Prospect Watch: Strong Start by Braeden Ogle; Eppler and Keller Struggle in Their Outings

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, 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’,’20170709′);
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3. Kevin Newman, SS, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20170709′);
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4. Cole Tucker, SS, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(657061,’B’,’20170709′);
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5. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(663647,’B’,’20170709′);
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6. Will Craig, 3B, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(643269,’B’,’20170709′);
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7. Taylor Hearn, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(621368,’P’,’20170709′);
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8. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656543,’P’,’20170709′);
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9. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592468,’P’,’20170709′);
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10. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20170709′);
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11. Clay Holmes, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20170709′);
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12. Braeden Ogle, LHP, Bristol – [insert_php] display_top30(669180,’P’,’20170709′);
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13. Max Kranick, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(668820,’P’,’20170709′);
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14. Elias Diaz, C, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(553869,’B’,’20170709′);
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15. Edgar Santana, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(650828,’P’,’20170709′);
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16. Luis Escobar, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(650813,’P’,’20170709′);
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17. Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(596720,’P’,’20170709′);
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18. Yeudy Garcia, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(650817,’P’,’20170709′);
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19. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20170709′);
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20. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20170709′);
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21. Stephen Alemais, SS, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(641301,’B’,’20170709′);
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22. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(663399,’P’,’20170709′);
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23. Travis MacGregor, RHP, Bristol – [insert_php] display_top30(669740,’P’,’20170709′);
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24. Barrett Barnes, LF, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(608627,’B’,’20170709′);
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25. Max Moroff, 2B, Pirates -[insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20170709′);
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26. Eric Wood, 3B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(607780,’B’,’20170709′);
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27. J.T. Brubaker, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(664141,’P’,’20170709′);
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28. Chris Bostick, INF/OF, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(607471,’B’,’20170709′);
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29. Connor Joe, 3B, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(656582,’B’,’20170709′);
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30. Jin-De Jhang, C, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(618085,’B’,’20170709′);
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P2 Top Performers

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Prospect-Watch-Indy

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Indianapolis lost 7-2 to Gwinnett on Sunday, as Tyler Eppler had a tough outing going into the All-Star break. Over 4.2 innings, Eppler allowed seven runs (six earned) on nine hits and two walks. Two of the hits he allowed were homers, both to Rio Ruiz, who hit a three-run shot in the fifth inning. The bullpen work by Indianapolis was terrific on this day, with Josh Lindblom, Edgar Santana and Johnny Barbato combining to go 3.1 shutout innings on three hits and one walk, with six strikeouts.

The offense was led by Danny Ortiz, who didn’t even start the game. He replaced Eury Perez in the second inning (unknown reasons) and went 4-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. Elias Diaz played his first game back in Indianapolis and went 2-for-4 with two singles. Starling Marte continued his rehab work, playing the entire game in left field and going 1-for-5 with a single and two strikeouts.

Indianapolis goes into the All-Star break with a 50-39 record. They resume play on Thursday.

Prospect-Watch-Altoona-Curve

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Altoona looked like they had a victory sealed up on Sunday after another fine start from Tanner Anderson. They went into the ninth inning with a 6-3 lead and Jake Brentz came on to close out the game. Instead, he walked the bases loaded, then gave up a single, walk and sacrifice fly to tie the score. He was removed from the game and Miguel Rosario came on with his 0.89 ERA. After recording the second out of the inning, Rosario was asked to intentionally walk the next batter. That ended up backfiring, as he walked the next hitter as well, ending the game on a walk-off walk.

Anderson threw eight shutout innings earlier this week and had a shutout going through six innings on this day. Things got a little rough in the seventh and he finished by giving up two runs over 6.1 frames. Luis Heredia followed him and worked out of a one-out, base loaded jam to keep the score 6-2. In the next inning, Heredia served up a solo homer. He finished with four strikeouts in 1.2 innings. Anderson posted an 11:3 GO/AO ratio.

