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’,’20170912′);
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3. Shane Baz, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(669358,’P’,’20170908′);
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4. Cole Tucker, SS, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(657061,’B’,’20170912′);
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5. Kevin Newman, SS, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20170912′);
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6. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(663647,’B’,’20170908′);
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7. Will Craig, 1B, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(643269,’B’,’20170908′);
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8. Taylor Hearn, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(621368,’P’,’20170908′);
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9. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656543,’P’,’20170908′);
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10. Calvin Mitchell, OF, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(668751,’B’,’20170908′);
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11. Braeden Ogle, LHP, Bristol – [insert_php] display_top30(669180,’P’,’20170908′);
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12Edgar Santana, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(650828,’P’,’20170912′);
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13. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20170914′);
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14. Clay Holmes, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20170912′);
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15. Jordan Luplow, LF, Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(656669,’B’,’20170912′);
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16. Luis Escobar, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(650813,’P’,’20170908′);
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17. Max Kranick, RHP, Bristol – [insert_php] display_top30(668820,’P’,’20170908′);
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18. Steven Jennings, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(675651,’P’,’20170908′);
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19. Adrian Valerio, SS, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(650832,’B’,’20170909′);
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20. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592468,’P’,’20170912′);
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21. Conner Uselton, OF, GCL Pirates – Disabled List

22. Max Moroff, INF, Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20170912′);
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23. Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP, Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(596720,’P’,’20170912′);
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24. Eric Wood, 3B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(607780,’B’,’20170912′);
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25. Eduardo Vera, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(622747,’P’,’20170909′);
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26. Logan Hill, LF, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(664930,’B’,’20170912′);
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27.  Tyler Eppler, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20170912′);
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28. Lolo Sanchez, CF, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(665975,’B’,’20170909′);
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29. Dario Agrazal, RHP, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(642607,’P’,’20170909′);
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30. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(663399,’P’,’20170914′);
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P2 Top Performers

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Prospect-Watch-Indy

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Indianapolis finished with a 79-63 record. They lost in the first round of the playoffs 3-1 to Durham.

Prospect-Watch-Altoona-Curve

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ALTOONA, Pa. – The Altoona Curve went 10-22 against Bowie and Trenton combined in the regular season. In the postseason, they went 6-0 to sweep the Eastern League Divisional Series and the Championship Series. The Curve are the 2017 Eastern League Champions.

The Trenton Thunder won the most games out of any team in the minor leagues with a record of 92-48. They outscored the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, 20-7 in the last three games of the ELDS to advance to the championship series. None of that mattered, as the Curve pitching staff held them to only five runs in three games to sweep the Thunder and claim the Eastern League title.

Tonight, it was Mitch Keller’s turn, and he was coming off of a gem in Bowie, where he went the distance and faced the minimum, all while throwing only 90 pitches. With the exception of one inning, Keller dominated again.

Keller started quickly with a seven pitch, 1-2-3 first inning. The second inning is where he struggled. Trenton led off the inning with a double to the left field wall, then Keller hit the next batter after he squared to bunt then tried to pull it back. The Thunder manufactured one run on a sacrifice and groundout followed by a bloop double to bring home another run. They scored twice, giving them their first lead of the series.

That was all they could do against Mitch Keller. He retired 14 straight batters between the last out of the second and the seventh inning.

“Everything was working,” Keller said when I asked him what he felt was most effective tonight.

He looked to tire in the eight, as he allowed a lead-off single and a walk; however, Keller struck out the last batter he faced before being removed due to pitch count.

“This defense behind me is unbelievable,” Keller said. “Knowing that I can pretty much throw it wherever I want and to have them behind me, it’s really awesome.

He went on to say that catcher Jin-De Jhang called a really good game, as Keller didn’t have to shake him off much tonight.

“I put my trust in him,” Keller said about Jhang. “He knew these teams so well, so I trusted him and let it rip.”

Keller’s final line consisted of two earned runs on four hits. He struck out eight batters and walked only one in his 7.1 innings of work.

He worked with his fastball a lot tonight, as the middle innings were quick with no traffic; however, he credited his newly configured changeup as an essential pitch for him in the playoffs. He changed his grip on the pitch when he got to Altoona, and the results have been extremely good ever since.

“Ever since I started with that new changeup, it’s been such a huge pitch for me,” Keller said. “They actually got a base hit on it tonight, but that’s really to only changeup that has gotten hit in the past four weeks. I’ve been loving that thing.”

