A Look At The Minors: Pitchers (AA)

Top 3 Prospects

1. Jeff Locke

2. Aaron Pribanic

3. Kyle McPherson

Notable: Bryan Morris, Tim Alderson

Jeff Locke

Another of the Altoona-4 Locke was acquired in the Nate McLouth trade. Going into the season Locke appeared to be the farthest from the big leagues and the fact he has spent the entire season in AA backs that sentiment. Locke was considered a top 10 prospect in the Pirates organization by almost all outlets. He has had control issues in the past but has showed signs of improvement last season. His best pitch is a good curve ball and he compliments it with a low 90s fastball. Locke doesn’t appear to have top of the rotation stuff but he could very well turn into a Paul Maholm type pitcher and be a solid part of a rotation. Locke has been some what of a disappoint this season but he is still young enough where that isn’t a great concern.

April: 3.71 ERA, 1.388 WHIP, 4.50 SO/BB

May: 7.01 ERA, 1.636 WHIP, 1.44 SO/BB

June: 2.30 ERA, 1.190 WHIP, 2.46 SO/BB

July: 5.02 ERA, 1.256 WHIP, 2.86 SO/BB

Aaron Pribanic

Pribanic was acuired by the Pirates in the Jack Wilson trade. Going into this season he was kind of overlooked but he had a strong performance to begin the season and has leaped in prospect value (he has struggle lately which has dropped his stock back down). Pribanic throws a very good mid 90s fastball but the rest of his arsenal is a work in progress. If he can improve upon the rest of his pitches Pribanic could be a very good middle of the rotation starter but as of now he is probably best suited for the bullpen. On the plus side he walks very few hitters and has been a ground ball pitcher meaning he leaves up few home runs. He has work in front of him but looks like a ver solid pitching prospect. Pribanic is eligble for the Rule V draft and in most years would be a guarentee to be added to the 40 man roster but this season I rank him as the 6th priority (Marte, Owens, Wilson, Mercer, Hague) meaning he might not be protected and could be selected.

April: 1.50 ERA, 0.792 WHIP, 5.00 SO/BB

May: 2.83 ERA, 1.171 WHIP, 4.33 SO/BB

June: 8.74 ERA, 1.892 WHIP, 2.40 SO/BB

July: 5.13 ERA, 1.680 WHIP, 1.80 SO/BB

Kyle McPherson

McPherson was drafted in the 14th round of the 2007 draft and was a surprise addition to the 40 man roster this offseason. The Pirates chose to protect him over Adcock who went on to be selected by the Royals in the Rule V draft. He is a fastball – changeup pitcher and he make that works for him although some type of breaking ball will need to be added. McPherson has displayed good control and has put up good numbers so far in his career. This season McPherson started in A+ performed well and got promoted to AA. His performance this season has made the loss of Adcock a little easier. McPherson has the look of a back of rotation starter but depending on how his breaking pitches develop he could potentially have more of an upside.

April: 2.12 ERA, 0.910 WHIP, 26.oo SO/BB (A+ stats)

May: 3.55 ERA, 0.974 WHIP, 5.80 SO/BB (A+ stats)

June: 3.32 ERA, 1.154 WHIP, 2.7143 SO/BB (AA stats)

July: 2.60 ERA, 1.067 WHIP. 5.29 SO/BB (AA Stats) 

Bryan Morris

Bryan Morris is the last of the Altoona-4 and going into the season he was considered the best of the 4. Morris started off strong out of the gate but hit a very rough patch in the middle of the season causing him to move to the bullpen. Morris was acquired in the Jason Bay trade and is the last remaining piece in what is looking like a huge bust. He was added to the 40 man roster this offseason and was expected to challenge for a spot in Pittsburgh some time this season. The move to the bullpen where he has excelled really hurts his prospect value. His arsenal consists of a mid 90s fastball and a very good curve ball.  If he can get back to working as a starter Morris has the potential to be a very good starter but a lot of scouts see him as a back of the bullpen reliever.

April: 3.14 ERA, 1.465 WHIP, 1.00 SO/BB

May: 2.70 ERA, 0.900 WHIP, 3.00 SO/BB

June: 5.58 ERA, 1.500 WHIP, 2.33 SO/BB

July: 3.29 ERA, 1.610 WHIP, 1.75 SO/BB

Tim Alderson

Alderson represents the entirity of the Pirates haul for Freddy Sanchez. When he was traded he was considered a very highly touted prospect ranking 4th in the Giants system. There had always been some concerns about his mechanics and wether they would translate to him being successful at the upper levels. Last season the concerns came to fruition and Alderson got hit so hard in AA he was demoted to A= where he continued to get hit hard. This season Alderson was back in AA but the Pirates wanted him to work more often than every 5 days so he was moved to the bullpen. he has really found himself this year which leads some to question wether he will be kept there or moved back into a starting role next season. Alderson lacks velocity with his fastball sitting around 90 so his secondary pitches and his control need to be excellent for him to succeed in the majors. At only 22 years old it is way too early to role him out but his status is certainly far from where it was in 2009.

April: 1.35 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 2.17 SO/BB

May: 1.04 ERA, 0.635 WHIP, 7.3 SO/9 (he issued no BB this month)

June: 7.94 ERA, 1.94 WHIP, 0.50 SO/BB

July: 4.24 ERA, 1.235 WHIP, 1.83 SO/BB

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