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burgh_fan66
01-28-2010, 01:09 AM
This is another position that doesn't look to be in that great of shape. It is a tough one to predict though as most of the middle infielders are officially considered shortstops at this point.

5
none

4
none

3
Josh Harrison
Shelby Ford
Brock Holt (officially a SS but he played mostly 2B last year)

2
James Negrych
Mpho Gift Ngoepe (another SS who played mostly 2B last year)

Josh Harrison - Harrison was acquired in the Grabow and Grozelanny trade last year. He is the top 2nd base prospect in the Pirates system but that speaks more to the quality of the other players than it does his ability. His absolute upside appears to be Freddy Sanchez. As far as his tools are concerned, Harrison has limited power, average defense, slightly above average speed, and a low walk and strike out rate. He is a free swinger who swings at about everything so his plate discipline has to improve. Realisticly he looks like he could wind up a good utility player or maybe a David Eckstein type. He will start the year at either high A or AA and I would lean towards high A.

Shelby Ford - Ford entered last year as not only the Pirates top 2nd base prospect but as one of thier top 10 prospects overall. He is an offense-first infielder whose defense is passable. Ford has showed a little bit of power and the ability to draw walks. His strikeout rate is a little high and his speed and defense are just average. Ford had three good years in the minors before last year. Some of his struggles may be connected to the wrist injury he suffered at the beginning of the season but there is no denying last season was pitiful. He was demoted from AAA to AA. His absolute upside seems to be an average defensive 2nd baseman who hits around 270 and maybe hits 10 home runs a year. A more realistic upside projection would be a slightly better version of Ramon Vazquez. Ford should start the year at AAA as the starting 2nd baseman where he will have to prove that last year was just a fluke.

Brock Holt - Holt is officially a shortstop and has the defensive ability to play there but because of the amount of shortstops around the same level as him he will likely remain at 2nd. He was just drafted last year so its hard to guage just how good he is. But early signs seems to be that he will be a good average hitter, with decent power for a 2nd baseman and a good defender. He has also displayed good plate discipline in his short time in pro ball. Holt seems to have the highest upside of any of the Pirates 2nd base prospects. Projections are hard at this point but he appears to have the ceiling of a Brian Roberts type player (but with about half the stolen base potential). A more conservative outlook would be a 300 hitter who hits about 10 home runs a year. But of course he is still quite far away and projections are even tougher. Pending on where Harrison starts Holt will start at high A or just A ball. I have Harrison slated for high A so Holt will probably start the season at low A.

James Negrych - Negrych is a local guy (University of Pittsburgh). Throughout his college and pro career Negrych has only done one thing great and that is hit. He has little power, is below avergae defensively and is rather slow. He has shown some good plate discipline and doesnt strike out a ton. He has played mainly 2B in his pro career but has also played some of his college position of 3B. He seems to have very little upside. But if the end of last year proves to be just a fluke and he is able to gain his hitting stroke back he could be a servicable MLB player. At best Negrych looks like he could be a good pinch hitter ans servicable back-up infielder. A good comparison would be Delwyn Young with less power, a higher average and better defense. The more realistic projection is a AAAA player who is shuffled back and forth between AAA and the majors. He is likely to start the year in AAA and serve as the utility infielder.

Mpho Gift Ngoepe - He isnt really a prospect but he has a fascinating story and at least some potential to be a servicable major leaguer. Ngoepe is from South Africa and he was signed by the Pirates from a baseball academy in Italy. It is nearly impossible to even try to project anything with him. But from his limited playing time in the states he seems to be a very good defender, with good speed. His bat however has a long way to go. He has zero power to speak of but he did show some ability to hit for average early last year before falling into a long slump. He will have to cut down on his strike-out rate to even have a chance at the high minors let alone the majors. He does have the defensive ability to play short but he seems better suited for 2nd. Maybe his absolute upside is a Jack Wilson type player (great defender, passable hitter). But a more realistic potential is a servicable backup defensive infielder. He is still young at only 19 and will likely spend the year in short season ball.

The state of second base doesn't look too promising but it has to be remembered that most major league 2nd base are converted shortstops. The rest of the second base positions in the monors will be filled by shortstops or utility players.

AaronDeGlau
01-28-2010, 12:31 PM
i wont list gift nothing more than a 4 or 5 at this point, i still like ford and negrych and i think they will both make this team later on in the yr to see what they have, if there is 40 man space

burgh_fan66
01-28-2010, 03:01 PM
i wont list gift nothing more than a 4 or 5 at this point, i still like ford and negrych and i think they will both make this team later on in the yr to see what they have, if there is 40 man space

gift was a token listing really. I just like the kid's story. I still like Ford as well but he has to show that last year was a fluke and start hitting again. Not as high on Negrych. The guy can hit but really hasnt shown much else, like I said he may make a good pinch hitter at some point but not much more than that.

burgh_fan66
01-30-2010, 11:15 PM
Hmm, For some reason this thread doesnt seem to be drawing as much attention as the other two.

3rd Base will be up later tonight. But I figured I'd add a little to this one:

Highest Overall Potential: Brock Holt
Best Power: Shelby Ford
Best Hitter: James Negrych
Best Speed: Brock Holt
Best Defense: Mpho Gift Ngoepe
Most Likely to Make Majors: Shelby Ford

burgh_fan66
02-02-2010, 01:08 AM
My grading system is apparently confusing, so I'll make it simplier and repost grades.

5 - Elite/Very Good
4 - Good
3 - Fair/Avergae
2 - Marginal/ Not Established
1 - Organizational Player/ Minor League Vet

I will also use +/- to distinguish between the ranks. Note 1's and 5's wont have these.

Brock Holt: 3+
Shelby Ford: 3
Josh Harrison: 3
James Negrych: 2+
Mpho Gift Ngoepe: 2