West Virginia Power 2011 Season Recap: Top Prospects

Jameson Taillon was the top prospect in West Virginia this year.

Our top 10 overall prospects for the West Virginia Power factors in all of the individual rankings.  Along with the individual rankings, we also include the best pitcher, hitter, biggest surprise, and biggest disappointments of the year.  The rankings factor in all of the players at the level throughout the year, regardless of whether they’ve been promoted to the majors, and regardless of whether they’ve lost their prospect status.  As long as they had prospect eligibility entering the year, they qualify for the lists.  Playing time is also considered.  A player needs 120 at-bats, 40+ innings pitched, or 20 relief appearances. This prevented Wes Freeman and Gift Ngoepe from consideration.

2011 West Virginia Power: Hitters
2011 West Virginia Power: Pitchers
2011 West Virginia Power: Top 10 Prospects

Overall Top 10 Prospects

1. Jameson Taillon, RHP
2. Colton Cain, LHP
3. Zack Von Rosenberg, RHP
4. Matt Curry, 1B
5. Zack Dodson, LHP
6. Mel Rojas Jr., CF
7. Brooks Pounders, RHP
8. Drew Maggi, SS
9. Zac Fuesser, LHP
10. Brandon Cumpton, RHP

Tim Williams

1. Jameson Taillon
2. Colton Cain
3. Matt Curry
4. Zack Von Rosenberg
5. Mel Rojas Jr.
6. Zack Dodson
7. Drew Maggi
8. Brandon Cumpton
9. Brooks Pounders
10. Dan Grovatt

Best Hitter: Matt Curry was the best hitter that played at the level this year, although Dan Grovatt was the best of the group that was at the level all season.

Best Pitcher: If we’re talking talent, Jameson Taillon easily wins.  If we’re talking results, you could make a case for Colton Cain.  However, I’m going with Brandon Cumpton.  After his horrible start, he was lights out, putting up better numbers than anyone at the level.

Biggest Surprise: Brooks Pounders throwing in the low 90s and having the season he had out of the bullpen was a nice thing to see.

Biggest Disappointment: Definitely the way Von Rosenberg was hit hard was a disappointment.  I still have him ranked high because he’s got a nice curveball, and a good feel for a changeup.  He’s also young enough that he can still work on fixing his fastball command issues.

Matt Bandi

1. Jameson Taillon
2. Zack Von Rosenberg
3. Colton Cain
4. Matt Curry
5. Zack Dodson
6. Mel Rojas
7. Brooks Pounders
8. Casey Sadler
9. Zac Fuesser
10. Drew Maggi

Best Hitter - Matt Curry destroyed the Sally League for two months before making the jump to Double-A. The rest of the Power lineup really struggled.

Best Pitcher - Jameson Taillon had the staff’s most encouraging season, with an excellent strikeout rate. But Colton Cain was the most effective pitcher in 2011. He posted a 3.64 ERA in 106.1 innings.

Biggest Surprise - Zack Dodson wasn’t one of the more hyped high school pitchers from the Pirates’ 2009 draft, and his numbers at State College last year did not show much indication of a breakout. But he was the Power’s best pitcher when healthy, with a 2.56 ERA.

Biggest Disappointment - There are a few options here, but I will go with Mel Rojas. He was certainly a question mark entering the season, raw with good tools. I was hoping for a little better than his final line of .246/.312/.335, though.

Kevin Creagh

1. Jameson Taillon
2. Colton Cain
3. Matt Curry
4. Zack Dodson
5. Zac Fuesser
6. Brooks Pounders
7. Zack Von Rosenberg
8. Tyler Waldron
9. Casey Sadler
10. Mel Rojas

Best Hitter - After Matt Curry departed for Altoona, the Power sort of shorted out. There is no truth to the rumor that all the other South Atlantic League teams pooled money together to buy Curry’s bus ticket to Altoona. While there, Curry had a dominant .361/.477/.671 (1148 OPS).

Best Pitcher - Jameson Taillon’s season did nothing to dissaude me from the idea that he will be a front-line starter for the Pittsburgh Pirates. You need clay in order to make bricks and Taillon’s clay consists of a high 90’s fastball and a major league-ready curveball. ERA for a pitcher in the low minors should be observed and monitored, but it is not the only standard (Taillon’s was 3.98). Rather, I’m impressed by his 97 K’s and 22 BB’s in 92 innings. He has definitely graduated with honors from Fastball Academy.

