Prospect Watch: Mitch Keller Sets Career High for Strikeouts in Shutout Performance

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’,’20170901′);
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3. Shane Baz, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(669358,’P’,’20170901′);
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4. Cole Tucker, SS, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(657061,’B’,’20170901′);
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5. Kevin Newman, SS, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20170901′);
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6. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(663647,’B’,’20170901′);
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7. Will Craig, 1B, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(643269,’B’,’20170901′);
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8. Elias Diaz, C, Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(553869,’B’,’20170901′);
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9. Taylor Hearn, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(621368,’P’,’20170901′);
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10. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656543,’P’,’20170901′);
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11. Calvin Mitchell, OF, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(668751,’B’,’20170901′);
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12. Braeden Ogle, LHP, Bristol – [insert_php] display_top30(669180,’P’,’20170901′);
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13Edgar Santana, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(650828,’P’,’20170901′);
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14. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20170901′);
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15. Steven Brault, LHP, Pirates– [insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20170901′);
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16. Clay Holmes, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20170901′);
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17. Jordan Luplow, LF, Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(656669,’B’,’20170901′);
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18. Luis Escobar, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(650813,’P’,’20170901′);
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19. Max Kranick, RHP, Bristol – [insert_php] display_top30(668820,’P’,’20170901′);
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20. Steven Jennings, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(675651,’P’,’20170901′);
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21. Adrian Valerio, SS, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(650832,’B’,’20170901′);
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22. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592468,’P’,’20170901′);
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23. Conner Uselton, OF, GCL Pirates – Disabled List

24. Max Moroff, INF, Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(621559,’B’,’20170901′);
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25. Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP, Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(596720,’P’,’20170901′);
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26. Eric Wood, 3B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(607780,’B’,’20170901′);
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27. Eduardo Vera, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(622747,’P’,’20170901′);
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28. Logan Hill, LF, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(664930,’B’,’20170901′);
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29.  Tyler Eppler, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20170901′);
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30. Lolo Sanchez, CF, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(665975,’B’,’20170901′);
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P2 Top Performers

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Prospect-Watch-Indy

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Indianapolis won 5-4, as Tyler Glasnow threw six shutout innings in his final regular season start for the Indians. Glasnow allowed five hits and a walk, while striking out nine batters. In 93.1 innings with Indianapolis, he posted a 1.93 ERA and struck out 140 batters. The bullpen almost gave this one away, as Cody Dickson and Edgar Santana each allowed two runs on four hits.

With Santana pitching tonight, that likely signals that he won’t be up to Pittsburgh earlier than his teammates, who appear to be sticking around until the playoffs are over. He wasn’t eligible to be recalled today due to being sent down on August 23rd, but tomorrow is the first day that they can recall him. If Santana was coming up tomorrow, then he wouldn’t have pitched tonight and probably would have been in Pittsburgh by now.

Indianapolis scored three runs in the first inning and added solo runs in the third and fourth frames. Joey Terdoslavich had three hits, a walk and two runs scored. Edwin Espinal, Eric Wood and Christopher Bostick each had two hits. Wood hit his fifth triple, walked and drove in a run. Danny Ortiz drove in two runs. Kevin Newman hit his ninth double.

Prospect-Watch-Altoona-Curve

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ALTOONA – Mitch Keller was coming off of his worst Double-A start this past Sunday, where he wasn’t able to get through the sixth and was tagged with four earned runs against him. Tonight, he faced off against a Harrisburg lineup with seven lefties.

Working six scoreless innings and only allowing three singles, Keller struck out 11 batters, which is a new career high for the highly touted prospect. He was extremely balanced with both his fastball and curveball as an out-pitch, striking out six batters with his fastball and five with the curveball. He also got four groundouts in the game, and they all came on changeups.

Not only did Keller get through six innings cleanly, he was still pumping his fastball around 96-97 MPH late in the game, something that has not been the case for the righty so far while with the Curve. Overall, all three pitches were effective, and Keller showed every bit why he rated as high as he is tonight.

I took notes for each inning he pitched, and they are as follows.

In the first, Keller threw 15 pitches and recorded three quick outs against all lefties. Working mostly fastball, he struck out the first batter of the game on a 96 MPH fastball. Harrisburg’s second batter, Corban Joseph, was way late on a fastball and flew out to short left field. Lastly, Keller struck out Harrisburg’s three-hole hitter on an 82 MPH curveball. Yadiel Hernandez was able to foul off three fastballs before Keller pulled the string on him with a curveball in the dirt. Overall, Keller threw 12 out of 15 strikes in the inning.

