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  1. #1
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    2017 Minor League Thread

    Top 30 Prospects*
    1. Austin Meadows, OF (AAA)
    2. Tyler Glasnow, RHP (AAA)
    3. Mitch Keller, RHP (A+)
    4. Josh Bell, 1B (MLB)
    5. Kevin Newman, SS (AA)
    6. Ke'Bryan Hayes, 3B (A)
    7. Cole Tucker, SS (A+)
    8. Taylor Hearn, LHP (A+)
    9. Nick Kingham, RHP (AAA)
    10. Will Craig, 3B (A+)
    11. Gage Hinsz, RHP (A+)
    12. Steve Brault, LHP (AAA)
    13. Clay Holmes, RHP (AAA)
    14. Luis Escobar, RHP (A)
    15. Elias Diaz, C (AAA)
    16. Alen Hanson, 2B (MLB)
    17. Trevor Williams, RHP (AAA)
    18. Braeden Ogle, LHP (Rk+)
    19. Edgar Santana, RHP (AAA)
    20. Kevin Kramer, 2B (AA)
    21. Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP (AAA)
    22. Travis MacGregor, RHP (Rk+)
    23. Max Kranick, RHP (Rk+)
    24. Jordan Luplow, OF (AA)
    25. Max Moroff, 2B (AAA)
    26. Yeudy Garcia, RHP (AA)
    27. Jose Osuna, 1B (AAA)
    28. Connor Joe, 3B (AA)
    29. Stephen Alemais, SS (A)
    30. Pablo Reyes, 2B (AA)

    * The list is my personal list and I've also included the player's regular position and the level at which I expect each to start the 2017 season.
    Follow Me On Twitter: @battling_bucs

  2. #2
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    I'm going to try and project the starting* 8 for each of the Pirates four full season affiliates.

    AAA
    C: Elias Diaz
    1B: Jose Osuna
    2B: Max Moroff
    3B: Eric Wood
    SS: Gift Ngoepe
    LF: Eury Perez
    CF: Austin Meadows
    RF: Danny Ortiz

    AA
    C: Jin-De Jhang
    1B: Chase Simpson
    2B: Kevin Kramer
    3B: Connor Joe
    SS: Kevin Newman
    LF: Jordan Luplow
    CF: Elvis Escobar
    RF: Michael Suchy

    A+
    C: Christian Kelley
    1B: Will Craig
    2B: Mitch Tolman
    3B: Ke'Bryan Hayes
    SS: Cole Tucker
    LF: Logan Hill
    CF: Casey Hughston
    RF: Jordan George

    A
    C: Arden Pabst
    1B: Albert Baur
    2B: Adrian Valerio
    3B: Kevin Mahala
    SS: Stephen Alemais
    LF: Victor Fernandez
    CF: Sandy Santos
    RF: Clark Eagan

    *Minor league teams don't really have starting lineups as the goal is too usually give a bunch of guys playing times but in a general sense these are the eight guys I'm expecting to get the most playing time early on though it very well many come through other positions.
    Follow Me On Twitter: @battling_bucs

  3. #3
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    Its Opening Day again! Of the minor league variety at least. I thought I'd take a quick look at the 4 Pirates affiliates initial 25 man rosters. These will change a lot throughout the year but the first roster gives us something set in stone to look at. I'll do some more detailed analysis later but for now I'll note the top prospects, pick a position player and pitcher who I think may break out and then pick two more sleepers who I think don't generally get enough attention.

