Long time reader, first time poster....anyways,
I have to say I'm very excited with the direction NH has our buccos moving in, but at the moment I have a couple concerns about the depth of position players in our farm system, and, correct me if I'm wrong, the lack of more than a couple real prospects...
Cather: I like Tony Sanchez and I think he can become a very good major league catcher, not a Joe Mauer or a Jorge Posada, but a solid franchise catcher. Behind him though I don't really see anyone I would consider a legitimate prospect, and by prospect I mean anyone who has a real shot of becoming more than a ML backup.
1B: I suppose we have to clear up the Major League mess here, with confusion over whether or not Clement, Pearce, or anyone else will ever pan out to something, but behind those two players (I'm leaving out Garret Jones because I'd rather see him in the outfield) do we have any real 1B prospects? No one jumps out at me.
2B: Brian Friday? Shelby Ford? Ford fell off a cliff last year, and earned himself a demotion to AA Altoona, and after a step back like that I don't know how realistic it is to think of him as a prospect anymore. Friday started the year off on fire but he eventually cooled down to a .265/.361/.386 line, he then did even worse in the hitter friendly AFL with a .245/.309/.306...I don't see much help at the second base position so I hope we sign Iwamura or find a way to get LaRoche comfortable with the defense there. Brock Holt looks promising too but I think it's a little early to tell with him.
SS: Chase D'Arnaud seems to be the future of the Pirates, with some solid tools all around but nothing great yet. I can easily see him becoming the next Pirates short-stop for a while but I'm not expecting an All-Star here...and again there's a significant drop-off here and I'm not sure I see much releif.
3B: Pedro Alvarez. Boom. There it is, 3B and soon to be face of the franchise, I like him a lot and hope for great things...at the same time though, Neil Walker needs to be cut loose, trade him, do something he's never going to make it with this organization and below him I only see organizational fillers. Also, I don't want to put too many eggs in the Alvarez basket considering he has one year of pro experience under his belt...things happen, especially to our first round picks.
OF: Robbie Grossman gets people real excited, I like his pop and his speed, what I don't like though is his inability to control the strike zone. I can't imagine he will ever make it past AAA if he can't cut back significantly on his K's. Starling Marte also seems to be a good prospect but I think this year will really determine if he has what it takes to move up some levels or if we just haven't had enough of a sample size. I think Tabata will be a good player but I am worried about his lack of power. People always talk about projecting power and how people will grow and develop their's but I don't see any signs of life when it comes to this kid's power. We'll have to see.
Overall I would say that we have some good position players with the ball club but I think that we really need to focus on adding some quality prospects in this area. I think there are a lot of good young pitchers in our system but we need to start adding some prospects on the offensive side of the ball so we can start producing more runs to help our pitchers out. Let me know what you think/if I missed anyone major or important.