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, Pirates – [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, Pirates– [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, Bristol – [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, Pirates – [insert_php]
25. Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP, Indianapolis – [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 — A different person on the pitching mound led to a familiar result.
This was simply Clay Holmes’ turn to go out and throw a gem, tossing six shutout innings against Louisville in a 10-0 win. He allowed two hits, while striking out five and walking two.
The Indians aren’t lacking starting pitching options, even after the Triple-A ERA leader, Steven Brault, was recently promoted to the Pirates.
Nick Kingham came within one out of a 9-inning complete game on Monday; Tyler Glasnow struck out nine batters on Tuesday; and Tyler Eppler allowed one run over seven innings on Wednesday.
So, Holmes knew he had to maintain the momentum his teammates had built this week. And he didn’t disappoint, finishing six innings for the first time since July 15.
“There’s a lot of confidence here and I think everybody builds on each other,” Holmes said. “You see all of the guys doing well and what’s working for them and for you. I think you see good pitching every night and everybody feeds off the confidence and wants to be the next guy up.”
Holmes induced nine ground ball outs and had just two flyouts.
“He’s getting strike one, attacking the strike zone and a he was a little bit effectively wild,” Barkett said. “He threw his changeup well. His cutter was thrown for strikes tonight and effective. It’s tough to hit off that guy. He’s throwing bowling ball fastballs up there. One is at your neck and the next one is down and away.”
Holmes threw 76 pitches, which keeps within the range he’s been primarily at over the past two months after suffering a bout of shoulder fatigue. However, he did throw 95 pitches in his previous start so he’s getting stretched out again.
Indianapolis scored ten runs for the second consecutive game, scoring four runs in the fourth inning and six runs in the fifth inning.
Jacob Stallings was 3-for-4 with three RBI and two doubles, continuing the offensive improvement from last season. At this point last season, Stallings was hitting .203 but increased his average to .280 after his game on Thursday.
Austin Meadows was 2-for-4 with two runs scored after going 3-for-5 on Thursday, his first two games back after missing five games with slight oblique tightness.
Edwin Espinal had a pair of RBIs. – Brian Peloza
ALTOONA, Pa. – The Curve returned home from their nine-game Northeastern road trip on Thursday after posting a 6-3 record, giving them a 68-60 record overall and one game lead in their division. Coming to Altoona for a four-game series were the Bowie Baysox, who sit one game back from Altoona in the Eastern League Western Division.
In this important first game of the series, Casey Sadler took the mound for his sixth start and tenth overall appearance for the Curve. He took the mound in the first and didn’t relinquish the ball until the final out, going all nine innings for the Curve in a 2-1 win.
This was Casey Sadler’s first nine-inning complete game in his professional career. He had a few seven innings complete games leading up to tonight’s start; however, he never went more than eight innings before. Tonight, he had everything working for him and got better as the game progressed, as he finished all nine innings in only 95 pitches.
“It took me eight seasons, I guess,” Sadler said about his first nine-inning complete game. “It feels great. I wanted this for these guys as much as I want to do well myself. It’s tough to go out after the travel day they had yesterday.”
He allowed two singles each in both the third and fourth innings, saying that it wasn’t until a little later in the game that he got a good feel for all three of his pitches. After that point moving forward, he was able to work his sinker, changeup, and slider all in for strikes consistently.
“Everything was effective,” he said. “I feel like I had three pitches tonight that I could throw for strikes, and you need that to have an outing like this.”
His first and only walk of the game was in the seventh inning, and every hit against him was a single until a blooper fell in shallow left field for a double in the ninth. After a fly out to center field for the first out in the ninth, Sadler induced two ground balls for the final two outs of the inning. Wyatt Mathisen made a fantastic diving grab on a ground ball to his left while playing on the grass with a runner on third. For the final out, Cole Tucker had to make a difficult short scoop on a high chopper for the final out.
“That was nuts,” Tucker said. “It’s cool to be the guy to make the play.”
The key to Sadler’s performance was efficiency. He was at 68 pitches through six innings, 76 through seven, 84 through eight, and finished with 95 pitches in the complete game.
“If he throws like that, he’ll have another one,” Manager Michael Ryan said of Sadler’s complete game. “All three pitches. Fastball to the outer part and inner part of the zone. Good changeup to lefties. He established a mix early. When he got behind, he came back with his breaking ball. You have to pitch against those guys, and that’s what he did.”
The Curve came into tonight’s game with a 3-12 record against the Baysox, the team chasing them in the division race. This Bowie team has played Altoona hard all year, winning multiple one-run games against the Curve. While Bowie is 12-4 now against Altoona, they are two under .500 against the rest of the league.
Tonight, even though Altoona has blown multiple late-inning leads against their opponent, Sadler kept it in check.