    A: West Virginia Power
    Lineup: C Arden Pabst, 1B Albert Baur, 2B Trae Arbet, 3B Hunter Owen, SS Stephen Alemais, LF Victor Fernandez, CF Sandy Santos, RF Clark Eagan

    Bench: C Chris Harvey, IF Kevin Mahala, IF Logan Ratledge, OF Alexis Bastardo

    Rotation: Luis Escobar, Matt Anderson, James Marvel, Oddy Nunez*, Cam Vieaux*

    Bullpen: Blake Cederlind, Matt Eckelman, Matt Frawley, Hector Garcia*, Geoff Hartlieb, Jordan Jess*, Dylan Prohoroff, Eduardo Vera

    Top Prospects: Luis Escobar, Stephen Alemais

    Breakout Picks: Sandy Santos, James Marvel

    Sleepers: Hunter Owen, Hector Garcia

    A+: Bradenton Marauders
    Lineup: C Christian Kelley, 1B Will Craig, 2B Mitchell Tolman, 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes, SS Cole Tucker, LF Logan Hill, CF Casey Hughston, RF Kevin Krause

    Bench: C John Bormann, 1B/OF Jordan George, IF Alfredo Reyes, CI Daniel Arribas

    Rotation: Mitch Keller, Gage Hinsz, Taylor Hearn*, Dario Agrazal, Pedro Vasquez

    Bullpen: Jess Amedee, Jake Brentz*, Bret Helton, Seth McGarry, Yunior Montero, Logan Sendelbach, Sam Street, Daniel Zamora*

    Top Prospects: Will Craig, Ke'Bryan Hayes, Cole Tucker, Mitch Keller, Gage Hins, Taylor Hearn

    Breakout Picks: Logan Hill, Pedro Vasquez

    Sleepers: Casey Hughston, Jake Brentz

    AA: Altoona Curve
    Lineup: C Zane Chavez, 1B Connor Joe, 2B Kevin Kramer, 3B Wyatt Mathisen, SS Kevin Newman, LF Jordan Luplow, CF Elvis Escobar, RF Michael Suchy

    Bench: C Tomas Morales. CI Edwin Espinal, CI Chase Simpson, MI Pablo Reyes

    Rotation: Yeudy Garcia, Brandon Waddell*, JT Brubaker, Alex McRae, Tanner Anderson

    Bullpen: Tate Scioneaux, Miguel Rosario, Jared LaKind*, John Kuchno, Sean Keselica*, Montana DuRapau, Austin Coley, Buddy Borden

    Top Prospects: Connor Joe, Kevin Kramer, Kevin Newman, Jordan Luplow, Yeduy Garcia

    Breakout Picks: Pablo Reyes, JT Brubaker

    Sleepers: Elvis Escobar, Jared LaKind

    AAA: Indianapolis Indians
    Lineup: C Elias Diaz, 1B Jose Osuna, 2B Max Moroff, 3B Eric Wood, SS Gift Ngoepe, LF Danny Ortiz, CF Austin Meadows, RF Chris Bostick

    Bench: C Jacob Stallings, 1B/OF Jason Rogers, IF Anderson Feliz, IF Erich Weiss

    Rotation: Steven Brault, Drew Hutchison, Josh Lindblom, Clay Holmes, Tyler Eppler

    Bullpen: Cody Dickson*, Pat Light, Brett McKinney, Dovydas Neverauskas, Dan Runzler*, Angel Sanchez, Edgar Santana, AJ Schugel

    Top Prospects: Elias Diaz, Jose Osuna, Max Moroff, Austin Meadows, Steven Brault, Clay Holmes, Dovydas Neveruaskas, Edgar Santana

    Breakout Picks: Eric Wood, Angel Sanchez

    Sleepers: Chris Bostick, Cody Dickson
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  4. #4
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    Now a little more detail on the 100 players to make the minor league rosters.

    West Virginia Power
    Pabst - 2016 12th round pick; strong defensive catcher, weak bat
    Harvey - 2014 non drafted free agent has spent last three years in short season ball as a third catcher
    Baur - selected in 2015 as a senior spent two years in Morgantown, not good for a senior selection
    Arbet - good power from a middle infielder but high K rate as well, missed last year due to injury
    Owen - 2016 25th round pick, transitioning from OF to 3B, some good hitting potential but plate discipline
    Alemais - 2016 3rd round pick, outstanding defensive shortstop with bat that has a little potential
    Mahala - 2016 18th round pick, likely to be the most frequent extra bat used with DH
    Ratledge - org player who will serve as super utility guy
    Fernandez - coming off big year in Bristol but was old for the level, good speed and decent bat
    Santos - good power/speed combination with solid defense but needs to work on plate discipline
    Eagan - 2016 9th round pick, no standout tool but Pirates took him relatively high so might be something
    Bastardo - org player who will serve as 4th outfielder and occasional DH

