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What a difference a month makes: Pirates hitting prospects heat up

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MLB: Spring Training-Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Yankees Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

April was a rough month for most of the Pirates’ better hitting prospects. As a group, they got off to about the same abysmal start as the major league team. But things changed suddenly in May.

Some of it isn’t terribly surprising. The hitters moving up to Altoona from the offense-stifling environs of the Florida State League figured to post better offensive numbers, possibly after an acclimation period. Of course, Kevin Kramer started off red hot. Connor Joe could be excused to some degree by the fact that, for some odd reason, he was playing only sporadically at the beginning of the season.

Bradenton had a couple of young players who might still have been recovering from injury. Cole Tucker struggled throughout much of 2016, possibly as a result of his 2015 labrum surgery. Another factor for him might be a leg kick he incorporated during fall instructionals. The Pirates had Josh Bell do the same a couple years ago and it coincided with him starting to hit for more power. Ke’Bryan Hayes missed the second half of 2016, and was probably affected before that, by an upper back injury and a cracked rib. He also wasn’t able to work out during the off-season and got underweight, and is one of the youngest players in a pitching-dominated league. He figured all along to struggle a little, at least for a while.

Anyway, I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves.

INDIANAPOLIS

Max Moroff

April: 81 AB, 211/329/521, 10 BB, 30 K
May: 79 AB, 304/446/671, 21 BB, 18 K

Austin Meadows

April: 82 AB, 195/247/256, 5 BB, 20 K
May: 110 AB, 300/358/445, 10 BB, 15 K

Eric Wood

April: 67 AB, 179/269/373, 9 BB, 21 K
May: 89 AB, 247/343/472, 14 BB, 23 K

ALTOONA

Connor Joe

April: 63 AB, 286/375/397, 8 BB, 10 K
May: 86 AB, 291/390/500, 13 BB, 10 K

Jordan Luplow

April: 74 AB, 257/313/473, 5 BB, 10 K
May: 89 AB, 303/400/629, 14 BB, 18 K

BRADENTON

Cole Tucker

April: 87 AB, 230/320/276, 12 BB, 15 K
May: 112 AB, 304/391/545, 16 BB, 34 K

Ke’Bryan Hayes

April: 76 AB, 263/317/342, 6 BB, 15 K
May: 89 AB, 292/387/326, 12 BB, 12 K

Christian Kelley

April: 59 AB, 271/377/339, 7 BB, 11 K
May: 81 AB, 346/449/432, 15 BB, 16 K