I’m in Greensboro this week, covering the Pittsburgh Pirates’ High-A affiliate. You can expect the daily Prospect Watch to be heavy on reports from these games. Yesterday’s action in Greensboro featured Po-Yu Chen on the mound, plus home runs from three hitters. Elsewhere in the system, Roansy Contreras had a good start, Paul Skenes made his second appearance, and the Bradenton offense was on fire.
Player of the Day
PO-YU CHEN, RHP, GREENSBORO
Chen only pitched three innings last night, throwing 72 pitches. About half of those came in the first inning, which was extended after an error by Termarr Johnson. Chen walked his first batter, struck out the second, and got a double play grounder right up the middle. Johnson didn’t field the ball, allowing it to go under his glove as he charged it, putting two runners on with one out.
What I liked about Chen was what came after this. He had a wild pitch that moved the runners to scoring position, but largely pitched around cleanup hitter Willy Vasquez. The only pitches Vasquez could hit were low breaking pitches that dropped out of the zone for balls. Vasquez didn’t offer at those, and walked to load the bases. Chen walked three, but this one seemed more strategic, especially once first base came open. Chen got a sac fly to center field, with a great move by Jase Bowen to get the throw to the infield quickly after the catch.
Chen ended the first with a strikeout, recording five on the day. He was 88-91 MPH with his fastball, but mostly works backwards, filling up the zone, and doing a great job of changing speeds and locations. His curve is mid-to-upper 70s, the slider is low-80s, and his split changeup is his best offering, working mid-to-upper 80s.
Ten More to Follow
ROANSY CONTRERAS, RHP, INDIANAPOLIS
Roansy Contreras pitched four innings last night, allowing one run on one hit and two walks, while striking out five. The right-hander has now made two starts for Indianapolis, combining for one run on two hits and four walks in seven innings, with seven strikeouts.
NICK GONZALES, 2B, INDIANAPOLIS
Gonzales had a good night at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a walk and his 16th double with Indianapolis. Gonzales is batting .286/.444/.357 in 28 at-bats during the month of August. More importantly, he has a 16.7% strikeout rate and 19.4% walk rate since going back down to the minors. This is a great early progression from the hitter he was in Triple-A earlier this season, with a 28.6% strikeout rate and a 13.4% walk rate to go with a .257/.370/.450 line. Gonzales took those strikeout issues to the majors in a detrimental way.
JOE PEREZ, RF, ALTOONA
The Pirates recently signed Joe Perez, a 24-year-old who can play third base and the outfield. He was assigned to Double-A, after previously batting .255/.328/.399 with ten homers in Triple-A this year. He went 4-for-5 with a homer last night for Altoona.
SEAN SULLIVAN, RHP, ALTOONA
In his latest start for Altoona, Sullivan pitched 5.1 innings, allowing two runs on four hits, with two walks and five strikeouts. The 2021 8th round pick has a 4.07 ERA in 86.1 innings this year, elevating his numbers with a 2.08 ERA in 17.1 innings this month across three starts.
JACK BRANNIGAN, SS, GREENSBORO
I don’t want to make a lot about Brannigan’s home run, because it looked like a foul ball. Instead, I’m going to point out what I liked about the infielder’s approach at the plate. He starts with an open stance, still, bat over the shoulder. He goes into a rhythm with his bat waggle as the pitcher gets set. He’s got a leg kick for timing as the pitcher delivers. At the end of the day, he crushed a pitch for what was ruled his ninth homer at the level. Brannigan also looked sharp in the field on two line drives, which he quickly followed up with a double play.
Jack Brannigan HOMER!!
Hoppers: 4 | Hot Rods: 0 pic.twitter.com/XmADkhnFac
— Greensboro Grasshoppers (@GSOHoppers) August 16, 2023
JOSIAH SIGHTLER, 1B, GREENSBORO
Sightler hit his fifth homer of the year for Greensboro last night in the first inning. The 6′ 3″ first baseman starts with a tall stance from the left side, then dips into his legs as the pitcher is delivering. The dip allowed him to get in position to lift this pitch last night way out of the park.
We're sorry about Josiah Sightler almost hitting your car but not sorry about the HOMER!
— Greensboro Grasshoppers (@GSOHoppers) August 15, 2023
TERMARR JOHNSON, 2B, GREENSBORO
Termarr Johnson has an interesting swing. He’s got a kind of crouched, open stance, with his head tucked in front of a high hand position over his left shoulder. When he swings, it is with authority, as seen by his home run last night, his third in the last three games. Johnson did have some issues in the field, with two balls going under his glove, including one that extended the first inning for Chen as he and Jack Brannigan got mixed up over the middle.
BACK TO BACK🤯
Termarr Johnson home run!!
