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Pirates Prospect Watch: Few Bright Spots For Young Bucs in Fall League



Pittsburgh Pirates-Jack Brannigan

It was a disappointing Tuesday night for the Pittsburgh Pirates prospects in the Arizona Fall League. However, there were a few bright spots in an otherwise dreadful game.

To begin, Jack Brannigan is still trying to find his legs as he struck out two more times. In addition, Brannigan has now struck out five times in seven at-bats while only putting two balls into play. One ball was a pop-out behind home plate. In addition, Brannigan finished the night 0-3 with a walk.

Brannigan did, however, showcase some range in the field while showing a high baseball IQ.

Brannigan had a groundball roll to him in the top of the second inning at shortstop. Instead of throwing to first base, Brannigan threw out the lead runner heading to third base.

See video below.

In the top of the ninth, with Salt River losing 8-1, Brannigan had a groundball go deep in the hole to his right. Brannigan ranged over and made a strong, accurate throw off-balanced. Despite not getting the out, Brannigan made that play closer than it should’ve been.

See video below.

Jase Bowen had an off night, going 1-4 with three strikeouts. Bowen’s one hit occurred in the bottom of the fifth inning off a weak roller to third base, and Bowen beat it out.

See video below.

Carter Bins had a rough night, going 0-4 with two strikeouts. Bins did reach base in the bottom of the fifth on a throwing error from shortstop Benjamin Cowles. That error resulted in the only run scored for Salt River.

On the pitching side of things, Alessandro Ercolani made his AFL debut at 19 years old, and like most 19-year-olds, he struggled with command.
Ercolani managed to walk four batters in 0.2 innings pitched, but he did strike out two. Ercolani’s slider flashed, plus stuff with four whiffs.

In addition, Mesa only swung at six pitches from Ercolani, and every time they swung, it was a whiff. When/if Ercolani has command, he looks really good.

Below is Ercolani’s second strikeout.

The last Pirates player to appear in the game was RHP Cameron Junker. The righty came in to pitch the eighth inning and pitched a scoreless frame.

Junker relied heavily on his slider, using it 60% of the time on 20 pitches. In addition, Junker allowed one hit one walk and struck out two.

Below is Junker’s second strikeout to end the inning.

Mesa dominated Salt River as they cruised to an 8-1 victory. Pirates hitters combined to go 1-11 with a walk and seven strikeouts. Salt River, as a team, struck out 14 times.

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