Pittsburgh Pirates Minors: Waddell, Marvel, Robles

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates saw three interesting pitching prospects head to the mound yesterday.  Two of the three pitchers made their debuts at new levels.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are at that time of the year where they are starting to promote players to their next minor league level.  Recently they promoted pitchers, James Marvel and Domingo Robles.  Both pitchers had really solid years at their respective levels and will now get a feel for the minor league level they will likely start at next season.  Meanwhile, Triple-A Indianapolis sent a pitcher to the mound who was promoted earlier this year.

Triple-A Indianapolis

The Indianapolis Indians sent lefty pitcher Brandon Waddell to the mound.  He has been up with Triple-A since the end of May.  He has made 15 appearances including 11 starts. Start number 11 was yesterday against the Pawtucket Red Sox.  The former Virginia Cavalier gave up 2 runs in the first inning.  However, the Red Sox’s lineup struggled to push a run across after that

The lefty ended up only pitching five hits and did not give up another run after the first.  He scatted 8 hits across those 5 innings and recorded 3 strikeouts.  Even with the limited damage to Waddell, he took the loss.  The Indians dropped the game 3-2, with Kevin Newman and Kevin Kramer notching 2 hits each.

Double-A Altoona

James Marvel made his Curve debut yesterday.  This was after he pitched in 22 games including 21 starts for the High-A Bradenton Marauders.  For the Marauders, he went 9-6 with a 3.68 earned run average.  The former 36th round pick out of Duke is 6’4” and actually could be an interesting pitching prospect to follow now that he is in Double-A.

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His first Double-A start was a promising performance.  The big righty pitched against the Erie SeaWolves of the Detroit Tigers’ organization.  The former Blue Devil pitched got 2 outs in the 7th inning before he was removed from the game.  He gave up 2 earned runs on 6 hits.  However, he struck out batters while only walking 2.  Still, he like Waddell was tagged with the loss despite pitching a solid game. The Curve lost 3-1.  Ke’Bryan Hayes went 2-4 and Stephen Alemais was 3-4.

High-A Bradenton

The Marauders saw James Marvel depart to only see the Low-A West Virginia Power ace get promoted to High-A.  Robles really took a stride forward as a pitching prospect in Low-A this year.  The 20-year-old made 21 starts for the Power and pitched to a sub-3 ERA at 2.97.  Being a lefty, he is starting to establish himself as one of the better lefty pitching prospects in the Pittsburgh Pirates system.

With that being said, his first appearance as a member of the Marauders did not go well.  The lefty made his High-A debut against the Tampa Tarpons of the New York Yankees organization.  Robles was pulled in the 4th innings just going 3.1 innings total.  In those innings, he allowed 11 hits and 3 walks giving up a total of 9 earned runs.  Meanwhile, he only struck out 3 hitters.  The Marauders lost by a score of 10-8. Robles’ ERA after this poor outing is at 24.30.

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Obviously, Waddell and Marvel had excellent starts.  Waddell very well could earn a September call-up if the Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to add a lefty to the pen down the stretch.  However, it is not highly likely.  Meanwhile, Marvel looks comfortable already at Double-A.  Hopefully, he continues to pitch well at Double-A and builds up confidence to lead the staff next season.  Robles, of course, needs to have a big bounce-back start next time out.