Pittsburgh Pirates: Top 10 Prospects

Pittsburgh Pirates

Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2008.

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1. Andrew McCutchen, of
2. Neil Walker, 3b
3. Steve Pearce, 1b/of
4. Brad Lincoln, rhp
5. Daniel Moskos, lhp
6. Shelby Ford, 2b
7. Jamie Romak, of
8. Brian Bixler, ss/2b
9. Duke Welker, lhp
10. Brad Corley, of
Best Hitter for Average Steve Pearce
Best Power Hitter Steve Pearce
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Steve Pearce
Fastest Baserunner Pedro Powell
Best Athlete Andrew McCutchen
Best Fastball Daniel Moskos
Best Curveball Dave Davidson
Best Slider Daniel Moskos
Best Changeup Tony Watson
Best Control Todd Redmond
Best Defensive Catcher Andrew Walker
Best Defensive Infielder Brian Friday
Best Infield Arm Brian Bixler
Best Defensive Outfielder Andrew McCutchen
Best Outfield Arm Austin McClune
Catcher Ronny Paulino
First Base Adam LaRoche
Second Base Freddy Sanchez
Third Base Neil Walker
Shortstop Jack Wilson
Left Field Jason Bay
Center Field Andrew McCutchen
Right Field Steve Pearce
No. 1 Starter Tom Gorzelanny
No. 2 Starter Ian Snell
No. 3 Starter Brad Lincoln
No. 4 Starter Paul Maholm
No. 5 Starter Zach Duke
Closer Matt Capps
Year Player, Position 2007
1998 Kris Benson, rhp Orioles
1999 Chad Hermansen, of Marlins
2000 Chad Hermansen, of Marlins
2001 J.R. House, c Orioles
2002 J.R. House, c Orioles
2003 John Van Benschoten, rhp Pirates
2004 John Van Benschoten, rhp Pirates
2005 Zach Duke, lhp Pirates
2006 Neil Walker, c Pirates
2007 Andrew McCutchen, of Pirates
Year Player, Position 2007
1998 Clint Johnson, lhp/of Northern Lg.
1999 Bobby Bradley, rhp Out of baseball
2000 Sean Burnett, lhp Pirates
2001 John Van Benschoten, rhp Pirates
2002 Bryan Bullington, rhp Pirates
2003 Paul Maholm, lhp Pirates
2004 Neil Walker, c Pirates
2005 Andrew McCutchen, of Pirates
2006 Brad Lincoln, rhp Pirates
2007 Daniel Moskos, lhp Pirates
Bryan Bullington, 2002 $4,000,000
Brad Lincoln, 2006 $2,750,000
Daniel Moskos, 2007 $2,475,000
John Van Benschoten, 2001 $2,400,000
Bobby Bradley, 1999 $2,225,000
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Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates finally completely blew up their organization following the 2007 season, after years of poor drafts and the farm system's failure to produce star-quality players contributed to a continuing downward spiral for the franchise.

Team president Kevin McClatchy, who put together the group that bought the team in 1995, was nudged aside by majority owner Bob Nutting and replaced by Frank Coonelly, who had been a Major League Baseball vice president and chief labor counsel. Nutting, whose family had quietly taken over majority interest in the Pirates many years earlier, also became the public face of the franchise when he assumed the role of controlling owner.

General manager Dave Littlefield was fired after six unsuccessful years on the job, capped by a bizarre deal at the trade deadline. He acquired Matt Morris, who had $13.7 million left on his three-year, $27 million contract and was winless in his previous eight starts, from the Giants for a pair of marginal prospects in outfielder Rajai Davis and righthander Steven MacFarland.

Neal Huntingon, a special assistant to Indians GM Mark Shapiro, was hired to replace Littlefield. Huntington jettisoned manager Jim Tracy, who compiled a 135-189 record in two years, and hired John Russell, manager of Philadelphia's Triple-A farm club and a former Pirates third-base coach, to replace him.

Huntington also fired farm director Brian Graham and scouting director Ed Creech, who in six years together couldn't produce the talent necessary to end a string of 15 straight losing season, one short of the major league record set by the Phillies from 1933-48. After a long search, Huntington named Indians assistant farm director Kyle Stark to replace Graham and former Tigers scouting director Greg Smith to take over for Creech.

"We need to change the culture of the organization," Huntington said. "It's not always easy to make changes. I had to let go some very good baseball people and that was very difficult. However, it has become fairly obvious that we need a fresh start here, new people and some new ideas."

Huntington believes player development and scouting will be the lifeblood of the small-market franchise. He also plans to hire more area scouts in an effort to improve the flow of talent into a farm system that hasn't signed an impact hitter since third baseman Aramis Ramirez out of the Dominican Republic in 1995.

Pittsburgh has been somewhat better at producing pitchers in recent years. They drafted each of their top three starters in 2007—Ian Snell, Tom Gorzelanny and Paul Maholm—as well as closer Matt Capps.

"I feel we're building an organization that is going to be very cohesive, with the scouting and player development departments on the same page in their goal of finding talent, developing and sending it to the major leagues," Huntington said.

"I think these are good people with a lot of good ideas. It will be a cohesive group, everyone committed to making the Pittsburgh Pirates a winning organization again, but also a group that has people that will challenge each other and be willing to step outside their individual boxes."

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