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02-11-2013, 05:02 AM
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Big McLargehuge
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Pirates of the Allegheny: Raise the Jolly Roger - Travis Snider Doin' It Right



Pitchers & Catchers report today (in time zones ahead of me)!

2013 Projected Opening Day Roster (By Moi as of February 11...Starters listed first)
Pos#Name...............B/THeightWeightDOBBirthplace..........Acquired..............................
C55Russell MartinR/R5'10"2052.15.1983Toronto, ONFree Agent - 11.29.12
1B46Garrett JonesL/L6'4"2307.21.1981Harvey, ILFree Agent - 12.16.08
2B18Neil WalkerS/R6'3"2109.10.1985Pittsburgh, PADraft - 2004 (1st Round, 11th Overall)
3B24Pedro Alvarez, Jr.L/R6'3"2352.6.1987Santo Domingo, DRDraft - 2008 (1st Round, 2nd Overall)
SS12Clint BarmesR/R6'1"2003.6.1979Vincennes, INFree Agent - 11.21.11
LF6Starling MartéR/R6'2"18510.8.1988Santo Domingo, DRINT'L Free Agent - 1.7.2007
CF22Andrew McCutchenR/R5'10"18510.10.1986Fort Meade, FLDraft - 2005 (1st Round, 11th Overall)
RF23Travis SniderL/L6'0"2352.2.1988Everett, WATrade - 7.30.12 From Toronto for Brad Lincoln
C19Michael McKenryR/R5'10"2103.4.1985Knoxville, TNTrade - 7.13.11 From Boston for Cash
1B14Gaby SánchezR/R6'1"2359.2.1983Miami, FLTrade - 7.31.12 From Miami with Kyle Kaminska for Gorkys Hernandez & 2013 Draft Pick
IF5Josh HarrisonR/R5'8"1957.8.1987Cincinnati, OHTrade - 7.30.2009 From Chicago (N) with Jose Ascanio and Kevin Hart for Tom Gorzelanny and John Grabow
IF10Jordy MercerR/R6'3"2058.27.1986Taloga, OKDraft - 2008 (3rd Round, 79th Overall)
OF31José TábataR/R5'11"2158.12.1988Anzoátegui, VETrade - 7.26.08 From New York (A) with Jeff Karstens, Daniel McCutchen, & Ross Ohlendorf for Damaso Marte & Xavier Nady
OF17Gerald SandsR/R6'4"2259.28.1987Clayton, NCTrade - 12.26.12 From Boston with Stolmy Pimentel, Iván De Jesus, Jr., & Mark Melancon for Joel Hanrahan & Brock Holt
SP34Allan James BurnettR/R6'4"2301.3.1977North Little Rock, ARTrade - 2.19.12 From New York (A) with Cash for Diego Moreno & Exicardo Cayones
SP51Wandy RodríguezS/L5'101951.18.1979Santiago Rodriguez, DRTrade - 7.24.12 From Houston with Cash for Colton Cain, Robbie Grossman, & Rudy Owens
SP53James McDonaldL/R6'4"20510.19.1984Long Beach, CATrade - From Los Angeles (N) with Andrew Lambo for Octavio Dotel & Cash
SP27Jeff KarstensR/R6'3"1859.24.1982San Diego, CATrade - 7.26.08 From New York (A) with José Tábata, & Daniel McCutchen & Ross Ohlendorf for Damaso Marte & Xavier Nady
SP49Jeff LockeL/L6'1"17511.20.1987North Conway, NHTrade - 6.3.09 From Atlanta with Gorkys Hernandez & Charlie Morton for Nate McLouth
RP48Jared HughesR/R6'7"2457.4.1985Stamford, CTDraft - 2006 (4th Round, 110th Overall)
RP44Tony WatonL/L6'4"2205.30.1985Sioux City, IADraft - 2007 (9th Round, 278th Overall)
RP29Bryan MorrisL/R6'3"2203.28.1987Tullahoma, TNTrade - 7.31.08 From Los Angeles (N) with Andy LaRoche, Craig Hansen, & Brandon Moss for Jason Bay
RP37Justin WilsonL/L6'2"1958.18.1987Anaheim, CADraft - 2008 (5th Round, 144th Overall)
SU35Mark MelanconR/R6'2"2153.28.1985Wheat Ridge, COTrade - 12.26.12 From Boston with Stolmy Pimentel, Iván De Jesus, Jr., & Jerry Sands for Joel Hanrahan & Brock Holt
CL39Jason GrilliR/R6'4"22511.11.1976Royal Oak, MIFree Agent - 7.21.11
*SP47Francisco LirianoL/L6'2"21510.26.1983San Cristóbal, DRFree Agent - 2.8.2013
*SP50Charles MortonR/R6'5"23011.12.1983Flemington, NJTrade - 6.3.09 From Atlanta with Gorkys Hernandez & Jeff Locke for Nate McLouth
*Starting on the DL

