Prospect Watch: Clay Holmes and Brandon Waddell with the Sunday Starts

P2 Top 30

A look at how the current top 30 prospects did today. If a player is in the majors for an extended time (Trevor Williams, Alen Hanson, Jose Osuna), 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] include_once (‘./p2-stats/stats_functions.php’);
display_top30(640457,’B’,’20170514′);
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2. Mitch Keller, RHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656605,’P’,’20170514′);
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3. Kevin Newman, SS, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20170514′);
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4. Cole Tucker, SS, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(657061,’B’,’20170514′);
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5. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(663647,’B’,’20170514′);
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6. Will Craig, 3B, Bradenton –  [insert_php] display_top30(643269,’B’,’20170514′);
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7. Taylor Hearn, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(621368,’P’,’20170514′);
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8. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Bradenton  – [insert_php] display_top30(656543,’P’,’20170514′);
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9. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592468,’P’,’20170514′);
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10. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20170514′);
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11. Clay Holmes, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20170514′);
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12. Braeden Ogle, LHP, Extended Spring Training – [insert_php] display_top30(669180,’P’,’20170416′);
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13. Max Kranick, RHP, Extended Spring Training – [insert_php] display_top30(668820,’P’,’20170416′);
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14. Elias Diaz, C, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(553869,’B’,’20170514′);
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15. Edgar Santana, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(650828,’P’,’20170514′);
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16. Luis Escobar, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(650813,’P’,’20170514′);
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17. Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(596720,’P’,’20170514′);
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18. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(650817,’P’,’20170514′);
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19. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20170514′);
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20. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20170514′);
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21. Stephen Alemais, SS, West Virginia –  [insert_php] display_top30(641301,’B’,’20170514′);
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22. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(663399,’P’,’20170514′);
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23. Travis MacGregor, RHP, Extended Spring Training – [insert_php] display_top30(669740,’P’,’20170416′);
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24. Barrett Barnes, LF, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(608627,’B’,’20170514′);
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25. Max Moroff, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20170514′);
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26. Eric Wood, 3B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(607780,’B’,’20170514′);
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27. J.T. Brubaker, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(664141,’P’,’20170514′);
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28. Chris Bostick, INF/OF, Indianapolis –  [insert_php] display_top30(607471,’B’,’20170514′);
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29. Connor Joe, 3B, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(656582,’B’,’20170514′);
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30. Pat Light, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(572990,’P’,’20170514′);
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P2 Top Performers

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Prospect-Watch-Indy

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Indianapolis got a walk-off single in the 11th inning from Austin Meadows to give them a 5-4 victory on Sunday. After taking the lead in the bottom of the seventh, Indianapolis gave up that lead in the ninth, only to tie the game in the bottom of the inning and send it to extras. After Chris Bostick walked to load the bases with one out, Meadows hit an opposite field line drive into the corner for the winner. He probably lost at least a double and a couple RBIs on the play because they only needed the one run.

Clay Holmes started the game and looked great for 5.2 innings. With two outs and two strikes in the sixth, he allowed a line drive single just over the glove of Max Moroff at shortstop. The next batter hit one to the left-center gap and Barrett Barnes just missed that ball. That was followed by an RBI line drive single that ended the night for Holmes. Before those last three batters, he had allowed just four singles, with no walks and seven strikeouts, to go along with an 8:2 GO/AO ratio. Holmes was topping out at 97 MPH and had all of his pitches working, getting results with his fastball, curve, changeup and slutter.

Bostick raised his average to .355 with three hits and a walk. He drove in two runs and collected his tenth double. Meadows had two hits and a walk, giving him his third multi-hit game of the week. Eric Wood had a hit and two walks. Max Moroff had two walks. Barrett Barnes had a tough season debut, going 0-for-5 with three strikeouts.

Prospect-Watch-Altoona-Curve

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ALTOONA, Pa. – After being pulled in the first inning this past Wednesday due the Pirates’ single inning pitch limit, Brandon Waddell was able to work out of a first inning jam and complete 3.2 innings before running into a set pitch limit.

Waddell issued a lead-off, four pitch walk to begin the game, and a ground ball single quickly put two runners on with no outs. After a ground out, Waddell had another walk to load the bases with one out. Quickly, the Curve bullpen stirred as his pitch count was already around 20 pitches with only one out. Fortunately, Waddell struck out old pal Harold Ramirez with a 94 MPH fastball and got a fly out to right to end the inning at 24 pitches.

Getting out of that inning was extremely important, since Waddell failed to record an out on 29 pitches this past Wednesday in Richmond, forcing the bullpen to go to work in the first inning.

“I just think it’s the stuff that he has that day; he just tries to find it a little bit,” Michael Ryan said. “He got a lot of foul balls [today], and he was throwing pitches that were just missing. It’s not like he was all over the place. Once he found what his changeup and slider were going to do, he made the adjustment to get through the next couple innings.”

