Every week we have live reports from all over the system, while I provided additional views of the minors via MiLB.tv, which included Indianapolis, Altoona and Bradenton this week. We also had live coverage of Indianapolis, Altoona and the GCL in the past week. All of these reports are combined and used each week to highlight the top performers during that time span. We go with the top ten hitters and pitchers, giving you the 20 best players from last week.

HITTERS

Clark Eagan, OF, West Virginia – Eagan had a very tough June with a .453 OPS in 21 games. With a strong finish to July, he now has an .859 OPS this month. His damage this last week came during big games on Monday and Tuesday. Eagan had seven hits between those two days, including two homers. Even more impressive that the improvements he made during the last month, has been his ability to put the ball in play. Since July 7th, he has struck out one time in 69 plate appearances. That is an incredible streak of making contact. Somewhat surprisingly, he hasn’t seen a huge increase in his season OBP, going from .310 to .315 over that time, he he has added 38 points to his slugging percentage. A strong finish could help him towards success next year, and he shouldn’t have trouble finding playing time with Bradenton, as their potential outfield looks weak next season. – John Dreker

Jordan George, OF/1B, Altoona – We might have to change this weekly feature to the The Twenty, starring Jordan George and 19 other players. He’s becoming a regular here and that streak of hitting got him a promotion to Altoona last week, where he continued to hit, by driving in four runs in his first game. George finished his time with Bradenton by hitting .302/.399/.488 in 69 games. He had a 20-game hit streak snapped right before his promotion, but he still has a 27-game on base streak intact. George is an interesting case because there wasn’t any doubt he could hit lower level pitching, but we are still talking about someone who turned 25 this month. He was old for Double-A before he got there. It will be interesting to see how far the bat can carry him, especially if this recent surge of power (ten homers this year after two total in 2015/16) is for real. The Pirates might actually get some value out of a 35th round pick, who wasn’t an over-slot player. – JD

Mason Martin, 1B/RF, GCL Pirates – I thought about just putting a picture of Babe Ruth here and linking it to my article from yesterday on Martin. Consider this a bit of a summary for that article, highlighting what he is doing well — which would almost be everything on offense. Martin has played in 14 games this year, and reached base safely in 13 of them. He currently has a ten game hitting streak. He has a 1.521 OPS, and while he hasn’t hit a home run since Tuesday, he has seven on the year. This past week he went 7-for-16 with two homers, even extending his hitting streak with a pinch hit appearance. Martin’s power comes easy, although I am concerned by his 28% strikeout rate. He takes a lot of pitches, and may have the trend of being too selective. In the lower levels, this leads to high strikeouts, which is masked by high walks and high power numbers, which he has. In the upper levels, the average, walks, and power all start to drop if this trend continues. Time will tell if he has that tendency. I’m guessing we will get a chance to see him in West Virginia next year, which will be a big test. – Tim Williams

Calvin Mitchell, OF, GCL Pirates – Mitchell hasn’t been putting up the massive numbers we’ve seen from Martin, but the skills have shown up. He has a quick and easy swing, and a lot of power potential. The power has actually shown up, with a .164 ISO in the pitcher friendly GCL. The average hasn’t been consistent, although he’s still getting on base. Mitchell has shown a good approach at the plate, and that has translated to the numbers, with a 17.4% strikeout rate and a 14% walk rate. This week the hitting results matched the skills, as he went 5-for-15 with three doubles. Mitchell has more defensive upside, although I see him limited to a corner outfield spot, especially since he’ll likely be moving up at the same rate as Lolo Sanchez, who is a strong center fielder.  – TW

Ryan Nagle, OF, West Virginia – The Pirates drafted Nagle the year before they took Clark Eagan and the two players are very similar. Both lefty hitters, who signed for $160,000, play corner outfield and have no standout tools. Now they are on the same team and both had strong weeks last week. Nagle had a four-hit game on Monday and then reached base another six times. He began this season in Extended Spring Training, which is never a good sign for someone who had a starting job the year before in Low-A. Nagle went to Morgantown when their season started, then was quickly promoted to West Virginia after four games. With the Power he has hit .304/.375/.329 in 24 games. It’s a nice OBP, but there is no power there and he’s days away from his 23rd birthday, which makes him too old for Low-A ball, at least from a prospect point. – JD

