Prospect Watch: Nicolas and Torobio Pitch Well in Altoona Loss; Jones Gets Hit Hard

Altoona plays an 11 AM game today, while the other three affiliates all get going in the evening. There’s a trio of interesting pitchers today, with Kyle Nicolas getting the early start, followed later by Cody Bolton and Jared Jones making starts tonight.

TRIPLE-A: INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS

Minor League Season Preview: 2022 Indianapolis Indians

Game Time: 6:35 PM

Box Score: LINK

Starting Pitcher: Cody Bolton (0-1, 4.73)

  • Final Line:  3.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO

Notable Performances:

Ji-hwan Bae 1-for-5, 2B

Oneil Cruz 1-for-4, RBI

Cal Mitchell 2-for-4, 2B, RBI

Mason Martin 0-for-3, BB

Canaan Smith-Njigba 1-for-4, 2B

Hoy Park 0-for-3, BB

Carter Bins 1-for-4, HR

Game Recap:

Indianapolis lost 5-4 on Wednesday night. Cody Bolton started and went 3.2 innings, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks, with three strikeouts. Hunter Stratton allowed an unearned run in 1.2 innings. Austin Brice allowed two runs while recording two outs. Yerry De Los Santos recorded two outs and lowered his ERA to a 1.69 mark. Carter Bins hit a solo homer in his first game with Indianapolis. Cal Mitchell had two hits, including his seventh double. Ji-hwan Bae and Canaan Smith-Njigba each hit their sixth double. Oneil Cruz had an RBI single and Hoy Park stole two bases.

Travis Swaggerty has been reinstated from the 7-day injured list (concussion).

DOUBLE-A: ALTOONA CURVE

Minor League Season Preview: 2022 Altoona Curve

Game Time:  11:00 AM

Box Score: LINK

Starting Pitcher: Kyle Nicolas (0-1, 4.12)

  • Final Line:  5 IP,  1 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO

Notable Performances:

Jared Triolo 0-for-3, BB

Connor Scott 0-for-4

Nick Gonzales 2-for-4

Liover Peguero 2-for-4, 2B

Matt Fraizer 2-for-4, 2 2B

Tucupita Marcano 0-for-3, RBI

Game Recap:

Kyle Nicolas had an impressive start on Wednesday morning, but it wasn’t enough to keep Altoona from dropping a 4-2 decision. He allowed one run on one hit, with three walks and four strikeouts in five innings. He threw 49 of 80 pitches for strikes. He now has a 3.65 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 24.2 innings, though that ERA is skewed by his worst start. In his other five starts, he has allowed two runs in 22.2 innings. Noe Toribio pitched well too, giving up an unearned run on one hit in three innings. He now has a 1.47 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 18.1 innings. Tahnaj Thomas lost the game, giving up two runs on three hits in the ninth inning. The offense had two noteworthy games for struggling players. Nick Gonzales had two singles and Matt Fraizer had two doubles. Despite the extra-base hits, the latter still sits at a .460 OPS. Liover Peguero hit his tenth double.

HIGH-A: GREENSBORO GRASSHOPPERS

Minor League Season Preview: 2022 Greensboro Grasshoppers

Game Time: 7:00 PM

Box Score: LINK

Starting Pitcher: Jared Jones (2-0, 5.06)

  • Final Line:  2.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO

Notable Performances:

Maikol Escotto 0-for-4

Endy Rodriguez 2-for-3, HBP

Matt Gorski 1-for-3, BB

Abrahan Gutierrez 2-for-4

Hudson Head 1-for-4, RBI

Dariel Lopez 1-for-2, 2B, RBI, 2 BB

Sammy Siani 0-for-4

Game Recap:

Jared Jones ran into a lot of trouble on Wednesday and never got things going, giving up six runs on eight hits and a walk in 2.1 innings. His ERA rose to 6.85 in 23.2 innings, but he has struck out 36 batters. Santiago Florez has had a rough start to the year, so tonight was a good night for his ERA, going 3.2 innings with two runs that were both unearned. Garrett Leonard also lowered a high ERA with two shutout innings. Jacob Gonzalez hit his second homer in as many days for Greensboro. He also had a single and two runs scored. Dariel Lopez had a double, RBI and two walks. Endy Rodriguez reached base three times on two singles and a HBP. Hudson Head drove in a run.