My Top 21 Pirates Prospects
Rank. Name, Position, Age on Opening Day, Last Team, Change from my mid-season list
1. Gerrit Cole, RHP, 22, Indianapolis (AAA) (-)
Cole is consistently ranked amongst the top 10 prospects in baseball and when he reaches the Majors he'll certainly be one of the more refined prospects in that group to do so. 6'4" power righties who's fastballs sits in the high 90s with plus sliders and plus-plus change-ups don't grow on trees and Cole's ceiling is as a poor man's Roger Clemens. He's been hittable at times in his career, but he follows that with periods of dominance. The Pirates being conservative with his development, especially in this coming season, will do him a ton of good in my opinion and he should be ready for a call-up come June...now when the call will come is anyone's guess.
2012 Stats: Bradenton(A+):13 G/GS, 5-1, 2.55 ERA, 1.104 WHIP, 67 IP, 69 K, 21 BB, 3.29 SO/BB, 9.3 SO/9
Altoona (AA): 12 G/GS, 3-6, 2.90 ERA, 1.305 WHIP, 59 IP, 60 K, 23 BB, 2.61 SO/BB, 9.2 SO/9
Indianapolis (AAA): 1 G/GS, 1-0, 4.50 ERA, 1.167 WHIP, 6 IP, 7K, 1 BB, 7 SO/BB, 10.5 SO/9

ETA: June 2013

2. Jameson Taillon, RHP, 21, Altoona (AA) (-)
Taillon's season was an interesting one to follow - one that started off blazingly hot, then fell off a cliff, and then finished blazingly hot. None of that should have surprised anyone, as his delivery was heavily tweaked by the Pirates and he had a pitch taken away from, and then given back to him by the coaches. His arsenal is step-by-step with Cole's, but lacks a little speed (sits in the mid 90s instead of high 90s) and doesn't miss as many bats (he's not going to be a strikeout per inning pitcher like Cole should be), but once things settle down he appears to have everything it would take to be a legitimate ace in the Majors.
It'll be interesting to see what the Pirates plan for Taillon is this season as he'll be on his own a lot more now that he's in AA. I can see him spending the entire season in AA, but I can just as easily see him dominating enough that he gets moved to AAA ahead of schedule and earns a September start or two in Pittsburgh.
2012 Stats: Bradenton (A+): 23 G/GS, 6-8, 3.82 ERA, 1.168 WHIP, 125 IP, 98 K, 37 BB, 2.65 SO/BB, 7.1 SO/9
Altoona (AA): 3 G/GS, 3-0, 1.59 ERA, 0.706 WHIP, 17 IP, 18 K, 1 BB, 18 SO/BB, 9.5 SO/9

ETA: June 2014

3. Alen Hanson, SS, 20, West Virginia (A) (+1)
Everyone's favorite rising short stop prospect deserves the hype, as everything about his game looks good. The questions about Hanson arise in his stature and his fielding - his ability to stay at shortstop seems to be less of an issue now than it was before, but he's still a lousy fielder at this point of time. The most impressive thing about his season last year was how consistent he was - eliminate his best month and his worst month and the rest of the season wound up being equal to the average of those two months.
Hanson spent the entirety of last season in West Virginia, which makes a bit more sense when you realize he essentially skipped short-season A ball and was a teenager in his first full year in the US, but I doubt we see him being handled quite so conservatively this year. I'm expecting Hanson to spend the first 4 months of the season in Bradenton before moving up to Altoona in the final month of the minor league season.
2012 Stats: West Virginia (A): 124 G, .309, 16 HR, 62 RBI, 35 SB, .381/.528/.909
ETA: 2015