On offense, Pablo Reyes had a nice day, going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Edwin Espinal had the big hit, a three-run homer in the fifth inning. It was his 11th home run of the season. Espinal drove in a fourth run on a sacrifice fly. Wyatt Mathisen had two walks and a run scored. Justin Maffei had a single, two walks and a run scored.

Altoona goes into the All-Star break with a 46-41 record. They don’t resume play until Thursday.

Prospect-Watch-Bradenton

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Bradenton won 5-4, doing it despite a tough outing from Mitch Keller. After going five innings in his last start, Keller was stretched out to six innings in this game, continuing his progress in his return from a back injury. Keller had allowed just one run over nine innings in his first two starts with Bradenton, but he had his issues with control on Sunday. He served up a two-run homer in the second inning, then gave up two more runs in the fifth inning. Keller finished the day giving up four runs (three earned) on four hits and four walks, while throwing two wild pitches. He had three strikeouts and a 9:3 GO/AO ratio. This is the first time he has walked four batters since he was in Bristol in 2015.

Cole Tucker went 3-for-4 with an RBI, run scored and his 34th stolen base. Casey Hughston went 3-for-3 with a run scored, an outfield assist and his 13th stolen base. Both Hughston and Tucker were caught stealing, and Hughston also committed an error. Tucker has 2+ hits in six of his last seven starts.

Ke’Bryan Hayes returned to the lineup after missing four games with a minor leg injury. He went 0-for-3 with a walk. Will Craig went 1-for-3 with a single, a walk and an RBI.

Prospect-Watch-WV-Power

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West Virginia received a terrific outing from Mike Wallace, who gave up just one run on four hits over 6.2 innings. Unfortunately for the Power, he wasn’t the starting pitcher on this day. Before he could record two outs, starter Blake Cederlind was out of the game due to reaching his single inning pitch count. He had already allowed five earned runs on five hits and a walk at that point, so he was likely done anyway. Wallace threw 97 pitches in relief, with 72 of them going for strikes, as he pounded the strike zone and quickly quieted the Rome bats. Cederlind now has a 7.66 ERA after lowering his ERA to 3.90 during his start back on June 1st.

The Power had chances to get back into the game, but they lost 6-1. They went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Clark Eagan hit his 14th double and Hunter Owen added his 13th, while Nick King got the start and hit his first double in Low-A. Owen also added a single, going 2-for-4 on the day. Garrett Brown had a single and a walk in the lead-off spot.

Prospect-Watch-Morgantown

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MORGANTOWN, WV – For the second day in a row, Morgantown got its struggling bats going against Batavia. Five-run rallies in the fifth and sixth innings resulted in a 10-5 win.

Stephan Meyer started for the Black Bears. He’s a finesse right-hander who throws a sinker and relies heavily on locating the pitch, in particular keeping it down. He also threw a curve and change. Both of Meyer’s secondary pitches, especially the curve, were effective when he was able to get ahead in the count. He got six strikeouts, half of them looking and nearly all on his secondary stuff. Meyer fell behind at times, though, as a result of needing to work around the edges of the strike zone, and was less effective.

Meyer had little trouble the first time through the lineup, but the second time was a different story. With two outs in the third, he walked the #9 hitter and Batavia immediately started teeing off. A single and double followed the walk, putting Batavia up by two. In the fourth, Meyer gave up a lead-off homer and later a double, but only the one run. He had an uneventful fifth.

Morgantown took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth, as pretty much their entire lineup starting making hard contact. The first of Bligh Madris’ two doubles drove in the first run. Lucas Tancas and Jared Oliva had RBI singles and Yoel Gonzalez drove in a pair with a hard grounder down the third base line that deflected off the third baseman’s glove and went for a double. The Black Bears posted another five-spot in the fifth. Madris again opened the scoring with an RBI double and the two De La Cruzes, Julio and Michael, had RBI hits.