LOW-A: BRADENTON MARAUDERS

Minor League Season Preview: 2022 Bradenton Marauders

Game Time: 6:30 PM

Box Score: LINK

Starting Pitcher: Valentin Linarez (0-3, 12.27)

  • Final Line:  5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 SO

Notable Performances:

Tsung-Che Cheng 0-for-4

Jase Bowen 0-for-4

Rodolfo Nolasco 0-for-3, BB

Alexander Mojica 0-for-3, BB

Sergio Campana 2-for-3

Game Recap:

Bradenton lost 4-1 on Wednesday night, but they got some great pitching from a prospect who hasn’t pitched well this season. Valentin Linarez came into the game with a 12.27 ERA, throwing just 11 innings in three starts and two relief outings. He went five shutout innings in this game, with two hits, two walks and seven strikeouts. He threw 68 pitches, with 43 going for strikes. The rest of the game didn’t go so well. Carlos Lomeli took the loss with three runs in 1.2 innings. Yunior Thibo gave up one run on four hits in 1.1 innings. Sergio Campana had both of Bradenton’s hits, collecting two singles. Brenden Dixon walked twice and scored the lone run. The rest of the team went 0-for-24 with two walk and ten strikeouts.

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Tim Williams

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Scrappy2499

So, Jacob Gonzalez hit his second homer and 2-4 in as many days for Greensboro. He is ready for his next promotion. Endy Rodriguez has taken over Davis’ spot for hit batters. Get him some bubble wrap.

skliesen

Is it just me, or does Jones either strike em out, or give up a hit to everyone he faces?

NMR

Seems to get his whiffs on chases but get hit hard in the zone.

HeisenbergWW

Test comment…

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

HR aside, as Bins hasn’t hit very well this year, and it’s a homer happy park. I’m more surprised they used him to catch Bolton. I was curious to how he’d be utilized with the pitching staff, particularly who he’d catch. Wasn’t sure if he’d catch the more intriguing guys, or just get a random start here and there

agent00

he’s supposed to be a good defensive catcher, right? so it would make sense to catch the more interesting players?

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Sure, but so is Delay. Maybe they do value Bins defense over Delay, and they felt with Tank needing to be promoted, the defense is ready and they’ll try to continue developing the bat in Indy.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Cueto, and now Crick?! And Altoona facing Dietrich? It’s blast from past week

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Not sure if Pirates fixed Jacob Gonzalez, or he remembered how to hit this year, but he’s en fuego. Second HR in as many days for Hoppers

agent00

he stole nick’s talent, monstar style

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Take that, Cueto!!! Indy tee time!!!!

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Bins broke him

agent00

i see jones has been especially hittable lately

MWT

So Cueto looks healthy

PirateRican21

Cueto is toying with the Indians.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Bolton not as effective at 91-92

agent00

i wonder why his velocity is down

PirateRican21

2 years off? I hope that’s it and he builds strength and stamina as the year goes along, then again how many innings is he gonna pitch?

agent00

dunno. maybe around 100?

PirateRican21

I see him spending the whole year in AAA.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Ended up being a decent start. Bounced back well, and getting pitch count up. Drop in velocity is still a little worrisome

agent00

bins is making his aaa debut tonight. how exciting

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

So, that means he’s going to rake, right? Or day too late?

agent00

yes i’m calling a home run

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Hahahahaha he did it!!!!! Off Cueto!!!!

agent00

damn i should play the lottery lmao

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I’m convinced Ben just straight up lied when he said they really wanted Marcano. Then again, he does fit the mold of their “Maybe the dribbler can’t find grass, and I can play anywhere, just not play anywhere well” perfectly. Also considering how they want literally every single prospect in the system playing everywhere. But Marcano is like the worst qualities of all of those players. He’s not particularly fast, and not a base stealer. They clearly even don’t think much of his IF defense, since he was moved almost exclusively to the OF already, while looking “meh”. He’s still young, I’ll give him that, but a demotion the year after getting 400+ PA’s in Triple-A (among a handful of MLB ABs) is not a good look.

I don’t get it. I really don’t get it. I’ve mostly tried to stay neutral in my opinion through the rebuild, but this is getting ludicrous.

MVParker

Marcano was rushed to AAA and MLB. Feels like they’ve just reset his development appropriately, and he needs to get back on track. Still very young. First real time in AA I think. Not everyone takes a linear path. Plenty of time to figure out what he can be.

Relative to what they could’ve got for Frazier, hard to say the return is better or worse than alternatives without (1) seeing more development and (2) knowing what else was on the table. Not sure I see the need to declare failure so soon…

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I’m by no means calling failure on the trade, as Suwinski looked intriguing initially, and he’s showing some of that intrigue this year. Also that we (myself included, and speaking generally) may have overestimated our value of Frazier going into trade.

That being said, I can understand resetting Marcano’s development, as I myself said when they acquired him that I felt they should have just sent him to AA then. Which is again odd, and to me doesn’t relay they feel strongly about him, if they left him in AAA last season because of Altoona roster, then put him in Altoona as those players moved up.

