Hey guys, I’ve reached the final team of the 2017 SAL team preview series it’s been a fun ride, I hope you’ve gotten as much out of these as I have. I’m wrapping things up today with a look at the West Virginia Power. The Power are the Single-A Pirates full season Affiliate.
Previously I’ve covered the:
Asheville Tourists (Rockies)- http://notesfromthesally.com/2016/12/01/previewing-the-2017-asheville-tourists/
Augusta Greenjackets (Giants)- http://notesfromthesally.com/2016/12/13/previewing-the-2017-augusta-greenjackets/
Charleston Riverdogs (Yankees)- http://notesfromthesally.com/2016/12/31/previewing-the-2017-charleston-riverdogs/
Columbia Fireflies (Mets)- http://notesfromthesally.com/2017/01/03/previewing-the-2017-columbia-fireflies/
Delmarva Shorebirds (Orioles)- http://notesfromthesally.com/2017/01/09/previewing-the-2017-delmarva-shorebirds/
Greensboro Grasshoppers (Marlins)- http://notesfromthesally.com/2017/01/23/previewing-the-2017-greensboro-grasshoppers/
Greenville Drive (Red Sox)- http://notesfromthesally.com/2017/01/31/previewing-the-2017-greenville-drive/
Hagerstown Suns (Nationals)- http://notesfromthesally.com/2017/02/07/previewing-the-2017-hagerstown-suns/
Hickory Crawdads (Rangers)- http://notesfromthesally.com/2017/02/13/previewing-the-2017-hickory-crawdads/
Kannapolis Intimidators (White Sox)- http://notesfromthesally.com/2017/02/27/previewing-the-2017-kannapolis-intimidators/
Lakewood Blueclaws (Phillies)-
Lexington Legends (Royals)-
Rome Braves (Braves)-
For those not familiar with the SAL team preview series, I scour the lower levels of each organization and speculate on who might be coming to the Sally in 2017 and whenever possible I try to include scouting report. It’s a lengthy process but I enjoy it and I learn a ton.
For the purpose of this piece I studied the 2016 West Virginia Power, West Virginia Black Bears, Bristol Pirates and GCL Pirates.
At Notes From the Sally its all about live look scouting. I set a goal this year to see every team in the SAL at least twice in the 1st half (April 6th-June 18th). Once I see the West Virginia Power you can expect write ups on many of the players listed below. I expect to see West Virginia in Hickory for 2 games in mid April and in Asheville in mid May.
I’ve got a fund drive going right now, I set a goal to raise $250 this year to counter the costs associated with live scouting a league this size (tons of road trips plus hotel stays when I go to Columbia, Greensboro and Kannapolis) I’ve attached links to my Patreon and to Pay Pal. If you get anything out of this site please consider contributing to the cause $1, $5, $10 it all adds up. Thank you.
Lets meet the notables
1B, 3B) Will Craig- Age 22, listed 6’3″ 212, bats and throws right. Craig was drafted 22nd overall in the 2016 draft out of Wake Forest Univ (Winston-Salem, NC)
John Sickles of “Minor League Ball” released his Pirates top 20 prospects list back at the end of December and said this of Craig:
“Age 22, first round pick in 2016 from Wake Forest; hit .280/.412/.362 with 41 walks, 37 strikeouts in 218 at-bats in New York-Penn League; exceptional strike zone judgment; raw power grades at 55 or 60 but hasn’t gotten to that with wooden bats yet; feel for hitting and terrific eye give him a good chance to adjust; strong throwing arm but otherwise not a lot of athleticism, defense at third base is very rough and he doesn’t run well enough for the outfield; may be a DH eventually. ETA 2019.”
For the rest of Minor League Ball’s top 20 Pirates Prospects click here: http://www.minorleagueball.com/2016/12/31/14136268/pittsburgh-pirates-top-20-prospects-for-2017
RHP) Luis Escobar- Age 20, listed 6’1″ 155 lbs, bats and throws right. Escobar was signed out of Columbia in 2013.
The good folks over at “Pirates Breakdown” helped me a great deal with last years WV Power preview. TJ Conley (one of the staff writers) wrote up Escobar recently, sounds promising: Pittsburgh Pirates 2017 Prospect Projections: Luis Escobar
SS) Stephen Alemais- Age 21, listed 6′ 190 lbs, bats and throws right. Alemais was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 draft out of Tulane Univ (New Orleans).
Eric Longenhagen of “Fangraphs” recently counted down his top 21 Pirates Prospects. He loves the defense and the makeup but questions the bat.
“A chop-and-run hitter with no game power and a generally poor feel for hitting, literally all of Alemais’ profile is wrapped up in his defensive promise. Alemais is an athletic shortstop with the range, actions and arm to play there and potentially become plus. He’s a confident, high-effort player with great makeup, but the ceiling is capped by his offensive inabilities. He projects as a utility man.”
