A look at how the current top 30 prospects did today. If a player is in the majors for an extended time (Max Moroff), 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 Mid-Season Update, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.
1. Mitch Keller, RHP, Bradenton – [insert_php]
2. Austin Meadows, CF, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
3. Shane Baz, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php]
4. Cole Tucker, SS, Altoona – [insert_php]
5. Kevin Newman, SS, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
6. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Bradenton -[insert_php]
7. Will Craig, 3B, Bradenton – [insert_php]
8. Elias Diaz, C, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
9. Taylor Hearn, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php]
10. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Bradenton – [insert_php]
11. Calvin Mitchell, OF, GCL Pirates – [insert_php]
12. Braeden Ogle, LHP, Bristol – [insert_php]
13. Edgar Santana, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
14. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Altoona -[insert_php]
15. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
16. Clay Holmes, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
17. Jordan Luplow, LF, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
18. Luis Escobar, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php]
19. Max Kranick, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php]
20. Steven Jennings, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php]
21. Adrian Valerio, SS, West Virginia – [insert_php]
22. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
23. Conner Uselton, OF, GCL Pirates – Disabled List
24. Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
25. Eric Wood, 3B, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
26. Eduardo Vera, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php]
27. Logan Hill, LF, Altoona – [insert_php]
28. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
29. Lolo Sanchez, CF, GCL Pirates – [insert_php]
30. Dario Agrazal, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php]
INDIANAPOLIS — Nick Kingham put together his best start of the season five days after his worst outing of the year.
He allowed one run over seven innings, scattering eight hits and walking none in Indianapolis’ 4-1 win over Rochester on Monday. In his previous start, Kingham allowed eight earned runs on seven hits and four walks against Durham.
Pitch location was the biggest difference. Indianapolis catcher Jacob Stallings didn’t have to move his glove very much for Kingham in Indianapolis’ 4-1 win over Rochester on Monday.
“I thought his fastball command was great tonight and it was the biggest difference (between the last two starts),” Indianapolis catcher Jacob Stallings said. “I thought his mentality was great and he attacked hitters. He was really good tonight.”
Kingham’s seven-inning performance was his longest of the season, previously throwing 6.2 innings against Toledo on June 21.
But he couldn’t get past the fifth inning in his last two starts. And that last start against Durham led to a meeting with Kingham, Stallings and Indianapolis pitching coach Stan Kyles. The conversation proved to be beneficial after Kingham’s solid outing.
Because the biggest difference in his performance was from a mentality standpoint rather than mechanical, Stallings said.
“This time it was,” Stallings said. “We had a pretty long talk after his long start trying to iron some things out. Talking through some things. He took it to heart and was honest. I was really happy to see that.”
The gist of the conversation: throw the fastball with a certain mentality.
“I think it was just mentality,” Kingham said. “The mindset going into the game to trust the pitch, don’t baby it. Don’t try to not make a bad pitch, just make a good one. Trust you’re making a good one. Know it’s going to get in there and know if you’re going to miss, you’re going to miss off the plate and not over the white.”
Kingham retired the side in order on 10 pitches, with no ball leaving the outfield, in the first inning. He induced a weak groundout back to himself; and a grounder to second sandwiched around a strikeout.
“It’s always nice to start off like I did,” Go right at them, get them swinging and get them to put the ball on the ground.”
Kingham’s only big mistake was a pitch left too much over the plate that Rochester’s ByungHo Park hit to right-center field for a homer. That was Rochester’s only run of the game as Kingham used his fastball on both sides of the plate to have a successful start.
“I thought he dominated with his fastball,” Stallings said.
Kingham didn’t walk anybody in a start for the second time this season, throwing 67 of 98 pitches for a strike. He also didn’t allow a walk in his 6.2 inning performance against Toledo.
Indianapolis opened the bottom of the first with three consecutive singles from Eury Perez, Kevin Newman and Phil Gosselin, with the latter scoring a run. Joey Terdoslavich had an RBI sacrifice fly before Elias Diaz grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Terdoslavich added an RBI single in the third inning, while Gosselin had an RBI sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.
