AFL Recap: Hearn Wins Fall Finale; Hill and Kramer Combine to Drive in Five Runs

Glendale made a run at a spot in the Arizona Fall League championship game by winning their sixth game in a row on Wednesday afternoon. That hope of winning their division ended late Wednesday night when first place Peoria clinched the title. That meant that the final day of the season on Thursday didn’t have any significance as far as the championship game goes, but it was still the last start for Taylor Hearn. He came into the day with one run allowed over three starts, going three innings each game. Kevin Kramer and Logan Hill were also in the lineup for the finale, while JT Brubaker came out of the bullpen, as Glendale made it seven in a row with an 11-3 victory over Salt River.

Taylor Hearn had a tough first inning on Thursday. It started with a ground ball single up the middle. That was followed by two stolen bases and a walk. The third batter singled to bring home a run. During the next at-bat, the runner from first tried to steal second and was thrown out, but the runner from third scored on the play. After another walk by Hearn, he got a double play on a strikeout/caught stealing.

Hearn had a much easier time after the first inning. He did walk the lead-off hitter, but a strikeout, caught stealing (third in two innings) and a strikeout ended the second inning. He would allow a single to start the third, but he then retired the side on a strikeout, fly out to left field and a strikeout. Hearn ended up striking out five of the last eight batters he faced. He threw 53 pitches in the game, with 31 going for strikes. His AFL time ends with a 3.06 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 17.2 innings.

JT Brubaker came out for the fifth inning and the first few batters hit the ball well against him. That resulted in two line outs and two singles. He ended the fifth with a strikeout. Brubaker allowed a single to start the sixth inning, then got out of the frame on two more grounders and a strikeout. He threw 27 pitches, with 17 going for strikes. Brubaker finishes with a 2.63 ERA over 13.2 innings, with 16 strikeouts.

Kevin Kramer brought home the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. He struck out swinging in the third inning, then lined out to left field in the fourth. Kramer flew out to right field in the seventh inning, then drove in another run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth. He got a sixth plate appearance in the ninth and grounded out to first base, leaving him 0-for-4 with two RBIs. Kramer finished with a .200 batting average in 16 games (all at shortstop) and did not make a single error.

Logan Hill hit an RBI single in the first inning on a grounder up the middle, then stole his first base of the fall. In the third inning, he brought home two runs on a line drive to left field. Hill struck out swinging in the fifth and was called out on strikes in the seventh. He singled in the ninth then scored a run two batters later. He went 3-for-5 and drove in three runs. Hill finished with a .239 batting average.

** Glendale started the season 5-1 and ended it on a 7-0 run, so they really had a great shot for a playoff spot if they played semi-decent ball in those middle 17 games. Instead, they went 4-13 during that stretch and finished two games back.

** We will have an AFL recap over the weekend.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

Support Pirates Prospects

Related articles

join the discussion

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The Pirates have a raft full of quality defensive MI’s. Cole Tucker, 21, has proven to be our best overall prospect at SS – he hits, he fields, and has the speed (47 SB’s) to add a lot at the top of the order. Kevin Newman, 24, will be in the Pirate infield in 2018 or traded. Adrian Valerio, 20, is the next best prospect, and Stephen Alemais, 22, is also a strong possibility.

The Pirates already have a crowded MI with Harrison and Mercer, and then Rodriguez, Frazier and Moroff fighting for PT. Can Kevin Kramer pass all of these guys? Hitting .200 in the AFL will not help his chances.


As the self-appointed lead pusher of the fly ball revolution on this site, Kramer is making me….nervous.

He finishes with a 29% K-rate over ~70 AFL PA after finishing his last month before injury with a 25% K-rate over 114 PA, all while seeing his ISO plummet from his hot streak at the beginning of the season. This is not Kevin Kramer’s game. This is not who he is as a hitter.

John W

Definitely valid concerns. I’m stating obvious here and probably putting too much weight on limited games in afl but if he could manage some time at short stop I would feel a lot better about things.

I’m assuming his range isn’t stellar but the fact he had no errors at least makes me think he’s not Adam Frazieresque where he is butchering the plays he needs to make.

John W

Well… at least it sounds like Kramer was relatively serviceable at ss. He is a lot more interesting at that position


O errors = serviceable? You are ridiculous with your criticism.

John W

What are you talking about? It’s not criticism. Being a serviceable short stop is not a low bar. As I’m sure you know, errors or lack of thereof aren’t best method of evaluating a short stop. But since we don’t have uzr/150 or something better to analyze his range etc I’m assuming he must have looked pretty decent without any errors.


SMH John again too negative to acknowledge real stats like pitchers wins RBI batting average and errors.

Get a clue, moran.

John W

Haha! Ambiguity will be construed against the drafter and given my track record I should probably assume things will be interpreted negatively unless I am explicitly clear. But lol, yeah I honestly did mean “serviceable” as a compliment


Can’t make an error on a ball you can’t reach, amirite?

comment image

John W


Pirates Prospects Daily

Latest articles

Latest comments