P2 Top 30

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] include_once (‘./p2-stats/stats_functions.php’);
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2. Austin Meadows, CF, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(640457,’B’,’20160812′);
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3. Josh Bell, 1B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(605137,’B’,’20160812′);
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4. Kevin Newman, SS, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20160812′);
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5. Mitch Keller, RHP, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(656605,’P’,’20160812′);
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6. Nick Kingham, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(592468,’P’,’20160812′);
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7.Cole Tucker, SS, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(657061,’B’,’20160812′);
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8. Chad Kuhl, RHP, Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(641771,’P’,’20160812′);
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9. Will Craig, 3B, Morgantown –  [insert_php] display_top30(643269,’B’,’20160812′);
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10. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20160812′);
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11. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, West Virginia -[insert_php] display_top30(663647,’B’,’20160812′);
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12. Elias Diaz, C, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(553869,’B’,’20160812′);
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13. Clay Holmes, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20160812′);
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14. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(650817,’P’,’20160812′);
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15. Gage Hinsz, RHP, West Virginia  – [insert_php] display_top30(656543,’P’,’20160812′);
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16. Trevor Williams, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592866,’P’,’20160812′);
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17. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(593700,’B’,’20160812′);
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18. Tito Polo, OF, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(622738,’B’,’20160812′);
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 19. Stephen Tarpley, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(605501,’P’,’20160812′);
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20. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(663399,’P’,’20160812′);
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21. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20160812′);
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22. Max Moroff, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20160812′);
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23. Taylor Hearn, LHP, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(621368,’P’,’20160812′);
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24. Adrian Valerio, SS – Bristol – [insert_php] display_top30(650832,’B’,’20160812′);
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25. Braeden Ogle, LHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(669180,’P’,’20160812′);
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26. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20160812′);
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27. Travis MacGregor, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(669740,’P’,’20160812′);
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28. Max Kranick, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(668820,’P’,’20160812′);
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29. Frank Duncan, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(641538,’P’,’20160812′);
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30. Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(596720,’P’,’20160812′);
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P2 Top Performers

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Prospect-Watch-Indy

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Frank Duncan has pitched some strong games for Indianapolis this season, but recently he has had trouble going deep into games due to some unusual command issues for him. Not only was his command strong on Friday night, but he put together his best outing of his career in a 6-0 win over Lehigh Valley.

Duncan began the game by retiring each of the first 17 batters he faced. That streak ended on a pinch-hit single with two outs in the sixth. He followed that up by retiring the next six hitters before hitting his only rough patch as he tried to close out the eighth inning. Before he could record the final out, he allowed two singles and his lone walk, which loaded the bases. Duncan got a weak ground out to second base to finish his night.

He had six strikeouts and a 10:7 GO/AO ratio. The eight innings he tossed is a new career best, topping the seven innings he did once this season and seven times last year. Duncan’s 2.20 ERA would rank him third in the International League if he wasn’t five innings short of having enough to qualify.

Indianapolis had 11 hits in the game, with five players collecting two hits apiece. Jacob Stallings had two hits, including a two-run homer, his sixth of the season. Gift Ngoepe had just one hit, but it was his seventh home run of the year. Alen Hanson had two hits, two runs and an RBI. He also stole his 33rd base of the season, which leads the International League. Austin Meadows had a single, a double and an RBI. Jose Osuna had two hits, including a broken bat, RBI single in the eighth inning for the sixth Indianapolis run.

Prospect-Watch-Altoona-Curve

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ALTOONA, PA – Clay Holmes was very effective in six innings pitched tonight against Reading, the best hitting team in the Eastern League. The Reading Fighting Phils have the best record in all of professional baseball at 77-39, and they have a team batting average of .271 with a .803 team OPS, both bests in the Eastern League. They also have the top three home run hitters in the league and the top two RBI men. In other words, they can hit.

