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Jose Tabata, Bad Pitchers to Represent Bucs in Arizona Fall League

If you ever wonder why so many runs are scored in Arizona Fall League games, well, here's one reason.

The Pirates will stock the Arizona Fall League's Scottsdale Scorpions with six prospects: outfielder Jose Tabata, shortstops Brian Friday and Chase D'Arnaud, and pitchers Donnie Veal, Danny Moskos and Tony Watson. Jeff Banister, the Pirates' long-time minor league field coordinator, will manage the team. Also on the roster is Buster Posey, the elite catching prospect of the San Francisco Giants.

Friday isn't that interesting, but Tabata is one of the Pirates' best prospects, and D'Arnaud, who has now hit well at both West Virginia and Lynchburg in his first full pro season, is a pretty good one as well. 

The pitchers, though? Veal is a logical pick, given that the Bucs have bent over backwards all year to keep him from getting innings, but he's no longer a particularly promising player. If not for his infamy as the guy who was picked before Matt Wieters, Moskos would be indistinguishable from no-name Bucs farmhands like Matt McSwain, Michael Crotta, or Jared Hughes. In other words, Moskos is a prospect only in the loosest sense of the term. He has a decent ERA this year, but that's masking awful peripherals; he has about four strikeouts for every nine innings pitched, and nearly as many walks. Even given a solid groundball rate, those numbers won't play at higher levels. And Watson wasn't a good prospect before the season and has barely played this year. 

If Tabata and D'Arnaud put up some big numbers in the AFL, don't be surprised, or read too much into it--very rarely do teams send their best pitchers there, as the Pirates' example shows.