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, 1B, 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, Pirates – [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 lost 10-1 to Columbus, dropping a half game behind them in the chase for first place. This game was close through six innings, then got ugly in the seventh. Drew Hutchison started and gave up nine hits and two walks over six innings, but Columbus just managed to put up two runs against him. One of those runs came on a long home run. Brett McKinney followed Hutchison and couldn’t get out of the seventh inning. He gave up six hits, a walk and a runner reached on an error. All eight of those runners ended up coming around to score, turning this game into a laugher.
The Indians didn’t score until two outs in the ninth and it took a wild reliever and an error to make that happen. Erich Weiss drew a bases loaded walk to bring home the lone run. Danny Ortiz doubled to lead-off the frame, and Kevin Newman walked to load the bases. Indianapolis also loaded the bases in the eighth, so they had a couple chances to make the score more respectable. Newman had a double and the walk in the game. Weiss and Jacob Stallings each had a single and a walk. Jordan Luplow returned to Indianapolis and went 1-for-4 with a single.
ALTOONA, Pa. – The first two outs of the game looked extreme easy for JT Brubaker, then things got a little crazy. It was not an easy outing for JT Brubaker, dealing with a plethora of base hits, long at-bats, and extended innings. Altogether, he worked five innings and allowed three earned runs on eight hits. He struck out four and walked two.
Brubaker started the game with two easy grounders to the first baseman. He then got another grounder, but it snuck through past Cole Tucker at shortstop. After a walk, Brubaker threw a pitch that absolutely destroyed a bat into three, but the ball snuck past second base, and a run scored. Brubaker came back with a vengeance, striking out the last batter of the inning with a 98 MPH fastball.
The first and second were a different story. He faced six batters in both innings, throwing a lot of pitches and the innings took forever. More importantly, Erie scored runs in each of the innings.
“It was the same sort of things he’s been struggling with – pitching with two outs and shutdown innings,” Manager Michael Ryan said. “It’s something that has been there all year. When we score a run, get us back in the dugout and shut them down. That’s something that he’s been having issues with.”
There were plenty of instances of Brubaker trying to locate too much on the corners rather than just trust his pitches. He also displayed quite a bit of emotion on the mound, with one of those times when he fired it in at 98 MPH. Ryan says that playing with emotions can be both great at times and detrimental at times.
“I love the emotion from him,” Ryan said. “It just shows that he cares. Sometimes you have to control the emotion. Sometimes that emotion makes you do things that you don’t want to, especially when you’re on the mound. It could affect release point and all kinds of things.”
He kept the velocity up there through his whole outing, as I saw 97 MPH in the fourth and fifth innings.
On the other hand, the middle relievers tonight were very good. Cody Dickson allowed one hit in his two innings of work, while Jake Brentz struck out two batters in his one clean inning.
Brentz’s fastball was coming in mostly around 95-96 MPH, down quite a bit from the 98-99 MPH he was throwing a few weeks ago. He has been bothered by a knee injury, slipping while fielding a ball a few weeks back, but his control has all of a sudden improved drastically.
Michael Ryan said that being overly violent with his delivery could bother the knee a little bit, so he might be just taking a little off. However, having this kind of control may be an eye opener for Brentz.
“There wasn’t any discussion really,” Ryan said when asked if he talked to Brentz about dialing back a little to gain more control. “It’s just what is going to help you with your location. If you are overthrowing and trying to throw 100, you aren’t going to locate. If you are giving the right effort and throwing 95 or 96, that’s good enough. Getting the breaking ball over, too, has helped. Take it easy – not just be snot and spit going out with control.”
Brentz used both his fastball and breaking ball for strikeouts tonight, sliding an 80 MPH breaking ball in the strike zone for his final strikeout.
“Dangerous if he locates,” Ryan said. “You have to locate it or good hitters can eliminate it. Got to get those two over and the sky is the limit.”
Jin-De Jhang came out of the gate hot tonight. In the first inning, he sent the first pitch he saw over the left field wall for a three-run home run. He went with the pitch to the opposite field for his second home run of the season. Then, with the Curve scoring plenty of runs early, Jhang ripped a two-run triple down the right field line in the second inning. Those were the only extra base hits for Altoona tonight.
“With runners in scoring position, sometimes the first pitch you see is going to be the best one,” Ryan said. “Pitchers trying to get ahead, so absolutely [swing at the first pitch]. We talked about trying to be aggressive, and he got a good pitch middle away.”
Although Jhang had the only extra base hits tonight, Wyatt Mathisen went 5-for-5 tonight. It was the first time that Mathisen ever had five hits in a game since his sophomore year of high school. The biggest thing for him tonight was sticking to an approach.
“When you stick to your approach, a lot of good things tend to happen even if you’re not hitting the ball hard,” Mathisen said.
Mathisen just returned last night from having almost a full week off with a bothered hamstring. Ryan said that he came back with fresh hands.
“Sometimes when you have something that’s bothering you like Mathisen with his hamstring, you get those days off; sometimes it’s a refresher and could be a mental break, too” Ryan said. “Timing was there, everything. Impressive night.”
Cole Tucker had two hits from the lead-off spot after sitting the game yesterday. Pablo Reyes and Jordan George had two hits, as well. George is 10-for-25 since his promotion from Bradenton, giving him a .400 average. –Sean McCool
Bradenton has been postponed due to rain.
CHARLESTON, WV – The West Virginia Power were celebrating Toast Night tonight, marking the 25th anniversary of the Toastman. For those unfamiliar, the Toastman is arguably one of the best hecklers in minor league baseball, with the signature move involving toast. When an opponent strikes out, the Toastman leads everyone behind home plate in a chant, yelling “You are toast!” over and over as the player walks back to the dugout. He then turns and tosses pieces of toast out to the crowd.
