|photo by Tiffany Tompkins-Condie|
Catcher Tony Sanchez is a member of the Pirate's 40-man roster
Victor Black, P: Black, 24, appeared in just five games with Bradenton in 2011 before his breakthrough last year at Double-A Altoona. Black led the Eastern League with 51 appearances in 2012, posting a 1.65 ERA and 13 saves. Black struck out 85 and walked 28 in 60 innings and was a mid-season Eastern League All-Star. Black was picked for the Rising Stars game while pitching in the Arizona Fall Leage.
Ramon Cabrera, C: The 23-year-old Cabrera won the Florida State League's batting title in 2011 when he hit .343 with the Marauders before spending all of last season in Altoona. Cabera hit .276 with with 50 RBIs in 112 games with the Curve before he was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis on Sept. 2. Cabera appeared in one game with the Indians, going 2-for-5 with a double.
Phil Irwin, P: The 25-year-old righty went 5-0 with a 2.02 ERA in 10 starts with the Marauders in 2011 and won his lone start with the team last year. Irwin spent most of the last year in Altoona, where he went 4-7 despite a 2.93 ERA in 18 games (16 starts) while walking just 17 in 104 1/3 innings. He was the named the Curve's Pitcher of the Year, and found similar success in Indianapolis, where Irwin went 3-0 with 2.57 ERA in four starts.
Tony Sanchez, C: The Pirates' top catching prospect and the organization's first pick of the 2009 draft, the 24-year-old Miami native was a fan favoritete in Bradenton in 2010, when he hit .314 in 59 games before a pitch to the jaw ended his season. Sanchez hit .277 in 42 games last year with Altoona before a promotion to Triple-A, where Sanchez batted .233 with eight home runs in 60 games.
Hunter Strickland, P: After missing all of 2011 recovering from rotator cuff surgery, Strickland was 2-2 with a 2.98 ERA in 10 starts with the Marauders before a bump to Altoona. Strickland pitched out of the bullpen, making 23 relief appearances, going 2-2 with a 4.65 ERA.