Pirates Final Report





Best Player: Outfielder Starling Marte didn't walk as much as the Pirates had hoped, just 22 times in 536 at-bats, but he still had an impressive on-base percentage, which should speak loudly to all the hitting he did.

Marte, 22, had a franchise-record 178 hits for Double-A Altoona, batting .332/.370/.500 with 12 home runs, 38 doubles, eight triples, 50 RBIs and 24 steals in 36 tries. All that, and he continued to play the type of defense that has some in the organization feeling he could push Andrew McCutchen to a corner.

Best Pitcher: Kyle McPherson was a surprise to some as a 40-man roster addition last winter, but the 6-foot-4 righthander more than lived up to it.

McPherson, 23, went 13-6, 2.96 between high Class A Bradenton and Altoona, and he continued to show terrific command, with 142 strikeouts and 27 walks in 161 innings. He bulked up in his fifth year in the system, and it helped him get extra zip on his fastball, as well as durability.

Keep An Eye On: Outfielder Robbie Grossman scored 127 runs and drew 104 walks for Bradenton to become the first minor league player with 100 of each since Nick Swisher in 2004 for Triple-A Sacramento.

Grossman, 21, took a step backward in 2010, but he embraced management's challenge this year to be a leadoff man by batting .294/.418/.451 with 13 home runs, 56 RBIs and 24 steals. The power figures might have been helped by hitter-friendly McKechnie Field, but the on-base skills were visible everywhere.

TREASURE TROVE


• First baseman Matt Hague was an International League postseason all-star after leading the league with 161 hits and batting .309/.372/.457 for Triple-A Indianapolis.

• Neither of the Pirates' prized top two draft picks, first-round righthander Gerrit Cole and second-round outfielder Josh Bell, saw any minor league action this season. Bell was assigned to short-season State College for the final two weeks to observe.