Saturday, November 28, 2009

DBS' Top 30 2010 Pirates' Prospects - #26 - 30

Age in parentheses is the players 2010-season age and the level is my projected starting assignment.

26. Bryan Morris (23) RHP, A+/AA -- Morris will, unfairly, have the spotlight shining on him more than most of our prospects because he was the "key" to the Jason Bay trade. Ever since he has come here, though, he has been plagued by injuries (arm, toes, knee) and ineffectiveness. Last year he muddled through another year with injuries and a 5+ ERA in A+ ball, coupled with getting suspended by the Pirates for poor attitude after arguing balls/strikes. As I've mentioned, I value performance very highly, not just potential. And at this point, Morris needs to show me more of both.

27. Tom Boleska (23) RHP, A+ -- Once you get into the mid-20's, I think it's perfectly fine to include pure relievers. Boleska has been racked with injuries, but when healthy has shown fantastic K rates and batting-average-against (BAA) during his time with the Pirates. I think much like Moreno, he could be a multiple level jumper in 2010.

28. Hunter Strickland (21) RHP, A+ -- There are some guys that you want to rank higher, but you need to see more, even if you are certain that they will be breakouts. I think Strickland is one of those. When he over in 2009 for Laroche from BOS, I looked at his minor league numbers and was shocked how much they reminded me of Ross Ohlendorf's 2009 MAJOR league numbers (to that point in the season....Ohlendorf became an even better pitcher in August/Sept). Strickland is a pitch to contact, low K rate kind of guy, but he is effective and seems to profile as a #3/4. Reports out of fall instructional is that he was hitting 94 mph, which would add an even more interesting wrinkle.

29. Brett Lorin (23) RHP, A+ -- Lorin came over with Adcock and Pribanic in the Snell/Wilson trade with SEA. He is a tall 6'-7" pitcher, but not super overpowering. He did not get promoted to A+ when he got here, so he pitched the whole year as a slightly overage 22 in low A. If he makes it to AA for a decent amount of starts this year, his ceiling will improve, but right now his average stuff coupled with low placements does not make me very high on him.

30. Jordy Mercer (23) SS, AA -- Mercer was drafted one round ahead of D'arnaud in 2008 (3rd round v. 4th round), but D'arnaud has clearly passed him on the path to Pittsburgh. Mercer is a big SS at 6'-3", but plays it adequately. He had a huge amount of doubles and 10 HR's this year, so the thinking is always that "doubles turn into homers". But his low average to this point (.255 BAA) coupled with a low walk rate has given him only a barely above .300 OBP. He is very susceptible to pitches low and away. This year in the meat-grinder known as AA will be very telling for Mercer.

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