It is certainly a matter of when, not if, the Pittsburgh Pirates will bring their top prospects up this year.
The three prospects the Pirates will likely bring up are Pedro Alvarez, Brad Lincoln, and Jose Tabata.
Lincoln will likely be brought up first, as the Pirates are in need of a starting pitcher right now. Charlie Morton has done horrible, and you cannot use spot starters forever. Injuries have also left the Pirates' starting rotation in tatters.
Alvarez will likely be the second prospect brought up, as he is a former No. One draft pick, and Pirates fans are eager to see what he can do at the major league level.
His job this year will be to put fans in seats at PNC Park.
Alvarez will likely not have to battle with Andy LaRoche for the starting third baseman job, simply because of his power at the plate and reputation.
Unless the Pirates bring up all three at the same time, Tabata will likely be the last player to be called up from Triple-A Indianapolis. He is the youngest of the tremendous trio, and he is not as mature as Alvarez or Lincoln.
Also, Tabata will have to compete for a spot in the outfield.
The Pirates' outfield consists of left fielder Lastings Milledge, center fielder Andrew McCutchen, and right fielder and first baseman Garrett Jones.
McCutchen and Jones are here to stay.
McCutchen is a fan favorite, and he dazzles fans, teammates, and opponents alike with his hitting, speed, and spectacular defense.
Jones has the most power in the Pirates' lineup. He is a disciplined hitter and plays extremely good defense for such a big guy (Jones is 6'4", 230 lbs.) Even though Jones has not gotten off to a particularly fast start, he is here to stay.
Lastings Milledge, whom the Pirates acquired in a trade with the Washington Nationals last year, may be the one to go when Tabata is called up.
It is unlikely Milledge will be sent down to the minors, as he is a major league quality player. Milledge can become a free agent after this season, as his contract is a one year deal. He can also be traded, and that may be the most likely scenario.
The Pirates are noted for trading (relatively) big names for a bundle of prospects, and Milledge just may be the next one to go.
Although, Milledge has done fine for the Pirates in his short tenure with the club, it is unlikely that he will stick around for long when Jose Tabata is called up.
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