Just a quick post, mainly to note that I’ve added player pages for players who are in minor league camp for the first time. Tim noted this when he posted the minor league spring training roster recently. Of course, I don’t have a great deal of information on these guys yet.
The process did serve as a reminder of the greatly added interest the lower levels of the farm system are providing these days. Back in the dark days of the GM-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, year after year went by with literally no additions of note from Latin America. This year there are at least three real prospects–or maybe “real potential prospects” is a better description of teenage ballplayers–in their first camp: Dilson Herrera, Harold Ramirez and Elvis Escobar. The latter two may still head to the Dominican Summer League, but they probably wouldn’t be in camp if there wasn’t at least a chance of them playing in the Gulf Coast League this year, which would be a big step for 17-year-olds who haven’t played professionally yet.
After years of Latin minor leaguers who figured, at best, to be organizational players, the Pirates have stockpiled a large number of guys at the lowest levels who are worth watching. Probably a large majority won’t go anywhere in the end, but that’s normal. The focus has been mainly on position players, Luis Heredia notwithstanding, but that’s good because that’s the system’s weakness. Between West Virginia, State College and the GCL, I figure the following hitters are all guys who have a chance to turn into real prospects:
Catcher: Samuel Gonzalez
Infielders: Jose Ozuna, Dilson Herrera, Alen Hanson, Yhonatan Barrios, Jodaneli Carvajal (and maybe Edwin Espinal–I don’t know much about him yet)
Outfielders: Willy Garcia, Gregory Polanco, Luis Urena, Jesus Vasquez, Raul Fortunato, Harold Ramirez, Elvis Escobar
If the Pirates can get just 2-3 good prosects out of this group, they’ll be far ahead of where they were a couple years ago.