Morning Report: A Look at the Progress from the Top Prospects of the 2017 Bristol Pirates

The last two days were looks at the progress made by the top ten prospects for the 2017 DSL Pirates and 2017 GCL Pirates. As you may have guessed, today is the 2017 Bristol Pirates.

Last year in Bristol wasn’t the best for prospects and it’s been that way at the level most years, with 2018 being the big exception. Last year, only the top two prospects were top 50 in the system. The next three were considered for our top 50, while the last five were just the most interesting prospects among the rest of the roster. Part of the reason the team was so weak was that Max Kranick and Austin Shields were both supposed to go there, but late injuries during Extended Spring Training, cost Bristol what would have been two of their better prospects. Kranick eventually made it there, but didn’t qualify for the top ten due to limited innings.

Here’s the top ten, followed by comments:

  1. Braeden Ogle
  2. Domingo Robles
  3. Edison Lantigua
  4. Travis MacGregor
  5. Alex Manasa
  6. Jason Delay
  7. Hunter Stratton
  8. Ben Bengtson
  9. Yondry Contreras
  10. Drew Fischer

As you can see by the list, it wasn’t the best affiliate for watching prospects last year, but a couple of players have really made moves up the chart. Ogle is still the top prospect in the group, but his status has taken a hit due to a shoulder injury that he is rehabbing. Last year he missed time with a knee injury that required minor surgery. When he has pitched, he has looked like a top ten prospect in the system.

Domingo Robles is still the second best prospect from this team in my opinion. The 20-year-old lefty, who was still 19 on Opening Day, has held his own at West Virginia this year. He has the stuff to match the results, showing a nice three-pitch mix, with the curveball being a plus offering at times due to his ability to throw it in any count.

Travis MacGregor was making a push for the second spot until he hurt a deltoid muscle in his arm (see Ogle link above for details). He’s been out five weeks and will return in the GCL first, so we will have to wait a little while to see if he can pick up where he left off earlier in the season. He definitely surpassed Lantigua and Alex Manasa, who we rated just ahead of him in the book.

Lantigua has been hitting well, last year, this spring and in a very small sample size at Morgantown, but this is now his fifth year in the system and he isn’t in full-season ball yet. Manasa has made two solid starts for Morgantown, but the reports seemed better last year than this year. I think he’s the fourth best prospect from this group now, but it’s a big difference between him and the top three players.

Out of the 6-10 group, only Jason Delay has made real progress and it’s more about him hitting well in High-A, which went against the scouting reports. His defense was outstanding at Bristol and has been very good this year after a few throwing hiccups early in the year. He was a senior from a major college, so Bristol wasn’t a good place for him to prove anything last year. He will likely be a top 50 prospect when we do our mid-season update.

The other four players haven’t improved their stock. Bengtson made it to West Virginia, but he barely played until Dylan Busby got hurt. Stratton has had many rough outings, some with poor control, although we got solid reports about his velocity. Contreras is back in Bristol, so that’s self-explanatory. Fischer is a 22-year-old Low-A reliever, so that’s a tough player to rank high unless they’re hitting triple digits or just flat out dominating. He’s not doing either, so he will need to prove himself at Double-A before he gets any prospect status.


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates were rained out last night. They now take on the Arizona Diamondbacks for four games. The Pirates will send Chad Kuhl to the mound for his 14th start. He allowed one run over six innings against the Cincinnati Reds in his last start. The Diamondbacks scheduled starter is right-hander Zack Godley, who has a 4.77 ERA in 77.1 innings, with 78 strikeouts and a 1.51 WHIP. He gave up two runs over 6.22 innings against the New York Mets in his last start.

The minor league schedule includes Taylor Hearn getting the start for Altoona. In his last two starts combined, he has 19 strikeouts in 13 innings. Tyler Eppler allowed five runs over five innings in his last start. Prior to that, he gave up four earned runs in his previous four starts combined. James Marvel goes for Bradenton, coming off of seven shutout innings in his last start. Osvaldo Bido makes his second start for Morgantown. West Virginia comes back from their All-Star break today with Max Kranick on the mound. He threw five shutout innings last time out.

