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