Newman went 2-for-4 and has had multiple hits in three of his six games since being promoted to Indianapolis. – Brian Peloza
Altoona won 2-0 over Reading behind a terrific pitching performance from Austin Coley. He threw seven shutout innings, as the Curve also went scoreless that entire time. In the eighth inning, the best hitter in the system since June 1st came through again. Jerrick Suiter connected on his 13th double, bringing home both runs.
Coley lowered his season ERA to 2.90 through 105.2 innings. He was great on this night, giving up just two hits and a walk, while striking out six batters and throwing 60 of his 98 pitches for strikes. He now ranks third in the Eastern League in ERA.
Jake Brentz began the eighth inning and loaded the bases with one out before giving way to Luis Heredia. On ten pitches, Heredia picked up two strikeouts and kept it a 2-0 score. Tate Scioneaux got the save.
Cole Tucker had a single, two walks and a run scored. He is 2-for-15 in four games since joining Altoona. Michael Suchy doubled as a pinch-hitter in the eighth and scored on Suiter’s big hit. Jin-De Jhang collected two hits.
Bradenton won 6-3 over Clearwater, as Will Craig had another solid performance after homering yesterday and driving in three runs. On Monday, Craig collected three hits, including his 24th and 25th doubles. He also reached on a HBP and scored a run. He came into the game with the fourth best OBP in the league and now sits at .395 for the season, moving ahead of teammate Jordan George.
George lost his 19-game hit streak in a tough way, walking twice, putting down a sacrifice bunt and standing in the on deck circle when the last out was made. He popped up to second base in his only official at-bat.
Ke’Bryan Hayes had a single and a double, driving in two runs. Kevin Krause drove in three runs on two hits, including his seventh home run of the season. Mitchell Tolman and Ty Moore each had two hits. Stephen Alemais had a single and two walks.
Pedro Vasquez started and got the win, but this was not the typical outing for him. He came into the game as the FSL leader with a 2.31 ERA and that went up 12 points after he allowed three runs on eight hits over six innings. He didn’t walk anyone and struck out five batters, while putting up an impressive 10:1 GO/AO ratio. Geoff Hartlieb struck out four batters over two scoreless frames and Daniel Zamora lowered his ERA to 0.65 while picking up the save.
West Virginia won 8-7 in 11 innings over Lexington, scoring the winning run on a walk-off single from Kevin Mahala. The lead went back and forth all game, with Lexington going ahead in the top of the ninth before the Power got a two-out homer from Arden Pabst, his third of the season.
Oddy Nunez started and pitched fairly well through five innings, then ran into trouble in the sixth. He seems to be slowing down as his innings pile up, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them cut him down some the rest of the way. His velocity is down slightly from the early season, but he is already well ahead of his innings total from his first two seasons combined. In the sixth inning, the first two batters reached before Nunez allowed a three-run homer, ending his day. He struck out seven batters, but did not have his usual high ground ball rate.
Ryan Nagle and Clark Eagan each had four hits on this day, with Eagan connecting on his sixth home run of the season. Carlos Munoz drove in three runs on two hits, including his 20th double. Garrett Brown had two hits, giving him a .337 average.
Morgantown won 3-2 over Batavia on a late comeback. Down 2-0 for most of the game, the Black Bears scored three times in the bottom of the eighth inning.
The eighth started with a walk to Connor Joe, then a single by Deon Stafford. Dylan Busby tried to bunt the runners over and ended up reaching on a single, with a throwing error leading to a run. Tristan Gray then singled home Stafford before Busby scored on a fielder’s choice. Joe had a double and a walk in the game, leaving him 3-for-12 through three rehab games. Stafford had three singles. Busby, Gray, Jared Oliva and Bligh Madris each had a hit.
Scooter Hightower started and gave up two runs on seven hits and a walk in six innings. He picked up seven strikeouts and 56 of his 72 pitches went for strikes. Joel Cesar lowered his ERA to 1.50 and picked up the win with a scoreless eighth. Beau Sulser retired the side in order in the ninth for the save.
