July 14, 2010

Revisiting the Top 20 Prospects - Part II

PITTSBURGH, Pa. / July 14, 2010

Continuing with the preseason #11-20, we see a lot of disappointments on this list. I am ready to give up on Daniel McCutchen and Gorkys Hernandez already, and a couple others have lost developmental time to injury.

11. Victor Black - Incomplete
The 49th overall pick in 2009, Black has great stuff and poor control. He's missed almost the entire season with shoulder and biceps injuries, throwing only 4.2 innings. He should return this month but he'll be lucky to get ten starts in this year making this somewhat of a lost season.

12. Daniel McCutchen - F
I thought that McCutchen could be a solid fifth starter in the major leagues. He proved that he cannot by going 1-4, 8.58 for Pittsburgh in the first half while allowing opposing batters to hit .300. He had solid results at Indianapolis (4-5, 3.86) but at age 27 that is little consolation. The Pirates should make him into a reliever because he clearly isn't going to be a major league starter.

13. Brett Lorin - Incomplete
The Pirates hoped Brett would be in Altoona by now. Instead, he underwent hip surgery and has only thrown eight innings. This is a major setback since he is 23 this year and with normal development, should be at AA by next year at the latest. At least he's back from injury now and should join Bradenton at some point in the second half.

14. Robby Grossman - D
Grossman has hit just .223/.329/.321 at Bradenton. He has continued to walk a lot while cutting his strikeout rate but is still striking out once a game - bad news for a guy who has hit only two home runs. He is only 20 and has the luxury of time, but he won't be a top 20 prospect for next season after this performance.

15. Diego Moreno - B
Moreno was a middle relief ace at Bradenton as he went 3-0, 1.37 in 26 innings with 11 hits allowed, two walks and 39 strikeouts. Promoted to Altoona, he has suddenly become hittable but still has 12 strikeouts in 7.2 innings. Overall, a solid half season for a guy in his second USA minor league year.

16. Justin Wilson - A
Making the jump from Lynchburg to Altoona, Wilson has lowered his ERA by nearly two runs, went 7-4, 2.85 and is holding Eastern League hitters to a .212 batting average. He's struck out 85 although his 37 walks are a few too many in 92 innings. Next year, Wilson will be a bona fide prospect in the Indianapolis rotation, something that club lacks right now.

17. Colton Cain - Incomplete
Signed for a bonus of $1.1 million, Cain had back surgery in the spring before throwing a professional inning. He got his first professional work in the Gulf Coast League and had a 3.77 ERA in 14 innings with 15 strikeouts. He has been promoted to State College where he'll pitch the rest of the year.

18. Gorkys Hernandez - D
Hernandez had a disappointing performance at Altoona last year and hasn't improved at all in 2010. He just hasn't hit enough to remain a prospect - .264/.335/.337 with two home runs. He also has struck out more than once a game. Jeff Locke looks like the only decent prospect acquired in the Nate McLouth trade, although McLouth has been awful enough since the trade to make that a good return.

19. Trent Stevenson - Incomplete
Last year's seventh round draft pick, Stevenson has a 3.94 ERA over 16 innings between State College and the GCL. He has good control but hasn't been striking many batters out.

20. Brooks Pounders - Incomplete
The #53 overall pick, Pounders has been hit around at State College with a 6.06 ERA in 16 innings. It's a disappointment, but he's only made five starts so far and has a good K/BB ratio of 12:2.

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