A look at how the current top 30 prospects did today. If a player is in the majors and loses his prospect eligibility, 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 mid-season update, 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, Pirates -[insert_php]
2. Austin Meadows, CF, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
3. Josh Bell, 1B, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
4. Kevin Newman, SS, Altoona – [insert_php]
5. Mitch Keller, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php]
6. Reese McGuire, C, Altoona -[insert_php]
7. Nick Kingham, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php]
8.Cole Tucker, SS, Bradenton – [insert_php]
9. Chad Kuhl, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
10. Will Craig, 3B, Morgantown – [insert_php]
11. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
12. Harold Ramirez, OF, Altoona -[insert_php]
13. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, West Virginia -[insert_php]
14. Elias Diaz, C, Pirates – [insert_php]
15. Clay Holmes, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php]
16. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php]
17. Gage Hinsz, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php]
18. Trevor Williams, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
19. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
20. Tito Polo, OF, Bradenton – [insert_php]
21. Stephen Tarpley, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php]
22. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Altoona – [insert_php]
23. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php]
24. Max Moroff, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
25. Adrian Valerio, SS – Bristol – [insert_php]
26. Braeden Ogle, LHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php]
27. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Bradenton -[insert_php]
28. Travis MacGregor, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php]
29. Max Kranick, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php]
30. Frank Duncan, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
Indianapolis has off on Monday
ALTOONA, PA – Barrett Barnes has been the Curve’s most impressive hitter this month, and that’s saying a lot on a team with Kevin Newman and Harold Ramirez. He extended his on-base streak to 19 games tonight, and that would be a legitimate hitting streak if not for going 0-for-1 in a seven inning game during a doubleheader last week. He singled in the second, doubled in the fifth, and doubled in the seventh tonight, all hard hit balls into the outfield. His first double was a liner into right-center field that was cut off; however, Barnes flew around first and slid in with a hustle double. His second double went to the left-center wall, and he walked into the bag easily.
Since June 12th, Barnes has risen his batting average by 57 points, cracking the .300 mark to .300 even after tonight’s game. He was batting .221 into the middle of May, and he has been a very productive player ever since.
Barnes has looked more fleet of foot in left field of late, as well. There haven’t been many over-the-top plays in the field for him, but he has been tracking well and showing off some speed in the field.
Including yesterday, Barnes recorded six base hits and a walk in seven straight plate appearances before grounding into a fielder’s choice in the eighth inning.
Edwin Espinal reached during all four plate appearances, going 3-for-4 with an error on a force play. He had been hitting only .158 since the Eastern League All-Star break, not making great contact, striking out more than normal, and not hitting for any power. All three hits were singles through gaps tonight; however, it was a good night for Espinal to get his batting average back up to .298.
Reese McGuire and Jon Schwind both perfectly executed sacrifice bunts tonight. Erich Weiss recorded two hits for the Curve, joining Barnes and Espinal with multiple hits.
Alex McRae got the start tonight and performed extremely well, limiting Erie to only one run in seven innings of work. McRae went eight innings and allowed only one run in his last home start, giving him quality consecutive starts at PNG Field in Altoona. He struck out six batters
McRae retired the last eight batters he faced, with a strikeout as the last out in the seventh as the exclamation point.
His changeup was a little elevated tonight, so he did not see many results from it. Instead, he relied heavily on his fastball and slider.
“Early on, I thought he was a little erratic with his fastball command, but it got better as the game wore on,” Pitching Coach Justin Meccage said. “He was able to keep it much more down to keep the ball on the ground. His slider got better, too.”
McRae’s problems will arise when he leaves pitches too far into the zone, and hitters can take advantage of him being mostly a strike thrower. He has been able to keep the ball down recently with his two-seamer and change elevations to keep batters at bay. His control continues to be fantastic while working in and out of the strike zone, as he only walked one batter tonight.
McRae and the other Curve pitchers tonight (Kuchno, Smith, and DuRapau) benefited from a strong performance by their defense behind them, Barnes in particular. For example, Barnes made a spectacular sliding play in foul territory to record the first out of the ninth inning, sprinting towards the fence and putting his body on the line to make the play. He also made some plays on some line drives to left field that could have gotten interesting.
