Moving on up, as we look at the Pirates' minor league pitchers....

Aaron Pribanic --
  R/R,  6' 4",  200 lb
Pribanic came to the Pirates in July 2009, as a part of the trade with the Mariners for Jack Wilson and Ian Snell.  He was assigned to West Virginia, where he made 6 starts and one relief appearance to finish the season, earning a 4-2 record and a 2.15 ERA.  He didn't walk many 5 (1.2 walks/ 9 innings), but didn't strike out many either (18, 4.3 K/ 9 innings).  Pribanic was promoted to A+ Bradenton to begin 2010, and he spent the whole season there.  He was a starter for the whole season, making 27 appearances, and earning a 7-6 record with an overall 3.33 ERA.  He began the season slowly, with 4 starts in April, in which he gave up a total of 12 earned runs in 17 innings (6.35 ERA).  May was a little better, with 18 earned runs in 33.1 innings (6 starts), for a 4.86 ERA.  He gave up 11 runs in his first three starts in June, but by the second half of the month, things were beginning to turn around.  Pribanic gave up 4 runs over his last three starts in June (21 innings).  July was even better:  5 earned runs in 30 innings for a 1.50 ERA.  Pribanic finished up the season with 8 runs in 44.2 innings (1.61 ERA) in August/September.  Again in 2010, he did not walk many (33, 1.9 walks/ 9 innings) and did not strikeout many  (71, 4.2 K/ 9 innings).  Pribanic was assigned to the Arizona Fall League, where he made 11 appearances, all in relief, for the Mesa Solar Sox.  He threw 18 innings and allowed 4 earned runs on 18 hits (2.00 ERA), with 6 walks and 9 strikeouts.  The low strikeout rate has been attributed to Pribanic not having particularly strong breaking pitches.  He does get a lot of ground ball outs, though, which explains why he can allow 157 hits in 154 innings and still give up "only" 57 runs.  Pribanic needs to work more on those breaking pitches, as the Pirates would really like to see more strikeouts.  He should begin 2011, at age 24, as a starter for AA Altoona.

 
Brian Leach --  R/R,  6' 3", 195 lb
Leach was chosen by the Pirates in the 25th round of the 2008 draft.  He pitched as both a starter and a reliever in his first two seasons in the Pirates' organization, but in 2010, Leach pitched almost exclusively as a starter, with just 2 relief appearances.  He was promoted to Bradenton for the season, and like Pribanic, he got off to a slow start, leading the Marauders in earned runs (15) and walks (16) for the month of April, when he made one relief appearance and four starts, for 20.2 innings, for a 6.53 ERA.  He cut back on the walks in May (9), and did a little better with runs, for a 4.70 ERA in 23 innings.  Leach too turned things around in June, when he allowed 7 runs in 30 innings (2.10 ERA), with 7 walks.  That ballooned up to a 4.75 ERA in July, though he kept the walks down to 6, and slid back to 3.26 ERA in August/Sept, with 9 walks.  Overall, Leach earned a 9-9 record and a 3.85 ERA, with 144 hits in 138 innings.  He walked 44 (2.9 walks/ 9 innings), and struck out 98 (6.4 K/ 9 innings).  Leach also participated in the Arizona Fall League after the regular season.  He made 10 relief appearances for the Mesa Solar Sox, and while he allowed 11 hits and 7 walks in his 10 innings, he did not allow a run.  Leach has been somewhat on-again-off-again with his control -- it was better during the second half of the regular season, and not so great during the AFL.  He needs to work on that in 2011, when at age 25, he should be joining Pribanic in the Altoona starting rotation.

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