Steven Pearce and Serguey Linares represented the Pittsburgh Pirates at Sunday’s XM All-Star Futures Game, hosted by the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.
Pearce is making a name for himself thanks to a strong first half of the 2007 season. He started the year with Single-A Lynchburg before being promoted to Altoona, and before long, he should be making his Triple-A debut with Indianapolis. The short, stocky first baseman has a power stroke from the right-hand side of the plate. Through 296 at-bats, Pearce has 22 home runs and 76 RBI.
Pearce went 0 for 1 with a walk in the Futures Game, and started at first for the USA team.
Serguey Linares, a Cuban defector, was signed by the Pirates this past off-season. He’s been rather unimpressive so far in his brief professional career. As Wilbur notes, “It’s interesting that the Pirates will spend [$125,000] on a long shot Cuban pitcher but won’t invest nearly as much in any Dominican or Venezuelan prospect. They seem unwilling to make any investment that has no chance of a payoff within a year or two.”
Linares did not make an appearance in the game.
What flew under the radar a bit, I think, was the fact that a former Pirate participated in the Futures Game as well.
In an on-air interview, Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty said that he wasn’t at the game for scouting purposes—no team would give up on the elite players that took the field. Craig Stansberry is far from a standout, but it’s disappointing to see that the Pirates let a “prospect” of any caliber leave the system.
MLB.com played up the fact that Stansberry was born in Saudi Arabia—though he moved to America as an infant—and as such, participated with the World team in the exhibition. He’s a fringe prospect at best as a 25-year-old, light-hitting middle infielder, and after hitting .351 in a 94 at-bat stint with Lynchburg in 2005, Stansberry never saw his average top .260 while in the Pirates’ organization.
A fifth round pick in the 2003 draft, Stansberry caught on with the San Diego Padres this year and is playing for their Triple-A affiliate. In just over 300 at-bats, he’s posted a .300 batting average and .864 OPS.
For context, Brian Bixler is hitting .300 with an .840 OPS while playing shortstop for the Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate.
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