Pittsburgh Pirates Single-A affiliate had a successful season.
The West Virginia Power, Single-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, had a solid 2017 season. During the first half of the season the Power went 30-36. During the second half, they caught fire and finished 39-31. This put them near the top of the South Atlantic League’s Northern division. The only team to finish ahead of them was the Greensboro Grasshoppers at 38-30. The Grasshoppers leaped over the Power on winning percentage points .559 to .557, giving the Grasshoppers the second half title and a playoff berth.
Overall the Power finished with a record of 69-67, good for fourth place in the seven-team northern division.
Albert Bauer carried the big stick for West Virginia in 2017. Bauer hit .298 with eight home runs and 65 RBIs. These marks led the team in batting average, and RBIs. He did this while also scoring a team second-best 56 runs. Bauer’s average was the third highest mark in the SAL this season.
Carlos Munoz hit .275 with five home runs and 49 RBI during his second trip to West Virginia. He was then promoted to Bradenton.
Clark Eagan emerged a bit this season offensively. Eagan hit .261 with eight homers and 59 RBI. He also hit five triples and stole five bases.
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Hunter Owen and Adrian Valerio hit 11 dingers a piece to lead West Virginia in that category. Owen finished with a .292 average and 45 RBI in 83 games after starting the year with the West Virginia Black Bears for three games.
Valerio played in 81 contests hitting .273 with 34 RBI and eight stolen bases. Not too bad a year for the Pirates 30th ranked prospect.
Luis Escobar went 10-7 with a 3.83 ERA in 26 appearances with 25 starts. Escobar set the Power franchise record for strikeouts with 168 better than Tyler Glasnow‘s 164 during the 2013 season. This impressive season earned him a spot in the Futures game and the 16th spot on the list of Pittsburgh Pirates top 30 prospects.
Eduardo Vera led the Power in ERA with 3.33. He made 19 starts and 27 appearances. Vera struck out 109 hitters while only walking 14 hitters in 132.1 innings pitched.
Oddy Nunez contributed a successful season in 2017. The left-hander went 5-8 with a 3.71 ERA in 25 games, making 24 starts. Nunez pitched 114 innings retiring 94 hitters on strikes and allowing 32 free passes.
Julio Eusebio and Geoff Hartlieb tied for the team lead in saves with six. Eusebio went six for eight in these opportunities, while Hartlieb went six for six. Hartlieb was later promoted to Bradenton after pitching in 20 games with a 0.83 ERA.
The Pittsburgh Pirates did send a variety of top prospects to Charleston. The highest ranking one was number 15 Oneil Cruz. Cruz played in 16 games with the Power after coming over from the Dodgers for Tony Watson. He hit .218 with two homers and eight RBI.
21st ranked prospects Stephen Alemais was with West Virginia for 29 games before moving on to Bradenton.
These combined with Escobar and Valerio made up the contingent of top prospects seeing time at this level.
West Virginia had a successful season overall, even if they may have been overlooked by the top talent in the Pirates system.