-P- The Post-Gazette's writeup on Pedro Alvarez:
One National League scout, who requested anonymity, doesn't foresee that future lasting long at third.
"His frame will need to slim down and quicken up to play third base," this NL scout said. "Looks like he may migrate across the diamond [to the power-hitting spot of first base], but he has the bat to do that."
Based on Alvarez' body type and all the scouting reports I've read, I do think this is probably the case. He's not going to be a third baseman. The Pirates have a number of prospects at third, but their ranks could thin out quickly--Alvarez has a brilliant future at another position, and Neil Walker has a lot to do to prove he's a starter there. Let's hope Andy LaRoche works out.
-P- I'm sure you saw this yesterday, but the Bucs made Jesse Chavez the last addition to their roster. I won't mistake Chavez for a high-leverage pitcher, but I'm more optimistic about him than most--he struck out more than a batter an inning last year, he has a pretty good minor league record and decent stuff, and he isn't old. Home runs will probably be an issue for him, but he's shown enough in the minors to deserve a shot.
-P- The Class AA Altoona Curve have announced their roster (see the PDF at the bottom). Here it is, with my guesses about some of the specific positions:
C Steve Lerud, Hector Gimenez, Miguel Perez
1B Jamie Romak (he's listed as an infielder), 2B Jim Negrych, SS Brian Friday, 3B Angel Gonzalez, IF Pedro Lopez
CF Jose Tabata, OF James Boone, OF Brad Corley, OF Jonel Pacheco
SP Brad Lincoln, SP Tony Watson, SP Mike Crotta, SP Danny Moskos, SP Yoslan Herrera, SP Jared Hughes, SP Derek Hankins
RP Jeff Sues, RP Eric Krebs, RP Juan Mateo, RP Lincoln Holdzkom, RP Shawn Nottingham
Obviously, not all those starting pitchers will make the rotation. I'm not sure who will move to the bullpen, but the most obvious candidates are Moskos, Hughes, Herrera and Hankins.
Altoona is the first Pirates minor league affiliate to release what looks like a complete, reliable roster, so much remains to be seen about the assignments, but here are some thoughts about what we know so far.
-The Bucs likely view Mateo as purely an organizational player, which is kind of a shame, because he pitched very well at Altoona last year.
-The Pirates probably do not view 2004 third-rounder Eddie Prasch or 2006 eighth-rounder Alex Presley as prospects. If they did, those guys would have been at Altoona.
-It appears that Kyle Bloom (recently returned from Detroit) will be sent to Indianapolis, which is good, since he pitched so well down the stretch for Altoona last year.