Five Things That Need to Continue

The Pirates need D'Arnaud to step up this year as the long term shortstop.

It is way too early to be talking about any trends, hot starts, numbers, or anything else from the minor league season, which only started on Thursday.  Some players have gotten off to hot starts, some players have gotten off to cold starts.  Some pitchers had great outings, some pitchers had bad outings, and some pitchers haven’t even pitched yet.  Any analysis of a player’s 2011 numbers is far too premature.

There are certain players that the Pittsburgh Pirates really need to see good performances out of this year.  While it’s too early to analyze a hot start, it’s never too early to point to a player and say “the Pirates need him to succeed”.  So with that said, here are five players who got off to a hot start this past week, and who need to continue playing well this season in order to help the Pirates out, both in the short term, and in the long term.

Chase D’Arnaud - D’Arnaud had a breakout year in 2009, followed by a down year in 2010.  So far he’s off to a good start in AAA, with a .381 average in his first 21 at-bats, with four of his eight hits going for extra bases, after going 2-for-4 with a triple today.  The Pirates have a long term need at shortstop, and D’Arnaud is the best option to fill that role.

Rudy Owens - His first start in Indianapolis was the same thing that we’ve been seeing for the last two years: seven innings, one run allowed, seven hits, no walks, and five strikeouts.  The Pirates have a need for starting pitching, and Owens could be the closest prospect to the majors in terms of being polished.  If he continues putting up starts like we saw in his first outing, he could get the call by June.

Starling Marte - Marte is off to a great start, with a .429 average, including three doubles and a homer.  All of that damage has come in the last three games, after struggling in his first two appearances.  Gorkys Hernandez and Alex Presley are also off to great starts in AAA.  The Pirates need one of these three to step up in the next year to become the long term third outfielder beside Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata.

Colton Cain - Cain got off to a great start in West Virginia, throwing 4.2 innings, allowing an unearned run on five hits, with a walk and five strikeouts.  We rated Cain as the tenth best prospect in the system this year, and a strong season from him could put him in high-A by the end of the year, possibly reaching AA by next season with a Rudy Owens-2009 type performance this year.

Aaron Thompson - Thompson got off to a great start in Altoona, going six innings in his first start, while allowing a run on one hit, with a walk and two strikeouts.  He’s a former first round pick who was claimed off of waivers this off-season.  The Pirates saw a problem with his delivery, and claimed him with a shot at fixing it.  It would be a bonus if he could regain his prospect status as a starter.

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

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.

Altoona Curve at Erie SeaWolves Series Recap

Next Story »

Morris Shines For Curve; Marauders Blast Jupiter

  • Anonymous

    5 Things that need to change? Maybe in a few weeks? Highlighting less than obvious flaws (First pitch balls, BABIP, etc.) Just a thought. Love the site. Keep up the good work.

    • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

      Tomorrow is 5 things that need to change.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Zielinski/100000181161454 Steve Zielinski

    I thought Lambo would be the long-term third outfielder next to Tabata and McCutchen.

Latest Analysis

  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    23 hours ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    3 days ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    4 days ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    5 days ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    6 days ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    1 week ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

    The Mental Adjustment that Led to Cody Dickson’s Dominant 2014 Second Half

    1 week ago

    Trusting his stuff and not trying to do too much — that has been the key for left-handed pitcher Cody Dickson so far in his professional baseball ...

    Read More
  • Third Base Mathisen Luplow Joe

    Who’s on Third? In the Pirates’ Farm System, It Could Be Anyone

    1 week ago

    If you have ever played third base in your life — professional, college, high school, slow pitch softball — then the Pittsburgh Pirates might be contacting you ...

    Read More
  • Jason Creasy

    Another Pitcher to Watch From the Pirates’ 2011 Draft

    2 weeks ago

    The 2011 draft is shaping up to be a great class for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They picked first overall that year, so naturally you’d expect good things ...

    Read More
  • Peacock Nevarez

    Will One of These Pirates Minor League Pitchers Be the Next John Holdzkom?

    2 weeks ago

    By now you probably know that John Holdzkom rose from independent ball last year and made it to the majors. It was one of the best stories in ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles

    More