First Pitch

First Pitch: Like the Pirates Pitching Staff? Thank Neal Huntington.

First Pitch: Like the Pirates Pitching Staff? Thank Neal Huntington.

Dave Littlefield has not been in the general manager's office for over five years, but his impact on this Pirates team can still be felt.

Neal Huntington became Trader Neal to get a lot of young players in his early years.

No, that's not a bad thing! Sure, he left the Pirates' minor-league system in shambles despite six straight Top-11 picks, but at least a couple of those prospects worked out. Three productive players in the Pittsburgh lineup were all amateurs picked up by Littlefield: Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and Starling Marte. The current front office gets credit for taking these guys as minor leaguers and polishing them into starters, but kudos to Littlefield for getting them.

As for the success of today's Pirates' pitching staff, that is pretty much all Neal Huntington and Company. Every pitcher on the current roster except for Tony Watson was acquired by Huntington since 2008.

When Huntington took over as general manager near the end of 2007, the Pirates had no ...

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First Pitch

James covers the Pirates beat for Pirates Prospects. He is a Broadcast Journalism student at USC and has written for such outlets as NBCOlympics.com, Pittsburgh Magazine and the official websites of the Los Angeles Clippers and Pittsburgh Penguins. James previously covered the Pirates for Pittsburgh Sports Report. He also broadcasts play-by-play for the USC Trojans baseball team and was awarded the 2013 Chick Hearn Memorial Scholarship and Allan Malamud Scholarship. James dispenses puns at his Twitter account (@JamesSantelli) where he promises to write in first-person. Google

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