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Bradenton Marauders Off to Brilliant Start

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It's way too early in the season to reach any conclusions about this, but allow me to point out some things about the Bradenton Marauders, who are off the most impressive start of any Pirates minor league affiliate I can recall and who feature a lineup and rotation that's loaded with prospects and not (as was typically the case when a Littlefield-era Class A team suddenly started playing well) aging ringers.

-P- They have four regular players (Quincy Latimore, Tony Sanchez, Starling Marte and Jeremy Farrell) with OPSes above 1.000, and this is in a tough hitters' league. (We don't have a lot of reliable data on how Bradenton's park will play compared to the other Florida State League parks, so it'll take some time to figure out what this means. All four players are hitting much better so far at home than on the road.) Those four are all among the top seven in the league in OPS. 

-P- They have six players among the top twenty in the league in OPS, with Robbie Grossman and Greg Picart joining Latimore, Sanchez, Marte and Farrell. Marte and Sanchez are first and second.

-P- The Marauders' team OPS is more than 100 points higher than any other team in the league. Their team OBP is over .400.

-P- Their pitchers have allowed the fifth-fewest runs of any FSL team, which puts the Marauders' wacky offensive numbers in some perspective--if their hitting performance was due primarily to their ballpark, or to the wind in Florida this time of year, why doesn't it seem to be affecting their pitchers? 

Again, it's way too early to tell what's going on here; certainly the park could be affecting things, and so could the quality of the competition. The Marauders have only played Fort Myers, Jupiter and St. Lucie, and it's way too early to gauge the quality of those teams. Sample size is also obviously a factor. But if the Marauders can keep up anything even resembling these numbers, they have to be the most talented Pirates minor league affiliate in at least a decade, the sort that can make an entire farm system look great all by itself. Some regression to the mean is very likely, obviously, but this team appears to be worth watching very closely.