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Pirates Arizona Fall League updates

October 16, 2019

Seven Pirates prospects are playing for the Peoria Javelinas in the 2019 Arizona Fall League: Shortstop Oneil Cruz (No. 3 prospect, MLB No. 57), outfielder Jared Oliva (No. 11), right-hander Blake Cederlind (No. 28), right-hander Nick Mears, right-hander Cody Ponce, right-hander Beau Sulser and catcher Jason Delay.

Seven Pirates prospects are playing for the Peoria Javelinas in the 2019 Arizona Fall League: Shortstop Oneil Cruz (No. 3 prospect, MLB No. 57), outfielder Jared Oliva (No. 11), right-hander Blake Cederlind (No. 28), right-hander Nick Mears, right-hander Cody Ponce, right-hander Beau Sulser and catcher Jason Delay.

AFL news and video | Pirates Top 30 Prospects

Here’s a day-by-day look at how Pittsburgh's AFL contingent is faring:

Oct. 16: Salt River 4, Peoria 2
Cody Ponce was tagged for three runs (two earned) over four innings in his fourth AFL start for Peoria. The 25-year-old right-hander allowed six hits for a second straight start but also racked up five strikeouts and threw 48 of 69 pitches for strikes in the outing. Overall, Ponce, a former second-round pick by the Brewers (2015) whom Pittsburgh acquired at this year’s Trade Deadline, has pitched to a 2.50 ERA and 19/3 K/BB across 18 innings in the Fall League.

Jared Oliva allowed an unearned run to score with an error in right field, but he balanced it by ripping an RBI double to score one of Peoria’s two runs. The University of Arizona product leads the Fall League with 10 doubles, and he’s batting .343/.443/.552 in 18 games. Oneil Cruz struck out three times and drew a walk as shortstop.

Oct. 15: Surprise 3, Peoria 0
Jared Oliva went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts for Peoria. Even with the poor outing, the Pirates’ No. 11 prospect has still compiled a .349/.453/.556 batting line with 11 extra-base hits and eight steals in 18 games this fall. Oneil Cruz, Pittsburgh’s No. 3 prospect, went 1-for-3 and has now recorded hits in back-to-back games. Jason Delay was held hitless, going 0-for-3 from the bottom of the lineup. Nick Mears walked the bases loaded in the ninth but escaped the frame unscathed. The 23-year-old right-hander has logged 6 2/3 scoreless innings across six appearances out of the Javelinas’ bullpen.

Oct. 14: Surprise 1, Peoria 0
Jared Oliva extended his Fall League stolen base lead by swiping his eighth bag in the first inning. He finished 0-for-3 at the plate, but his numbers remain gaudy (.373 batting average, 1.072 OPS) with Peoria. Oneil Cruz also swiped a bag -- his first of the fall -- while adding a base hit in the fifth. Pittsburgh’s No. 3 prospect also drew a walk, his third consecutive game reaching via a base on balls. Blake Cederlind worked around a leadoff hit-by-pitch to post a scoreless fifth. After striking out a pair of batters and walking one, a lined shot to third ended the frame and got him off the hook. The southpaw has not allowed a run in his last five outings and has a 1.50 ERA across six innings in the Fall League.

Oct. 13: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 12: East 4, West 2
Here's how every player performed in the Fall Stars Game. More »

Oct. 11: Peoria 8, Glendale 3
Jared Oliva came a home run shy of the cycle during Friday’s victory. He began his afternoon with an RBI double in the first before reaching on an RBI single in the second that was aided by a misplay on a popup. The Pirates' No. 11 prospect finished off his performance by lacing an RBI triple to right-center field in the sixth. His average sits at .393 through 16 games, while he boasts a 1.118 OPS. Oneil Cruz made a handful of solid plays at short, showcasing his range. He drew a pair of walks in his 0-for-1 afternoon. Beau Sulser went 3 1/3 innings out of the bullpen, allowing just one hit and an unearned run for his best appearance of the fall. After having yielded at least one earned run in each of his first three outings for Peoria, Sulser struck out two and walked one.

Oct. 10: Glendale 5, Peoria 2
Jared Oliva had a strong contingent of supporters on hand for Thursday’s contest. He brought cheers from behind the first-base dugout when he lashed an opposite-field double in the fourth. He finished 1-for-4 in the matchup, lowering his fall average to .365. Nick Mears threw a perfect eighth inning for the Javelinas, striking out two and keeping his 0 ERA intact through five games.

