Prospect Watch: Will Craig is One of Few Highlights in a Rough Night For the System

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 (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’,’20170627′);
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3. Kevin Newman, SS, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20170627′);
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4. Cole Tucker, SS, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(657061,’B’,’20170627′);
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5. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(663647,’B’,’20170627′);
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6. Will Craig, 3B, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(643269,’B’,’20170627′);
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7. Taylor Hearn, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(621368,’P’,’20170627′);
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8. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656543,’P’,’20170627′);
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9. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592468,’P’,’20170627′);
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10. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20170627′);
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11. Clay Holmes, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20170627′);
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12. Braeden Ogle, LHP, Bristol – [insert_php] display_top30(669180,’P’,’20170627′);
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13. Max Kranick, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(668820,’P’,’20170627′);
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14. Elias Diaz, C, Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(553869,’B’,’20170627′);
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15. Edgar Santana, RHP, Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(650828,’P’,’20170627′);
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16. Luis Escobar, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(650813,’P’,’20170627′);
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17. Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(596720,’P’,’20170627′);
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18. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(650817,’P’,’20170627′);
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19. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20170627′);
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20. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20170627′);
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21. Stephen Alemais, SS, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(641301,’B’,’20170627′);
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22. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(663399,’P’,’20170627′);
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23. Travis MacGregor, RHP, Bristol – [insert_php] display_top30(669740,’P’,’20170627′);
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24. Barrett Barnes, LF, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(608627,’B’,’20170627′);
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25. Max Moroff, 2B, Pirates -[insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20170627′);
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26. Eric Wood, 3B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(607780,’B’,’20170627′);
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27. J.T. Brubaker, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(664141,’P’,’20170627′);
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28. Chris Bostick, INF/OF, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(607471,’B’,’20170627′);
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29. Connor Joe, 3B, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(656582,’B’,’20170627′);
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30. Jin-De Jhang, C, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(618085,’B’,’20170627′);
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P2 Top Performers

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Prospect-Watch-Indy

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INDIANAPOLIS — Nick Kingham did not make it out of the sixth inning and his final pitching line wasn’t sparkling but there were several positives hidden within his eighth start of the year.

First, the ugly part: Kingham allowed six runs, four of those earned, in 5.2 innings. And Durham did all of its damage in two innings in their 8-0 win on Tuesday.

But that leads to the good portion: Kingham didn’t allow a hit in the other four innings, retiring the side in order in three of those frames.

And those three clean innings equal the most Kingham has thrown in a start this season, doing so previously at Rochester on May 28. He had just four clean innings in his four previous starts combined.

“I’m trying to get us back in the dugout as quick as I can,” Kingham said. “For the most part I did do that that but in a few innings they put the ball where we weren’t and kind of just tallied them together with timely hitting and they beat me.”

Kingham cruised through the first two innings, working around a walk, with just 24 pitches. He got Willy Adames, the Tampa Rays’ top-ranked prospect, to groundout on a 95 MPH fastball.

Kingham worked around a two-out walk to Casey Gillaspie in the second inning after a pair of close misses — both 93 MPH fastballs on the corner — for the third and fourth balls.

Durham scored four runs in the third inning and there was blame to go around for the big inning. Kingham allowed the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters to lead off with singles – albeit it softly hit ones – to start the inning.

Kean Wong had an RBI single to score Durham’s first run of the game. And from there, the Indianapolis defense let their pitcher down.

Kingham induced what could have been an inning-ending double play, but Indians third baseman Eric Wood threw the ball past second base into the outfield, loading the bases. A double play would have gotten Kingham out of the inning with just one run allowed and nine fewer pitches thrown. But Jake Bauers followed with a two-run single to right field, and Anderson Feliz misplayed the ball, which allowed another run to score on the play.

In the sixth inning, Kingham allowed a triple and double — both hit well — and coupled with a walk and a hit batter, two more runs scored.

