Morning Report: A Look at the Top Ten Prospects from the 2017 Indianapolis Indians

From Tuesday through Friday last week, we looked at the progress of the top prospects from the 2017 DSL Pirates, GCL Pirates, Bristol Pirates and Morgantown. Then this Tuesday we looked at the 2017 West Virginia Power. Wednesday we moved up to Bradenton, which was loaded with prospects last year. Thursday was Altoona, and today will be Indianapolis to round out the fun. First I’ll list the top ten prospects from the 2017 Indianapolis Indians, then comment below.

  1. Austin Meadows
  2. Tyler Glasnow
  3. Kevin Newman
  4. Jordan Luplow
  5. Steven Brault
  6. Clay Holmes
  7. Elias Diaz
  8. Nick Kingham
  9. Max Moroff
  10. Edgar Santana

As you can see, the list is basically Kevin Newman and nine guys who have some Major League experience. Glasnow, Brault and Diaz all lost their prospect status last year. Moroff and Santana lost it this year. Holmes probably won’t lose it this year, but he’s in the majors right now. Meadows won’t be considered a prospect after 13 more at-bats. Kingham needs 2-3 more starts to lose his, and Luplow is hitting well in the minors, but doesn’t have a spot right now in Pittsburgh. It is possible that none of them will have prospect status by the end of the season, though not probable.

I’ll start with the three guys who lost their prospect status last year. Glasnow was ranked the highest and would still have the highest upside. He’s still not dominating like everyone thought he would when he was coming up through the minors, but he’s pitching much better than what we saw last year. Diaz is hitting well and seeing plenty of playing time recently with Francisco Cervelli out. Brault has improved slightly each year in the majors, though he is looking like he won’t get many more starts, at least not any time soon.

Moving on to Moroff and Santana. It’s tough to judge Moroff because we are talking about someone with 159 at-bats in 154 days in the majors. He has never been given a chance to play regularly despite leading the International League in OPS when he was called up last year. It looks like Moroff could be back up today to serve as the backup shortstop (nothing official, so don’t quote me). Edgar Santana’s main flaw this year is too many homers. Other than that, he has walked just four batters in 33.2 innings, has held batters to a .227 average and his 28 strikeouts represent a decent rate. At this point, still early in his big league time, he has performed up to expectations. The next step would be more late game spots.

Meadows has lived up to his top prospect status, albeit still very early in his big league time. He has an .872 OPS right now and expecting that from him in the future isn’t dreaming, though he probably won’t finish that high during his rookie season. He is getting knocked on the defensive side with a -0.7 dWAR, but he’s a solid defensive player and has shown that throughout the minors, so I wouldn’t expect that to continue.

Kingham has more than exceeded expectations after an inconsistent season last year. He turned things around last year after having a long meeting with Jacob Stallings and the coaches, who all basically challenged him to be the pitcher he could be, instead of what we saw. The real change was adding a slider this year, which was an immediate success. He already had a plus changeup and a solid curve, plus command of his three pitches, but adding another look and pitching with intent seemed to be the key.

Holmes received a spot in the majors at the beginning of the year when Joe Musgrove went on the DL. The reason for calling up Holmes was simple at the time. The Pirates played an extra inning game and Holmes was scheduled to throw a sim game to keep him on schedule for the Indianapolis season. That gave them someone with the ability to pick up innings, but he was used just once in 13 days and then was sent back to Indianapolis. He came back up recently when they needed innings and it was his scheduled day. Holmes has been pitching great recently, but it’s doubtful he will get a real opportunity with how things are set up now.

Luplow and Newman were covered yesterday. The basics are that both are ready for their expected roles, with Luplow being a fourth outfielder type and Newman playing solid defense, hitting for a decent average and stealing some bases. For Luplow, the problem is that there are five outfielders ahead of him in the majors, counting Jose Osuna. For Newman, he could be up at any time.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates were off yesterday. They travel to San Diego for a weekend series and will send Joe Musgrove to the mound for his seventh start today. He allowed five runs over four innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks in his last start. The scheduled Padres starter is left-hander Eric Lauer, who has a 5.05 ERA in 57 innings, with 50 strikeouts and a 1.75 WHIP. He gave up one run over six innings against the San Francisco Giants in his last outing.

The minor league schedule includes Brandon Waddell returning to the Indianapolis rotation after four straight appearances out of the bullpen. In the relief role, he allowed four runs over 6.2 innings. Altoona starter Eduardo Vera had a streak of 11 straight outings with 6+ innings snapped two starts ago. He has allowed 13 runs in his last 8.2 innings. West Virginia starter Domingo Robles faced today’s opponent (Hickory) in his last start and allowed two runs over seven innings. Michael Flynn, this year’s sixth round pick, made his lone start for Morgantown 11 days ago and gave up three runs in both innings he pitched.

