Pittsburgh Pirates: Double-A Altoona Player Awards

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
3 of 4
Pittsburgh Pirates
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The Hitter of the Year

This is the more interesting of the two awards.  The Altoona Curve were stacked with offensive potential this year.  They had top position prospects Austin Meadows, and Kevin Newman.  Also top ten prospects Harold Ramirez and Reese McGuire.  They also had solid organizational prospects in outfielder Barrett Barnes, Jin-de Jhnag, and Edwin Espinal. The issue with the top prospects is none of them played full seasons at Double-A.

Meadows was an aboslute stud, but only appeared in 45 games this year.  He missed the first month with a fractured orbital, and then was promoted to Triple-A for the end of the year. The same can be said for Kevin Newman who was promoted from Single-A.  With Harold Ramirez and Reese McGuire, their seasons were cut short here when they were dealt to Toronto. So this leaves the orgnizational prospects listed before, but all three are worthy of the season long honor.

The Hitter of the Year

The Hitter of the Year for the Altoona Curve goes to Barrett Barnes.  A long forgotten second round pick, Barnes really put together a notable season.  A player who often is injured, was able to play in 124 games this year.  This is by the most he has appeared in, and the first time he eclipsed the 100 games played mark.  Not only did he play in most games, but he also put together a great season.  On the year he batted .306, with an on-base percentage of .377, a slugging of .477, giving an OPS of .853 on the year. He also added ten stolen bases along with nine home runs.  One concern is he did strikeout 105 times, which is .85 times per game.  This is kind of a high rate and a number that cannot go up as he moves up to Triple-A next season.

Barnes likely projects to be a fourth outfielder at the next level.  However, with the amount of injuries and lack of productivity he has had, this is a positive. He also is quite versatile in the ability to play all three positions, he is athletic enough to cover the ground and has a relatively good arm.  The Pittsburgh Pirates always can use a outfield bench bat, Barnes could be a cheap option for them soon.