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, Pirates – [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, 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 appears ready for the playoffs on Wednesday, as their bats put together 13 runs on 20 hits in a win over Toledo. Eight players in the lineup had multi-hit games, as Anderson Feliz and Gift Ngoepe each collecting three hits, with Ngoepe missing the cycle by the home run. Edwin Espinal, Eric Wood and Kevin Newman each had two hits and a walk. Newman scored three runs and had two RBIs, while Wood drove in a pair. Jacob Stallings went 2-for-5 and drove in three runs.
Casey Sadler made his first start for Indianapolis and gave up three runs on eight hits and no walks in six innings. It was his first Indianapolis start since the his last game before Tommy John surgery in 2015. All three runs he allowed came in the first inning. Johnny Barbato threw two shutout innings and struck out five batters.
ALTOONA, PA. – Game One: Saturday’s game was suspended 1-1 after five innings. When play resumed, Sean Keselica took over for Alex McRae, who went five innings. Keselica began poorly, allowing a double and two singles to the first three batters he faced. After one run scored against him, he pitched three total innings without allowing another run. He gave up a single and a walk in the seventh, then he threw ten straight balls to begin the eighth, walking the first two batters of the inning. Fortunately, solid defense and timely outs helped Keselica get through the eighth.
Altoona scored one run in both the seventh and eighth innings to temporarily give them the lead. In the seventh, Cole Tucker stole second base after a lead-off single, and Jordan George brought him home with an RBI single. In the eighth, the Curve loaded the bases for Mitchell Tolman, who came to bat for the first time in his Double-A career. Tolman hit a long fly ball to left field for a sacrifice fly and his first Double-A RBI.
Unfortunately, new bullpen arm Johnny Hellweg hit the first batter he faced then allowed a line drive home run to right-center field to give away the Curve lead. They couldn’t get anything going in the bottom of the inning, losing by a score of 4-3.
Jin-De Jhang went 3-for-4 in the complete game between Saturday and Sunday. Cole Tucker was 2-for-3 with two walks from the lead-off spot, and he stole two bases. Elvis Escobar added two hits, as well. –Sean McCool
Game Two: Austin Coley made his 23rd start – and 29th overall appearance – of the season on Sunday night in Altoona. In what was his last start of the regular season, I felt it appropriate to reminisce a little on the season that Coley had for the Curve this year. He was never supposed to be a starter this year, but he stepped right into the rotation when Brandon Waddell went on the disabled list for the first time in April, and he never really gave his manager the opportunity to take him out because of how well he performed.
Although there were a couple road bumps throughout the year, Coley has probably been the Curve’s most consistent pitcher this season. Healthy all season, he came into the game with a 3.16 ERA, which was good for fourth best in the Eastern League. Also, after tonight’s results, he is finishing strong with 15 scoreless innings pitched in his last three outings (one scheduled relief appearance and two starts).
Austin Coley posted his second consecutive seven inning shutout performance tonight against Harrisburg. He only struck out two batters, but he only allowed five hits and walked one. After allowing the lead-off batter to reach in three separate innings, Coley continually shut things down by inducing ground balls. He finished the game with 13 ground outs compared to only two fly outs.
His manager Michael Ryan had high praise for Coley after the game, as he talked about Coley’s overall 2017 performance. He said that the way that his secondary pitches have developed this season make his fastball that much better.
“The 92 MPH fastball, as far as how good is breaking ball has been, makes that 92 honestly look like 96,” Ryan said. “That’s what makes him so effective. Both sides of the plate, he just knows how to pitch. The way he prepares with notes on each hitter, he knows what he’s going to do before the game even starts, and he sticks with it. He has the ability to change if he has to, with the ability to get all three over for strikes.”
In prior years, Ryan said that hitters could eliminate Coley’s curveball because of its inconsistency. Now, since he has been able to throw it for both a strike and for chase, it’s made his that much better.
“That made him a two-pitch pitcher with either the fastball or changeup,” Ryan said talking about his improved curveball, “instead of a three-pitch or four-pitch pitcher with a slider now. He’s really good now.”
Coley ends his 2017 regular season campaign with a 3.01 ERA, which was his best as a professional.
The Curve offense gave Coley an early lead, and they never looked back. Cole Tucker led off the game with a double. After a Mitchell Tolman sacrifice bunt, Jordan George single to score Tucker, and Wyatt Mathisen single, Casey Hughston tripled on a line drive down the right field line to score two runs. It was Hughston’s first at-bat of his Double-A career.
“There was an overall excitement of being in Double-A and being able to go to postseason when they thought their season might have been over,” Ryan said about Tolman and Hughston’s debuts. “The excitement of playing in front of some fans, it’s a different atmosphere than playing down in Bradenton. Instead of hearing the other dugout talking to each other because nobody is at the games.”
Tolman had a sacrifice fly in the first game and the sacrifice bunt in the first inning of the second game. He also hit an RBI double in the second inning.
As for replacing Anderson Feliz and Justin Maffei defensively, Ryan said that “Casey Hughston is our best defensive outfielder in the organization”.