Oct. 9: Peoria 3, Scottsdale 1
Cody Ponce lowered his AFL to 1.93 with another gem for Peoria. The right-hander fired 51 of his 69 pitches for strikes and struck out five over five innings. Ponce gave up one run -- a solo homer -- but was otherwise in complete command. Through three AFL starts, Ponce has surrendered three earned runs and fanned 14 over 14 finnings. Jared Oliva finished the night 0-for-4, but overall he’s been solid this fall. In fact, the hitless performance dropped Oliva’s average under .400 and he’s now hitting .375. Oneil Cruz doubled and also reached base via a walk as part of a 1-for-3 performance.

Oct. 8: Peoria 3, Scottsdale 2
Oneil Cruz struck out swinging in his first at-bat and flied out to left field on a 3-0 pitch in his second trip to the plate before being lifted for a pinch-hitter. The 6-foot-7 shortstop has struggled so far this fall, batting .167 in nine games for Peoria. Jared Oliva, on the other hand, has not struggled, as the Pirates’ No. 11 prospect is now batting .409 after a 1-for-4 performance. Oliva’s lone hit was a 106.8 mph double that also marked his fourth extra-base hit in his last nine at-bats. Jason Delay’s average dropped to .083 with an 0-for-3 game. Blake Cederlind gave up a hit and hit a batter, but tossed a scoreless frame to earn the win for Peoria.

Oct. 7: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 6: Mesa 4, Peoria 2
None of the Pittsburgh prospects playing for the Peoria Javelinas appeared in Sunday's game.

Oct. 5: Peoria 9, Salt River 7
Jared Oliva had another big day at the plate for Peoria as he continued his torrid AFL campaign. The Pirates’ No. 11 prospect hit two doubles and a triple as part of a 4-for-5 performance from the two-spot in the lineup as he improved his Fall League-best average to .425. The 23-year-old outfielder has racked up 17 hits, including seven extra-base hits, in 12 games for the Javelinas, and he also leads the circuit in both stolen bases (seven) and walks (10). Jason Delay went 0-for-4 from the bottom of the lineup. Beau Sulser was charged with two runs (one earned) in his two-inning relief appearance. He gave up three hits, including an RBI single, while striking out two. Nick Mears locked down his first AFL save with a perfect ninth inning.

Oct. 4: Salt River 10, Peoria 9
Jared Oliva took over the AFL stolen base lead on Friday with a pair of steals, giving him seven in 11 games for Peoria. The Pirates’ No. 11 prospect also reached base three times, going 2-for-4 with an RBI double, two runs scored and a walk from the two-spot in the lineup. He’s had a standout campaign so far, batting .371 with 10 runs scored, 13 hits and a circuit-high 10 walks.

Oct. 3: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 2: Peoria 2, Glendale 0
Jared Oliva demonstrated incredible plate discipline Wednesday, walking three times in four plate appearances for Peoria. He stole his fifth base of the fall and scored a run, as well. Those five steals are good for a share of the AFL lead, as are his nine walks. The Pirates’ No. 11 prospect drew 42 free passes in 123 games this year for Double-A Altoona and stole 36 bases for the Curve. Jason Delay started behind the plate and went hitless in three trips to the plate, striking out once. He also committed his second error of the fall. Blake Cederlind helped the Javelinas complete their shutout by tossing a scoreless eighth, striking out a batter while not allowing a hit or issuing a walk.

Oct. 1: Peoria 3, Surprise 1
Pirates No. 3 prospect Oneil Cruz (MLB No. 57) scored a run and enjoyed a perfect 2-for-2 night at the plate for Peoria before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh. It was the first multihit performance of the fall for the 6-foot-6, 20-year-old shortstop, and he’s now hit safely in three of his past four contests. Nick Mears struck out a pair during a perfect inning out of the Javelinas’ bullpen.

Sept. 30: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Sept. 29: Surprise 11, Peoria 4
Jared Oliva (No. 11) hit third and played right field for Peoria, going 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. And right-hander Beau Sulser started and surrendered four runs (three earned) on five hits, walking four and striking out one in two innings.

Sept. 28: Peoria 9, Glendale 4
It was a tough day at the plate for Oneil Cruz, as he struck out four times to finish 0-for-5. He’s hitting only .115 so far in the Fall League. Catcher Jason Delay finished 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI. The run was driven in on his first double of the Fall League campaign. Blake Cederlind pitched a quiet and effective inning of relief, inducing three balls hit on the infield to retire the side in order.

