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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Prospect Watch: After a Rough First Inning, Mitch Keller Puts Together a Strong 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 (Kevin Newman, Nick Burdi and Pablo Reyes), 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 (Travis MacGregor), 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 our updated 2019 Prospect Guide, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.

1. Mitch Keller, RHP, Indianapolis – 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO

2. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Indianapolis – 1-for-4

3. Cole Tucker, SS, Pirates – In Majors

4. Oneil Cruz, SS, Bradenton – DNP

5. Travis Swaggerty, CF, Bradenton – DNP

6. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Indianapolis – 0-for-1

7. Bryan Reynolds, OF, Pirates – In Majors

8. Will Craig, 1B, Indianapolis – 1-for-4, HR (8), 3 RBI

9. Jason Martin, OF, Indianapolis – 0-for-3, BB

10. JT Brubaker, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

11. Calvin Mitchell, OF, Bradenton – DNP

12. Cody Bolton, RHP, Bradenton – DNP

13. Tahnaj Thomas, RHP, Extended Spring Training – DNP

14. Braxton Ashcraft, RHP, Extended Spring Training – DNP

15. Lolo Sanchez, CF, Greensboro – 1-for-4, BB, SB

16. Clay Holmes, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

17. Braeden Ogle, LHP, Greensboro – DNP

18. Stephen Alemais, 2B/SS, Altoona – DNP

19. Michael Burrows, RHP, Extended Spring Training – DNP

20. Jared Oliva, CF, Altoona – 1-for-4, HBP

21. Ji-Hwan Bae, SS, Greensboro – DNP

22. Max Kranick, RHP, Bradenton – DNP

23. Luis Escobar, RHP, Bradenton –  DNP

24. Osvaldo Bido, RHP, Greensboro – DNP

25. Eduardo Vera, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

26. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Altoona – DNP

27. Aaron Shortridge, RHP, Bradenton – DNP

28. Blake Weiman, RHP, Altoona – DNP

29. Steven Jennings, RHP, Greensboro – 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO

30. Brandon Waddell, LHP, Indianapolis – DNP


Indianapolis won 5-3 over Louisville. Mitch Keller made his sixth start and it was quite the opposite of his last outing. Five days ago, Keller retired the first nine batters he faced, eight by strikeouts. That was followed by four runs on eight hits in his final two innings. In this game, he got the damage out of the way early. Keller served up two solo homers in the first inning. He then faced the minimum over the next three innings. The fifth inning didn’t produce any runs, but it had two singles and two very loud outs, so it was not a good looking frame. Keller put it behind him quickly though, and struck out the side in the sixth, finishing with a 97 MPH fastball on the outside corner.

This start had an interesting development. Keller was throwing four pitches. The announcer called the fourth pitch a cutter prior to him throwing his first pitch of the game and he seemed to throw the pitch about ten times. It had the same action as his curve, but was thrown about eight MPH harder and had a much smaller break. It’s about 1-2 MPH slower than his changeup, which has late downward action low in the zone, as opposed to cutter thrown up in the zone. Keller only threw his curve about ten times and three times were to the same batter, so he was really mixing his pitches well.

Geoff Hartlieb allowed one run over two innings, then Dovydas Neverauskas retired the side in order in the ninth for his second save.

The big hit of this game was a three-run home run by Will Craig in the fifth inning. It was his eighth home run of the season. Indianapolis scored all of their runs in the fifth. Mitch Keller had a big hit, collecting a double and scoring the tying run.

Kevin Newman played his eighth rehab game and went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. He played shortstop for the fourth time, equaling the amount of times he’s been in the outfield. Newman is hitting .233/.343/.300 in 30 at-bats. He has up to ten days left on his rehab assignment. Jose Osuna went 1-for-3 with a single, walk, run scored and RBI. He has up to nine days left on his rehab assignment before the Pirates need to make a decision. Jacob Stallings had the night off. The Pirates don’t need to make a decision with him until after May 17th.

Here is the boxscore from the MiLB site.

You can view the season preview here.


Altoona won 9-2 over Richmond. Pedro Vasquez got the start and gave up one run on four hits and two walks in five innings. He struck out five batters. Vasquez now has a 2.67 ERA through 27 innings. Beau Sulser followed and retired all six batters he faced. He has not allowed a run in 14.2 innings this season and batters are hitting just .085 against him. Tate Scioneaux handled the eighth and Vicente Campos gave up an unearned run in the ninth.

The big hit for the Curve was a bases loaded double by Hunter Owen in the fourth inning, his seventh double of the year. He was named as our Player of the Month earlier today. Brett Pope, Logan Hill, Jerrick Suiter and Arden Pabst each had two hits. Hill, Pope and Suiter each drove in a run. Mitchell Tolman also added an RBI.

Here is the boxscore from the MiLB site.

You can view the season preview here.


Bradenton was rained out. The game was canceled, as the two teams don’t play again during the first half of the season.

Here is the boxscore from the MiLB site.

You can view the season preview here.

Greensboro lost 5-3 to Rome. Steven Jennings got the start and looked strong through the first three innings, before things got out of hand later. He went five innings, giving up four runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks. Three of those hits were doubles. Jennings struck out six batters, had a 6:3 GO/AO ratio and threw 62 of 98 pitches for strikes. He now has a 6.75 ERA in 26.2 innings this season. Joe Jacques allowed one run in three innings of relief, while Logan Stoelke struck out two in a scoreless ninth.

Mason Martin got the team on the board early with his seventh home run of the season. In the third inning, Pat Dorrian hit his third home run of the season, a two-run shot. Rodolfo Castro saw his four-game home run streak end, but he did pick up two hits, including his seventh double. Fabricio Macias had his fourth straight multi-hit game. His hit in the fifth inning gave him eight consecutive at-bats with a hit. Lolo Sanchez stole his eighth base. Jonah Davis went 0-for-3, leaving him with an .075 average and 29 strikeouts in 56 at-bats.

Here is the boxscore from the MiLB site.

You can view the season preview here.

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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.


Pirates Prospects has been independently owned and operated since 2009, entirely due to the support of our readers. The site is now completely free, funded entirely by user support. By supporting the site, you are supporting independent writers, one of the best Pittsburgh Pirates communities online, and our mission for the most complete Pirates coverage available.

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