A look at how the current top 30 prospects did today. If a player is in the majors for an extended time (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]
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, Bristol – [insert_php]
13. Max Kranick, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php]
14. Elias Diaz, C, Pirates – [insert_php]
15. Edgar Santana, RHP, Pirates – [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, Bristol – [insert_php]
24. Barrett Barnes, LF, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
25. Max Moroff, 2B, Pirates -[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. Jin-De Jhang, C, Altoona – [insert_php]
INDIANAPOLIS — He’s quietly putting together a solid case in getting consideration for a promotion to the Pirates.
But he might not be the first starting pitcher that comes to mind.
Drew Hutchison had a mediocre performance last season after being acquired in a trade with Toronto. And he failed to win the final spot in Pittsburgh’s starting rotation coming out of Spring Training, which was a competition that was his for the taking.
So, on a rotation with Steven Brault and Tyler Glasnow being the most discussed names by those outside of the organization, the name of Hutchison shouldn’t be forgotten.
Hutchison allowed two runs on seven hits over 6.2 innings in Indianapolis’ 6-5 walk-off win over Louisville on Friday, a game that had a nearly two-hour weather delay before starting. He struck out six and didn’t walk anybody, marking the second consecutive game a Indianapolis starter did not walk a batter after Brault’s eight shutout innings on Thursday.
That’s just one more solid outing for Hutchison who was selected an International League All-Star earlier this week. Hutchison’s 3.26 earned run average ranks fourth in the league. He’s allowed eight runs over his last 38.2 innings, spanning seven outings – six starts and a six inning relief appearance in his previous outing.
Hutchison worked around a two-out single in the first inning, but allowed a run in the second inning on three singles. After that point, Hutchison dominated a Louisville team that had numerous travel problems coming from Norfolk and arrived just a couple of hours prior to the game. Hutchison retired 11 straight batters at one point and 14 of 15, before allowing a two-out single in the sixth inning.
In the seventh inning, Hutchison retired the first two batters before allowing a two-out Adrian Nieto single and a Zach Vincej double that ended Hutchison’s outing. Indianapolis left fielder Jordan Luplow, making his Triple-A debut, nearly made a sliding catch on Vincej’s double, but the ball went off the tip of his glove.
One of the most encouraging stat of Hutchison’s start: 0 walks, throwing 67 of his 107 pitches for a strike. That’s the second time in his last three appearances he hasn’t walked anybody and pitched at least six innings.
Luplow went 1-for-3 with a double and run in his Triple-A debut, batting third in the lineup. His double was a shot to deep center field that bounced off the top of the fence. That’s a welcome to playing home games in spacious Victory Field, as his shot would have been a home run in most other parks. He was also hit by a pitch and drew a walk.
Joey Terdoslavich was 3-for-3 with three RBI, while Phil Gosselin was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI.
Dovydas Neverauskas pitched the final 1.3 innings, getting IL All-Star Jesse Winker to pop out for the final out of the eighth inning. But Neverauskas imploded in the ninth inning, allowing two runs, and the Bats tied the game at 5 on a bases-loaded walk.
Indianapolis loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth inning with one out. With Phil Gosselin hitting, Louisville shifted to play with five infielders and two outfielders, but Gosselin still found a hole to hit a walk-off line drive single. – Brian Peloza
Altoona waited out a long rain delay, only to go down big in the second inning, as they lost 8-1 to Erie. The game started two hours late and Curve starter JT Brubaker didn’t have it on this night. He got through the first inning fine, but things got out of hand in a hurry in the second inning and he got knocked out of the game. The reliable Tate Scioneaux was out next and things didn’t get any better. He allowed an inherited runner to score, plus two runs of his own, before he could record one out in the second. By the end of the inning, Erie had put up seven runs. After that, the rest of the game was quiet and went by rather quickly.
Altoona had ten hits on the night, so they had their chances to score, they just couldn’t put anything together. The lone run came off of the bat of Pablo Reyes, who hit his third home run of the season. Kevin Newman, Elvis Escobar and Edwin Espinal each had two hits, with Espinal picking up his 23rd double of the season. He is now tied for first in the Eastern League in doubles.
BRADENTON, Fla. – Tonight made me question on several occasions why Will Craig is still in Bradenton and not Altoona. There were also some moments when it was clear that he does have some things to work on.
He went 3-for-5 at the plate, picking up two doubles, including a long shot off the middle of the center field wall that would have been a home run if hit to any other part of the park. Defensively, Craig made a few nice plays, catching a low and wide throw by Ke’Bryan Hayes with a split stretch, and catching another one way over his head on a wild throw by Mitchell Tolman, and still keeping his foot on the bag.
But while Craig has shown some solid defense at first base this year, he showed tonight that there are still things to polish. He had a wild throw down to second on a successful pick-off and caught stealing attempt by Cam Vieaux. Craig threw the ball hard, one hopping it in the dirt to Cole Tucker, and Tucker was unable to come up with it. There was another play where Craig missed a wild throw, although the error went to Tucker.
