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 – Drew Hutchison had struggled in spring training allowing innings to get away from him.
He didn’t let that happen in his season debut. Hutchison didn’t have the most efficient outing, but he worked around some trouble that could have quickly escalated
And Hutchison’s ability to stem the tide set up Max Moroff for more late-game dramatics in the Indians’ 5-4 win over Toledo. Moroff crushed his second home run in as many games, this one a three-run shot that cleared the concourse in rightfield and landed on the sidewalk outside the stadium.
“I’m seeing the ball pretty well,” Moroff said. “I’m not trying to hit the ball that far, I’m just trying to put the barrel to the ball on every pitch. Sometimes you miss and sometimes you make contact. Fortunately I made good contact.”
The Indians rallied from a deficit in the seventh inning for the second consecutive game. They had to rally after Hutchison allowed four runs on seven hits in 5.1 innings, striking out five and walking four, throwing 59 of 91 pitches for a strike. His fastball sat in the 90-91 MPH range.
Not great, but not awful.
“He made pitches when he had to,” Indianapolis manager Andy Barkett said. “He grinded through the game and pitched in and out of traffic well, and made pitches when he had to and showed some savvy.”
Toledo put the first to men on base in the third inning. Alex Presley led off with a single up the middle on an 89 MPH fastball. And on a 1-2 count, Omar Infante drilled a 90 MPH fastball into left field to put runners at second and third with no outs.
But instead of letting that situation snowball into a big inning, Hutchison struck out the next two batters — Jim Adduci on an 85 MPH breaking ball in the dirt, and Steven Moya on an 86 MPH breaking pitch on a full count. Matt Murton then flied out to center field on a changeup.
Hutchison allowed a run on a sacrifice fly in the second inning, allowing a single and double to the first three batters of the frame. Hutchison made a throwing error on a pick-off attempt, which put a runner at third, but he made a nice sliding catch on a bunt attempt that was popped up to end the inning.
Toledo first baseman Efren Navarro walked to lead off the fourth inning and scored on John Hicks’ hard-hit RBI single over a leaping Gift Ngoepe at third base. But Hutchison got out of the inning with a 4-6-3 double play.
Hutchison’s most efficient inning was the fifth, retiring the side in order on 13 pitches, striking out Adduci on a high 91 MPH fastball on a full count.
In the first inning Hutchison worked around a two-out single.
Pat Light made his Indianapolis debut, relieving Hutchison in the sixth inning and inheriting runners at first and second. He struggled with his control and wasn’t sharp in the first inning he worked.
He hit the first batter he faced with his first pitch — a fastball high and inside. Toledo catcher John Hicks hit an RBI single on the next pitch, and Light followed that by walking Brendan Ryan after getting ahead 0-2.
Light got bailed out of a bases loaded situation with a rare double play. Elias Diaz grabbed a swinging bunt, stepped on home plate and threw to first baseman Jason Rogers.
It didn’t take Light very long to make adjustments, retiring the side in the seventh inning on nine pitches. He struck out the final two batters of the inning — Jim Adduci and Steven Moya — on seven pitches.
“Anytime you’re coming in traffic like that it’s a little different situation than when you start an inning fresh,” Barkett said. “He could have gone south in a hurry, but he was able to limit the damage, get that double play ball and then close them out in the seventh.”
Doyvdas Neverauskas threw two scoreless innings in relief to close out the game, consistently sitting 95-96 MPH and touching 99. He allowed one hit and one walk, inducing four groundouts.
Elias Diaz and Jason Rogers each had an RBI double, while Jose Osuna added a double and Chris Bostick had a triple.
Austin Meadows continued to struggle early this season, going 0-for-3 on Friday. He popped out to the catcher on a bunt attempt in the sixth inning and struck out twice. Meadows did walk on Friday, but is 0-for-7 with four strikeouts in two games this season.
Indianapolis played with a nearly entirely new lineup in the second game, moving every position player except catcher Elias Diaz. The other eight position players were in a different spot than they were in the season opener.
Ngoepe played the fourth game of his career at third base. He previously played three games at third for Indianapolis in 2015, committing two errors in those games.
He only had two significant play to make at third. He fielded a fairly hard-hit grounder to throw out one runner, but could not make a tough play charging up the line and throwing on the run.
Meadows played his 15th career game in left field and didn’t have any non-routine plays to deal with during the game.
“I wouldn’t expect to see the same lineup twice in a row and you might not see the same lineup twice in the same week,” Barkett said.
Erich Weiss started at second base in his Triple-A debut going 0-for-2 but he scored a run after drawing a walk. He made a nice play to end the game, charging a slow roller and flipping the ball out of his glove to first base for the final out. – Brian Peloza
Altoona was rained out on Thursday night and then Friday’s game was played under windy and cold conditions, which led to a very sloppy game. The Curve won 5-3 over Harrisburg behind an excellent start by Alex McRae, five errors by the opposition, and some timely hitting from the top of the batting order.
McRae gave up seven hits and a walk in his five innings, but he limited the damage to one run by racking up a career-high nine strikeouts and getting four ground ball outs. He had eight strikeouts over the last three innings and eight of his strikeouts on the night were of the swinging variety. McRae was working up in the zone effectively with two strikes on hitters. John Kuchno allowed two runs in his one inning of work, but Tate Scioneaux and Montana DuRapau combined to throw three shutout innings to seal the win.
