Matt Gorski had himself quite a week, which ended on two high notes. He hit a walk-off homer on Sunday, then received word after the game that he was getting promoted to Double-A Altoona.
That would have been a good week for him if he did nothing else. He came into the week as the top home run hitter for the Pirates with nine. He nearly doubled that total in six games, finishing the week with 17 homers. He was named as the South Atlantic League Player of the Week due to his .435/.458/1.522 slash line. He pulled off that feat in a week that Greensboro scored a total of 26 runs in six games.
That power-hitting performance led to his selection as the Pirates Prospects Player of the Week.
Gorski spent the 2021 season in Greensboro. He was a second round pick in 2019, who skipped over Low-A ball after the minors resumed play following the 2020 shutdown. Many of his fellow draft picks were on that team and some of them moved up to Double-A Altoona this year while he went back to Greensboro. Gorski hit .224/.294/.416 in 95 games last year, showing some nice power and speed with 17 homers and 18 steals in 19 attempts. However, the batting average was low, the strikeouts were high, and his stats got some help from the hitter-friendly home park.
In Spring Training this year, there were some great reports about the play of Gorski, but he still stayed back in Greensboro. Part of the reason he stayed back was due to the amount of outfield prospects ahead of him. Altoona had four to open up the season, while Indianapolis was loaded as well, while also giving playing time to some infielders in the outfield. He likely would have been at Altoona if there was an open spot, but instead he was forced to return to Greensboro and hit his way to a promotion. He was already pushing for that promotion prior to this past week, but he forced it by having three multi-homer games in the same week, which is difficult to do at any level. He actually homered late in the game on the previous Sunday as well, so he has nine homers in his last 25 at-bats. Those are video game stats, and it’s the reason he’s in Altoona today, trying to stay on his hot streak.
“Honestly, it’s been more than a week,” said Greensboro manager Callix Crabbe of the performance from Gorski. “I think the body of his work the entire time has been really impressive. For a guy that was repeating a level, and you would expect some sadness about having to repeat a level, but how he conducted himself, and the changes that he’s made, both on the tactical side, the swing side, but also how he’s been practicing. He’s really done a great job challenging himself. Using visual occlusion, virtually every single day. It’s been extremely beneficial. It’s a combination of things that he’s done.”
TRIPLE-A: INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS
Player of the Week: Cody Bolton 0.00 ERA, 12:3 K/BB, 7.1 IP
Analysis: The summaries during last two weeks here for Indianapolis were pretty bad. None of the pitchers stood out, and their top hitters each week wouldn’t have even ranked in the top 15 this past week. Things changed this week when four of their top hitters ranked in that top 15, and the their Player of the Week was a pitcher. Cody Bolton had a strong week in two outings, including a start on Sunday. He went 7.1 shutout innings on two hits, three walks and 12 strikeouts. He had a 4.76 ERA in 17 innings this year coming into the week. This could be a nice kick-start to get him on track. He hasn’t pitched in games since 2019, so we could be seeing him shaking off some rust. As for the rest of the pitchers, Trey McGough tossed four shutout innings without a walk or a strikeout. Yerry De Los Santos had three perfect innings, striking out four batters, which helped him get promoted to the majors this week. Jerad Eickhoff had five strikeouts in 2.2 shutout frames. Cristofer Melendez had seven strikeouts in three scoreless, while Hunter Stratton had eight strikeouts in four scoreless. Osvaldo Bido allowed one run in 4.1 innings. Let’s just say that it wasn’t a good week for Toledo on offense or pitching, as you will see below.
Travis Swaggerty had his first big week of the season, and it would likely get some Player of the Week (for the system) consideration in a normal week. He hit .563/.611/.875 in 18 plate appearances. He has a .247 average and a .686 OPS in 24 games this year. Mason Martin had a strong week as well, batting .300/.391/.900 with three homers. That’s a great sign for our April Player of the Month because he had a rough first two weeks of May. Ji-hwan Bae batted .400/.471/.800 in 17 plate appearances, hitting for the cycle for the week, while striking out just once. Oneil Cruz had a big doubleheader early in the week and homered on Sunday, helping him to a .909 OPS.