Also defensively, Reese McGuire made a great snap throw to first base to catch a runner off of the base in the fourth inning. He makes the transition from a catcher’s squat to throwing looking easy, and it is quick and effective.
Barnes led off the seventh inning with one of his doubles and came around to score for the Curve to take the lead in the seventh inning. Espinal was pinch-run for by Kevin Newman in the eighth after a single, and Newman came around to score for the decisive run for the Curve.
The Curve have now won four in a row after losing seven in a row before this past weekend. They are back in first place in the Eastern League Western standings after falling back to third in the division during their seven-game losing streak last week. -Sean McCool
Bradenton has off on Monday.
Mitch Keller did not have his best stuff on Monday night, as he got knocked out of the game after 4.1 innings and 89 pitches. Keller walked two batters for just the second time this season. He control wasn’t the best, though one of the walks was an 11-pitch battle, and the other had a very close two-strike pitch called a ball. He wasn’t getting many swing and misses in this game, finishing the day with two strikeouts. Part of the problem was that he couldn’t throw his off-speed pitches for strikes, missing the zone with most of his curves, and not going to the changeup often. He did a decent job of getting the fastball down in the zone and he was able to work the corners at times.
Keller allowed a total of four runs (three earned) on six hits. None of the hits were really well struck, with four ground balls and two bloop hits. There were actually three outs that were better struck than any of the hits. The amount of soft contact, as well as a 7:3 GO/AO ratio, were the highlights of this night for the #5 prospect in the system. However, this is the second game in a row in which he couldn’t get through five innings. We have mentioned that the Pirates intend on limiting his innings, but outings like these won’t help him because they include a lot of pitches over a short time. The Pirates consider those high stress pitches and something like today is no different than if he breezed through seven innings, even though the inning total is considerably less.
Rome picked up the 7-6 walk-off win with one out in the bottom of the ninth. The Power gave Keller a 4-0 lead early, but it was down to a one-run game by the time he left. West Virginia had plenty of base runners and a lot of chances to score in this game, as the top eight hitters in the lineup each reached base at least two times. Casey Hughston, Logan Ratledge, Mitchell Tolman and Christian Kelley all had two hits apiece. Carlos Munoz reached base all five plate appearances, drawing four walks and picking up a single in his only official at-bat. The problem for the Power was that they went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position, and they left ten runners on base.
Morgantown had their game postponed due to rain. They will play a doubleheader tomorrow.
Bristol went down 7-0 in the second inning, but ended up making a game of it on Monday night, ultimately losing 9-6 to Burlington. Starter Nestor Oronel got knocked out early, giving up seven runs on eight hits, a walk, and a hit batter. I don’t always check the Game Score for pitchers, but I’ve never noticed a negative number before tonight, as Oronel finished with a -1. Three relievers followed him and kept the game close, allowing two runs over 6.1 innings. The Pirates scored five runs in the sixth and one in the seventh to pull within one run.
On offense, Alexis Bastardo had three hits, drove in two runs and scored once. Adrian Valerio had two singles, a run and an RBI. Jhoan Herrera didn’t figure in any of the scoring, but he did have two singles and drew a walk. Garrett Brown collected his third triple and scored a run. Huascar Fuentes scored twice, while Michael de la Cruz drew two walks.
Nick Kingham made his fourth rehab start for the GCL Pirates on Monday and reached five innings for the first time. He also ran into some trouble for the first time. In his first three starts, Kingham went three innings once, then built up to four innings for his next two starts. That’s the progression the Pirates use for rehab pitchers, following those games up with two five inning outings. Monday was the first time Kingham went five frames, but that is where he will be capped this season.
Since he is capped at five innings, Kingham may make his next start for Bradenton (his next scheduled stop), instead of going five innings one more time in the GCL before joining the Marauders. My best guess is that he will go in the GCL one final time. That’s because he will likely go again on Saturday and the Marauders are on the road, while the GCL team will be at home. Rehab starts at the upper levels are usually made during home games if possible.
Kingham has been pitching against easier opponents in the GCL so it’s easier to reach his inning goals each start. You wouldn’t want him facing tougher competition as he is building up and get knocked out of a game earlier. Through the first three games, he allowed one earned run over 11 innings. Monday was the first time the opposing offense really got to him, as the Braves put up four runs (three earned) on six hits and no walks. Kingham struck out three and had an 8:4 GO/AO ratio.
