Click Here To Visit Our Sponsor
BA Online - Scoreboards

Page Not Found - BaseballAmerica.com
 
2003 Wrapups: Pittsburgh Pirates

With the 2003 season coming to a close, we will be providing a brief wrapup of the season for all 30 minor league teams. In each report, we will take a look at how the team's Top 10 Prospects performed, identify some emerging prospects and organizational leaders, and report on the performance of their top draft pick.
Complete index of Team Wrapups               2003 League Wrapups

By Kevin Goldstein
November 12, 2003

Season Results

Level Team League W L PCT
AAA Nashville Pacific Coast 81 62 .566
AA Altoona Eastern 78 63 .553
A+ Lynchburg Carolina 76 59 .563
A Hickory South Atlantic 82 54 .603
SS Williamsport* New York-Penn 46 30 .605
R GCL Pirates GCL 36 20 .643
TOTAL 399 288 .581
   * won league championship


Performance of Top 10 Prospects

Here's how our top 10 prospects entering this season performed in 2003.

1. John VenBenschoten, rhp      Age: 23
The 2001 first-round pick cruised through the Carolina League, limiting opposing batters to a .192 batting average. He went 5-0 in his first nine starts for Altoona, not suffering his first loss of the season until July 24, which was the start of a five-game losing streak. A former NCAA home run champion, VanBenschoten got his first chance to bat since 2001 (when he occassionally served as a DH), going 4-for-12 with a pair of doubles for Altoona.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Lynchburg (High Class A) 6-0 0 2.22 9 48.2 33 14 12 18 49
Altoona (Double-A) 7-6 0 3.69 17 90.1 95 46 37 34 78

2. Sean Burnett, lhp      Age: 21
Burnett had a solid season at Double-A Altoona, but failed to replicate his dominant 2002 campaign, when he won Carolina League Pitcher of the Year honors. More of a finesse lefty, Burnett needs to find a way to more consistently retire righthanders, who hit .285 against him, and maintain his effectiveness into the later innings (4.30 ERA after the fifth inning).
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Altoona (Double-A) 14-6 0 3.21 27 159.2 158 60 57 29 86

3. Bryan Bullington, rhp      Age: 23
The first player selected in the 2002 draft, Bullington absolutely dominated in eight Sally League starts, but was plagued by mysterious inconsistency after a promotion to the Carolina League, where his velocity dipped into the high-80s, and his slider lost much of its bite.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Hickory (Low Class A) 5-1 0 1.39 8 45.1 25 10 7 11 46
Lynchburg (High Class A) 8-4 0 3.05 17 97.1 101 39 33 27 67

4. Jose Castillo, ss      Age: 22
Castillo had a breakout season in the Carolina League in 2002, but was hitting just .232 in his first 25 games at Altoona. He found his swing with a five-hit game in early May, and hit .301 for the remainder of the season, splitting time between second base and shortstop. Power dropped precipitously from 16 home runs to five.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Altoona (Double-A) 126 498 68 143 24 6 5 66 40 81 19 .287 .339 .390

5. Duaner Sanchez, rhp      Age: 24
Skinny reliever who arrived on the map last year when he started lighting up radar guns in a relief role, Sanchez got a June callup to Pittsburgh after 10 scoreless outings in 12 games. Unfortunately, he was sent back to Nashville before making a single appearance for the big league squad after he showed up for a game less than an hour before start time. ERA was 5.66 at Nashville after the demotion, and major league batters hit .500 (15-for-30) off him in six games.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Nashville (Triple-A) 4-4 1 3.69 41 61.0 63 28 25 27 34
Pirates (MLB) 1-0 0 16.50 6 6.0 15 11 11 1 3

6. Tony Alvarez, of      Age: 25
Alvarez was seen as having an outside shot at a big league job in spring training, but started the year at Triple-A Nashville and went on the DL after just nine games with a hamstring injury. Before returning to the team, he was suspended without pay for "his failure to conform to the personal conduct standards of his Major League Uniform Player's Contract," in an incident that was never fully explained. Played solid baseball once reinstated, but surprisingly was not given look in September.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Nashville (Triple-A) 106 349 50 104 27 3 9 53 28 69 22 .298 .361 .470