DOUBLE-A: ALTOONA CURVE
Player of the Week: Blake Sabol .571/.650/1.429, HR, SB, PA
Analysis: To really show you how good last week was in the Pirates system, Blake Sabol had a week that would get him a unanimous selection for the system’s Player of the Week in nine out of ten weeks. He didn’t even win the Altoona award unanimously. He put up a 2.079 OPS, which led the system for the week. Sabol had the high average, five extra-base hits and five walks, on his way to a huge week. He’s another good rebound player, because prior to this week he had a .196 average and a .619 OPS over the previous three weeks combined. Andres Alvarez may have won this weekly award if he didn’t have to leave Sunday’s game early due to a hit-by-pitch. He had a 1.573 OPS in 25 plate appearances, which included four homers, four walks and three steals. He has a 1.134 OPS on the season.
Nick Gonzales had a strong week that gets lost behind his two teammates. He hit .417/.483/.792 in 29 plate appearances, with three doubles and two homers. There was even more on offense for Altoona, including Tucupita Marcano putting up a 1.271 OPS in 23 plate appearances, Lolo Sanchez with a 1.065 OPS in 14 trips to the plate, and Connor Scott with a .960 OPS in 21 plate appearances. Even Matt Fraizer (.804 OPS) and Liover Peguero (.803) just inched over our minimum for a mention in the summary.
On the pitching side, Mike Burrows did the best among the starters with one run over five innings. He has a 2.27 ERA in 35.2 innings this year, with 46 strikeouts and an 0.95 WHIP. The rest of the noteworthy players were relievers, including Noe Toribio with 3.2 shutout frames, Zach Matson with 3.1 shutout innings and Enmanuel Mejia with three scoreless frames. JC Flowers gave up one run in four innings.
HIGH-A: GREENSBORO GRASSHOPPERS
Player of the Week: Matt Gorski .435/.458/1.522, 8 HR, 0 SB, 24 PA
Analysis: You already read about Gorski’s big week, but there is something else that makes it more amazing. His teammates did awful at the plate. Sammy Siani did well with a .944 OPS in 18 plate appearances, and that’s it. I draw the line at .800 OPS for mentions here, but if a team does bad and some guy just misses, I’ll sneak them in. There isn’t anyone else to mention. Gorski had an insane week while the opposing pitchers were shutting down everyone else. He hit more homers than his teammates and all of Bradenton combined.
On the pitching side, Nick Dombkowski was the only noteworthy pitcher for the Grasshoppers and he allowed two runs in four innings, though one was unearned. He struck out six batters. He’s quietly having a big season between Bradenton and Greensboro, with a 1.64 ERA and an 0.91 WHIP in 22 innings, with 37 strikeouts. That’s 15.1 strikeouts per nine innings.
LOW-A: BRADENTON MARAUDERS
Player of the Week: Tsung-Che Cheng .368/.429/.632, 0 HR, 2 SB, 21 PA
Analysis: Tsung-Che Cheng and Alexander Mojica battled it out for the Player of the Week honors for Bradenton, both getting votes for the spot. Cheng put up a 1.060 OPS in 21 plate appearances, with two stolen bases. He’s hitting .257/.327/.407 in 36 games this year, with nine doubles, three triples and two homers, to go along with nine steals in ten attempts. His .734 OPS is 58 points above league average. Mojica had a 1.100 OPS in 20 plate appearances, with a double, homer and five walks. He’s batting .220/.350/.390 in 30 games. Jase Bowen had a solid week, posting a .973 OPS in 27 plate appearances. The best part of his week was his two strikeouts. Before this week, his strikeout percentage was slightly above last year’s mark.
Bradenton did better on the pitching side, with strong results from four starters. Carlos Jimenez went five shutout innings on two hits, three walks and four strikeouts. He now has a 1.86 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 19.1 innings. Valentin Linarez and Joelvis Del Rosario each went five innings without an earned run, though there were some unearned runs mixed in. Linarez was our Bradenton Player of the Week last week. Justin Meis allowed one run in five innings of work. On the relief side, Carlos Lomeli had two scoreless appearances that equaled three shutout frames. He faced the minimum of nine batters.