Cole Tucker also hit a solo home run to lead off the seventh inning for his second Double-A homer. Tucker has seemed to take the reins as the leader of the clubhouse.
“We say, ‘you go, we go’,” Ryan said about Tucker.
The Curve will send JT Brubaker to the mound tomorrow with a chance to clinch a division title for the third time in franchise history. They clinch the division with a win or a Bowie loss at Richmond.
“I think Brubaker, to be honest with you, deep down inside is excited that this game is important,” Ryan said. “He’s a big game pitcher, and he knows what he has to bring. It’s just not another game for him.”
Before the start of the second game tonight, the Altoona Curve announced their 2017 Team Awards. They are as follows:
- MVP: Edwin Espinal
- Co-Pitchers of the Year: Austin Coley & Alex McRae
- Unsung Hero: Jerrick Suiter
- Fireman of the Year (Best Reliever): Tate Scioneuax
Michael Ryan said that his team would not be in the position they are in entering the playoffs without Edwin Espinal.
“Heart and soul,” Ryan said of Espinal. “I’m so happy for him. Two years here and making the All-Star team two years in a row. Some guys may get promoted for different reasons, but if you look at Espinal and the way he got promoted, it was 100% earned for him.” – Sean McCool
Bradenton won their season finale by a 4-2 score over Charlotte to finish their season with a 70-62 record. Logan Sendelbach started and allowed two runs over five innings. That gave him a 3.58 ERA over 88 innings this season. He ended up making 11 starts and 20 relief appearances. Four relievers followed him with one shutout inning each, with Sam Street finishing it off for his second save.
The Marauders had just four hits in the game, but they had plenty of runners on base thanks to seven walks. They got on board in the third inning, as Ke’Bryan Hayes singled home Carlos Munoz, who walked and moved to second on a walk to John Bormann.
In the fifth inning, Bradenton loaded the bases on two walks and a Bormann single. The first run scored on a wild pitch, then walks to Ty Moore, Kevin Krause and Christian Kelley forced in the final two runs.
SALISBURY, MD. – Matt Eckelman started for the Power in a 3-1 loss to Delmarva. He was very effective for four innings, allowing just a hit and a hit batsman. He succeeded mainly by commanding his 89-92 mph fastball well, keeping it down and away from the middle of the plate. He threw his slider and curve fairly often, especially when ahead in the count. He didn’t throw either for strikes much and the hitters didn’t chase until they started to go after the slider near the end of Eckelman’s outing.
That end came in the fifth. Eckelman gave up two hits to start the inning. Adrian Valerio, hurrying to get a double play, threw the relay into the dugout. That let in one run and put a runner on second, from where he scored on a two-out bloop.
Lefty Ronny Agustin came on to get the last out of the fifth and pitched the rest of the way. In contrast to Eckelman, Agustin showed one big swing-and-miss: his curve. It breaks sharply and he was able to throw it effectively against left- and right-handed hitters. He also commanded the pitch very well, throwing it for strikes early in the count and burying it with two strikes to get hitters to chase it. Agustin’s fastball, which like Eckelman’s ranged from 89-92 mph, wasn’t as effective and got hit hard a number of times. The only damage off Agustin, though, came in the sixth when an infield hit and an error by Hunter Owen led to an unearned run.
The West Virginia hitters spent much of the game hitting line drives to Delmarva fielders. There were a good 7-8 line drives or long drives either right at, or chased down, the outfielders. Only Ryan Nagle managed to get some loft on one, hitting it over the fence in right for his third HR. Even with the hard-hit outs, the Power managed eight hits, but they went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Owen, in his second game back with the Power, hit two balls well that were caught and also lined a double into the left-field corner. Adrian Valerio saw a lot of breaking balls and struggled with them, going 0-for-3.
The loss dropped the Power into a tie with Greensboro for first place in the season’s second half. The Power will make the playoffs only if they win and Greensboro loses tomorrow. – Wilbur Miller
Morgantown had slim playoff hopes heading into Sunday, sitting in third place in the division, trailing by three games with five games left in the season. Those hopes shrunk with an 8-3 loss to Williamsport. Sergio Cubilete started and allowed three earned runs over five innings, then Nicholas Economos gave up four runs in his two innings of work.
The Black Bears got doubles from Jose Barraza and Tristan Gray in the fourth inning, along with an error, hit-by-pitch and Julio de la Cruz single, which led to two runs. They added another run in the sixth inning on two singles, a walk and a hit-by-pitch.
Kevin Kramer moved his rehab up to Morgantown and played seven innings in the field, going 0-for-4 at the plate, while committing a throwing error. It’s possible he could return to Altoona for the playoffs. This seems to be a quick rehab, as the usual process wouldn’t have him playing two days in a row during the first week of being back. He played five innings in the GCL yesterday. The double by Tristan Gray was his 11th of the season. Bligh Madris had two hits, including his 11th double.
Bristol finished their season with a 17-49 record.
The GCL Pirates finished their season with a 26-34 record
The DSL Pirates finished with a 36-34 record.