During the second, Keller only threw eight pitches and again went 1-2-3 against all lefties. To clean-up batter and former Pirates’ farmhand Dan Gamache, Keller threw a changeup that Gamache rolled over to the second baseman for an easy groundout. Another former Pirate Taylor Gushue, who is catching for the Senators, popped out in foul territory to Wyatt Mathisen on the second pitch he saw (a 95 MPH fastball). Lastly, Drew Ward grounded out to shortstop Cole Tucker on a another changeup by Keller.

Keller allowed his first hit of the night in the third inning, as Harrisburg righty Khayyan Norfolk dropped a fastball into right field. After the first hit against Keller to the first batter, Keller struck out the next batter looking on an outside curveball. After Harrisburg’s pitcher laid down a sacrifice bunt, Keller got another strikeout looking on a 96 MPH fastball. Overall, he threw 16 pitches, 11 of them for strikes.

Keller allowed his second base runner of the game with a walk to the second batter he faced in the inning; however, he was very good against the other three he faced. On the first pitch he threw, Keller induced a groundout to the second baseman on a changeup. After the walk, Dan Gamache fouled off four pitches before Keller struck him out looking with a fastball on the outside corner. Lastly, Keller induced a 5-3 groundout on a changeup to Taylor Gushue. He threw 16 pitches, nine of them for strikes.

Going into the fifth inning tonight, it was easy to take notice of Keller’s statistics coming into tonight’s game. Between innings one through four, Keller has only allowed one earned run so far in his Double-A career. After the fourth inning, Keller has a 12.07 ERA in 8.2 innings.

Tonight, Keller struck out the side in the fifth inning, only working around a bloop single to center field. He struck out the lead-off batter on an 81 MPH curveball. He then came back to strike out Harrisburg’s lone right-handed position player on a foul tip. It was his best fastball of the night, hitting 98 MPH on the gun. It was good to see that velocity later in the game, as his fastball has dropped a few MPH late in the game in previous starts. After the lazy single to center field, Keller struck out Harrisburg’s pitcher on a fastball. He threw 17 pitches, 12 of them for strikes.

The sixth was essentially a carbon copy of the fifth inning for Keller, as he struck out the side again while working around a single. He began the inning with his third strikeout of the game to Harrisburg’s lead-off batter Darian Sandford. He got him swinging on an 80 MPH curveball. He then got another lefty with a curveball. After Yadiel Hernandez poked a single into left field on a fastball, Keller got Dan Gamache looking for the second time tonight on a 96 MPH fastball. The pitch sat right on the outside corner, perfectly placed. He threw 20 pitches, 13 of them for strikes.

Keller finished strong, which is a great sign since he has struggled late in games so far for the Curve. That is the biggest thing I took from tonight’s outing. Overall, he threw 92 pitches.

“He kept the ball down and threw a really good breaking ball,” Ryan said about Keller. “He mixed in his changeup and got his breaking ball over. He was very impressive and would’ve went seven if his spot didn’t come up in the lineup.”

After the game, Curve manager Michael Ryan announced Keller as the game one starter of their opening playoff series.

Offensively, Pablo Reyes led the Curve tonight, tripling to deep right-center field in the first inning and coming around to score on a sacrifice fly. He also hit a ground rule double to the left field corner in the fifth inning. Jerrick Suiter went 2-for-4 with a hustling double in the seventh.

The Curve bullpen struggled after Mitch Keller exited the game, giving up five runs in the final three innings. Luis Heredia allowed two runs in the seventh inning, while Tate Scioneaux gave up three runs in 1.1 IP. Yeudy Garcia relieved Scioneaux in the eighth and closed the game out without allowing a run. With a runner at third in the ninth, Pablo Reyes made a great running basket catch into left field for the final out.

The 6-5 win for Altoona gave them a 1.5 game lead over Bowie in the division. Bowie was rained out in Richmond tonight. – Sean McCool

Prospect-Watch-Bradenton

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Bradenton had their game suspended tonight after six innings due to lightning. James Marvel threw six shutout innings. Ke’Bryan Hayes and Will Craig each had two hits. The game will be completed tomorrow. We will post a full recap afterwards.

Prospect-Watch-WV-Power

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West Virginia won 4-3 over Delmarva, as Oddy Nunez finished his season off on a high note. Nunez went seven innings, allowing one run on three hits (all singles) and one walk. He had just one strikeout, but got his usual strong ground ball rate (11:6 GO/AO ratio) and threw just 76 pitches, with 51 going for strikes. Delmarva almost made a comeback against an unlikely source. Julio Eusebio came into the game with one earned run allowed over 29 innings this season. He gave up two runs in two innings tonight and left the tying run on base to pick up the save.

The Power got on the board in the second inning on a double by Victor Fernandez and a single from Raul Hernandez. In the seventh, Andrew Walker walked, stole second and scored on a Ryan Nagle single. After Adrian Valerio singled, both runners scored on Albert Baur’s 29th double of the season. Baur had three hits, while Valerio had a pair of singles. Oneil Cruz played for the first time in a week and went 0-for-4 at the plate.

