The 2011 Arizona Fall League begins today, with the Mesa Solar Sox playing their first game at 12:35 PM MST (3:35 PM EST). The Pittsburgh Pirates have seven players on the Solar Sox this year. Jarek Cunningham, Brock Holt, and Robbie Grossman will represent the Pirates on the offensive side of the game, while Gerrit Cole, Nathan Baker, Michael Colla, and Phil Irwin will all join the Mesa pitching staff.
The AFL is mostly filled with players from the AA and AAA levels, giving some valuable playing time to these prospects. For Cole, the playing time will be valuable, as it will allow him to get some innings, after sitting out since early June while waiting to sign. For Cunningham, Grossman, and Baker, it will be their first opportunity to go against talent from the higher levels. Holt, Colla, and Irwin will gain additional experience against the upper level talent. Here is what each player could afford to work on:
Cole - The big thing here is just getting innings under his bel...
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.