4. Gregory Polanco, CF, 21, West Virginia (A) (+7)
The who's better - Hanson or Polanco debate is a fun one. Both prospects rose out of relative obscurity this past season into Top 50 prospects. Hanson started stronger, but Polanco finished stronger. Now Polanco is a year older than Hanson and had an extra season in rookie ball because of that...that's really the only reason the coin toss went to Hanson for me. Polanco looks like a legitimate five-tool player who scouts believe has everything it takes to be a Major League Center Fielder...now obviously he won't do that for us, but that just speaks to his athleticism - and it's worth noting he's a natural CF with good power. His numbers are frighteningly similar to McCutchen's in the South Atlantic League. Of note is that Hanson and Polanco's 16 home runs tied them for 8th in the league, where only two players hit 20 or more (both players who did that were considerably older). Oh yeah, he's a lefty too. Drool.
This year will be interesting to see - I can easily see Polanco entering the elite class of prospects in baseball this year and I can easily see him settling down to Earth as a good, but not great prospect. It should be noted that McCutchen bypassed high A ball and struggled a bit in AA. Polanco won't skip Bradenton.
2012 Stats: West Virginia (A): 116 G, .325, 16 HR, 85 RBI, 40 SB, .388/.522/.910
ETA: 2015

5. Luis Heredia, RHP, 18, State College (SS A) (-)
I still can't get over how good this kid is at his age. The question with Heredia remains on his ceiling - as few scouts can agree on it. Some see Heredia as having ace potential and just being more raw than Cole or Taillon (he's still younger than either was when drafted for the first time, mind you), some see him as the perfect #2/3 starter. I've always been high on the kid and until he gives me a reason not to be, I'm staying high on him. A lot is riding on his fastball - which is currently sitting in the mid 90s with little control. If he fills out and adds a couple MPH to it while learning to control it he'll have ace potential - if it doesn't project then he'll have to rely more on his offspeed stuff, which has made huge strides over the past couple years.
I expect Heredia will get the full season in West Virginia. At his age and with as much to work on as he does I just don't see the conservative Pirates rushing the kid - especially when there's no need to.
2012 Stats: State College (A-): 14 G/GS, 4-2, 2.71 ERA, 1.101 WHIP, 66.1 IP, 40 K, 20 BB, 2 SO/BB, 5.4 SO/9
ETA: 2016

6. Josh Bell, OF, 20, West Virginia (A) (-)
Unfortunately Bell is essentially hitting the reset button this year, as an early-season injury wound up costing him almost the entire season last year. The good news there is that there isn't expected to be any lingering effect of the season, so we're effectively just hitting reset and, hopefully, not facing something that should put the $5 million man's career in early jeopardy.
Bell is a five tool prospect who appears to have all the tools to be a very good corner outfielder in the Majors. He'll have to do something in the minors (thanks to his deadline signing he didn't play any minor league games in 2011 and only had 66 at bats last year before getting hurt and experiencing swelling during rehab) before he starts making any Top 100 lists, but I wouldn't be surprised if he enters BA's mid-season rankings pretty highly. His numbers in limited at bats in short A last year weren't impressive, but he also bypassed the two lowest levels right out of high school so that was to be expected.
I expect Bell will start again in West Virginia, but a move up to Bradenton isn't out of the question by the midpoint of the minor league season.
2012 Stats: West Virginia (A): 15 G, .274, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 1 SB, .288/.403/.691
ETA: Late 2015

