The Bradenton Marauders are the Pittsburgh Pirates High-A affiliate. The team plays in the Florida State League and had a tough season.
The Pittsburgh Pirates most disappointing minor league affiliate this year had to be the High-A Bradenton Marauders. The Pittsburgh Pirates did not have any of their top prospects at the High-A level. The Marauders showed they were a team that lacked a lot of talent and the talent they did have was quickly moved to Double-A. The team’s lack of talent really showed in the final standings.
The Marauders finished dead last in the Florida State League. They had a league-low in wins with just 21 while losing 44 games. The team finished 17 games back of first place. Over their last 10 games of the season, they dropped eight while only winning two, so they did not finish on a high note. Still, there are always some players who perform better than the rest. So what Bradenton Marauders deserve the end of the year awards?
Most Valuable Player
In a team that lacks significant prospect talent there is always the chance for a breakout prospect to become more recognized. This is the case for Jared Oliva. Oliva was a seventh round pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2017 out of the University of Arizona. It was a great value pick as many scouting sites had him ranked as a top 200 prospect in the 2017 draft class. He started to show off the tools that he was praised for when the Bucs drafted him.
Oliva appeared in 108 games for the High-A Marauders this season. He showed that he could be a potential power and speed threat that can play in center field. The 22-year-old outfielder slashed .275/.354/.424 in 396 at-bats. He hit nine home runs, 24 doubles, and four triples for 37 extra base hits. However, he also turned many base hits into extra bases by stealing 33 bases on the year. Oliva’s numbers could have been more impressive if not for a tough August when he hit .200, but still, he played nearly a full season and posted the best all-around numbers on the Pittsburgh Pirates High-A Club.
Pitcher of the Year
If this would have to go to a pitcher on the current roster of the Bradenton Marauders, then this award would likely go unclaimed. The Bradenton Marauders main issue this year was their pitching staff, especially in the second half of the season. Still, they did have some solid starters at the beginning of the year.
James Marvel has pitched for the Altoona Curve for his last 33 innings. However, prior to joining the Altoona Curve, Marvel was leading the Marauders rotation. He made 22 appearances including 21 starts for Bradenton. The Pittsburgh Pirates 2015 draft pick actually posted 134.1 innings pitched as a member of the High-A Club.
He posted an ERA of 3.68 while striking out 100 batters in his 134.1 innings pitched. While that is not a great strikeout rate, he did do a good job of limiting base runners. He only allowed 132 total hits and walked 31, which was good for a 1.21 WHIP. He also induced groundballs at a near 50 percent clip. Like Oliva, Marvel’s numbers do not necessarily jump off the page. But still, he had a really solid season and impressed the Pittsburgh Pirates enough to move him up to Double-A where has flourished even more.
The good news in that the Bradenton Marauders should have a much better year in 2019. They will see one of the Pittsburgh Pirates top infield prospects in Oneil Cruz join them. Meanwhile, they could be joined by two of the organization’s top outfield prospects. Cal Mitchell, a second-round pick in 2017, will definitely join the team. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Pirates first round pick in 2018, Travis Swaggerty, will likely move up to them as well.