    Escobar - top prospect on the team, has a very good arsenal of pitches, can reach mid 90s, poor command
    Anderson - 2016 10th round pick, senior selection but has good frame and decent stuff; sleeper prospect
    Marvel - drafted in 2015 while still recovering from TJ, will be his first year back in full swing, good upside
    Nunez - looked like a non-prospect but added velocity in the offseason, was standout in spring training
    Vieaux - 2016 6th round pick, low 90s lefty with back of the rotation upside, Pirates like this type of guy
    Cederlind - 2016 5th round pick, JuCo guy with mid 90s velocity but poor control, project with some upside
    Eckelman - 2016 21st round pick, big frame pitcher did well in Bristol last year, needs to prove himself
    Frawley - 2016 17th round pick, missed a lot of bats in his debut needs to continue to do so
    Garcia - sleeper prospect back in 2015 but TJ has cost him most of the last two years
    Hartlieb - 2016 29th round pick, good debut in Bristol but looks like an org arm long term
    Jess - 2016 31st round pick, another guy who did ok in his debut but looks like an org arm
    Prohoroff - 2016 8th round pick, good stuff with mid 90s fastball, project but could become a pen prospect
    Vera - moving from rookie ball to A ball without great results usually means you are an org guy

    Bradenton Marauders
    Kelley - sleeper catcher prospect, good defensively, started to show something with the bat
    Bormann - strong defensive catcher is a solid org guy, good guy to work with young pitchers
    Craig - 2016 1st round pick, solid hitter with questions about his defense and power
    Tolman - decent hitter, solid defender who doesn't excel in any one thing but is a good ball player
    Hayes - young 3B prospect who is solid defensively and a good hitter but needs to show some power
    Tucker - former 1st round pick who has yet to break out, flashes good tools needs to put it all together
    Aribas - solid org guy can hit a little bit and play 1B/3B/OF and even catch a little if needed
    Reyes - low level infield depth will likely play all over the field as needed
    Hill - good power and overall a solid hitter but he is old for the level so he'll have to keep proving himself
    Hughston - has all the tools to be a top prospect but has a major hole in his swing that leads to big K numbers
    Krause - former catcher with good power, has been hampered by TJ, needs a big year to stay relevant
    George - has hit very well the last two years but he is a corner guy with limited power

    Keller - high end pitching prospect who needs no introduction, needs to just keep maturing
    Hinsz -good prospect with mid 90s fastball and a good curve, potential mid rotation arm
    Hearn - lefty who can touch triple digits, upside is enormous but needs to reign in command some
    Agrazal - has big frame and good velocity but doesn't miss many bats as he has no good second pitch
    Vasquez - acquired for Caminero, average stuff but has produced good results so far
    Amedee - odd performance thus far, he racks up Ks but gets crushed when contact is made
    Brentz - another lefty who can touch triple digits but serious control problems, big upside though
    Helton - has done ok in first two years but looks like he is transitioning to an org guy this year
    McGarry - decent relief prospect with plus stuff, could be a solid middle reliever one day
    Montero - solid pitcher but he looks like he'll top out as upper level depth
    Sendelbach - similar to Helton, two ok years but he is moving to an org role this season
    Street - limited upside but Australian side arm pitchers are rare so he has that going for him
    Zamora - crafty left hander who has done well with deception thus far, those guys usually don't make it too far
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  5. #5
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    Altoona Curve
    Chavez - roster filler signed out of independent ball do to the McGuire and Gushue trades
    Morales - upper level catcher depth who will play at whatever level needed
    Joe - solid hitter but hasn't settled into any one position yet, bat may not be good enough as a 1B
    Espinal - 1B/3B that has flashed the occasional bit of promise but has never done more than hold his own
    Kramer - good contact hitter with a bit of pop, good defense at 2B but weak at SS
    Mathisen - shoulder injury last year hampered him but good athlete learning 3B with a solid bat
    Newman - great hitter but limited power, defense isn't superb at shortstop but its good enough
    Simpson - has done well in a bench role since being drafted, he is an org guy though
    Reyes - keeps getting stuck behind Kramer and Newman but he is a good 2B with speed and surprising power
    Luplow - good solid hitter who has shown to be a slow starter at each level, underrated prospect IMO
    Escobar - has always done ok but hasn't broken out but still will only be 22 this year so there is time
    Suchy - bug guy with power potential but his game is too walk dependent right now, needs to make better contact