“He didn’t throw the ball bad,” Indianapolis manager Andy Barkett said. “He got hit around a little late, but overall it was a solid outing. His final line didn’t look good, but we didn’t make a play when we needed to.”

Kingham threw 65 of his 100 pitches for a strike, and felt the quality of his fastball continued its upward trend on Tuesday. And as his fastball improves, so does Kingham’s outings.

“Everything works around the fastball,” Kingham said. “The last couple of outings the fastball has been working a little bit better. I’ve been using it on both sides side of the plate better, the two-seam has been coming along a lot more. I feel more confident throwing my fastball. Going in, I’m not worried about it coming back over and vice-versa.”

The consistent improvement with the fastball simply comes down to the mental aspect, Kingham added.

“I think it’s more just mentality and saying this is going to go where I want or I’m going to miss to the ball side,” he said.

Indianapolis was shut out for the second consecutive game, managing just three hits one night after getting just four hits. Jacob Stallings had a double, while Wood and Feliz each had a single.

Dovydas Neverauskas struck out two batters in a clean ninth inning.

**Austin Meadows (7-day DL) is at Pirate City, as he recovers from a hamstring injury. The timetable for a return is still unclear, but he is expected to be out about four weeks. We will try to get an update this week.

**Gift Ngoepe (7-day DL) fielded grounders from shortstop during batting practice on Tuesday for the first time since injuring his hamstring running to first base on June 19.

Ngoepe took a few easy swings off a tee on Monday and expects to take some swings in the cage within the next couple of days.

“Right now there is no timetable whatsoever, but day-by-day increase the volume of what I can do and get ready to play again,” Ngoepe said. – Brian Peloza

Prospect-Watch-Altoona-Curve

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Altoona lost 9-0 to Bowie in an ugly game. Cody Dickson was demoted to Altoona to start in place of the injured Dario Agrazal and he lasted just three innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and three walks. This game then included something very rare. Miguel Rosario allowed a run. His first earned run since April 8th, though it took an extended outing for it to happen. He usually goes 1-2 innings and the run scored in his third inning of work, giving him an 0.99 ERA now. Buddy Borden tried to finish things up and he surrendered three runs.

The Curve had six hits and five walks, so there were a lot of base runners. The problem was that they had one caught stealing and hit into three double plays, so they only had five at-bats with runners in scoring position all game. Connor Joe had two hits. Jerrick Suiter had two hits and a walk. Joe left the game after getting thrown out stealing in the top of the third. If there is an update tonight, I’ll post it here.

Just an update on Connor Joe after reviewing the video: He slid into second base headfirst on a stolen base attempt and his left hand jammed in the dirt, as he slid into the bag. He was clearly in pain and immediately called for the trainer, but then got up and jogged off the field. From the video, it’s a hand/wrist injury and we will get an update when one is available.

Prospect-Watch-Bradenton

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BRADENTON, Fla. – Taylor Hearn threw five no-hit innings in his last start, but walked four batters. It was the third straight outing where he had four walks, after showing improved control earlier in the year. Hearn had improved control tonight, giving up just two walks in six innings.

Hearn gave up a solo homer to the leadoff hitter in the first inning, but that was the only damage against him in the first three frames. He retired the next nine batters before running into problems in the fourth inning, which was the only inning where he really struggled. He started off with a double, followed by a single and a sacrifice fly to bring in a run. He issued one of his two walks, then allowed a double steal, followed by a ground out for the second run. In total, he did a good job of limiting the damage, considering how the inning started.

There were only two strikeouts on the night, as Hearn has been working on a new slider, and adjusting to the pitch. He added the slider recently, changing his grip and making the pitch more of a slurve. The aim was to get better control of the pitch, while also maintaining the ability for strikeouts. That worked in the last two outings from a strikeout perspective, with nine in nine innings, but the control was poor, with eight walks. The control was better tonight, but didn’t lead to a lot of strikeouts.

