Thursday, January 22, 2009

Baseball America: The Pirates Future...Is In The Future

Baseball America came out yesterday with the Pirate's Top Ten Prospects and a couple of other juicy barroom tidbits, like the best tools and the 2012 lineup, conjured up by long-time Bucco scribe John Perrotto, formerly of the BC Times and now with the Nutting family's West Virginia paper.

You know you're in trouble when the article starts out with "The Pirates are likely to set a record for infamy in 2009 as their never-ending rebuilding process continues..." That's kind of a downer, hey?

So with no further ado, the hopes for the future, BA's Top Ten:

01. Pedro Alvarez, 3b
02. Andrew McCutchen, of
03. Jose Tabata, of
04. Brad Lincoln, rhp
05. Bryan Morris, rhp
06. Neil Walker, 3b
07. Jeff Sues, rhp
08. Shelby Ford, 2b
09. Daniel McCutchen, rhp
10. Robbie Grossman, of

No real shockers there, except that GW still has a distaste for ranking a kid without an at-bat as the alpha dog. We hope he does something soon to earn the recognition.

The toolsy guys? Perrotto picks Alvarez as the guy with the potential for the best average and power as a hitter, McCutchen as the best athlete and oufield glove, and in a bit of a surprise, Ron Uviedo having the best changeup. Uviedo is a 22-year old Venezuelan RHP and closer with just two years in the minors, although he is a vet of the VSL and was protected on the Pirates' latest 40-man roster.

Most interesting was the projected 2012 lineup:

Catcher: Ryan Doumit
First Base: Adam LaRoche
Second Base: Shelby Ford
Third Base: Pedro Alvarez
Shortstop: Jarek Cunningham
Left Field: Nate McLouth
Center Field: Andrew McCutchen
Right Field: Jose Tabata
No. 1 Starter: Brad Lincoln
No. 2 Starter: Ian Snell
No. 3 Starter: Bryan Morris
No. 4 Starter: Paul Maholm
No. 5 Starter: Tom Gorzelanny
Closer: Matt Capps

GW doesn't share Perrotto's optimism that LaRoche, McLouth, and Capps will still be sporting Pirate double-knits in 2012. We wouldn't be surprised to see Alvarez at first, little LaRoche manning the hot corner, Brandon Moss in LF and Jeff Sues closing.

Jim Negrych will be on the bench, if he hasn't found a position of his own by then. We wouldn't bet against Dan McCutchen being in the pitching mix, either. Neil Walker could end up the new Dirt Dog Doug, filling in at the corner infield and outfield spots.

It's certainly possible that high school standout Cunningham could beat out Jordy Mercer and Chase d'Arnaud at short, but that trio and possibly Brian Friday should have a real battle royale to claim the spot. That sure beats having someone anointed to the position. One of the losers could be shifted to the right side to keep Ford honest.

And also on the horizon will be Robbie Miller and Wesley Freeman, who should be in AAA, and Uviedo, Justin Wilson, and Quinton Miller, all with a chance to land in Indy by 2012.

OK, we've stolen enough from Perrotto for one day. Go click on his article from the link in the lede; it's a good read.

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