    Garcia - breakout prospect in 2015 but took a step back last year, needs to get back to where he was in '15
    Waddell - low 90s lefty with solid secondary pitchers, limited upside but could be a back of rotation type
    Brubaker - big RHP with mid 90s fastball has missed bats but also has gotten hit hard at times
    McRae - average stuff but showed enough last year where he now looks like a borderline prospect
    Anderson - average stuff but he switched to a two seamer last year and has apparently taken well to it
    Scioneaux - has posted good results so far but stuff is only average, will need to prove himself in AA
    Rosario - sidearm pitcher who relies on hiding the ball well to succeed, upper level depth
    LaKind - converted 1B who has made big strides, throws low 90s with good breaking ball, potential middle reliever
    Kuchno - heavy groundball guy who is upper level depth
    Keslica - low 90s lefty with good command of his pitches, has done well up to this point
    DuRapau - was unhittable in 2015 but came back to earth last year, has a good cutter
    Coley - average stuff with ok results up to now but headed to an org role this year
    Borden - traded for SRod but resigned last year after TB released him, org depth at this point

    Indianapolis Indians
    Diaz - strong defensive catcher who can hit a little, will likely be asked to start if Cervelli gets injured
    Stallings - strong defensive catcher with no bat, respectable 4th option on the depth chart
    Osuna - big Spring and a decent bat but upside is probably a RH bench bat
    Moroff - patient hitter who could do to be more aggressive, solid defender at 2B, 3B and even SS
    Wood - bit of a breakout in 2016, improved defensively at 3B and started showing some power
    Ngoepe - very good defensive SS but very light bat, will likely see some time in the majors this year
    Weiss - non shortstop infielder who can plays decent defense and can hit a little
    Feliz - good approach at the plate but limited power and is a weak defender at SS
    Ortiz - veteran OF depth who can play OF well and has some pop but is poor contact guy
    Meadows - elite prospect who can really do it all and needs no introduction
    Bostick - utility infielder being tasked with a regular OF job, solid depth guy
    Rogers - nice MLB debut in 2015 with Brewers but struggled last year with Pirates and in AAA

    Hutchison - has been a useful MLB starter in past but looks lost now, still probably the first call up
    Brault - low 90s lefty with good secondary stuff, potential back of the rotation starter
    Holmes - big frame pitcher with decent stuff, looks like future 3/4 starter or back end reliever
    Eppler - throws mid 90s with good control but has weak secondary pitches so he doesn't miss a lot of bats
    Lindblom - spent last two years in Korea, earned a AAA SP spot due to a strong spring showing
    Dickson - left hander with 94-95 mph fastball but poor control, I think move to the pen will do him well
    Light - big arm can touch 100, throws a splitter to compliment, some control issues but potential back end reliever
    McKinney - solid upper level middle relief depth but probably looking at no more than a potential cup of coffee
    Neverauskas - big arm Lithuanian who can throw in the upper 90s with decent control
    Runzler - mid 90s LHP that can miss bats, control is an issue though
    Sanchez - missed last year due to TJ but was showing an uptick in velocity this Spring
    Santana - top relief prospect in system, can throw in the upper 90s and has moved very quickly
    Schugel - excellent change up and likely the first call up if an extra pen arm is needed early on
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  6. #6
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    One final post here on minor league day. I'm going to tier the members of each 25 man roster into groups. For quick reference:

    Elite Prospects: B grade or above (good chance at being above average performers)
    High End Prospects: C+/B- grade (big upside and/or good chance at being at least an average regular)
    Good Prospects: C grade (medium upside and/or good chance at being at least a role player)
    Borderline Prospects: C- (typical prospect, some upside and/or good chance at being a MLB depth player)
    Depth: Not Prospects D/D+ (past prospect status and/or upside is cup of coffee in majors)

    The difference between borderline and depth starts to blur the higher you get and is basically just an age/experience thing.

