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Nate Baker, Exicardo Cayonez Have Huge Days In Minors

It was a rough night for the Pirates in the majors. As someone remarked in the comments to the game thread, at least Brad Lincoln shows no signs of wear after yet another hitter whacks him - he still has a spring in his step. But he was getting blasted all over the place last night, giving up homers to Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee, along with several other hard-hit balls. He managed to get through five innings, but gave up five runs and didn't strike anyone out. Wandy Rodriguez, meanwhile, had no trouble with the Pirates, striking out ten with that filthy curveball. The Pirates got only one extra-base hit, a double by Neil Walker.

In the minors, though, prospects Nate Baker and Exicardo Cayonez had huge days yesterday. Baker threw eight no-hit innings for West Virginia until being pulled after throwing 95 pitches. He struck out eight and didn't walk anyone, but he did hit a batter. Actually, I'm encouraged more by the strikeouts than by the no-hitter; Baker has posted a nice ERA this year, but he's struggled to strike people out. He needs to, because many pitchers' strikeout rates shrink as they move closer to the majors.

Exicardo Cayonez, meanwhile, went 7-for-7 in a doubleheader for the Gulf Coast League team. He's now batting .451 in 13 games. Cayonez is the best prospect on the team. I'm sure the Pirates won't be in any rush to promote an 18-year-old based on stats alone, but it would be great if he could get some at bats with State College with the goal of having him in full-season ball next year.

Both Baker and Cayonez were on my list of the Pirates' top prospects - Baker was at 25 and Cayonez was at 20.