Today is opening day of the minor league season. Three of the four full season affiliates open their schedule today while Indianapolis opens on the road in Toledo tomorrow. Starting tomorrow I will include a link for the minor league recap in this section everyday, where we give a summary of every game played by a Pirates affiliate from that day. It will be posted nightly throughout the entire minor league season.
AAA: Indianapolis (0-0) @ Toledo (0-0) 5:00pm 4/6
Indianapolis finished the 2011 season in 2nd place with a 76-68 record. They begin their season tomorrow. Prospects on their roster to watch this year include Jeff Locke, Starling Marte, Justin Wilson, Jordy Mercer, Rudy Owens and Kyle McPherson(DL), as well as Brad Lincoln and Chase d’Arnaud. A team preview can be viewed here.
AA: Altoona (0-0) VS Richmond (0-0) 6:30pm
Probable starter: Michael Colla (5-11 3.70 last year for Altoona)
Altoona finished the 2011 season in 6th place with a 64-77 record. Prospects on their roster to watch this year include Tony Sanchez, Robbie Grossman, Jarek Cunningham, Ramon Cabrera, Brock Holt, Elevys Gonzalez, Nate Baker and Matt Curry. A team preview can be viewed here.
High-A: Bradenton (0-0) VS St Lucie (0-0) 6:30pm
Probable starter: Colton Cain (6-8 3.64 last year for WV)
Bradenton finished last year 74-63, winning the second half title and advancing to the playoffs where they lost to today’s opponent, St Lucie, in a best of three game series. Prospects on their roster to watch this year include Jameson Taillon, Gerrit Cole, Alex Dickerson, Colton Cain and Mel Rojas Jr. A team preview can be viewed here.
Low-A: West Virginia (0-0) @ Hagerstown (0-0) 7:05pm
Probable starter: Nick Kingham (6-2 2.15 last year for SC)
The Power finished their 2011 season with a 69-69 record by winning their last five games of the season. They finished the first half of the season in 5th place and the second half in 6th place. Prospects to watch on their roster this year include Stetson Allie, Nick Kingham, Josh Bell, Jose Osuna, Willy Garcia, Zack Dodson, Zack Von Rosenberg. A team preview can be viewed here.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.