Ronaldo Paulino, 1B/3B, DSL Pirates – Paulino is a big 18-year-old corner infielder, who swings and misses often, but occasionally makes very hard contact. Signed last July out of the Dominican Republic, he is now listed at 6’4″, 223 pounds, which is 23 pounds more than a year ago. He is very strong and the ball flies off of his bat. This past week, he had six hits, including three doubles. He also walked three times, giving him 21 walks in 37 games. Paulino has ten doubles on the season, to go along with three homers. The huge problem with his game is the swing-and-miss part. He has 57 strikeouts already, the fifth highest total in the league. Since he is slightly older than your average DSL rookie (turns 19 in September), the strikeouts could be a big issue going forward, especially since the bat is his lone carrying tool. – JD

Lolo Sanchez, CF, GCL Pirates – The 2017 draft put several interesting prospects in the GCL, with hitters like Calvin Mitchell, Mason Martin, and the injured Conner Uselton, along with pitchers like Shane Baz, Steven Jennings, Cody Bolton, and Jacob Webb. That kind of overshadows some of the international players who are standing out, and none of those players have stood out more than Lolo Sanchez. He has emerged as one of the best prospects on this loaded team, with a lot of potential for future upside. He hits for average, gets on base, keeps strikeouts low, has plus speed, plus range, strong defense in center field, speed on the bases, and he’s added a bit of power as well. This week he went 8-for-22 with two doubles and a homer, with the homer being the second of his pro career. The drafted players will get a lot of attention in the lower levels, but Sanchez warrants just as much attention as most of the top picks in the 2017 draft. – TW

Deon Stafford, C, Morgantown – Stafford was in a big of a slump recently after a hot start to his season. This year’s fifth round draft pick signed right away and was among the first drafts to see action this season. He has been the starting catcher for Morgantown and looks better than the scouting reports indicated. His arm is strong, though I have seen a few erratic throws. His blocking skills appear to be excellent. They Pirates picked him for his bat though, and he just finished off a big week. Stafford hit his fourth home run of the season on Sunday, a game in which he picked up his team’s only two hits. He had seven hits over his previous three games this week and drove in a total of seven runs. He is now hitting .293/.356/.489 through his first 23 games as a pro. He makes a lot of hard contact, though his 25 strikeouts could be an issue to watch. – JD

Joey Terdoslavich, RF/1B, Indianapolis – One week ago, Terdoslavich looked like the odd man out. Kevin Newman and Jordan Luplow’s recent promotions to Triple-A, along with a desire to get Erich Weiss and Eric Wood playing time at first base, left Terdoslavich the odd man out in a series against Gwinnett when the designated hitter wasn’t being used. Terdoslavich was relegated to four pinch-hit appearances in a four-game series. But Luplow was promoted to the Pirates and the designated hitter was in play again with Indianapolis playing teams with American League affiliates. Terdoslavich responded by putting together a solid week, hitting .379 (11-for-29) with 5 RBI. He’s had a solid, but not spectacular season, hitting .275 and being a fairly steady performer. Looking ahead, though, he might again be the odd man out when Austin Meadows returns to the lineup and if Luplow is optioned back down. – Brian Peloza

Mitchell Tolman, 2B, Bradenton – Tolman started off slowly with Bradenton, but has really picked it up lately. This past week saw him reach base 15 times in six games. He is starting to show more power in his bat as well. Tolman had a total of 12 extra-base hits through the end of June. The Florida State League isn’t the best league for power numbers, and Tolman isn’t going to put up 20 homers in a season, but that’s still a very low number. He doubled his season total in July alone, collecting 11 doubles and a homer. With two more games left in the month, if today’s doubleheader doesn’t get rained out, he has a .311/.388/.447 slash line in 25 games. Those numbers are even slightly better in the second half (33 games) with a higher average and slugging and the same OBP. Tolman showed periods of taking too many pitches earlier in the season, but now he is being a little more aggressive with pitches in the zone. Every year we pick someone to have a breakout season in Altoona and he looks like a strong candidate for that next year. – JD

PITCHERS

Matt Anderson, RHP, West Virginia – Before his outing on Saturday, Anderson last made a start on June 8th and he had not pitched five innings since June 2nd. In his game this weekend during West Virginia’s doubleheader, he gave up one unearned run over five innings and surrendered just one hit and one walk, while striking out seven batters. Anderson also pitched a scoreless inning of relief earlier in the week. It’s not a good sign to see your 23-year-old, tenth round draft pick, lose his rotation spot in Low-A. Anderson has pitched well in shorter outings though, so long relief in probably the best role for him. In his last 20 innings, he has given up one run and struck out 28 batters. He can still get in trouble due to control issues and will leave his fastball up in the zone, but the results have clearly been better recently. – JD

