Friday, November 26, 2010

DBS' Top 30 2011 Pirate Prospects - #11 - #15

Hopefully the tryptophan from the turkey has worn off from everybody. Let's get back to ranking prospects, this time starting into the top half of the list. As a reminder, the number in parentheses is the player's age during the 2011 season, as of July 1st. The level designation is my projected level that he will start the season at in 2011.

15. Andrew Lambo (22) OF, AA/AAA -- Lambo is the Shiny New Toy in the system, coming over with James McDonald for Octavio Dotel. Some would say that just having McDonald has already made the trade a win for the Pirates, but I would like to see a full season of him. Lambo is the "fallen angel" prospect that Huntington has been trying to scoop up during his tenure (Tabata, Laroche, Alderson, for example). Lambo was rated the Dodgers #1 prospect in 2009 after putting up a .295/.351/.482 (833 OPS) across two levels as a 19-year-old in 2008's season.

But then the trouble started for Lambo. Rumors that he was lazy and had a bad attitude started to surface. His defense was, at best, a secondary concern for him. He was suspended for performance enhancing drugs in May 2010 and while it was not revealed which drug, Lambo was caught in high school smoking marijuana. Even ESPN alluded to marijuana in their report of his suspension. All of these things, plus a drop in on-field performance, allowed him to be available to the Pirates.

Most people are automatically putting Lambo in the Pirates' Top 10. I see a guy confined to LF, even though defensively he should be at 1B (but doesn't have the bat for it) with a bad attitude. I think I will regret having him THIS high come next year.

14. Zack Von Rosenberg (20) RHP, A -- During the Great Pirates Over Slot Draft of 2009, ZVR was the belle of the ball. Signed away from an "iron-clad" LSU committment, ZVR had the frame (6'5") and the ability to add weight (205) to get the projectability tag put on him. He was to have 4 average to plus pitches at his peak, based on his present ability and projection. But a funny thing happened... to date his fastball is still in the mid to high 80's. The Pirates also put all their short-season guys on a strict fastball command program, and in some cases take away their off-speed stuff. This greatly deflates K rates in a person's stats. ZVR was at State College the whole year, which also was disappointing.

He did finish the season extremely strong, especially his last 8 to 10 starts. His overall line of 59 IP, 60 H, 13 BB, 39 K with a 3.20 ERA isn't particularly impressive but it hints at things to come. ZVR should start off the year with Low A West Virginia in what should be a very interesting rotation to watch.

13. Jarek Cunningham (21) 2B, A+ -- Cunningham was drafted in 2008 and put up one of the finest GCL seasons by a HS player in the last 20 years. Then he ripped his ACL and missed all of 2009, on the heels on him having knee surgery in HS (which caused him to drop to the 18th round in 2008). Cunningham came back in 2010 and put together a very solid season...positive for the extra base power, negative for the K/BB rate. He had a .258/.309/.436 (745 OPS) but had 56 extra base hits (37 2B, 7 3B, and 12 HR's), which is just a huge number. Especially for a middle infielder. The downside was his 6% BB rate and 27% K rate. Scouts say that he has trouble with offspeed stuff, but is just murder on a fastball.

As can be said with every prospect, this is an important season. I'm willing to give Cunningham a pass on the K/BB rate due to rust, but it has to improve in 2011. Ultimately, I think he moves to 3B, especially if the bat continues to have thunder in it.

12. Alex Presley (25) OF, AAA/MLB -- Alex Presley, prior to 2010, was an afterthought in the Pirates' system. He was more in danger of being released than in appearing on this list. But after an off-season training with Jim Negrych and getting hitting tips from him, Presley started hitting and never stopped over two levels, earning himself a September cup of coffee with the Pirates.

Presley hit .350/.399/.533 (932 OPS) with Altoona and then upon promotion to AAA hit .294/.349/.460 (809 OPS). His combined counting stats had 28 2B, 13 3B, 12 HR's, and 13 SB's. Presley is most likely a 4th OF at best, but that still has value. Depending on how things go this winter with Huntington's moves, Presley has an outside chance of being on the roster for the Pirates next year to start the season.

11. Justin Wilson (23) LHP, AAA -- Wilson was drafted in 2008 fresh off the heels of a fantastic College World Series. Wilson has all the pitches you need to be successful as a starter, but they all have so much movement that it leads to poor control numbers. This year at AA, Wilson was part of the fantastic rotation with Owens, Locke, and Morris. At times, he was the 4th Musketeer of the group. His overall line of 142 IP, 109 H, 71 BB, and 134 K's shows the best and worst of him. His BB rate of 4.5 BB/9 is unacceptable for a starter in MLB, but the 8.6 K/9 shows he has the swing and miss stuff.

Wilson will probably spend all year at AAA, unlike Owens and Morris who may debut this year, in an effort to determine if he will be a starter or a reliever long-term.

No comments:

Post a Comment