With the 20th season of Curve baseball well under way, we have been taking a look back at the franchise’s history over the last few months. Today we break down which former Curve players have gone on to the best major league careers.
For the sake of this article, we have taken the Curve’s 140+ alumni to reach the majors and ranked them according to Baseball-Reference’s career WAR measurement. For an explanation of how this number is found, click here. If you’re like me, it will make your head spin a little.
For active players, these numbers are fluid and change daily.
And now, the list:
No. 1 – Andrew McCutchen (40.7 WAR)
This was not a surprise. Andrew McCutchen has gone on to a more decorated career than any alum in team history, with five National League All-Star selections, four Silver Slugger Awards, a Gold Glove and the 2013 N.L. M.V.P. nod.
It took McCutchen a while to get his wheels rolling in Altoona before a hot stretch late in the 2007 season earned him a promotion to Triple-A. In his Curve career, he hit .265 in 138 games with 13 homers and a .731 OPS in 2006 and 2007. His 40.7 career WAR is currently ranked 19th among active MLB position players.
No. 2 – Jose Bautista (34.3 WAR)
Jose Bautista does not technically count on the Curve’s MLB alumni list, having already played in 64 major league games before arriving in Altoona in 2005. However, we included him on this list because he did spend most of 2005 with the Curve before becoming an established big league player, going on to six American League All-Star picks, leading the majors in home runs in two different seasons and picking up three Silver Slugger Awards.
Bautista played 117 games with the Curve in 2005 and hit .283 with 23 homers, 90 RBIs and a .868 OPS.
No. 3 – Starling Marte (24.0 WAR)
Now in his seventh season in the majors, Starling Marte has picked up two Rawlings Gold Glove Awards and earned a National League All-Star selection in 2016.
In 2011, Marte had one of the best seasons in franchise history with the Curve, hitting .332 with 12 homers, 50 RBIs and an .870 OPS.
No. 4 – Bronson Arroyo (23.7 WAR)
A member of the Curve’s inaugural campaign in 1999, Arroyo went on to spend 16 seasons in the big leagues with the Pirates, Red Sox, Reds and Diamondbacks. He was picked as an All-Star in 2006, won a Gold Glove in 2010 and was memorably part of Boston’s World Series title run in 2004.
With the Curve, Arroyo won 15 games in 1999, a record that still stands today, with four losses and a 3.65 ERA.
No. 5 – Jack Wilson (23.5 WAR)
After briefly playing for the Curve in 2000, Jack Wilson went on to a 12-year MLB career, including nine season with the the Pirates, and he was an All-Star and Silver Slugger winner in 2004.
With the Curve, Wilson hit .252 over 33 games with a homer, 16 RBIs and a .677 OPS in 2000. He returned for seven games on a rehab assignment in 2008.
No. 6 – Neil Walker (20.0 WAR)
Climbing the minor-league ladder with fellow top prospect Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker spent parts of 2006 and 2007 with the Curve before a seven-year career with the Pirates. He has since spent time with the Mets, Brewers and Yankees.
Walker played 131 total games with the Curve, including a rehab assignment in 2013, and combined to hit .283 with 15 homers, 70 RBIs and an .810 OPS.
No. 7 – Gerrit Cole (14.5 WAR)
Gerrit Cole broke out in 2013 with a National League All-Star selection and finished fourth in Cy Young voting, one of his five seasons with the Pirates before being traded to the Astros in January.
Cole made 12 starts for the Curve in 2012, going 3-6 with a 2.90 ERA.
No. 8 – Josh Harrison (14.0 WAR)
Part of the Curve’s championship run in 2010, Josh Harrison has spent eight seasons with the Pirates and was a National League All-Star in 2014 and 2017.
He spent all of 2010 with the Curve and returned for a rehab assignment earlier this season. For his Altoona career, Harrison combined to hit .297 with four homers, 76 RBIs and a .735 OPS.