The Pittsburgh Pirates announced the Opening Day roster for the Altoona Curve on Monday morning. Here’s a look at the roster by positions. Note that not all of these players will be active on Opening Day, but this will be their placement once they return. The Altoona season opens on Thursday.
Bear Bellomy, Omar Cruz, Nick Dombkowski, Matt Eckelman, Oliver Garcia, Jared Jones, Cam Junker, Travis MacGregor, Justin Meis, Juan Minaya, Kyle Nicolas, Braeden Ogle, Tyler Samaniego, Aaron Shortridge, Sean Sullivan, Tahnaj Thomas, Noe Toribio
Jared Jones and Kyle Nicolas are the top prospects here. Both will be in the starting rotation. I received strong reports about Aaron Shortridge and Sean Sullivan from Spring Training, so they will be players to watch. Brad Case had a minor injury in Spring Training and should return here when healthy.
Carter Bins, Henry Davis, Dylan Shockley
Henry Davis is the top prospect for Altoona, and some have him as the top prospect in the system. He’s in Altoona so Endy Rodriguez can catch full-time in Indianapolis, allowing both to see maximum playing time.
Andres Alvarez, Claudio Finol, Jacob Gonzalez, Domingo Leyba, Drew Maggi, Mason Martin, Liover Peguero
Liover Peguero returns here as one of the top prospects in the system. If he does well early, I’d expect him to move up to Indianapolis. He’s easily the top prospect of this infield group, which has mostly older/experienced players. Francisco Acuna could play here once his suspension is over in June.
Matt Fraizer, Matt Gorski, Fabricio Macias, Josh Palacios, Lolo Sanchez, Connor Scott
This is basically the 2022 Altoona outfield, plus Josh Palacios. Matt Gorski missed time last year twice, yet still had an outstanding season with Altoona/Greensboro. He played one game with Indianapolis, but was injured in that game. He was only moved up to help make up for missed time. Andres Alvarez and Henry Davis could see outfield time as well.
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.
Interesting that our AAA roster is dominated by prospects while our AA roster seems stuffed with AAAA suspects. I don’t mind that. I can see a couple of these players finding themselves and blossoming into contributing major-league players quickly. Think Martin, Gorski, Fraizer, etc. It would be nice to think that this organization is becoming an Organization, where players have to earn their way out of AA, not age their way. Just a take.
Why didn’t Alvarez get bumped to Indy?
Likely just because he stinks.
I’m bummed too, right along with Tahnaj and Gorski, but you don’t have 24-26 yo prospects repeat AA if you think they have much of a chance.
Crossing my fingers to see Davis in the big league this year. He seems like a leader.
so bummed Dariel isn’t here.
Excited about this group! Really need some big performances as these guys represent the next wave of prospects to hit in ’24.
I’m interested to see how Meis handles AA specifically. If he can manage the level without a particularly great fastball it would go a long way to seeing him as a future back end starter instead of middle reliever type guy if he makes the big leagues.
some weird demotions this year
According to Baker, “it’s not”. It’s pairing players in the best level, cause they “see Indy and Altoona as almost equivalent”.
For all this guy says that sounds amazing his understanding of the minor league levels as they relate to development is so obviously f*cked that it has me questioning how right he is on the rest.
I’m beginning to think it’s just a feel-good answer that attempts to temper table pounding for promotions, momentarily. Cause they then create an additional issue of when a prospect is dominating Double-A, then fans say, “Well, you said Double-A is the equivalent to Triple-A, so promote them straight to majors!!!”
Feels like another case of them attempting to act as showing full transparency, while really just muddying the waters even more.
Very good take.
The kind of coach-speak that should be taken neither seriously nor literally.
What a politician! Does that mean that promotions to MLB will be the same whether they are at AA or AAA? He’ll have to check with the GM before answering that!
Who knows lol I don’t have a full AAA-AA breakdown of which pitchers are where. Just at quick glance at Pipeline’s Top 100, there’s 10 (including Priester) arms in Triple-A, and 11 in Double-A. I guess to their credit if we want to give it any credence, a lot of the Triple-A arms are teams Indy doesn’t face. Whereas Altoona will face Akron (CLE), Bowie (BAL), and Erie (DET).
So accordingly Altoona should get pummeled their first three games, lol.