Pittsburgh Pirates: First Look at Minor League Action

Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Pirates are two games into the Major League season.  Yesterday afternoon’s game was postponed due to weather in Boston.  However, the Pittsburgh Pirates saw two of their minor league affiliates in action.

The Pittsburgh Pirates Triple-A affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians, took on Detroit’s Triple-A team last night.  The Indians won their first game of the season by a score of 7-4 over the Toledo Mudhens.  Starting for the Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate was left handed prospect Steven Brault.  This was a good first test for Brault, as Toledo has a lot of experienced major league players on their roster.  On the Detroit Triple-A roster is Alex PresleyOmar Infante, Steven Moya, Jordan Hicks, and Brendan Ryan. All these players have played in the major leagues to some degree, some more than others of course, and the Mudhens looked more like a Quad-A team rather than Triple-A.

With that being said, Brault somewhat struggled in his first start.  He was only able to get through four innings, while giving up two runs on four hits and two walks.  The two runs he gave up were both on solo shots in the first inning.  Top relief prospect Edgar Santan closed things out by striking out the side in the ninth to record his first save of the season.

On the offensive side, the Indians had a good output, scoring seven runs.  Out of the seven runs, three of them came from three home runs.  Gift Ngoepe hit a two-run shot in the third inning.  Max Moroff and Jason Rogers both added solo shots in the 7th inning.  The other notable hitters in the game were top prospect Austin Meadows, Elias Diaz, and Jose Osuna.  Meadows went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.  Osuna, who was the Pirates top hitter in Spring, had one hit in four at-bats. Elias Diaz had two hits in four at-bats as well.  Both Diaz and Osuna had doubles in the game.


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The other game for the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league affiliates was the High-A Bradenton Marauders.  Bradenton took on the Charlotte Stone Crabs, the Tampa Bay Rays High-A affiliate.  Bradenton defeated Charlotte by a score of 8-4.  Notable pitchers for Bradenton were Dario Agrazal and Logan Sendelbach.  Agrazal got the start and yielded four runs in 4.2 innings pitched.  He only struck out two hitters, walked one, and gave up six hits. Sendelbach, a 2015 tenth round pick, threw two innings and struck out two hitters.  The former starting pitcher did not give up any runs and only allowed one base runner on one hit.

First Round Picks

On the offensive side of things, the Marauders have a lot of talent.  The lineup hosts two first round picks from 2014 and one from 2016.  Cole Tucker and Ke’Bryan Hayes are holding down the left side of the infield for Bradenton.  Tucker was 0-4 on the day while Hayes collected one hit in three at-bats.  He also had a walk and scored two runs.  Also of note was that both Tucker and Hayes made fielding errors in the game.

The other first-round pick on the roster is Will Craig.  Craig initially was drafted as a third baseman and saw time there last year in his pro debut.  However, many scouts felt that Craig would move to first base.  With Hayes on the same roster, the transition is happening already.  Craig got the start at first base last night as he makes the jump from Short Season-A ball to High-A.   He was 0-5 for the game, and he struck out once.  The other notable hitting prospect is Casey Hughston.  Hughston was a third round pick in 2015.  The outfielder has struggled at the plate in his first season and a half, but still being a third round pick there should still be some upside.  It was a positive start for Hughston, he went 2-4 with a double and had a RBI.  He also did strike out twice.

Next: Five Players at Triple-A that will Debut in 2017

Altoona and West Virginia

The other minor league teams were postponed due to weather.  Both Altoona and West Virginia were set to open their seasons.  Tonight, the West Virginia Power will have a double header.  Starting the opening game for the Power will be former Duke pitcher James Marvel.  Marvel was a 36th round pick in 2015, but this was mainly because he missed the year with Tommy-John Surgery. Game two will be started by Eduardo Vera.  The 22-year-old from Mexico has pitched in the GCL the last four years and is making his first full-season debut.  Altoona will only play one game tonight and will send 2014 tenth round pick Alex McRae to the mound. This makes McRae Altoona’s opening day starter.  McRae returns to Double-A after spending the second half of the 2016 season there last year.