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, Bristol – [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 won 6-2 over Louisville on Friday night. Clay Holmes had a strong outing after a start in which he walked six batters. He was throwing strikes in this game and that led to him going seven innings, while allowing two runs on four hits and a walk. He had seven strikeouts, a 10:1 GO/AO ratio and he threw 68 of 101 pitches for strikes. He now has a 3.92 ERA, with 64 strikeouts in 62 innings this year. Holmes had thrown just five innings total over his previous two outings. This game was just the second time he has gone seven innings this season, with the first coming back on May 9th.
With three prospects in the majors and three on the disabled list, the Indians got their offense from the veterans on the team. Jason Rogers had three hits, including a two-run homer, his eighth of the season. Jackson Williams hit a solo homer, his first of the year. Phil Gosselin had two hits, including a triple, and he picked up an RBI. Non-veteran Erich Weiss added in a two-run homer in the sixth inning, his first of the season.
Antonio Bastardo pitched a scoreless eighth inning. His rehab stint has just two days remaining.
ALTOONA, Pa. – Austin Coley entered the year with a sinking four seam fastball that featured downward movement and late armside run, but which only resulted in a below-average ground ball rate. He didn’t have much of a strikeout pitch, throwing a mid-to-upper 70s slurve. His best off-speed pitch was his changeup, allowing him to limit damage against lefties, which is difficult for sinkerball pitchers.
I saw pretty much the same pitcher tonight in Altoona, with one exception — Coley was getting ground balls. Prior to tonight, Coley had a 44.8% ground ball rate, and didn’t have a single start with more ground outs than fly outs. Tonight he had an 8:2 ground out to air out ratio, doing a much better job of putting the ball on the ground.
“I think he was taking advantage of Hartford being aggressive, especially early in the count,” Altoona manager Michael Ryan said after the game. “He was keeping the ball down, pounding it in to the ground. Just in and out, mixing speeds, pitches that are up go in the air, pitches that are down go in the ground. He was down in the zone most of the night.”
Coley showed the same tendencies with his off-speed stuff. He was getting in two strike counts against right-handers, but was unable to put them away with the slurve. He could throw the pitch for strikes earlier in the count, but when he tried to give it more sweeping action and get opponents to chase, it would be an obvious ball and didn’t get much of a chase.
There were six strikeouts on the night, and five of them came against left-handers. This was largely due to the changeup, which was working as a strikeout pitch when Coley got to two strikes against lefties. That approach doesn’t work against right-handers, since the changeup doesn’t pair as well as the slurve with his fastball. Coley looks like a future reliever who would have his best shot at making the majors if his fastball plays up out of the bullpen. It would help if he found a way to repeat his ground ball success from tonight.
“He’s been really good with all three of his pitches,” Ryan said of his season. “Just tonight he probably couldn’t find the slider. It indicates that he couldn’t finish to right-handed hitters. His changeup was a lot better tonight than the slider was.”
Kevin Newman’s bat has been waking up a bit lately. He has five multi-hit games in his last seven games, including three hits tonight. He did a good job tonight of using the opposite field, hitting two of his singles to right, and one up the middle.
“He’s going the other way a lot better,” Ryan said of Newman’s recent success. “He’s been trying to be pull mode. It seems like when he’s scuffing a little bit at times, he’s grounding out to short, he’s grounding out to third. Just a little late with his setup. When he starts hitting his line drives the other way, you know he’s close. It looks like he’s back to where he’s normally at.”
Newman has always been strong at using the middle and opposite field, so it’s a bit surprising that he’s been pulling the ball more this year. Ryan said that was more a factor in how he’s being pitched at the higher level.
“I don’t think he got away from it,” Ryan said of going opposite field. “I just think that they’re pitching him a little different. Teams know he likes to go the other way, so they’re trying to pound him in, he’s trying to get them out of there, and putting the ball in play on the ground pull-side. He’s just got to stick with his approach, dictate each at-bat, and not let the opposing pitcher decide on what he wants to do. I think he’s getting out of that right now.”
**Dario Agrazal isn’t expected to make his next start, according to Ryan. Agrazal mentioned to me that he felt a strain in his pectoral muscle, under the armpit. Ryan said tonight that since it’s in a weird area, it’s been hard to diagnose and get to for treatment. Hopefully he will only miss the one start.
**Jake Brentz was promoted to Altoona prior to the game. He arrived last night, but was unavailable today, after pitching two innings in Bradenton on Wednesday. Ryan said that Brentz will be available tomorrow.
