Prospect Watch: Max Kranick Makes Second Start; Glasnow Pitches Another Strong Game

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 Mid-Season Update, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.

1. Mitch Keller, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php] include_once (‘./p2-stats/stats_functions.php’);
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2. Austin Meadows, CF, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(640457,’B’,’20170811′);
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3. Shane Baz, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(669358,’P’,’20170811′);
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4. Cole Tucker, SS, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(657061,’B’,’20170811′);
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5. Kevin Newman, SS, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20170811′);
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6. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(663647,’B’,’20170811′);
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7. Will Craig, 1B, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(643269,’B’,’20170811′);
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8. Elias Diaz, C, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(553869,’B’,’20170811′);
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9. Taylor Hearn, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(621368,’P’,’20170811′);
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10. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656543,’P’,’20170811′);
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11. Calvin Mitchell, OF, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(668751,’B’,’20170811′);
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12. Braeden Ogle, LHP, Bristol – [insert_php] display_top30(669180,’P’,’20170811′);
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13Edgar Santana, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(650828,’P’,’20170811′);
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14. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20170811′);
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15. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis– [insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20170811′);
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16. Clay Holmes, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20170811′);
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17. Jordan Luplow, LF, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(656669,’B’,’20170811′);
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18. Luis Escobar, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(650813,’P’,’20170811′);
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19. Max Kranick, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(668820,’P’,’20170811′);
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20. Steven Jennings, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(675651,’P’,’20170811′);
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21. Adrian Valerio, SS, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(650832,’B’,’20170811′);
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22. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592468,’P’,’20170811′);
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23. Conner Uselton, OF, GCL Pirates – Disabled List

24. Max Moroff, INF, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20170811′);
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25. Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP, Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(596720,’P’,’20170811′);
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26. Eric Wood, 3B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(607780,’B’,’20170811′);
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27. Eduardo Vera, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(622747,’P’,’20170811′);
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28. Logan Hill, LF, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(664930,’B’,’20170811′);
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29.  Tyler Eppler, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20170811′);
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30. Lolo Sanchez, CF, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(665975,’B’,’20170811′);
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P2 Top Performers

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Prospect-Watch-Indy

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INDIANAPOLIS — This was just more of the same, which is a good thing.

Tyler Glasnow is showing the consistency that eluded him last season with Triple-A Indianapolis, allowing one run or less for the sixth time in his last seven starts.

The velocity has increased: he was sitting in the mid- to high-90s the entire game, hitting 100 MPH in the first inning, something he has consistently done since being optioned to Indianapolis. He struck out 11 batters against Syracuse, the sixth time he has had double-digit strikeouts with Indianapolis.

Glasnow allowed one run – on a solo homer – in Indianapolis’ 2-1 win over Syracuse on Friday. He walked just one batter and threw 68 of his 97 pitches for a strike.

“I’m just sticking with the process, knowing at any point I could go back up,” Glasnow said. “I’m just trying to take it like a big league start, trying to recreate those emotions and trying to recreate the situations I guess and try to keep everything consistent.”

The command has improved: Glasnow has walked just one batter in each of his last three outings, with only 26 free passes in 68.2 innings with the Indians. His strike percentage has been hovering around 70 percent in recent outings, a solid number for a power pitcher.

“It’s been a dominant performance for him the last few times out,” Indianapolis manager Andy Barkett said. “He’s really throwing the ball well. There’s not really much more we want from him or need from him other than to keep on doing what he’s doing.”

Glasnow worked around a one-out single in the first inning. Syracuse lead-off hitter Zach Collier flied out to center field on a curveball, but Irving Falu followed with a single to left. Glasnow struck out Neftali Soto and Clint Robinson grounded out to end the inning.

Syracuse’s lone run was on Pedro Sevrino’s solo homer to center field, on a shot that left little doubt. Glasnow worked around a two-out single in the third inning. Glasnow’s lone walk was to Brandon Snyder in the fourth inning, but he erased that with a strikeout-caught stealing double play, when Diaz threw out Snyder on what appeared to be a botched double play.

