SURPRISE, Ariz. – The Glendale Desert Dogs won 10-5 on Thursday afternoon over Surprise, giving them a 7-7 record, as they near the halfway point of the Arizona Fall League season. Tim Williams will have more later from this game, but for now, here is a quick recap and some video. There was no AFL recap from Wednesday because no one from the Pittsburgh Pirates took part in the game. Glendale lost that game 6-4 to Surprise. On Thursday afternoon, Kevin Kramer, Mitchell Tolman and Logan Hill were all in the lineup, while Brandon Waddell pitched in relief.

Mitchell Tolman batted lead-off and played third base for the second time in the AFL. He had a tough day at the plate, going 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. On defense, he started a 5-3 double play on a grounder in the second inning, fielded a pop out in the fifth and handled two grounders in the seventh.

Kevin Kramer hit third and went 2-for-5 with a home run, single and two strikeouts. The homer was his second of the AFL season (see video). He is hitting .333/.448/.625 through seven games.

Logan Hill went 1-for-4 with a single, walk and a run scored. Here’s video of his single.

VIDEO: Logan Hill (@loganshill6) gets a single in today's AFL game. #Pirates

A post shared by Pirates Prospects (@piratesprospects) on

Brandon Waddell came in for the sixth inning and retired the side in order on two fly balls and a strikeout. He stayed out for the seventh and allowed two line drive singles, but kept the opposition off of the board with two grounders and a pop out to shortstop. He threw 19 of his 23 pitches for strikes. Waddell has now thrown five shutout innings over his last three appearances. He has one walk and nine strikeouts in eight innings this fall.

More from this game later. – John Dreker

UPDATE: Recap from Tim…

I’ve got a few hours before my red eye flight takes off, so some quick thoughts and additional video.

Kramer was obviously the highlight today, hitting the homer above for his second of the AFL season, and second in his last two games. This one was an opposite field shot that left little doubt, ending up in the opposing bullpen. His power comes easy for a middle infielder, and helps to make him one of the best bats the Pirates have at the middle infield spots. He didn’t get many opportunities at shortstop today, but I continue to be impressed with how smooth he looks at the position.

Mitchell Tolman had a rough game at the plate, striking out three times, which he also did on Tuesday. Tolman has had an issue in A-ball of not being aggressive early in the count, leading to deeper counts. That will only lead to strikeouts in the upper levels, as he won’t see many mistakes when the pitchers are ahead.

He had a good game on defense, making a few nice plays. One of them was a 5-3 double play where he stepped on third after fielding a grounder to his right, then made the throw in time to first. Another nice grounder came in Brandon Waddell’s second inning, which can be seen on the last play in the video below. He followed that up with an even better play in the next at-bat, which unfortunately my camera cut out for. The play was a pop up to foul territory in left field, and Tolman ranged back with Kramer and the left fielder closing in and made an over the shoulder basket catch while still running away from the plate. He finished off the inning with the final out on a routine grounder.

Waddell’s focus here has been on being efficient, and he was efficient today. He only needed a handful of pitches to get through the first inning, including a three pitch strikeout. He didn’t have much of an issue in the second, and was helped by Tolman’s defense. Video of the first inning, plus Tolman’s first play in the second are below.

Here are some photos from the day:

Mitch Keller and Brandon Waddell doing their throwing program before the game. Photo Credit: Tim Williams
Pirates pitching coordinator Justin Meccage talking with Taylor Hearn and JT Brubaker after their throwing program. Photo Credit: Tim Williams
Meccage meeting with all four pitching prospects. Photo Credit: Tim Williams
Mitchell Tolman and Kevin Kramer taking the field. Photo Credit: Tim Williams
Mitchell Tolman trying to field a ball right as it is ruled foul. Photo Credit: Tim Williams
Brandon Waddell pitched two innings. Photo Credit: Tim Williams
Logan Hill went 1-for-4 with a single. Photo Credit: Tim Williams
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  1. Okay seriously, how are you crushing everyone else with the quality of these scouting videos?! I don’t even notice the netting in these pitcher vids.

    • Your subscription dollars at work. Everyone else uses video cams that might be a few hundred dollars. I use the same camera I use for pictures, which was $5000 and gets incredible video quality. Takes a lot of editing though.

  2. Tim, it is encouraging to hear about how Kramer looks at SS. Does it look like his arm will play at the position? Mercer or better defense with a strong bat at SS sounds very nice for the future.

    • A few guys are still years away (Valerio, Alemais, Castro, Acuna) but I’d say shortstop is arguably the only position the Pirates seem to have enough legit prospects in the system to feel somewhat comfortable about the position. Maybe 2b too because some shortstops will get moved across the bag (I’m hypothetically looking at you Kevin Newman).

      Side note: is this finally going to be the year that a Seinfeld double play occurs? (Newman to Kramer)

      • I’m calmer about the future of 3B than most seem to be for the same reason. Some combo of Hayes, Tucker, Newman, Kramer, and Moroff all seem likely to be at least big leaguers, likely second-division starters (1-1.5 WAR, i.e. Jordy Mercer), and potentially stars in the case of Hayes and Tucker.

        Those are enough guys to spread around three spots on the dirt. The bigger question seems to be if any will actually develop into more than mediocre players.

  3. I agree it was nice to see Kramer hit his second HR to the opposite field, but to me it did not have that no-doubter look coming off the bat. Looked again and watched the flags in CF blowing a gale out to LF – that might have added some distance.

    Newman, Kramer, and Tucker coming on fast are going to make Rodriguez an unneeded $5.5 mil player, but I doubt the Pirates could get anything for Rodriguez on the trade market. If it is a toss-up between Freese and SRod, Freese had the much better year, and eliminating SRod creates PT opps for Frazier.

    Another Playoff Manager is terminated – good thing for CH that the Pirates were nowhere near the Playoffs again this year, thereby warranting a 4 year extension? Some teams think there is young managerial/coaching talent out there.

    • I personally don’t think it’s fair to use this year to compare SRod to anyone or to evaluate him at all. He wasn’t even supposed to come back from the accident that fast.

    • None of Newman, Tucker or Kramer are going to be on the Opening Day roster or even up before June so I see no correlation to them making anyone on the roster expendable for the 2018 season. Certainly one of them could replace Rodriguez in 2019.

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