“You are thinking about that the whole game,” Michael Ryan said when asked about Bowie regularly coming back late against them this season. “If you hold those guys to just the one run, that’s not going to happen very often. Sometimes you just tip your hat, and Sadler pitched just a great game against them. To finally get a close game against them is great.”
Altoona got their lead in the sixth inning, which started with a Jin-De Jhang triple off of the right field wall. Jhang hit it to the corner, and the ball bounced back towards the field hard, allowing Jhang to easily trot into third base. He scored on a Michael Suchy sacrifice fly to center field to tie the game at one. After an Elvis Escobar bunt single, which he executed wonderfully, Escobar moved to third base on a seeing-eye Cole Tucker single to right field. Escobar would come around to score on a Jordan George sacrifice fly to deep straightaway center field.
Escobar was the only Curve hitter with multiple hits tonight. He now has his average up to .282 this season, mostly hitting from the eight or nine hole.
Defensively, the infield was great, recording 14 official groundout (Sadler mentioned that the number was more like 17).
“That was the infield last year at times,” Ryan said of Mathisen, Tucker, Reyes, and Suiter. “They are used to each other. They know what they can or cannot do. They communicate well.”
Tonight, though, was all about Sadler, who probably just turned in one of the best pitching performances in Altoona franchise history.
*Austin Coley was scheduled to pitch after Sadler tonight, as he warmed in the bullpen late in the game. This was his normal spot in the rotation, and they skipped him to relieve him of some innings. He will return to the rotation next time through.
*The Pirates signed RHP Johnny Hellweg out of independent ball today and sent him to the Altoona Curve. This signing is essentially one that is meant to help the Double-A team in their playoff run, similar to what they did with John Holdzkom in 2014 before the tall righty (sound familiar?) was too good to keep in Double-A and made his way to the majors.
“He’s an experienced guy and a quality man,” Ryan said of Hellweg. “He did everything he could to get back into affiliated ball, and we were the ones to sign him.” – Sean McCool
Bradenton lost 7-5 to Daytona after handing starter Cam Vieaux a 4-0 lead early in the game. The Marauders struck quickly, with Stephen Alemais in the lead-off spot starting the game off with a double. Two ground outs later, he came around to score. In the second inning, John Bormann had the fourth of four consecutive singles the start the frame, which brought home the second run for Bradenton. Alemais then singled to bring in two more runs.
Vieaux gave up singles in each of the first two innings, but that was it. With that 4-0 lead in the third, he gave up back-to-back doubles for one run. In the fourth inning, three runs scored on a home run to tie the game. He gave up another run in the sixth before his night ended. Vieaux allowed five runs on six hits and three walks in six innings. Miguel Rosario pitched the rest of the game and surrendered a run in each of his two innings.
The Marauders got two hits apiece from Alemais, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Logan Ratledge and Kevin Krause. Mitchell Tolman and John Bormann each had a single, walk and run scored. Hayes drove home Alemais with a ninth inning single to make it 7-5, before Will Craig popped out to end the game. Alemais has a .345/.424/.440 slash line in 24 games with Bradenton.
West Virginia won 2-1 over Charleston on two runs in the bottom of the ninth for the walk-off victory. Mike Wallace started and went four innings, allowing a run on a solo homer. He was limited due to a high pitch count, reaching 83 pitches by the end of the fourth. The Power then got terrific relief work from Ronny Agustin and Pasquale Mazzoccoli to keep it a one run game. Agustin allowed one hit over three shutout innings while striking out six batters. Mazzoccoli retired all six batters he faced to pick up the win. Agustin, who works with a big slow knee-buckling curve with late break (sometimes he adds velocity to it for a sharper break) and an 89-90 MPH fastball, has 50 strikeouts in 32 innings.
The Power offense was flat until the ninth inning. Oneil Cruz started that last inning with a walk. Albert Baur then hit a single, before both runners were sacrificed into scoring position. After an intentional walk to Ryan Nagle, Kevin Mahala tied the game with a sacrifice fly. Henrry Rosario, who joined the Power on Wednesday, singled home Baur with the winning run. West Virginia didn’t draw a walk until the ninth and they had just five hits before the final inning. Rosario had two hits, while Cruz added a single to his walk.
Morgantown went down 6-0 in the first inning and nearly came back, dropping a 6-5 decision to State College. Sergio Cubilete had a very rough first inning and it all happened quickly, facing ten batters while throwing 27 pitches. Somehow, he rebounded and the rest of his start consisted of five shutout innings on one hit and two walks. Yoandy Fernandez and Hector Quinones put up identical lines, retiring all three batters they faced, two on strikeouts.
