BA Ranks Pirates’ Farm System 13th

In its just-published annual Prospect Handbook, Baseball America ranked the Pirates’ farm system 13th in baseball, up from 19th a year ago.  The system no doubt was helped by the addition of two high-end talents in the 2011 draft–pitcher Gerrit Cole and outfielder Josh Bell–as well as by breakout seasons by Starling Marte, Robbie Grossman and Kyle McPherson.  On the down side, the improvement in the...

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Minor League Depth — Pitching, Part 3 (Lower Levels)

It’s not easy to project how the Pirates will manage their low level pitching staffs. A lot of factors beyond on-field performance come into play when the team is deciding which pitchers to promote, or how to divvy up the finite number of innings that are available. The team looks at health issues and the need to build up stamina, mechanical issues, fastball command, and other factors that probably show up as much in camp and in...

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Minor League Depth — Pitching, Part 2 (Upper Level Relievers)

Bullpens don’t work quite the same way in the minors as they do in the majors. Most teams, including the Pirates, prefer to develop their pitching prospects as starters. The Pirates won’t normally move a pitcher to the bullpen until it becomes clear that starting isn’t in the cards for that pitcher, either due to health concerns or other reasons. This can happen with some pitchers, like Diego Moreno, in the low minors and others, like...

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Report: Pirates Sign Doug Slaten

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Pirates have signed left-handed reliever Doug Slaten to a minor league contract.  Terms are not available yet, but it’s likely that Slaten will receive a non-roster invitation to spring training.  Slaten, 31, was a 17th round draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2000 and pitched all or parts of four seasons with them before being chosen off waivers by the Washington Nationals after the 2009...

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Minor League Depth — Pitching, Part 1 (Upper Level Starters)

For the last three drafts, the Pirates have focused heavily on pitching, mostly of the high school variety. Combined with a number of trades that brought in pitching prospects, they now have a great deal of pitching depth throughout their farm system. The prospects who project as front-of-the-rotation starters are largely below AA, while the upper levels have a number of pitchers with the potential to be major leaguers, but who may...

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