With it being a relatively slow news time I have been thinking about how best to try and figure which prospects will start where. I started by trying and predict each roster but I think it is better to take each position individually. I am only going to focus on the top 4 levels as the rest are a little hard to predict because they will be filled with players who might not yet be in the system. I figure a good place to start is the catchers so that is where I’ll begin.
AAA – Eric Fryer, Jose Morales
With the recent news from Huntington that Sanchez will likely be starting the year in AA and the losses of Jaramillo, Pagnozzi and Jeroloman this decision becomes quite clear. The only other catcher who could factor in here are Toregas, Watts and Cutler. Toregas was signed primarily to serve as a coach and the other two probably represent little more than organizational depth. Fryer and Morales will likely split time as it is possible they will be competing to be the first catcher called up should an injury occur to Barajas or McKenry.
AA – Tony Sanchez, Ramon Cabrera, Charlie Cutler
Others to consider for here include Carlos Paulino, Kris Watts and Milver Reyes. Since Sanchez will be starting back in AA that leaves no room for Paulino. Reyes like Toregas in AAA will be mainly a coach. As for Watts he is a possibility to end up here but either him or Cutler will serve as the upper level organizational catcher; I think it will be Watts but it could go either way. Sanchez of course will be the starting catcher, with Cabrera serving as his primary backup but in a quest to get him at bats the Pirates will likely have him serve as the AA DH meaning a third catcher will likely be carried. That is where Cutler comes into play. ANother possibility is that Elevys Gonzalez serves as the 3rd catcher as the Pirates have been working him out there this winter.
A+ – Carlos Paulino, Elias Diaz
The only other catcher who could figure in here is Kawika Emsley-Pai but the ripple effect of Sanchez remaining in AA will be felt here as Emsley-Pai fails to get a promotion. Since there is no room for Paulino in AA he will serve as the starting catcher in A+ and Diaz will likely be his backup.
A – Samuel Gonzalez, Kawika Emsley-Pai
The Pirates have a plethora of candidates who could go here but once again Sanchez being held back will have a ripple effect that is felt here. Emsely-Pai having no space in A+ should remain in A ball but with Gonzalez coming off a rather strong season he will likely be given the larger share of the starts. The most notable prospect left out here is Jonathan Schwind who I am guessing will be destined for short season ball.