More pitchers in the Pirates' minor league organization:

Tim Alderson --  R/R,  6' 6",  217 lb
Alderson joined the Pirates as part of the trade that sent Freddy Sanchez to the Giants in 2009.  There was some concern at the time that Alderson's velocity had dropped.  He struggled a bit when joining the Curve after the trade.  He made 7 starts, for 38.2 innings, with a 3-1 record and a 4.66 ERA.  He allowed 20 runs on 39 hits, with 13 walks and 18 strikeouts, though 7 of those hits and 11 of those runs came in his last start.  Alderson returned to Altoona to begin 2010, and his velocity improved through the season, though it didn't keep him from getting bombarded.  He'd had an odd delivery when he began his pro career, and the Giants had made some changes, thinking that the oddness would make him prone to injury.  Alderson wanted to go back to his original delivery, and the Pirates were ok with that, but it didn't work out as well as he'd hoped.  In his first start, Alderson pitched 5 shutout innings and allowed 4 hits.  After that, things went downhill.  He gave up 12 earned runs over his next 3 starts, giving him a 5.49 ERA in April.  He made 6 starts in May -- one was very good, going 7 scoreless innings with 4 hits, and one where he allowed one run in 6 innings, but the rest were problematic.  He finished May with a 4.32 ERA, allowing 16 runs on 37 hits in 33.1 innings.  June was no better, with a 5.11 ERA, and 14 runs in 24.2 innings, including one outing in which he did not get out of the 2nd inning.  Alderson gave up 15 runs in 12 innings over 3 starts in early July, and at that point, the Pirates decided to send him down to Bradenton, to be able to work on his mechanics more.  The move did not help tremendously.  He gave up 7 runs in 1.2 innings in his first start for the Marauders, then 7 more in 4 innings in the second.  Over the rest of the season, Alderson pitched 33 innings in 6 games (2 in relief), and allowed 18 runs, for a 4.91 ERA.  That added up to a 6.98 ERA for his time in Bradenton, and a 4-3 record.  In 38.2 innings, he allowed 30 earned runs on 47 hits.  Alderson struck out a total of 84 batters (5.8 K/ 9 innings in Altoona, and 5.9 K/ 9 innings in Bradenton).  He walked 40 (3.0 walks/ 9 innings and 2.7 walks/ 9 innings).  Alderson has said that he was surprised that he was traded from the Giants, and then was surprised and horrified to struggle so much in 2010.  He did feel that he was able to make some mental adjustments in Bradenton, even though his results were not much better.  He continued to work on his mechanics in the fall instructional league, and again in winter mini-camp.  The 22-year-old should be back in Bradenton's starting rotation to begin 2011, hopefully with mechanics that are working.  


Aaron Thompson --   L/L,  6' 2", 190 lb
The Pirates picked up Thompson from the Nationals on waivers in December.  He had been the Marlins' first round pick in 2005, and was traded to the Nationals in July 2009.  The Nationals had him at AA Harrisburg for all but one game in 2010 (one game at AAA Syracuse, with one run in 5 innings), and that was his third season at the AA level.  It was an up-and-down season for Thompson.  He allowed 8 runs on 24 hits in 27.1 innings for a 2.63 ERA in April.  That ballooned to an 8.31 ERA in May, when he allowed 28 runs on 54 hits in 30.1 innings -- a 10-hit game, an 11-hit game, and a 13-hit game included.  June and July were kind of medium, when he earned a 4.17 ERA, and won 2 games.  The season ended on a shaky note, as Thompson allowed 28 earned runs on 43 hits in 33.2 innings, for a 7.49 ERA.  Neither his walk rate nor his strikeout rate were really good or really bad --  53 walks (3.5 walks/ 9 innings) and 95 strikeouts (6.3 K/ 9 innings) while at Harrisburg.  Thompson just turned 24 years old.  He could be assigned to AA again, or possibly give AAA a try, but both levels are going to be crowded in both the starting rotation and in the bullpen.  Because he was picked up on waivers, he's on the 40-man roster.  

To continue reading this article, you need to be a subscriber. You can join us by purchasing one of the following plans: Annual Subscription, Top Prospect Plan or Monthly Subscription. If you're already a subscriber, make sure that you are logged in, using the link at the top of the page. If you have any issues, email help@piratesprospects.com.
IMPORTANT: You will need to update your password after the switch to the new server in order to log in and comment. Go to the Password Reset Page to change your password.