Prospect Watch: Tyler Eppler Has a Tough Outing; Cole Tucker Strikes Again

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]
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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, Indianapolis – [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, Indianapolis -[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. Pat Light, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]

P2 Top Performers



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Indianapolis saw their comeback fall short on Monday night against Columbus, losing 5-4 in the series opener. Tyler Eppler started, coming into the game with seven shutout innings in his last start. He didn’t have his best stuff in this game, but he was also hurt by a brutal sun that tormented the outfielders during the early innings.

Eppler worked around a two-out walk in the first, before allowing a run in the second inning. He gave up two well-placed ground ball singles between third base and shortstop, before a run came home on a line drive single to center field.

He had a lot of trouble in the third inning. Eppler surrendered a long lead-off homer, which showed signs of what was about to come. Austin Meadows in left field didn’t have any chance to catch the ball, but he threw up his hands because he couldn’t see it. After Eppler served up a double and got a grounder for the first out, the next batter he a fly ball to deep right that Chris Bostick completely lost. It looked like he was camped under the ball for an easy catch, but it landed about 15 feet to his right for a triple. The next batter hit a fly to left-center that Daniel Ortiz couldn’t pick up right away and that landed for a double.

Without the trouble from the sun, Eppler gives up one run that inning. That’s important to note, because he then threw three scoreless frames to finish his night. Eppler allowed four runs on eight hits and two walks, with four strikeouts. He was still giving up a lot of long fly balls, even if two were catchable under normal circumstances. Indianapolis also got a gift double by Ortiz, which he hit right at the left field, who never had a chance, but that didn’t result in a run. As I said, Eppler didn’t have his best stuff, but the pitching line should have been better.

Chris Bostick raised his average to .357 with a 2-for-5 night, which included his 11th double. He is 9-for-15 since being sent down by the Pirates. Max Moroff had a double and two walks. Austin Meadows walked twice, scored a run and stole his fifth base. Eric Wood had an RBI single in the ninth to bring the score within one run. Elias Diaz had a single and an RBI. Phil Gosselin had two hits, and Barrett Barnes picked up his first hit this season, though he is now 1-for-9 with five strikeouts.


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Altoona has off today.


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Bradenton won 7-3 on Monday and Cole Tucker was once again the big bat. He didn’t have a game anywhere close to his 13 total bases on Friday night, but his two hits were timely in this game. Tucker drove in two runs with a double in the third inning, then two more with a single in the sixth. He didn’t play Saturday and Bradenton was off Sunday, so he has driven in 11 runs over his last two games. Tucker extended his on base streak to 22 games.

Christian Kelley had a big game in this one too, going 3-for-3 with a double, walk and a run scored. He now has a .350 average through 28 games, with more walks (15) than strikeouts (14). Mitchell Tolman had two hits, two runs, a walk and an RBI. He has been dropped down to ninth in the batting order due to poor hitting to begin the season. Ke’Bryan Hayes stole his 14th base in 15 attempts. On the flip side, Logan Hill had a very tough night, going 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. That snapped an 11-game hit streak. Bradenton struck out 14 times total in this game.

On the pitching side, Pedro Vasquez continued to have a solid season and this may have been his best game. In The Twenty article this morning, I noted that Vasquez was having success despite being a fly ball pitcher, who doesn’t strike out many batters. That combo usually doesn’t lead to success at higher levels. Vasquez not only struck out a season-high seven batters in this game, he also posted a 7:3 GO/AO ratio. All told, he allowed two runs on five hits and a walk over six innings. He has a team-leading 2.49 ERA in 43.1 innings.

Casey Sadler followed him and made his first regular season appearance since June 21, 2015. The Pirates did get him an inning during Spring Training this year, but it still took six weeks before he made his season debut. Sadler worked a quick inning, getting two ground outs and a strikeout. He threw 11 pitches, eight for strikes.

Seth McGarry closed out the game and allowed his first run of the season. He has given up just five hits in 17.1 innings. McGarry served up a homer and I was told that it would have only been a home run in Daytona, where it is 317 right down the line. In Bradenton, it would have been caught near the warning track.


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West Virginia got an excellent (albeit brief) start from Blake Cederlind in place of James Marvel, who was placed on the disabled list on Monday. Working on a limited pitch count, Cederlind threw three no-hit, shutout innings. He walked two batters and picked up four strikeouts. Geoff Hartlieb allowed three runs over three innings, while Matt Frawley gave up one run over the final three innings. Frawley struck out four batters, as West Virginia lost this one 4-1.

The offense barely showed up in this game for the Power. Adrian Valerio played his second game since returning from a broken hand. He was at shortstop in this game, after handling all seven chances at second base on Sunday. He went 1-for-4 with a double.

Carlos Munoz had two hits, including his seventh double. Hunter Owen returned from his three-game suspension and went 1-for-4, while Albert Baur singled for the only other hit. The last three batters in the order, Ty Moore, Brent Gibbs and Sandy Santos, combined to go 0-for-10 with seven strikeouts. The Power went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and they left eight runners on base.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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Arik Florimonte

That’s strange, how did the sun affect each of the 3 outfielders, given they would be looking different directions for the ball?


Get those boys some shades…


Glad to see Bostick continuing his AAA success after being sent back to Indy after his first taste in the big leagues. He seems to understand his game and not only play within his abilities but accentuate his strengths while understanding and limiting his weaknesses. Hoping he sticks around and becomes a mainstay bench utility piece for the duration of the 6 years on his rookie contract.


What’s the story with the offensive outburst from Christian Kelly? Doing something different or did the light come on for him?

Wilbur Miller

It’s worth pointing out that Kelley didn’t play much in college until 2015, the year he was drafted, so he was unusually inexperienced for a college draftee.

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