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Victor Black a top New York-Penn League Prospect

Baseball America released their top 20 prospects from the 2009 New York-Penn League, which is the league that Pittsburgh Pirates class A short season affiliate, the State College Spikes, play in. The only Pirate prospect to make the list was Victor Black, who came in at number six.

Black was taken by the Pirates with the last pick in the compensation portion of the first round, the pick the Pirates received for not signing Tanner Scheppers from the 2008 draft. He was rated the 50th best prospect by Baseball America going in to the draft. In 31 innings pitched at State College, Black posted a 3.45 ERA, with a 33:15 K/BB ratio, no homers allowed, and a .213 BAA.
His fastball ranges from 91-95 MPH, and could increase due to his projectable frame. His out pitch is an 82-84 MPH slider with good depth. I could see Black starting next year in West Virginia’s rotation, although I think his future role is a reliever out of the back of the major league bullpen, possibly as a potential closing candidate.
Brock Holt didn’t make the list, but this quote was taken from the Q&A session on the rankings:
Fred (Ohio): Where do you see Brock Holt’s deffensive future? How would you evaluate his season as a whole.

Aaron Fitt: He’s a second baseman down the road, though he really can handle shortstop ably. I like Holt as another sleeper — he plays with a ton of energy, he’s a solid-average to plus runner, he has great instincts in the field and on the basepaths, and he has decent arm strength and range in the middle infield. His range is probably a little short for shortstop, but you could at least plug him in there and make him a useful utility player. He’s also stronger than he looks given his 5-foot-10 frame, and he can hit hard line drives and even some home runs. He’s just a very good all-around player — don’t sleep on him.

Holt had a great season, after being selected in the ninth round. Holt finished with a .299/.361/.449 line in 254 at-bats at State College, with good defense and good power from the middle infield position. I rated him my number two prospect from the 2009 Spikes in my end of the year recap, right behind Black.
The next rankings list that is relevant to the Pirates will be on Friday, as Baseball America will review the South Atlantic League, home to the West Virginia Power. That should be interesting, considering the talent the Pirates had at that level this year.
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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.

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