7. Dilson Herrera, 2B, 19, State College (A-) (NR)
I was a bit overzealous of my expectations for Alen Hanson last year and he did well by me. I started following up with Herrera towards the end of last season and I'm not going to kick that now - especially not that he's becoming the fashionable pick amongst many prognosticators to be this year's 'Alen Hanson explosion on the scene' prospect league-wide. Herrera, who doesn't turn 19 until March, has a spritely frame that projects to fill out nicely. He was signed as a short stop, but also played third base in Colombia and Venezuela, but switched to 2B upon arriving in America, a position he's likely to keep because of concerns about arm strength. Perhaps the most exciting thing about Herrera is the pop in his bat - he hit 7 home runs last year for the GCL Pirates. That may not sound like much, but keep in mind these he was an 18 year-old playing in Spring Training stadiums - only 3 players in the league hit more than 4 home runs. Herrera played well enough to earn a promotion at the end of the season - playing 7 games in State College to end the season. I'm excited about this kid. Real excited.
It'll be interesting to see what the Pirates do with him - extended spring training or bumping him all the way up to West Virginia. State College is short-season ball. Either way I don't see him being promoted mid-season, he'll either be playing catch-up in West Virginia or playing a limited schedule in Jamestown (new Pirates short A affiliate).
2012 Stats: GCL Pirates (Rk): 53 G, .281, 7 HR, 27 RBI, 11 SB, .341/.482/.823
State COllege (A-): 7 G, .321, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SB, .345/.536/.881

ETA: 2016

8. Kyle McPherson, RHP, 25, Pittsburgh (+2)
McPherson bounced back from an early-season shoulder injury to go from Altoona to Pittsburgh in the span of a month. His lack of playing time last year likely puts him behind Locke in terms of readiness for the #5 spot out of camp, but McPherson has all the tools to be a solid #3/4 starter in the league and he's pretty close to being ready, as long as that shoulder doesn't cause any more issues. He's got a fast ball that tops off at 95 and two plus offspeed pitches. The best thing about McPherson is clearly his control - he walked only 9 batters in 67 innings in the minors and 7 in 26.1 innings in the Majors.
2012 Stats: Altoona (AA): 9 G/GS, 3-5, 4.07 ERA, 1.212 WHIP, 48.2 IP, 46 K, 5 BB, 9.2 SO/BB, 8.5 SO/9
Indianapolis (AAA): 3 G/GS, 0-1, 0.98 ERA, 0.818 WHIP, 18.1 IP, 17 K, 4 BB, 4.25 SO/BB, 8.5 SO/9
Pittsburgh: 10 G/3 GS, 0-2, 2.73 ERA, 1.177 WHIP, 26,1 IP, 21 K, 7 BB, 3 SO/BB, 7.2 SO/9

ETA: June

9. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, 19, State College (A-) (NR)
The 6'7" 2011 5th rounder had his coming out party while leading the GCL Pirates to the Championship. Finally a bonus baby that makes the huge step early on...Glasnow added 8 MPH to his fastball from draft to last season and the result was him overpowering his contemporaries. Glasnow's offspeed pitches need plenty of work, but he has the potential for three plus pitches and could be a top-of-the-rotation pitcher...he's just extremely raw. GCL pitching stats only hold so much water...this will be an interesting season to follow.
What the Pirates do with Glasnow this season will be interesting. He only pitched one game in State College before returning to the GCL for the playoffs, but he may well find himself in West Virginia with just how good he was last year. The conservative Pirates will likely put him in extended spring training regardless...but I wouldn't be surprised if he winds up getting placed in WV come May anyway.
2012 Stats: GCL Pirates(Rk): 11 G, 10 GS, 0-3, 2.10 ERA, 1.019 WHIP, 34.1 IP, 40 K, 16 BB, 2.5 SO/BB, 10.5 SO/9
State College (A-): 1 G/GS, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.250 WHIP, 4 IP, 4 K, 1 BB, 4 SO/BB, 9 SO/9

ETA: 2017

10. Barrett Barnes, OF, 21, State College (SS A) (+4)
This is what Ryan Doumit turned into, as our last free agency compensation pick ever. Barnes plays center field for the time being, but a move to the corner seems inevitable and he has the raw tools to stick in the corners as a potential plus bat, having some of the best power in the system (without being a pure power hitter).
Barnes will open the season in West Virginia and could potentially move up to Bradenton at some point. He was drafted out of college so he shouldn't take too long to get out of the low minors.
2012 Stats: State College (A-): 38 G, .288, 5 HR, 24 RBI, 10 SB, .401/.456/.857
ETA: 2015