Hoppers: 5 | Hot Rods: 0 pic.twitter.com/3sliAsPOhd
— Greensboro Grasshoppers (@GSOHoppers) August 16, 2023
VALENTIN LINAREZ, RHP, GREENSBORO
Linarez threw three innings for Greensboro last night, allowing no hits, one walk, and striking out six. He was throwing mostly 95-96 MPH with his fastball, working on a steep downward plane from his 6′ 5″ frame. He paired that with a slider that was 84-85 MPH, throwing the pitch to both right-handers and lefties. Linarez featured a 90 MPH changeup for the lefties. He’s dealt with control problems this year, but when his control is on like last night, he can shut down a lineup.
PAUL SKENES, RHP, BRADENTON
Skenes made his second appearance with the Pirates, throwing a single inning for the Bradenton Marauders. He walked one and struck out two, while getting his final out in a rundown that he played a big role in. His fastball was mostly 98-99, hitting 100 once, with a lot of good mid-80s sliders.
Paul Skenes' Stuff from Tonight. pic.twitter.com/HzBaOD0tIn
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 16, 2023
CHARLES MCADOO, LF, BRADENTON
McAdoo was one of the best hitters in the lower levels last week, and it doesn’t look like he’s stopping this week. Playing left field, the 2023 13th rounder went 2-for-5 with his third homer of the year, and five RBIs. McAdoo was drafted out of the college ranks, so he’s currently playing below his level as he adjusts to pro ball.
Tuesday’s Home Runs
- Joe Perez, RF, Altoona (1)
- Jack Brannigan, SS, Greensboro (9)
- Josiah Sightler, 1B, Greensboro (5)
- Termarr Johnson, 2B, Greensboro (3)
- Deivis Nadal, CF, Bradenton (7)
- Charles McAdoo, LF, Bradenton (3)
- Carlson Caro, 2B, DSL Pirates Gold (5)
- Eduardo Oviedo, CF, DSL Pirates Gold (5)
Tuesday’s Minor League Results
INDIANAPOLIS (53-60) AT St. Paul
Score: Indianapolis 8, St. Paul 5
Indianapolis Starter: Roansy Contreras, RHP (1.29)
–Line: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Nick Gonzales, 2B (3-for-5, 2B, BB, 2 RBI)
- Ji Hwan Bae, CF (3-for-5, BB, 2B)
- Miguel Andujar, RF (2-for-4, BB, 3 RBI)
- Canaan Smith-Njigba, LF (3-for-5, 2 RBI)
- Mason Martin, 1B (2-for-4, 2B, BB)
ALTOONA (51-55) AT Bowie
Score: Altoona 8, Bowie 4
Altoona Starter: Sean Sullivan, RHP (4.07)
–Line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Joe Perez, RF (4-for-5, 2B, HR , 2 RBI)
- Noe Toribio, RHP (2.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 0 HR)
- Tsung-Che Cheng, SS (2-for-3, SB, 2 RBI)
GREENSBORO (57-49) VS Bowling Green
Score: Greensboro 5, Bowling Green 1
Greensboro Starter: Po-Yu Chen, RHP (3.71)
–Line: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Jack Brannigan, SS (2-for-4, HR )
- Valentin Linarez, RHP (3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 0 HR)
- Tres Gonzales, RF (2-for-3, BB)
- Josiah Sightler, 1B (1-for-4, HR )
- Termarr Johnson, 2B (2-for-4, HR )
BRADENTON (62-46) VS Lakeland
Score: Bradenton 14, Lakeland 13
Bradenton Starter: Paul Skenes, RHP (0.00)
–Line: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Charles McAdoo, LF (2-for-5, HR , 5 RBI)
- Deivis Nadal, CF (2-for-5, HR , 4 RBI)
- Mitch Jebb, 2B (2-for-5, 2B, 3B)
FCL PIRATES (29-21) VS FCL Red Sox
Score: Red Sox 3, Pirates 2
FCL Pirates Starter: Michael Kennedy, LHP (2.13)
–Line: 4.2 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Kennedy
- Javier Rivas, SS (1-for-3)
DSL PIRATES BLACK (17-31) VS DSL Cubs Red
Game One Score: Pirates 2, Cubs 1
Pirates Black Starter: Dariel Francia, RHP (3.34)
–Line: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Francia
Game Two Score: Pirates 7, Cubs 3
Pirates Black Starter: Janderson Linares, LHP (4.60)
–Line: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Cristian Jauregui, CF (1-for-3, BB)
DSL PIRATES GOLD (37-12) VS DSL Tigers 2
Score: Pirates 11, Tigers 9
Pirates Gold Starter: Pitterson Rosa, RHP (6.21)
–Line: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Carlos Caro, 2B (1-for-2, 2 BB, HR )
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.