2012 Fish Watch: Pittsburgh Pirates Final Update

The first thing you need to know about The Fish Watch is that it’s not a list of sleepers. It is instead a list of players at various points in their respective minor league journeys that for one reason or another have piqued my interest enough that I am watching their development more closely than the bulk of prospects out there. To read more about this project, check out the introduction and master list.

Obviously since the season is over and some teams have had two updates, some have only had one and the NL West teams have had zero coverage thus far, this project did not work out as I had planned on many levels. Undeterred I’m going to sally forth and finish off this round of updates and call it good. Next season if I attempt this again I’m going to have to make some major changes to the structure, plan and concept of this series.

Feel free to check out the category archive to read previous installments of the series.

Pittsburgh Pirates (S2S 2012 Pirates Team Prospect List)

OF – Adalberto Santos (24) – Pirates 2010 22nd Round Pick

2011 – Bradenton (A+): 0.314/.392/.476, 22 2B, 7 3B, 7 HR, 27 SB, 42 BB and 55 SO in 407 PA
2012 – GCL Pirates (Rk): 0.289/.386/.447, 4 2B, 1 3B, 2 SB, 4 BB and 5 SO in 44 PA
2012 – Altoona (AA): 0.340/.425/.433, 12 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 17 SB, 32 BB and 39 SO in 274 PA

Santos came out of the gates on fire going 21-53 with 9 BB and only 5 SO in his first 17 games of the season. Unfortunately his season took a detour when he sprained his knee at the end of April and spent all of May and most of June on the disabled list and then spent 10 games in the GCL before returning to Altoona’s lineup on July 12th. After rejoining the Curve he picked up where he had left off in April going 22-56 with 11 BB and 9 SO in 18 July games. Santos cooled considerably during the rest of the season but still hit well enough to finish the season with a 0.295 average in his final 33 games. Unfortunately his plate discipline and power dropped off along with his average. He struck out 25 times while walking just 12 and slugged 0.349 after posting a far more impressive 0.532 SLG in his first 35 games with Altoona.

Through three seasons, Santos has shown that he can hit going 0.319, 0.314 and now 0.333 this year between the GCL and Eastern League. He couples his excellent ability to make contact with strong plate discipline and solid approach and has parlayed the combo into an excellent 0.405 OBP in 246 minor league games. His power is primarily limited to that of the gap-variety but he has good speed and can turn in respectable slugging percentages as a result.

The Pirates 22nd round pick is bound for the Arizona Fall League and a strong performance will push his already rising stock even higher. While he didn’t crack Baseball America’s Top-30 this past offseason, John Sickels identified him as a sleeper in his 2012 book and yours truly included him in our Pirates Team Prospect List.

1B – Jose Osuna (19) – Signed out of Venezuela as a NDFA on December 9th, 2009

2011 – GCL Pirates/State College: 0.328/.397/.505, 22 XBH, 3 SB, 19 BB and 21 SO in 212 PA
2012 – West Virginia (A): 0.280/.324/.454, 36 2B, 16 HR, 4 SB, 31 BB and 82 SO in 524 PA

In the aforementioned TPL, I also picked Osuna ahead of Alex Dickerson as the organization’s top 1B prospect. Dickerson finished the season with a 0.804 OPS and 220 total bases while playing at high-A Bradenton while Osuna finished with a 0.779 OPS and 219 total bases just one level below him. That’s significant because Osuna is two and a half years younger than Dickerson. While they had fairly similar statistical seasons, the difference in age makes me stick to the belief that Osuna is the better prospect heading into 2013.

That said, he was statistically all over the map a bit in his month to month performance and did much of his damage during July when he hit 0.336/.366/.645 in 28 games. Nine of his 16 home runs came in that month as did one third of his 72 RBI. As Dickerson will surely advance to Altoona, Osuna should get a healthy dose of FSL pitching with Bradenton in 2013.

RHP – Luis Heredia (18) – Signed out of Mexico as a NDFA on August 24th, 2010

2011 – GCL Pirates: 4.75 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 28 H, 19 BB and 23 SO in 30.1 IP
2012 – State College (A-): 2.71 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 53 H, 20 BB and 40 SO in 66.1 IP

Heredia just turned 18 last month meaning that he spent two-thirds of his time in the Spikes rotation as a 17-year old. Given the quality of his stuff, his strikeout rate will assuredly improve as he continues to develop and advance but aside from that measure he had a fantastic season. He cut his BB/9 from 5.6 in the GCL to a much healthier 2.7 with State College. Heredia also improved on his hit rate (8.3 to 7.2 H/9) and limited NY-Penn League hitters to a 0.224/.282/.321 slash line.

He slipped a bit in August posting a 4.70 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 13-10 SO-to-BB but finished the season on a hit note throwing a 5.0 inning, 2-hit shutout in his lone September start. Baseball America already had him tabbed as the Pirates #5 prospect heading into the year and he did nothing to damage that ranking or the belief of most that he’s a future frontline starter. Look for him at the front of West Virginia’s rotation to open the 2013 season, where he will be one of the 3-5 youngest players in the South Atlantic League.

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For more on the Pittsburgh Pirates, check out Rum Bunter!

Topics: Adalberto Santos, Altoona Curve, Jose Osuna, Luis Heredia, Pittsburgh Pirates, State College Spikes, West Virginia Power

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