Tanner Anderson, RHP, Altoona – Anderson went eight scoreless innings and stuck out nine batters, a career high, last Wednesday in a Curve win over Reading. It was arguably his best start of the season, as he only walked one batter and was efficient, only using 97 pitches to get through eight innings. Anderson has always been a ground ball pitcher, and he leads all of Double-A baseball this season with a 59.9% ground ball rate. The Curve will move him to the bullpen starting this upcoming week, as he has gone 111.2 innings in his first season as a starting pitcher. He went 88 innings last season between Bradenton and West Virginia before adding 26.1 in the AFL. They want to manage his innings to make sure he doesn’t add too many innings compared to last season. – Sean McCool

Austin Coley, RHP, Altoona – Coley is in the midst of his absolute best professional season, posting a 2.88 ERA in 18 starts (23 appearances). His ERA is currently third in the Eastern League among qualified pitchers, and he’s also near the top of the leader board with 11.2.2 innings pitched this season. His two starts this past week were two of his best this year, only allowing two earned runs in 14 innings pitched, including seven innings of two-hit, scoreless baseball in Reading last Tuesday. He also held a potent Trenton lineup at bay, as they only scored two runs on a string of singles in one inning. His off-speed stuff was extremely impressive during his last start, throwing the changeup in all counts then putting batters away with a nasty curveball. All seven of his strikeouts on Sunday were of the swinging variety, forcing plenty of check swings and ugly offers at the pitch. According to his manager, the difference between Coley this season and last season is the ability for him to locate that curveball both in and out of the strike zone. – SM

Luis Escobar, RHP, West Virginia – Escobar went a week between starts this last time out due to a rain out and off-day and it appears the extra rest helped him out. He went seven innings on Sunday, giving up one run on two hits and three walks, with seven strikeouts. It marks his longest career outing. That start capped off a strong month of July in which he had a 1.32 ERA in 27.1 innings, with 28 strikeouts and a .140 BAA. This is more like the Escobar we saw early in April when he dominated, and not the one who put up a 4.66 ERA in May and a 6.48 mark in June. He leads the South Atlantic League with 125 strikeouts. The Pirates believed that sending Escobar to the Futures Game would be good for him and he has allowed three runs over 23.1 innings since then. – JD

Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Indianapolis – Glasnow is running out of things to prove at the Triple-A level, showing a level of consistency and execution that eluded him last season with Indianapolis. Glasnow threw a pair of gems, allowing one run and striking out seven over seven innings on Tuesday; following that up with a 12-strikeout performance on Sunday, when he allowed one run over 6.1 innings. Glasnow’s fastball velocity has increased to where it has been in the past, hitting 100 MPH several times and sitting in the mid- to high-90s. And he’s filling up the strike zone with his fastball and attacking hitters, instead of dancing around the plate and trying to be too fine with his pitches. That’s evident by only allowing one walk on Sunday, while he has allowed two or less walks in three of his last five starts. Glasnow seems relaxed right now and has voiced what seems to be genuine reflection on the move back down to Indianapolis being a good one for his career. He’s pitching like someone ready for the major leagues, with the only thing left to show is his ability to consistently string together those types of outings. – BP

Bret Helton, RHP, Bradenton – Helton threw seven shutout innings on Friday, ending a great month of July. He made three starts and three relief appearances during the month, giving up three runs over 25 innings. Helton held opponents to a .193 BAA and posted an 0.88 WHIP. He has taken over the rotation spot of the injured Taylor Hearn, which gives Helton a chance to improve his stock over the final five weeks of the season. He was not impressive last year as a starter for West Virginia, but did look better in a relief role this season, showing more velocity and a much better strikeout rate. That rate has gone down as a starter, but the results have been even better. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as the long man/spot starter next year for Altoona, a role similar to what led to success last year for Frank Duncan and this year for Austin Coley. – JD

Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – Kingham’s return from Tommy John surgery took another step forward after a pair of solid starts this week. He put up nearly identical pitching lines in his two starts, throwing seven innings twice. He allowed one earned run and eight hits in both of those starts, while most importantly not walking anybody either time. Kingham’s two starts came after his worst performance of the year on July 19, allowing eight runs on seven hits and four walks. The difference in Kingham’s turnaround the last two stars: fastball command. He’s throwing his fastball with better command and confidence, which is making his other pitches work better. Kingham referenced he used his off-speed pitches on the first pitch of some at-bats later in the game which was established by using his fastball on both sides of the plate. Kingham is showing the potential he has that was derailed with his injury. A few more starts like the ones he had this week and his name will become discussed more as a possible late-season promotion. – BP

