Top 20 Pirates PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review
This is the PRE-SEASON list. That means it was generated BEFORE THE SEASON STARTED and that the grades were PRE-SEASON. Anyone complaining about the grades based on 2006 performance will be smacked up the side of the head with a Chad Hermansen autographed bat.
1) Neil Walker, C, Grade B+
Hitting .273/.317/.379 in 35 games for Class A Lynchburg. Sample too small to draw conclusions. His season started late due to a wrist injury.
2) Andrew McCutchen, OF, B+
Hitting .277/.343/.406 with 14 steals in 68 games for Class A Hickory. Numbers aren't terrific but he is holding his own in his full-season debut.
3) Tom Gorzelanny, LHP, B
5-5, 2.53 in 15 starts for Triple-A Indianapolis, 89/26 K/BB in 93 innings, 65 hits allowed. All numbers are solid. Good K/IP and H/IP ratios, good control, low home run rate. One of the better LHP prospects in the game and worthy of more attention.
4) Paul Maholm, LHP, B-
2-6, 4.90 in 15 starts for the Pirates, 57/46 K/BB in 86 innings, 107 hits allowed. Not overly impressive but if he stays healthy I think he has a good chance to adjust.
5) Jose Bautista, 3B, C+
Hitting .219/.329/.484 in part-time action for the Pirates. Batting average is disappointing, but he's showing some pop and his walk rate is solid. I think he will come around if they are patient.
6) Chris Duffy, OF, C+
Hitting .194/.255/.276 in 31 games for the Pirates. This is a correction from what he did last year, and his career major league numbers so far (.277/.328/.362) are probably a fair measure of his true ability.
7) Nate McLouth, OF, C+
Hitting .220/.289/.330 for the Pirates. Has stolen eight bases but lack of pop is a problem and he hasn't done enough else to compensate. Probably destined to be a fourth outfielder.
8) Matt Capps, RHP, C+
4.03 ERA in 38 games for the Pirates, with a 30/5 K/BB in 38 innings. Not bad at all; his control is very good and I think he should continue to be an effective reliever.
9) Ronny Paulino, C, C+
Hitting .303/.353/.389 in 56 games for the Pirates. Hard to complain with his batting average over .300, but I'd like to see a bit more pop.
10) Craig Stansberry, 2B, C+
Hitting .253/.339/.454 with 9 homers and 8 steals for Double-A Altoona. His batting average is disappointing but he's showing touches of speed and power.
11) Jonah Bayliss, RHP, C+
3-1, 1.77 with 10 saves for Triple-A Indianapolis, 42/20 K/BB in 36 innings. I'd like to see the walks come down but he is having a solid year overall.
12) Brent Lillibridge, SS, C+
Hitting .291/.406/.509 with 17 doubles, 11 homers, 26 steals in 71 games for Hickory. Power, speed, high walk rate, it's all here. Main problem is that he is a bit old for the Sally League, but these numbers should get him noticed.
13) Chad Blackwell, RHP, C+
3.52 ERA with 20/5 K/BB in 15 innings combined between Lynchburg and Altoona. Sample size too small to be meaningful in general but these numbers are in line with what he did in the Royals system. Middle relief prospect.
14) Josh Sharpless, RHP, C+
1.64 ERA with 47/17 K/BB combined in 38 innings between Altoona and Indianapolis. He has great stuff and when he throws strikes he is effective. Another bullpen candidate.
15) Matt Swanson, RHP, C+
4.55 ERA with 26/11 K/BB in 28 innings for Hickory. OK strikeout rate but otherwise there isn't much to be excited about here, a mediocre middle man in the Sally League.
16) Javier Guzman, SS, C+
Hitting .251/.284/.360 for Altoona. Production is not impressive, not much power, low walk rate, weak OBP.
17) Bryan Bullington, RHP, C+
Still recovering from shoulder injury.
18) Adam Boeve, OF, C+
Hitting combined .306/.373/.442 between Altoona and Indianapolis. Less power production than in the past. OPS in Triple-A is just .731, which is inadequate though the sample size (33 games) is small.
19) Rajai Davis, OF, C
Hitting .259/.330/.320 with 23 steals for Indianapolis. Good speed but lack of power and mediocre on-base production will limit him to bench work.
20) Jason Quarles, RHP, C
Hasn't pitched this year due to torn labrum.
The Pirates seem to have a lot of potential spare parts, but not much impact talent. McCutchen and Gorzelanny look like the best bets right now to be impact players, but I want to see how Walker recovers from his wrist problem. That can inhibit hitting development. Watch Lillibridge; he could be a major sleeper.