The future is now.
Although they are not wearing Curve uniforms, the players assigned to the Pirates alternative training site make up some of the best baseball talent ever assembled within Peoples Natural Gas Field.
Since 1999, Altoona has served as a vital training ground for Pittsburgh’s next crop of talent, much like we analyzed in a previous post leading up to the 2020 First-Year Player Draft in June. While wins, losses, batting averages and ERAs are not being tallied in satellite camp, some of the Pirates’ top prospects are getting valuable reps against their teammates.
The 2020 outlook for the Curve was a positive one that was loaded with future Major League talent. Ten of Baseball America’s Top 30 Pirates prospects entering this season played for A-Adv. Bradenton at some point in 2019, including four that reached Double-A Altoona by the end of the year. It is reasonable to believe that most of those names would have found their way to Altoona in 2020 before the season was shelved due to the coronavirus.
On the current Alternative Training Site roster, 15 players have have a spot on either Baseball America or MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 lists.
Here is a snapshot of those players:
Nick Gonzales – Mid-season #1 by Baseball America
Ke’Bryan Hayes – #2 by MLB.com and Baseball America
Oneil Cruz – #3 by MLB.com and Baseball America
Liover Peguero – #4 by Baseball America, #5 by MLB.com
Cody Bolton – #5 by Baseball America, #10 by MLB.com
Ji-Hwan Bae – #9 by Baseball America, #11 by MLB.com
Travis Swaggerty – #11 by Baseball America, #6 by MLB.com
Mason Martin – #15 by Baseball America and MLB.com
Nick Mears – #19 by Baseball America
Jared Oliva – #20 by Baseball America, #9 by MLB.com
Max Kranick – #23 by Baseball America, #21 by MLB.com
Will Craig – #24 by Baseball America, #19 by MLB.com
Blake Cederlind – #27 by Baseball America, #28 by MLB.com
Rodolfo Castro – #23 by MLB.com
Aaron Shortridge – #27 by MLB.com
This contribution to the Around the Curve Blog is presented by Microtel. Plan your stay at one of Altoona’s three Lion Country Lodging locations. Click here to make a reservation today.