I’ve been running this site for a little over two years now. In those two years, I’ve seen guys in minor league games who have gone on to make the majors. Pedro Alvarez is one example, as I watched him when he started his career in Lynchburg, to the point where he cracked the majors last June. Even when Alvarez was in Lynchburg, and even though he struggled at the level, you knew he was going to end up in the majors. Alex Presley was probably the first player I followed closely over the last two years who has made the majors, although he was kind of a surprise.
Then there’s Michael Crotta. I first saw Crotta last April, almost a year ago. You can check out the video of that outing here. Going in to the 2010 season, I saw Crotta as a potential sleeper prospect, likely to be a future middle reliever. That outing was very impressive, with Crotta taking a no hitter late in to the game, but not getting much help from his offense. It was only a matter of time before he moved up to AAA.
Crotta wasn’t exactly lights out in AAA. He ended up with a 4.93 ERA in 131.1 innings, along with a 6.1 K/9 and a 2.5 BB/9 ratio. His outing yesterday, on the other hand, was lights out, with Crotta displaying a nice sinker and getting an easy one-two-three inning. Here is what we had to say about Crotta in the 2011 Prospect Guide:
Crotta is a heavy ground ball pitcher, due to his sinker ball, and throws a 90-93 MPH fastball. He’s been hit hard as a starter, although he usually gets off to a good start early in the game. His future will likely be as a solid middle reliever who can provide the occasional start. That could be as soon as the 2011 season, as he should be forced in to relief at AAA to start the season, and could be an option for the Pirates at some point during the year.
Crotta managed to make the Opening Day roster, and while one outing doesn’t make a career, it certainly got him off to a good start to fulfilling that strong middle relief role. I’m not really changing my view on him, despite the strong outing, mostly because he always started out strong, as I mentioned in the Prospect Guide. Just consider that before the “when will Crotta become a starter?” campaign begins.
To do a little self promotion, we follow every player in the system, and provide reports on the future of all of those players. The 2011 Prospect Guide and the 2011 Annual provide the most in-depth coverage of the team you can find, and we offer you the chance to buy them both together at a discount. All proceeds help expand the coverage of the site. That was first displayed with the Spring Training coverage from last week. It will continue over the next month with the following schedule:
April 5th – West Virginia Power media day
April 8th-10th – Rice at East Carolina University (Anthony Rendon coverage)
April 21st-23rd – Altoona at Richmond
May 7th-8th – Altoona at Richmond
I’ll be going to West Virginia tomorrow for their media day, where I will be talking with players and coaches at the level about the 2011 season. Then, this weekend, I’ll get a look at Anthony Rendon, with video, reports from all three games, and hopefully an interview. I’ll be covering Altoona for five games over the following weeks as they travel down to Richmond. I’m also hoping to catch West Virginia at some point early in the season, and I’m aiming to be at Jameson Taillon’s first pro start, assuming that game is played at home. I’ll also be covering games in Altoona and State College throughout the year.
Again, all of this coverage is made possible by the proceeds from the books. To support the site, expand the coverage, and get the best information on the entire system, order the 2011 Prospect Guide and the 2011 Annual today.
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.