Today is Opening Day of the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates minor league season. All four full-season affiliates open their schedule tonight, two at home and two on the road. Starting tomorrow, I will include a link for the Prospect Watch in this section everyday, where we give a summary of every game played by a Pirates affiliate from the previous day. It will be posted nightly throughout the entire minor league season.
AAA: Indianapolis (0-0) VS Columbus (0-0) 7:05pm
Probable starter: Andy Oliver (5-9, 4.88 last year for Toledo)
Indianapolis finished the 2012 season in 1st place in the International League West Division with an 89-55 record. They lost 3 games to 1 in the playoffs to Charlotte. Players on their roster to watch this year include the top prospect in the organization, pitcher Gerrit Cole, along with catcher Tony Sanchez, pitchers Kyle McPherson, Phil Irwin, Bryan Morris and Vic Black, infielders Jordy Mercer and Ivan De Jesus Jr. and outfielder Jerry Sands. A team preview can be viewed here.
AA: Altoona (0-0) @ Erie (0-0) 6:35pm
Probable starter: Brandon Cumpton (12-11, 3.84 last year for Altoona)
Altoona finished the 2012 season in 3rd place in the Eastern League Western Division with a 72-70 record. Players on their roster to watch this year include second ranked prospect, pitcher Jameson Taillon, along with infielders Matt Curry and Gift Ngoepe, outfielders Mel Rojas Jr and Alex Dickerson and pitchers Stolmy Pimentel and Casey Sadler. A team preview can be viewed here.
High-A: Bradenton (0-0) @ Ft Myers (0-0) 7:05pm
Probable starter: Robby Rowland (9-5, 3.30 last year for West Virginia)
Bradenton finished their 2012 season with a 60-77 record, finishing in sixth place in the South Division during the first half of the Florida State League season, and fifth place during the second half. Players on their roster to watch this year include two top prospects, shortstop Alen Hanson and outfielder Gregory Polanco, along with first baseman Jose Osuna, outfielder Willy Garcia and pitchers Nick Kingham, Adrian Sampson and Robby Rowland. A team preview can be viewed here.
Low-A: West Virginia (0-0) VS Asheville (0-0) 7:05pm
Probable starter: Joely Rodriguez (3-4, 4.50 last year for State College)
The Power finished their 2012 season with a 61-79 record, ending the first half of the season in last place in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League and in the second half they were tied for second place. Players to watch on their roster this year include, top prospect, outfielder Josh Bell, along with catcher Wyatt Mathisen, infielders Dilson Herrera, Stetson Allie and Max Moroff, and pitchers Clay Holmes, Tyler Glasnow and Joely Rodriguez. Two other highly rated prospects should join the team soon, pitcher Luis Heredia and outfielder Barrett Barnes. A team preview can be viewed here.