Interstate 99 fits that bill, but so do Pirates farmhands at Bradenton and West Virginia. I thought it would be useful to take a look at some of the pitchers who look promising and spent time at those two clubs.
Most of us have become aware of Jeff Locke, who came over from the Braves in the McLouth trade. He had a very nice year at Bradenton before getting promoted to Altoona. I've not seen a lot of positive comments about his "stuff," although he keeps doing well when he gets promoted.
Nathan Adcock also had a good year at Bradenton. He was the most highly regarded of the three pitchers who came over from the Mariners, and subsequent events seem to bear that out. While he has not repeated his dominant swing-and-miss statistics from his time with Wisconsin, his walks have trended down and his strikeouts have trended up.
Diego Moreno had a WHIP of 0.496 with Bradendon. According to Baseball America
His fastball sits between 94-98 mph with sink and tailing action. If batters try to sit on his heater, he can make them look ridiculous with an 86-87 mph slider.
What I like about Baker is that the lefty has a very live arm, meaning every pitch has movement, especially his fastball. Coming over-the-top and with a tilting, high kick delivery, Baker threw consistently 89-92 MPH in the early innings and then 88-89 MPH in the fifth. What makes his fastball a solid-average big league pitch is not the velocity (which is about average) but the downward plane and boring movement he puts on it. It’s something you just can’t teach.
His curve and change are not all that consistent yet, but the fastball is certainly a good base to build on.
Phillip Irwin was taken 16 rounds later out of Ole Miss. He's a right hander who spent the entire year at West Virginia, where his most impressive stat was a 5.50 ratio of strikeouts to bases on balls. The folks over at Pirates Prospects note that "Irwin isn’t a dominant pitcher, but throws three average pitches for strikes," so it's not clear how he will fare as he moves up the ladder.
Of course everyone has heard of Kyle McPherson. At West Virginia he averaged 9.48 strikeouts per nine innings, suggesting that he has premium stuff. Although his fastball has plenty of zip, apparently his change is his big weapon.
I've not seen these men play. Who has? Anything to add? My take is that Moreno and Baker are the most likely to make a contribution at the major league level, but am willing to be convinced otherwise.