Prospect Watch: Bradenton Shows Power to Beat MLB Rehabbing Pitcher Seth Lugo

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’);
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2. Mitch Keller, RHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656605,’P’,’20170523′);
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3. Kevin Newman, SS, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20170523′);
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4. Cole Tucker, SS, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(657061,’B’,’20170523′);
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5. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(663647,’B’,’20170523′);
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6. Will Craig, 3B, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(643269,’B’,’20170523′);
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7. Taylor Hearn, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(621368,’P’,’20170523′);
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8. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656543,’P’,’20170523′);
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9. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592468,’P’,’20170523′);
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10. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20170523′);
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11. Clay Holmes, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20170523′);
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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’,’20170523′);
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15. Edgar Santana, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(650828,’P’,’20170523′);
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16. Luis Escobar, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(650813,’P’,’20170523′);
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17. Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(596720,’P’,’20170523′);
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18. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(650817,’P’,’20170523′);
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19. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20170523′);
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20. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20170523′);
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21. Stephen Alemais, SS, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(641301,’B’,’20170523′);
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22. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(663399,’P’,’20170523′);
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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’,’20170523′);
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25. Max Moroff, 2B, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20170523′);
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26. Eric Wood, 3B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(607780,’B’,’20170523′);
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27. J.T. Brubaker, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(664141,’P’,’20170523′);
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28. Chris Bostick, INF/OF, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(607471,’B’,’20170523′);
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29. Connor Joe, 3B, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(656582,’B’,’20170523′);
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30. Pat Light, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(572990,’P’,’20170523′);
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P2 Top Performers

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Prospect-Watch-Indy

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Nick Kingham made his second start for Indianapolis and third start of the season on Tuesday night. He threw five shutout innings for Bradenton in his season debut, then followed that up with two runs over 5.2 innings last week. Kingham went six innings in this game, allowing three runs, as Indianapolis dropped a 3-1 decision to Lehigh Valley.

Kingham cruised through the first three innings, working almost exclusively with his fastball, which was sitting 90-93 MPH, touching 94-95 a few times in the middle innings, before dropping down to a few 89’s in the later innings. He allowed just two singles in those first three innings.

Kingham started mixing in his changeup and curve often in the fourth and continued that for the rest of the night. He certainly had mixed results with that strategy, picking up five of his eight strikeouts in his last three innings, but he also allowed three runs. He gave up a two-run homer to Dylan Cozens in the fourth inning on an 87 MPH changeup. It was the 12th homer of the season for Cozens. His curveball was getting a lot of chases late, leading to the high strikeout total. The last time Kingham reached eight strikeouts was June 13, 2014.

Kingham threw 60 of his 88 pitches for strikes, but he didn’t have his best command in this game. The control was spotty at times as well, with two walks, two hit batters and a wild pitch.

Austin Meadows had two hits in this game and scored the only run on an Elias Diaz double. Meadows has his average up to .236 now and he has reached base in 12 straight games. The Indians had seven hits in this game and four of them were doubles. Along with the sixth double of the season from Diaz, Eric Wood hit his tenth, Chris Bostick hit his 13th and Phil Gosselin extended his hit streak to 13 games with his sixth double.

Prospect-Watch-Altoona-Curve

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ALTOONA, Pa. – Yeudy Garcia looked to bounce back tonight from his last outing where he couldn’t get through the fourth inning in Binghamton. He was able to go longer tonight but did not look the greatest in the outing, going 5.2 innings while allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits. He walked three batters while striking out five.

He only allowed one walk in the first two innings; however, there were multiple long and hard hit balls against him that ended up going as outs. In the third, he allowed a single and double before walking the bases loaded. The walk came back to hurt him, as he got a ground ball to first base, but the run still came across to score.

He struck out two batters in the fourth in a scoreless inning. In the fifth, a couple of hard hit balls resulted in another run. He induced a slow roller up the first base line, but Garcia threw the ball over Connor Joe’s head try to go around the runner going up the line. Another run scored on the error by Garcia. In the sixth, he was pulled after a single and another walk. Sean Keselica wasn’t able to hold the runner on second, and that run was charged to Garcia.

I talked big picture with Pirates Minor League Pitching Coordinator Justin Meccage about Garcia, and he said that Garcia needs to figure out how to command his fastball better again.