11. Clay Holmes, RHP, 19, State College (SS A) (+2)
The 2011 draft class is looking pretty good right now - Holmes is another record setting bonus baby that is actually showing results in the low minors. Holmes has the perfect pitching frame (6'5", 230) and should be able to add an extra 2-4 MPH on his fastball bringing him into the 94-96 range before long. His offspeed pitches are works in progress, but both have made significant strides over the past year and he has the potential for three plus pitches. Holmes profiles to be a inning eater middle-of-the-rotation starter.
He signed too late to start in 2011, but bypassed the GCL regardless, so he'll start in West Virginia this year. I wouldn't expect a promotion this year unless his stat line continues to look like it did last year.
2012 Stats: State College (A-): 13 G/GS, 5-3, 2.28 ERA, 59.1 IP, 34 K, 29 BB, 1.17 SO/BB, 5.2 SO
ETA: 2015

12. Wyatt Mathisen, C, 19, GCL Pirates (Rk) (-)
Mathisen may quickly allow Pirates fans to forget about Mark Appel...well...sorta...but Mathisen is looking very much like a player worthy of a mid-1st round pick right now and if he stays at catcher. He's young and raw, but he has all the physical tools to remain at catcher and play it well and do so with a plus bat. With the bat he has a good eye and a good ability to put the ball in play - don't expect much power, but he should be able to be a .270 batter with an impressive OBP. His evolution as a catcher will be interesting to track because he was too good of an athlete in high school to actually play the position - he mostly played short stop before being drafted, though he preferred catcher and was drafted as a catcher.
I expect Mathisen will continue working on his catching in extended spring training before playing the entire season in short-season Jamestown. With the catching depth the Pirates have all of a sudden there is absolutely no need to rush Mathisen.
2012 Stats: GCL Pirates: 45 G, .295, 1 HR, 15 RBI, 10 SB, .388/.374/.762
ETA: 2016

13. Nick Kingham, RHP, 20, West Virginia (A) (+6)
Kingham had a putrid start to last season, after having a near-perfect start to his professional career...but he returned to dominance after his first two awful months. Like most young pitchers his off-speed stuff needs work and he needs to grow into his fastball (he's losing ~7 MPH from the 1st to 5th inning presently), but at 6'5", 220 he should be able to add the endurance.
Kingham will start the season in Bradenton. There's a small chance he could get a promotion to Altoona later in the season, but I never expect the pitchers to move up the system too quickly.
2012 Stats: 27 G/GS, 6-8, 4.39 ERA, 1.189 WHIP, 127 IP, 117 K, 36 BB, 3.25 SO/BB, 8.3 SO/9
ETA: 2015

14. Bryan Morris, RHP, 26, Pittsburgh (+1)
Morris, who turns 26 the week before the season starts, will be a part of the bullpen this year, a ladder I expect him to climb extremely quickly. I wouldn't be surprised if Morris is closing by the end of the season. The last remaining piece of the Jason Bay trade, Morris's delivery was broken down and rebuilt by the Pirates, resulting in his shift to the bullpen. With a 96 MPH fastball, a good curveball, and a plus cutter, with good control and a lot of strikeouts he profiles to be a closer...likely before Jason Grilli's contract ends.
2012 Stats: Indianapolis (AAA): 46 G/0 GS, 2-2, 5 SVs, 2.67 ERA, 1.148 WHIP, 81 IP, 79 K, 17 BB, 4.65 SO/BB, 8.8 SO/9
Pittsburgh: 5 G/0 GS, 0-0, 1.80 ERA, 0.800 WHIP, 5 IP, 6 K, 2 BB, 3 SO/BB, 10.8 SO/9