Beau Sulser followed Meyer and got hit hard. His repertoire is similar to Meyer’s, but he had trouble from the start. Three hard-hit base hits accounted for two runs, which turned out to be the last in the game. Pasquale Mazzaccoli and Joel Cesar threw the last three innings, two by Mazzoccoli, without a baserunner. Mazzoccoli had good velocity; my guess, from observing the bizarre ballpark radar gun for two days, is that he was in the mid-90s at least and sometimes higher. He also threw a sharp curve, using the pitch much more than you typically see from a reliever. Nothing was hit well against him. Cesar threw his fastball slightly less hard than Mazzaccoli and also threw a slider. He missed with his first three pitches, but quickly settled down and got three outs with little trouble. – Wilbur Miller

Prospect-Watch-Bristol
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Bristol won 8-4 over Pulaski by scoring four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 4-4 tie. Braeden Ogle started and had a strong outing. He gave up one run on four hits and two walks in five innings. He had six strikeouts and threw 59 of his 86 pitches for strikes. Ogle started by retiring the first eight batters of the game, with that string broken by a fielding error charged to first baseman Johan De Jesus. The only run that scored against him came with two outs in the fifth on back-to-back doubles. He faced one batter in the sixth before being removed. Ogle now has a 3.79 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 19 innings over four starts.

The offense was led by Nelson Jorge and Raul Hernandez, who each drove in two runs. Matt Diorio hit a solo homer. Henrry Rosario walked twice and scored two runs. Melvin Jimenez had a single, RBI, stolen base and scored two runs. Yondry Contreras went 0-for-4 and Edison Lantigua was scratched about a hour before the game, with no reason given.

Prospect-Watch-GCL

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The GCL Pirates are off on Sundays

Prospect-Watch-DSL

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The DSL Pirates are off on Sundays

  • Kevin Newman at AA and Cole Tucker at Hi A are both approaching 600 PA’s at those levels – is it soup yet? Defensively, they both have outstanding numbers at SS – Newman 5 errors in 319 Chances, .984 fielding %age and Tucker 7 errors in 255 Chances, .973 fielding %age. Newman is having a down year for him on offense at .260, but not bad enough to keep him at AA, and Tucker is having his most productive year with the bat.

    Both are well deserving of promotions and the Pirates need to prepare for that time in the not too distant future where Mercer and JHay will no longer be in the middle infield. Have not seen anything worthwhile at AAA/AAAA, so let’s get on with moving these two to places where they can be accessed immediately. Newman to the Pirates in 2018, Tucker in 2019.

    • Joe Nastasi
      July 10, 2017 9:57 am

      I’m not a big fan of Newman & didn’t like the pick. I hope I’m wrong about the kid by the way. But I agree it is time to challenge him. I think Tucker is the better prospect & hate that at some point he will probably get held back because of Newman not progressing.

      • i agree with all of this

      • I truly think the path forward for the Pirates will have Tucker at SS and Newman at 2B, and both have a tendency to play up to the challenges presented.

        And, all of this is based on the current prospects. If trades of Cole and/or ‘Cutch become a reality, the number of high level prospects could expand. I saw in MLB Rumors where the CWS are asking for the top two prospects of the Astro’s (Martes/Tucker) for Quintana. I thought Cole could get #2 Tucker OF, #14 Yordan Alvarez 1B/OF, and #15 Freudis Nova, SS – all have + bats. The Yankees are also looking for a 1/2 SP that will stay a few years or more which fits Cole, and the Yankees system is loaded also.

        • Joe Nastasi
          July 12, 2017 9:53 am

          I almost agree with everything, only difference is, I like Kramer more then Newman.
          I also believe if you can get a haul for Cole jump on it. I’ve always thought of him as a solid no. 2, never an ace. His FB is to flat & his breaking pitches just spin way to often which leads to way to many 8+ pitch AB’s.
          Major man crush on JT as a no. 1
          I haven’t come close to giving up on Glasnow & with Keller looking like a stud + what Cole & Cutch will fetch. That’s the making of a team to do damage

  • Ogle to be the best of the bunch from last year? Would love to have all of them succeed but would be nice to have a young left like that.

    • Right now he’s considered the best of the group, especially with Kranick missing time due to shoulder soreness

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