MLB: Pittsburgh (38-42) @ San Diego Padres (36-47) 10:10 PM
Probable starter: Joe Musgrove (4.59 ERA, 31:9 SO/BB, 33.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (43-34) @ Columbus (39-39) 7:15 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Brandon Waddell (7.41 ERA, 12:10 SO/BB, 17.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (40-34) @ Akron (45-34) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Eduardo Vera (5.76 ERA, 17:4 SO/BB, 29.2 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (37-35) @ Dunedin (34-41) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Mike Wallace (5.13 ERA, 39:9 SO/BB, 47.1 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (42-31) vs Hickory (34-42) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Domingo Robles (3.22 ERA, 59:15 SO/BB, 72.2 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (5-8) vs Mahoning Valley (10-2) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Michael Flynn (27.00 ERA, 3:0 SO/BB, 2.0 IP)

Rookie: Bristol (6-3) @ Princeton (4-5) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD (0.00 ERA, 0:0 SO/BB, 0.0 IP)

GCL: Pirates (4-5) vs Tigers East 12:00 PM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates1 (11-12) vs Rangers1 10:30 AM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates2 (11-12) vs Tigers2 10:30 AM  (season preview)

HIGHLIGHTS

From Altoona, before Jason Martin got his call to Indianapolis on Wednesday night, he crushed this ball to bring in two runs. Seriously though, it’s a good video to see his running speed.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

6/29: Brett Pope promoted to Bradenton.

6/28: Mitch Keller and Jason Martin promoted to Indianapolis. Alfredo Reyes promoted to Bradenton.

6/28: Eddie Muhl retired.

6/27: Sean Rodriguez placed on disabled list. Tanner Anderson called up to Pirates.

6/27: Jung Ho Kang and Christopher Bostick placed on disabled list. Eric Wood activated from Indianapolis DL.

6/27: Raul Siri promoted to West Virginia.

6/27: Pirates sign John O’Reilly.

6/26: Pirates sign Allen Montgomery.

6/26: Jason Delay placed on disabled list.

6/26: Ryan Haug assigned to GCL Pirates. Will Reed assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.

6/25: Jackson Williams added to Indianapolis roster. Arden Pabst assigned to Bradenton.

6/25: Eric Wood assigned to Morgantown on rehab.

6/25: Pirates release Johnny Hellweg.

6/24: Pirates place Michael Feliz on disabled list. Clay Holmes recalled from Indianapolis

6/24: Jerrick Suiter activated from Indianapolis disabled list.

6/24: Pirates released Kyle Simmons and Cristopher Perez.

6/23: Corey Dickerson reinstated from Family Medical Emergency Leave list. Adam Frazier optioned to Indianapolis.

6/23: Evan Piechota placed on disabled list. Ryan Haug promoted to Bradenton.

6/22: Pirates sign Braxton Ashcraft and Connor Kaiser.

6/22: Francisco Cervelli placed on disabled list. Jacob Stallings recalled from Indianapolis.

6/22: Arden Pabst promoted to Indianapolis. Blake Cederlind promoted to Bradenton.

6/22: Travis MacGregor assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.

6/22: Fernando Villegas activated from Morgantown restricted list. Assigned to GCL Pirates.

6/21: Fabricio Macias activated from West Virginia restricted list. Assigned to Morgantown.

6/21: Pirates sign Kyle Mottice and Steven Kraft.

6/21: Tyler Eppler activated from temporary inactive list.

6/21: Cody Smith assigned to Morgantown from GCL Pirates

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.

THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY

Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus one trade of note involving the single-game strikeout king. The players born on this date include pitcher Tony McKnight (2001), second baseman Burgess Whitehead (1946), second baseman Heinie Reitz and pitcher Patsy Flaherty, who played for the Pirates in 1900, and then again during the 1904-05 season. You can read a bio of Reitz and his time with the Pirates here. Whitehead has a very interesting career stat. He played nine season in the majors, seeing time with three different teams (also Giants and Cardinals). Whitehead hit 17 homers in his career and all of them were hit at the Polo Grounds.

Also born on this date, third baseman and current broadcaster John Wehner. He played for the Pirates from 1991 until 1996 and then again during the 1999-2001 seasons. He has been a broadcaster with the Pirates since 2005. Wehner set a record with 99 consecutive errorless games at third base. In 1997, he won a World Series ring with the Florida Marlins. While in Pittsburgh, he hit .250 over 364 games.

The one trade of note happened on this date in 1961 and the Pirates gave up young pitcher Tom Cheney in exchange for veteran Tom Sturdivant. The two players put up similar stats while with their new teams, but Cheney had a very memorable game. On September 12,1962, he threw 16 innings and struck out 21 batters, which is a Major League record. It was a complete game win and one of the best pitching performances of all-time. You can see the boxscore of that game here.

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