Hidden Vigorish

Detailed Analysis of The Pittsburgh Pirates

Prospect Report: Level Repeaters

The Pirates four full season minor league affiliates got their seasons underway last week. One of the things I look for when I analyze the rosters at the beginning of the minor league season is which players are assigned to repeat a level. Repeating can be a sign that a player’s development is not going so smoothly. In other cases repeating is simply the result of being blocked by other players at the same position in the upper levels of the system. I do not consider it repeating if a player received an end of season promotion in the prior year in which he played less than 30 games or pitched in less than 12 games. I ignore repeating at the AAA level as this is almost always because the player is being blocked at the major league level. Here are the repeaters on the season opening rosters of the Pir ates minor league affiliates:


    Sebastian ValleDemoted from AAA – Valle is a 24 year old catcher that the Pirates signed as a minor league free agent this offseason. He bounced between AA and AAA in the Phillies organization last season. He will split duties with Jacob Stallings at Altoona. Valle could be a late bloomer, but he is most likely destined to be organizational depth.
    Dan GamacheRepeating AA – Gamache is a 24 year old IF. He hit well in 39 games with Altoona last season posting a triple slash line of .275/.340/.486. He missed the first three months of the season with a foot fracture. He should be a regular in the Altoona lineup splitting his playing time between 2B, 3B, and DH.
    Gift NgoepeRepeating AA – Ngoepe is a 25 year old slick fielding SS whose bat has failed to develop. This will be the 3rd straight season Ngoepe has spent at AA Altoona.
    Edward SalcedoDemoted from AAA – The Pirates acquired Salcedo from the Braves in an offseason trade. He is only 23 years old so it is a little misleading that he is being demoted to AA. The Braves advanced him to AAA very quickly where he struggled mightily last season. He has hit 56 home runs in his minor league career so he does have some pop. He played 3B and OF with the Braves. Reports are the Pirates intend to use him at 3B, RF and occasionally 1B with Altoona.
    Willy GarciaRepeating AA – Garcia is a toolsy corner OF with a lot of power but with some serious plate discipline flaws. He hit an impressive 18 home runs with Altoona last season, but also had a K:BB ration of 6 to 1.
    Keon BroxtonRepeating AA – Broxton had a breakout season last year at AA posting an .853 OPS, and the Pirates gave the 25 year old CF an extended look during at invite this March to Major League Spring Training. He is repeating AA because he is organizationally blocked. He deserved a promotion to AAA and will likely get there as soon as a spot opens in Indianapolis.
    Stetson AllieRepeating AA – Allie’s story is pretty well known. Drafted as a pitcher and converted to 1B, he has big time power but a lot of swing and miss in his bat. He improved his walked rate last season which is encouraging. 21 Homers and 71 walks in just 117 games last season at Altoona is pretty impressive. He has potential to be a three true outcomes short side platoon hitter in the major leagues. The Pirates plan to transition him to RF this season to increase his versatility and to open playing time at 1B for top prospect Josh Bell.
    Zack Dodson - Repeating AA – Dodson, a southpaw starting pitcher, continues to be stalled at AA. This will be his third straight season at Altoona. The Pirates drafted him in the 4th Rd of the 2009 draft and gave him a $600K signing bonus. It is hard to classify him as any thing other than a disappointment at this stage of his development.

    Angel Sanchez - Repeating AA – Sanchez is a RHP that spent time at AA last year with four different organizations. The Pirates briefly had him on their 40 man roster. He is 24 years old and has good velocity. In all likelihood he will work out of the Altoona bullpen this season.
    Matt Benedict - Repeating AA – Benedict is a RH relief pitcher. He had a 5.77 ERA in 53 innings last season with Altoona. At 26 years old with little upside his days in affiliated ball appear to be numbered.
    Jin-De JhangRepeating A+ – Jhang is a catcher with good defensive skills, but struggled offensively last season at A+. To be fair he was given an aggressive promotion – last season was a “skipper”, bypassing West Virginia. He will split time behind the dish this season at Bradenton with Reese McGuire.
    Jose OsunaRepeating A+ – Osuna is a 22 year old 1B that will be repeating at A+ Bradenton for the 3rd straight season. In some cases that might be red flag, but not in this case. Osuna was given an aggressive promotion to A+ in 2013 at just 20 years old. Last season he repeated at A+, but posted a solid .804 OPS. He would be at AA this season if not for being blocked by Josh Bell. Osuna should receive a promotion to AA by mid-season. He is still age appropriate for this level.
    Jordan SterankaRepeating A+ – Steranka is a 25 year old 1B with little power and is repeating at A+. That is all you really need to know about him.
    Justin MaffeiRepeating A+ – Maffei played half the season at Bradenton last season and posted a strong .303 AVG in 49 games. It was likely a mirage as he has never shown that kind of ability before. The 23 year old should see fairly regular time in CF for the Marauders this season.
    Ryan HafnerRepeating A+ – Hafner is a very tall RHP that pitched exclusively out of the pen for Bradenton last season. the 23 year old posted a 4.31 ERA in 77.1 innings.
    Jake BurnetteRepeating Full Season A – Burnette has been stalled by injuries. This is essentially his 3rd straight year at West Virginia despite having pitched in only 7 games previously for the Power.
    Dovydas NeverauskasRepeating Full Season A – Neverauskas had a rough season last year in the West Virginia rotation. He made 26 starts and pitched 123.2 innings with the Power 2014. He was hit hard (allowed 151 hits) and struggled with his command. He is 22 years old and well seasoned for this level of play. I believe this is a make or break year for Neverauskas.
    Francisco DiazRepeating Full Season A – Diaz is a 25 year old catcher who has been playing in West Virginia since 2012. He is nothing more than organization filler as a backup catcher in the lower ranks.
    Elvis EscobarRepeating Full Season A – At just 5’8″ Escobar is the shortest player in the system. He is a lefty hitter that has shown neither an impressive hit tool nor great plate discipline thus far in his career. He started last season with West Virginia but was demoted to Jamestown at mid season after posting a paltry .239 OBP thru 55 games with the Power. Escobar is only 20 years old and plays very good defense in CF.
    Jeff RoyRepeating Full Season A – Roy is another smallish left-handed hitting OF with below average plate discipline and no power. He is three years older than Escobar and a lesser defender. He is settling in as an organizational filler extra OF. Last season he split time between West Virginia and Bradenton.


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