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Friday, August 12 2022 @ 06:53 pm UTC
Something New and Different  View Printable Version 
By Wilbur Miller

After six years of being bystanders at events reserved for fans of major league teams, Pirate fans have suddenly been thrust into the real world of major league baseball. Their team actually made a deadline deal that didn’t involve a fungible AAA reliever or an injured outfielder. Well, OK, it did involve an injured outfielder, but this at least is an extremely interesting one. If the internet traffic is anything to go by, most Pirate fans hated the deal, but that’s to be expected when established players are traded for unknown quantities.
Prospect Grades at the Midway Point  View Printable Version 
By Wilbur Miller

The minor leagues are starting to hold All-Star games, which means it's roughly halfway through the season for the full-season teams. Time to grade the Pirates' top 30 prospects, using Baseball America's list plus a few additions.
Frank and Neal's Excellent Adventure  View Printable Version 
By Wilbur Miller

Scout.com said it: “This is the year that Pittsburgh Pirates’ fans have been waiting for.” The Pirates, under new CEO Frank Coonelly and GM Neal Huntington, finally took advantage of the opportunity to select, in MLB’s amateur draft, higher-ceiling players who’d fallen to lower rounds, mainly due to bonus demands. Their selections offer the Pirates the chance to reinvigorate, almost instantaneously, a farm system that’s largely bereft of high-ceiling talent. So what did we learn from this draft?
Prospect Grades  View Printable Version 
By Wilbur Miller

With the minor league season about one-quarter over, it's a good time to grade the performances of the Pirates' top prospects. This list follows Baseball America's list of the team's top 30 prospects, but I've also added a few notable players at the end.
It's Deja Vu All Over Again  View Printable Version 
By Wilbur Miller

Now that it’s the first weekend in May, the Pirates are well into their annual ritual of seeing their season go down the tubes before spring turns into summer. What’s ironic this year, given the decision by the team’s new management to stand pat, is the similarity to last year’s bad start.
The Minors: Who's Hot and Who's Not  View Printable Version 
By Wilbur Miller

With the calendar shortly to turn to May, it’s been a mixed bag for the Pirates’ farm system so far. Here are the players who’ve been doing especially well or poorly. I’m just looking at performances here, rather than at who’s a prospect and who’s not.
Minor League Preview, Part 4 -- Hickory  View Printable Version 
By Wilbur Miller

Hickory is not likely to have a good team in 2008. The offense could be very weak. They figure to get very little hitting from the infield. Two of the Crawdads’ outfielders—Austin McClune and Marcus Davis— have a lot of potential, but both are very raw yet and may not develop. The rotation will have a few pitchers with some upside, but they’re far from sure things. Finally, the bullpen just doesn’t look very good.
Minor League Preview, Part Three -- Lynchburg  View Printable Version 
By Wilbur Miller

Lynchburg, like the rest of the lower levels of the farm system, will be thin on prospects in 2008. The team shouldn’t be bad, but the upside is very limited. The only real, unqualified prospects on the team will be SS Brian Friday, LHP Dan Moskos, RHP Olivo Astacio, and arguably LHP Tony Watson. There will be some capable hitters, but very little power. The rotation won’t have much upside and the bullpen will be thin until Astacio returns from the disabled list.
Minor League Preview, Part Two -- Altoona  View Printable Version 
By Wilbur Miller

The Pirates are trying something new with their Altoona affiliate this year. Instead of overloading the roster with minor league free agents, they’re going to rely mainly on products of their own system. No more Brett Ronebergs and Jason Roaches brought in to bolster the W/L . . . well, at least not as many of them as before. This isn’t to say, though, that the Curve will be either young or all that talented. Most of the “prospects” will be marginal and at least a little old for the level. What major league potential the team has will be mainly in the outfield and bullpen. The offense may struggle, as the Curve may get little or no offense from several positions, especially catcher, shortstop and thirdbase.
Minor League Preview, Part One -- Indianapolis  View Printable Version 
By Wilbur Miller

Most of the interest in the Pirates’ farm system in 2008 will be focused on Indianapolis due to the presence of the team’s top three prospects, Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and Steve Pearce. Beyond those three, however, the team has little to offer on the offensive end, especially in the power department. The team will be loaded with speedy centerfielders and veteran infielders. With the Pirates experimenting heavily in the bullpen, the pitching staff may be shuttling players to and from the majors all year.