The Indianapolis Indians, the Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate has been in town all weekend, so I decided to head down to Louisville Slugger Field. Rudy Owens was on the hill for the Indians and it was my first glimpse of 2009 1st round pick, Tony Sanchez. Oh, and the organization’s number one hitting prospect is there, too (for now).
I’ve seen Owens quite a few times. He pitched pretty well tonight. He rolled through the first two innings without any problems. In the third, he gave up back-to-back walks to start the inning and allowed a run to score with an infield single. He minimized the damage, though, thanks to two strikeouts in the inning. He gave up a leadoff double in the fourth inning. Owens would have gotten out of the inning unscathed, but Chase d’Arnaud made an errant throw that would have been the third out into the stands to allow a run to score. Owens ended the night giving up just those two runs (one earned) over six innings. He struck out five and walked two. His fastball sat in the 87-89 mph range throughout the night. His change-up was definitely his out pitch and he kept opposing hitters off-balance with it all night long.
This was my second time seeing Marte and he definitely impressed me. It was just one game, but his performance tonight actually left me feeling pretty confident that if the Pirates did, in fact, call him up in the near future, he would be more than able to hold his own at the Major League level. In his first at-bat, he fouled off a few pitches and worked the count very well. He then lined an RBI single to center field, staying back on a breaking ball. In his second at-bat, he absolutely launched a ball that cleared the 405 ft sign in center field with plenty of room to spare. His tools are all very apparent and he is knocking very loudly on the door right now.
As I mentioned before, it was my first time seeing Sanchez, who is currently having a pretty hard time adjusting to Triple-A pitching after his promotion from Altoona. Before today’s game, he was hitting just .180/.219/.230 for the Indians in 17 games. Sanchez looked a lot better than that line today. He grounded out in his first at-bat in the 2nd inning. In the fourth inning, he hit a ball about as hard as a person can hit a ball, it just was directly at the shortstop for a line out. In his third at-bat, he got a hold of one that I thought had a chance to be his first home run of the season, but it hit off the base of the wall in center field. In his final at-bat, he hit a hard grounder that found its way through the right side of the infield for a single. Defensively, I didn’t get to see his arm as no one tested it. He did do a good job of blocking balls in the dirt. Chris Leroux did throw a “wild pitch” in the 7th inning on a fastball that was high that I think Sanchez would say he should have caught. I’m not sure if it was a cross-up or not, but it deflected off Sanchez’ glove allowing a runner to advance.
d’Arnaud homered to left-center field in the third inning, his second of the year. He also showed off his speed in the 5th inning where he walked to lead off the inning. He stole 2nd base, and then stole third base. He has stolen 22 bases in 22 attempts. Not a bad percentage.
Navarro crushed a ball over the right field wall, his third.
Hague roped a double off the left field wall in his first at-bat and collected another hit later in the game. He also looked okay at third base defensively.
Leroux, who is finishing up his rehab, gave up a run thanks to a walk and a double in one inning of work. It’s going to be interesting to see what the Bucs do when it is time for him to be activated, which should be any day now. It is basically going to have to come down to the Bucs either wanting to keep Chris Resop or Leroux. Both are out of options and there isn’t anybody else in the bullpen who shouldn’t be on the active roster.
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