Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pittsburgh Pirates Top Prospects 11-15

The prospects series begins today with a look at the 11-15 prospects in the Pirates system.
I hope to get this finished over the course of the next week and move on to the Indians system,which looks to have a far more dismal outlook for the immediate future.

11) Nick Kingham RHP.
Kingham spent last season at short season State College,where he was dominant with an ERA barely over two.
The 2010 fourth rounder throws in the low-mid 90's range and uses a curveball along with an advanced changeup.
The tall (6'5) Kingham needs to work on the curve a bit as he was having issues controlling it in his first start at Low A West Virginia against the Hagerstown Suns.
Kingham will likely spend his first full season in West Virginia......

12) Jeff Locke LHP
Locke has already reached the bigs with a four start cameo in September with the Pirates in which he was ripped royally in each start.
Locke pitched well at AA Altoona before a strong stint late in the season with AAA Indianapolis earned him a September callup.
Locke has the "drop curve" that the Pirates have acquired from other teams twice with Locke from Atlanta and James McDonald from the Dodgers.
A good month or two with the I-Tribe could see Locke as the first callup if the rotation needs a reinforcement....

13) Jarek Cunningham 2b
Cunningham might be the most interesting prospect in the system as far as upside.
Cunningham shows plus power at second base,which is a rare commodity for that position.
The former shortstop hit 15 homers in roughly 300 at bats before missing the final two months of the season with concussion issues.
Cunningham is in the lineup for AA Altoona currently and the jump will tell the Pirates a lot of what they have in Cunningham.
Cunningham swings and misses a lot and the walk numbers are very low,so patience is a major issue in his progression.
Cunningham could be the replacement for Neil Walker at second,he could also be a player that has his contact issues force a step back in his development.
This season will be a interesting to follow for Cunningham.

14) Rudy Owens LHP
Owens returns to AAA Indianapolis after a year that saw him suffer through shoulder issues and an unusual lack of control.
When Owens is right,he uses the off speed stuff to set up a fastball that is a little below average,but nothing to consider Owens as just a soft tosser.
Owens will need to show this season that he can be able to get AAA hitters out in the rotation in order to avoid being tagged as a possible long relief type...

15) Alex Dickerson 1b
Dickerson was the Pirates third round pick last season out of Indiana in a college career that saw him win the Big Ten triple crown as a Hoosier.
Dickerson was an outfielder in college and is being shifted to first base.
Dickerson was excellent in 150 at bats at State College and will jump to High A Bradenton this season.
The lefty swinger hits for power and average and could advance through the system quickly as first base is a position of need for the team through the organization.
Dickerson could possibly be the opening day first baseman as soon as 2014,if he can get by Matt Curry,who is one spot ahead of Dickerson in the system,but Dickerson is the superior prospect and only his limited pro experience rates him this low and I would not be surprised to see a huge leap in these rankings next season...

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