2011 Prospect Watching: Latimore, Durham, Norman

Miles Durham —  R/R,  6′ 3″,  195 lb
Durham is an outfielder who is going to be developing an age problem: he’ll turn 28 in March.  He was the Pirates’ 22nd round pick in the 2006 draft, coming out of college at Northwestern State University.  He has come up through the organization slowly, reaching AA Altoona in mid-2009, and returning there for 2010.  Durham hit .259 for the Curve, with 27 doubles, 6 triples, 10 homers, and 69 RBI.  Durham started the season with a so-so average, hitting .261 in April and .257 in May.  He slumped down to .179 for June, then rebounded high with a .310 month for July before leveling out at .277 in August.  While he took more walks than Latimore (52), his strikeout rate was just as high:  139 strikeouts in 136 games.  He spent most of his playing time in right field for the Curve, and though he can also play first base if needed, Durham appeared there in only 5 games in 2010.  Durham’s strikeouts are going to work against him as he is going to be getting crowded from both sides in 2011.  The outfielders from last year in Bradenton (Marte, Grossman, and Latimore) are ready to move up to Altoona.  Meanwhile, Indianapolis’ outfield is going to be crowded with others who have moved up (Gorkys Hernandez, Alex Presley, Andrew Lambo), and those who are squeezed down from the big league club, where the outfield is also crowded (?Steve Pearce ?John Bowker ?Matt Diaz).  First base is also going to be busy in Indianapolis (Matt Hague, ?Jeff Clement, ?Pearce).  Durham might be able to back-up in the outfield in Altoona, and get in some time at first base with Calvin Anderson, and some DH time.

Anthony Norman —  L/L,  6′ 0″,  180 lb
Norman was a member of the Angels’ organization from 2007 until he was released in mid-2009.  He played some independent ball (St. Paul Saints) that year also, then signed with the Pirates in 2010.  Norman got into 71 games with the Altoona Curve, most of them coming after Gorkys Hernandez was injured.  He shone in June and July, hitting .337 over those two months, with 5 doubles, 3 homers, and 13 RBI.  Then the bottom dropped out in August, and he hit .097 over the last 5 weeks of the season.  Norman played a little more than half of his games in center field, with Hernandez missing, and also played a lot in left field.  The 26-year-old is likely to return to Altoona, where he’ll face the same crowding issue as Durham.

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