A look at how the current top 30 prospects did today. If a player is in the majors for an extended time (Tyler Glasnow, Trevor Williams, Alen Hanson), or loses his prospect eligibility, he will be removed from this list. 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 more active prospects on the list. Rankings are from the 2017 Prospect Guide, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.
1. Austin Meadows, CF, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
2. Mitch Keller, RHP, Bradenton – [insert_php]
3. Kevin Newman, SS, Altoona – [insert_php]
4. Cole Tucker, SS, Bradenton – [insert_php]
5. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Bradenton -[insert_php]
6. Will Craig, 3B, Bradenton – [insert_php]
7. Taylor Hearn, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php]
8. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Bradenton – [insert_php]
9. Nick Kingham, RHP, Extended Spring Training – [insert_php]
10. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
11. Clay Holmes, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
12. Braeden Ogle, LHP, Extended Spring Training – [insert_php]
13. Max Kranick, RHP, Extended Spring Training – [insert_php]
14. Elias Diaz, C, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
15. Edgar Santana, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
16. Luis Escobar, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php]
17. Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
18. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php]
19. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Altoona -[insert_php]
20. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
21. Stephen Alemais, SS, West Virginia – [insert_php]
22. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Altoona – [insert_php]
23. Travis MacGregor, RHP, Extended Spring Training – [insert_php]
24. Barrett Barnes, LF, Extended Spring Training -[insert_php]
25. Max Moroff, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
26. Eric Wood, 3B, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
27. J.T. Brubaker, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php]
28. Chris Bostick, INF/OF, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
29. Connor Joe, 3B, Altoona – [insert_php]
30. Jose Osuna, 1B, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
INDIANAPOLIS – He didn’t fool anyone early in his outing.
Just two innings later, though, Drew Hutchison looked like the pitcher that the Pirates envisioned when they traded away Francisco Liriano and a pair of prospects for him last season.
Hutchison allowed a home run in each of the first two innings, but rebounded to post a respectable outing against Columbus on Wednesday in Indianapolis’ 7-6 loss. Hutchison struck out seven batters and at one point retired 10 of 11 batters.
“I was just aggressive and making pitches with conviction,” Hutchison said. “I thought I threw the ball really well after (the home runs).”
But that beginning was rough.
Columbus lead-off hitter Erik Gonzalez, the eighth-ranked prospect in the Cleveland organization, hit a no-doubt home run to left field on Hutchison’s third pitch of the game. Ronnie Rodriguez followed with a hard-hit double into left field and scored on second baseman Max Moroff’s throwing error.
Hutchison’s struggles continued into the second inning, allowing a home run to Jordan Smith, batting ninth in the lineup. Smith has 30 home runs in 688 career minor league games.
The early struggles were easy to dissect. Hutchison’s fastball wasn’t fooling people and they were hitting him hard. Both of the home runs came on fastballs.
“But they weren’t executed well,” Hutchison said. “I thought I had a very good fastball after that.”
And the previous batter — former Pirates catcher Erik Kratz — hit a hard shot just foul of the leftfield corner before grounding out. Even some of the outs Hutchison got early were hit hard such as Ronny Rodriguez’s lineout to left fielder Christopher Bostick.
Columbus led 3-0 after two innings and one of the critiques of Hutchison in spring training was his inability to quickly escape pitching struggles. But after he gave up the two home runs, Hutchison was fairly effective, retiring 10 of 11 batters during one stretch.
“It seemed like they kind of ambushed him early,” Indianapolis manager Andy Barkett said. “They got on him early and he had a hard time finding his rhythm. After that it seemed like he made adjustments and the life on his fastball was really good and he was able to mix his pitches.”
Hutchison’s fastball was sitting 92-94, and even touched 95-96, and he struggled with his command, throwing just 54 of his 96 pitches for a strike.
Hutchison retired the side in the third inning on a groundout and two strikeouts. In the fourth inning Hutchison struck out Richie Shaffer and Nellie Rodriguez on breaking pitches. Hutchison did walk Erik Kratz and allowed him to easily steal second, with Kratz getting such a big jump catcher Elias Diaz didn’t even try to throw to second. But Hutchison rebounded by getting Smith to fly out to Meadows in center.
Hutchison allowed a two-out double in the fifth inning, but worked around that by inducing an inning-ending groundout.
However, Hutchison’s outing only lasted two more hitters — walking lead-off hitter Giovanny Urshela in the sixth inning and following that by allowing a Shaffer single.
“He was really good through (the fifth after the early struggles),” Barkett said. “Overall, it was a step in the right direction.”
Indianapolis did find some offensive success, after being shutout in consecutive games and entering Wednesday’s game with a 23-inning scoreless streak.
Elias Diaz had three hits, while Austin Meadows, Jason Rogers and Christopher Bostick each had two hits.
Indianapolis broke the scoreless streak in the first inning. Eric Wood crushed his only hit of the day, a two-out triple to the center field wall. He scored on Diaz’s RBI single to right field.
The Indians scored a pair of runs in the seventh and eighth innings, finally showing the ability to put consecutive and timely hits together. And some key prospects who had been struggling came through with many of those hits.
Meadows, who entered hitting .048, had a key RBI single to right field in the eighth inning. Bostick had a two-run single in the seventh inning, which scored Meadows and Jason Rogers.
