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. Nick Kingham, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php]
7.Cole Tucker, SS, Bradenton – [insert_php]
8. Chad Kuhl, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
9. Will Craig, 3B, Morgantown – [insert_php]
10. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
11. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, West Virginia -[insert_php]
12. Elias Diaz, C, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
13. Clay Holmes, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php]
14. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php]
15. Gage Hinsz, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php]
16. Trevor Williams, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
17. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
18. Tito Polo, OF, Bradenton – [insert_php]
19. Stephen Tarpley, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php]
20. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Altoona – [insert_php]
21. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php]
22. Max Moroff, 2B, Pirates -[insert_php]
23. Taylor Hearn, LHP, West Virginia – [insert_php]
24. Adrian Valerio, SS – Bristol – [insert_php]
25. Braeden Ogle, LHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php]
26. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Bradenton -[insert_php]
27. Travis MacGregor, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php]
28. Max Kranick, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php]
29. Frank Duncan, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
30. Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
Indianapolis lost 9-7 on Thursday night despite having a 5-0 lead before Steven Brault threw his first pitch of the night. Brault made his last start for the Pirates, allowing three runs over six innings on Friday night. Prior to that, he had back-to-back outings of six shutout innings for Indianapolis. He quickly lost the shutout in this game, serving up a walk and then an RBI double in the first inning. Things would get worse in the second inning, even after the Indians added another run to make it 6-1.
Brault allowed the first five batters on the second inning to reach base, and three of them came around to score. There were two errors in the inning, but all of the runs ended up being earned. He came out for the third inning and surrendered a homer and a double, which ended his night. In 2.1 innings, he gave up five earned runs on six hits and four walks. Brault threw 60 pitches in the game, with only 33 going for strikes.
The offense had a ton of opportunities to score. They had ten hits and nine walks, which led to 19 at-bats with runners in scoring position. They were able to pick up just four clutch hits though, with more than half of the offense coming on a grand slam from Danny Ortiz, his 14th home run of the season. He also had a single, a walk and two stolen bases. Alen Hanson scored two runs and had three hits, including his 11th double. He stole his 31st base, tops among all Pirates in the minors. Jose Osuna had two hits, two walks and drove in two runs. Max Moroff had a single, three walks and an RBI.
Altoona couldn’t do anything at the plate against the Giants #2 prospect Tyler Beede, but their own Tyler kept them in the game for seven innings and the Curve pulled out the extra innings victory. Beede tossed seven shutout innings, but Tyler Eppler nearly matched him with one run over his seven innings. That one run he allowed came on a home run from Chris Shaw, who was just ranked as the third best prospect for the Giants. Eppler allowed six hits, walked one, and struck out six batters, which was one short of his career high (both set and tied last month).
Eppler threw 74 of his 104 pitches for strikes. He now has a 3.81 ERA in 127.2 innings. He ranks fourth in the league in innings pitched, and tenth with a 1.26 WHIP. Eppler is one strikeout behind Clay Holmes (81) for the Altoona lead.
In the eighth inning, Elvis Escobar reached on an error, then scored one batter later on a double by Erich Weiss. In the tenth, Escobar reached on another error, then scored the winning run on an Edwin Espinal sacrifice fly. It’s the second day in a row that Espinal ended the game, also hitting a walk-off homer on Wednesday night. The double by Weiss was his 19th, and he also walked three times (once intentional). Kevin Newman had two hits. He was 6-for-31 in his previous nine games.
Bradenton lost 5-4 on Thursday night, as Buddy Borden gave up four runs in his five innings of work. Borden hasn’t pitched well since re-signing with the Pirates. Part of the reason is that he was being used in relief by the Rays this season, then had two weeks off before going immediately into the starting rotation for Bradenton, just two days after he signed. Borden has had some tough starts, but he didn’t get any help from the defense tonight. Two errors in the third inning led to three runs being scored. He was let off the hook when Bradenton tied the score in the sixth, however, Luis Heredia gave up the winning run during his two innings of work. Heredia recorded all six outs on grounders.
