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 Mid-Season Update, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.
1. Mitch Keller, RHP, Altoona – [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. Max Moroff, INF, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
25. Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP, Pirates – [insert_php]
26. Eric Wood, 3B, Indianapolis – [insert_php]
27. Eduardo Vera, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php]
28. Logan Hill, LF, Altoona – [insert_php]
29. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php]
30. Lolo Sanchez, CF, GCL Pirates – [insert_php]
INDIANAPOLIS — Add one more name to the mix for potential pitching callups: Clay Holmes.
Indianapolis has no lack of pitching options if the Pirates choose to promote from within at some point, with Holmes making his case for being an option out of the bullpen.
Holmes threw five no-hit innings against Syracuse in Indianapolis’ 2-0 win. He was taken out after throwing 69 pitches and has been on a restricted pitch count since being removed out of a late-June start with shoulder fatigue.
The pitch count in his last seven starts, not including one shortened by rain in the first inning, has not eclipsed 80. Holmes has thrown 69, 80, 72, 80, 64, 79 and 68 pitches in those starts.
“I feel like I continue to make progress on the mound, feel for pitches and physically I feel good,” Holmes said. “I think that combined with the competitive atmosphere and everybody wanting to win, everybody wanting to do your part has been great. Seeing the effort from everybody else, the defense, just makes you want to do your part to do your best.”
While his pitch count has been limited, as a precaution at this point, Holmes has been dominant when on the mound. He’s allowed one earned run or less in five of his last six starts.
Holmes is on the Pirates’ 40-man roster, which makes a promotion easier. He could become an option out of the bullpen when rosters expand, a possibility Barkett hinted at previously. At some point, Holmes might be able to carve his niche in a similar manner as Pirates starting pitcher Trevor Williams, who began his career as a long reliever and later earned a spot in the rotation, Barkett said.
“His consistency of being in the strike zone and his stuff is really something special because his stuff plays really high,” Barkett said. “His sinker is like a bowling ball coming in, the breaking ball and changeup are weapons. The cutter-slider is a weapon. It makes it so much more effective when he can throw that sinker in there for a strike. And he has a lot of arm. The sinker is coming in 94-96, the cutter is coming in 98-100. As a hitter, those are some tough weapons you have to hit against.”
Holmes has made one relief appearance this season as have most starters in the organization, and he feels confident he could succeed in any role the Pirates needed.
“I think I can get outs wherever, whether the role is starting or in the bullpen, long relief or whatever,” Holmes said. “I think I’m in a spot right now where whatever the role would be I can get outs.”
Syracuse managed two singles, both coming off Tyler Eppler in relief. The no-hit bid ended with Bengie Gonzalez hit a grounder down the first base line that would likely have been a groundout, but it took a bounce off the bag and landed in the outfield for a single. Gonzalez also had a single in the eighth inning for the Chiefs’ other hit.
Eppler’s last three appearances have been in relief, and he seems to be taking steps forward after a rough stretch where he had a 7-plus ERA in June and July. He only allowed two hits and didn’t walk anybody in three innings, after allowing just one earned run in 3.2 innings of relief in his previous appearance.
Edgar Santana pitched a clean ninth to close out the four-game sweep of Syracuse, which pushed Indianapolis to 14 games over .500 (67-53) for the first time this season.
Indianapolis scored both of its runs in the fourth inning on Erich Weiss’ RBI double and Eric Wood’s RBI sacrifice fly.
Jordan Luplow had two hits and is hitting .417 with two home runs and five RBI in 10 games since returning from Pittsburgh. – Brian Peloza
ALTOONA, Pa. – The Curve were in a stretch of playing 11 of 18 games against the best team in the league, the Trenton Thunder. Fortunately for Altoona, the season series ends on a high note after walking off against Trenton in extra innings on Sunday night. They finish with a 5-8 record against Trenton, and they lost by one run five times. The next time that both division leaders could meet would be in the Eastern League Championship.
Down 4-3 in the ninth inning, Jerrick Suiter worked the count against Trenton’s closer and continued to try to go the other way with runners on second and third. After fouling off numerous balls, he was able to get the ball to the first baseman to score the tying run. In the tenth, Michael Suchy doubled to deep center field before Elvis Escobar singled up the middle to score the game winning run.
Asked if that was the best win of the season for Altoona, considering the opponent and place in the standings, Michael Ryan said that it was definitely up there.
“I think the Schwind three-run homer was the best so far,” Ryan said talking about Jonathan Schwind’s home run against the Thunder a few nights ago. “That’s the type that can turn things around and spark a team, so I’d say tonight is number two.”
Elvis Escobar was 3-for-5 tonight, including the walk-off single. He also singled in the second and doubled on a line to left field in the fourth, picking up two RBIs on the night.
“It feels really good, because you just faced the best record team in the league,” Escobar said. “That feels like a championship game against that team.”
Ryan had the option of trying to bunt Suchy over in the tenth, as he went with bunting in the situation multiples times already in the game; however, he was confident in keeping the bat in Escobar’s hands.
“He’s a left-handed hitter that I had confidence in to at least hit something to the right side,” Ryan said. “If we bunt there, we have Jhang behind him who would be walked the not have the greatest speed out there.”
Ryan added that he had a good feeling with how Escobar has been playing.
“The front shoulder is staying in there,” Ryan said. “That tells me he’s good when he’s doing that.”
It was Escobar’s second walk-off hit in as many days, hitting a walk-off in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, as well. Saturday’s hit was his first walk-off hit; his second didn’t have to to wait as long.
“Before yesterday, I didn’t have any walk-offs in my career, and now I have two in two days,” Escobar said. “I’m just trying to put myself in a good position to hit a good pitch. Yesterday, I did that on the first pitch. Today, it was a little different after seeing five or six pitches. I was just trying to move the runner over in that situation and ended up getting a base hit.”
