The Pittsburgh Pirates saw their top two affiliates combine to put up 18 runs last night. The teams had some really strong individual performances too.
The Pittsburgh Pirates farm system is not what it once was a few years ago. At one time they were considered a top five farm system in baseball for multiple years in a row. However, they have seen a lot of players graduate from the prospect ranks. Do not tell Triple-A Indianapolis and Double-A Altoona that though. These two teams still have multiple top draft picks who are producing as such.
Starting with the Indianapolis Indians, this team is headlined by former first-round pick Kevin Newman and former second-round pick Kevin Kramer. Both were drafted in 2015 and have quickly moved up the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league ranks. Last night they showcased why they are a call away from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Kramer had a perfect night collecting five hits in five plate appearances. He only had one extra-base hit which was a double, while he singled on the other four hits. Also, he scored a run. Still, this boosted his batting average on the season up to .293. Meanwhile, Kevin Newman continues to just keep hitting. Last night he was 2-6 with a home run, three runs batted in, and two runs scored. His home run was a two run jack.
A few other hitters chimed in last night with good at-bats. One of those hitters is Austin Meadows. Meadows technically is not considered a prospect anymore due to major league time, but it is good to see him producing after being demoted. He went 2-6 with a double and a two run home run. The last player is often overlooked, but solid minor league producer Pablo Reyes. Reyes had a 4-5 games last night and is now hitting .293.
Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Pirates may have seen the best collection of prospects at Double-A this year. Not only did the team have a loaded rotation to start the year, but they also had many top hitting prospects. The Curve saw three of their top hitting prospects each have two hits last night. Leading the crew was Futures Game participant Ke’Bryan Hayes who went 2-5 with two doubles. Hayes is now batting .293 on the season. Following Hayes in the lineup was offseason acquisition Bryan Reynolds, who went 2-4 with two singles and a walk. After Reynolds was 2016 first round pick Will Craig. Craig continued to drive people in going 2-5 with two runs batted in. On the season Craig has hit in 72 runners.
The most impressive performance came from a prospect who has always been called a glove-first player. In 2016, the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted shortstop Stephen Alemais in the third round out of Tulane. Alemais has put together a really nice season at Double-A thus far, playing mainly second base due to top prospect Cole Tucker getting the reps at shortstop. Alemais had his best game of the year last night going 4-5 with two runs batted in on the night. Alemais is now batting .278 on the season.
While the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system is not as heralded as it once was, the organization seems to have a lot of talent toward the upper levels. Players like Newman, Kramer, and obviously Meadows should be in Pittsburgh following the trade deadline. Meanwhile, those moves will allow top prospect Hayes and Craig move up to the highest minor league level.