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Minor League Roundup: Pedro Alvarez Racks Up Strikeouts

-P- Pedro Alvarez's Class AA debut: 0-for-4, with three strikeouts. Over the past few days, there have been some pretty interesting conversations in the comments about what Alvarez's strikeouts mean. While I share the concern of those who point out that most successful players don't strike out as much in Class A as Alvarez did, it's also true that the Lynchburg experience was Alvarez's first exposure to pro ball, coming after a long layoff from organized baseball, and that it wasn't a huge sample size. He also hit very well (albeit in an extremely small sample size) in Spring Training. So I'm worried, but I'm not ready to make any grand proclamations about Alvarez's problems, and I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

-P- The Gulf Coast League Pirates--that's the lowest-ranked stateside Pirates affiliate, just below the State College Spikes--opened their season today, losing to the GCL Yankees, 8-2. There are just a ton of interesting players on that Pirates team, though. South African prospect Mpho Ngoepe batted second and played second, and had two hits. The outfield consisted of 2008 bonus baby Wesley Freeman in right and touted Latin American prospects Rogelios Noris and Starling Marte in left and center, respectively. Andury Acevedo, a Littlefield-era Dominican prospect who's still only 18, played third. Elicier Navarro, who posted a ridiculous 108:8 K:BB ratio for the Dominican Pirates affiliate last year. Obviously the first game wasn't very good, but this is definitely a team worth watching.  

-P- The Post-Gazette noticed that Virgil Vasquez was pulled early from his start tonight. The Bucs did that as a precaution in case Charlie Morton's hamstring acts up again. If that happens, Vasquez will be called up.