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 — He had just one regret after the game.
Indianapolis manager Andy Barkett didn’t have any regrets with how he managed the game, but after Nick Kingham threw a complete game in 1 hour, 58 minutes, a thought popped into his mind.
“I should have made dinner plans tonight,” Barkett said. “It’s only 9 o’clock, I can probably still make it to P.F. Chang’s.”
Kingham gave everybody inside Victory Field an early bedtime after a dominating performance, needing just 85 pitches to throw a complete game in a 3-1 win over Syracuse.
He had only two 3-ball counts and didn’t walk anybody for the third time in his last four starts. Syracuse had just two hits – Brandon Snyder’s solo homer in the seventh inning and Zach Collier’s infield single on a slow roller in the fourth inning.
Kingham’s pitch count by innings: 7, 9, 12, 9, 11, 4, 16, 8, 9.
“You have to be that efficient to throw a complete game in the minor leagues in this day and age,” Barkett said. “If you haven’t had much trouble, you may stretch it to 110 pitches, but rarely due to the fatigue of the game do you see a guy get that deep and try to finish one off.”
Dovydas Neverauskas started warming up in the bullpen once the ninth inning started. Kingham was going to be removed if he allowed two runners to reach base, Barkett said.
Syracuse was retired in order on three groundouts in nine pitches. There was no need for anyone other than Kingham on the mound on this night.
“That was a tremendous performance,” Barkett said. “…He could go to the big leagues and pitch right now and be fine. It’s really impressive to see him grow over the last three or four starts.”
Kingham has thrown four consecutive impressive starts, allowing three earned runs over 30.2 innings in those games.
“I think everything that was clicking in the last three games clicked on almost every pitch tonight,” KIngham said. “I was in rhythm with my body. I knew where my arm was and my awareness of where everything was tonight was just awesome. Everything just clicked together and threw everything where I wanted to tonight and didn’t make any mistakes.”
Only a handful of pitches weren’t where Kingham wanted, but he said the home run he allowed was not necessarily a bad pitch.
“He hit a really tough pitch to hit down and in,” Kingham said. “I had more hard hit balls that were outs.”
Left fielder Jordan Luplow made a pair of nice running catches on well-hit balls, while Erich Weiss also made a nice play, fielding a grounder and with his glove, flipping it to Kingham covering the first base bag.
“I couldn’t have done it alone,” Kingham said. “I just tried to make some good pitches and get the ball on the ground as much as I could.”
Kingham helped his own cause with a nice RBI sacrifice bunt in the fourth inning.
Jordan Luplow had an RBI triple in the first inning and scored on Danny Ortiz’s RBI single.
The top of Indianapolis’ order – Kevin Newman, Max Moroff and Jordan Luplow – each had two hits. – Brian Peloza
Altoona won 9-4 behind a strong starting performance by Brandon Waddell, who is still somewhat limited in his third start back from a forearm strain. Waddell allowed one run over five innings, getting out of a couple jams in the process. He gave up five hits, three walks and had three strikeouts, as well as an 8:2 GO/AO ratio. Brandon Cumpton allowed three runs over two innings, but two of those runs were unearned. Cody Dickson finished it off with two scoreless frames.
The Curve had 11 hits and everyone in the starting lineup contributed at least a run or an RBI. Waddell drove in two runs with a single. Jerrick Suiter and Anderson Feliz each drove in a pair of runs as well. Jordan George had three hits, including his fifth double, raising his average to .366 since joining Altoona. Pablo Reyes had two singles, a run scored, a walk and his 16th stolen base.
BRADENTON, Fla. – Bradenton lost a dull, 3-0 game to Charlotte. The bright spot was a good start from Logan Sendelbach. He went six innings, needing only 83 pitches, and allowed two runs. One came on a long ball by the game’s first batter. He settled down quickly after that. He had a first-and-third, one-out jam in the second, but got out of it with a strikeout and ground out. Three perfect innings followed. In the sixth, two singles and a sacrifice fly produced a second run. Sendelbach threw his sinker almost exclusively. The pitch sat at 93, topping out at 94. He lost a slight bit of velocity in his last couple innings. He generally commanded the sinker very well, keeping it down and getting a 9:2 ground out to fly out ratio. He threw just a few sliders and maybe one or two changeups. Sam Street and Yunior Montero finished the game out, with Street giving up a run in two innings.
The Marauders’ offense produced little excitement. They had only six hits, two each by Ke’Bryan Hayes and Will Craig. There were some hard it balls. Stephen Alemais drove a ball to straightaway center that was chased down at the wall. Mitchell Tolman had an opposite field drive caught at the wall in left. The Marauders weren’t helped by losing Kevin Krause after his first at-bat. He flied out to end the first, then John Bormann replaced him in right at the top of the second. He wasn’t hurt, as he warmed up pitchers in the bullpen later on. I didn’t watch Krause run, or not, to first on the fly out, so you can form your own conclusion.
Bradenton got some good defense. Second baseman Tolman and first baseman Craig each made diving stops on hard grounders into the hole between first and second, getting the out each time. Alfredo Reyes, playing center, unleashed a couple of impressive throws, although he didn’t get an out either time. – Wilbur Miller
West Virginia got a solid start from Luis Escobar, but they lost 3-1 to Hagerstown. Escobar went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks, while picking up eight strikeouts. He now has 142 strikeouts on the season, which leads the SAL and all Pirate pitchers. This is the first time that Escobar has allowed more than one earned run in a start since June 27th. Blake Cederlind followed him, making his second appearance since coming off the disabled list. He allowed one run on two walks and no hits in his only inning.