The Marauders came up big in the fourth inning, scoring three runs and leading to an early exit for Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez. Will Craig got things started with a single — his second hit of the night off Sanchez. Craig has been looking like he should be up in Altoona already, and getting two hits off a big league pitcher only further helps his case.

Craig’s single was the biggest hit of the inning. The rest of the hits found holes, or died in the infield, or should have been errors. The runs scored on ground outs, sacrifice flies, and one infield single by Christian Kelley which died in the grass well short of where the third baseman could make a play.

The Marauders couldn’t manage any more offense the rest of the night, while Yunior Montero gave up four runs in 1.1 innings. Montero has been struggling lately, after getting off to a good start at the beginning of the year. He looked good in the first inning, striking out two and retiring the side in order. The second inning saw some struggles, and he eventually left the game with two runners on base, who both scored off Brandon Cumpton, leading to a four run inning that gave Dunedin a 7-3 win.

Casey Hughston had the only extra base hit on the night, getting a double and going 1-for-2 with a walk. He also struck out once on an outside pitch. In an earlier at-bat, he swung at a ball on the outer half of the plate, which would have eventually led to a walk, rather than a 3-2 count where he hit a sacrifice fly to bring in a run. Hughston still is having issues with breaking stuff on the outer half, and pitchers were deliberately attacking him in that way. As he continues moving up, he’ll find pitchers who can more easily exploit this, making it more difficult to hit in the higher levels.

The Marauders got Mitch Keller back, although it’s not official yet. He will be making his next start on Thursday, throwing four innings. – Tim Williams

Prospect-Watch-WV-Power

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West Virginia lost 9-0 to Augusta in another ugly game on both sides of the ball. The Power didn’t have trouble reaching base or getting into scoring position, they just didn’t do anything once they were there. They put together seven hits and three walks, with three of the hits being doubles. They also went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left all ten runners on base.

Luis Escobar started and had one of his worst outings of the season. He has been wildly inconsistent, but he just turned 21 last month and he has some of the best stuff in the system, so you take the good with the bad for now. In four innings, he allowed seven runs on six hits, three walks and two hit batters. Escobar had five strikeouts to give him 97 on the season. He now has a 4.77 ERA in 71.2 innings.

He was followed by Ronny Agustin, who has really looked impressive with an outstanding curveball and fastball that hits low-90s. He threw two shutout innings on a walk and two strikeouts. Andrew Potter allowed two runs during his two innings of work.

Arden Pabst had two doubles, giving him eight on the year. He has been getting less playing time than Brent Gibbs recently, but that should change (not saying it will) because Pabst is a much better defensive catcher and Gibbs is also putting up a 1:27 BB/SO ratio in 21 games. So Gibbs has a lot to work on, which could be the reason he is playing more often, though it shouldn’t be at the expense of a better player.

Adrian Valerio had a single and his fifth stolen base. Carlos Munoz had two hits, including his 14th double. Hunter Owen had a single and a walk.

Prospect-Watch-Morgantown

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Morgantown has off today.

Prospect-Watch-Bristol
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Bristol lost 8-5 on Tuesday night despite a late comeback effort. Domingo Robles started and some defensive issues behind him led to two of his four runs allowed to be unearned. He gave up five hits and no walks, with four strikeouts, while throwing 54 of his 78 pitches for strikes. He was followed by 20th round draft pick Will Reed, who allowed two runs on four hits in two innings during his pro debut. Adonis Pichardo finished the outing with two runs on two hits and three walks in his only inning of work.

On offense, Huascar Fuentes was sent down from Morgantown yesterday and he responded with two doubles and three RBIs. On the other hand, he also committed two errors at first base. Luis Benitez had two hits and two runs scored, plus his sixth stolen base in six games. Yondy Contreras reached base three times on the Will Craig special (single, HBP and a walk) and he scored a run. Fourth round pick Jason Delay left the game for a pinch-runner after being hit by a pitch.

