P2Daily: Previewing This Week’s Pirates Minor League Opponents

This isn’t a big week for Top 100 prospects.

There are two Baseball America Top 100 prospects this week on opposing teams, and the Indianapolis Indians will be facing one of them in Spencer Steer. The St. Paul Saints aren’t necessarily prospect loaded, but they have one of the top offenses in the International League while also having one of the worst pitching staffs.

Altoona Curve face a Harrisburg Senators squad that has graduated majority of their Top 30 prospects of the Nationals to Triple-A. Those prospects were mostly pitchers: Cole Henry for example. Harrisburg has an older roster, and they’re not very good on either side of the ball.

The Hickory Crawdads have the one other Baseball America Top 100 prospect, Evan Carter. Hickory carries one of the best offenses in the South Atlantic League. Their pitching staff isn’t particularly strong (Are you seeing a theme? Bad pitching staffs among the top three levels).

Bradenton Marauders will face the Clearwater Threshers, who are the polar opposite of the other affiliate’s opponents. Clearwater has one of the best pitching staffs (2nd out of 10) in the Florida State League, but their offense is 9th out of 10 in Team OPS.

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During 2021 season Lolo Sanchez (876 Road OPS vs. 769 Home OPS) and Jared Triolo (925 Road vs. 766 Home) both were thought to be having breakouts in 2021, cause they were showing power on the road as opposed to in Greensboro.

Both have since struggled in 2022 to translate that power.

Where as Andrew Alvarez (665 Road vs. 1220 Home) has so far translated. Liover Peguero (721 Road vs. 839 Home) has had quite the July slump, but has mostly fared well in Altoona. Matt Fraizer (905 Road vs. 1051 Home) translated — initially, but hit a speed bump this year — and Matt Gorski — initially before injury — as well.

Shackelford (673 Home vs. 783 Home) is having a better overall year than I expected. Blake Sabol actually had reverse (1038 Road vs. 778 Home), but he seems to be one of the few. It’s very small sample size, but Macias (772 Road vs. 956 Home) has had a strong beginning to his time in Altoona.

This year, Greensboro as a team has a 738 overall OPS. League Average is 729 — Eastern League for comparison has a 726 League Average — so they’re just above average (7th out of 12 in the league). Their Team OPS at home is 784, with a 691 OPS on the road as a team.

Players currently with a better than league average OPS:

  • Endy Rodriguez – 836 OPS – 812 Road vs. 859 Home
  • Jacob Gonzalez – 801 OPS – 1037 Road vs. 593 Home
  • Francisco Acuna – 789 OPS – 889 Road vs. 706 Home
  • Dariel Lopez – 743 OPS – 665 Road vs. 822 Home
  • Abrahan Gutierrez – 731 OPS – 808 Road vs. 659 Home
  • Yoyner Fajardo falls just shy, at 726 – 548 Road vs. 878 Home

Of the six listed (including Fajardo), Endy Rodriguez, Dariel Lopez, and Yoyner Fajardo are each benefitting from the home park. And of the six listed, with maybe the exception of Abrahan Gutierrez, I think this would largely coincide with who we’d have expected to be the better, upside, hitters in High-A.

Can’t say I know too much about the other parks in the South Atlantic League, but it does seem to have a couple super HR heavy parks in Greensboro, Jersey Shore and Asheville, but a lot more pitcher friendly parks than I originally thought (Per Baseball America’s 2021 MiLB Park Factors article)

All this to say that at first the thought was to not really put much stock into Greensboro hitter’s — in terms of potential future production — Home OPS, and focus more on their Road numbers. Maybe the balls in High A are different this year as well, or maybe it could be the Greensboro park is advantageous to specific swing profiles rather than just to overall offensive numbers.

Triple-A: Indianapolis Indians

Opponent: ST. PAUL (TWINS)
Opponent Stats

Team OPS: .769 OPS
Rank: 4/20
Team ERA: 5.32
ERA Rank: 19/20

Top Prospects

Player | Position | Pipeline Ranking

  • JORDAN BALAZOVIC | RHP | 3
  • SPENCER STEER | 2B/3B | 7
    • Baseball America Top 100: #100
  • MATT WALLNER | OF | 8
  • RONNY HENRIQUEZ | RHP | 11
  • COLE SANDS | RHP | 14
  • DREW STROTMAN | RHP | 16
  • JERMAINE PALACIOS | SS | 26

DOUBLE-A: ALTOONA CURVE

Opponent: HARRISBURG (NATIONALS)
Opponent Stats

Team OPS: .683 OPS
Rank: 12/12
Team ERA: 4.76
ERA Rank: 10/12

Top Prospects

Player | Position | Pipeline Ranking

  • JACKSON CLUFF | SS | 21
  • JAKE IRVIN | RHP | 30

HIGH-A: GREENSBORO GRASSHOPPERS

Opponent: HICKORY (RANGERS)
Opponent Stats

Team OPS: .765 OPS
Rank: 3/12
Team ERA: 4.65
ERA Rank: 8/12

Top Prospects

Player | Position | Pipeline Ranking

  • EVAN CARTER | OF | 9
    • Baseball America Top 100: #43
  • LUISANGEL ACUNA | SS/2B | 10
  • AARON ZAVALA | OF | 11
  • RICKY VANASCO | RHP | 13
  • TEKOAH ROBY | RHP | 14
  • TREVOR HAUVER | OF/2B | 18
  • THOMAS SAGGESE | INF | 26

SINGLE-A: BRADENTON MARAUDERS

Opponent: CLEARWATER (PHILLIES)
Opponent Stats

Team OPS: .650 OPS
Rank: 9/10
Team ERA: 3.42
ERA Rank: 2/10

Top Prospects

Player | Position | Pipeline Ranking

  • YHOSWAR GARCIA | OF | 14
  • KENDALL SIMMONS | 3B/2B | 15
  • HAO YU LEE | 2B | 17
  • MICAH OTTENBREIT | RHP | 21
  • JAMARI BAYLOR | SS | 22
  • ALEXEIS AZUAJE | 2B | 23
  • JEAN CABRERA | RHP | 30

Pirates Prospects Spotlight

Rodolfo Castro is working on his defense to get back to Pittsburgh

Pirates Links

Prospect Watch

Today: Back in Business

Yesterday: Strong Starting Pitching All Around, As Rain Suspends Two Games

Daily Video Rundown

Returns tomorrow

Pirates Discussion

Today: Pirates and Full Season Affiliates Return to Play

Yesterday: From MLB Draft to the Trade Deadline

Pirates Prospects Daily Articles

Other Pirates Coverage:

Pirates 2022 Draft Tracker

THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS

Williams: What it Takes to Go From the Draft to the Majors

Bubba Chandler is Overpowering Hitters With His Fastball

Rodolfo Castro is working on his defense to get back to Pittsburgh

WTM: The Pirates Definitely Aren’t Swingers

Song of the Day

As some may know, I’m a huge metal head. This is one of my favorite bands, but I chose their calm song for today’s article.

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john_fluharty

just a little note. You have home vs home for Shackelford.

NMR

Look forward to these every week now, Jeff. Great work!

skliesen

Really good stuff BNP!

Looking forward to seeing Burrows start to dominate AAA hitters beginning this weekend even though St. Paul looks like they can hit a little.

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