The first run off Kingham scored on a wild pitch in the second inning. He gave up a single, then the runner stole second and moved up to third base on a ground out, before scoring.
In the third inning, a wild throw by Kingham was again responsible for the run that scored. After a single, his pick-off throw was wide of the bag and the runner got to third base, then scored on a ground out. So he didn’t get hit around either inning, but his own throws cost him a run each time.
The fourth inning is where he had the most trouble. A bloop single, followed by two straight line drive singles brought home one run. A second run scored one batter later on a long sacrifice fly to left field. In the fifth, the first batter reached on a bunt, but Kingham got a fly ball and a double play to end the inning while facing the minimum.
Kingham was followed by 11th round pick Max Kranick, who was making his third pro appearance. He threw two shutout innings in his debut, then allowed four runs over 2.1 innings last time out. Kranick pitched better this game, allowing one unearned run over three innings, with four hits, no walks, two strikeouts and a 5:1 GO/AO ratio.
The unearned run scored in the sixth due to an error on Victor Ngoepe. Kranick surrounded that error with two bloop singles to left field before inducing a double play grounder to get out of the inning. He also allowed a single in the seventh and a double in the eighth.
Like the other two high profile high school draft picks (Travis MacGregor and Braeden Ogle) who have each already pitched a few times, Kranick is still in the build up mode and concentrating mostly on fastballs. MacGregor started working his off-speed pitches in more often in his fourth game and Ogle said he plans to next time out. Kranick was mostly fastballs today, but his did mix in his curve and changeup occasionally.
“All three pitches felt good today,” Kranick said. “I felt like I was able to throw any of the three in any count. I got the strikeouts on a fastball and a curveball.”
He was scheduled for three innings in this game and will likely increase that to four frames next time out.
The offense was facing Ian Anderson, who was the third overall pick this year. He’s a high upside right-handed pitcher out of upstate New York and so far he is living up to that billing. Anderson has now thrown 11 innings without an earned run in three starts since signing. He went five innings today, limiting the Pirates to one unearned run in the fourth inning and this scoring summary might sound familiar. Anderson allowed a single to Edison Lantigua, then made a fielding error on a sacrifice bunt attempt. A wild pitch moved the runner to third base, then the run scored on a ground out. Turning a single into a run was apparently a common them today.
After Anderson left, the Pirates didn’t do any better, and Lantigua cost them a chance at a rally in the ninth. He reached on an error, then tried to go first to third on a line drive single to left field by Mikell Granberry. Lantigua was thrown out and then the next two batters made outs to end the game with a 5-2 loss. Henrry Rosario had three hits, including his fifth triple. He also stole his fourth base. Raul Hernandez left this game early due to sickness, while Nelson Jorge was removed after getting picked-off when he wasn’t paying attention.
The DSL Pirates probably should have went with reliever Armando Bustamante earlier in the game on Monday. He finished out the game with 1.2 scoreless innings to his credit. The other 6.1 innings from four others pitchers saw the Pirates get outscored 17-5. The Yankees1 scored four runs in the fourth, four in the fifth, and seven in the seventh inning, routing a Pirates team that dropped to 16-27 on the season.
Starter Adonis Pichardo allowed six runs over three innings, with four of those runs scoring in the fourth inning when he failed to retire any hitters. His ERA went from 3.69 to 4.93 in this game. Randy Jimenez allowed four runs in 1.2 innings, as his ERA more than doubled in this game. He was injured early in the season, but he pitched well in his first seven games back before today. Jimenez recorded all five outs on strikeouts. Raymond Rodriguez has pitched bad all season, so four runs in 1.2 innings didn’t affect him much, now with an 18.00 ERA.
Bustamante hasn’t pitched much this season, partially due to being shutdown for two weeks while the team ran heart tests after a minor scare that turned out to be nothing. He has been called on during a few games like this where he had to stop a fire and he has performed well, posting a 3.00 ERA in nine appearances.
The Pirates had their chances to score, putting 16 runners on base. They went just 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men stranded. Kevin Sanchez reached base four times on three walks and his first career triple. Cristopher Perez had two hits, a walk and scored a run. He leads the team with a .315 average. Larry Alcime drove in two runs for the second straight game.