7. Jose Bautista, 3b      Age: 23
Bautista looked like a 20th-round steal after hitting .301-14-57 at Hickory in 2002, and got off to a fast start in 2003, with 13 runs and a .417 average in his first 12 games. He then fell into a month long slump, and lost his season when he punched a wall in frustration and broke his right hand, which cost him three months.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Lynchburg (High Class A) 51 165 28 40 14 2 4 20 27 48 1 .242 .359 .424
GCL Pirates (Rookie) 7 23 5 8 1 0 1 3 4 7 0 .348 .429 .522

8. J.J. Davis, of      Age: 25
A first-round pick in 1997, Davis may be a late bloomer as he put together his best season at Triple-A Nashville. A hamstring injury prevented him from playing with Team USA in the Olympic Qualifier, but he could give the Pirates some much needed power in their 2004 lineup.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Nashville (Triple-A) 122 426 68 121 29 4 26 67 35 85 23 .284 .342 .554
Pirates (MLB) 19 35 1 7 0 0 1 4 3 13 0 .200 .263 .286

9. Mike Gonzalez, lhp      Age: 25
In was a whirlwind season for the power lefty, who missed the first two months of the season with back troubles, and then pitched for four different teams, not notching more then 10 innings with any of them. Most bizarre was his one week playing with the Boston organization as he was traded to the Red Sox on July 22 and then returned to the Pirates on July 31 in the Jeff Suppan deal.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Altoona (Double-A) 0-0 1 1.23 5 7.1 4 1 1 2 10
Nashville (Triple-A) 0-0 2 4.50 7 10.0 9 5 5 4 10
Pawtucket (Triple-A) 0-0 1 0.00 2 1.2 2 0 0 1 2
Pittsburgh (MLB) 0-1 0 7.56 16 8.1 7 7 7 6 6

10. Ian Oquendo, rhp      Age: 22
Oquendo's tiny frame (5-11, 160) has led to constant concerns about his future as a starter, yet he had one of the best years of any pitcher in the Pirate system, striking out well over a batter per inning in the Carolina League and allowing three or fewer earned runs in six late-season outings for Altoona.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Lynchburg (High Class A) 10-3 0 3.33 20 116.1 105 46 43 33 122
Altoona (Double-A) 4-0 0 1.96 6 36.2 36 13 8 10 23


Top Draft Pick:

Paul Maholm, lhp    Mississippi State U.   Bonus: $2.2M
The Pirates scouted Maholm heavily, and it was no surprise to see them nab the lefty with the eighth overall pick. With a diverse repertoire, Maholm limited New York-Penn League batters to a .197 average and spun 7.2 innings of two-hit, shutout baseball against Staten Island on Aug. 27 in the longest outing of his brief pro debut.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Williamsport (Short Season) 2-1 0 1.83 8 34.1 25 11 7 10 32


Emerging Prospects:

Chris Shelton, c/1b: A 33rd-round pick out of Utah in 2001, Shelton was leading the Carolina league in numerous offensive categories (.359-21-69 in 95 games), but went homerless in 35 games after a promotion to Double-A. He's limited defensively, so his bat is his only ticket to the majors.
Nate McLouth, of: Maximum-effort centerfielder repeated the Carolina League and raised his average 56 points, finishing the year at .300-6-33 with 85 runs scored in 117 games and 40 stolen bases in 44 attempts.
Walter Young, 1b: Gargantuan first-baseman proved that his 2002 Sally League MVP season was no fluke, as he blasted 20 home runs and drove in 87 for Lynchburg. One of the few players around who can have a good season and not hit his weight.


Statistical Leaders

Batting Average Nyjer Morgan .343
Home Runs Brad Eldred 28
Runs Batted In Walter Young 87
Stolen Bases Tike Redman 42
Earned Run Average Brady Borner 2.25
Wins Sean Burnett
Ian Oquendo
14
Strikeouts Ryan Vogelsong 146
Saves Mark Corey 30

Page Not Found - BaseballAmerica.com