Holmes faced Reading last week and pitched extremely well, not allowing a run in five innings. Tonight, he was on his game again, allowing only one earned run, walking one, and striking out six. By my count, he had 13 ground balls to only four fly balls. As you can see, he did a great job keeping the ball on the ground and limiting this extremely talented Reading team.

Holmes has allowed 16 first inning runs this year, and that inning has been a problem for him. Tonight, he threw nine pitches and got two groundouts and a strikeout to begin the game.

The two-seamer was probably the best I’ve seen it yet this year, and Pitching Coach Justin Meccage agreed.

“I thought it was the best total six innings he’s had up to this point of the season,” Meccage said. “I’ve seen glimpses of that, but in terms of a total outing, that’s the most crisp he’s been, especially with his fastball command.”

The hardest hit ball was an 0-2 curve ball to Reading center fielder Dylan Cozan, who has 32 home runs this season so far, in the second inning. That ball went to the center field wall. In that inning, Reading loaded the bases against Holmes after the double and a couple singles. Holmes did a great job inducing three ground balls in a row before striking out the final batter.

“He minimized the damage in that situation and gave us a chance,” Manager Joey Cora said, “especially against a team like that. That’s what we are looking for. They could’ve put a crooked number up there on the board pretty easily. That was big.”

Holmes had a 1-2-3 first, fifth, and sixth inning, and he threw 84 pitches, 55 of them for strikes.

In major league rehab news, Chris Stewart made his return to the field tonight after being placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 4th, with problems in both his knees and ankles. He busted out a shiny new red set of catcher’s equipment to match his Curve teammates, and he caught Clay Holmes and John Kuchno for a combined seven innings of work.

Stewart went 1-for-2 with an RBI single and a walk. He walked in the second inning before slapping a line drive single to left field in the fourth, scoring Eric Wood. In the sixth inning, Stewart flew out to right field for the first out of the inning. He also tried to score from second base in the fourth inning and slid hard into home plate, making decent contact with the opposing catcher. He did seem to get up a little gingerly, but he said he felt fine from the collision after the game.

Defensively, Stewart didn’t get to throw to any bases, but he said after the game that he isn’t too worried about his arm. He did make some good blocks and participated in a rundown to get a runner out on the third base line. He praised Clay Holmes’ pitching effort tonight

“The stuff looked good,” Stewart said about Holmes. “We tried to establish the fastball early to get that two-seamer working to both sides of the plate. I know he feels real comfortable from the left side, but it’s now a matter of throwing the ball inside to get them uncomfortable a little bit. We worked on some stuff today that he wasn’t really used to, but I think it’s beneficial to him, and it will help him in the long run. I was able to sit down and talk to him. Sometimes when guys get hurt, it’s good for them. They can sit down and figure out what’s best for their future. There were a few times I sat down with him tonight and told him what I thought and how he can learn and grow from it to become a better pitcher.”

Offensively, Elvis Escobar and Erich Weiss both had three hit nights for the Curve. Escobar hit his second triple in as many nights after a drive down the right field line, and Weiss destroyed a baseball to the roller coaster in right field in the sixth inning. Weiss is now on a modest seven-game hitting streak. Barrett Barnes had a two hit night, and both of those were big hits – one a double to the left center gap and the other a line drive home run to left field. It was Barnes’ third homer of the year and his third two-hit night in a row.

Most importantly, the Curve committed six less errors than last night’s strange game – only committing one error tonight. – Sean McCool

Prospect-Watch-Bradenton

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Bradenton won 7-4 on Friday over St Lucie, as JT Brubaker rebounded from a tough second inning to finish with a solid start. Brubaker gave up two runs on four hits and a walk in the second frame. He finished with just two runs over six innings and gave up only three more hits and a walk the rest of the game. He struck out six batters, which is his high in 11 starts with Bradenton. Henry Hirsch followed with two shutout innings, before Luis Heredia allowed two runs in the ninth to make the game close.