ETA: Opening Day

15. Justin Wilson, LHP, 25, Pittsburgh (+2)
Wilson's value is a hard one to peg - first of all is he a starter or a reliever? If he is a starter then how much are you willing to bet on him fixing his inconsistency issues? When he's on his game Wilson is as good of a pitcher there is in the minors - as shown by his two no-hitters last season in Indianapolis (the first a 7.2 inning combined effort with 9 Ks and 2 BBs and the second a rain shortened 8 inning affair with 5 Ks and 1 BB with only 86 pitches thrown). The downside is that control is a very definite issue with Wilson, who has consistently hovered around the 4.5 BB/9 number throughout his career. There are more than a few similarities between Wilson and Jason Grilli, who's old job I think is what Wilson is best suited for moving forward. The walks are going to likely prevent him from being a starter in Pittsburgh (coupled with the starting depth...five years ago he'd certainly be looked at as a starter instead of as a reliever...hell, maybe even last year) and they're a bit too concerning for me to peg him as a potential closer (Grilli averaged a walk fewer per 9 last year than Wilson did in the minors...and Grilli's is on the extreme high end of acceptable for a guy to be a possible closer), but he's primed to be an 8th inning set-up man who can pitch more than an inning when needed. Bonus for the Pirates being that he was drafted in the 5th round instead of 4th overall, as Grilli was by the Phillies back in 1997. Wilson has a starter's repertoire of pitchers to go with his plus fastball, so if he ever figures out the control thing he could project as a #2/3 starter.
Wilson is all but a lock to start the season in Pittsburgh, and the fact that the Pirates didn't sign their usual late January veteran reliever says a lot about how much they think of him. For the time being the Pirates are making the right move and focusing him on being a reliever.
2012 Stats: Indianapolis (AAA): 29 G/25 GS, 9-6, 3.78 ERA, 1.157 WHIP, 135.2 IP, 138 K, 66 BB, 2.13 SO/BB, 9.2 SO/9
Pittsburgh: 8 G, 0-0, 1.93 ERA, 2.786 WHIP, 4.2 IP, 7 K, 3 BB, 2.33 SO/BB, 13.5 SO/9[/i]
ETA: Opening Day

16. Jin-De Jhang, C, 19, GCL Pirates (Rk) (NR)
The Taiwanese catcher is the Pirates' first legitimate Asian prospect, signing for $250k in 2011. Jhang made his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League this past season, where he split time with Mathiesen. The two will be fighting for the catcher of the future tag for years, with Mathisen being the more athletic of the two and Jhang having the better bat. If Jhang can keep his weight under control (he's 5'11", 220) he can stay at catcher, which is obviously the Pirates desire, but his bat is good enough to survive a position change if it comes to that.
Logic would dictate that Jhang would play short-season ball in Jamestown this year splitting the catching duties with Mathisen, which is what I expect will happen, but there is an off-chance that the Pirates decide they want both prospects to catch every day. I doubt the organization is aggressive with either in the low minors, but I wouldn't be surprised if they eventually do get staggered.
2012 State: GCL Pirates (Rk): 43 G, .305, 1 HR, 23 RBI, 1 SB, .382/.398/.780
ETA: 2016

17. Victor Black, RHP, 24, Altoona (AA) (+1)
Black is a case of the old sandwich round pick being used for the 'safe' prospect over the home run pick - and after injury set-backs put him behind schedule Black is progressing as hoped. Black suffers from the same control issues that Wilson does - but he's more dominant with his strikeout. Black is next to impossible to hit (40 hits allowed in 60 innings last year, including only 2 home runs)...but he will put people on base (29 walks). If he whittles down his control issues Black could be a dominant closer, if not he'll be in set-up role. The fact that he was closing in Altoona at the end of the season as a prospect (it's surprisingly rare to see actual prospects close, that's a job typically left to the journeymen in the late 20s) says a lot about what the Pirates hope Black can be.
Black will pitch all season in Indianapolis and likely make his debut in Pittsburgh in September.
2012 Stats: Altoona (AA): 51 G, 2-3, 13 SVs, 1.65 ERA, 1.150 WHIP, 60 IP, 85 K, 29 BB, 2.93 SO/BB, 12.8 SO/9
ETA: September 2013

