A look at Pittsburgh Pirates prospects in the Arizona Fall League

(Photo by Russell Lansford/Getty Images)
(Photo by Russell Lansford/Getty Images) /

The first week of the Arizona Fall League is in the books, so here is a look at how Pittsburgh Pirates’ prospects are performing thus far.

Each fall, prospects from around baseball play in the Arizona Fall League. Playing the AFL can be done for a variety of reasons. Some players do it in order to make up for at-bats lost during the season due to injury, while others may be learning a new position.

Currently, the Pittsburgh Pirates have seven prospects playing for the Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League. The first week of play is over in the AFL and the Desert Dogs find themselves with a record of 4-1.

Right-handed pitcher Mitch Keller is the most highly touted Pirate prospect in the AFL. The team’s top pitching prospect, as well as the top-50 overall prospect in baseball, made one start for the Desert Dogs this past week. In that start he allowed three hits, a walk, and struck out four in three scoreless innings pitched.

Joining Keller on the Desert Dogs’ pitching staff are left-handed pitchers Brandon Waddell and Taylor Hearn, as well as right-handed pitcher J.T. Brubaker.

After pitching for Double-A Altoona this season, Hearn and Brubaker are off to strong starts in the AFL while Waddell has struggled. Hearn pitched one inning this past week and he recorded a strikeout while not allowing a base runner. In two scoreless innings pitched Brubaker allowed a hit, issued a walk, and has struck out three.

Unlike the other three pitchers mentioned who all made one appearance this past week in AFL play, Waddell made two. However, he struggled in these outings. Waddell has allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits and four strikeouts in three innings pitched.

On top of these four pitchers, the Pittsburgh Pirates also have three position players on the Glendale Desert Dogs’ roster. These three players are infielders Kevin Kramer and Mitchell Tolman, as well as outfielder Logan Hill.

Of these three hitters the one with the highest ceiling is Kramer. After a great, and injury-shortened, season at Dobule-A this year (.388 wOBA, 141 wRC+ in 53 games played) he had a great first week of play in the AFL. In two games played Kramer 3-for-7 with a double, he walked twice, and he drove in a run.

Fellow infielder Mitchell Tolman spent his entire season, minus three games, at High-A Bradenton. He made three starts for the Desert Dogs this past week and was just 2-for-10. However, both of his hits were doubles and he also drew three walks.

Outfielder Logan Hill is coming off a season that saw him split time between High-A and Double-A. In three starts in the AFL’s first week, Hill was 3-for-11 with a pair of home runs and he drove in five. This continues his power surge as he hit  18 home runs in the minors this season, to go along with a .247 ISO and .513 slugging percentage at High-A and a .149 ISO and a .413 slugging percentage at Double-A.

Next: Breaking down Trevor Williams' 2017 season

That will do it for this week. Throughout the course of the Arizona Fall League continue to check here at Rum Bunter for updates on how Pittsburgh Pirates’ prospects are performing in AFL games.