Wyatt Mathisen and Justin Maffei committed the costly errors, though they also picked up two hits apiece. Mathisen has his average up to .315 through 23 games this season. Jordan Luplow had a single, two walks, a run scored and an RBI. Every player in the Bradenton lineup reached base at least once, and Connor Joe was the only player without a hit. Despite only scoring four runs, the Marauders had some clutch hits in this game, going 7-for-15 with runners in scoring position.
West Virginia won 3-0 on Thursday, as Bret Helton had his best career outing. Coming in to this start, Helton had thrown 8.2 innings over his last two games, giving up 13 earned runs. So it was highly unlikely he would do what he did in this game, going seven shutout innings, with three hits and one walk. Helton had never gone seven innings in a game before, and his longest scoreless outing was six innings. He threw 53 of his 83 pitches for strikes, picking up four strikeouts and posting a 9:7 GO/AO ratio. Yunior Montero followed him with two perfect innings for the save, striking out four batters.
The offense put up all three runs in the eighth inning. It started with a Jordan George walk and a Ryan Nagle single. John Bormann attempted a sacrifice, but the throw got away and George scored, while Nagle reached third base and Bormann ended up on second. A Tyler Filliben double brought in both runs.
Logan Hill and Jordan George each had two hits, including a double for both of them. Hill raised his season OPS with the Power to .732, which is 197 points higher than it was three weeks ago back on July 14th.
MORGANTOWN, WV – I got to see right-handed pitcher Stephan Meyer a lot this year in extended Spring Training. Every year it seems there are 2-3 pitchers where it seems like you see them pitch every week, and 2-3 pitchers you never see at all. Meyer was in the former group. He was drafted in the 18th round last year, but saw his career get off to a delayed start due to back problems. He put up strong numbers in the GCL, and in 10.2 innings in Morgantown. The Pirates then switched him to being a starter this year.
The results so far haven’t been good. Meyer has a 5.40 ERA in 46.2 innings in his first ten starts, with a 30:14 K/BB ratio. That said, tonight was his best outing of the season, and probably the best outing I’ve seen him pitch.
Meyer went six innings, giving up an unearned run on six hits, with a walk and six strikeouts. The one unearned run was due to a ball that got away from Austin Meadows and rolled to the wall, allowing the runner to reach third, rather than stopping at first. I don’t put too much of that on Meadows, since he fielded the ball on a bounce that completely missed his glove. That would sound horrible anywhere else, but the turf here is tough to get adjusted to, and it looked like Meadows misjudged where the ball would end up.
Other than that, Meyer was getting ahead of hitters with his fastball, and using the curveball to tie a season high six strikeouts. Meyer also had an 8:1 GO/AO ratio, making this the third start in a row where his GO/AO ratio has been above 1.00. In fact, that’s been a huge change for him, leading to some good starts lately where he’s combined for two earned runs in 17 innings over his last three outings.
“Lately I’ve been working down a lot better, and getting ground balls,” Meyer said. “I’m throwing more two-seam fastballs, and then I’m just making sure I get to my backside and get out on time, so that I can get on top of the baseball, and get some angle there.”
The Morgantown coaching staff switched Meyer to the two-seamer last month, after seeing what Manager Wyatt Toregas described as “too many four seams”. The two seam fastball has been easier for Meyer to get down, and has helped his other pitches.
“It’s got movement on it,” Meyer said. “I have a pretty straight four seam fastball, and when I throw the two-seam, it’s got downward movement, and it’s moving away from a lefty, which they can swing around. It moves in on a righty, which can jam them up.”
The pitch was sitting 89-92 MPH, which isn’t the best velocity, but isn’t bad if you’re working down in the zone. Meyer also throws a curveball and a changeup, and the curve was getting all of the strikeouts.
“The curveball was on today,” Meyer said. “I was getting misses early, and then I could bury it late, or get the look later with it. I was really happy with it today.”
This isn’t always the case with that pitch. Meyer noted that his off-speed stuff has been inconsistent this year.
“I don’t think I’ve had a game where I’ve had a curveball and a changeup in the same game,” Meyer said. “Today was the curveball’s day again. I think it just worked for me.”
Toregas liked what he saw from the right-hander tonight.
