A Look At The Minors: Pitchers (AAA)

I debated how to do the pitchers. Obviously there are too many of them to make it feasible to do in one post. I have decided to break it into 5 categories, AAA, AA, A+, A and the lower levels. First up is the top level, AAA.

Top 3 Prospects

1. Rudy Owens

2. Justin Wilson

3. Daniel Moskos

Noteable: Jared Hughes

Rudy Owens

Coming into the season Owens was considered a top 10 prospect and was expected to make his major league debut in the middle of the season. S0me people even talked about him possibly having an outside chance of making the major league rotation out of Spring Training. He was considered the most major league ready of the Altoona -4. Lets just say the Altoona-4 hasn’t exactly lived up to expectations and that includes Owens. Owens broke out in 2009 putting up dominating numbers in A ball. He continued his success last year with a great showing in AA. His stuff, outside of his changeup, has never been considered spectacular but he has great control which is what made him so highly touted. Owens started the year strong and was even being talked about as a possible call up early this season, well he has since hit some rough patches and appears destined to remain in AAA for the remainder of this season and probably the start of next. On the plus side he has begun to show signs of improvement lately.

April: 4.50 ERA, 1.292 WHIP, 3.40 SO/BB

May: 5.29 ERA, 1.330 WHIP, 2.00 SO/BB

June: 5.72 ERA, 1.510 WHIP, 1.47 SO/BB

July: 3.57 ERA, 1.302 WHIP, 2.50 SO/BB

Justin Wilson

Wilson is another member of the Altoona-4. He was the lowest regarded of the 4 ranking outside the Pirates top 10 prospects in most rankings. Wilson’s stuff is actually better than Owens but the problem is he struggles with his control and that often proves to make him ineffective. Going into this season Wilson was viewed by many as another Maholm/Duke type pitcher. The comparison probably largely came from being in the Pirates organization but outside of that it really doesn’t have much merit; Maholm has always shown pretty decent control, something Wilson hasn’t. Wilson was acquired in the 6th round of the 2008 draft and gained fame because of his College World Series perfromance. He has been the best of the 4 Altoona pitchers this year but has still shown control issues which will likely force him to spend the rest of 2011 in AAA.

April: 2.25 ERA, 1.125 WHIP, 1.80 SO/BB

May: 4.50 ERA, 1.500 WHIP, 1.24 SO/BB

June: 4.68 ERA, 1.559 WHIP, 1.48 SO/BB

July: 4.21 ERA, 1.636 WHIP, 1.21 SO/BB

Daniel Moskos

Ok so including Moskos kind of breaks my rule of not including players who have played in the majors this season but due to a lack of pitching prospects in AAA I needed to include him. Moskos was infamously drafted ahead of Matt Weiters in 2007 and has received a lot of negative reaction from Pirate fans. It needs noted that Moskos did nothing wrong and was actually viewed as a good player (rated 8th by Baseball America in the 2007 draft) so he deserves our full support. Moskos was used primarily as a starter through 2009 but was moved to the bullpen in 201o where everyone expected him to end up anyways. He had a very strong showing in AA last season earning himself a promotion to AAA last season where he struggled mightily. He started the season back in AAA and had much better results. Moskos has the stuff to be a back of the bullpen reliever and he showed flashes of that potential this season in the majors but was never able to gain Hurdle’s confidence. He will likely be back up some time this season and could be a vital part of the bullpen for the next few years.

April: 1.69 ERA, 0.938 WHIP, 7.00 SO/BB

May: 18.00 ERA, 4.00 WHIP, 9.00 SO/9 (no BB) (He only had 1 IP, spent most of the month in the majors)

June: No Stats

July: 0.75 ERA, 0.667 WHIP, 5.00 SO/BB

Jared Hughes

Going into the season Hughes was not on the prospect radar, he was eligible for the Rule V draft but was left unprotected and went unselected. He appeared destined for the Altoona bullpen but surprsingly the Pirates opted to move Alderson to the bullpen which allowed Hughes to remain a starter. He had good success in AA this year and was promoted to AAA because of his performance and because an arm was needed due to injuries and promotions. Since going to AAA he has pitched in relief and has looked very good. His fastball which when starting was usually in the low 90s is now reportedly in the 95-96 range. Hughes now appears to be a viable major league reliever and could very well be lost this season to the Rule V draft if left unprotected. Essentially Hughes appears to be this year’s Michael Crotta.

April: 4.05 ERA, 1.350 WHIP, 3.50 SO/BB (AA Stats)

May: 3.03 ERA, 1.065 WHIP, 1.30 SO/BB (AA stats)

June: 4.10 ERA, 1.272 WHIP, 1.36 SO/BB (AA stats)

June: 3.24 ERA, 1.920 WHIP, 3.00 SO/BB (AAA stats)

July: 1.80 ERA, 1.400 WHIP, 2.14 SO/BB (AAA stats)


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