On offense, the Power had nine runners on eight singles and one walk, but they pushed just one run across the plate. They went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven runners total. Albert Baur had the only RBI on a sacrifice fly in the first inning. Adrian Valerio singled and scored the lone run. Clark Eagan and Yoel Gonzalez each had two hits, while Gonzalez drew the only walk. Oneil Cruz did not play. The Pirates have been easing his work after he missed a few days with back soreness right before the trade, so they are using him every other day at this point.
Morgantown won 8-3 over Brooklyn on Thursday night. Austin Meadows played a complete game for the third day, with two in a row now, so his rehab stint should be ending soon. He played left field and went 1-for-5 with a single and two runs scored. Meadows is 10-for-26, with three walks in seven rehab games split between Morgantown and the GCL.
Scooter Hightower started and had a terrific game, giving up one run on five hits and no walks in seven innings. He needed just 66 pitches, with 50 of them going for strikes. Hightower now has a 2.37 ERA in 57 innings, with just five walks and 50 strikeouts.
Bligh Madris had three singles, two runs scored and an RBI. Deon Stafford drove in two runs on a single and his ninth double. Robbie Glendinning had two hits and an RBI. Jared Oliva in the lead-off spot was the only batter to not reach on a hit or a walk, but he still ended up scoring a run.
BRISTOL, Va. – Bristol is a pretty rough team to cover. You’ve either got college players playing in rookie ball, making it difficult to fully evaluate their performances, or you’ve got guys who are really raw and stuck in the middle — not good enough to go to Morgantown or West Virginia, but needing to move up to avoid repeating the GCL.
The biggest draw with this team comes from their starting pitching, and Domingo Robles is one of those draws. He pitched five innings tonight, giving up three runs (one earned) on seven hits, with no walks and six strikeouts. Robles was working in the low-90s, topping out at 93 a few times. The lefty showed some promising secondary stuff, with a really nice curveball that has a lot of break to the pitch.
On the hitting side, Bristol has been horrible, with one exception, and that is Edison Lantigua. He returned from a minor shoulder injury this week, and has picked up where he left off as the team’s best hitter. He went 4-for-5 tonight, hitting an opposite field double to the left-center gap, continuing to show ease in going the other way. In his three games since returning, he has gone 6-for-11 with two walks and two doubles.
Tonight also saw some of those college guys stepping up. Ryan Valdes pitched two shutout innings, striking out three. Kyle Watson went 1-for-3 with a walk and one of the two RBIs, although he did have his 16th throwing error. He has more experience as an outfielder, but has been playing shortstop with Bristol, where he only started four games in college. Watson is very athletic and has some good range, making a few plays on the second base side of the bag this week. However, his throwing has been horrible, leading to a majority of his errors. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the bat for the outfield, and has a long way to go with his shortstop defense to justify his hitting.
Yondry Contreras went 1-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base, but continued his strikeout issues by striking out three times. – Tim Williams
BRADENTON, Fla. – The GCL Pirates lost 4-0 on Thursday afternoon. There wasn’t much encouraging in the game for the Bucs, as they had only four hits, fanned a dozen times, went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and committed four errors.
The one positive was starter Roger Santana throwing five scoreless innings. Santana didn’t dominate, but he allowed only three hits and two walks, while striking out three. The lefty showed four roughly average pitches, with a fastball that sat at 90-91 in the first inning and a bit lower after. He doesn’t have a swing-and-miss pitch and his command is still a work in progress. He increasingly fell behind in the count as the game wore on, as he had trouble getting his fastball over, but he didn’t allow much hard contact and managed to get out of a couple jams. He mainly tries to work around the edges of the strike zone and didn’t leave pitches over the plate, but going forward he’ll need to get ahead in the count more than he did today. He especially had trouble in the third inning, leaving the bases loaded, but went more to his secondary stuff in his last two innings and was more effective.
Once Santana left, Eumir Sepulveda, who’s struggled badly so far, quickly gave up four runs, two of them unearned. He failed to retire anybody in the seventh and was relieved by Vince Deyzel, whom the Pirates signed from South Africa. Deyzel’s been struggling so far as well, but he threw three scoreless innings, relying mainly on an upper-80s fastball.
Rodolfo Castro had a rough game on defense. He started at third, with Victor Ngoepe at short and Nick King at second. Castro threw wildly on one routine grounder, although Mikell Granberry was able to snag the throw and make the tag. (Castro at least showed a strong arm.) In the fifth, he fumbled a ground ball. In the seventh, the Pirates shifted King to third, Castro to short and Ngoepe to second. Castro booted another grounder in the seventh, leading to an unearned run.
On a better note, Ngoepe had a couple of nice plays on bad relay throws from second. On one 4-6-3 double play, King’s relay was well wide, but Ngoepe lunged to grab it bare-handed and threw it to first in time to get two.
Castro looked better at the plate, showing a patient approach while going 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. Mason Martin had a much tougher day, recording a pop up and three strikeouts. Calvin Mitchell was 1-for-4. – Wilbur Miller
The DSL Pirates had off on Thursday