The Power pitching staff celebrated tonight in style. They struck out 14 batters on the night, going up against a Delmarva team that leads the league in strikeouts. That led to a lot of toast on the night.
West Virginia was led by James Marvel, who gave up three runs on seven hits in five innings, with no walks and seven strikeouts. Marvel’s three runs were spaced out, with one of them being a solo homer. He didn’t have the best command of his changeup throughout the evening, losing the pitch early, then relying on his curveball, before getting the feel for the changeup again and mixing it back in late. However, as a sinkerball heavy pitcher, Marvel did relatively well tonight, considering Delmarva loaded the lineup with lefties, leading to a tough challenge.
The Power then countered with left-handed reliever Ronny Agustin, who struck out four in 2.1 innings, relying a lot on his slow, big breaking curveball. Agustin has a lot of movement in his delivery, leading to some control problems, and that hurt him tonight with three walks. However, he was able to get through a few innings, eventually turning the ball over to Julio Eusebio for the final five outs.
Adrian Valerio led the way on offense, going 2-for-4 with a double and his seventh homer of the year. The double came in his first at-bat, and was a product of his speed, as he hustled to turn a single into the double, beating out the throw to second on the slide. His next at-bat saw the home run, bringing in two runs, and leading to a four run inning for West Virginia.
Valerio had a bit of a down month in July, which was filled with a few minor injuries. He looks to be coming out of his funk the last few weeks, and tonight was just a further sign of him continuing to hit. After tonight, he has a .776 OPS, which is the best of his career. He also looked smooth on the field. He made a nice double play unassisted when he caught a shallow pop-up on the bag at second to catch a slow runner off guard as he was slowly getting back to tag up.
After the game, James Marvel was promoted to Bradenton. I wrote about that, plus a few other moves and some notes in this update. – Tim Williams
Morgantown lost 7-2 to State College on Thursday night. Sergio Cubilete started and was doing well through five innings, even recording two outs in the sixth without allowing a run. That changed in a hurry, as he allowed five singles before giving way to Nicholas Economos. He couldn’t get out of the inning without allowing two more hits that brought home the final two runs charged to Cubilete. So what was once an outing in which he gave up one run over 5.2 innings, quickly turned into six runs over 5.2 innings.
The Black Bears had nine hits, with Deon Stafford driving in both runs with singles in the third and fifth innings. Bligh Madris hit his fourth double and scored on one of Stafford’s singles. Chris Sharpe had a single, stolen base and run scored. Raul Siri had two hits. Dylan Busby dropped to .158 through 20 games after an 0-for-3 night.
Bristol led 6-3 at the seventh inning stretch and ended up losing 9-6, which drops them to 9-32 on the season. They are three losses away from clinching a losing season, and they have the worst record in all of baseball.
Hunter Stratton has been pitching well for the Pirates since they drafted him in the 16th round this year, but he did not have it on this day. He walked six batters in 3.2 innings, leading to three runs scored. Evan Piechota followed him and threw 2.1 shutout innings, striking out four batters and stranding an inherited runner. He was followed by Cuban pitch Dany Hernandez, who couldn’t record an out. He walked three batters, gave up two hits and then reliever Ryan Valdes let all three inherited runners score when he served up a grand slam to the first batter he faced.
Yondry Contreras had two singles and stole his third base, as he continues to show some small improvements at the plate. Jason Delay and Melvin Jimenez each had two hits. Luis Benitez had three hits, scored two runs and stole two bases.
The GCL Pirates lost 7-3 to the Tigers West, as Austin Meadows continues his rehab from a hamstring injury. Meadows played seven innings in center field today. This is his third rehab game so far and the first two were as a right fielder. He had a tough start to today’s action, striking out in the first, making an error in the second and striking out with the bases loaded in the third. He came through in the fifth with a two-run triple to put the Pirates on the board. Meadows finished 1-for-4 and could play a full nine inning game on Saturday.
Roger Santana started and allowed four runs over 4.1 innings. Adonis Pichardo followed him and finished the game, giving up three runs. The Pirates made a total of four errors, which resulted in one unearned run for each pitcher.
Gabriel Brito and Victor Ngoepe each had two hits. Calvin Mitchell hit his seventh double and scored a run. Mikell Granberry had an RBI ground out and a walk. He has reached base safely in 12 straight game. Mason Martin went 0-for-4 with a walk and three strikeouts. He has reached base safely in 16 of his 18 games.
The DSL Pirates lost 5-4, as the tying run was thrown out at the plate to end the game. Luis Arrieta started for the first time and went five innings, allowing one run on two hits and a walk. He had three strikeouts and a 7:3 GO/AO ratio. Arrieta had been pitching in long relief, but he switched roles with Osvaldo Bido on this day and Bido ended up losing the game. He followed Arrieta and went 1.1 innings, giving up four runs on three hits and four walks.
The Pirates trailed 5-3 going into the bottom of the ninth. Francisco Acuna walked with one out, then Jean Eusebio drew a two-out walk. Emison Soto came up as a pinch-hitter and singled into center field. That scored Acuna and the throw went towards third base late. Eusebio was already on third and decided to go home when he saw the throw going to the wrong base, but he wasn’t able to score, ending the game.
Acuna entered the game in the fifth inning and still ended up with a single, triple and a walk. Eusebio walked twice, giving him 26 walks in 36 games. Sherten Apostel had a single and a walk. He has drawn 30 walks in his last 24 games.