For the rest of “Fangraphs” Pirates top 21 Prospects click here: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/top-21-prospects-pittsburgh-pirates/
LHP) Cam Vieaux- Age 23, listed 6’4″ 200 lbs, bats and throws left. Vieaux was drafted in the 6th round of the 2016 draft out of Michigan State Univ.
Rob Ozga of “the Baseball draft report” does a terrific job breaking down the draft every year. He also does team recaps sharing his thoughts on every pick. Here’s some of what he wrote about Vieaux.
“I really like Vieaux as a potential back of the rotation big league starter. He checks all the familiar boxes: solid fastball (86-92, 94 peak), quality assortment of offspeed stuff (he’ll flash an above-average 75-78 CB, above-average 77-81 SL, and average 81-83 CU, though each pitch has seen some ups and downs over the years) that gives him options when one secondary offering is working better than the rest, sturdy frame (6-5, 200 pounds), solid athleticism, good control. Probably the biggest thing working against him — minus the absence of a singular consistent above-average to plus pitch he can rely on every trip to the mound — is his age. Vieaux will be 24-years-old at the onset of his first full pro season. If he is to achieve that fourth starter ceiling I think he’s capable of, then he needs to get moving fast.”
For more on Vieaux and the rest of the Pirates draft class click here: 2016 MLB Draft Reviews – Pittsburgh Pirates
RHP) Blake Cederlind- Age 21, listed 6’3″ 190 lbs, bats and throws right. Cederlind was drafted in the 5th round of the 2016 draft out of Merced College (Merced, CA).
Nicholas Caporoso of “Rum Bunter” has a Cederlind write up here: http://rumbunter.com/2016/06/10/pittsburgh-pirates-mlb-draft-4th-and-5th-round-picks/2/
These next the 3 are all prep pitchers who spent time in the GCL post draft and are likely headed for Bristol or the WV Black Bears. Though we may see one or all in the 2nd half.
RHP) Travis MacGregor- Age 19, listed 6’3″ 180 lbs, bats and throws right. MacGregor was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft out of high school in Tarpon Springs, FL (Tampa area).
mlb.com released there top 30 Pirates prospects recently and said this about MacGregor:
“MacGregor started racing up Draft boards as June approached in 2016 as he was touching 95 mph with his fastball. The Pirates love developing young pitching and took the Florida high school product in the second round, a bit ahead of where the industry had him. He had a solid pro debut in the Gulf Coast League.”
“MacGregor entered pro ball a bit on the raw side, but he has the makings of a very good three-pitch mix coming from an athletic build that has already shown the ability to take on strength. His fastball typically sits in the low 90s and he throws it with good sink to get groundball outs. There is confidence he will add velocity as he physically matures. He has a good feel for his changeup already and there are glimpses of a solid curveball, though he can’t always throw it for strikes. It may take some time, but MacGregor’s athleticism should allow him to repeat his delivery and find the strike zone consistently.”
“The right-hander has already impressed with his makeup and work ethic, taking advantage of being from Florida and spending all offseason in Bradenton. He’s already showing more strength, with a jump in stuff a strong possibility.”
For the rest of the Pirates top 30 click here: http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2017/?list=pit
LHP) Braeden Ogle- Age 19, listed 6’2″ 170, bats and throws left. Ogle was drafted in the 5th round of the 2016 draft out of high school in Jensen Beach, FL (Port St Lucie area).
Jason Shetler of “Bucco Nation” wrote about Ogle at the time of his signing here: https://bucconation.wordpress.com/2016/06/21/pirates-sign-braeden-ogle/
RHP) Max Kranick- Age 19, listed 6’3″ 175 lbs, bats and throws right. Kranick was drafted in the 11th round of the 2016 draft out of high school in Archbald, PA. (Scranton metro).
Here’s a link to Kranick’s pre-draft video. He was projected to go in the top 5 rounds.
Around the diamond
Brent Gibbs- Age 22, listed 6’1″ 215, bats and throws right. Gibbs was drafted in the 7th round of the 2016 draft out of Central Arizona Junior College.
There’s a lot of good background information on Gibbs here: http://advantagenews.com/sports/baseball-gibbs-selected-in-seventh-round-by-pirates/
Arden Pabst- Age 22, listed 6’1″ 202, bats and throws right. Pabst was drafted in the 12th round of the 2016 draft out of Georgia Tech.
C-RF) Kevin Krause- Age 24, listed 6’2″ 200, bats and throws right. Krause was drafted in the 9th round of the 2014 draft out of SUNY Stony Brook.
C-1B) Chris Harvey- Age 24, listed 6’5″ 220, bats and throws right. Harvey was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Vanderbilt in 2014.
