Thursday, November 3, 2011

DBS 2012 Top 30 Pirate Prospects - #30 to #26

It's that time of year again to start reverse ranking the Top 30 Pirate Prospects for the 2012 season, as determined by a panel of one

The thresholds for prospectiness are no more than 130 at-bats, 50 innings pitched, or 30 relief appearances at the major league level.

The number in parentheses is the player's 2012-season age, using the standard July 1st cutoff date. The level shown is my assumed level that the player will start at in 2012.

30. Yhonathan Barrios (20) SS/2B, SS/A -- In 2011, Barrios debuted in the United States at the Gulf Coast Rookie League and put up an impressive line of .299/.382/.433 (815 OPS) while committing only 5 errors in his short season. Barrios will definitely be promoted in 2012, but time will tell if he plays at State College or West Virginia to start 2012.

29. Jake Burnette (19) RHP, SS -- Burnette is a 2011 draftee that had a 1 inning cameo in the GCL. Burnette is your standard tall, projectable righty that the Pirates love to draft. He will most likely follow their standard path of going to the Fastball Academy known as the State College Spikes in 2012.

28. Matt Hague (26) 1B, AAA/MLB -- Hague did Matt Hague-type of things in 2011. Great strike zone discipline (47 walks, only 68 K's in 534 AB's) at AAA and only average power (12 HR's). He did also have 37 doubles and 3 triples, but his power does not profile as a typical 1B in the majors. He may be a JT Snow or Casey Kotchman type of player if everything goes right. The telling part to me is that during the Lyle Overbay Chronicles of 2011, there was never a hint from the Pirates front office or manager that Hague was a candidate to come up. Hague did not receive a September callup, either, in order to preview what he may provide. For all of these reasons, plus his advanced age for a prospect, are why he is here.

27. Zac Fuesser (21) LHP, A+ -- Fuesser had a great season in Low A in 2011, as he pitched both in the rotation and out of the bullpen and was effective in both roles. In 108 innings, he gave up 111 hits, struck out 95 and only walked 33. There were no major splits between rightie and leftie batters, either. The downside to Fuesser is that he is a little bit of a soft-tosser at this point, with his fastball typically sitting 85-88 mph. Fuesser will get promoted to Bradenton, but with the potential super rotation on tap, he could be back in the bullpen.

26. Elevys Gonzalez (22) 3B/2B, AA -- Gonzalez is just "that guy". He consistently gets overshadowed by other teammates, but continues to produce great numbers. This year in 2011 at Bradenton, he put up a line of .322/.374/.467 (841 OPS) with 48 extra base hits (36 doubles, 6 triples, and 6 homers), but most of the attention was focused on Robbie Grossman all year. Gonzalez does not really have a truly great defensive position, but there is some value in a super-utility player with his hitting potential.

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