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Pirates mining independent leagues

John Holdzkom could be just the first indy league find for the Bucs.

Justin K. Aller

Baseball America's digital edition has an article (can't be linked to, you have to subscribe) on the top independent league prospects, including both the top five already signed and the top five still unsigned.  Not surprisingly, John Holdzkom tops the former list.  But that list contains another interesting pitcher at #3.  The Pirates acquired RHP Matt Nevarez from Wichita and he joined Altoona shortly after Holdzkom departed on his way to fame and glory.  Nevarez is another big, hard-throwing guy, although not quite as big or hard-throwing as Holdzkom.  He pitched in three organizations and, like Holdzkom, got derailed by injuries, including Tommy John surgery, and by control issues.  In his limited time with the Curve, he didn't show the control improvements that Holdzkom did, but he fanned a bunch of guys.  He'll be a free agent unless the Pirates add him to the roster.  If they do, he'll have two options left.

Among the unsigned players, BA listed RHP Chris Peacock 5th.  Except it just so happens the Pirates acquired him, also from Wichita, a few days ago.  He's another guy who throws hard, reaching 97.  He was never drafted and has mostly struggled in several years in indy ball, but he made a lot of progress this year after moving permanently to relief.