To cap off the end of the 2009 season, I’m going to be counting down my list of the top 50 prospects in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ system. This week I’ll be running through prospects 31-50 in groups of five, with one group a day. Starting next week I’ll be counting down one prospect per day, with an extensive recap on each player, until I reach number one. Check out the previous installments:
Pittsburgh Pirates Top 50 Prospects: 41-45
Here are prospects 41-45:
2009 Season: Inman was projected to be one of the top juniors in the 2009 draft class at the start of the 2009 NCAA season. He struggled in his junior year, faced injury issues, and fell to the Pirates in the 12th round. Inman put up a 6.11 ERA with a 5.6 K/9 and a 3.2 BB/9 in 53 innings at Stanford. He only pitched two innings with State College, allowing no runs, four hits, no walks, and striking out two.
Information: Inman is 6′ 3″, 180 pounds. He throws in the low 90s, touching 96 at times. He also has a solid curveball and changeup. His velocity dropped in the 80s in May, and he was shut down with shoulder tendinitis. There weren’t any reports of that being an issue for him with the Pirates, although the tendinitis and the poor 2009 season is the reason he went from a potential first round selection to the 12th round with the Pirates. Inman turns 22 in November.
2010 Expectations: Inman didn’t pitch much in 2009, which means he could start off at State College to work on his fastball command. However, he’s a college arm, so I could see him starting in West Virginia.
Optimistic Projection: Top of the rotation starter
Conservative Projection: Back of the rotation starter or late innings reliever
2009 Season: Sues was one of the top prospects in the Pirates’ system coming in to the 2009 season, ranking seventh in the Baseball America rankings. His 2009 season didn’t look good, as he posted a 4.46 ERA in 78.2 innings pitched in Altoona, with an 8.5 K/9, a 4.2 BB/9, and an 0.8 HR/9. The ratios were similar to his 2008 season with Altoona, in which he posted a 3.77 ERA, so the ERA may be an anomaly. Sues pitched 12 innings in Indianapolis, having a 6.00 ERA, with a 12:8 K/BB ratio.
Information: Sues is 6′ 4″, 220 lbs, and throws hard. He has a fastball that sits at 93-95 MPH, topping out at 98. Sues has a power curveball, which could be useful as an out pitch. He’s always had control issues, with a career 4.4 BB/9 ratio in his three seasons in the minors, including a 4.2 BB/9 ratio in Altoona. He turned 26 in June.
2010 Expectations: Sues will probably play in Indianapolis in 2010, with a chance to bounce back to top prospect status.
Optimistic Projection: Closer or late inning reliever
Conservative Projection: Tyler Yates
2009 Season: Walker entered the season as the sixth best prospect in the Pirates system according to Baseball America. In his second season in Indianapolis he put up a .264/.311/.480 line in 356 at-bats, with 14 homers. Walker was promoted to the majors as a September call-up, but only received 36 at-bats. In those at-bats he hit for a .194/.275/.222 line.
Information: I don’t think anyone needs a scouting report on Walker, so I’ll use this spot to say that I’m not a Walker fan. I liked him better as a catching prospect, but I don’t think his bat profiles well as a third baseman. He has a career minor league line of .270/.317/.433 in 2433 minor league at-bats. He only has a .291 OBP in 1009 AAA plate appearances. If he was born in Kansas City, Pittsburgh fans would be calling him a bust right now. He turned 24 in September, so he still has time, but I’m not too high on him.
2010 Expectations: Walker will likely head back to Indianapolis for another season, unless he can win a job from Andy LaRoche, which doesn’t seem probable since LaRoche got more playing time in September.
Optimistic Projection: Andy LaRoche 2009
Conservative Projection: Bench Player
2009 Season: Morgan was a big surprise in the 2009 season. He started the season with a .224/.257/.448 line in 67 at-bats with State College, and three homers, which is similar to his .235/.319/.403 line with three homers in 119 at-bats at State College in 2008. He was moved up to West Virginia where he broke out, hitting for a .296/.382/.541 line with nine homers in 159 at-bats.
Information: Morgan is 6′ 1″, 220 lbs. He’s a left handed hitter with power, with 15 homers and 25 doubles in 372 minor league at-bats. Morgan can play first base or outfield, but will likely be relegated to outfield work as he is stuck at the same level as Calvin Anderson, who is strictly a first baseman. Morgan turned 23 in August.
2010 Expectations: Morgan could spend a little more time in West Virginia to see if the 36th rounder’s performance was legit, but I think he makes it to Lynchburg at some point in 2010.
Optimistic Projection: Starting first baseman/right fielder with .280/20-25 HR potential
Conservative Projection: Steve Pearce
2009 Season: Anderson, the 12th round pick of the Pirates’ 2008 draft class, played the entire 2009 season in West Virginia. He finished with a .274/.347/.446 line with 12 homers in 372 at-bats. Anderson had 18 doubles, and amazingly had five triples. He had trouble with strikeouts, racking up 110, with just 33 walks.
Information: Anderson has a huge frame, at 6′ 7″, 240 lbs. He’s a right handed hitting first baseman with good power potential due to his size. His defense at first is a work in progress. Interesting note, Anderson’s dad, Fred Anderson, was an NFL defensive lineman, playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1978. Anderson will turn 23 in May.
2010 Expectations: Anderson should be the starting first baseman in Lynchburg in 2010. It seems he’s moving a level per year, which would keep him in Lynchburg all season.
Optimistic Projection: Starting first baseman, or AL designated hitter with 30-40 HR potential.
Conservative Projection: Nick Johnson
Prospects 36-40 will be up tomorrow…