The offense had 13 hits, though 12 of them were singles. Connor Joe had three hits, including his 24th double. He also walked and scored two runs. Christian Kelley had two hits and drove in two runs in his first game since being promoted from West Virginia. Tito Polo had a single, walk, two runs and an RBI. Cole Tucker has gone 3-for-20 in his last five games, yet he extended his on base streak to 16 games with a single on this night.

Prospect-Watch-WV-Power

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CHARLESTON, WV – Tonight, everything went right for the West Virginia Power. Mitch Keller continued his dominance, Taylor Hearn overshadowed Keller’s performance, and the Power bats exploded for 12 runs.

Keller opened with a bevvy of fastballs, working low in the zone. His fastball completely overpowered the Delmarva batters, touching 97 several times throughout the start. He ended the night with seven strikeouts and left with his second straight shutout start against the Shorebirds.

Keller ran into a bit of trouble when his control briefly disappeared in the final inning of his five-inning start. He tossed 29 pitches (16 strikes, 13 balls) in the fifth, ten more than in any other inning. He walked the leadoff batter and threw two wild pitches, allowing runners to advance to second and third. He battled back, though, to retire his final three batters.

Taylor Hearn, making his home debut, tossed three lights out innings in relief of Keller. Hearn consistently sat 95-97 with his fastball and used a devastating slider as a primary out pitch in the seventh and eighth innings. In just three innings, Hearn matched Keller’s total of seven strikeouts and only allowed one hit.

Although it was largely unneeded due to the pitching staff’s brilliance, the Power offense turned in a spectacular performance. Apart from Logan Hill, every batter registered a hit; Hill reached on an error that could have been scored a hit to lead off the Power’s biggest inning.

The most notable performers included Logan Ratledge, who scored three runs; Ryan Nagle, who collected four hits; and John Bormann, who launched a three-run home run. Jordan George stayed hot since his mid-July call up, reaching base three times and scoring a run.

Seth McGarry entered in the ninth but couldn’t preserve the shutout. He hit the second batter he faced, and that runner later came around to score on a single to left. McGarry quickly recovered and struck out Ademar Rifaela to end the game.

All told, the Power pitchers recorded 16 strikeouts, just beating out the offense’s total of 15 hits. – Abigail Miskowiec

Game Analysis: I don’t have much from this game, since I finished up at the stadium around midnight, and will have features on Keller on Sunday and Hearn on Monday or Tuesday. I was really impressed by both players, with Keller improving his overall arsenal from when I saw him earlier in the year. It’s preliminary, but I think an argument could be made for him to be in that first tier with Glasnow, Meadows, and Bell, and maybe even challenging for the top spot. I’ll expand on that on Sunday.

As for Hearn, I’ve had two lengthy conversations with him down here, and after seeing him tonight, I was blown away by the stuff. He easily has the best left-handed fastball in the system, and might even have the best fastball in the system (he hit 99 once, and averaged a little over 96 throughout the outing). At the very least, he’s definitely going to be a solid reliever in the majors, with a good chance to be a late inning reliever with very little improvements. I also wouldn’t count him out as a starter in the long-term, as his secondary stuff looked promising. I’ll have more on him early next week, after I transcribed two very long interviews.

To hold you over until then, here is a video of his first inning, which was all fastballs. This video is not suitable for children under the age of 18 – Tim Williams

Prospect-Watch-Morgantown

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Morgantown had one of those days where the opposition didn’t care who the pitcher was on the mound, they were hitting everything. Sixth round pick Cam Vieaux came into the game allowing three runs over his last three starts combined. He lasted just 3.2 innings and gave up six runs on eight hits and a walk in this contest. Matt Frawley followed and he surrendered four runs in three innings. Then Billy Roth came in for the final 1.1 innings and he allowed four runs in the 14-7 loss to Brooklyn.