Glasnow struck out the side in the fifth inning on 12 pitches, but had to work around some trouble in the next inning. Syracuse put runners at first and third with one out in the sixth inning on Falu’s double and Soto’s single, but Glasnow struck out Clint Robinson and Brandon Snyder to end the inning. He needed just ten pitches to retire the side in the seventh on two groundouts and a strikeout.

Indianapolis tied the game, 1-1, on Elias Diaz’s RBI single in the fourth inning that scored Danny Ortiz, who reached on a double. The Indians took a 2-1 lead on Ortiz’s RBI single in the sixth.

Kevin Newman was 3-for-4, while Diaz was 3-for-3. Jordan Luplow and Ortiz each had two hits.

Dovydas Neverauskas worked around a two-out single to pitch a scoreless ninth inning. – Brian Peloza

Prospect-Watch-Altoona-Curve

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Altoona’s comeback attempt from a 6-1 deficit in the fifth inning came up a run short against Trenton. The Curve sent Alex McRae to the mound, five days after he made his first relief appearance of the season. It did not go well, as he allowed six runs on 11 hits and two walks in 4.2 innings. The bullpen shutdown Trenton the rest of the way, with Tanner Anderson contributing 2.1 shutout innings. Since moving to relief a couple of weeks ago, he has pitched four times and allowed one run over 9.1 innings.

The Curve had just five hits in the game, with an Anderson Feliz bases loaded triple being the big blow. They also scored runs on Wyatt Mathisen’s fifth home run and a Jin-De Jhang single that scored Jerrick Suiter, who reached on a two-out double in the fourth inning. Suiter now has 28 extra-base hits this season, which is his career high, even though he is well short of his plate appearances totals from the previous two seasons.

Prospect-Watch-Bradenton

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BRADENTON, Fla. – The Marauders dropped their second straight game to Charlotte, 6-1.  Pedro Vasquez showed both his advantages and drawbacks in this game.  He started not just with four shutout innings, but by retiring the first 13 batters he faced.  Vasquez threw three more or less average pitches that he controls very well, keeping the ball down and away from the middle of the plate while seldom falling behind in the count.  His fastball sat at 93 mph in the first inning, 90-92 thereafter.  He utilitzed very good location to get a series of easy outs over the first four-plus innings.

In the fifth, though, a one-out walk got things started for Charlotte and Vasquez struggled to get out of the inning.  He gave up his first hit with two outs and it was followed by three more, as Vasquez suddenly started getting hit hard.  The problem likely is that Vasquez lacks a swing-and-miss pitch.  Hitters are likely to have more success against him after the first time or two through the order.  By the time the fifth was over, Vasquez had allowed three runs.

Jordan Jess took over in the sixth and struggled.  Jess, a stocky lefty, has had significant difficulties since coming up from West Virginia a week ago.  He has a high-effort delivery and throws a 91-92 mph fastball, along with a slow breaking ball that, at least tonight, he didn’t control well.  In this game Jess allowed three runs, one on a bases-loaded walk, on three hits and a walk in two innings.  Jess Amedee and Miguel Rosario, recently sent down from Altoona, finished with an inning each.

The Marauders hit the ball better than you’d conclude from the fact that they had only six hits.  They spent much of the game hitting line drives at fielders.  Mitchell Tolman was robbed of a line-drive hit by a diving catch in right, Will Craig hit a drive to the fence in center, Stephen Alemais had two long drives that were caught, and Christian Kelley and Ke’Bryan Hayes each lined into a double play.

Bradenton had two good chances to score.  The first came in the third inning, when the Marauders put runners on second and third with one out, but Tolman and Hayes both struck out.  In the eighth, Bradenton finally got on the board.  Singles by Casey Hughston, Alfredo Reyes and Tolman brought in a run with no outs, but Hayes’ double play liner killed the threat. – Wilbur Miller

Prospect-Watch-WV-Power

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West Virginia is competing for a playoff spot after a tough first half of the season, but they lost some ground on Friday night in a 7-0 loss. Eduardo Vera started and was not sharp in this game. It’s likely his performance of recent is down due to his inning total being well over any season in the past. That’s including last year when he threw just 8.2 innings over seven relief appearances during his return from Tommy John surgery. He is now at 105.1 this season after allowing six earned runs over 4.2 innings tonight. Vera has just 12 walks all season, while picking up 89 strikeouts.

