Prospect Primer for Trade Partners – Relievers

Moreno's impending 40-man roster decision could include him in a trade

This is the third article of three that will help acclimate any fans of other teams that are searching for information about potential Pirate prospects in upcoming trades.  It can also help with existing Pirate fans that may not be familiar with the minor leagues to see what we may be losing in any potential upcoming trades.

The first article, highlighting Starting Pitchers, can be found here.  The second article that examined Hitter prospects can be viewed here.

The players will be listed not in prospect order, but rather by classification from AAA down to Low A.  It is not assumed, for purposes of this article, that any short-season players will be included in potential trades.  The age listed is the player’s 2011 season age, using July 1st as the cutoff date.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at some potential relievers available in trades.


Tony Watson (26) LHP — 2-3, 2.45 ERA, 29.3 IP, 19 H, 11 BB, 29 K, .179 BAA — Watson has long been pegged as a possible LOOGY at the major league level, but his debut in Pittsburgh has altered some opinions.  In his limited time of 12 innings over 17 appearances, Clint Hurdle has used his against both right and left-handed hitters with success.  Watson has also shown a 92-94 mph fastball out of the bullpen.

Daniel Moskos (25) LHP — 0-0, 3.09 ERA, 11.6 IP, 13 H, 1 BB, 8 K, .283 BAA — Moskos had a rough debut at AAA in 2010, but started off quite strong this year.  He has spent the majority of the year in Pittsburgh, spread over 2 stints, with mixed results in his 17.3 innings.  He doesn’t appear to have the full trust of Hurdle and his confidence is not strong.  Moskos is only showing a 90-91 mph fastball and does not have a true out pitch on display yet.

Mike Crotta (26) RHP — 0-0, 2.61 ERA, 10.3 IP, 9 H, 1 BB, 6 K, .225 BAA — Crotta started off the year making the major league team and had initial success.  However, he soon became the victim of a combination of seeing-eye hits, a tight strike zone, and diminished stuff because of elbow pain.  He spent the better part of May and June on the DL and has returned to action in mid-June with Indianapolis.  Crotta is a sinkerball pitcher that operates in the 91-94 mph range.


Bryan Morris (24) RHP — 1-3, 3.65 ERA, 49.3 IP, 44 H, 20 BB, 41 K’s, .246 BAA — Morris was placed back in AA to start 2011 and had a mixed bag as a starter until he was injured.  After a lengthy absence, he was placed in the bullpen full time.  As a pure reliever, Morris has a 1.13 ERA in 24 innings with 24 strikeouts.  The shorter stints allow his fastball to play up into the mid 90’s.  Morris also uses an average curveball and decent changeup.

Tim Alderson (22) RHP — 0-2, 2.88 ERA, 50 IP, 39 H, 18 BB, 36 K’s, .220 BAA — It’s hard to believe that Alderson is STILL just 22.  Once a top starting prospect with the Giants, behind only Madison Bumgarner, Alderson’s fastball never developed and actually regressed to the low 80’s in 2009.  The Pirates got him straight up for Freddy Sanchez.  2010 was a lost year for Alderson as he struggled mightily, got demoted to Bradenton, and finally acknowledged he needed to change everything.  The 2011 season has been better, as Alderson has received consistent work and had success.  His fastball still sits 86-89 and he still has one of the odder motions in the minors, but he could still be appealing for some teams as a trade piece.

Michael Dubee (25) RHP — 2-4, 3.58 ERA, 50.3 IP, 56 H, 17 BB, 42 K’s, .290 BAA — Dubee has a pretty standard arsenal of a 88-91 mph fastball and curve.  He’s the kind of guy that is added in as a 3rd or 4th piece to many trades.  His ceiling is mostly that of a 6th or 7th inning middle reliever.


Diego Moreno (24) RHP — 1-3, 4.76 ERA, 28.3 IP, 26 H, 12 BB, 32 K’s, .241 BAA combined A+/AA — Moreno has been on a sharp downhill slide since the mid-point of 2010.  At that time, Moreno was dominating A+ and received an overdue promotion to AA.  He had some struggles, especially in a rain-soaked outing, and started to slide which resulted in a demotion back to A+ for disciplinary reasons.  He has not been as effective this year, but he still possesses a high 90’s fastball that would intrigue many teams.  His impending 40-man roster decision this off-season is an additional reason the Pirates may want to trade him in order to extract value.

Ryan Beckman (21) RHP — 1-3, 3.12 ERA, 34.3 IP, 35 H, 10 BB, 31 K’s, .259 BAA combined A/A+ — Beckman has progressed well for an 2009 18th round pick.  He has a low 90’s fastball and curve at the moment that could have room for a little more development.


Zac Fuesser (20) LHP — 2-2, 1.89 ERA, 62 IP, 55 H, 19 BB, 61 K’s, .248 BAA — Fuesser is intriguing because he has been used a spot starter at times in Low A this year.  He has an 86-89 mph fastball, great curveball that is baffling hitters at times, and a developing changeup.  Ultimately, unless there is an addition to his fastball, Fuesser’s ceiling will be that of a middle reliever.

Brooks Pounders (20) RHP — 5-3, 4.79 ERA, 41.3 IP, 42 H, 7 BB, 45 K’s, .259 BAA — Pounders uses an 89-92 mph as part of his arsenal to augment a curve and changeup.  Pounders could be a potential mid-rotation candidate if his fastball maintains its velocity in longer stints and his conditioning improves.

Jason Townsend (22) RHP — 0-0, 2.01 ERA, 31.3 IP, 27 H, 8 BB, 23 K’s, .237 BAA — Townsend has been locating his 94-96 mph fastball well all year.  His secondary pitches need more work, but there is enough velocity on the fastball to tickle the fancy of a team to include him in a potential trade.  His ceiling is that of a setup man.

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Morris only has an upside as a reliever. Would like to see the Bucs challenge him as a reliever and promote him to Indy.  If all goes well could see him as a Chris Resop type reliever in 2013.


If all goes well, he could replace Hanrahan at closer in 2012. The reports on him out of the bullpen are fantastic: 95-97 MPH FB with great movement and a plus curve, and none of the command issues that plagued him as a starter. In a recent interview, Huntington said he features “two power breaking balls,” though I’ve heard the slider described as average elsewhere. He has big upside out of the bullpen.


To expect Morris to be the Buc’s closer in 2012 is way to premature. Remember Moskos was lights out at Altoona as the closer last year and has had to fight to stick with the big club. Also, if the Pirates are that high on how Morris is throwing he would be at Indy right now. Providing he can stay healthy I second my projection as a Chris Resop type player in 2013.

Lee Young

either one would make me happy. :-]

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