If Gibbs makes the jump to full season than maybe him and Pabst see the lions share of reps but if he heads for the Black Bears than Krause and Harvey could see time, Harvey could also see time at 1B.
Other catchers who could see time: Raul Hernandez could be back.
2B) Kevin Mahala- Age 22, listed 6’3″ 180 lbs, bats and throws right. Mahala was drafted in the 18th round of the 2016 draft out of George Washington Univ.
SS) Stephen Alemais
2B, SS) Trae Arbet- Age 22, listed 6′ 185 lbs, bats and throws right. Arbet was drafted in the 5th round of the 2013 draft out of high school in Temecula, CA ( halfway between LA and San Diego). He missed nearly all of 2016 due to injury.
There are a lot of players here. I think Alemais will be the starting SS, I also think Arbet is coming and he could see time at both from there I’m guessing Mahala but it could be Arbet starting at 2B and Leffler spelling both. Time will tell.
Other middle infield options: Alfredo Reyes (SS) could be back. Tyler Leffler (2B,SS), Erik Forgione (SS, 2B, OF), Daniel Cucjen (2B, SS, 3B), Raul Siri (2B, 3B)
1B) Albert Baur- Age 25, listed 6’4″ 215, bats left and throws right. Baur could be a candidate to skip because of his age.
3B) Will Craig-
In all likely hood Craig will be the starter at 3B, Baur could start at 1B as could Herrera.
Other Corner Infield options: Nick King (3B, 2B), Huascar Fuentes (1B, LF), Jhoan Herrera (1B), Julio De La Cruz (3B)
LF-RF) Matt Diorio- Age 21, listed 6’1″ 195 lbs, bats left and throws right. Diorio was drafted in the 16th round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of Central FL.
CF-LF-RF) Clark Eagan- Age 22, listed 6’1″ 195 lbs, bats left and throws right. Eagan was drafted in the 9th round out of the Univ of Arkansas.
CF) Sandy Santos- Age 22, listed 6’3″ 185 lbs, bats and throws right. Santos was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2012.
LF-RF) Ty Moore- Age 23, listed 6′ 190 lbs, bats left and throws right. Moore was drafted in the 15th round of the 2015 draft out of UCLA.
The Outfield is tough to predict but I think Eagan will start in one corner probably LF, Diorio may start in RF though there’s traffic there. Santos should be the starting CF.
Other OF options: Ryan Nagle (RF) could be back. Hunter Owen (LF, RF, 3B), Henrry Rosario (RF), Alexis Bastardo (RF), Garrett Brown (CF, LF, RF), Victor Fernandez (LF, CF, RF), Michael De La Cruz (CF, LF)
RHP) Luis Escobar-
LHP) Cam Vieaux-
In addition to Escobar and Vieaux these pitchers could make the jump from the Black Bears.
RHP) Danny Beddes- Age 22, listed 6’6″ 240 lbs, bats and throws right. Beddes was drafted in the 15th round of the 2016 draft out of Utah Valley State Univ.
RHP) Matt Anderson- Age 22, listed 6’2″ 200, bats and throws right. Anderson was drafted in the 10th round of the 2016 draft out of Morehead State Univ (Morehead, KY)
RHP) Stephen Mayer- Age 22, listed 6’4″ 190 lbs, bats and throws right. Mayer was drafted in the 18th round of the 2015 draft out of Bellevue Univ (Bellevue, NE).
RHP) James Marvel- Age 23, listed 6’3″ 185 lbs, bats and throws right. Marvel was drafted in the 36th round of the 2015 draft out of Duke Univ.
and any of these starters could make the jump from Bristol
RHP) Blake Cederlind-
RHP) Matt Eckelman- Age 23, listed 6’4″ 240 lbs, bats and throws right. Eckelman was drafted in the 21st round of the 2016 draft out St Louis Univ.
RHP) Adam Oller- Age 22, listed 6’4″ 225 lbs, bats and throws right. Oller was drafted in the 20th round of the 2016 draft out of Northwestern State Univ of Louisiana.
RHP) Nicholas Economos- Age 21, listed 6’6″ 215 lbs, bats and throws right. Economos was drafted in the 21st round of the 2015 draft out of Mercer County Community College (West Windsor, NJ)
I enjoyed deep diving into the Pirates system there’s a lot to like down in the low minors.
There are a lot of long and lean pitchers on the horizon (they all seem to be 6’4″ 170 lbs)(this seems like an organizational trend) many will get to Charleston this year some probably won’t. For position players there are a lot of recent college draftees selected in the early to mid rounds headed our way. We’ll see who stands out. As soon as I see the Power expect many write ups.
This wraps up the preview series for this year, it’s been a lot of fun.
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Up next is a wrap up of the preview series and I’ll announce the two teams I think are the most talented heading into the 2017 season. Which is now just 9 days away. Cheers