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Pirates Prospect Watch: Rough Day in Desert For Young Bucs

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Pittsburgh Pirates-Tyler Samaniego

We are now five games into the Arizona Fall League season. Friday night, Pittsburgh Pirates prospects Jase Bowen (center field), Carter Bins (catcher), Alessandro Ercolani (RHP), and Cameron Junker (RHP) played against Mesa.

Starting with Bowen, he led off Friday night’s game for Salt River. Despite Bowen going 0-4, he made a lot of solid contact for Salt River. Bowen had exit velocities of 89.2 mph, 106.0 mph, 96.5 mph, and 93.7 mph.

Bowen’s main issue Friday night was his launch angle. Two out of the four balls put into play resulted in negative launch angles, and his 106 mph flyout was 39 degrees.

It seemed to be one extreme or the other for Bowen, but it’s promising to see such hard contact consistently.

Carter Bins got the lone hit for Pirates prospects Friday night with an infield single. Funny enough, Bins’ single had an exit velocity of 68 mph with a -50 launch angle.

In addition, Bins went 1-3 on the night with two strikeouts. What will be interesting is to see how often Bins is behind the plate, seeing he only played in 31 games during the 2023 minor league season due to injuries.

Moving forward to Ercolani, he struggled with his command again, issuing two walks and throwing ten strikes out of 24 pitches.

Control issues are to be expected from a 19-year-old prospect. Seeing how the young pitcher rebounds from this appearance will be interesting.
Ercolani’s final line read 1.0 innings pitched, one hit, one run, two walks, and one strikeout.

In addition, Ercolani’s fastball velocity averaged 93.7 mph with a max velocity of 95.3 mph.

Junker may have had the worst night out of all the Pirates prospects to appear in Friday night’s game. In 1.1 innings pitched, Junker allowed two hits, four runs (three earned), two walks, and struck out none.

Junker had to throw a lot of pitches (36) in his brief time and struggled with command (16 strikes). On the bright side, Junker didn’t allow hard contact with balls put into play (seven)

Mesa’s average exit velocity when facing Junker was 84 mph. In addition, Junker’s slider saw the most action, with six out of seven balls put into play with an average exit velocity of 84.2 mph.

Much like the Pirates prospects, Salt River struggled and lost to Mesa 6-1. In addition, Friday night was the first night Jack Brannigan did not play for Salt River.

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