“His slider has always been a good pitch, and it’s a good pitch right now,” Garcia said. “The changeup is a really good pitch, but he doesn’t get to use it much because he’s always fighting from behind. I would say his number one priority is getting that fastball command and control back.”

You cannot dismiss the fact that Garcia had some sort of off-season shoulder operation, whether minor or more, that may be affecting his velocity and command.

“I think he’s probably five months out of surgery, and he has to get his strength back,” Message said. “He developed some bad habits last year pitching through the injury. We’re trying to regain those good habits that he did have in 2015.”

Garcia’s breaking ball looked good as an out pitch tonight; however, it was his command that still needed to improve. Even outs were hit hard and deep, as he left fastballs up in the zone. Using the eye test, he is close to where he should be with just a few mechanical things to clean up.

Buddy Borden pitched the ninth inning and allowed two hits, but he continues to be very good for the Curve as a reliever. He has only allowed two earned runs in 20.2 innings this season, but he has walked 13 batters. Figure out some of those command issues, and Borden will continue to improve in the bullpen.

Again tonight, Wyatt Mathisen was the bright spot for Altoona – both offensively and defensively. He doubled to right field in the seventh inning, and he singled earlier in the game, raising his batting average on the season to .333. He is one plate appearance short of qualifying for the Eastern League leaders, as he would be tied for fourth in the league in hitting. Currently, Kevin Kramer is second and Edwin Espinal is seventh in the league.

Defensively, Mathisen made multiple high level plays at third base, including a diving stop and great throw in the seventh inning on Akron’s Bobby Bradley. He only has two errors this season and has looked to improve at the position as the season progressed.

Other that Mathisen, the Curve’s offense wasn’t very effective for the third night in a row. They had seven hits total, and left runners stranded on third multiple times. -Sean McCool

Prospect-Watch-Bradenton

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BRADENTON, Fla. – Seth Lugo made his MLB debut last year with the Mets, posting a 2.67 ERA in 64 innings. His advanced metrics didn’t look as good, with a 4.33 FIP and a 4.71 xFIP. If you go by those numbers, he’s a back of the rotation starting option. But still, a guy who belongs in the majors.

Tonight, Lugo was rehabbing in Bradenton, and was hit around by the Marauders’ offense. He struck out the side in the first inning, but then proceeded to give up seven runs over the next two innings, led by home runs from Casey Hughston and Mitchell Tolman.

Tolman got things going in the second inning, hitting a two run triple after two poor defensive plays that might have otherwise ended the inning. Hughston followed up with his fourth homer of the year, hitting one on the board walk in right field and putting the Marauders up 4-0.

Will Craig got things started with a double off the wall in right-center in the third, but was thrown out on the bases on a hit that Lugo fielded to the left of the mound. Then, with two runners on base, Tolman delivered again, this time crushing a home run over the 400 foot sign in straightaway center field, giving the Marauders a 7-0 lead.

“We talked about, in our plan of attack before the game started, we would challenge him,” Bradenton manager Gera Alvarez said after the game about Lugo. “We challenged him. We challenged ourselves to compete against a guy who has a lot more experience than us, and has pitched at the highest level. I felt like our guys responded. We paid attention to his planning in the first inning, where he made his pitches, and then we made adjustments.”

Lugo only went three innings in his rehab start, and the Marauders didn’t need any additional offense the rest of the game. They got a solo homer to center field from Logan Hill, giving him his 13th homer of the year to make it 8-2. But they rode steady pitching the rest of the way.

Dario Agrazal was his usual efficient self, going seven innings with two runs allowed on four hits and two walks, while striking out six. He was a ground ball machine, with an 11:3 GO/AO ratio, and only ran into trouble in one inning, giving up two runs in the sixth after a double and a triple.

Agrazal was replaced by Jake Brentz in the eight inning. Brentz has had some rough outings lately, and some poor control to go with those frames. He started off rough to his first few batters tonight, showing some continued control issues. He then settled in and got out of the inning, then retired the side in order in the ninth to close out the game.

In the past, his velocity has been in the upper-90s to start his outing, and dropped down a bit in his second or third inning, still sitting around 96-97. He was mostly 95-96 in the first inning tonight, but jumped up to hit 97-98 in the second inning, possibly slowing it down at first to focus on throwing strikes.