18. Alex Dickerson, 1B, 22, Bradenton (A+) (-1)
Dickerson was recently named a top 10 prospect at his position, something that either speaks to the lack of quality 1B prospects in baseball right now or...yeah, that's pretty much it. Dickerson is an intriguing prospect as he does have a very good bat, but there are legitimate concerns on his power translating to the Majors after his power numbers took a nosedive after they switched the bats in the NCAA...mind you his 13 home runs in the FSL is nothing to scoff at, that ranked 6th in the league with only one of the players above him being his same age or younger. He's a true first baseman, with no real hope of playing another position, which limits his value a bit...but considering the organizational depth in the outfield and lack of depth at 1B that may not work against him.
This will be a very important year for Dickerson, as the pitching in AA is drastically better than the pitching in A+ ball, even if the stadiums aren't quite so pitcher-friendly.
2012 Stats: Bradenton (A+): 129 G, .296, 13 HR, 90 RBI, 12 SB, .353/.451/.804
ETA: 2015

19. Tony Sanchez, C, 24, Indianapolis (AAA) (-)
I harped on this last time, and I will again...it sucks enough when a kid's career is largely derailed due to injuries, but doubly so when it's an injury at someone else's doing (Sanchez taking two pitches to the face within the span of a month cost him the remaining half of the 2010 season, his first full season as a pro, and saw a lesser player return after healing. Sanchez rates more highly in other prospect stocks, and I won't bump him out of my Top 20 until I feel there is no reason to hold any hope for him, but in my eyes Sanchez's star as a prospect was never around his numbers, they were around his defense...and the Sanchez we saw last season was not the defensive whiz he was drafted to be. His stolen bases numbers have been good, but not great (a massive improvement over what we've had in the Majors for a while, mind you, but that number is also expected to be higher in the minors because of how aggressive teams tend to be with sending their speedier players) and he's really only been average with the glove (too many passed balls). I see Sanchez as a 1a or 1b type catcher, one who is good enough to cash a Major League paycheck with consistency, but not start the bulk of the games without injuries forcing him into overtime. There is still hope for his bat to come around to being above average for his position and he did see his mediocre power return in Indianapolis last year. The best thing that could have happened to Sanchez was the Pirates signing Russell Martin this winter. The Martin signing will give Sanchez all of the time necessary he needs to refine his game in Indianapolis before stepping into the Majors - rather than being thrown in before he was ready. He still has the potential to be a middling starter in the Majors, and we've seen just what an average starting catcher is worth in this league now. There just aren't enough decent catchers in baseball...and the Pirates have 3 legitimate prospects there, even if none profile to be superstars that puts us at a significant advantage going forward.
2012 Stats: Altoona (AA): 40 G, .277, 0 HR, 17 RBI, 1 SB, .370/.390/.760
Indianapolis (AAA): 62 G, .233, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 0 SB, .316/.408/.724

ETA: September

20. Andrew Oliver, LHP, 25, Toledo (AAA) (NR)
Oliver was acquired in a trade with the Tigers in December for another catching prospect, Ramón Cabrera (who probably would have made this list at the same spot...I don't see Cabrera as being more than a back-up catcher in the Majors, but he's a pretty safe bet to be that...our depth at the position made him fairly redundant as he had to be added to the 40-man roster before the Rule V Draft). Oliver's upside dwarfs that of the man he was traded for - Oliver was drafted in the 2nd round in 2009 and ranked 89th in Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list in 2011...but he's one of a long list of cautionary tales about rushing prospects to the Majors. Oliver was placed right out of college into AA and made 5 starts for the Tigers in his first professional season...moves that were too aggressive for a pitcher with control issues, and the result has been stagnated numbers that have taken a step back each of the past two seasons, with his BB/9 number hitting an absurd 6.7 last season in Toledo. If Oliver reduces that number even to a 4.0 and he's set to be a #4/5 pitcher in the Majors.
Oliver is, in theory, in the race for the #5 starting job...but he has no realistic chance of actually grabbing it, nor is he a likely candidate for the bullpen. He's almost certain to be in the starting rotation in Indianapolis. Anything that happens past that is entirely up to him. Unless his numbers are even worse this year I do expect him to get a call-up at some point this year.
2012 Stats: Toledo (AAA): 28 G/19 GS, 5-9, 4.88 ERA, 1.619 WHIP, 118 IP, 112 K, 88 BB, 1.27 SO/BB, 8.5 SO/9
ETA: Mid-Season

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“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile, but that it is indifferent. If we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death, our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” - Stanley Kubrick

Last edited by Big McLargehuge: 02-17-2013 at 02:35 AM.
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