Overall, Craig does look ready for Altoona. However, the Pirates have no urgent need for a first baseman right now, so there’s no harm in keeping him in Bradenton for a short time until they open up a spot in Indianapolis, allowing Edwin Espinal to move up from Altoona, and Craig to move up from Bradenton — much like what happened with Jason Rogers opening the way for Jordan Luplow and Logan Hill.
Cam Vieaux made his second start for Bradenton, and pitched a gem, allowing one run on three hits in six innings, with five strikeouts. He was working quickly, and getting a lot of ground ball outs, showing some good downward angle on his fastball. That was the trend for him in his final few starts in West Virginia, finally getting back on track after a slow start to the year.
Vieaux was followed up by Geoff Hartlieb, who was recently promoted from West Virginia as well. Hartlieb threw two perfect innings, getting two strikeouts and three groundouts, also working quickly. To complete the West Virginia boost, Ty Moore made his second start since being promoted, and went 2-for-3 with a homer and four RBIs, getting his second homer in two games, after hitting two in his time with West Virginia.
Ke’Bryan Hayes was another standout on both sides of the ball. He went 2-for-4 with a walk on offense, and made some nice defensive plays. The wild throw to Craig was on a play where he charged in on a slow roller and barehanded the ball, making a quick throw to barely get the runner. The throw wasn’t so much his fault as it was a result of the tough play, and it was a good play on both ends by Hayes and Craig. There were a few other plays where Hayes looked smooth, showing off why he’s the best defensive third baseman in the system. – Tim Williams
CHARLESTON, WV – The Power’s return to West Virginia was not pretty. They combined with the Hickory Crawdads for seven errors. The West Virginia bullpen blew a five-run lead in the eighth inning. After the loss, the Power are 14-27 at home this year.
Ronny Agustin and Julio Eusebio combined to give up eight runs in the eighth inning. Agustin had not allowed a run in his previous four appearances with the Power, and Eusebio was making his 2017 Power debut. (He spent most of 2016 with the team as well but started this season with the Morgantown Black Bears.)
Offensively, West Virginia hammered aggressively at the Hickory Crawdads, mounting a balanced attack. The Power scored on a double play, an error, a hit, a groundout, and a pair of sac flies. An aggressive approach on the base paths fired up the raucous crowd.
Manager Wyatt Toregas has preached aggressive base running all year but has seen mixed results. The team has been successful in only 58 percent of their stolen base attempts. Tonight, Adrian Valerio was picked off drifting too far from first base and was caught stealing second.
Each Power batter reached base at least once. Albert Baur led the charge, crossing the plate three times on a single, a double, a walk, and an HBP. Baur, Adrian Valerio, Garrett Brown, Carlos Munoz, and Arden Pabst each drove in a run.
The offense had a swagger coming off of last night’s 11th inning win, noted starter James Marvel.
“We came into this game in a really good place mentally and physically as a team,” said Marvel. “For seven innings we played that same kind of baseball.”
Brown electrified the crowd in the fifth inning when he hit what seemed to be a double up the left field line. Adrian Valerio, who was on first base, reached third base only about 40 feet in front of the speedy Brown. Toregas sent Brown to the plate where the Crawdads catcher tagged him out despite a headfirst slide and a sneaky swim move.
As good as Brown looked on the bases, he looked horrible in the batter’s box. He couldn’t lay down a bunt in either of his first two at-bats, the first of which resulted in an out via a foul bunt. Throughout the night, he couldn’t touch any of the breaking balls offered him.
Defensively, the Power were a mixed bag. Marvel, Valerio, and Trae Arbet committed errors, but the team turned two inning-ending double plays, getting Marvel out of two early jams.
“A lot of great plays tonight,” commented Marvel. “When that’s happening it’s easy to pound the bottom of the zone and trust your defense.”
In the early innings, the game looked to be a pitchers’ duel. Marvel scattered five hits and three runs in 6.2 innings, his longest start of the year. Marvel relied almost exclusively on his fastball in the first two innings.
His velocity dipped a bit in the middle innings, and he struggled to locate his curveball in the third inning, resulting in two walks.
To make things worse, Marvel took a grounder off his pitching hand in the third inning and threw the ball away trying to get the runner at first, leading to two Hickory runs. Marvel stayed in the game and retired the next ten batters in order.
Marvel has had two strong starts coming out of the All-Star break. He took the break as an opportunity to reassess his season. He said, “I was a little disappointed with how my first half went. I think I showed some signs in the first half of being the pitcher I wanted to be. For example, I’d have two outings like these last two and then I’d have two outings that weren’t up to the standards I have for myself.”
The Power couldn’t get the momentum back after the disastrous eighth inning. The final six batters were retired in order, including strikeouts by Valerio and Brown. – Abigail Miskowiec
Morgantown won 7-1 over Mahoning Valley, scoring three runs in the second inning and another four runs in the fifth for the win. Gavin Wallace made his first pro start and had a high bar to reach after his brother threw seven shutout innings for West Virginia in a spot start earlier this week. The younger Wallace couldn’t quite match that output, giving up one unearned run in three innings of work. He allowed one hit and didn’t walk anyone, while striking out four batters. He showed a nice downward plane on his fastball and the opposition couldn’t do anything with his curve or changeup, both resulting in a lot of swinging strikes.