Prospect-Watch-Morgantown

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Morgantown kept their playoff hopes alive with an 8-6 win over Auburn. Gavin Wallace started and was not the dominating pitcher we have seen since he was drafted. He still managed to go six innings and get the win, while allowing five runs on eight hits and a walk. In his previous 37.2 innings combined, he gave up four earned runs. Wallace’s five strikeouts are his most since July 11th when he also had five strikeouts. Hector Quinones allowed one run over two innings and Joel Cesar threw a scoreless ninth for the save.

The Black Bears did all of their scoring early, putting up one run in the second inning, then seven runs in third. The big hit of the game was a grand slam by Raul Siri, his third home run of the season. Deon Stafford played for the first time in a week and went 1-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI. Lucas Tancas had two hits, two stolen bases and a run scored. Dylan Busby hit his seventh double.

Prospect-Watch-Bristol
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Bristol has finished their season.

Prospect-Watch-GCL

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The GCL Pirates lost 3-2 to the Yankees East on Friday afternoon, as starter Cody Bolton allowed all three runs in the first inning. The Pirates will wrap up their season tomorrow at home. Bolton ended up going three innings, which is the maximum the Pirates have been using for their prep starters this season. One of the runs in the first inning was unearned, so while it wasn’t a great ending to his rookie season, it could have been much worse with the way it started. Bolton finishes with a 3.16 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 25.2 innings.

The Pirates scored their two runs in the fifth inning on a two-run homer from Manny Bejerano, who hit his first home run as a pro in yesterday’s game. Lolo Sanchez had two hits, including his 11th double. Sanchez has 42 runs scored, which will give him the league lead for the season, as no one active in the league is within four runs with one game left for every team.

Prospect-Watch-DSL

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The DSL Pirates finished with a 36-34 record.

  • TurnerWardHitsTheWall
    September 2, 2017 8:22 pm

    Was at the Altoona game last night and batters looked lost against Keller. Reyes had a real nice game. Really turned on the gas with his first inning triple.

    • I have seen Reyes a good bit and he seldom goes an entire game with out hitting the ball hard at least once.

  • The box score didn’t list Mathisen as playing. They had Feliz at third…

  • We can only hope that Glasnow and Keller become (as the Army ads say) ‘All that they can be’.

  • I’d like to see Glasnow make his next start with the Pirates, Keller take Glasnow’s spot with the Indians, and someone like Vasquez or Marvel take Keller’s place with the Curve.

    • I doubt Keller is moving up to AAA; if TG moves to the Pirates, AAA still has 3 or 4 SP’s. Marvel is well above innings, and Vasquez got hit pretty hard in Hi A. If Agrazal was healthy, I would go with him before Vasquez

  • Does Keller’s changeup have swing and miss qualities or is it more along the line of Taillon’s 2016 changeup to induce weak contact?

    • From reports I have read, I do not think it is a go-to strikeout pitch in that it is his 3rd best pitch. The FB is + regularly, and the Curve being + maybe 70% of the time. The Change-up is more of a show-me pitch to keep the batters honest, but for now is just a weak contact pitch rather than a Kyle Hendricks-type strikeout pitch. Pretty advanced though at 21 in AA.

      • Thanks.

      • You have to see Keller to fully appreciate his mound presence. He looks much more polished than Cole, Taillon and Glasnow did at that level. Glasnow however was somewhat more intimidating than Cole and Taillon while looking “raw”. They probably should have let him stay that way rather than try and refine his delivery.

  • Excellent day for the Pirate Minor League pitchers, and thank you for the detailed report on the pitches Mitch Keller threw during the game. Very nice to see him work the offspeed, exhibit excellent Command, and still have the 96-98 mph FB which really makes it unfair. Glasnow had a very nice outing as did Oddy Nunez – obviously, when he is pitching you better get ready to swing. Any report on his velocity – has he cracked 90 yet?

    Marvel has had an impressive first full year, and Cody Bolton finished with some good numbers also. Have to be impressed with the talent – on the bump and at the plate.

    • Nunez has been throwing 91-93 all season, up from the 88-89 last year, and he does it with little effort.

      • Thanks John. He had a big year at Lo A with 24 starts, 114 IP, 3.71 ERA. Baseball Reference has him listed at 6’8″ 230 – is that anywhere near the right numbers for this kid? Still only 20 and learning – if he keeps his head on straight, he can become a big time PROSPECT.

        • Yes, those are the updated numbers. They had him 6’5″, 200 pounds before they updated them during the season. You can find early writeups for this season where we talk about him being listed at 6’5″, but we were told he was at least 6’7″

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