Before the promotion of Gerrit Cole I looked at all 6 minor league rosters and something that caught my eye. The Pirates had very good system balance. In three leagues the pitchers were more intriguing to me than the hitters and in the other three the hitters were more intriguing than the pitchers. That in itself may not be odd but what is it that it rotates. The pitching prospects appeared to dominate AAA, A+ and A- and the hitters AA, A and Rk. Now each level had at least one intriguing player on the other side but by and by each level was more interesting one way or the other. Just to prove this let’s take a look.
Hitters: Starling Marte, Jordy Mercer, Matt Hague, Gorkys Hernandez, (Tony Sanchez)
Pitchers: Rudy Owens, Jeff Locke, Justin Wilson, Bryan Morris, (Duke Welker), (Kyle McPherson)
Conclusion: Marte is of course the biggest name in AAA but the rest of the hitting prospects are underwhelming. Sanchez probably has the highest upside of the bunch but is a recent promotee. Mercer, Hague and Hernandez look like fringe regulars at best. On the flip side Owens, Locke and McPherson when he returns all look like they could be a future major league starter and Morris, Welker and Wilson all have the look of potential high leverage relievers.
Hitters: Robbie Grossman, Matt Curry, Jarek Cunningham, Brock Holt, Adalberto Santos, (Tony Sanchez), (Drew Maggi)
Pitchers: Victor Black, Brandon Cumpton, Nathan Baker, Phillip Irwin, Tim Alderson, (Duke Welker), (Jeff Inman)
Conclusion: Going into this season the team was headlined by Grossman and Sanchez. Guys like Curry, Cunningham, Holt and Santos all also have the look of guys who could potential step up and be solid ML contributors. On the pitching side there is a reclamation project in Alderson, some 5th starter types in Irwin and Cumpton and some relief types in Welker, Black and Inman who all have holes in their game. The additional of Cole changes this situation drastically.
Hitters: Carlos Paulino, Alex Dickerson, Gift Ngoepe, Mel Rojas, Dan Grovatt, (Drew Maggi)
Pitchers: (Gerrit Cole), Jameson Taillon, Colton Cain, Casey Sadler, Jhonathan Ramos
Conclusion: The hitters are headlined by Dickerson, Rojas and Maggi who aren’t a terrible trio but when Cole and Taillon were both here there were practically no one who could be a hitter here who wouldn’t have made the story about pitching.
Hitters: Josh Bell, Willy Garcia, Gregory Polanco, Alen Hanson, Jose Osuna
Pitcher: Nicholas Kingham, Zachary Von Rosenberg, (Stetson Allie), Zach Dodson, Rinku Singh
Conclusion: With Kingham, Allie and a few of the ’09 prep pitchers this was probably the toughest call of all the levels but it is too hard to ignore Josh Bell and the aggressive push by the Pirates of the 4 rookie league prospects.If Allie remained at the level this would be a far closer call but the hitters have the edge here.
Hitters: Jared LaKind, Jodaneli Carvajal, Barrett Barnes, Raul Fortunato
Pitchers: Luis Heredia, Clay Holmes, Jason Creasy, Jake Burnette
Conclusion: With the exception of the recent supplemental round selection, Barret Barnes none of the hitting prospects at this level really stand out. On the pitching side Heredia is one of the Pirates top prospects and when you add in guys taken in last year’s draft like Holmes, Creasy and Burnette the pitchers are clearly stronger.
Hitters: Wyatt Mathisen, Dilson Herrera, Stetson Allie, Harold Ramirez, Elvis Escobar, Candon Myles
Pitchers: Colten Brewer, Tyler Glasnow, Jon Sandfort, Yhonathan Herrand
Conclusion: The pitching side is made of a couple prep arms from last year’s draft and Sandfort who was selected in the 3rd round of this year’s draft. It is an interesting group but on the hitting side the Pirates have their 2nd round pick Mathisen, 3 of their top international players (Herrera, Ramirez, Escobar) making the jump to the states and two more intriguing prospects in Allie and Myles.