Sandy Santos had a strong game on offense, collecting three doubles, which gives him 14 on the season. He scored twice and had an RBI. Nick King led off and drove in three runs with a pair of hits. Stephen Alemais had two hits, including his fifth double. Kevin Krause had a triple, a walk and scored twice. Will Craig extended his on base streak to 19 games with a walk, but had a tough game. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and he committed his 15th error.

Prospect-Watch-Bristol
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Bristol lost 5-4 to Danville on a walk-off single in the bottom of the tenth inning. The loss dropped them to 19-29 on the season, 8.5 back in the standings with 20 games left in the season. Nicholas Economos came into the game with a 7.93 ERA in nine starts and had his best outing. He made it through five innings (his limit) for the fourth time and allowed just one earned run on five hits and no walks. Nestor Oronel dropped to 0-6 on the season when he couldn’t get through his only inning of work, allowing a walk and two hits in the tenth.

Four Pirates collected two hits in this game. Victor Fernandez singled, collected his 11th double and scored a run. Alexis Bastardo had an RBI triple and scored a run. Yoel Gonzalez had two hits and drove in a run. Adrian Valerio had a single, a walk and a run scored. Daniel Cucjen had two hits, including his first career triple. The Pirates went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on base. They also committed four errors.

Prospect-Watch-GCL

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The GCL Pirates went with four pitchers in today’s game and all of them have something in common. Nick Kingham pitched five innings, followed by Eduardo Vera and Delvin Hiciano for one each, with Justin Topa getting the last two innings. All four of them are just returning from Tommy John surgery they had last year.

Kingham had a tough outing, but the important part is that he got through five innings and finished strong. After two line drive singles to lead-off the fourth, the last eight batters he faced either reached on an infield hit (two), an error (by Kingham) or made an out. He allowed four runs, with three being earned, though his own error caused the unearned run. Kingham had no walks and four strikeouts. In 24 innings, he has walked one batter.

This was the second time Kingham went five innings in his rehab. The original plan was for him to go five innings twice, then report to Bradenton. That changed when he was skipped for a start after his first five inning game, giving him a little break for recovery time. He returned with three innings last week and progressed to five today, so we might see one more start in the GCL before he goes elsewhere.

Hiciano was pitching his first game since his TJ surgery last summer. He’s an interesting arm because he sat 93-94 MPH pre-injury and I’m told that he looks like a better pitcher now than before he got hurt. He threw a scoreless inning. Vera also tossed a scoreless frame, retiring the side in order. This is his third game back. though he was shutdown from throwing for a couple weeks after his first game due to soreness. Topa allowed a run in the ninth, the first run he has given up in six appearances since returning. This is the first time he has completed two innings.

On offense, Luis Benitez had a great game and the rest of the team was fairly quiet. He had three hits, drove in both runs in the 5-2 loss and stole three bases. Andrew Walker had two hits. Sam Kennelly had two walks, scored both runs, and stole a base. It was just the second steal of his career. Victor Ngoepe stole his eighth base, but also committed his 18th error. He’s got the makings of a solid defender and the ability to make above average plays, so the high error total shouldn’t be a concern at this point.

Prospect-Watch-DSL

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The DSL Pirates were eliminated from the playoffs on Friday despite a well-played 7-0 win over the Indians. Jeremias Portorreal continued to be the best hitter in the system, collecting two hits and a walk in four plate appearances, pushing him over a .400 OBP. He scored a run, drove in a run and stole a base. He has reached base in all except one game since the start of July. Even more impressive is the fact he has cut his strikeouts in half and now has a 26:26 BB/SO ratio in 40 games. Portorreal turned 19 over the weekend, so while this is his third season in the DSL, he is still a good age for the league.

Adonis Pichardo started and threw five shutout innings, with Kleiner Machardo and Randy Jimenez finishing the game off with two scoreless frames each. Pichardo allowed three hits, two walks and he had three strikeouts. He has a 4.11 ERA in 46 innings this season, which is a nice improvement over the 7.24 ERA he put up over 41 innings last year. Part of his issue last season was that he twice tried to pitch through injuries before telling the team he was hurt.

