It might be MLB playoff time, but there are still a few Pirates playing competitive baseball. Gerrit Cole, Robbie Grossman and several other Pirate prospects playing in the Arizona Fall League, which showcases many top prospects (especially hitting prospects) who are around the Class AA level.â†µ
Many games in the AFL are slugfests, and that was the case on Tuesday, as Mesa (the teams the Pirates' prospects are playing on) lost to Phoenix, 12-8 on the AFL's first day. Cole didn't pitch, but Grossman went 2-for-4 with a homer and a walk. Infield prospect Jarek Cunningham went 0-for-4.â†µ
Pitcher Phil Irwin went 2.1 innings and allowed two solo home runs. That's not necessarily anything to worry much about. As is often the case with AFL pitchers, Irwin is a fringe prospect. Cole is pitching in Arizona because he signed too late after the draft to pitch in the minors, and the Pirates want him to get some work in. But for the most part, teams are very careful about having their pitchers throw too many innings, so they'll often send top hitting prospects to Arizona, but not top pitchers. That means to expect more 12-8 scores as the autumn goes on.