With the Curve about to embark on an 11 hour bus ride to Portland, a win tonight makes a big difference for team morale.
“This morning, I was thinking that I had play a good game before getting on that bus for 11 hours,” Escobar said. “It feels really good.”
Casey Sadler made his fourth start and eighth overall appearance, facing off against the Thunder and their 78-40 record. Sadler came in with a 4.50 ERA in his three prior starts for the Curve as a starter, going five, five, and six innings, respectively. He has been building his innings back up as a starter, as directed by the organization.
Tonight, Sadler went seven innings for the first time since his Tommy John surgery. He allowed four earned runs, which all came on a fifth innings grand slam. All of the hits in that inning before the homer were on the ground, and Ryan said that the fastball thrown for the grand slam was probably Sadler’s only bad pitch of the night.
“A lot of ground balls,” Ryan said. “He kept the ball on the ground all night. Towards the end, he was a little elevated, but you tip your hat the Zehner with the grand slam. That probably wasn’t the pitch he was looking for, and it was really his only bad pitch of the night. It was a fastball just located in the wrong location.
Sadler had 15 groundouts compared to only two fly outs, and the majority of the hits against him were on the ground through holes. Overall, it was a positive outing for the right-hander.
“He was a ground ball machine against an aggressive club hitting,” Ryan said.
The win gave Altoona a 7-7 record in extra-inning games this season, and it was their 23rd come-from-behind win. They were 1-42 before tonight when trailing after eight innings, and Trenton was 57-3 when leading after eight.
“That’s baseball,” Ryan said. “Sometimes you put the numbers aside and anyone can beat anyone on any given night. You’d think that game was over going into the ninth, but it’s a resilient bunch out there. They never quit.”
*Jerrick Suiter hit his ninth home run of the season in the third inning. The ball left the stadium in an absolute hurry, as Suiter smoked the ball over the left field fence on a line. It almost looked effortless, and the ball exploded off of his bat. The power that Suiter has displayed this season is real.
*In the seventh, Cole Tucker made two above average plays on ground balls to his right side. He went deep into the hole, planted hard on his back foot, and made a very accurate throw to first base on both balls.
*Anderson Feliz went 3-for-3 with two doubles tonight.
*Alex McRae will pitch out of the bullpen on Tuesday for Altoona, then he will leave the team for a couple days to attend a wedding. He will rejoin the rotation next week. – Sean McCool
Bradenton won 5-4 over Charlotte in ten innings on a walk-off bases loaded single by Alfredo Reyes. The Marauders sent James Marvel to the mound for his second start in High-A. His first outing was solid, with three unearned runs over six innings. This game started off strong, but fell apart in the fifth inning when he allowed four runs, which ended his day. The bullpen of Yunior Montero, Jess Amedee and Sam Street threw shutout ball over the final five innings to help secure the victory.
The Marauders had 12 hits in the game, including five extra-base hits. Kevin Krause hit his ninth home run of the season, a solo short in the fourth inning. Carlos Munoz hit two doubles and a single. Ty Moore had two hits, including his seventh double for the Marauders. Casey Hughston had two hits, an RBI and a run scored. Ke’Bryan Hayes went 1-for-5 with a single, while Will Craig went 1-for-4 with a single and a walk.
West Virginia won game one of a doubleheader today by a 5-2 score. Newly-acquired Oneil Cruz went 2-for-4 with a double and his second home run for the Power, a two-run shot in the third inning. Ryan Nagle added a solo homer in the sixth inning.
Mike Wallace started the game and went six innings, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks, with four strikeouts. Dylan Prohoroff picked up the save with a scoreless seventh inning.
Adrian Valerio went 2-for-3 with two singles, a HBP and a run scored. Clark Eagan had two hits, a run scored and an RBI. Albert Baur got the scoring started with an RBI ground out in the first inning.
Game Two Recap: West Virginia swept the doubleheader over Hagerstown, picking a 5-3 win in the second game. Stephan Meyer started and threw a complete game, allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits and two walks in seven innings. He had four strikeouts.
The Power scored three runs in the first inning with help from an error. Albert Baur drove in two runs with his 21st double, then Yoel Gonzalez brought him in with a double. In the sixth inning, a bases loaded walk to Victor Fernandez brought in the go-ahead run, then Garrett Brown dropped down a bunt single to bring home an insurance run.
Oneil Cruz went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. He committed his third error for the Power, which led to an unearned run, but he also reached on an error and scored. Baur had two hits and scored two runs. Clark Eagan has an eight-game hitting streak after a single and a walk in this game.
Morgantown lost 8-3 to Aberdeen on Sunday night. The Black Bears head into the NYPL All-Star break in first place despite the loss. Sergio Cubilete started and had an extremely rough second inning in which he allowed six runs. Two of those runs were unearned, but it was his own error that resulted in those extra runs. The bullpen gave up two runs over the final 6.1 innings, not letting the game get out of hand, though Morgantown never really mounted any serious offense.
Austin Meadows played his fifth full game this week and should join Indianapolis when they resume play on Tuesday. With Morgantown off the next two days, it’s unlikely that he sits around waiting for them to play again. Meadows went 0-for-4 in this game and played left field. He has played all three outfield positions during his rehab.
Chris Sharpe led off the game with a home run, his third of the season. He also walked twice. Tristan Gray, Jared Oliva and Raul Siri each had two hits. Siri also had an RBI and a walk.
Bristol had their game suspended, as they led 6-4 in the third inning. They will finish the game tomorrow, followed by a seven inning contest.
The GCL Pirates are off on Sundays.
The DSL Pirates are off on Sundays.