The top four in the batting order combined to reach base 11 times, while the bottom five spots went 2-for-19 with a walk. Kevin Newman had three hits out of the lead-off spot. Pablo Reyes hit second and started in center field. He had two hits, scored twice and drove in a run. Kevin Kramer had a pair of hits and a run scored, though he struck out three times. Edwin Espinal reached base all four times with two walks and two singles, while driving in two runs. Newman, Reyes and Kramer each had a double. Altoona went 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position.
These two teams will play a doubleheader tomorrow.
After putting eight runs on the board in their season opener on Thursday, Bradenton scored nine runs on Friday night to win their second straight game. Pedro Vasquez started the contest, his first appearances with the Pirates since being acquired from the Seattle Mariners in the Arquimedes Caminero trade last year. He gave up a first inning run, then settled down to finish his night by throwing shutout ball over the next three innings. He had four strikeouts and a 4:1 GO/AO ratio, while throwing 48 of his 75 pitches for strikes. It’s more pitches than you want to see over four innings, but it’s still a successful debut.
Bret Helton, who is now pitching in relief after starting for West Virginia last year, got the win by allowing two runs over 2.2 innings. Daniel Zamora followed him with 1.1 scoreless, stranding two inherited runners. Seth McGarry finished it off by facing the minimum in the ninth.
On the offensive side, Jordan George had the big game, driving in four runs on three hits. He homered on Thursday night. Cole Tucker and Will Craig each got in the hit column after a hitless debut. Tucker singled and tripled, driving in a pair. Craig had a double, two walks and scored two runs. Ke’Bryan Hayes also drove in a pair of runs and he stole his second base of the season. Mitchell Tolman had two hits and a run scored. Casey Hughston wore the golden sombrero. He’s now 2-for-8 with six strikeouts.
CHARLESTON, WV – Game One – A marvelous (OK, that’s my one Marvel pun for the year) start went to waste in the West Virginia Power’s home opener in Game 1 of a chilly twin bill. James Marvel’s sterling outing featured his hallmark timely groundouts paired with some clutch power pitching, but reliever Matt Anderson’s lack of control with his breaking ball enabled the Rome Braves to unceremoniously deposit two balls over the fence in the sixth inning, accounting for the difference in the 3-0 seven-inning loss.
Marvel mixed his pitches well, resulting in five scoreless innings and six strikeouts. He got into trouble early but worked his way out of first-and-third jams in the first two innings without much difficulty. In fact, he commanded his four-seamer well enough to run it up in the zone, usually after getting the batter to chase a breaking ball, for a powerful strikeout pitch.
The solid effort of the mound lacked any support from the Power bats, though. Albert Baur collected the sole West Virginia hit, doubling off the center field wall in the first inning.
On the whole, the Power hitters were undisciplined and anxious. Many of their six strikeouts came on balls in the dirt, and throughout the game, players were out on their front foot trying to hit changeups. Sandy Santos and Stephen Alemais led the list of calamities with two strikeouts each.
Matt Anderson couldn’t catch the bottom of the zone with his looping curveball when he entered the game in the sixth inning. As a result, he “adjusted” by hanging one over the middle. That ball is now sitting in the street outside the stadium. The next at-bat ended much the same way, with the ball clearing the right-center wall.
Dylan Prohoroff pitched a perfect seventh inning to hold the Braves to their 3-0 lead. Prohoroff still seems to be engaged in “head-whacking” and twice failed to reach home plate with his pitch.
In other words, the Power seem to be living up to the preseason prediction: few standouts with the occasional strong performance. – Abigail Miskowiec
Game Two – In game one of a doubleheader, the Power were undone by the long ball. In game two, the most important plays of the night occurred within twenty feet of home plate. The game began with a bunt single by the Rome lead-off man, who then stole second, advanced on a groundout, and scored on a wild pitch. From that point on, the Power were victims of perfectly executed small ball.
“There were some cross ups going on [between Vera and catcher Chris Harvey],” admitted Power manager Wyatt Toregas. “There was some miscommunication going on with pitches that cost us a run early, and we lost the game by a run.”
Starter Eduardo Vera settled down after the early wild pitch and a walk, striking out four and inducing five groundouts before a second walk set him to the clubhouse. Vera hadn’t started a game since 2013, due to Tommy John surgery. Vera regained control especially late in the start and finished the night with 51 pitches, 33 of which went for strikes.
This will likely be the last time in a while that we’ll see Vera take the mound to start a ballgame.
“He’s not a starter for us,” said Toregas. “Anderson was supposed to start game two…Anderson will fill into that role the next time that slot comes around.”
Vera got more support than Marvel did in the day game; in fact, the Power notched nine times as many hits in game two. That is to say, they recorded a total of nine hits. Logan Ratledge saw the most successful plate appearances of the doubleheader. In the second inning, he ripped a double down the first base line. (He could have stretched it to a triple had he not tripped rounding first.) Then in the fourth, Ratledge plated the first Power run with a two-out single.
The wheels fell off for the Power defense when reliever Matt Eckelman took the mound in the fifth inning. Another lead-off bunt started a two-run inning for the Braves. The Power defense looked disorganized on the bunt attempts, and Kevin Mahala’s hesitation on a bases-loaded grounder resulted in him pocketing the ball and allowing a run to score.
These defensive miscues will likely resolve themselves in time, but for what will surely be an offensively challenged club, you’d like to see stronger defense in support of strong starts.
The Power attempted a last-ditch rally in the seventh inning. Victor Fernandez reached on an infield single, and Sandy Santos, who had struck out five times over the course of the pair of games, smacked a double off the left field wall. Albert Baur brought Fernandez home with a one-out single, but Hunter Owen grounded into a game-ending double play. – Abigail Miskowiec