Bostick also had a one-out single in the ninth inning, representing the tying run but Max Moroff popped out in the infield and Gift Ngoepe flied out to right field to end the game. Moroff finished the game 0-for-4. Jose Osuna had the day off.
A.J. Schugel struggled in relief of Hutchison, allowing five hits and two runs. Schugel allowed both of the baserunners Hutchison left on base to come around to score.
Cody Dickson struck out three in two innings of relief, throwing 16 of 26 pitches for a strike. – Brian Peloza
Altoona won 4-0 on Wednesday, as Alex McRae and John Kuchno combined to throw a shutout and move the Curve to 4-3 on the season. McRae pitched great in his season debut last week, striking out a career-high nine batters. He’s more of a pitch-to-contact/ground ball pitcher, and that was on display in this game. He retired the first nine batters in this game, averaging ten pitches per inning through three frames. He worked his way out of trouble in the last three innings, as Richmond touched him up for four hits and two walks, but they couldn’t come up with the big hit. McRae threw 78 pitches, with 51 going for strikes, while posting a 9:1 GO/AO ratio. His ERA dropped to 0.82 in two outings.
Kuchno allowed just one hit in his three innings and he picked up four strikeouts. He was peppering the strike zone, with 25 of 33 pitches going for strikes. His three shutout frames helped out a tired bullpen that had to go to infielder Chase Simpson on Tuesday night.
On offense, Michael Suchy, Wyatt Mathisen and Elvis Escobar each had two hits. Mathisen had two doubles and scored a run. Suchy scored a run, and Escobar added a walk and an RBI. Kevin Kramer had a single, a walk, an RBI and his first stolen base.
The team actually struggled to make contact in this one, as they struck out 15 times on the night. Connor Joe was 0-for-5 and had four of those strikeouts. Kevin Newman saw his average drop to .286 and struck out twice. Jordan Luplow was 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
Bradenton moved to 7-0 with a 4-1 victory over St Lucie on Wednesday night. Pedro Vasquez made his second start for the Pirates after being acquired late last season from the Mariners for Arquimedes Caminero. This outing was almost the same as his first start, with a solid pitching line, but his night was limited due to a high pitch count. He had to leave after four innings in the first game, and this time he went 4.2 innings before being pulled with 87 pitches. Vasquez allowed one run on six hits and no walks. He struck out four and had a 4:4 GO/AO ratio, while throwing 58 of his 87 pitches for strikes.
The bullpen of Seth McGarry and Jess Amedee combined to throw 4.1 no-hit innings after Vasquez left. In four scoreless innings this season, McGarry has allowed one walk and no hits.
The offense was led by Kevin Krause and Logan Hill, who each had three hits. Krause fell a home run short of the cycle and he’s now batting .533, after spending the first three games on the bench. Hill is batting .433 and he picked up his second triple.
Cole Tucker was 1-for-4 with a single, walk, run scored and his fifth stolen base. Will Craig was 1-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI. Mitchell Tolman had two walks in five trips to the plate. Ke’Bryan Hayes had the night off.
CHARLESTON – Although Trae Arbet’s two-homer night stole the show tonight against the Asheville Tourists, the Power finally found the balanced offensive approach they’ve desperately needed, which led to the team’s first win.
Every Power batter except Sandy Santos participated in the hit parade at least once, and Santos contributed a nice sacrifice bunt in the second inning to move runners to second and third (where they remained). The Power are plagued by inefficiency with runners in scoring position. Coming into tonight’s game, the team was a combined 5-for-32 in such situations, and in tonight’s contest, the Power went 5-for-13 (including two strikeouts with the bases loaded in the eighth inning). Ty Moore found a measure of redemption after grounding into an inning-ending double play in the second by plating two on a single to right in the eighth.
Tonight’s offensive outpouring helped excuse James Marvel’s shaky four-inning start. Marvel had trouble with the early evening sun (which conveniently sets right behind home plate), and some command issues didn’t help the matter. Marvel threw thirty pitches in the first inning alone and finished with six hits and two walks.
Catcher Arden Pabst corralled Marvel back into the zone and helped the pitcher fight the sun. “We had to get his target down a little bit,” he explained. “He knew he didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled adversity and gave us some quality innings.”
Pabst and manager Wyatt Toregas have been working on game management together so tonight’s rough patch gave Pabst an opportunity to “use the pitcher’s strength and the hitter’s weakness to attack and have versatility,” according to Toregas. For the most part, Pabst guided the Power pitchers to success.
Matt Eckelman pitched well while picking up the majority of the relief work (and the win). He allowed a run to score in the fifth but retired the next seven in order. In three innings of work, Eckelman struck out five. Hector Garcia and Eduardo Vera each contributed a scoreless inning.
Despite their early struggles, the Power have a few standouts from the homestand. Arbet, who is returning from injury, is now hitting .368/.429/.684. Moore has reached base six times in his two games with the club, and Hunter Owen and Pabst are flirting with .300.
Thanks to the snapped losing streak, the Power leave for the road in good spirits. Several players could be heard serenading Stephan Alemais with “Happy Birthday” after the game, and although he didn’t play today, the 22-year-old joked that he “found a new calling” as the first base coach. – Abigail Miskowiec