Prospect-Watch-GCL

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The GCL Pirates lost a tough one on Tuesday, waiting through a mid-game rain delay, then giving up eight runs in the bottom of the ninth for the 13-10 loss.

Yeudry Manzanillo started the game and had a tough time, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks in 2.2 innings. He threw two wild pitches and failed to pick up any strikeouts. The 18-year-old received the highest bonus from the Pirates among pitchers they signed during the 2015-16 signing period.

Vince Deyzel followed Manzanillo and had a strong outing, throwing 2.1 scoreless innings, while stranding two inherited runners. Deyzel had one walk and one strikeout. Next up was Brian Sousa, who began the year with Bristol, where he had two poor outings. Making his third appearance since Thursday, he allowed seven runs on two hits and five walks, with four of those runs being earned. Two of the runs scored after he left with one out in the ninth when Jose Delgado balked in one run, then gave up a sacrifice fly to tie the score. After a two-out walk, Delgado served up a three-run, walk-off homer.

The offense had a big day, led by Jeremias Portorreal, who had four hits and drove in two runs. He is 6-for-9 in the first two games. In his second pro game, Calvin Mitchell picked up his first extra-base hit, an RBI double in the fifth inning. He drew a bases loaded walk in the sixth inning and he scored two runs. Kevin “call me Lolo” Sanchez, hit a double, walked and scored twice. He also picked up an outfield assist. Rodolfo Castro drove in three runs on a single and triple. Victor Ngoepe had a single and a double, scoring two runs. Mikell Granberry was the only player without a hit, and he reached once via hit-by-pitch.

Prospect-Watch-DSL

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The DSL Pirates played the Rangers1 to a 1-1 tie through seven innings on Tuesday. Seven innings later, the Pirates won 11-10.

Oliver Garcia has been the best starter this year for the Pirates and he put together another strong outing on Tuesday, allowing one run over five innings. He now has a 1.08 ERA in 25 innings, going five innings in all five starts, which is the maximum innings the Pirates allow for their DSL pitchers.

After Yerry De Los Santos threw two perfect innings, Saul de la Cruz gave up five runs over 2.1 innings. Angel Vasquez followed with four runs over 2.1 innings. All three of these pitchers missed all of last season due to injury. The pitching lines for the last two pitchers look bad, but it’s important to remember that extra innings start with a man on second base in the DSL (and the GCL will also use those rules). Randy Jimenez picked up the win with two scoreless frame, striking out five batters.

The Pirates had just nine hits on offense in 14 innings, but they got help from four errors, a hit batter and seven walks. Catcher Samuel Inoa drove in three runs on two hits. Francisco Acuna had a single, three walks, two runs scored and an RBI. He also stole two bases to give him six steals on the season. Kyle Simmons had two singles, two runs scored and stole his fifth base. Williams Calderon didn’t come into the game until the bottom of the tenth inning, but he managed to pick up a walk and an RBI double.

Larry Alcime returned to the lineup after missing two weeks with hamstring tightness. He was the DH and picked up a single in two at-bats.

  • Anyone know why Joe left the Curve game tonight? He was 2-2 and then came out in the third inning. Didn’t catch any of the broadcast. Haven’t seen anything reported anywhere.

    • I planned to watch once the game has been archived, but that’s going to have to wait for the morning now. Usually it’s archived within an hour, but we are going on three hours now

      • Wilbur Miller
        June 28, 2017 3:17 am

        Looked like a hand or wrist injury as he reached for the base on the steal attempt. Looked like he was in pain right away, then after a few seconds he got up and jogged off while keeping his left arm motionless.

  • Rest easy, this Pirates farm system is overflowing with talent right now.

  • Ugly couple of nights for the full season teams.

    So I’m guessing that when they start with a runner at 2nd for extra innings that it is an unearned run if he scores?

    • It appears that it is an unearned run now, but the first few games it happened, the pitchers were getting charge with earned runs. May have just been an MiLB mistake at first, which is understandable with a new rule.

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