Low Level Hitters – Interesting Non-Prospects
Edwin Espinal: Espinal is probably someone I should buy into more than I do. The Pirates signed him for $150,000 in 2011 out of the Dominican Republic. He spent the 2011 season in the DSL and put up good numbers and was named one of the top 20 prospects in the DSL and VSL. Espinal’s value is almost entirely tied to him developing power though as he is shaky defensively, probably limited to 1B, and is slow. This past season Espinal was promoted to the GCL and struggled. His plate discipline which had been good in the DSL was poor and his overall numbers suffered. Espinal did finish the season with a strong August though and will only be 19 next season so the potential is still there.
Jared LaKind: The Pirates drafted LaKind in the 23rd round of the 2010 draft and for $400,000 convinced him to to skip going to Arkansas. When drafted LaKind had potential both as a pitcher and 1B. He was a lefty with a low 90s fastball but his power potential is what the Pirates saw so they announced him as a 1B. LaKind has spent the last 3 seasons between rookie ball and A- and hasn’t made much if any progress. He strikes out too much and has shown little power. His prospect window is all but shut and to be honest I’m surprised the Pirates haven’t converted him back to a pitcher yet.
Stetson Allie: Oh how the mighty have fallen. Allie with his 100+ mph fastball was once one of the Pirates best prospects now he barely clings to his prospect status. Allie has a lot of power potential which is what is keeping his status as a hitting prospect alive but he has a lot of work to do if he is going to succeed. Allie had a rough first year at the plate, striking out a third of the time and batting only .213 but he did show a little bit of that raw power. For my money the Pirates were better off keeping him as a pitcher and hoping they could iron out his control problems but we shall see how this path turns out.
Candon Myles: Myles is a speedy center fielder who loves to run. The best part of his game is speed and it is something he does well. Myles doesn’t have much of a bat though his line in limited action this season was promising. He is essentially your typical speedy center field type who is going to have to make by defense, speed and OBP skills. The Pirates drafted him in 2011 so he just turned 20 a few days ago. There is definitely some talent here but we have to wait and see if Myles can turn into anything.
Ryan Hornback: The Pirates and most organizations for that matter tend to carry a few extra catchers in the system. The Pirates have a plethora of catchers in their lower levels but most are probably just organizational types. The one that appears to have the highest upside of the non-prospects is Hornback. Hornback started the 2012 season splitting time with Jacob Stallings at catcher in A- but got injured in July and didn’t play again. He did fairly well in that time batting for a 291/329/367 line. He is viewed as a solid defensive catcher. Overall he is probably just an organizational catcher but unlike most of the others in the lower levels he has a chance to progress farther into the system.