Pirates Prospect Watch: Live Reports From Altoona

ALTOONA, PA – Aaron Shortridge was on the mound last night for the Curve, and continued his impressive month of August. I’m in Altoona this week, and will have a lot of live reports in the Prospect Watch each night, including seven player reports from last night’s game.

Player of the Day


Shortridge has been on fire this month. He entered last night’s start with a 1.71 ERA in 21 innings over his previous three outings. This included a complete game on August 11th. He followed that with two runs allowed in six innings his next outing. Last night he only went five innings, and walked four, but held Akron to one run.

What stood out about this start was that Akron used a very lefty-heavy lineup. Shortridge didn’t attack the lefties, working on the outside edge of the plate a lot, which led to the higher walk rate. By comparison, he had allowed four walks in his previous 38.1 innings, prior to last night.

The fourth inning was probably the best example of the challenge Shortridge faced, and how he got through it with success. He faced four batters, all lefties.

He started the first batter with an 85 MPH changeup, outside. The batter fouled off two 90 MPH fastballs that were on the outer edge of the plate, including one that was away. Shortridge got a 3-1 groundout on a rolled over 84 MPH change.

The next batter fouled off a 90 MPH fastball, high. Shortridge threw a 92 for a strike on the outside edge. The next pitch was 92 MPH, and chopped down the third base line for a double.

Shortridge followed this with an 83 MPH slider outside, an 86 slider inside, and an 85 MPH opposite field single. He was helped out by Matt Gorski throwing the runner out at second (video below), though his lone run scored on the play. Shortridge recovered with his best at-bat. After two 91 MPH strikes where he attacked the zone, he got a swinging strikeout on an 85 MPH slider with depth.

The right-hander was throwing 90-93 MPH with his fastball, mixing in an 83-85 MPH changeup and an 85-87 MPH slider.

Ten More to Follow


Triolo went 1-for-3 with two walks, and is now batting .316/.409/.526 since being sent down to Indianapolis. He’s only played five games, and the more interesting thing than his hitting is where he’s playing on the field. His first three games were at second base, which is where he played in six of his final seven games in the majors, before being sent down. He got a start at third base to begin the week, and played at shortstop last night. With Ke’Bryan Hayes at third, and the middle infield up in the air, Triolo’s best path to the majors looks to be the middle infield.


When I saw Altoona in May, the team had Henry Davis and Liover Peguero. Still, Matt Gorski looked like a future MLB player. At this stage, he looks like the best player on the team, easily. He went 1-for-4 with a walk and a double, while continuing to show the ability to provide positive value in center field. He threw out a runner in the fourth inning last night. This play had him covering a lot of ground, and firing a perfect strike to second to get the runner trying to stretch a single into a double.


Perez was added to the system recently, and it’s hard to accurately weigh the results from the 23-year-old with Triple-A experience. That said, he has legit game changing power at this level. Batting behind Gorski adds some protection to a lineup that largely lacks power otherwise. Perez homered for the fourth time in about two weeks last night, absolutely crushing this one:


Fraizer is an interesting hitter. He picked up four hits, though all of them were singles. He also showed good range in left field. He’s definitely got a more reserved, defensive-minded approach. His singles were more reactions at the plate, rather than aggressive swings. This hit in the fifth inning is an example of Fraizer adjusting to a low pitch and putting it in the outfield. This isn’t a power approach.


Alvarez picked up two hits, but struggled all night on pitches on the outside part of the plate. He swung at an outside pitch for a strike twice in a row for an early strikeout. From there, he swung and missed at the same pitch on a 2-0 count. He later struck out again on the same pitch. After that 2-0 swing, the pitcher gave him a gift, going back inside where he turned on an 87 MPH hanger for a double down the third base line.


Matthiessen got Altoona on the board early with a line drive double to right-center field. The hit came on a 94 MPH fastball. He later got a single after adjusting to an 85 MPH breaking pitch, pulling the ball in the process. He was late on 94 and 95 MPH fastballs deeper in the game. His opposite field hit was technically a bit late, though in the area where you’d like to be for success. He seems like a hitter who can succeed in the 88-92 range. His size and currently agility makes his movements slower for plus-to-elite velocity.


With a lefty-heavy lineup, Altoona turned their lead over to left-handers Geronimo Franzua and Tyler Samaniego for three shutout innings. Noe Toribio came on in the ninth to close things out, with the righty facing a lefty in four of his five batters. Toribio featured a really good mid-80s changeup, which led to one strikeout against a lefty, and another lefty to roll over a first pitch change for the final out. He wasn’t afraid to pitch inside to lefties, but was mostly outside against the one right-hander he faced.


