Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects Struggling in the Arizona Fall League

By Jeff Moore
Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

Thanks to hitter-friendly ballparks, warm weather, and tired pitchers, the Arizona Fall League can lead to some wacky stats. That, coupled with a season that’s only a week-and-a-half old, means it’s way too early to put any stock in anything that’s taken place in the desert just yet.

So Pittsburgh Pirates fans have no reason to fret over the struggles of their six AFL prospects just yet.

The AFL is supposed to be a hitter’s playpen, but the Pirates pair of position prospects haven’t taken advantage of the warm desert air.

Matt Curry has posted an OPS of just .636 as the regular first baseman for the Scottsdale Scorpions, with 11 strikeouts in 31 plate appearances to just one walk. His .258 batting average seems like an all-star performance compared to that of Gift Ngoepe.

The slick-fielding shortstop prospect has never been known for his bat, but a .133 batting average won’t cut it. Even worse, he’s struck out in six of his 15 at-bats.

If the hitters can’t hack it, there’s not much hope for the pitchers.

Kyle Kaminska has been the one Pirates prospect to hold his own in the AFL. The right-hander acquired from the Miami Marlins during the season, has been a part of the Scorpions starting rotation, and has a 3.00 ERA over nine innings of work. He’s struck out just six but hasn’t walked a batter as he makes his case for a spot on the 40-man roster.

Victor Black recorded his first AFL save on Saturday, but he has continued his hard-throwing but wild ways, walking three batters in 3 2/3 innings with a 4.91 ERA over four appearances.

At least Black is getting a few guys out. Brandon Cumpton is having no such luck.

Cumpton is sporting a 9.00 ERA after three rough appearances in which he has failed to strike a batter out.

Tyler Waldron has fared better in his limited work, also throwing three innings in as many appearances, but walking a batter per inning over that time.

Again, read nothing into these numbers, other than perhaps Ngoepe re-affirming what we already knew about his poor offensive game. It’s early, and it’s the fall.

Still, it would be nice if the hitters at least, especially a player like Curry whose value resides completely in his bat, would take advantage of the environment and produce.

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