Biggest Surprise - There are a couple of others I could mention here, but I wanted an opportunity to spotlight Rinku Singh. Imagine you have natural arm strength and are great at a different sport, but you win a competition in a completely different sport that you have never heard of or played. Then go to a completely foreign culture and make this new sport your full time job. Singh has done those things and is actually doing them well. West Virginia was the 4th of 4 stops he made on the ladder this year, but while at WV he pitched 17 innings of relief, struck out 13, walked 7, and gave up 6 ER. You never know when the experiment may run out of steam, but in 2012 he will probably be in High A which is a massive success in itself.

Biggest Disappointment - I had high hopes for Eric Avila going into 2011, but his 2010 GCL season is like a faded memory of a lost love at this point. His defense at 3B was fairly atrocious to go along with a .216/.275/.289 (564 OPS).

John Dreker

1. Jameson Taillon
2. Zack Von Rosenberg
3. Zack Dodson
4. Colton Cain
5. Mel Rojas Jr.
6. Matt Curry
7. Drew Maggi
8. Zac Fuesser
9. Brooks Pounders
10. Casey Sadler

Best Hitter - Matt Curry was by far the best when he was there but it was just 46 games, so I gave it to Daniel Grovatt who led the team in hits, runs, RBI’s and added 21 stolen bases. His .782 OPS was the best of anyone who spent a significant amount of time with the team.

Best Pitcher - Jameson Taillon took this in the last week of the season with his two shutout starts while Colton Cain was on the DL. Taillon had the best K/9 rate among starters in the system, he showed good control and a nice groundball rate all season. He only picked up 2 wins but that was due more to his low pitch limits and lack of support. Cain came close but really faltered after a move to the pen and also missed the last 18 days of the season.

Biggest Surprise - Zack Dodson pitching as well as he did was a big surprise, especially after he came back from a hand injury in early August. He picked up right where he left off in May when he got hurt. Dodson not only improved his ERA well over last year’s mark but he also showed an improved control and good velocity.

Biggest Disappointment - Lots of choices here from Cain having poor velocity late in the season and his innings being limited before going on the DL to ZVR putting up very bad overall numbers despite a nice finish. Rojas was a disappointment too, didn’t show any power or hit for average and didn’t properly utilize his speed. Brooks Pounders still not in good shape and pitching just 66 innings was bad too as well as Trent Stevenson being demoted to State College and Eric Avila doing nothing all season. I’m going with ZVR here, he has way too much talent to do what he did the first 3/4 of the season. I expect much better things from him next year.

Wilbur Miller

1. Jameson Taillon
2. Zack Von Rosenberg
3. Zack Dodson
4. Colton Cain
5. Mel Rojas, Jr.
6. Matt Curry
7. Brooks Pounders
8. Zac Fuesser
9. Elias Diaz
10. Drew Maggi

Best Hitter - Matt Curry only played 46 games for West Virginia, but it’s him or nobody. Once he was gone, the Power had little offense.

Best Pitcher - Zack Dodson missed half the season, but when he was there he was easily the Power’s most effective pitcher. Zac Fuesser and Colton Cain had their moments, but both were very inconsistent. Jameson Taillon is obviously the best prospect, but he wasn’t nearly the teams’ best pitcher.

Biggest Surprise - It was brief, but in 25 games Gift Ngoepe showed dramatic improvement at the plate. It’s a shame he was never able to come back from the hamate surgery (I believe that’s what it was), because he has significant speed and defensive skills. Hopefully he’ll be 100% next year.

Biggest Disappointment - A late-season surge can’t cover up completely for Zack Von Rosenberg’s dismal numbers. Just the same, I’m still convinced the talent is there.

Tim Williams

Author: 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.

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  • Lee Young

    Gotta agree with the overall ZVR/Rojas disappointments. Hopefully, ZVR can get some much needed MPH along with that command. And, maybe Rojas puts it together next year. He is still really young.

  • Anonymous

    Definitely agree about ZVR but not Rojas. My reasoning is that Rojas was considered to be very raw in his draft year. I agree he was maybe a reach as a 2nd rounder but I think the tools are there to be decent player. I think its easy to label him a disappointment due to where he was drafted, but the fact he was so raw needs to be considered. I think Eric Avila was the biggest disappointment this year for me as I expected a big season with a possible promotion to high A near the end of the season. Now, Avila is looking like an organizational player to me….

  • Anonymous

    Does Taillon jump to AA next year or does he visit Bradenton first?

    • Anonymous

      Taillon will be in Bradenton to start 2012 (99.6% sure) and hopefully get a taste of AA in August of 2012.