Pittsburgh Pirates: Big Night For Minor League Starters

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates saw four of their top 30 prospects start in the minor leagues last night.  All four had impressive starts.

Last night, the Pittsburgh Pirates had four strong starts in the minor leagues.   The organization saw some of their best pitching prospects head to the mound at all four levels.  This included Clay Holmes at Triple-A, Taylor Hearn at Double-A, Luis Escobar at High-A, and Domingo Robles at Low-A. All four of them are considered top 30 prospects, with Hearn and Escobar ranked in the top 15.


Clay Holmes got a cup of coffee at the big league level earlier this season.  However, he pitched mainly out of the bullpen.  When he was reassigned and put into the Triple-A rotation, he struggled adjusting back into the role.  Last night he pitched against Norfolk Tides of the Baltimore Orioles organization.  Holmes threw six innings and struck out seven of the Tides’ batters.  He only gave up two hits and walked two batters.  Still, he did not allow a run in the start, lowering his earned run average to 4.31. In doing so he earned the win in the game.


Taylor Hearn was acquired in the Mark Melancon trade in 2016.  When he was brought in by the Pittsburgh Pirates many projected him to be a high-end back-end of the bullpen type arm.  However, the Pittsburgh Pirates continued to develop him as a starter.  Hearn had a rough stretch a few weeks ago, but he has rebounded with back-to-back solid starts, including last night. The big lefty went to the mound against the Portland Sea Dogs for the Boston Red Sox organization. Hearn fired off five innings and did not yield a run.  This is impressive being the Sea Dogs ended up posting 12 runs on the night and won in 10 innings.  Furthermore, Hearn struck out five batters, gave up four hits, and walked two.


Luis Escobar is one of those prospects that people keep waiting on to turn the corner.  The power right-hander shows a lot of promise at times, striking out hitters, having a power fastball, and being apart of the 2017 Futures Game.  However, he also still pitched to an earned run average around 4.00 the last two seasons.  Last night the Columbian pitcher threw seven innings and only gave up one earned run. He struck out six batters, but also gave up three walks and three hits.  Regardless, he picked up the win and lowered his season earned run average to 4.07.


Speaking of international prospects, Domingo Robles threw the ball really effective last night.  The lefty started to come onto the scene last season when MLB Pipeline put him in their end of the year top 30 prospect list.  Now 20 years of age, Robles is starting to show some of his promise. The Pittsburgh Pirates product threw seven innings and did not allow an earned run.  Of course, he did give up two runs, but they were not charged as earned. Across those seven innings he struck out six, allowed five hits, but did not walk a single batter.  The Dominican now has an earned run average of 3.15.

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All four of these pitchers have high upside.  All threw the ball really well last night and lowered their season earned run averages.  Hopefully, at one point or another, they will be part of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Obviously, Holmes already made an appearance and Hearn could be as soon as this season.  Meanwhile, the other two might be in a few years.