MLB: Pittsburgh (36-37) vs Diamondbacks (40-33) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Chad Kuhl (3.76 ERA, 75:30 SO/BB, 79.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (38-31) vs Norfolk (36-32) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Eppler (3.29 ERA, 61:19 SO/BB, 68.1 IP)

AA: Altoona (35-30) @ Richmond (35-33) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Taylor Hearn (3.57 ERA, 71:25 SO/BB, 63.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (35-30)  vs Fort Myers (28-39) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: James Marvel (3.97 ERA, 52:18 SO/BB, 77.0 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (37-29) @ Hickory (30-38) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Max Kranick (4.62 ERA, 17:7 SO/BB, 25.1 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (2-4) vs State College (3-3) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Osvaldo Bido (7.94 ERA, 4:1 SO/BB, 5.2 IP)

Rookie: Bristol (2-0) @ Greeneville (0-2) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Oliver Garcia (0.00 ERA, 0:0 SO/BB, 0.0 IP)

GCL: Pirates (0-3) vs Phillies West 12:00 PM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates1 (8-8) vs Indians 10:30 AM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates2 (5-11) vs Royals2 10:30 AM (season preview)


From Indianapolis on Tuesday night, Clay Holmes picks up his eighth strikeout. Video include the entire at-bat.


6/20: Corey Dickerson placed on Family Medical Emergency Leave list. Adam Frazier recalled.

6/20: Jackson Williams placed on Indianapolis disabled list.

6/20: Pirates sign three draft picks

6/20: Pirates sign Matt Morrow and Pat Dorrian

6/20: Enny Romero assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

6/18: Richard Rodriguez activated from disabled list. Dovydas Neverauskas optioned to Indianapolis

6/18: Pirates recall Jose Osuna. Jacob Stallings optioned to Indianapolis.

6/16: Tyler Eppler placed on Temporary Inactive List.

6/15: Jung Ho Kang assigned to Indianapolis.

6/15: Pirates sign Travis Swaggerty

6/14: Pirates release Luis Cadet and Jess Amedee.

6/14: Pirates sign Antonio Gonzalez.

6/13: Pirates sign Enrique Santana, Bladimir Susana and Domingo Gonzalez.

6/13: Pirates sign nine draft picks.

6/13: Oddy Nunez activated from the disabled list. Jess Amedee assigned to Bristol.

6/12: Jerrick Suiter placed on Indianapolis disabled list.

6/12: Pirates sign three draft picks.

6/12: Enny Romero assigned to Bradenton on rehab

6/11: Pirates sign seven draft picks.

6/11: Jung Ho Kang assigned to  Indianapolis on rehab.


Two former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus one game of note. The players are 1B/RF Garrett Jones and 1923 infielder Spencer Adams. Jones played five years for the Pirates, hitting .256/.318/.462 in 677 games, with exactly 100 homers. Adams spent four years in the majors, playing one year each with four different teams. With the Pirates as a rookie, he had a .608 OPS in 25 games, splitting his time between second base and shortstop.

On this date in 1888, the Pittsburgh Pirates (then know as Alleghenys) were no-hit for the first time in franchise history. It was a six inning game, called due to rain. Pittsburgh lost 1-0 and reached base twice in the game, once by error and once on a walk. The opposing pitcher for the Chicago White Stockings was George Van Haltren, who has a connection to the Pirates. He played for Pittsburgh in 1892 and 1893, and by that time he was an outfielder. He hit .338 during that second season. Van Haltren won 40 games as a pitcher, but made his name as a hitter and he is one of the best players not in the Hall of Fame. He hit .316 career in 1,990 games and scored 1,642 runs, while stealing 587 bases. He is also fourth all-time in outfield assists.