Waddell said that he’s honestly just trying to get a feel for the mound again after being off for basically a month. It has been difficult to get a feel for his breaking pitches at the beginning of his three games back from the disabled list.

“You’re not going to come in and just dominate how you want,” Waddell said. “It’s the nature of the game – just settling in and getting a feel for game speed again. It’s just nice to get up and attack some hitters, honestly.”

Simulating the adrenaline, effort, and speed of a real game has proven to be a little difficult for some of the Curve starters.

“You can get pretty close, but when you got hitters standing in there, you might try to manipulate a different way or throw the pitch in a different scenario,” Waddell said. “Obviously, off-speed pitchers are going to be harder to get a feel for right off the bat. In a way, you look at it like a hitter where you get more tempo and rhythm throughout a game. The same goes from the pitching side.”

Even with the long first inning, Waddell did a great job getting out of the jam. He ended up completing 3.2 innings on 60 pitches, five short of his 65 pitch limit today (coming back from the DL stint). Ryan said that they did not want to push it to try to get that final out of the inning.

He got three strikeouts today, with all of them coming off of his fastball. Pitching effectively to both sides of the plate with fastball was – and his been – his goal, and he was able to work with both the two and four-seamer. He threw around 10 two-seamers, and Waddell said that the pitch actually felt stronger than his four-seam fastball today. Also, he was able to find a rhythm with his slider after the first inning, saying that it felt really good as the game progressed.

The lone run against Waddell was a wind-aided home run in the third inning.

Tate Scioneaux worked two scoreless innings – the eighth and ninth – for the save. He struck out three batters.

Offensively, the Curve were led by Chris Diaz and Pablo Reyes, two utility players that have been playing well as of late, with three hits a piece. In Diaz’s case, he hit two singles and a triple down the right field line. On the season, he is 9-for-24 in limited chances.

“Chris Diaz probably hasn’t gotten the at-bats he’s wanted to yet at this point, but I’m very comfortable putting him in the lineup,” Ryan said. “He’s got a great approach and plays excellent defense. He can play multiple positions, so he’s such a valuable guy to have on your roster.”

Ryan noted that Diaz has hit lefties well, and he will be in the lineup on Wednesday when they face another lefty.

Otherwise, Jordan Luplow recorded two hits, and Edwin Espinal doubled down the left field line. Espinal also hit a sacrifice fly to right field with two strikes and the bases loaded, a perfect approach for the situation (in the air the other way).

Defensively, Connor Joe made a great diving stop to his left while playing first base this afternoon. It’s an understatement how athletic he is in the field, and he put it on display again today.

*Jin-De Jhang will play another nine inning game in Extended Spring Training on Tuesday, and he is scheduled to start on Friday in Altoona. -Sean McCool

Prospect-Watch-Bradenton

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Bradenton has off today.

Prospect-Watch-WV-Power

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CHARLESTON, WV – When the wind blows out in Appalachian Power Park, it doesn’t take much for the ball to leave the park. The recently revamped West Virginia lineup put on a display early, homering four times in the first two innings. (The RiverDogs also hit a dinger in the second inning.)

Adrian Valerio (in his first game with the Power) and Stephen Alemais were the only batters not to reach base. After striking out twice, Alemais sent two balls to the warning track, but the Charleston outfielders chased the flies down easily. Valerio and Alemais, both defensively talented shortstops, seem like they’ll be forming the double play duo for the foreseeable future.

Valerio’s presence at second pushed Trae Arbet to third base today, which poses a challenge considering Arbet’s weak fielding at second. Arbet’s hot bat, though, merits a spot in the lineup; he currently leads the team in home runs (6), slugging (.547), and RBI (26) and ranks third in batting average (.291). Conversely, only Kevin Mahala has a worse fielding percentage than Arbet’s .941.

If Arbet were to move to DH, he would push Carlos Munoz out of the lineup, robbing the Power of Munoz’s .398 on-base percentage and .427 slugging percentage.

Power manager Wyatt Toregas thinks that a move to the hot corner may improve Arbet’s fielding.

“Secretly he loves third a lot better than second,” Toregas said. “He makes easy plays look hard and hard plays look easy. At third base, you get a lot more hard plays.”

Arbet proved his skipper right, making a fantastic diving stop on a sharp grounder to his glove side.

Albert Baur, who returned from the disabled list on May 10, got the fireworks started with a two-run blast in the first inning. After an error and a single, Brent Gibbs (benefiting from Arden Pabst’s suspension and Chris Harvey’s Vanderbilt graduation) sent a bomb of his own over the left field fence.

Sandy Santos continued the party with a lead-off homer in the second, and Trae Arbet smashed his sixth home run of the season to bring the Power lead to 8-1 in the second inning.