**The game was delayed by rain for 30 minutes, and prior to the game the forecast showed heavy rain on the way the entire night. When a start time of 7:30 was announced while the rain continued, it was a bit surprising. They were able to get the game in with some light rain mixed in. That seemed to be surprising to some of the Altoona players, who didn’t expect to play. Ryan mentioned after the game that several players weren’t even in their uniforms when the 7:30 start time was announced, and weren’t expecting to play after looking at the radar on their phones. He said “that will be addressed”, so you can guess there will be a team meeting coming up about being prepared to play every game. – Tim Williams
Bradenton won 1-0 as Cam Vieaux had a successful High-A debut. Going up against Austin Sodders, who was a 2015 draft pick of the Pirates, Vieaux threw six shutout innings. He did that despite allowing eight base runners on five hits, two walks and a hit batter. Vieaux ended his outing with a bases loaded double play in the sixth. He had two strikeouts and a 9:3 GO/AO ratio. It was an impressive game considering that he had a 4.94 ERA in his last four starts for West Virginia.
Daniel Zamora lowered his ERA to 0.63 after two shutout innings and Seth McGarry got the save and lowered his ERA to 1.27 with a scoreless ninth.
The Marauders were no-hit through the first five innings, reaching base once on a Jordan George walk, which was immediately erased on a double play. In the sixth, Casey Hughston singled for the first hit. One out later, Alfredo Reyes and Mitchell Tolman had back-to-back singles to make it 1-0. Those ended up being the only three hits for Bradenton, and a Hughston walk in the eighth was the only other base runner.
West Virginia was postponed
Morgantown won 5-3 over Williamsport on Friday night, with an usual first four innings to their game. They were tied 2-2 going into the fifth inning, scoring runs in the second and third frames, yet they didn’t have a hit at that point. Both runs scored on walks, followed by misplays from the opposition. In the eighth inning, they overcame a 3-2 deficit to take the lead on an RBI single from Raul Siri and a two-run triple from Jose Barraza. Just like the other two innings, they had more runs than hits, finishing the game with three total hits. Siri broke up the no-hitter with a single to lead-off the sixth.
Stephan Meyer, who pitched for Morgantown last year, got the start and allowed three runs over 4.2 innings. Nicholas Economos followed with 2.1 scoreless and Julio Eusebio got the win with two shutout innings.
If you’ve noticed Michael de la Cruz leaving the games early, it is because he was injured near the end of Extended Spring Training and he’s still building up to play nine innings.
Bristol won their first game of the season by scoring a run in the top of the ninth to break a 3-3 tie. Travis MacGregor made his season debut and looked solid for four innings. The 2016 second round pick went four innings, allowing a run on four hits and a walk. He struck out three batters, had a 5:2 GO/AO ratio, and threw 44 of his 68 pitches for strikes. The strike rate is very encouraging, as MacGregor was shut down for a time during Extended Spring Training due to poor control.
The Pirates got two homers early in this game, with Yondry Contreras hitting a solo shot in the first inning and Nelson Jorge connecting on a two-run homer in the second. The Pirates then went six innings without scoring until the ninth when Edison Lantigua singled with two outs, then scored on a Jhoan Herrera double. Lantigua had a double earlier in the game, while Herrera doubled and singled earlier. Felix Vinicio hit two doubles.
Jason Delay was the first 2017 draft pick for the Pirates to see action. He caught all nine innings and went 1-for-3 with a single and a walk.
The DSL Pirates won a 10-9 game over the Rays2 by scoring two runs in the top of the ninth, then holding on for the victory. The Pirates went down early in this one, as starter Osvaldo Bido reached his single inning pitch count before getting out of the first frame. He allowed three runs, then gave way to Luis Arrieta, who had a terrific outing. After stranding both inherited runners in the first, Arrieta threw another 3.2 no-hit, shutout innings.
Things got bad for the Pirates after Arrieta left. They were up 8-3 at the time, but Randy Jimenez and Wilmer Contreras combined to give up six runs over the seventh and eighth innings. That put the Pirates down by a run going into the ninth.
In the ninth inning, Samuel Inoa hit a one-out home run to tie the score. That was followed by singles from Sherten Apostel and Ronaldo Paulino. John Lantigua then gave the Pirates the lead with a sacrifice fly. Julio Gonzalez came on in the bottom of the ninth and picked up the save.
Inoa raised his average to .400 with a 3-for-5 game. He drove in a total of three runs on the day. He missed ten days after being hit in the face with a pitch, so his playing time has been limited so far. He has also been hit twice since returning, including once in this game. Apostel drove in a total of five runs, picking up one on an RBI double in the second and another three on a bases clearing double in the fifth. He started the scoring with a sacrifice fly in the first. Francisco Acuna had a single and two walks.
Jean Eusebio had a double, two walks and scored three runs before leaving late due to a muscle cramp in the seventh. The boxscore says Oliver Garcia played center field in place of Eusebio, but he’s a pitcher and it was actually Carlos Garcia. Larry Alcime has been out for two weeks due to more severe cramping from dehydration. It doesn’t sound like Eusebio is as bad.
Prior to the game, hard-throwing reliever Samuel Reyes was promoted to the GCL.