Sept. 27: Peoria 5, Glendale 2
Jared Oliva had the strongest game of any Peoria batter, ripping two doubles, including an RBI knock in the four-run first inning, in which he also scored a run. The University of Arizona product is up to four doubles in seven games for the Javelinas. Oneil Cruz recorded his third hit in six AFL games, leading off the fourth with a single and plating a run. The 6-foot-7 shortstop struck out twice.

Sept. 26: Thursday's game between Scottsdale and Peoria was rained out and will not be made up.

Sept. 25: Surprise 6, Peoria 2
Jared Oliva put up a multihit effort with two singles against Surprise and added a walk. The University of Arizona product has batted 7-for-20 (.350) in his first six AFL contests. Oneil Cruz did most of his damage with his plate discipline, drawing two walks, one of which led to a run in the fifth inning. He also knocked a single in the sixth inning. Jason Delay went 0-for-3, but drew a walk that led to his crossing the plate in the fifth inning.

Nick Mears pitched the final 1 2/3 innings of Peoria’s win, and he held Surprise scoreless on one hit and one walk. He also racked up a pair of strikeouts.

Sept. 24: Surprise 6, Peoria 4
No Pirates players appeared in Tuesday night’s game for Peoria.

Sept. 23: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Sept. 22: Surprise 2, Peoria 1
With his 0-for-3 on Sunday night, No. 3 prospect (No. 58 in MLB) Oneil Cruz has now gone 0-for-10 in his past three games. He’s 1-for-15 on the season with eight strikeouts. Catcher Jason Delay went 1-for-3 but had a long day behind the plate, with six Saguaros successfully stealing bases.

Right-hander Beau Sulser spent most of the year coming out of the bullpen for Double-A Altoona. He did make three straight starts to end the year and was in that role again on Sunday night for his AFL debut. He allowed one run on two hits and three walks, striking out four over three innings. In his AFL debut earlier this week, No. 28 prospect Blake Cederlind gave up a run on one hit and three walks. He walked two more on Sunday night, but didn’t give up a hit or a run while striking out one.

Sept. 21: Mesa 4, Peoria 1
For the second night in a row, Oneil Cruz struggled with swing and miss, striking out twice in a hitless performance for Peoria. But his organizational counterpart Jared Oliva drove his second double of the Fall League season. It was the fifth hit in four games for the 2017 seventh-round pick out of the University of Arizona.

Sept. 20: Peoria 5, Mesa 1
Cody Ponce started for the Javelinas and allowed four hits and two walks over four innings. He struck out four batters. Ponce did allow a single run that would go down as unearned, as it was scored on a fielding error with the bases loaded. Nick Mears walked one and threw eight of his 14 pitches for strikes in a scoreless inning.

Jared Oliva extended Peoria’s lead with an RBI single in the eighth inning. The hit was Oliva’s only hit in a 1-for-2 evening, although he also drew a walk. Oneil Cruz struck out twice in an 0-for-4 effort.

Sept. 19: Peoria 10, Glendale 3
No. 11 prospect Jared Oliva made his second start in a row for Peoria and made the most of it, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored, an RBI and a walk. His opposite-field single to right field gave Peoria a 5-0 lead in the second inning. He’s now 3-for-9 with three runs scored over the two games. Catcher Jason Delay didn’t have any offensive highlights, going 0-for-4 (though he did score a run). But he did show off behind the dish, throwing out Cardinals outfielder Conner Capel trying to steal.

Sept. 18: Peoria 10, Salt River 6
No. 3 prospect Oneil Cruz (No. 58 in MLB) made a costly throwing error with two outs in the first inning that led to Salt River scoring a total of five runs in the opening frame. At the plate, the 6-foot-6 shortstop went 1-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. He had the hardest hit ball of the night (107.1 mph) and he might have turned in the most impressive batting practice before the game, launching three balls to center field well over 400 feet each time. No. 11 prospect Jared Oliva, a teammate of Cruz’s in Double-A Altoona, went 1-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored. Reliever Blake Cederlind, the team’s No. 28 prospect, gave up a solo home run to Marlins outfielder Jerar Encarnacion and struggled with his command, walking three and throwing a wild pitch, but managed to only give up the one run in his inning of work.