The slow comeback included Morgantown putting up runs in four different innings. They had a lot of base runners in the game with ten hits, three walks and four hit batters. In the second inning, Lucas Tancas doubled, then scored on a Raul Siri single. In the third, Chris Sharpe walked, then scored on a Bligh Madris double. Madris moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a Tristan Gray ground out. In the fourth, Siri and Robbie Glendinning hit back-to-back singles, with Siri scoring on a Brett Pope grounder.
Down two runs in the eighth, the Black Bears loaded the bases with no outs. Raul Siri got a run in, but it was a rally killing double play.
Bristol is on a mission to avoid 50 losses during a 68-game schedule in which they had two games canceled due to rain. The would need to go 3-4 the rest of the way after winning 10-2 on Thursday night. Evan Piechota started and allowed one run over 5.2 innings, striking out seven batters. Mason Ward followed and finished the game, throwing 3.1 no-hit innings, giving up one run.
The Pirates had 16 hits, with everyone contributing at least one. Nelson Jorge, Huascar Fuentes, Kyle Watson, Paul Brands and Nick Valaika each had two hits. Luis Perez had three hits. Edison Lantigua had just one hit, but he drove in two runs. Watson also drove in two runs, Brands had three RBIs.
The game included a wild brawl in the ninth inning, which is really the only fight Bristol has put up this season. Huascar Fuentes and Hunter Stratton, who wasn’t even playing, were among four players ejected.
The GCL Pirates won 9-5 over the Phillies, as Steven Jennings threw shutout ball and Mason Martin hit his ninth home run. Jennings made his ninth start for the Pirates and threw three shutout innings for the third time. He gave up four hits and didn’t walk a batter or record a strikeout. He now has a 4.24 ERA in 23.1 innings, with one start remaining this season.
Austin Shields followed Jennings and had a tough first inning and tough finish, but was strong in between, as he went 5.2 innings. Shields allowed two doubles and a walk in the fourth inning, with two runs scoring on sacrifice flies. Over the next four innings, he gave up just a single and a walk. They tried to get him through six frames, but he wore down at the end, allowing three straight singles and a walk, all with two outs, to bring home two runs. Vince Deyzel recorded the final out. This stint is the longest career outing for Shields, who previously went five innings on two occasions.
Mason Martin hit a solo homer in the second inning, giving him nine home runs on the season. That is tops in the league and ties him for the second most in the 50 year history of the GCL Pirates. John Fitzpatrick hit nine during the 2007 season, only topped by the ten hit by Walter Young in 2000.
Mikell Granberry continued his recent hot streak with a single, two walks and two runs scored. He has walked in four straight games and has hits in five straight games, raising his OPS 117 points over that stretch.
Hunter Owen played his second rehab game and stayed in on defense until the eighth inning, leaving in the bottom of the inning for a pinch-hitter. He went 1-for-4 with a double.
Jeremias Portorreal had two hits. Jesse Medrano drove in three runs. Gabriel Brito had two hits and two RBIs. Francisco Mepris hit his first homer as a pro in his 229th at-bat.
The DSL Pirates played a doubleheader on Thursday, after a rain out on Wednesday. In game one, the Pirates lost 3-2 to the Dodgers2. Noe Toribio made his last start of the season and threw 3.2 shutout innings, but he was limited due to four walks. Pablo Santana recorded the final out of the fourth, stranding three inherited runners. He pitched another two innings and allowed three runs of his own, handing him the loss. Toribio finishes the season with a 4.13 ERA in 56.2 innings, with 49 strikeouts.
The Dodgers scored all three of their runs with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Santana loaded the bases, then reliever Julio Gonzalez gave up a two-run double, which was followed by a fielding error from Sherten Apostel, allowing the walk-off run to score.
Both runs for the Pirates scored with Ronaldo Paulino batting with men on the corners in the sixth. Paulino struck out, but not before a sequence that went balk, passed ball, balk, bringing in both runs. Kyle Simmons had two hits. Jean Eusebio hit his seventh double. Apostel had a walk and a run scored.
Game Two: The Pirates got blown out in game two, losing 11-1. The last start for Santiago Florez did not go well, as he allowed five runs (four earned) over five innings. He finished with a 4.56 ERA in 53.1 innings and had more walks (38) than strikeouts (30). Reliever Kleiner Machado is likely done as well with only two days left and he had a forgettable finish, giving up six runs (three earned) in two innings. He had a 2.48 ERA coming into the day, but now finishes with a 3.12 mark.
The Pirates had five hits, with all of them being singles, while drawing one walk. They went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Emison Soto was the only player to reach base more than once, collecting a single and a hit-by-pitch. Soto stole his 14th base and scored the only run, coming around from first base on a Williams Calderon single that was misplayed into a two-base error. Sherten Apostel walked for the 56th time in 60 games. Larry Alcime left after being hit by a pitch in the fourth inning.