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Battling Bucs : Minors Update: The Young Ones

By Kipper @pghsportsforum
I had originally intended to do an update on the pitching but I think its still too early to heavily focus on them as to get a reasonable sample of players I had to set the minimum innings down to 10 and that seemed to low to me. Instead I have decided to see how the Pirates prospects who are young for their level are doing. Now what you consider a young prospect is up for debate but as I have eluded to earlier I have an age scale I like to use.
AAA: 27+/org player, 25-26/old prospect, 24/age appropriate, 23-/young prospect
AA: 25+/org player, 24/old prospect, 23/age appropriate, 22-/young prospect
A+: 24+/org player, 23/old prospect, 22/age appropriate, 21-/young prospect
A: 23+/org player, 22/old prospect, 21/age appropriate, 20-/young prospect
It isn't a perfect scale and there is often a need to make exceptions but for the point of this exercise I am going to stick by it. Below are all the young prospects to appear with a Pirates affiliate this season. For hitters I have included their PA and wRC+ and for pitchers I have included their IP, ERA and FIP
Hitters : Player (Level), Pos: PA/wRC+
Wyatt Mathisen (A), 3B: 98 PA / 62 wRC+
Edwin Espinal (A), 1B: 93 PA / 78 wRC+
Reese McGuire (A), C: 59 PA / 54 wRC+
Harold Ramirez (A), OF: 15 PA / 46 wRC+
Elvis Escobar (A), OF: 11 PA / 1 wRC+
Josh Bell (A+), OF: 105 PA / 113 wRC+
Max Moroff (A+), 2B: 103 PA / 89 wRC+
Jose Osuna (A+), 1B: 93 PA / 107 wRC+
Jin-De Jhang (A+), C: 65 PA / 60 wRC+
Eric Wood (A+), 3B: 46 PA / 112 wRC+
Alen Hanson (AA), SS: 98 PA / 77 wRC+
Willy Garcia (AA), OF: 84 PA / 100 wRC+
Gregory Polanco (AAA), OF: 108 PA / 211 wRC+
Pitchers : Player (Level): IP/ERA/FIP
Luis Heredia (A): 5.0 IP / 7.20 ERA / 3.57 FIP
Chad Kuhl (A+): 28.1 IP / 5.08 ERA / 3.86 FIP
Jhondaniel Medina (A+): 9.1 IP / 3.86 ERA / 2.33 FIP
Tyler Glasnow (A+): 7.0 IP / 2.57 ERA / 5.97 FIP
Oderman Rocha (A+): 2.1 IP / 0.00 ERA / 1.69 FIP
Andy Otamendi (A+): 1.2 IP / 10.80 ERA / 6.40 FIP
Nick Kingham (AA): 26.0 IP / 3.46 ERA / 3.29 FIP
Adrian Sampson (AA): 24.2 IP / 1.82 ERA / 3.08 FIP
Joely Rodriguez (AA): 24.1 IP / 5.92 ERA / 4.60 FIP
Casey Sadler (AAA): 27.0 IP / 1.67 ERA / 3.57 FIP
Looking at the hitting lines and ignoring Polanco for a second I think the most remarkable thing about them is that none of them are really all that remarkable. Sure its disappointing to see Mathisen, McGuire, Jhang and Hanson off to slow starts but none of them have been completely awful and really none of them are all that surprising. Mathisen despite repeating the level is learning a new position, McGuire is very young and we knew his bat was the weak part of his game, Jhang received an aggressive push and Hanson is performing about the same as last year when he reached AA. I'm thinking Hanson is probably receiving intensive instruction on the defensive side of his game and once he becomes more comfortable with that the bat will start to come around.
On the flip side its good to see Bell, Moroff, Osuna, Wood and Garcia all holding their own to some degree but none of them are really posting great numbers. Bell has just been solid and considering his pedigree anything less would be disappointing, Moroff is just continuing his high BB and high K routine, Osuna's having a decent start but considering he is repeating the level that was expected, Wood has just gotten healthy not long ago and is off to his 3rd straight good start (hopefully he doesn't fade this time) and Garcia is still striking out a ton.
That leaves Espinal, Ramirez and Escobar as names I haven't mentioned. Ramirez got injured early on and Escobar just joined the team so really despite their early numbers being awful we really can't read anything into them. As for Espinal he is a big dude who hasn't tapped into his power yet, he is a project and considering that his numbers are in line with what should have been expected.
All that leaves is Polanco and well I'm not writing this to be about him.
As for the pitchers I was kind of disappointed not to see more of them. It kind of shocked me that the only young pitching prospect in A ball was Luis Hereida and due to his injury he has barely pitched. In A+ we get a few more but that staff has been riddled with injuries and overuse which is really the only reason Rocha and Otamendi appeared. Both are likely just organizational players.
Kuhl is in the mold of Cumpton and Sadler and has been solid despite his less than stellar ERA. Glasnow is still getting his feet wet after the back injury and has had one good and one not so good outing. Medina is a borderline relief pitcher prospect, acquired for Yamaico Navarro, and he has been just decent so far.
Moving up to AA we get the front of their rotation and its a mixed bag of results. The best prospect of the group, Kingham has been decent but more was expected out of him. Right now it seems unlikely he'll make it to Pittsburgh this season. Sampson despite his aggressive promotion is off to a surprisingly good start and has probably been the breakout pitching prospect thus far. Rodriguez on the other hand after a small breakout year last season and subsequently being placed on the 40 man roster has been a disappointment. All that leaves us with Sadler and he of course pitched very well in his starts in AAA and now finds himself trapped in the major league bullpen unable to get into any action.
Overall aside from Polanco this group of players really hasn't been all that notable this year. Although considering they are young for their levels that isn't necessarily an awful thing. The group as a whole has done alright and while we all would like them to be posting video game like numbers really just alright is a decent accomplishment for them. Hopefully a handful of them will turn it on and give us something to talk about.

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