Wallace was followed by eighth round draft pick Blake Weiman, who threw two scoreless innings while going to his off-speed pitches often. Shane Kemp was up next and he retired all six batters he faced, before Adam Oller closed it out with two shutout frames.
On offense, Raul Siri had the big hit with a bases clearing double in the fifth inning. Tristan Gray had two hits, scored twice and drew a walk. Deon Stafford had a single, walk and scored a run. This was the first time I really got to see Stafford catch, other than an inning a couple nights ago. He is supposed to be average at best behind the plate, but he did a great job of blocking pitches in the dirt and they were numerous on this night as Mahoning Valley hitters were chasing the low pitches. For a first look, he did a nice job behind the plate, but I would have to see more to get a great idea of his defense.
Bristol lost 4-3 on a walk-off double in the ninth inning on Friday night. Starter Jacob Taylor went six innings, allowing three runs on four hits, three walks and two hit batters. He threw 50 of his 84 pitches for strikes and had two strikeouts. Taylor served up a two-run homer in the fourth inning and had a 6:7 GO/AO ratio. He was followed by a 1-2-3 inning from Eddie Muhl and a scoreless eighth from Drew Fischer, who picked up two strikeouts. In the bottom of the ninth, an error by shortstop Nick Valaika put a runner on second with one out and he scored on a double to end the game.
On offense, Huascar Fuentes and Kyle Watson hit back-to-back doubles to lead-off the top of the ninth inning. Bristol was unable to push the go ahead run across despite having three outs to work with still. The Pirates had just six hits on the night, but four went for doubles. Fuentes had an earlier double and Paul Brands doubled in a run earlier in the game. Yondry Contreras had a tough night, going 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. Edison Lantigua was 0-for-3 with a walk. Luis Benitez stole his eighth base in nine games.
BRADENTON, Fla. – The GCL Pirates had a quiet day at the plate, which all changed in the eighth inning. Mikell Granberry started things off with a triple, giving him two hits on the day. He scored on a sacrifice fly, and then Lolo Sanchez added a second run with a solo homer, which was the first home run of his professional career.
Sanchez was the top international signing by the Pirates in 2015, signing for $450,000 out of the Dominican Republic. He only had a .633 OPS last year, suffering a bit from a leg injury, which limited his plus speed. I’ve seen him twice this GCL season so far, and a few times during Spring Training. The plus speed has shown up this year, and his line drive stroke has also shown up. I don’t think he’s going to be much of a power hitter, as he profiles more as a leadoff guy.
Granberry has shown some ability to hit for average and get on base in the past. His two hits today gave him three on the season. He mentioned after the game that he was frustrated at the start of the year to be back in the GCL for a second straight season, and that impacted his performance.
32nd round pick Hector Quinones made his pro debut today, throwing three innings in a start. Quinones is a college senior, and probably won’t remain in the rotation once all the prep arms are ready to pitch. His only damage today was a solo homer in the first inning over three innings of work.
It was pretty much a bullpen day, with Angel Vasquez and Vince Deyzel also throwing three innings each. We heard Vasquez had a nice curveball in the DSL last year, and he showed that off today, leading to his three strikeouts. He gave up three runs, but all were unearned due to the poor defense that you typically see on a daily basis at this level. Deyzel isn’t a hard thrower, topping out at 88-89 MPH, and has a weird hitch in his delivery where he stays very compact, then gets very upright, not really turning his body much until the end of his delivery. – Tim Williams
The DSL Pirates won 9-6 over the Indians/Brewers co-op team on Friday morning. It was a poorly pitched game by the Pirates, as the first three pitchers allowed six runs on nine hits, 11 walks and a hit batter. Randy Jimenez finished the game by retiring the last four batters, while stranding two inherited runners, to pick up the save. Starter Noe Toribio lasted 4.2 innings, allowing four runs on five hits and five walks. He had two strikeouts and an impressive 10:2 GO/AO ratio.
The offense was led by catcher Samuel Inoa, who seems to be having a breakout season at the plate. After putting up a .593 OPS last year, he almost has his slugging percentage that high. He went 3-for-5 with a home run on Friday, giving him a .367/.484/.592 slash line through 14 games. That’s with him missing ten days due to being hit in the face with a pitch during the first week of the season.
Matthew Mercedes also had a big game, going 4-for-4 with a walk. He came into the day with a .464 OPS, but this game added 152 points to that total. Ronaldo Paulino had a walk and two hits, including his sixth double. Emison Soto had two hits, two runs scored, a walk, an RBI and his tenth stolen base. Carlos Garcia had three walks and two strikeouts in five plate appearances (note that the boxscore had Oliver Garcia listed, but he’s a starting pitcher).