Jose Marcano, LHP, DSL Pirates – The Pirates signed the 18-year-old Marcano out of Venezuela last July 2nd. He was the only left-handed pitcher in their entire international class last year and he was not among the top bonuses they handed out. Marcano made the starting rotation during Spring Training and has put up solid overall results thanks to a two strong starts last week. On Monday, he threw five innings, allowing one unearned run on three hits and a walk. On Saturday, he threw six shutout innings on four hits and a walk. Those six innings represents something new for the Pirates this year, as they haven’t let DSL/GCL pitchers go over five innings since 2009. Marcano now has a 2.91 ERA in 46.1 innings, showing solid control with 11 walks, to go along with 31 strikeouts, a .236 BAA and a 1.16 GO/AO ratio. He has filled out a little since signing with the Pirates, going from 6’1″, 180 to 6’2″, 195 pounds. His best pitch is his curveball and he commands his fastball well. – JD

Alex McRae, RHP, Altoona – Alex McRae dominated over eight innings pitched during a Curve win over Reading last Tuesday. He retired the final 21 batters he faced on the night, only allowing one first inning run without walking any batters and striking out eight. He allowed four singles within the first six batters before completely locking it down, not allowing another batter to reach base after the first batter in the second inning. The eight strikeouts were the most he had since his first outing of the season when he struck out nine, and it was very encouraging to see McRae be able to retire guys with the strikeout. He has shown the ability to go deep in games and has been very reliable, posting the second most innings pitched in the league. The only thing left that he needs to check off the list is record more strikeouts, so hopefully he can build upon his start in Reading this past week. – SM

Noe Toribio, RHP, DSL Pirates – The Pirates signed the 17-year-old Toribio out of the Dominican Republic last July for a $100,000 bonus. Listed at 6’2″, 185 pounds, he has added about ten pounds to his frame since signing. There were reports that he hit 97 MPH last year, but as a starting pitcher, he sits 91-92 MPH with his fastball and mixes it with a curve and changeup. He showed good signs this spring when he held that velocity throughout entire starts, which is something you don’t often see with young pitchers. He was extended to six innings on Tuesday just like Jose Marcano (see above) and gave up just one hit, while walking three batters during his shutout performance. Toribio has had some control issues so far, which has led to a few poor outings. He has a lot of potential due to his velocity/stamina, but until this last outing, he had a 6.00 ERA. He has been getting a lot of grounders, posting a 1.78 GO/AO ratio, so that’s a good sign. – JD

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10 COMMENTS

  1. still waiting for that Pirate surprise deal like last year when they traded Liariano and prospects for Hutchinson. Maybe it will still be announced.

  2. As I write this there is still an hour left to the deadline. I am not someone who hates our NH and the FO as I think they do the best the can given Nutting cheapness. That said this deadline is changing my mind fast. This is a good team. Sub .500 and 5 out is fantastic for playing with 6 starting position players all year and cutch hitting like a pitcher for two months not to mention the terrible Glasnow experiment, Kuhl and Cole sucking for periods and the bullpen looking like a waiver wire recap. I understood not replacing Marte and Kang at the time, it was a little frustrating but understandable given the time of year and to a degree in house options. Kang, Hughes, and Marte from what I have read saved roughly 7 mil and NH said he would put the money back in the team at the deadline. I know that he tends to make late deals but this is BS. How he could give up on the team and lie to fans is beyond me. There better be at least a bullpen piece, outfield/2B or 3B starter aquired in the next hour. Not making a move will sink this team, recently read interview with Arenado about Rockies move for Neshek and attempts for Lucroy (this class before the trade) and he said it’s huge for the players to know that the FO believes in them and that they are trying. If NH doesn’t add he had better sell if Watson, nicasio, and Jaso and give this team the direction it’s been lacking. 2013 looked like the start of a good run but the reluctance to trade even mid tier prospects or even low mid tier free agents has sunk the team. NH had better have some late moves or he needs to be let go

    • Spending money for the sake of spending money doesn’t really make much sense.

      The Cubs are starting to heat up and they’re just one of three clubs the Pirates would have to pass to take the division…and that seems to be the be route to the post-season.

      I agree…sell off the dead pieces…I was sort of itching to see Watson go to Cleveland…and ditch a bigger name or two if the price is right.

      • I agree that money shouldn’t be spent just to spend money the point is we have the money to upgrade and NH said that he was spending it

    • Sorry but the players only care about money and that comes with playoff wins. Adding players may be just as disruptive as helpful. I just don’t believe in the crap they put out about the FO believing in them by adding players. It is and always will be about money for both the players and owners.

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