A lot has been written about Tim Alderson this off-season. Alderson is coming off a horrible year, where he totally fell apart at the AA level, was demoted to high-A, and didn’t fare any better at the lower level. A lot of that had to do with a drop in velocity, with Alderson throwing in the mid-80s for most of the season.
A month ago, Tim Keong of ESPN looked at Alderson’s missing velocity. In the article he noted that Alderson’s high school pitcher, after watching Alderson pitch, said he was a better pitcher when he was a freshman in high school than he is now. The article concluded with Alderson proclaiming that he can throw a baseball again. Tom at Rumbunter was down at Spring Training at the start of the month, and has a video of Alderson pitching in the bullpen.
Today, Charlie at Bucs Dugout has an interview with Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm director Kyle Stark, which is a must read. In the interview, Stark talks briefly about Alderson, and in a follow-up, Stark mentions that Alderson isn’t assured a minor league rotation job this year.
I’ve been reviewing the projected minor league rosters over the last few weeks, and have already covered the projected Altoona and Bradenton starters. The Altoona rotation would seem to provide the best chance for Alderson, since Bryan Morris is expected to start in Indianapolis. The rest of the Altoona rotation looks to include Jeff Locke, Aaron Pribanic, Brian Leach, and possibly Justin Wilson. Nathan Adcock should factor in to that rotation if he returns from the Kansas City Royals, and Aaron Thompson could also compete for playing time.
In Bradenton, things are even more crowded. Quinton Miller, Kyle McPherson, Nathan Baker, Phillip Irwin, and Brett Lorin. Hunter Strickland, Jeffrey Inman, and Eliecer Navarro could also compete for playing time early in the season.
Alderson is still young enough that he can revive his career, although it’s unlikely that he’ll ever be more than a back of the rotation starter at this point. His chances of even reaching the majors drastically decrease if he can’t make the rotation in Altoona or Bradenton this year.