Gage Hinsz takes the mound for Bradenton tomorrow. – Tim Williams

Prospect-Watch-WV-Power

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West Virginia had their doubleheader rained out and will play a doubleheader tomorrow.

  • John, what is Hunter Owen like defensively? He is off to a good start at the plate. What are his best positions in the field?

    • John Dreker
      May 24, 2017 12:48 pm

      His best position in the field is in the right-handed batting box. Defensively, he can play left field, but he’s just a field ornament at third base.

  • Please put Dario Agrazal in the top 20 prospects. What does he have to do to prove his worth?

  • Scott Kliesen
    May 24, 2017 7:51 am

    Pirates are 15 games under .500 (3-18) on games played on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday this season!

    WTH!!!

  • Tim, Nice to meet you after Bradenton game. Been with you from day one and must heap praise on you for the great work you and the other scribes are doing. Having our top three teams competing so well is, I hope, a precursor to the Pirates getting back to a +98 win season soon.

  • piraterican21
    May 23, 2017 11:51 pm

    Kingham change was 87 mph, his fastball drop to 89 in the later innings, same innings that he began to throw his change. I remember reading here that he throws a hard change, more movement than speed separation, but this might be to close.

    • John Dreker
      May 23, 2017 11:59 pm

      The changeup came when he was still hitting 93 consistently…89 was just the low end and a couple innings later (“a few 89’s in the later innings”). His changeup is one of the best ones in the system

      • No concern with the FB dipping down that far ‘occasionally’ in the later innings? Is this just something that comes with time after TJ? that just seems ridiculously low for someone who usually threw 93-95 pre-TJ.

        • John Dreker
          May 24, 2017 12:47 pm

          I wouldn’t be concerned yet, he’s really still building up his pitch count at this point. You’re talking about someone in mid-April mode right now and he did hit 95 last night, plenty of 93’s in there as well

  • Darkstone42
    May 23, 2017 10:15 pm

    Another double for Craig, two more hits for Meadows, nice outing for Kingham. Not a bad day for some of our top guys.

    • Logan Hill continues to defy logic while hitting HRs in the FSL.
      Meadows average is creeping up.
      Barrett Barnes is off to a terrible start.

      • John Dreker
        May 24, 2017 9:31 am

        If anyone in the system could hit homers in the FSL, it’s Hill. He is country strong. Read this report I gave on him from last June, which includes an incredible power display that was hard to describe. Only difference now is he is making contact more consistently…and he’s actually not that athletic anymore for some reason. Since last year, he went from an average runner to the slowest player on Bradenton (that’s timed four different ways, not a guess) https://www.piratesprospects.com/2016/07/morning-report-thoughts-on-the-west-virginia-power.html

        • Thank you for the link to a really good article. Sometimes looking back gives a different perspective. I don’t recall a player suddenly losing speed like Hill. Cutch perhaps?

          Hill does appear to be improved.

          • John Dreker
            May 24, 2017 12:54 pm

            I have no idea with Hill and his speed. It doesn’t look like he bulked up or put up weight, he was always strong. It’s not good when all three catchers can outrun you, though I will point out that former Major Leaguer John Bormann puts up some impressive times. Hill went from a 45-50 runner, down to 30 I’d say. He’s almost in Carlos Munoz territory.

        • What downside would there be if Kevin Krause learned to play 1B in addition to back up catcher? Looks like he has a bat, but not enough PA to really use it as a backup catcher to Kelley.

          • John Dreker
            May 24, 2017 12:43 pm

            Krause has been injured for the last 2 1/2 weeks with a hamstring issue. I’m not sure catcher is really an option for him. He has barely played it this year and was never good to begin with, plus a hamstring injury won’t help him back there. He is a bat with some potential, although we are talking about a 24-year-old with 109 games as a pro, so I’m sure missed time has taken away some of that potential. If the bat gets him to Triple-A and he has some success, then they will find a position for him

  • Darkstone42
    May 23, 2017 8:46 pm

    Tyler Glasnow.

    #Pitcherswhorake

    • Darkstone42
      May 23, 2017 10:11 pm

      Nice game from Glasnow overall. Worked out of trouble when he had to, mostly in the zone, good life on his fastball, sharp with the curve, too, at least getting ground balls with it.

      • Other than the hanging breaking ball to Adams, he looked very good.

        Too bad it took Pirates bullpen about 15 seconds after a million hour rain delay to blow it for him.

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