Angel German followed Vera, and while only half of his pitches went for strikes, he struck out three batters in 1.1 scoreless innings. This was his third appearance for the Power since joining the system in the Tony Watson deal.

West Virginia had just three hits, so it wasn’t a good day on offense. Adrian Valerio went 0-for-4, while Oneil Cruz went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and his second error. The only hits were singles from Clark Eagan, Albert Baur and Ryan Nagle. Garrett Brown drew the lone walk.

Prospect-Watch-Morgantown

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Morgantown won 6-3 over Aberdeen in a game called after eight innings due to rain. The Black Bears trailed for most of the game, finally breaking through in the seventh inning when they put up four runs. They then added two more insurance runs in the eighth inning.

In that seventh, they loaded the bases on three walks, but also had two strikeouts before they started the scoring. A Bligh Madris single brought home two runs, then a double by Tristan Gray brought in two more. In the eighth, the opposing pitcher did most of the work. Jose Barraza reached on a wild pitch on a strikeout. He moved up two bases on two more wild pitches, before Raul Siri walked. A sacrifice fly from Sandy Santos brought home a run. Siri stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch, but was thrown out trying to score on a ball hit to first base by Brett Pope. That was followed by a Chris Sharpe double that scored Pope.

Morgantown had just seven hits in the game and Sharpe, Madris and Gray in the top three batting spots each had two hits. The rest of the lineup went 1-for-17. Sharpe hit two doubles, while Madris and Gray each hit one, giving all three of the seven doubles on the season.

Gavin Wallace started and allowed two runs over five innings. He has a 2.75 ERA over 39.1 innings, with three walks and 24 strikeouts. Adam Oller allowed one run over two innings, then Hector Garcia picked up the save with a scoreless eighth inning.

Prospect-Watch-Bristol
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BRISTOL, Va. – The stats for this game won’t count, as the Bristol Pirates were rained out in the middle of the fourth inning. That still left enough time for me to see Travis MacGregor throw a pretty impressive outing. He gave up three runs on three hits and a walk in four innings, along with seven strikeouts. The latter would have been a career best.

Most of the runs came in the third inning when he started getting hit around, including a big two-out hit with the bases loaded. However, he rebounded with a strikeout, and then followed that up with an easy fourth inning, striking out the side. MacGregor was hitting 93 MPH tonight, working in the low-90s, which is similar to the velocity we got on him last month. Here is a video of two of his strikeouts in the third inning, including the one that got him out of the frame.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXrT-DjAGHz/?taken-by=piratesprospects

I’ll have more on MacGregor and the things he has been working on lately in an upcoming article, which is currently added to the list of about 15-20 articles I have lined up from this current West Virginia/Bristol trip. But an early flight back to Bradenton in the morning will have to keep this recap short. – Tim Williams

Prospect-Watch-GCL

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The GCL Pirates lost 4-0 on Friday afternoon. Max Kranick started against the GCL Braves. It was his second start in a game this season. He began by throwing just fastballs but increasingly mixed in his curve after the first. His fastball velocity was 91-92 mph initially, but gradually dropped to 87-90. The pitch had good run and got a surprising number of swings and misses early; all four of Kranick’s strikeouts came in the first two innings. His control was shaky, leading to some deep counts and two walks. The curve is a strong pitch already, with late, sharp break. Today at least, he got mostly fly balls rather than grounders.

Kranick ended up throwing three and two-thirds innings. He should have lasted longer, but Jeremias Portorreal muffed an easy fly by the leadoff hitter. That led to two unearned runs, the only runs off Kranick, and a lot of unnecessary pitches.