“He pitched very well,” Toregas said. “Down in the zone, he had good down angle to his pitches. His curveball was on tonight, so he was getting some chases. And then the changeup was in and out. It was good some innings, and then it was off. It was in and out. When you’ve got two of your pitches working, and you have good downhill to your fastball, you’re going to have a good night.”
Meyer didn’t draw any consideration for our recent mid-season top 50, and he’s not seen as more than an organizational guy right now. That’s never set in stone in the lower levels, but usually takes a lot of improvement to break out from there. If Meyer is going to do that, this would be a good first step, finding a fastball that works for him, and gets results. The next step would obviously be getting better consistency with his off-speed stuff. The good news for him is that the Pirates like him enough to give him a lot of innings, so he’ll have plenty of time to work on his game.
Neil Kozikowski, who was drafted in the 8th round in 2013, and received an over-slot deal, has largely struggled. The right-hander continued that tonight, giving up three runs in 2.2 innings of relief. He’s had a similar path as Zack Von Rosenberg, with a tall, projectable frame, but still stuck in the 88-91 MPH range three years after the draft, with a fastball that is often flat and elevated. That’s what I saw again tonight, leading to a lot of hard hit balls.
Will Craig extended his hitting streak to 12 games, although he got an assist from the field. He hit a hard shot to the first baseman, which short hopped him, then took a high bounce that deflected off his body and went to foul territory. The play was ruled a single, but could have easily been ruled an error. At the same time, it wasn’t really the fault of the first baseman, due to the field.
As I reported earlier, Austin Meadows is now done with his rehab assignment. He went 1-for-3 with a walk and a well hit double that one hopped the left-center field wall. – Tim Williams
Bristol lost 4-2 on Thursday night to Greeneville, as they were unable to capitalize on numerous scoring opportunities. The Pirates got production from the top of the lineup and the bottom of the order, but the middle couldn’t do anything with runners on.
Henrry Rosario joined Bristol today and had two hits and two walks. Daniel Cucjen batted second and had two hits and a walk. Yoel Gonzalez was batting eighth, followed by Michael de la Cruz. Gonzalez had two hits, while de la Cruz had three walks. Cucjen, Rosario and de la Cruz each stole a base. The 3-7 hitters combined to go 1-for-19 with a single.
Matt Eckelman started and he allowed two runs over five innings. He got a little help from his catcher, as Yoel Gonzalez threw out both runners who attempted to steal. Eckelman now has a 3.34 ERA in 35 innings, with a 5:30 BB/SO ratio. Nestor Oronel allowed two runs (one earned) in his two innings, and Evan Piechota finished out the game with a scoreless frame.
The GCL Pirates lost 2-1 in ten innings to the best team in the GCL, the 29-6 Blue Jays. Braeden Ogle started the game and went three innings, allowing a run on two hits and no walks. He served up a solo homer in the second inning. Ogle had two strikeouts and a 4:1 GO/AO ratio. In four starts, he has pitched a total of 9.2 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks, with six strikeouts. He has allowed two hits or less in each start.
The Pirates had just five hits in the game, with three of them coming off the bat of Felix Vinicio. In the sixth inning, he scored the lone run for the team. After a lead-off single, he moved to second on a wild pitch, then scored on a Raul Hernandez double. Vinicio’s first inning infield single was the only hit for the Pirates through the first five innings. Johan De Jesus also had a single, accounting for the only other hit.
With 24 games left, the GCL Pirates have a 16-20 record, yet they lead their division by one game. Before the game, Henrry Rosario was promoted to Bristol, switching places with Sam Kennelly.
The DSL Pirates lost 9-4 on Thursday, dropping their elimination number to three in the division and five in the wild card with 20 games left in the season. Leandro Pina has been one of the best starters in the league, but he didn’t have it in this game. He went 3.1 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on four hits and two walks, with two strikeouts. He now has a 1.52 ERA through 47.1 innings.
The offense did a good job of getting on base, with seven players collecting one hit each (all singles) and seven players drawing at least one walk. They never put a rally together, scoring solo runs in four separate innings. Rodolfo Castro, Williams Calderon and Francisco Mepris each drove in a run. Kevin Sanchez, Sherten Apostel and Carlos Garcia each had a single, walk and run scored.