hunter Owen singled, followed by a Clark Eagan double and a Ty Moore triple, which scored both runs. Moore then came home on a Kevin Mahala single. In the fifth, Matt Diorio walked, then scored on a two-run homer from Owen, which was his second of the season.
Mahala reached base in all four plate appearances with two singles and two walks. Eagan had three hits total, including two doubles. Moore picked up his sixth outfield assist with Morgantown after not collecting one while with West Virginia earlier in the year. First round pick Will Craig had the night off.
Bristol was out of Friday’s game early, going down 15-1 in the fifth inning before eventually losing by a 15-3 score. Starter Nestor Oronel took one for the team, allowing ten runs over four innings, though only four of those runs were earned. That isn’t to say he had a lot of poor defense behind him, Adrian Valerio just picked a bad time for his first error of the season. After the first two batters were set down in the fourth, Valerio booted a ground ball. Oronel still had two outs at the time and only one man on, but six runs ended up scoring before the inning ended.
David Whitehead followed him in the fifth and had a similar inning without the error. He gave up five runs on four hits and two walks, recording just two outs before being removed. He has a 9.49 ERA in six appearances for Bristol.
The offense got all of their runs on homers, as they took an early 1-0 lead on Raul Siri’s first homer, then scored two more in the seventh on a home run from Deybi Garcia, his first of the season. The only other base runners for the Pirates were four singles, one hit batter and one walk. Garcia was the only player to reach base twice, also adding a single.
BRADENTON, Fla. – Travis MacGregor is off to a great start in his pro career. The 2016 second round pick made his third start today, pitching four shutout innings, allowing four hits, one walk, and striking out one. He has now pitched 8.1 innings with just one unearned run allowed on seven hits, and a 6:3 K/BB ratio.
“It’s all feeling good. It’s all coming back,” MacGregor said after today’s start. “I took a little break before the season, so I’m getting it all back now and it’s feeling good.”
MacGregor only needed 49 pitches today, working primarily off his fastball, and mixing in a few changeups. He didn’t throw a curveball in the game, saying that he didn’t get around to using the pitch. However, he did throw it a few times in warm ups and in the bullpen before and after his start. The pitch looked inconsistent, and a few times he bounced it short of the plate. That is to be expected, since he didn’t throw the pitch until high school, and still mostly worked fastball/changeup.
Today the fastball was mostly sitting in the 87-88 MPH range, touching as high as 92. He hit 89 and 90 five times each, hit 91 three times, and 92 once. MacGregor was getting the pitch up to 93 at the end of his high school season, but the lowered velocity today is probably due to him building back up again after his break. The changeup looked good, with some late break that got a few swings and misses, coming in at 78-80 MPH.
MacGregor is a very tall, skinny pitcher and there are a lot of moving parts to his delivery. He’s got a high leg kick that he brings in close to his chest, getting very compact in the windup.
He looked inconsistent moving to the plate, with his arm dragging behind at times. When he pitched from the stretch, he didn’t have that issue, so it appears to be the transition from his compact windup to his long extension to the plate that causes the problems.
MacGregor said he was working on driving with his back leg, trying to get extended and getting out over in front of the ball. That all is pretty common for such a tall pitcher at a young age.
One other thing I noticed was that MacGregor doubles over at the end of his delivery, which is common for such a tall pitcher with an overhand slot. Tyler Glasnow does the same thing, although from a taller height. MacGregor was tucking his head at the end of his delivery sometimes, which can be a problem with that arm slot and approach. He said it hasn’t been a big problem, but it’s something he watches for.
“It has been something I’ve been told to watch out for,” MacGregor said. “That is something I need to be more aware of.”
After his outing, MacGregor threw about 15 pitches in the bullpen, working with Pitching Coach Tom Filer. He threw a few curveballs during this time, despite not throwing any in the game. The Pirates are still evaluating him, so Filer wasn’t offering any mechanical changes at this point.
Oddy Nunez came on in relief and pitched four no-hit innings. His fastball was 86-89 with his two seam fastball, and hit 91 with one four seamer. He threw sliders at two different speeds, with a slower one at 71-72, and a harder one at 78-79. He also threw a changeup that ranged from 78-84 MPH.
The Pirates offense got off to a good start, with Henrry Rosario hitting his fifth homer of the year to lead off the game. They scored a run in the second when Andrew Walker had a sacrifice fly to right field after Johan De Jesus singled and Paul Brands doubled to the right field wall. Two more runs came in during the fourth. De Jesus tripled to lead off the inning, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Brands. Mikell Granberry singled, and scored on a wild pitch, after advancing to third on a Victor Ngoepe double. Ngoepe scored another run in the 7th, reaching on a walk and scoring after two throwing errors. – Tim Williams
The DSL Pirates won 5-1 over the Cubs1 on Friday thanks to five errors and seven walks by Cubs pitching. Starter Roger Santana allowed one run over five innings, striking out four batters and posting a 9:2 GO/AO ratio. His ERA actually went up a little, moving to 1.47 though 36.2 innings. Kleiner Machado followed him and threw three shutout innings for the win. Jose Delgado pitched the ninth to close it out.
The Pirates had just four hits in the game, but they were able to put a four spot on the board in the seventh for the difference. Williams Calderon reached on a hit-by-pitch to start the inning. That was followed by a wild pitch, a throwing error, and another wild pitch to bring him home. Kyle Simmons was up when all that happened and then he drew a walk. Two wild pitches later, he was on third base and scored on a Kevin Sanchez sacrifice fly.
A single by Cristopher Perez was followed by a triple from Jeremias Portorreal to bring home the third run. You may have guessed by now that Portorreal scored the fourth run on a wild pitch. The Pirates also scored a run in the fifth on an error, a single and then an error, so they basically got a lot of help on offense.
Rodolfo Castro and Leandro Pina were named to the DSL All-Star game, which will take place on Sunday.