    AAA
    Elite Prospect: Austin Meadows

    High End Prospects: Steve Brault, Clay Holmes, Edgar Santana, Dovydas Neverauskas, Elias Diaz, Jose Osuna

    Good Prospects: Max Moroff, Eric Wood, Chris Bostick, Pat Light, Tyler Eppler

    Borderline Prospects: Erich Weiss, Anderson Feliz, Cody Dickson, Brett McKinney

    Major League Depth: Jacob Stallings, Jason Rogers, Gift Ngoepe, Danny Ortiz, Drew Hutchison, AJ Schugel, Josh Lindblom, Angel Sanchez, Dan Runzler

    AA
    Elite Prospect: Kevin Newman

    High End Prospects: Kevin Kramer, Jordan Luplow, Yeudy Garcia

    Good Prospects: Connor Joe, Pablo Reyes, Brandon Waddell, JT Brubaker, Jared LaKind

    Borderline Prospects: Wyatt Mathisen, Edwin Espinal, Chase Simpson, Elvis Escobar, Michael Suchy, Tanner Anderson, Alex McRae, Montana DuRapau, Sean Keselica, Tate Scioneaux, Miguel Rosario

    Upper Level Depth: Zane Chavez, Tomas Morales, Austin Coley, Buddy Borden, John Kuchno

    A+
    Elite Prospect: Mitch Keller

    High End Prospects: Ke'Bryan Hayes, Cole Tucker, Will Craig, Taylor Hearn, Gage Hinsz

    Good Prospects: Christian Kelley, Mitch Tolman, Logan Hill, Kevin Krause, Casey Hughston, Jake Brentz, Pedro Vasquez, Dario Agrazal, Seth McGarry

    Borderline Prospects: Bret Helton, Logan Sendelbach, Sam Street, Daniel Zamora Daniel Arribas, Jordan George

    Minor League Depth: Jess Amedee, Yunior Montero, John Bromann, Alfredo Reyes

    A
    Elite Prospects: N/A

    High End Prospects: Stephen Alemais, Luis Escobar

    Good Prospects: Sandy Santos, Victor Fernandez, Cam Vieaux, Blake Cederlind

    Borderline Prospects: Arden Pabst, Hunter Owen, Trae Arbet, Kevin Mahala, Clark Eagan, James Marvel, Matt Anderson, Oddy Nunez, Dylan Prohoroff, Hector Garcia

    Minor League Depth: Chris Harvey, Albert Baur, Logan Ratledge, Alexis Bastardo, Matt Frawley, Matt Eckelman, Jordan Jess, Geoff Hartlieb, Eduardo Vera
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  7. #7
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    It is still very early but I thought I'd post an update on who I think has helped/hurt their prospect status the most at each level. I'll pick a position player and a pitcher.

    A: West Virginia Power
    Help: Trae Arbet, after missing all last season due to injury Arbet was a bit of an after thought but he has been on fire to start the season building off his strong 2015 season in Bristol and most importantly cutting down on his Ks.

    Help: James Marvel, a late 2015 draft pick wouldn't ordinarily be interesting at all but Marvel only went so late because he had recently had TJ surgery. Last year was about getting back into action but this is a big test year for him and so far his results through 4 starts have been outstanding

    Hurt: Clark Eagan, it is tough to pick a guy here because West Virginia doesn't really have many prospects but Eagan was a 9th round pick last year and so far has shown little to justify being taken so high. He hasn't been awful thus far but needs to show something and simply hasn't yet

    Hurt: Matt Anderson, I was optimistic about Anderson after a strong debut performance last year but so far this year he has shown significant control issues and has already walked 10 people in just 15 innings

