By S. Samek
Our third roster analysis post gives you the Double-A Altoona Curve.
The Pirates forth ranked prospect Kevin Newman heads up this talented team. Newman was a first-round pick in 2015 and has risen up the system quickly. Expectations that Newman gets to the majors in September aren’t unreasonable, but he needs to build off his strong 2016 across two levels of the minors.
19th ranked hurler Brandon Waddell is another 2015 draft pick on the fast track.
Joining Newman in the infield is 20th ranked prospect Kevin Kramer. Kramer is another 2015 draft pick and should form a double play duo with Newman at short and Kramer at second.
The rotation was to be boosted by 27th ranked prospect Tyler Eppler ,though Eppler was assigned to triple a.
The outfield is led by 29th ranked Barrett Barnes. The final man in the top 30 for the Bucs is infielder/outfielder Eric Wood. Wood has been underrated as a prospect for ever and could look to make a mark in a role similar to Adam Frazier this season. Wood has been sent to Indianapolis this season, rather than an initial listing with the Curve. Barnes has shown skills, but as a hard time staying healthy. He is still a valuable prospect, but has a lot to prove to unseat Austin Meadows to earn a spot in Pittsburgh’s starting outfield.
The Curve have a lot of interesting arms to watch. Angel Sanchez is coming off of Tommy John surgery and could pitch in the majors at some point and will not be pitching in Altoona as initially though. Jared Lakind pitched in the World Baseball classic for Team Israel. Though the most intriguing arm has to be Montana Durapau. He returns to Altoona after winning the fireman of the year last season. Durapau converted 22 of 26 save chances last season, and is 37 of 42 in three minor league seasons. This kid would be my pick for a future closer ceiling, and arm in the major-league pen at the low end.
The rest of the lineup seems to be holdovers still in the system and a few other names I haven’t heard of before. Though I should get a person look at them when I attend the April 30th game against Harrisburg. The Curve start the season on April 6. 2017.