Pirates Midseason Report

Alvarez makes anticipated debut

Best Player: It had been pre-destined that Pedro Alvarez would spend only part of his summer with Triple-A Indianapolis, and his expected promotion to the Pirates came on June 16.

At the same time, Alvarez, a 23-year-old third baseman and the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft out of Vanderbilt, unquestionably earned his promotion by hitting .277/.363/.533 with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs in 242 at-bats. He batted cleanup most of the way and seemed to relish it, he was adequate defensively, and he met management's top challenge by batting 62 points higher against lefties than righties.

"Pedro did everything we asked," general manager Neal Huntington said. "We feel he's ready for the next step."

Biggest Leap Forward:
Righthander Bryan Morris entered the year as the Pirates' No. 15 prospect, coming off a 2009 in which he was 4-9, 5.57 with high Class A Lynchburg and publicly suspended for boorish behavior toward an umpire.

Since then, Morris, 23, has been one of the best pitchers in any team's system at 7-3, 2.24 with 90 strikeouts and 25 walks in 96 innings split between high Class A Bradenton and Double-A Altoona.

Biggest Disappointment: The Pirates glowed about finally having a shortstop-of-the-future type after Chase d'Arnaud, 23, shined through 2009 and then into the Arizona Fall League.

Now, even with an encouraging .316/.383/.500 showing in June, d'Arnaud's 2010 totals were .241/.326/.372 with just two home runs, and his defense had been lowlighted by 20 errors.  

Treasure Trove

• Lefthander Daniel Moskos, a first-round pick in 2007, was promoted to Indianapolis after dominating at Altoona with 17 saves and a 1.45 ERA. He will work mostly middle relief as management mulls his future role possibilities.

• Outfielder Alex Presley hit for the cycle on May 24 with Altoona and again June 27 shortly after his promotion to Indianapolis.