    A+: Bradenton Marauders
    Help: Casey Hughston, he has always been an interesting prospect due to the tools he possesses but his upside has appeared limited do to a major contact issue he had. The issue has by no means went away but Hughston appears to be showing some progress with his contact issues and that makes him an interesting prospect to watch

    Help: Pedro Vasquez, acquired from the Mariners it was tough to get a read on just how they viewed him but so far with the Pirates he has settled down nicely and while he is going to start having to miss more bats the control is good and he is off to a very good start

    Hurt: Will Craig, he is starting to come around now but for a while Craig wasn't hitting at all and even now his game is too dependent on drawing walks for a bat first corner player who is probably limited to 1B. It may be unfair but he was a 1st round pick so he is going to be held to a high standard

    Hurt: Gage Hinsz, this was a tough selection but Hinsz has been hit hard and hasn't missed many bats while also walking quite a few. He is young enough that it doesn't hurt him too badly but every other prospect pitcher is doing fairly well at this point

    AA: Altoona Curve
    Help: Kevin Kramer, my pick for breakout prospect Kramer has been mashing so far this season and has a terrific 1.136 OPS. He is also showing a bit of power with 8 of 21 hits having gone for extra bases.

    Help: Alex McRae, building off a solid showing in 2016 McRae has picked up where he left off and has been Altoona's best starter so far. He still doesn't miss enough bats but he has quickly went from looking like organizational filler to a potential Casey Sadler type.

    Hurt: Connor Joe, he has been ok so far this year but the real dent in his value is that he has been playing almost exclusive 1B/DH. Joe has a decent bat but probably not enough to carry him as a 1B. He is going to have to stick either at 3B (where he was playing) or OF (where he has played minimally this year)

    Hurt: Yeudy Garcia, the worrying drop in velocity and loss of control he experienced last year has carried over to AA and in fact has gotten worse. He managed to still post respectable numbers last year with those issues but has not been so fortunate this year

    AAA: Indianapolis Indians
    Help: Chris Bostick, having been tasked with filling an OF roles since the roster only has two true OFs Bostick has adapted well and seems to be capable at several different positions while also getting off to a solid start at the plate this season.

    Help: Tyler Eppler, rather surprisingly Eppler has been the team's best starter and continues to show his excellent command. Like a lot of the other pitchers listed he doesn't have the swing and msis stuff you'd like to see but you have to like the results you've seen so far

    Hurt: Elias Diaz, he can play catcher of that there is little doubt but at some point he needs to hit and he just isn't doing that. There is little doubt he is going to have a nice major league career but the bat will determine if it is a starter or as a backup

    Hurt: Clay Holmes, I didn't expect Holmes to take the league storming but some signs of competence would have been nice. His control has left him and he currently has an ERA over 5
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  8. #8
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    I was looking at whom the Pirates have had appear so far for them in the minors and thought I'd post about where all the players came from.

    They have had 57 position players appear so far
    - 27 have been college draft pick
    - 6 were draft picks taken out of high school
    - 1 was a JuCo pick
    - 12 were signed as international free agents
    - 6 were signed as minor league free agents
    - 2 were acquired via trade
    - 1 was taken in the Rule V draft
    - 2 were signed as undrafted free agents

    They have had 56 pitchers appear so far
    - 27 were college draft picks
    - 4 were drafted out of high school
    - 1 was a JuCo player
    - 11 were signed out of the international ranks
    - 3 were minor league free agents
    - 7 came over via trade
    - 2 were claimed off of waivers
    - 1 was an undrafted free agent

    So in all 113 players have appeared so far
    58% were drafted (8% out of HS, 2% out of JuCo, 48% out of college)
    20% were signed as international free agents
    8% were signed as minor league free agents
    8% were acquired via trade
    The rest came from other means: 3% undrafted, 2% waivers and 1% Rule V
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  9. #9
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    I know no one probably reads this thing anymore but I figured I'd post that I'm going to go get my first look at Mitch Keller on Saturday. He is making his first start in Altoona so I'm going to head on up and take a look.
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