Thursday, March 21, 2013

At a glance: Potential 2013 Marauders

With just three home games remaining, the Pittsburgh Pirates are about to head north to begin the 2013 baseball season, while the Bradenton Marauders are set to begin their fourth season as the organization's high Single-A affiliate.
While the team's roster hasn't been announced, here is a look at some guys who may be here when Bradenton opens its Florida State League schedule Thursday, April 4 at  Fort Myers.
Again, this is purely speculative

Gregory Polanco, cf: The 20-year-old was named the Pirates' Minor League Player of the Year and is considered the franchise's fourth-best prospect by, which ranks Polanco 65th overall. He spent all last season with Pirates' low Single-A team in West Virginia, where hit hit for average (.325), served as a run producer (85 RBIs in 116 games), flashed speed (40 steals), put the ball in play (64 strikeouts in 437 at-bats) and committed three errors in 98 games. says: "He has a chance to be a true five-tooler on the field...His plus speed will make him a long-term basestealing threat and an outstanding defensive outfielder."

Alen Hanson, if: Only Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon were ranked higher in the Pirates' system by, which ranks Hanson 54th overall and eighth among shortstop prospects. After beginning the year with the Pirates' New York-Penn League team in State College, Hanson was bumped to West Virginia and led the South Atlantic League in total bases (258), triples (13) and runs scored (99) while finishing second in hits (151). Hanson, 20, hit 16 home runs, batted .309 and also swiped 35 bases. He needs to improve defensively after committing 40 errors in 103 games at short, but said an erratic arm was Hanson's main problem, and he has the range and hands to be a good shortstop. says: "Hanson makes consistent contact and can drive the ball to all fields...An outstanding bunter, he has the strength to show occasional home run power."

Josh Bell, of: The 20-year-old Bell was ranked as baseball's 69th-best prospect heading into last year before a left meniscus tear ended his season after only 15 games at West Virginia. The Pirates' second-round pick in 2011, Bell is ranked sixth in the organization by after hitting .274 with 11 RBIs with the Power. Bell spent the offseason working with Pirates Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen at IMG, and his health with dictate where he winds up in '13. says: "...he has the tools to be an above-average defender with a strong arm, not to mention the offensive tools, to profile well (in right field)."

Nicholas Kingham, p: Drafted out of high school in 2010, Kingham, 21, has already logged 201 1/3 innings as a professional after spending all of 2011 in State College and all of last year in West Virginia. considers Kingham the Pirates' 13th-best prospect after the righty went 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA in 27 starts. But the Las Vegas native got better as the year went on, posting a 1.68 ERA over his final nine starts, and he is averaging 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings as a pro. says: "The Pirates were very aggressive in going after high-ceiling high school arms in recent drafts and Kingham has a chance to be one of the best from that effort."

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