A few more go showings down on the farm tonight had me thinking where some players might be at to start 2012. A lot of debate a few weeks back about the farm system and how it ranks. How the prospects were doing and who was moving forwards and backwards. Then we signed more quality talent and things got even more debatable.
My thinking is that a lot of the really talented guys are at the lower levels and it appears will be pushed forward in 2012. It could potentially be a very, very big season for the Pirates system as a whole. I think we'll really start to develop an understanding of what guys are panning out and which are not. So I figured, with the minor league schedules slowly wrapping up over the next few weeks, lets have some fun with some interesting players.Starting from the top level and working down, I'll throw out some names and some opinions on where they may start in 2012.
Pedro Alvarez (AAA) - struggles all season long at the plate. Wasn't much better in the field either. By no means is it time to give up on Petey yet, but it'll take some time to find his stroke and lay off the junk. Prediction: AAA
Matt Hague (AAA) - not on the 40 man as of 2011. Not sure if he'll need to be protected this winter either. If he does get brought onto the roster though, I would assume he has a good chance to make his case in ST. Has hit well all season and at each level has shown good plate discipline. Prediction: AAA
Gorkys Hernandez (AAA) - having one of his better seasons at the plate. Gorkys is quick and a good fielder. Apparently his base running skills are lack luster but CH appears to like a speedy/aggressive team. Could be next years XP? At worst, I think he finally gets a shot sometime at the bigs next season, but just to spice it up...Prediction: MLB
Tony Sanchez (AA) - a disappointing year for Sanchez to say the least. But for a guy that had a good shot at Pittsburgh in 2012 before the season started, it may not come to happen. Not exactly sure what the FO will be looking at when determining where or how Sanchez advances through the minors. I'll guess he has gotta show a bit more with the bat before moving on. Prediction: AA
Kyle McPherson (AA) - really lit the place up this season. Was it just a one year wonder or can he repeat success? The FO generally takes the slow approach with pitchers, so I'm thinking he is back to AA next year but they did protect him last winter because I'm sure they saw something in him and so far at AA, so good. Oh what the hey. Prediction: AAA
Jarek Cunningham (A+) - Can't argue with the power numbers. Can argue with the K numbers. Can also argue with the fielding numbers. Not sure what management would like to stress here and its doubtful he improves strike zone control moving up to AA (considered the hardest jump to make). Prediction: A+
Elevys Gonzalez (A+) - Doubles power. Not sure how his glove plays, but from the stats, it looks like he may be in line for a bump up. Prediction: AA
Ramon Cabrera (A+) - The little guy is going to have to hit his way to each level. Well, so far he is doing it. His placement may hinge on the likes of Tony Sanchez and whether or not he moves up. I would like for Cabrera to keep catching so splitting time with Sanchez won't help either one of their cases. Prediction: A+
Jameson Taillon (A) - It would be hard to swallow seeing Taillons name on the WV roster again to start 2012. At 79.2IP as of now, I would think they bump him up not only level wise but to around 120-130IP next year. Prediction: A+
Zack Von Rosenberg (A) - Very tricky. His velocity hasn't gone up as some thought it might. His ERA is pretty high, but it's been coming down of late. He had another solid outing tonight and the thing to behold is his BB:K rate. Its encouraging but I wonder if that is enough to move him up. If there is space for ZVR without hindering the likes of Taillon or Cain or someone from being in the rotation at Bradenton, then he should be there. Prediction: A+
Nick Kingham (SC/A) - Has lead the pack at SC this year. Talk about a guy with some velocity and a frame to add to. Can't wait for Kingham to show his stuff for a full season. Prediction: A
Stetson Allie (SC/A) - I guess Allie was delegated to BP duty at SC? He really hasn't thrown a lot of innings and the control problems are still there. I think he moves along after an extending spring, but I look for him to piggy back some starts as they continue to work on his control. Prediction: A
Gerrit Cole (College) - I'm expecting him in high A. Would love to see him at Altoona though. Could you imagine that Bradenton rotation though? Phew. Prediction: A+
Josh Bell (HS) - WV seems more than likely, but could management think outside the box here and give him a shot at A+? This is where I channel my liking for how Atlanta runs their minor leagues. They tend to push the young guys through the lower minors with advanced placement and such. I don't want to rush Bell, but why not give him the chance to exceed starting out at Bradenton. If he struggles after a few weeks, move him down to WV for the remainder of the year. Oh out on a limb again here. Predction: A+
Just something to get the brain going again on the Minor's. Its a year away and things can change, but I had nothing else to write about/waste my time on tonight so have at it.