Bristol trailed 4-0 early to Bluefield, only to make a late comeback to send it into extra innings, then lose in the tenth frame. Travis MacGregor started and worked quickly through three innings before running into trouble in the fourth. He allowed four runs in the inning and it ended his night early. He gave up six hits, no walks and struck out three batters while posting a 4:1 GO/AO ratio. MacGregor now has a 5.13 ERA through seven starts.
Argenis Romano tossed three shutout frames and Mason Ward pitched a scoreless eighth. Eddie Muhl kept Bluefield off the board in the ninth, then gave up three runs in the tenth inning. Just one run was earned and it is the first earned run he has allowed in 11.1 innings as a pro, but the two unearned runs were due to his own error.
Yondry Contreras went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while picking up an outfield assist. Johan De Jesus drove in two runs on two hits, including his second home run of the season.
BRADENTON, Fla. – It’s hard to pick one standout prospect from today’s 6-2 GCL Pirates win. The big name lately has been Mason Martin, who hit his sixth home run in just his tenth pro game. Martin has been on fire lately, and hit one to right field today, getting it just inside the foul line for a two-run shot.
This was my first time seeing Martin in a game, and he displayed some good patience, working a few full counts on the day. It remains to be seen if he could benefit from being a little less selective, although right now it doesn’t appear that he’s having too many issues. His one downside right now would be 13 strikeouts in 34 at-bats, and he added to that today with a strikeout looking in his first at-bat. For now, it’s impressive watching him crush the ball, even if it does come with the cold water disclaimer that he’s ultimately got a six game hot streak.
Martin provided the power, but Lolo Sanchez provided the best all-around game. He went 4-for-4 with a stolen base, hitting a few hard hit balls in the process, including the two seen below.
Sanchez also showed off a lot of defensive range, going back to the wall in the left-center field gap to make a leaping catch.
Sanchez looks like a potential dynamic player, with strong defense in center field, a lot of speed to make him a weapon on the bases, and good contact ability with a line drive stroke. I could see him moving up the prospect ranks in the future, especially if he adds some power as he grows up.
Today was the first time I got to see Cody Bolton in a game. He was sitting 91-93 MPH in the first inning, but eventually dropped down to 88 MPH, still hitting the low-90s in the third. Bolton had good enough control of his fastball, but wasn’t consistent with his breaking pitch. He spiked a lot of them, only throwing six on the day, with four in the dirt and two for strikes. One of them went for a check swing strikeout, but overall the pitch wasn’t doing a good job of fooling opposing hitters today.
Bolton does have a projectable frame, and I could see him sitting in that mid-90s as he fills out. He’s more projectable than Shane Baz and Steven Jennings, but you can see where the potential comes from. The reviews we’ve gotten from his other outings have been better than this, and even in a down outing, he didn’t do that bad.
Austin Shields had a good outing on paper, but showed a bad trend. He had some control issues when he was trying to work down in the zone, missing when he would try to pitch low. He had good control when working up in the zone, but left a lot of pitches chest high, and that led to a lot of hard hit outs. This trend probably won’t continue producing the results he saw today, and he’ll need to find a way to throw strikes in the bottom of the zone. I don’t know if he’s too far off from this, as he was doing a good job before his arm soreness in Extended Spring Training, but has regressed a bit with his control down in the zone since then. – Tim Williams
The DSL Pirates lost 5-3 to the Cubs1 on Monday. The offense had just four hits on the games, but they were helped by ten walks. John Lantigua batted in the lead-off spot and had two singles and two walks. Francisco Acuna batted second and had three walks, yet neither one of them scored a run, as the big bats couldn’t come through with key hits. Sherten Apostel was walked twice, giving him 14 walks in his last seven games.
Seldom used outfielder Rayvi Rodriguez had a big day from the ninth spot in the order. He had a single, a walked, an RBI and scored two runs. Ronaldo Paulino hit his eighth double. Samuel Inoa had a walk and a sacrifice fly.
Starter Jose Marcano had a nice day, throwing five innings while allowing just one unearned run. The bullpen let the team down, as Marcano left with a two-run lead and the Cubs1 ended up scoring in each of the next three innings.