Former Pirate prospect Walter Young hit his first major league homer tonight for the Orioles. Young is one of a pretty amazing number of prospects the Pirates have lost in the last few years under dubious circumstances who ended up playing in the majors for other teams. (There's also Chris Shelton, Chris Young, Bronson Arroyo, Jeff Bennett, Duaner Sanchez, Leo Nunez, Jose Bautista, and, depending on how you look at it, Matt Guerrier, Jeff Keppinger, J.J. Davis, Chris DeMaria, Roberto Novoa, and at least a couple of others.)
Now that the 2003 prospect purge is a couple of years behind us, it's fair to say that Walter Young is nothing special, and he's unlikely to burn the Pirates in the future, today's homer notwithstanding. But prospects represent potential, and when you get rid of several decent ones like the Pirates have over the past three years, it's pretty likely that a couple are going to get you. For the Pirates, they've been Shelton, Arroyo, Chris Young and Bautista, who they had to pay to get back from the Royals and Mets. Refusing to needlessly give away prospects would solve part of that problem, and identifying the ones who are worth roster spaces would solve the other part. Players like the ones Rich Thompson and Matt Guerrier were two years ago are highly unlikely to ever become to valuable; Chris Shelton is another story.