West Virginia added two more runs in the fourth inning on a Carlos Munoz two-run single. They were no-hit by the RiverDogs bullpen from that point on.

Baur lead the charge with a double in addition to the homer. Clark Eagan scored three times.

Eduardo Vera got the start today in place of the injured Cam Vieaux. Vera seems to turn it on when he gets the opportunity to start. He went 3.2 three-hit, one-run innings on Opening Day when a rainout reconfigured the Power rotation. Since then, Vera has been the team’s go-to long relief man; he averages three innings per relief appearance and has not given up more than one earned run in his eight 2017 appearances (including the two starts).

Today, Vera had his curve working very well, leading to five strikeouts and a 7:3 GO:AO ratio (those flyballs include a popup to the catcher). He was remarkably efficient, needing only 52 pitches to work through 17 at-bats. In his final two innings, Vera only threw two balls.

Toregas was impressed by Vera’s start, saying, “Vera went out there and made a statement, saying he think he should be starting.”

“For him on a day when the wind is blowing out to completely shut the other team down with the exception of a solo homer was pretty solid,” he added.

Matt Eckelman relieved Vera for two innings and allowed a run on a home run in the seventh. He also walked two batters. Matt Anderson also contributed two innings of relief.

According to Toregas, Cam Vieaux should be back in time to make his next start. Vieaux was added to the disabled list today, retroactive to May 11, with tightness in his pitching arm. Vieaux has been the most consistent Power starter in 2017, leading the team with a 1.35 ERA. – Abigail Miskowiec

  • Polanco out w a hamstring. Pirates will now try to win games w only one legit outfielder this week vs best team in NL. If Polanco is put on DL…

    #FreeMeadows

    • #freebostick and let him actually play in games

      • Bostick can’t hold Meadows jock, but you’re probably going to get what you asked for. Because…Super 2 trumps wins.

        • I think you’re exaggerating the separation (today) next year I might agree. Bostick has put in a year at AAA solid results I’d like a litmus to see what it looks like in MLB. Hopefully he gives them a solid bench option insurance for the current outfielders. He can easily be yanked when Meadows hits stride – I want him to be fully baked to replace Cutch.

          • Bostick hit .203 in his 200+ AB in AAA in 2016. Doing a lot better in 2017 at AAA, but as a RH Bench Strength hitter, are you considering him instead of Osuna? Also, the Pirates could shift Harrison to RF, play Ngoepe or Hanson at 2B, or both of them have played in the OF also – Ngoepe is another RH hitter and Hanson is a switchhitter.

        • I bet he can, it can’t be that heavy. I know it is a euphemism, but every time I see it I think to myself, it can’t be that hard to carry someone’s jockstrap.
          In truth, I am ok with giving Bostick a shot, it doesn’t hurt anything, and who knows, maybe he can turn into that 4th OFer everyone has been bitching about. In truth 3/3 of the Pirates outfield has either played like garbage, or hasn’t played, so even having Bryce Harper as a 4th OFer wouldn’t be much help. Actually, that isn’t true, he would be a lot of help, but this team would still not resemble a playoff contender.

  • Nice middle infield defense at WV. I know another place that would like to have that kind of defense…

  • Holmes appears to be having a breakout season. If so, he may make Nova an expendable trade asset this summer. I like Nova, but I like impact bats more when the team has a replacement waiting for his shot.

    • Opps, I jinxed him….

    • I doubt that they will move Nova no matter what Holmes does.

      • We’ll see.

        • Don’t hold your breath.

        • They will move Cole before they moved Nova. Taillon’s condition I think has slowed down the Cole trade timeline but, that deal will get done and it will hopefully net us a glorious haul. I can’t wait until Mitch Keller is ready. It wouldn’t surprise me if he ended the year in AA this season and got a shot at the majors at the end of next year.

    • I think it’s fair to say Pirates will listen on everyone on roster. Moving guys who are locked up for several years and outperforming their contract is another story though. NH will need to be blown away to deal Cole or Nova.

      • agreed…..but Cole would be more likely. Personally I think it’s stupid to move either when you are having an aberattion season brought on by 1-time circumstances. This season is very good if all the pieces are there, so why take away its ability to compete for a championship in 2018

        • Scott Kliesen
          May 15, 2017 5:40 am

          I agree. Good observation about this season and circumstances which brought it on.

        • The Pirates will listen on all but a very few players, such as Polanco and Bell. Cole is locked up with the Pirates through 2019, so no need or reason to be anxious. Nova has been a calming influence since coming from the Yankees, and is a very reasonably priced SP, also signed through 2019.

          What happens with Taillon, Glasnow, Kingham, Hutchison, Holmes, Eppler, Keller, Hearn, and Hinsz are all major considerations affecting Cole and Nova.

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