Pirates Notebook: Back to the Futures

The MLB Futures Game is tomorrow at 2 PM EST. Pedro Alvarez and Brad Lincoln will be representing the Pittsburgh Pirates, with Alvarez batting fifth as the DH in the starting lineup of the US roster.

In preparation of the Futures game tomorrow, I decided to go back over the rosters of past futures games, noting the presence of current and past Pirates, as well as some of the studs and duds from each year.

2008

Pirates: Andrew McCutchen represented the Pirates on the US roster. Gorkys Hernandez was on the World roster while with the Braves.

Studs: Hard to say at this point, but Brett Anderson, Travor Cahill, Mat Gamel, Dexter Fowler, Denard Span, Elvis Andrus, Emilio Bonifacio, and Gerardo Parra have all shown some success in the majors.

Duds: Too early to tell.

2007

Pirates: Robinzon Diaz (Blue Jays) and Gorkys Hernandez (Tigers) both represented their old teams on the World roster. Steve Pearce represented the Pirates on the US roster. Former Pirates prospects Brent Lillibridge and Craig Stansberry also played. Serguey Linares also represented the Pirates on the World roster.

Studs: Geovanny Soto, Joey Votto, Joba Chamberlain, Clayton Kershaw, Jeff Niemann, Evan Longoria, Ian Stewart, Elvis Andrus, Jay Bruce, Colby Rasmus, Chris Coghlan, and Justin Upton all look good in the majors. Cameron Maybin, Clay Buchholz, Carlos Gonzalez, Alcides Escobar, and Carlos Carrasco are all considered top prospects.

Duds: Pretty much everyone who was associated with the Pirates to that point (Pearce, Lillibridge, Stansberry, and Linares) look like duds at this point.

2006

Pirates: Neil Walker and Josh Sharpless were on the US roster. Jose Tabata and Luis Cruz were on the World roster.

Studs: Stephen Drew, Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Braun, Hunter Pence, Yunel Escobar, Pablo Sandoval, Joey Votto, and Yovani Gallardo, plus guys like Howie Kendrick, Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, and Kurt Suzuki have had some major league success.

Duds: Luis Cruz?! Sharpless hasn’t stuck in the majors. Homer Bailey has struggled every time he’s called up by the Reds. Neil Walker was behind the plate, and looks like he’s on his way to washing out as a prospect.

2005

Pirates: Zach Duke and Ian Snell represented the Pirates from the US roster. Andy LaRoche and Lastings Milledge were also on the US roster.

Studs: Justin Verlander, BJ Upton, Bobby Jenks, Chris B Young, Nelson Cruz, Hanley Ramirez, Kendry Morales, Russell Martin, Edinson Volquez, and Francisco Liriano. Oh yeah, and I guess you can say Zach Duke, based on his 09 results.

Duds: Snell doesn’t look too good right now. Felix Pie also looks to be washing out from his top prospect hype. Adam Loewen is out of baseball.

2004

Pirates: Bryan Bullington and Jorge Cortes represented the Pirates. Tony Beasley was also a coach.

Studs: Matt Cain, John Danks, Prince Fielder, David Wright, BJ Upton, Jason Kubel, Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano, Justin Morneau, and Shin Soo Choo.

Duds: Bullington and Cortes obviously were busts. Felix Pie was also in the game that year. Andy Marte also looks to be washing out.

In Summary

The Pirates have had several representatives, but very few have lived up to their “futures” status. Zach Duke and Andrew McCutchen look to be the best bets as far as Pirates representatives go. As far as current Pirates, Gorkys Hernandez, Lastings Milledge, and Jose Tabata still have hope of living up to their hype. Andy LaRoche is looking good in the majors this year, although he’s not hitting for a lot of power yet. Robinzon Diaz has looked good, but seems to be more of a bench player in the majors.

As for this year, Brad Lincoln and Pedro Alvarez have both looked good in certain regards. Lincoln had great numbers at AA, and is struggling off the bat at AAA with a 4.70 ERA, although that is to be expected. Alvarez has homered 17 times between Lynchburg and Altoona, but has also struck out 89 times in 296 at-bats.

By far these are our top prospects, hitting and pitching, and both are vital to the Pirates future. Let’s hope they end up like some of the studs above, and not like some of the duds we’ve seen, like Bryan Bullington and Andy Marte.

The MVP Tracker

The MVP Tracker is updated with the 7/10 loss. Instead of pointing out the top five impacts, I’m just going to highlight one:

Matt Capps: -.980 WPA

That means the Pirates had a 98% chance of winning the game before Capps blew it. For the record, I hate when closers are brought in for a non-save situation. This kind of stuff always happens, most likely because the closer relaxes in a non-pressure situation, then struggles, and before you know it, the other team is threatening. That’s no excuse for Capps though.

I will say this: I still like Capps. This was one game, and even though it was a horrible game, Capps had converted 12 saves in a row since his last blown save, making 19 appearances with a 2.55 ERA over that stretch, spanning almost two months.

Other Stuff

-The Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect Watch for 7/11 is up.

-I’m currently working on an International Signing Tracker, to keep track of all of our international signings. Nothing big, just a place to keep a reference of the guys we signed in 2009, since that information seems hard to find on one page. Might be up tomorrow, and it will be added to the features.

-I’m working on my updated top 20 prospects. The new poll in the upper right lists some of our top guys, and asks you to vote for who you think our top prospect is. This won’t impact my ratings, but I’m just curious to see if anyone is down on Pedro Alvarez.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

Share This Post On
  • RichW

    Capps has only appeared three times in July. There haven't been enough "save situations" to keep him busy so he's got to get some work in at some point, especially with a four-day layoff coming.