Cause again, outside of a “good eye” and contact skills, there’s nothing in his game that’s showing as particularly strong or above average, if even average. He’s still young, relative to AA, but I can’t see a MLB path for him outside of filler here and there unless he overhauls his swing, or puts on some considerable weight.

NMR

The problem with this whole “reset” narrative is that, as you noted, he brings an exceptionally mediocre set of tools and has no physical projection to bank on.

His prospect value was exclusively tied to age-related performance, and that performance has not held up. Set him against his peers, and he’s just not much of a prospect.

It was a misevaluation, it happens.

I think the interesting question is the “why”. This feels like an analytic error, over-weighting of age relative to projection. Could their models have really been tricked by his PCL-inflated “power surge”. Similar trends with a number of trade targets acquired on heaters over the past year…

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I just would’ve thought their list of items he should work on in the off-season would’ve been a list 1 through 10, with all 10 being “Add Weight. Get Stronger”

ArkyWags

He seems to have some of NH’s worst qualities as a GM. In this case, fixating on a player that they “have” to have. And that’s ok if it’s someone who is legitimately good. But…Tapioca ain’t good.

agent00

looks like he didn’t learn much from his time in toronto…..

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Seems all he took from Toronto was his love for Alford, so much that he gave him an additional 3 years to try and appear like a serviceable MLB player.

agent00

i cannot comment on that since i am a diehard alford stan  😅 

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Fair enough. Fair enough lol last I looked Alford was hitting bombs from Columbus

agent00

well he was doing that for indy too. he’s probably just an aaaa player at this point. i can certainly see why the pirates finally cut ties with him tho

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

As if I needed a reason to dislike Tapioca more. He ole’d a bloop single, turning it into a double. So then the next batter singles putting runners on 1st and third. Runner steals 2B, causing IF to play in, and next batter singles up middle for 2 runs, on a ball that’s an easy DP if pudding doesn’t lazily go after that ball.

All that after an odd play (that we only have the announcer’s viewpoint of since the camera man was in la-la land), where Conner Scott supposedly caught a ball while crashing into wall, tossed it to Fraizer, who threw it back in. But the runner on 2B tagged and scored, which I’m assuming is why Kieran got tossed while arguing the play.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

There we go, Gonzales. That was a solid single up the middle.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Scott putting on a defensive display today! My goodness. Although, we technically don’t know what even happened on the one play.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Beautiful minor league camera work, as usual, to completely miss the play on the field. A play big enough for an umpire conference.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Fraizer 2 for 3 with 2 doubles to LF on the day. Hopefully sign of things clicking

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Steven Jennings is in the game for Somerset. I repeat, Steven Jennings is in the game for Somerset

agent00

peguero continues to rake!

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

36 pitch inning, with 3 BB’s, for Nicolas in 5th inning. Probably ends his day, but he pitched much better than his final line will show, or especially how that inning went.

It’s not a dead center CF camera, but the ump’s zone appeared to completely shift that inning.

skliesen

Davis with a Derek Shelton scheduled day off after just one day in Altoona? Talk about a buzz kill.

TNBucs

Adds to the feeling that they really don’t care about fans. Ironically, the announcers were talking about what a good crowd they had today and it appears from a few crowd shots that there are a lot of school groups there. So of course you don’t play your top prospect–make those kids come back if they want to see Davis!

agent00

smh

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Oooo. If that ball takes a lower hop, Scott might’ve had Beltre at the plate for inning ending DP.

Nicolas doing well to work around “walking” first 2 batters. Then “walking” the 9 hole hitter.

Did someone piss off the ump in between innings? Nicolas ramped it up to 97, and appeared to spot it on the black. Alas, called a ball.

agent00

as an aside, i’ve never seen a team like the pirates do things so close to deadlines. less than a half an hour until gametime and they don’t have a lineup posted because they have to make a few moves. going to guess that perez to the 60 day IL for alldred. marisnick to the IL too

TNBucs

In isolation this wouldn’t mean anything, but in context it add to my feelings that this staff is in over their heads.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I think the ump has decided that Nicolas’ pitch count is way too low in the 5th inning

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Conner Scott has really cratered since April. 2 for 21 so far in May.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Citta the Hitta just keeps on hitting! Though, I think he’s officially in org guy spot now.

agent00

well gonzales didn’t strike out. progress

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Ehhhh, in partial. First pitch he swung through a 90 mph fastball.

agent00

 😫  cmon nicky g

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

No swings and misses, followed with a single!!! Not a liner, but found gap between 1B and 2B nonetheless for a single

agent00

i’ll take whatever type of hit, at this point!

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I love closed captioning. “Up first for Altoona, Jared Hello”

roibert.kasperski

CC can be hilarious!

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Nicolas sharp through 1

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