Diamond went 7.2 innings for Greensboro, allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits. Two of the runs scored were given up by lefty Cy Nielson in the eighth inning, after Diamond couldn’t close out the frame. He performed well for seven innings. I had a chance to see Diamond last week in Greensboro. He was hurt by home runs in the hitter-friendly park, but showed the stuff to advance to the upper levels as a starter.


Kellington threw five shutout innings, allowing four hits, one walk, and striking out one. The over-slot pitcher from the 2021 draft has a 3.63 ERA in 72 innings, with an 82:45 K/BB ratio. Kellington has a 1.13 ERA in 16 innings this month, with a 16:11 K/BB.


Bidios missed the entire 2022 season with an injury. He’s returned to the mound this year in relief, and has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings. What stands out the most are his 35 strikeouts. He’s struggled with control, but went two shutout innings without a walk last night — striking out four in the process.

Wednesday’s Home Runs

  • Joe Perez, RF, Altoona (4)

Wednesday’s Minor League Results


Score: Indianapolis 9, Iowa 4
Indianapolis Starter: Cam Alldred, LHP (5.30)
–Line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 1 HR
Player of the Game: Ryan Vilade, LF (2-for-4, 2 RBI)
Attendance: 5,670

Notable Performers

  • Canaan Smith-Njigba, RF (2-for-5, RBI)
  • Grant Koch, C (3-for-4, RBI)
  • Jared Triolo, SS (1-for-3, 2 BB)

ALTOONA (54-59) VS Akron

Score: Altoona 8, Akron 1
Altoona Starter: Aaron Shortridge, RHP (4.56)
–Line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Will Matthiessen, 1B (2-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI)
Attendance: 2,802

Notable Performers

  • Geronimo Franzua, LHP (2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K)
  • Matt Gorski, CF (1-for-4, BB, 2B)
  • Joe Perez, RF (1-for-4, BB, HR [4], 2 RBI)
  • Matt Fraizer, LF (4-for-5)
  • Andres Alvarez, SS (2-for-5, 2B)
  • Jackson Glenn, 3B (2-for-5, 2B)

GREENSBORO (62-51) AT Rome

Score: Rome 6, Greensboro 5
Greensboro Starter: Derek Diamond, RHP (4.45)
–Line: 7.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Diamond
Attendance: 660

Notable Performers

  • Jack Brannigan, SS (2-for-4)
  • Tres Gonzalez, CF (1-for-5, SB)
  • Sammy Siani, RF (1-for-3, BB, SB)

BRADENTON (64-50) AT Jupiter

Score: Bradenton 2, Jupiter 1
Bradenton Starter: Owen Kellington, RHP (3.63)
–Line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Kellington
Attendance: 1,005

Notable Performers

  • Juan Jerez, 1B (2-for-4, 2B, SB)
  • Jaden Woods, LHP (2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 HR)
  • Brandan Bidios, RHP (2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K)
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Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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Appreciate these articles.


Altoona has become the graveyard for previously-interesting prospects.

Hopefully Cheng can hit himself out of this last rough patch and end on a high note.


Is Cheng in a slump? I’m asking because I honestly don’t know. His last 10 games didn’t seem too horrible other than no power…and few walks…and elevated strike out rate. Ok I guess I answered my own question.


.231/.298/.282 since 8/10 according to the FanGraphs machine with an uncharacteristic 20% K-rate.

I too, didn’t notice. Mostly on account of Altoona being unwatchable.


Given the wonky control and good K’s, would Kellington be better in the pen?


I’m starting to get jaded by these low 90’s FB pitchers. Priester and the new Roansy make me think nothing of Shortridge since he’s sitting low 90s as well. I know you don’t NEED 97+ to be successful, but the margin of error if you don’t is mighty small.


I’ve been thinking the same thing. It’s hard to get excited about anyone who’s topping out at 91ish with their fastball unless we’re talking 16-18 year-olds. You better be able to light a match with it at about the AA level or higher if you’re going to have any success.


I’d be curious to know how the FB velocities for our pitchers compare with opponents’ pitchers. There is variation both in guns and in whether the velocity is being measured at release, at the plate, or at a midpoint. The readings Tim has been reporting seem to be uniformly low, but without a comparison or reference, I’m hoping that our pitchers are not as far below average as it appears.


I missed that detail, but if our pitchers are consistently a few mph below opposing pitchers and from where they were (supposedly) when drafted, that seems like a great starting point for an article(s).

The concern is consistent with my disappointment this season with what we were seeing from Contreras and Priester. It wasn’t the results as much as how the lack of velo on their FBs seemed to limit the effectiveness of the rest of their arsenal. Is this just normal, or coincidence, or is there a system-wide move to sacrificing velo for something else (command, spin rate,…)? (In fact, this goes back to Yajure who almost immediately lost several mph from what was reported at the time of the trade, and then it happened with Crowe, and I’m sure I can think of others if I wanted to…)

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