Rodolfo Castro had three hits, including his 13th double. Gabriel Brito had two hits and drove in a pair of runs. Williams Calderon hit his sixth triple, which puts him among the league leaders. He has more triples than doubles and homers combined.

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33 COMMENTS

    • The slider looks great too. I watched the second and third inning, rather than getting video. I didn’t realize until after that he didn’t throw a slider in the first (since my focus for the videos is keeping the camera focused on him, and watching through a small screen).

      I think one of their upcoming starts is on MiLB.tv, so I’ll have to create some GIFs of the off-speed stuff.

  1. I truly worry about the 2 PTBNL that the Yankees will have a chance to take!! I really hope that it is none of our Pitchers!! They are just to valuable!! Especially our AAA Pitchers!! But the high prices everyone is charging these days, I am just prepared for the worst!!

    Clearly the Yankees outfield is not our outfield and the way Cutch and Marte were chasing balls, Nova feels a lot better about serving that Swiss Cheese up, because he know he has those guys behind him!! Nova is worth nowhere near ANY of our top 30 prospects for just 2 months!! He scared the shit out of me last nite. That was the quickest I’ve seen Hurdle get to the mound after that first out in the 6th!! It was our nite last nite!! Glad they were hitting the ball where we were!!

  2. Great video of Hearn…..those hitters looked very uncomfortable against him! Look forward to hearing more about him and Keller.

  3. May be time for a feature on Connor Joe who very quietly has been putting together a very solid season….I did not like the pick but he is beginning to show that he can hit some….

    • I agree he is raising his average. I look at all of the box scores of the Pirates Minor League teams before reading John’s write-ups and when I got to Bradenton I saw that the hitters had a lot of fun and noticed he had 3 hits. A moment later I noticed he also had another error, which I think is Number 22 on the season, and his fielding percentage is sub-.900 at .887.

      When drafted they spoke like they were going to try him behind the plate, then the back injury. Since rehabbing he has spent time in the OF and then 1B, and this year 3B. I would say DH, but that requires a trade. Therefore, I cannot see how the Pirates can plan a path forward for him with all of the other infielders they currently have in the system, such as Ngoepe, Hanson, Moroff, Weiss, Newman, Wood, Tucker, Kramer, and Hayes,

  4. I truly hope that Duncan, Holmes and Osuna are not included in the PTBNL. I will be beyond furious! I believe that all 3 of these guys will be in the bigs and contribute in some way.

    • Holmes definitely not. The Pirates made a bold move by putting him in AA this year after missing 2014 (TJ), and only 23 IP in Hi A in 2015. This was his year to show his stuff and 10-7, 4.02 with a 2.78 GO/AO and 123 IP in AA has him on track to be in the Rotation at AAA real soon.

      The Yankees are needy in the OF – that’s where I would look.

  5. Weird… several top pitching prospects have outstanding performances tonight, but PP leads with Kingham getting through 5 innings.

  6. Especially given the fact that he is only 17, keep an eye on this kid – Rodolfo Castro, SS with the Pirates DSL team. Look at his hitting numbers, for a 17 year old – .280 average, .376 OBP, 18 extra base hits in 157 ABs – and a pretty low 39 Ks, with 25 walks. Now, his fielding numbers are terrible – 32 errors! But, some of the fields in the DSL are less than ideal – and he is only 17.
    And he’s not a smurf – got decent size at 6’0″ 170, and still young enough to grow more….

  7. Hearn unleashed!
    7 Ks in 3 innings, with only 1 hit and 1 walk. Did anyone see what he was showing on the gun Friday night?

  8. After a VERY rough start to the 2016 season, Clay Holmes is really coming on. Friday night, he shut down the best team in the Eastern League and one of the best hitting teams in all of the minors – Reading. 10-7 now, with ERA down to 4.02 – which is quite a turnaround from where he was in May/June.

