2011 Prospect Watching: Alvarado, Bankston, Navarro, And Holden
Brandon Holden — R/R, 6′ 4″, 185 lb
The Pirates chose Holden in the 13th round of the 2006 draft. He signed late, so didn’t make his pro debut until 2007, then spent two seasons in the GCL. Holden was moved up to State College in 2009, where he pitched entirely in relief, but didn’t get in a lot of innings. in 19 appearances, he totalled only 18 innings, and allowed 9 runs (4.50 ERA) on 17 hits, with 7 walks and just 3 strikeouts. In 2010, Holden was moved up to West Virginia. He did not make an appearance until April 30th, but made two good relief appearances with 3.1 scoreless innings to begin his season. Then he gave up 4 runs in 4 innings over his next 3 outings. Holden was moved to the starting rotation, where he made 10 starts, which were not particularly encouraging. He allowed a lot of homers, and he had a 8.10 ERA in those starts. He went back to the bullpen for one more relief appearance, before going onto the Disabled List in July. In those 6 relief appearances, he earned a 3.86 ERA. The 23-year-old could return to the West Virginia bullpen for the 2011 season, or possibly begin the season in the Bradenton bullpen.
Eliecer Navarro – L/L, 5′ 9″, 177 lb
A Panama native, this 23-year-old made his US debut in 2009 with the GCL Pirates. Navarro began the 2010 season at State College, and in 3 relief appearances (8.2 innings), he allowed just one run on 6 hits and one walk. He struck out a total of 11 batters, with 6 of those strikeouts coming in the third appearance (3.2 innings). He was promoted to West Virginia, where he made 6 starts and 10 relief appearances. Navarro earned a 2.95 ERA in his 10 relief appearances ( 7 runs in 21.2 innings), with 21 strikeouts and 6 walks. He made one start in July, and the rest to end the season in August/Sept, with an 0-1 record and a 3.44 ERA. in 27.1 innings, he allowed 14 runs and 7 walks, with another 21 strikeouts. A smaller guy, Navarro has a fastball in the mid- to upper-80′s, plus a curve and a changeup, all with good command. He should get a look at A+ Bradenton for 2011.