Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect Watch 6/24/11


In 2008, the Pittsburgh Pirates made one of their first big late round over-slot signings under Neal Huntington when they gave outfielder Robbie Grossman a $1 M bonus as a sixth round pick, signing him away from a commitment to the University of Texas.  Had Grossman attended Texas, he would have been a junior this year, eligible for the 2011 draft.  Instead, he signed, and didn’t put up the best numbers to start his career, with a .254/.359/.348 in 937 at-bats, mostly between low-A and high-A.

The biggest issue with Grossman came with his high strikeout rates.  Heading in to the 2011 season, Grossman had a 30.8% strikeout rate.  He compensated for that a bit with a 13% walk rate, although his lack of power (nine homers) didn’t really help his prospect value.  The advantage Grossman had was age.  He was 21 years old, heading in to the season, and doesn’t turn 22 until September.  Had he gone to college, he probably wouldn’t have been to high-A until 2012, rather than repeating the level in 2011.

The over-slot bonus might be showing signs of paying off for Grossman.  Heading in to tonight’s game, he had a .272/.403/.378 line in 254 at-bats.  The power isn’t there, but his ratios have been a big improvement.  Grossman currently has a 22.4% strikeout ratio, along with a very impressive 17.3% walk ratio in 2011.  His numbers are really highlighted by a strong June, in which he has struck out just 15.9% of the time, while walking 23.3% of the time.

Power is usually one of the last things to develop for a prospect, and right now it hasn’t developed for Grossman.  However, it’s good to see him making strides in other areas.  If his 2011 strikeout rate holds up, he will have improved that ratio two years in a row.  22.4% isn’t an acceptable level without power, although Grossman has gone from 25.9% in April, to 24.0% in May, to his current low totals in June.  Grossman may never be a strong home run hitter, but he could have a shot at being a .300 hitter with 25 stolen base potential, strong defense, and a great on-base percentage.  If he can one day add power to that arsenal, even if it’s just 10-15 homers, the $1 M investment the Pirates made in him would be worth every penny.


Top Pitcher: Jeff Locke, LHP (4.29) – 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Evan Chambers, CF (.214) – 3-for-4, 2 2B, HR, BB, 3 RBI

Home Runs: Evan Chambers (6), Carlos Paulino (2), Rogelios Noris (6)


Harrison went 2-for-3 tonight.

Box Score

Result: Pawtucket 12, Indianapolis 3

Starting Pitcher: Brad Lincoln, RHP (6-7, 4.14) – 5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Josh Harrison, 3B (.328) – 2-for-3, BB, 2 R

Other Notable Performers

Gorkys Hernandez, CF (.290) – 1-for-3, 2B, BB, 2 RBI

Steven Jackson, RHP (4.63) – 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

Game Notes: Harrison recorded two hits in his first game back since being optioned from the majors.  This was likely Lincoln’s last start before getting promoted next week.  Most of his damage came in a rough second inning.  Steven Jackson was acquired from the Reds, and made his 2011 organizational debut with two shutout innings.


Locke pitched six shutout innings.

Box Score

Result: Harrisburg 2, Altoona 0

Starting Pitcher: Jeff Locke, LHP (4.29) – 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Jordy Mercer, SS (.271) – 2-for-4, 3B

Other Notable Performers

Bryan Morris, RHP (4.54) – 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 HR

Game Notes: Altoona lost in 10 innings in a walk-off homer given up by Anthony Claggett.  Jordy Mercer led off the 7th with a triple, but Altoona couldn’t bring him in.


Chambers hit his 6th homer of the year tonight.

Box Score

Result: Bradenton 16, Fort Myers 5

Starting Pitcher: Brian Leach, RHP (1-1, 4.67) – 5.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Evan Chambers, CF (.214) – 3-for-4, 2 2B, HR, BB, 3 RBI

Other Notable Performers

Robbie Grossman, RF (.275) – 2-for-4, 2B, 2 BB

Adalberto Santos, 2B (.277) – 3-for-4, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI

Benji Gonzalez, SS (.254) – 2-for-4, 2B, 3B, BB

Game Notes: The homer for Chambers was his 6th.  He has an .868 OPS in the month of June.  Carlos Paulino also homered.


Noris hit his 6th homer of the year.

Box Score

Result: Hickory 7, West Virginia 5

Starting Pitcher: Tyler Waldron, RHP (4.11) – 5.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Rogelios Noris, DH (.217) – 1-for-3, HR, 3 RBI, BB

Other Notable Performers

Mel Rojas Jr., CF (.262) – 2-for-4

Cole White, LF (.333) – 1-for-3, BB, 2 RBI

Game Notes: The homer for Noris was his 6th of the year, and gave West Virginia a 5-0 lead at the time.  Brooks Pounders allowed three runs in the seventh, after Waldron allowed four in the fifth.



Hafner pitched four shutout innings once again.

Game One Box Score

Result: Jamestown 2, State College 1

Starting Pitcher: Rya Hafner, RHP (0.00) – 4.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Justin Bencsko, RF (.400) – 1-for-1, 2 BB, SB

Other Notable Performers

Bryce Weidman, RHP (1-1, 3.60) – 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

Game Notes: Hafner pitched four shutout innings for his second straight outing.  So far this year he’s allowed seven hits in eight innings, with six strikeouts and no walks.

Game Two Box Score

Result: State College 4, Jamestown 1

Starting Pitcher: Matt Benedict, RHP (0.00) – 4.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Alex Fuselier, LF (.167) – 1-for-3, 3B, RBI

Other Notable Performers

Fraylin Campos, RHP (1-0, 0.00) – 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 HR

Game Notes: Justin Bencsko stole a base in each game tonight.


Richardson made his US debut today.

Box Score

Result: Braves 6, Pirates 4

Starting Pitcher: Wilson Lee, LHP (4.91) – 2.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Jose Osuna, LF (.286) – 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI

Other Notable Performers

Cristopher Richardson, LHP (0.00) – 3.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Jodaneli Carvajal, SS (.125) – 2-for-5

Jonathan Schwind, DH (.467) – 2-for-4, SB

Ashley Ponce, 3B (.286) – 2-for-3, BB

Game Notes: Lee made his second appearance, and first start tonight.  Richardson was making his US debut.  Willy Garcia hit a triple with his only hit in five at-bats.

RK: DSL Pirates (13-6)

Box Score

Result: Astros 9, Pirates 7

Starting Pitcher: Ricky Perez, RHP (4.50) – 2.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Jose Ortiz, C (.244) – 1-for-3, BB, 2B, RBI

Game Notes: The Pirates had three pitchers in the game who just showed up on the roster (Raul Batis, Joaquin Santamaria, and Luis Baez.  Either this is a mistake, three recent signings that went un-announced, or they’re from the Dominican Academy.

RK: VSL Pirates (20-14)

Box Score

Result: Phillies 5, Pirates 1

Starting Pitcher: Luis Rico, LHP (0-1, 6.00) – 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Jose Roman, DH (.336) – 1-for-4, 2B, RBI

Other Notable Performers

Dilson Herrera, 3B (.292) – 0-for-4, K

Game Notes: Herrera is struggling with a .239/.325/.380 line in 71 June at-bats.

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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.

Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect Watch 6/23/11

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Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect Watch 6/25/11

  • Anonymous

    How bout old Gorkys Hernandez, he seems to be coming along huh?

  • Lee Young

    Wasn’t fond of Lincoln’s line. Hopefully, he got his bad start out of the way?

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