Pittsburgh Pirates: Curve have best Rotation in the System

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates have always done a good job of finding high ceiling starting pitching talent.  The Altoona Curve are currently benefiting from this.

The Altoona Curve have just about the most dominant roster on paper compared to the rest of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.  They have multiple high draft picks, including three former first round picks in Cole Tucker, Will Craig, and Ke’Bryan Hayes.  However, the Curve is seeing their pitching staff star early.

While the Pittsburgh Pirates have invested several high draft picks in hitters over the last five years, they also have found a lot of talented arms.  The Curves’ rotation has the most complete rotation in the whole system.  Of course, the rotation is led by top prospect Mitch Keller.  He is followed by Brandon Waddell, Dario Agrazal, Taylor Hearn, and JT Brubaker.  Of the group, Waddell and Hearn are the two lefties.


The righties in the rotation are led by ace Mitch Keller.  Keller has quickly become the top pitching prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.  The former second round pick has made two starts so far.  He has thrown 11.2 innings and is 1-0 with a 0.77 ERA.  Across those innings he has 13 strikeouts and four walks.  Dario Agrazal has also made two starts and has thrown in 11 innings.  The Panamanian is 1-0 1.64 ERA.  He has struck out four and also has walked four, but has a 53 percent ground ball rate. The last righty is former Akron Zip JT Brubaker.  Brubaker really broke out in the Arizona Fall League and has continued on this season.  In his three starts, the big righty has posted a 2.25 ERA across 16 innings.  He has struck out 21 while walking five.


Meanwhile, the lefties in the rotation are also dominating.  Brandon Waddell was the Pittsburgh Pirates fifth round pick in 2015.  He came from the University of Virginia were he helped the Cavaliers win the College World Series.  Now, with Altoona, the lefty has made two starts and has posted a 0.77 ERA.  He has thrown 11.2 innings and has 13 strikeouts.  He has really shown strong command, an area he struggled with in years prior.  So far he has only walked one hitter.  He has yet to record a win or loss despite pitching so effectively.

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The last arm in the rotation is the biggest, that being Taylor Hearn. Hearn of course was obtained in the Mark Melancon trade from the Nationals.  His fastball approaches 100 miles per hour at times.  Like everyone else in the rotation, Hearn has been dominate.  He has posted a 0.82 ERA in 11 innings.  Furthermore, he has struck out 11 and walked three.  Even with an impressive ERA, Hearn’s record sits at 0-1.

High Expectations

The Altoona Curve won the Eastern League last season.  The team they have this year has the talent to be even better.  Of course they have a lineup with a lot of upside.  However, the rotation is already showing how dominant they can be.  The one thing that may hold the Curve back is the fact they have so much talent that players could be moved up to Triple-A at various points this season.