Some good news came out of the Pirates’ farm system today. Jason Delaney was promoted from Altoona to Indianapolis, and was replaced on the Curve roster by Jim Negrych and Jamie Romak. None of these players is a great prospect, but each is having an excellent season. It is time to see what they can do at the next level.
I have kept an eye on Delaney for most of the season, as his OBP has stayed above .400. He is old for Double-A (25 years old) and lacks the necessary power to play first base, making him a marginal prospect. But as long as he keeps reaching base at a 40% clip, he has the potential to reach Pittsburgh as a backup at the very least. He also seems to understand what it takes to be a successful hitter:
“The toughest thing is laying off a strike that’s not in your zone. If your zone is, say, middle of the plate and out, and that pitcher throws over the inside corner … hey, good pitch by him. Unless I react really well, I’m not going to put the swing I want on that pitch. If he throws three of those, fine. Do it again next time. But you don’t see many pitchers, even in the big leagues, doing that.”
Romak, who came over in the Adam LaRoche trade, is an interesting player. He strikes out at an amazing rate (415 K’s in 1,567 minor league plate appearances), but also draws huge amounts of walks (192 BB’s). At 6’2” and 220 pounds, there is also loads of power potential to be tapped. He has struggled with low batting averages in his career (.241 career before this season), but has improved to the tune of .279/.360/.552. At 22 years old, the move to Altoona comes at the right time.
Negrych, the Pirates’ sixth round pick in the 2006 draft, put up mediocre numbers in his first two professional seasons. He has come out of nowhere this season, hitting .370/.448/.508 to this point. His walk rate is way up this season, contributing to that impressive OBP. He still needs work on his defense, spending the majority of the season at third base. But his bat is definitely ready for the promotion.
These guys are all question marks at this point. But with the huge void in the team’s minor league talent, the Pirates could use a little luck with a few players outperforming their expectations.