Luplow gets promoted to Indianapolis
By Cory Giger
Jordan Luplow cemented his legacy as one of the best power hitters in Curve history this season, and the outfielder did it in such a hurry that it earned him a quick promotion to Triple-A.
The move was part of a slew of notable transactions made Friday by the Pirates that impact Altoona.
Luplow became the fastest Curve player ever to hit 14 homers at the start of a season, doing so on June 6 in the team’s 55th game. By comparison, Adam Hyzdu didn’t hit his 14th homer until June 22 in 2000, when he set the club record with 31 for the season.
Luplow, a third-round draft pick in 2014, wasn’t just all power, either. He batted .287 with 37 RBIs, 15 doubles and a .903 OPS in 73 games, and he struck out only 45 times while drawing 29 walks in 254 at-bats. All of that made calling up the 23-year-old to Indianapolis an easy decision for the Pirates.
“Extremely impressed,” Curve manager Michael Ryan said of Luplow’s season. “Not only on the offensive end, but defensively as well.
“He is on his way to becoming the complete player he can be. Very good defense in left field, he was our best baserunner and became a leader by example. Not surprised by the power numbers he produced. His hands are lightning, and he is a strong kid.”
The Curve are losing one big-time power hitter but are getting another in outfielder Logan Hill, who was promoted from high-A Bradenton. Hill, who will replace Luplow in left field, leads the Florida State League in home runs (16) and RBIs (52), while batting .266 with an .864 OPS.
Hill was just a 25th round draft pick in 2015, but the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder has established himself as a very promising power prospect.
The Curve will be without the services of first baseman/outfielder Connor Joe for a while as he was placed on the disabled list Friday with a dislocated finger on his left hand.
Joe, a first-round pick in 2014, is hitting .251 with three homers, 27 RBIs, 11 doubles, three triples and a .736 OPS.
The final roster move Friday brings a familiar name back to the Curve. Right-hander Brandon Cumpton was added to the team’s roster as he continues his comeback from two years’ worth of injuries.
Cumpton, who pitched for the Pirates in 2013 and ’14, missed all of the past two seasons following Tommy John surgery and then a shoulder surgery.
Cumpton, 28, appeared in 22 games (15 starts) for the Pirates over two seasons, going 5-5 with a 4.02 ERA in 100 2/3 innings. He pitched for the Curve in 2012 and ’13 on his way up the minor league ladder.