Thursday, October 28, 2004

Hot Stove Burning

Now that the major league baseball season is over, my attention turns to the Arizona Fall League, where six Pirates prospects are playing for the Peoria Seguaros.

House, J.R., C .304/.407/.524, 1 HR
McLouth, Nathan, OF .278/.344/.426, 1 HR
Sanchez, Freddy, 2B .326/.418/.478, 1 HR

These numbers don't look bad, and they're not at all, but teams have become reluctant to send their best pitching prospects to the AFL for fear they'll get hurt. The result is that hitting numbers across the board are much more superficially impressive than they are in the minors. McLouth's performance is below the league average (although his age probably is too), and Sanchez's and House's performances are about average for the league, or slightly better.

Former Pirate prospect Chris Shelton, by the way, is hitting an absurd .429/.469/.804 with four homers in 56 at bats. This guy would probably be one of the best hitting prospects in baseball if he hadn't missed most of his last season of development due to the Rule 5 process.

Here are the pitchers:
Bradley, Bobby 6.07 ERA 13.1 IP 13 K 3 BB
Johnston, Mike 5.73 ERA 11.0 IP 9 K 5 BB
Miller, Jeff 0.00 ERA 8.2 IP 9 K 0 BB

Bradley and Johnston aren't looking so great, especially since Bradley has long been viewed as a top prospect (though he's never lived up to the hype) and Johnston is older and has pitched in the big leagues. But Jeff Miller, a reliever, is making a strong case to be added to the 40 man roster this year. If he's exposed to the Rule 5 draft, he'll probably be taken - and I'd also bet he'd stick with a new team and thrive.


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