Zack Dodson — L/L, 6′ 2″, 190 lb
Dodson was the Pirates’ 4th round pick in the 2009 draft. Like Von Rosenberg, Dodson pitched one hitless and scoreless inning with one strikeout for the GCL Pirates in 2009, and then reported to State College in 2010. Dodson was less consistent than Von Rosenberg, and he struggled with his command, but did improve over the season. He made 13 starts and 2 relief appearances (both in late July, for 2 and 2.2 innings respectively, so they may not have been meant to be piggy-backs). Dodson made 3 starts in June, for 10.2 innings, and allowed 7 runs (5.91 ERA) on 11 hits and 8 walks, with 5 strikeouts. He made 5 appearances in July, and was up to 15.2 innings, with 9 earned runs (5.17 ERA) on 17 hits and 9 walks, and had jumped up to 14 strikeouts. In August and September, he made 6 starts, and 15 runs dropped his ERA to 4.30 for that time. He gave up 29 hits and 10 walks with 22 strikeouts in 31.1 innings, all improved from earlier in the season. He finished with a 2-6 record and a 4.84 ERA, with 6.4 strikeouts / 9 innings and 4.2 walks / 9 innings. Dodson’s strength is felt to be his curve ball, and since fast ball command is what the Pirates focus on at the State College level, Dodson might show better numbers as he begins to throw his curve more often. The 20-year-old is also expected to begin 2011 at West Virginia.
Zac Fuesser — L/L, 6′ 2″, 190 lb
The Pirates chose Fuesser in the 34th round of the 2009 draft. Fuesser got into 5 GCL games in 2009, and was due to report to State College for 2010, but was slowed a little by a finger injury. He was solid in 9 appearances (4 starts) in June and July, allowing 11 earned runs in 27 innings (3.67 ERA), with 24 hits, 16 walks, and 25 strikeouts. He struggled a little in a couple of starts in early August, but overall for his last 6 starts, he gave up 11 runs (3.62 ERA) in 27.1 innings. He allowed 30 hits, but dropped to 11 walks with 22 strikeouts over those last few weeks. That averaged out to 7.8 strikeouts / 9 innings and 4.8 walks/ 9 innings, along with a 3.64 ERA. Fuesser, who is 20 years old, will need to continue to work on his control, and also continuing developing off-speed pitches in 2011, and he should join the other Zachary’s in West Virginia.
Brooks Pounders — R/R, 6′ 4″, 225 lb
Pounders was the Pirates’ 2nd round pick in the 2009 draft. He was promoted from the GCL to State College to begin 2011, where he made 4 starts and appeared in 16 more games, mostly as piggy=backed appearances. He began the season with 3 starts in June, going 13 innings and allowing 6 runs (4.15 ERA) on 12 hits, with 8 strikeouts and no walks. Pounders made one start and 5 “relief” appearances in July, and gave up another 6 runs in 12.1 innings, with 14 hits, with 4 walks and popping up to 12 strikeouts. He slipped a little in August, allowing 9 earned runs in 17 innings over 7 appearances (4.76 ERA). His walks jumped up to 11, though, and his strikeouts dropped to 9. Overall for the season, he earned a 3-3 record and 4.46 ERA, with 3.2 walks / 9 innings and 6.2 strikeouts / 9 innings. His change-up his his strongest pitch, and he also has a strong curve and slider. The Pirates have indicated some concern with Pounders’ weight and conditioning, which might have contributed to his slide in August. He will have to work on that as he progresses, and the 20-year-old should begin in West Virginia for 2011.
Jeff Inman — R/R, 6′ 3″, 180 lb
The Pirates chose Inman in the 12th round of the 2009 draft, but he has been plagued by injuries for the past two seasons. He was able to get into 2 games with the GCL Pirates after signing, and pitched 4 scoreless innings with 4 hits and 2 strikeouts. He looked fine during last year’s spring training, but still went onto the DL, and remained there for the entire season. At age 23, Inman needs to stay healthy so that he can get the chance to pitch. He should be at West Virginia, with maybe a brief time at State College first.