  9. Frank Duncan just continues to be a pleasant surprise – another great performance tonight (Friday night), against a pretty touch AAA lineup. One of the best stories of 2016, among the many negative ones concerning the Pirates this year.
    Also, since Will Craig earned an article written about his hitting resurgence, just for getting his average up to .250, it may be time to write one about Sandy Santos. Yes, he still strikes out too much – but he is hitting almost .300 and with extra base power. Plus, he can actually play a position without hurting his team defensively. And, he’s within a few months of being the same age as Craig. He’s got obvious tools, a real sleeper prospect in the lower levels….considering age and actual performance, he is easily the best field position prospect on that WV Black Bears team….

    • Santos has been mentioned here a lot. He has a huge problem with mental mistakes on the field, far bigger than anyone else in the system and it’s something I’ve heard the last two years. As far as baseball IQ, he pales in comparison to anyone else and shows zero signs of improving. I counted four bad mistakes the other day.

      They have tried benching him when he messes up and then he comes back and just tries to do too much so it becomes counterproductive. He runs until he is out, he will just throw the ball in the infield to no one in particular or he thinks he can throw every runner out. He has plus speed and can’t read pitchers so he can’t steal bases. He will drop easy fly balls and not take charge in center.

      As far as tools, he can compete with almost anyone. Still a huge question mark because he’s such a frustrating player. He’s basically a gifted athlete who looks like everyday is his first day playing baseball

      • See, this kind of analysis that you can’t get anywhere else is what’s so awesome about this site. Best money I’ve ever spent, and I don’t even think I’m exaggerating.

      • Well, that is a little disconcerting, and hopefully the light bulb comes on at some point. Regardless, he must be able to do something right – hit. He is by far the best hitter, on a very weak hitting team….three doubles tonight….

  10. All about the pitching tonight!. Duncan throwing up zeros, Keller with 7 k’s and then Hearn following Keller with 7 of his own. Getting to see the upside with Hearn that they saw when they acquired him.

      • I know but to the casual observer it seemed like he was being treated as less than a stellar prospect by his assignments early in the season.

        • Well the Pirates did decide to leave him in the starting role in Indianapolis when it was supposed to be 2-3 games, then back at Altoona, so they obviously noticed. It at least pushed Justin Masterson to a relief role when he was getting stretched out to start.

          You do have to remember my note from the Morning Report. Duncan failed to get through six innings in each of his prior six starts, plus he walked ten batters over his last three games, which is easily his worst three-game stretch of his career. So I won’t say he’s back on track after one outstanding start.

      • Holmes has to be moving up that list, he’s been very good the past 2 months after a horrific start to 2016….coming back from TJS

        • I’ve been talking him up all year. Even in some of those bad starts early on, you could still see all of the pitches necessary for him to be successful.

          There is also the fact that they didn’t care about his results early and they gave him things to work on each game, even if it meant poor results. There was a really poor outing where he went heavy with changeups, throwing it in spots you wouldn’t normally.

          Another game where they had him pounding the inside of the plate all game and he ended up with a few walks and a couple hit batters, but the game plan was pitch inside the entire game.

          He had another game where he just started throwing his two-seam fastball again and used it a lot, dusting off a rusty pitch.

          He changed his changeup grip in the middle of one game.

          They had him throwing to the left side of the plate one entire game.

          Basically, they are turning him into a prospect, but treating actual games like they are Spring Training games, and it has worked well for the last couple months.

          You can’t look at his stats this season and judge them normally because there is nothing normal about what they are doing to get him better.

          • well, if he keeps it up, maybe he will earn a late promotion to Indy…I think he has earned it….

            • I’d have to look at the standings, but if Altoona is slated to make the playoffs, and Indy isn’t, we most likely won’t see any of those late promotions as they would probably prefer to see him pitch in the AA playoffs then get a few innings in AAA and then have the season end before Altoona’s

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