Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates: Ranking the Seven Top Prospects in the Farm System

John QuayleCorrespondent IApril 30, 2011

Pittsburgh Pirates: Ranking the Seven Top Prospects in the Farm System

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    Who is on manager Clint Hurdle's radar?
    Who is on manager Clint Hurdle's radar?Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    From the early 1960s into the mid-1990s, the Pittsburgh Pirate organization was quite prolific, turning out some of that era's greatest players with names like Willie Stargell, Dave Parker, Willie Randolph, Manny Sanguillen, Jason Kendall, Barry Bonds, Moises Alou, John Candelaria, Kent Tekulve, Al Oliver, and Rennie Stennett.

    So, it comes as no surprise that the subsequent dearth of quality talent since then has had Pirate fans reaching for some serious medication to calm their nerves.

Aramis Ramirez, Infielder

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    BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 23:  Portrait of infielder Aramis Ramirez #16 of the Pittsburgh Pirates during Pirates' Media Day prior to the start of MLB Grapefruit League Spring Training at McKechnie Field on February 23, 2003 in Bradenton, Florida.  (Photo b
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    The lone real talent who has emerged since then (Aramis Ramirez) was traded away for a stale wad of chewed bubblegum and an half-eaten packet of toaster pastries. No wonder the Dave Littlefield-Kevin McClatchey era causes uncontrollable tremors among Pittsburgh's dwindling fan base.

Josh Harrison, Third Base

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    Josh Harrison (Photo: Inidanapolis Indians)
    Josh Harrison (Photo: Inidanapolis Indians)

    At long last, the Pirate organization has some prospects definitely worth keeping an eye on. We'll examine those with the best chance of making an appearance in Pittsburgh in 2011.

    The hottest stick in the whole organization belongs to pint-sized third baseman Josh Harrison, currently stroking the ball at a .375 clip and has an on-base-plus-slugging (OPS) percentage of .998. The early concern is that he's committed five miscues in 18 games.

Alex Presley, Center Field

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    BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 20:  Outfielder Alex Presley #44 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photo during photo day at Pirate City on February 20, 2011 in Bradenton, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Centerfielder Alex Presley continues to impress. Although the 5'9" whippet is better known for his speed and defensive ability, he's leading the Indianapolis Indians with three homers, second with a .341 BA and a .922 OPS.

Matt Hague, First Base

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    Matt Hague (Photo: Indianapolis Indians)
    Matt Hague (Photo: Indianapolis Indians)

    First base has been a revolving door in Pittsburgh since the days of Sid Bream. Enter 6'3" righthanded slugger, Matt Hague. His numbers are .284 BA/ .732 OPS and he's fifth on the Indians in on base percentage (OBP) with .337.

Justin Thomas, Reliever

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    Justin Thomas (Photo: Indianapolis Indians)
    Justin Thomas (Photo: Indianapolis Indians)

    There are some attention-grabbing arms on the Indians roster, as well. Lefty reliever Justin Thomas (acquired from Seattle in the 2009 Jack Wilson deal) has been lights out. In ten appearances so far, Justin is 1-0, with an ERA of 1.54 and a downright stingy walks and hits per innings pitched (WHIP) percentage of 1.03.

Daniel Moskos, Reliever

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    BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 20:  Pitcher Daniel Moskos #57 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photo during photo day at Pirate City on February 20, 2011 in Bradenton, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Fellow bullpenner Daniel Moskos (the 2007 first round pick out of Clemson) is 0-0 with a 1.69 ERA and an 0.94 WHIP after eight appearances. After lighting up the Eastern League last year, Moskos was rudely battered when he was promoted in mid-season. He has rebounded nicely from that setback in his development.

Justin Wilson, Starting Pitcher

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    Justin Wilson (Photo: Indianapolis Indians)
    Justin Wilson (Photo: Indianapolis Indians)

    The Eastern League's MVP during the playoffs last season was lefty starter Justin Wilson and he's picking up in Triple A where he left off in Double A. In four starts, Wilson is 2-1, 2.25 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.

Tony Sanchez, Catcher

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    BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 28:  Tony Sanchez #55 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for photos during media day on February 28, 2010 in Bradenton, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Like Pedro Alvarez before him, fans just can't wait until the arrival of catcher Tony Sanchez. Bucco fans have been hungry for a bulwark catcher since Jason Kendall was traded away. Sanchez currently is hitting .276 with a homer, seven RBI, .417 OBP, and .744 OPS. 

    With a crop of kids like this, it will soon be cool to be a Pirate fan again!

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