Johnny Hellweg relieved Keller in the eighth inning with two runners on, and things got hairy quickly. Hellweg threw five straight balls before a mound visit by his pitching coach. With the bases loaded, he got the Trenton batter to hit a dribbler in front of the plate on a check swing, and Jhang tagged home for the out. He then got a ground ball to end the inning and leave the bases loaded.

Ryan said that he wanted to use Hellweg in that spot because of the way that his stuff complements Keller’s with a little more sink.

“The spot that he was in tonight – when you replay a series – that was the situation that we wanted to bring him in to get the ball on the ground,” Ryan said about Hellweg. “I just wanted to match [him and Keller] up, and it worked tonight. For him to be off for ten days and battle like he did, he has major league experience, and he’s pitched in big games before.”

The Curve went into the ninth inning with a 4-2 lead, and Ryan turned to Tate Scioneaux for the save. Scioneaux looked like he was shot out of a cannon, as he struck out the side in the ninth to clinch the championship.

“Our starting pitchers gave our bullpen arms a lot of rest,” Ryan said. “Your thinking as a manager that maybe I abused these guys a little bit through the year – guys like Keselica and Scioneaux – because they hit that bump in the road late. I’m thankful for our starters going late in the game the whole end of the season. Tate was back to himself. He had five days off. We had some guys that had ten or 11 days off, and they looked so fresh. It was an advantage for us.”

The Curve got to that point in the night thanks to the bat of Jin-De Jhang.

The offense couldn’t get anything going early, as their first six batters were sent down. They got two runners on base in both the third and fourth innings; however, no runs would score. The fifth inning was a different story. Michael Suchy started things off with a line drive single to left field followed by an Elvis Escobar single to right. After Mitchell Tolman lined out to center field, Pablo Reyes drew a walk to load the bases.

After Kevin Kramer hit a grounder to the pitcher who got the force out at home, Jerrick Suiter drew a bases loaded walk to get the Curve on the scoreboard. With the bases still loaded, Jin-De Jhang flew one to the right field wall, clearing the bases to give the Curve their first lead of the game, 4-2. It was Jhang’s third triple of the season.

They must have just been waiting for the fifth inning to get the offense rolling. During the first four innings in each of the first two games of this series, the Curve haven’t scored any runs. In the fifth, they have eight runs against Trenton.

Jhang was such an integral part of this championship team from behind the plate, as numerous pitchers talked to me about how well he did receiving and calling games. For him to get the winner thanks to his bat, it’s poetic.

Michael Ryan said that his team needed to have grit and pitching to win in the playoffs. His pitching staff had a 1.50 ERA in 54 innings. They shut down two of the best hitting teams in the league. As for the grit, this team gutted out each of these wins offensively. Mitchell Tolman replaced an injured Cole Tucker and had two hits from the lead-off spot. Michael Suchy, who had a .175 average from June 23rd through the end of the regular season, added two hits and ended his playoffs with a .348 average.

They aren’t build with a ton a prospects; rather, they play together as a team and learned how to win as a team.

“The number one ingredient to a championship club is team chemistry, cohesion, and camaraderie,” Ryan would say after the win.” They honestly love one another, and when you have so many guys that get along, they want to perform for each other. That’s exactly what they did. It’s a special group.”

The Altoona Curve: Your 2017 Double-A Eastern League Champions.

 

–  Sean McCool

Prospect-Watch-Bradenton

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Bradenton finished their season with a 70-62 record.

Prospect-Watch-WV-Power

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West Virginia finished their season with a 69-67 record.

Prospect-Watch-Morgantown

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Morgantown finished with a 40-35 record.

Prospect-Watch-Bristol
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Bristol finished their season with a 17-49 record.

Prospect-Watch-GCL

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The GCL Pirates finished their season with a 26-34 record.

Prospect-Watch-DSL

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The DSL Pirates finished with a 36-34 record.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Really aren’t enough superlatives for Keller at this point.

    Mitchell and Meccage better get bonuses for that changeup development. It’s all in the grips.

  2. Any chance that Jhang is actually a better catcher than McGuire and that is why the Bucs included McGuire in the Liriano trade?

      • It will be interesting to see if McGuire’s recent “power surge” over the last 115 AB holds up. If it does then the Bucs made a colossal mistake letting him go. If he regresses then maybe not so much. Maybe Jhang shows a similar power increase next year. When they were sharing duties in A and A+ it looked like Jhang had the better bat, while McGuire had the reputation for better defense. I think it will be interesting to see how the two careers progress.

    • If you mean me, then no. Instructs start on Monday, season recaps start soon as well. Just enough to carry me over into winter/AFL coverage

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