Pittsburgh Pirates: Strong Performance from Bradenton
Yesterday was a slow day on the farm for the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league affiliates, but it was a successful one. Unfortunately, two teams were scheduled to play, but one was rained out.
The Bradenton Marauders were the only team to hit the field out of the four Pittsburgh Pirates affiliates yesterday. The Marauders had a good showing as they defeated the St. Lucie Mets by a score of 8-3. The Marauders received a good balance of solid pitching and good hitting. Taylor Hearn received the start for the Pittsburgh Pirates High-A affiliate. Hearn, who was acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates for Mark Melancon, had a nice bounce back game. In his previous start he only lasted two innings, but last night he threw six innings. The big left-handed pitcher gave up two run overs his six innings of work. He once again was hurt by the long ball as the two runs he gave up came on a home run, and his control wavered, walking four batters.
The big question around Hearn is whether he will have the command to pitch at the next level as a starter. Last night was an example of why this is the main question around him. If he has trouble locating his pitches he might be better suited for a backend of the bullpen role. Of course, the other side of it is that Hearn has the stuff to be a big-time strikeout pitcher. He showed last night by punching out 8 of the Mets’ hitters.
Following Hearn was reliever Sam Street. Street was able to get through two innings, but he yielded a run on three hits and a walk. The Marauders did a good job of mixing speed with their pitchers last night. Hearn throws in the upper 90s, Street throws a high 80s to the low 90s sinker. After Street came Jake Brentz, who is the hardest throwing right-handed pitcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates minors. Brentz, who was recently made out Top 30 Prospect list, closed out the game by throwing a scoreless ninth. The former Mariner prospect struck out one and dropped his ERA to 1.00.
Offense Led by Cole Tucker
Offensively the Marauders had a solid game against one of the Mets top prospects. Starting for St. Lucie was 2016 first round pick Justin Dunn. The Marauders were able to collect four runs, on five hits, and four walks against the former Boston College ace. Overall, Bradenton collected nine hits, six walks, and eight runs in the game. The lineup had three players with multi-hit games while only one player did not reach base at all.
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Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 first round pick Cole Tucker was the biggest difference maker in the game. The shortstop was 2-3 with two walks, two runs scored, and a RBI. However, Tucker really made an impact on the base paths last night. He stole four total bases in the game, and now has a total of 17 on the year. He now leads the Florida State League in stolen bases, having four more than Jorge Mateo of the Yankees. Both have played 23 games thus far, so Tucker has the clear edge here. Meanwhile, Tucker is only hitting .244 on the year, but as that number climbs he will have more opportunities to swipe bags.
Other First Round Picks Performing
In addition to Tucker, Ke’ Bryan Hayes had a strong day on the base paths. The former first round pick scored two runs and stole his seventh bag of the year. Hayes had one hit in four credited at-bats, but he also walked once. Will Craig was 1-4 with two runs scored and a RBI. Tucker, Hayes, and Craig were the first three hitters in the lineup. On top of that, all three were first round picks in the last three years. Definitely intriguing to see all three together. Christian Kelley and Alfredo Reyes were the other two hitters to have two hit games. Bradenton is now 14-11 for the season.
*Altoona’s Game was Postponed due to Weather
*All stats are courtesy of Baseball Reference and milb.com