Less than 24 hours until the Pirates begin 2011, and just a week until the minor leagues begin their season... and a few more pitchers to look at:

Tyler Cox  --  Bats Right/ Throws Left;  6' 3",  200 lb
Cox was the Pirates' 35th round pick in the 2008 draft.  He pitched well for the GCL Pirates that year, but struggled at West Virginia to begin 2009.  He was moved to State College, and had better results: an 8-3 record and a 3.93 ERA in 10 starts and 5 relief appearances.  The relief appearances seemed to be a good idea, and in 2010, Cox was moved to the bullpen and pitched exclusively in relief.  It seemed to agree with him, as he earned a 6-2 record and one save, and an overall 3.32 ERA in 62.1 innings.  Cox did not allow a run in his first 3 outings (6.2 innings), and he gave up only 2 runs and 8 hits in the month of April, for a 1.35 ERA in 13.1 innings.  He struggled in May, though, allowing 12 runs and 15 hits in 12.1 innings (8 appearances), for an 8.76 ERA.  But when the calendar turned to June, Cox turned over a new page too -- he gave up 2 runs on 5 hits over 12.2 innings for a 1.42 ERA.  In July it was more of the same:  2 runs on 8 hits in 12 innings, and a 1.50 ERA.  Cox had a streak of 14 consecutive appearances over June and July in which he did not allow any runs at all, not even unearned runs.  The season ended with 4 runs on 11 hits in 12 innings over August and September, which boosted his ERA a little bit.  Cox also bumped up his strikeout rate with the move to the bullpen -- 70 strikeouts (10.1 K/ 9 innings), though his walks were a little high too (33, 4.8 walks/ 9 innings) when his control got shaky.  Cox will turn 25 in a few weeks.  He should be ready to move to AA Altoona for 2011.


Diego Moreno  --  R/R,  6' 1",   177 lb
Moreno is a 24-year-old Venezuelan, who has played only two seasons in the US.  He pitched very effectively in two games in State College and 18 games in West Virginia in 2009, for a combined 1-3 record and 5 saves, with a 2.60 ERA in 50 innings.  He was assigned to Bradenton to begin the 2010 season, and had great success against the Florida State League.  He allowed one run in April, on 5 hits and one walk, in 13 innings, for a 0.69 ERA.  He also struck out 19 batters in the month, including one outing on April 26th when he struck out 7 batters in 3 hitless and scoreless innings.  He buzzed through May also, and didn't get his ERA above 1.00 until his last game with the Marauders on May 22nd, when he allowed 2 runs on 2 hits (one was a home run).  He gave up 3 runs total in May, on 6 hits in 13.1 innings, and finished his time in Bradenton with a 1.37 ERA in 26.1 innings.  He'd walked two batters and struck out 39.  Moreno was promoted to Altoona, and made his first AA appearance on May 24th (one hit and two strikeouts in one inning) -- then went onto the DL with a shoulder strain.  When he returned, Moreno made another 6 appearances for Altoona.  He gave up 6 runs in that time, but 5 came in one game.  His totals in Altoona, in 7 games were 6 runs on 10 hits in 7.2 innings and a 7.04 ERA.  At that point, Moreno had an unfortunate incident with the Altoona staff, and was first suspended, then demoted to Bradenton.  He made another 12 relief appearances for the Marauders, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits over 12 innings for a 1.50 ERA, and 18 strikeouts.  Moreno should have another chance in Altoona to begin 2011.  

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