Austin Shields followed Kranick and just couldn’t find the plate. He got out of that inning despite a four-pitch walk, and also threw a scoreless fifth. Things came unglued in the sixth, which Shields started by walking the bases loaded. He got only one out before departing. He was charged with four runs, in an inning and two-thirds, on one hit and six walks. Shields was hurt when Rodolfo Castro, playing short, threw wildly past first on what should have been a double play. His fastball was 87-89 mph in his first partial inning, 89-91 after that. He also threw a breaking ball that looked like it had good potential.

David Lee followed Shields.  He was the last player the Pirates signed out of this year’s draft.  He has an excellent curve, but a fringy fastball and control issues.  He was wild when he first came in, but quickly settled down and threw two and two-thirds scoreless innings, with three strikeouts.

The offense got off to a good start, loading the bases with nobody out in the first on just three pitches.  Nothing was actually hit hard, though, as Lolo Sanchez outran the pitcher to the bag on a chopper to the first baseman, Mason Martin grounded a ball through the hole on the right side, and Rodolfo Castro laid down a bunt that the defenders spent too much time thinking about.  Portorreal eventually lined a two-run single to center and a third run scored on a wild pitch.

But that was it.  The Pirates produced only three more hits after that, drew no walks, struck out ten times and never got more than one runner on base in an inning.  Martin and Portorreal each finished with a pair of hits.  Calvin Mitchell and Gabriel Brito hit drives that were caught at the fence. – Wilbur Miller

Prospect-Watch-DSL

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The DSL Pirates won 4-3 on Friday morning over the Rays2. Noe Toribio started and went five innings, allowing one run on three hits and a walk, with five strikeouts and a 7:3 GO/AO ratio. He has allowed four earned runs over his last 20 innings of work. Toribio left with the Pirates losing 1-0, giving way to Jose Marcano, who picked up the win by allowing two runs over the final four frames.

Sherten Apostel had a nice day at the plate, with a single, his 12th double and a walk. He picked up his league leading 47th RBI and also scored a run. The Pirates have just five hits and his was the only extra-base hit. Jean Eusebio went 1-for-4 with a run scored. Francisco Acuna drew his 44th walk, putting him two behind the league leader and one behind Apostel for second most in the league.

  • Any chance Apostel opens in West Virginia next season? I know the Buccos aren’t usually that agressive with their prospects, but it seems like he’d be too advanced for the GCL.

  • What’s the year-of-control date on Glasnow? Even with the improvements, is he #6 regardless at this point?

    • August 27. He may be moved to bullpen when he comes up.

      • Or give Nova a skipped start too let him have a breather

        • Scott Kliesen
          August 12, 2017 12:24 pm

          Certainly a possibility. Much can change in next two weeks.

        • I thought about this as well, but even with recent “struggles”, his numbers are still a solid #2-3. Just seems bad compared to his ace-like numbers of the first half. Probably depends on his next couple starts to an extent.

  • But is he throwing the changeup is the real question

    • John Drekker said he struck out a hitter last night on an 88 mph change after throwing a 96 mph fastball. He said he looks like a completely different pitcher.

      • The reason he is at AAA is that he did not have the confidence to throw the 3rd pitch and the FB and Curve became less and less effective as a result. He could not throw the Curve for strikes, therefore batters just watched it hit the dirt or run outside, and sat on the FB that they knew was coming. Without that 3rd pitch he has to be absolutely perfect.

        I would feel a lot more comfortable reading that he is throwing the Change-up at least 15% of the time – that’s only 15 pitches a gameI

        • Scott Kliesen
          August 12, 2017 12:29 pm

          Throwing the change for the sake of throwing it isn’t his ticket back up to Pittsburgh. Hitting his spots w a high 90’s fastball and working off that w his curve are definitely what’s most important.

          I’d personally prefer he be brought up to work in the pen if there are no injuries between now and 8/26 to rotation. His value to the team would be truly meaningful in the role currently occupied by Hudson.

  • piraterican21
    August 12, 2017 12:16 am

    Is Shields S. Alley 2.0? Hope he can hit. Alemais and Valerio are getting me excited.

  • This is great. Watching Cole go into the 8th (on ESPN Gamecast), watching Taillon really settle down tonight on the Blue Jays network and Glasnow torch AAA (on my cell phone) I’m excited again about the staff.

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